Solar batteries are a smart investment for residential energy storage and DIY solar projects. People who want to go off the grid can use solar batteries to store excess energy that can be used at night or on cloudy days. A few solar batteries come in handy if you live in an area with unreliable utilities. You can also use solar power battery storage to run RVs, boats, golf carts and more.
As you compare solar batteries, keep in mind that capacity tells you what the battery can store and is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Power shows a battery's output capability and is measured in kilowatts (kW). Look for a solar battery with a depth of discharge at least 40% or higher and round-trip efficiency around 80%.
- Capacity: The average American household uses about 30 kWh each day, and a typical solar battery has a capacity of around 10kWh.
- Depth of discharge: The depth of discharge shows how much of your battery capacity can be used before potentially shortening its life span. The higher the DoD, the more usage you'll get from the battery's capacity.
- Power: Power shows a battery's output capability. The amount of power a battery can deliver at once is displayed in kilowatts (kW).
- Round-trip efficiency: Round-trip efficiency is the difference between the amount of energy used to charge it and the available amount of energy. Like the depth of discharge, a higher round-trip efficiency percentage is a better value.
The last thing to consider is the battery’s warranty and guarantee. Since battery performance declines over time, a warranty that guarantees a number of cycles or years of good performance is essential. It should also guarantee the battery maintains a specific capacity.
What are the best solar batteries?
We only considered deep-cycle absorbent glass mat (AGM) or lithium-ion batteries — these types consistently perform best for solar energy storage. To select our top picks, we also evaluated capacity, durability and overall consumer satisfaction.
- Our favorite solar storage batteries:
- Vivint Solar LG Chem
- Sunrun Brightbox
- SunLux Enphase Storage
- Our picks for off-grid solar batteries:
- Battle Born LiFePO4
- Vmaxtanks deep-cycle battery
- Fullriver sealed lead-acid battery
- Our picks for low-cost solar batteries:
- Universal Power Group battery
- Weize 12V AGM battery
- Jackery Explorer 240
- Our picks for solar batteries for RVs:
- Renogy gel battery
- Powermall deep-cycle battery
- WindyNation AGM battery
Our favorite solar storage batteries
If your solar system connects to the local electrical grid, then you don’t have to worry about your panels not producing enough electricity to meet all your energy needs. Still, a few solar batteries come in handy if you live in an area with frequent blackouts or unreliable utilities. Note that pricing on these types of batteries is less upfront because of varying power needs, shipping cost and potential installation fees.
1. Vivint Solar LG Chem
Vivint Solar partners with energy innovators like LG Chem, Tesla Powerwall and sonnenBatterie to provide solar battery storage. Vivint Solar LG Chem batteries utilize intelligent management technology to make efficient power usage simple.
For additional power capacity, you can link several LG Chem residential energy solar units (RESUs) together with either a hybrid inverter or a string and battery inverter. LG Chem lithium-ion batteries are safe for indoor or outdoor solar installations. Vivint includes a 10-year performance warranty on solar batteries.
2. Sunrun Brightbox
Sunrun Brightbox is one of the best batteries for residential rooftop solar systems. Sunrun is the U.S.’s largest residential solar, battery storage and energy services company. You can monitor energy storage and usage efficiency through an internet or cellular connection. You can also set a Brightbox battery to kick in if your electricity usage peaks during the peak time of use (TOU) rates, which helps reduce your utility bills.
A Brightbox battery is about the size of a water heater and is mounted on a wall. Sunrun covers Brightbox with a 10-year warranty, but the batteries last up to 15 years. Sunrun offers Brightbox to new customers in California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, Hawaii, Florida and Puerto Rico.
3. SunLux Enphase Storage
SunLux Enphase Storage features a smart battery and powerful software. Enphase batteries are easy to install and can be retrofitted into existing systems. Enphase batteries are safe — there’s no high-voltage DC in the system — and certified by TUV Rheinland.
These lithium iron phosphate (LFP) solar batteries get 96% round-trip efficiency with peak output power at 270 volt-amps. You should expect the battery to last at least 10 years — If it doesn’t, SunLux fixes or replaces it.
Our picks for off-grid solar batteries
Most solar batteries available online are best suited for off-grid applications, so pricing is more transparent. Consumers appreciate that these off-grid solar batteries arrive fully charged and ready to go. Plus, you can get free shipping when you order on Amazon.
1. Battle Born LiFePO4
Battle Born LiFePO4 lithium-ion batteries are the top pick because each battery is versatile, cost-effective and easy to install. You can also use them for other off-grid or off-road applications, including powering campers, golf carts and boats. Battle Born specializes in making nontoxic, renewable energy.
These batteries can be charged quickly and discharged repeatedly. Unlike lead-acid batteries, these deep-cycle lithium-ion batteries have unlimited mounting capability. They also include a 10-year warranty.
2. Vmaxtanks AGM deep-cycle batteries
Vmaxtanks AGM deep-cycle batteries have tremendous storage capacity. In fact, one consumer runs their entire house, including a water pump and refrigerator, off three of these batteries. Plus, they are durable, thanks to quality military-grade panels.
This is a popular, maintenance-free battery for residential photovoltaic solar panel systems, smart chargers and wind turbines. You get the most out of this battery when you pair it with a quality inverter. Vmaxtanks AGM deep cycle batteries have a life span of up to 10 years.
3. Fullriver AGM sealed lead-acid battery
The Fullriver AGM is designed to have a high reserve capacity and low internal resistance. It combines the performance of a true deep-cycle battery with the convenience and safety of valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) sealing technology.
Its dual top terminals provide greater installation flexibility, allowing for both recreational and industrial deep-discharge applications. Fullriver DC batteries use extra lead to strengthen cell connections, which means this battery is heavier than most — 123 pounds.
Our picks for low-cost solar batteries
There are plenty of reliable solar batteries available for less than $300. If you have a do-it-yourself solar project or need to replace existing solar batteries, remember to check whether your battery is still covered by a warranty — some of the best solar energy companies guarantee their solar batteries for 10 years or more.
1. Universal Power Group deep-cycle VRLA battery
Universal Power Group is one of our top picks because of its battery’s versatility, durability and reasonable price. You can use this battery for home solar power storage or mobile charging systems. SLA/AGM technology means this battery is low maintenance and spill-proof.
The battery is excellent for solar systems in small cabins, campervans and boats. Consumers say four of these batteries can run 100 watts all day or 1,500 watts for 30 minutes without a significant voltage drop. Universal Power Group provides a one-year warranty on this battery.
2. Weize 12V deep-cycle AGM battery
The Weize deep-cycle AGM battery is a top pick because of its high performance and long service life. Its valve-regulated design makes it perfect for small, enclosed areas. Thanks to Weize’s heavy-duty, calcium-alloy grid, this battery can be used for most universal purposes, including off-grid applications, trolling motors, uninterruptible power supply systems and emergency lighting.
Weize includes a 30-day refund policy and a year-long warranty. The package includes screws but not a wire harness or mounting hardware.
3. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 240
The Jackery Explorer is a portable solar power station designed for charging laptops, outdoor electronics and other devices that operate at less than 200 watts. This is a great battery for weekend camping trips and short-term emergency power backup. It’s less than 7 pounds and comes with a solid handle, so it’s easy to carry around.
The Jackery Explorer is equipped with a 250 watt-hour, 14.4-volt lithium-ion battery pack. You can charge the battery with solar panels, and it also has a bypass system so it can run and charge at the same time. The package includes an AC adapter and a car charger cable. You can pair the power station with Jackery Solar Saga (sold separately).
Our picks for solar batteries for RVs
We considered flooded lead-acid, AGM deep-cycle and lithium batteries for the top solar batteries to provide electrical power to recreational vehicles. Keep in mind that installing RV solar panels helps extend the life of your battery, and you can charge the battery at home for future use even if you don’t have solar panels on your RV.
1. Renogy deep-cycle gel battery
Renogy's rechargeable 12-volt deep-cycle gel battery is a top pick for the best solar battery because it is high-quality for the price and lasts a long time. Consumers also like that the batteries are leak-proof, spill-proof and very easy to maintain. Renogy batteries are also equipped with explosion-proof safety valves.
Renogy's gel battery is designed for solar energy storage applications. It’s suitable for daily use and or to provide backup power to small or large solar setups. This heavy-duty battery can withstand repeated charge-discharge cycles, and its lead-calcium grids ensure a long life of up to 10 years.
2. Powermall deep-cycle AGM solar battery
Powermall’s deep-cycle solar battery is a good value for an RV solar battery because of its high discharge rate, wide operating temperatures, long service life and deep discharge recovery. If you have a boat, you can use it to power trolling motors and fish finders as well. The battery is spill-proof and maintenance-free.
Powermall uses a heavy-duty, calcium-alloy grid for exceptional performance in both float and cyclic applications. The copper-plated silver terminal reduces power loss and ensures a reliable power supply. Powermall includes screws but not a hire harness for mounting. The battery comes with a 30-day refund policy and a one-year warranty.
3. WindyNation deep-cycle AGM battery
The WindyNation Deep-Cycle AGM is one of the top picks for RV solar batteries because its low discharge rate allows for maximum power storage. These batteries are designed for all kinds of off-grid power and can be used for solar RVs, off-shore marine power, golf carts and more.
WindyNation’s sealed lead-acid batteries are made with pure, virgin lead (not recycled like lower-quality batteries), which makes them ideal for deep, repetitive charges. They are specifically designed for deep-cycle performance and can be discharged and recharged thousands of times.
What is a solar battery?
A solar battery is an energy storage option for those with solar panel systems. With the increased use of solar power, solar batteries are more popular with homeowners who want to offset electricity costs and those living or camping off-grid.
Solar generators and portable solar chargers are types of solar battery storage systems. While solar generators are typically affixed to their location — usually houses, campers or boats — a portable solar charger is a smaller, often hand-held device typically used to charge phones or other electronics. Some solar generators are available as all-in-one kits, but you can buy components separately as well.
Types of solar batteries
There are multiple battery types to consider when choosing solar batteries. Which type is best varies based on your needs and whether you prioritize cost efficiency, safety or environmental impact.
- Deep-cycle battery
- The term “deep cycle” refers to the battery’s ability to complete a discharge-recharge cycle several times. Deep-cycle batteries are designed to keep a steady flow of power over an extended period. Thick lead plates help prolong the battery's life. Lithium-ion, flooded and gel batteries are types of deep-cycle batteries.
- Lithium-ion battery
- Lithium-ion batteries are an excellent choice because they are relatively low maintenance and easy to install. The benefits of a lithium-ion solar battery include higher energy density, less weight and increased life span. Lithium-ion batteries are considered a revolution in home energy storage solutions.
Lithium batteries have the added advantage that their voltage stays relatively constant as it discharges. In a lead-acid battery, the voltage decreases as the battery discharges. So, in order for a lead-acid battery to maintain its output, the current draw increases as the voltage drops. This, in turn, discharges the lead-acid battery more quickly. Lithium batteries do not have this drawback.
- Lithium-polymer battery
- Similar to lithium-ion, lithium-polymer batteries are more resistant to issues like overcharge or electrolyte leakage. They are also more expensive and don't usually last for as many cycles as lithium-ion batteries.
- Flooded lead-acid battery
- Also known as wet-cycle batteries, flooded lead-acid batteries contain liquid in an open container and disperse hydrogen gas. These batteries are cheaper but require more maintenance because the battery must be kept upright and well-ventilated. The battery also needs to be monitored and regularly refilled with distilled water.
- Sealed lead-acid battery
- This valve-regulated battery is considered the maintenance-free option in sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries. They are designed to keep the battery from reaching its gas-generating limit while charging, which prevents water depletion and gas dispersal. This also means that the battery can never be completely charged.
- Nickel-cadmium battery
- Ni-cad batteries have a long lifespan if properly maintained. This is one of the more rugged battery types available, but they occasionally require a full discharge to keep their longevity. Be aware that cadmium is toxic, so this battery cannot be disposed of in landfills.
- Saltwater battery
- If you’re looking for clean and environmentally friendly energy, a saltwater battery is a good choice. Like lead-acid batteries, saltwater batteries offer a natural alternative for clean energy storage. The electrolyte is saltwater, which is nontoxic and nonflammable. These batteries are maintenance-free and have good longevity.
- Solar gel battery
- A gel battery, or gel cell, is similar to a sealed lead-acid battery. This battery also uses a gel electrolyte. Unlike other lead-acid batteries, you don't need to keep it upright — it handles movement very well, which makes it a smart choice for campers, vans and boats.
How do solar batteries work?
Solar batteries can be installed alongside your solar panel system to store the excess energy it produces. When the panels don't produce power at night, you can use the stored energy instead. Many solar battery storage options come with an inverter to convert the stored DC power to the AC power you need, but some require you to buy the inverter separately.
You can then use it as a solar battery generator to power electricity needs. This helps people looking to mitigate electricity costs, prepare for disasters or be completely off-grid. Homes still on the electrical grid can offset their consumption with backup energy and run on battery power until the storage is depleted.
The amount of electricity a solar battery can deliver at once is measured in kilowatts (kW). Kilowatt-hours (kWh) refers to the total amount of energy utilized over an hour. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) states the average American home consumes 901 kWh per month, or 30 kWh a day. With a battery that provides 2.5 kWh, you would need 12 batteries for sufficient daily power.
Since solar batteries self-discharge, the stored solar energy depletes over time. The rate of self-discharge depends on the type and age of the battery. Newer batteries typically deplete at a rate of 1% to 2% per month, whereas older batteries could deplete by as much as 2% per week.
Residential solar panel arrays don’t usually require solar batteries. Still, solar panel battery storage lowers your utility bills, protects you from power outages and reduces your carbon footprint. If you already have solar panels, solar batteries work to store energy for the future. However, most popular solar batteries like Tesla Powerwall and LG Chem RESU aren’t designed to go completely off the grid.
Solar battery FAQ
- How much do solar batteries cost?
- Small solar batteries run between $200 and $2,000. However, a quality battery for residential solar energy storage can cost up to $7,000 or more. When comparing solar battery prices, you should also consider the cost of battery storage per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which ranges from $400 per kWh to $750 per kWh.
- How many solar batteries are needed to power a house?
- Most homeowners need between two and five solar batteries to effectively power a house. Depending on your energy needs, you can connect several batteries in a series or parallel battery bank with interconnecting cables. Solar batteries are stackable, meaning that you can install multiple batteries with your solar storage system to reach the right capacity for you.
- Why are solar batteries so expensive?
- Solar panels are expensive because of the materials required to produce them. Prices are expected to drop as solar technology advances.
- How long do solar batteries last?
- Generally, fully charged solar batteries should power your home for 12 to 24 hours. Variables like your household energy consumption, the capacity of your batteries and whether you’re connected to an electrical grid determine exactly how your long solar batteries last. A solar battery’s lifespan can be anywhere between five and 15 years. You can extend a battery’s life with proper maintenance and by protecting it from extreme temperatures.
- What is a battery bank?
- A battery bank is a collection of batteries that are connected. A battery bank allows for more power storage than you get from a single battery.
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