Whether you are shopping locally at Harbor Freight, or ordering from Amazon, we have the review for you. We have used panels from both places and want to share our experience with this portable RV solar panel review.
Why do we have solar kits from two places? Because one of them was not very good! Keep reading to see which solar kit we recommend. Both kits were 100 watt kits, and both come with some similar downsides.
Solar Panel Kit Comparison
The Harbor Freight kit was a bit awkward for storage. It seemed much larger even after coming out of the box. For less than $200 I was still very pleased. (Check current price at Harbor Freight) It was the same thing with the DOKIO we ordered from Amazon.
The DOKIO folds into a nice case, but its still awkward when trying to store it. I don’t know what kind of expectation I had. I suppose the fact that they aren’t permanently mounted was my biggest issue. Taking them out… then putting them away… repeat… repeat… you get the idea.
Which Portable RV Solar Panel is Best?
The bottom line is simple. The Harbor Freight kit didn’t keep our battery fully charged, but it did help sustain the life of the battery. That is exactly what we wanted out of the portable kit. I don’t know if it gets the title of best portable RV solar panel, but it does get our approval. The cost to benefit is very much in favor of portable solar panels.
The Thunderbolt from Harbor Freight was better than I expected. It was good enough that we recommended one to the in-laws who are averse to online purchasing.
The best thing about the DOKIO was the price. At time of purchase it was under $150. (Check current price on Amazon) This wouldn’t be an honest portable RV solar panel review if we aren’t completely honest. When using the DOKIO we couldn’t notice a difference in battery longevity.
I am not saying it didn’t work, but we make such a high demand on our battery that it certainly couldn’t keep up.
I suspect there was some benefit, just not as much as the Thunderbolt from Harbor Freight. We gave the DOKIO away and haven’t heard how its working for the new owners.
One area the DOKIO has a huge advantage over the Thunderbolt is in the durability category. The casing on the DOKIO is strong and you get a secure feeling knowing your investment is protected. The case almost feels too strong for the panels given the pricing.
RV Power Protection
Make sure you check out our RV Surge Protector Review. Having a good surge protector is crucial for those times you are unable to survive on solar alone. I also recommend a second battery setup for those that primarily boondock over staying somewhere with power.
Please be sure to check out our YouTube channel where we post Travel and RV content. We will have some videos coming up showing our solar panels in action, as well as details on our RV surge protector.