backyard beyond Best Solar Panel Kits: Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power! (2021 Review)
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Best Solar Panel Kits:
Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power!
(2021 Review)

What are the best solar panel kits? We compared Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power! to help you determine which brand fits your needs.

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Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power! - Cover Image

Solar panels have come a long way in the past few decades. For years, I felt that solar panels were only accessible to affluent individuals with tens of thousands in disposable income they could use to save the planet. This was partially a self-limiting understanding on my part, but solar panels and their makers have also come a long way.

Solar panels aren’t just for your home rooftop anymore, either. For adventurers out there, modern solar panel kits provide you with the flexibility to live life on your terms. You no longer have to completely disconnect from society to live the life of your dreams.

Do you dream of traveling to all the National Parks in a van or RV? There are solar panel kits for that. Do you prefer to spend your days on the water, boating with family and friends? There are solar panel kits for that too. The same is true if you have a cabin in the woods or if you like to have essential power when you go camping. Solar panels are not only eco-friendly, but they offer unparalleled flexibility so that you experience life beyond most people’s dreams.

Solar Panel Kit Brand Comparison

So what are the best solar panel kits? If you ask us,

Zamp Solar, Renogy, and Go Power! make the best solar panel kits on the market. These companies sell high-quality panels, controllers, and entire kits to keep you powered wherever you need it. Imagine starting an online business and living off of the traditional grid. It’s not just a pipedream; there are already people doing it. And if that is not your goal, these solar panel kits will get the job done, whatever the job is! Check out our side-by-side comparison below, or read the detailed reviews.

Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power!
Comparison Table
Best Solar Panel Kits
Zamp Solar Logo
Renogy Logo
Go Power! Logo
PriceaddZamp Solar💲💲-💲💲💲Renogy💲💲-💲💲💲Go Power!💲💲-💲💲💲
Biggest Selling PointaddZamp SolarZamp solar ports available on many modern RVsRenogyWide-ranging kits available for any need you might haveGo Power!Pre-installed on some RVs
Fun FactsaddZamp SolarStarted in Oregon and made in the USARenogyBegun as a University student projectGo Power!Founded in 1996
Solar Panel WarrantyaddZamp Solar25-year output warrantyRenogy25-year output warrantyGo Power!25-year output warranty
Portable Solar Options?addZamp SolarRenogyGo Power!
Solar Power Stations & Generators?addZamp SolarRenogyGo Power!
WebsiteaddZamp SolarRenogyGo Power!

Which Is Better? Go Power!, Renogy, or Zamp?

While each brand has its strengths and weaknesses, Renogy rises to the top in most situations. Of course, if you have an RV with a Zamp Solar port, we recommend you stick with one of Zamp’s solar panel kits for RVs based on convenience. Otherwise, start with Renogy. Read below for detailed reviews explaining why.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last

Purchasing a solar panel system might feel like a leap of faith at first. Depending on the size and intended use of the system you are buying, it could even be a significant investment in the lifestyle you want to live. Naturally, one of the questions people frequently ask is how long solar panels will last.

The lifespan of solar panel systems depends on various factors ranging from how well they are cleaned and maintained to extreme conditions to which the system might be exposed. Still, generally speaking, solar panels usually last 25 to 30 years. The output might diminish slightly over time, but for the most part, you can expect decades of service from your solar panels if you keep them well-maintained.

Most solar panels come with a warranty, so that may be one factor you want to consider before making your purchase.

Renogy Solar Panel Marine Kits vs. Go Power vs. Zamp Solar Image

How Do Solar Panels Work?

We’re no scientists here, but it is still fascinating to understand how solar panels work. I mean, you put this magical panel on top of your RV and can use it to power your electronics?

At a basic level, electricity is generated when particles of light separate electrons from atoms. Each solar panel is a collection of photovoltaic cells in which this process occurs, and the photovoltaic cells combine to produce an electric field. 🤓 Science is incredible, and it makes all of our lives better.

Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power Review Image

Zamp Solar - Solar Panel Kit Review

Zamp Solar makes products for explorers. Some journeys are bigger and bolder than others, but we all have that inner explorer, and Zamp Solar makes products that enable the inner voice to find its way out. To this end, they have developed an impressive team of ambassadors to inspire you.

For instance, Gabrielle Nelson is a travel photographer and storyteller based out of her old-school Volkswagen van. Robert Field is a kayak angler that travels to new bodies searching for fish species he hasn’t previously caught. The Expeditioners are a nomadic-lifestyle family always in search of the next adventure.

These ambassadors and more are all powered by Zamp Solar, and even if you don’t plan to ditch your 8-to-5, they still offer inspiration to live life on your terms. Zamp Solar makes high-quality products with versatile set-ups that enable these dreams to come true by powering vans, campers, and more. Here is how Zamp Solar describes its mission in its own words:

You can take pride in knowing that all of Zamp Solar’s products are made in the USA with innovative designs and quality materials. Zamp’s solar panels come with a 25-year warranty, so you can also take comfort investing in a renewable energy source that is built to last.

Zamp Solar takes feedback from vendors, customers, and their stable of influencers to continue innovating and improving.

Zamp Solar Product Portfolio

While Zamp Solar sells everything you need to experience life off the grid, they group their portfolio into a few main categories, including roof-mounted solar kits, portable solar kits, charge controllers, and accessories. If you are setting out to install a solar system for the first time, it might be overwhelming to buy the individual components, but selling kits, Zamp Solar makes the process much less daunting. Their simple product categorizations will help guide you to what you need.

Roof Mounted Solar Kits

Zamp Solar’s roof-mounted solar kits are more versatile than you might imagine. They range from 90-watts to over 1000-watts and can be used for traditional uses such as building roofs and more adventurous purposes such as boats and RVs. Not only do the solar panels come with an industry-leading 25-year warranty, but their kits are expandable so that your solar panel system can grow as your needs grow.

Zamp Solar Panels For RV

While we love these products because they are versatile, they are most commonly used with RVs because many RVs are built with a Zamp Solar Specific plug-in. And we love the roof-mounted solar kits because you don’t have to worry about piecing together your solar panel set-up on your own. Zamp’s kits provide you with everything you need to harness the sun’s power, including everything below:

  • Premium solar panel(s)
  • 5-stage PWM charge controller
  • Wiring harness and cables
  • Multi-port roof cap
  • Mounting feet and other hardware

Zamp Solar roof mount kits enable you to get off the grid while avoiding loud generators and expensive fuel. Whether you have a small cabin in the woods or traveling the country road-trip style, these roof mount solar kits will keep you powered and connected.


Portable Solar Kits

Zamp Solar portable solar kits can connect to any 12-volt battery, including Lithium batteries. The portable kits range from 45-Watts to 230-Watts, and the fold-out panel system includes an integrated Charge Controller for ease of use. With six different kits in various sizes and strengths, Zamp Solar offers the largest selection of portable kits you will find on the market.

The portable kits require no installation and can be set up in as little as 5 minutes, making Zamp’s portable kits a great option for weekend camping trips or superior tailgating. The portable kit includes a solar panel, charge controller, wires, and connectors in one convenient package. How easy is it to use Zamp’s portables? It only takes three easy steps:

  • Remove case and unfold
  • Pull out legs and set up panel facing direct sunlight
  • Connect your kit to a solar part or battery
Yep. It’s that simple. And for the roof-mounted kits, most modern RVs and campers have a Zamp solar port on their wall or roof. If you have one, plugging in your Zamp Solar kit is incredibly easy. If you don’t have a port, you can still use the included alligator clips to connect to a battery. Also, keep an eye out for Zamp solar charge controllers, which increase convenience with the easy view set-up.

Zamp Solar vs. Renogy vs. Go Power Review Article Image

Are Zamp Solar Kits Worth It?

Zamp Solar makes innovative products that package well into pre-configured kits, providing maximum convenience and minimum headaches for you. Their product line-up is made from high-quality materials so that you can expect decades of use. Zamp Solar is a pioneer in off the grid power sourcing, which will allow you to explore possibilities beyond what most people would dare dream.


SUMMARYthumb_upPROS
thumb_downCONS
  • check Handcrafted in the USA
  • close Installation can be intimidating, even if it isn’t difficult
  • check 25 year output warranty
  • close Portable panels take up storage space
  • check Variety of configurations and mounting options
  • check Renewable energy source
  • check Easy installation
  • check Most kits are expandable

Zamp Solar vs. Go Power vs. Renogy Review Article Image

Renogy - Solar Panel Review

If you have done much research on solar panels, then there is a good chance Renogy has popped up in your research time and time again. For a company started as a small project by students at Louisiana State University, Renogy has quickly grown into one of the most prominent players in the consumer solar power industry. In 2016 they were recognized as one of the top 500 fastest-growing private companies.

Renogy’s product portfolio is wide-ranging and a little mind-boggling. Sure, they sell solar panels, but they sell every battery, connection, tray cable, and accessory you might need. If you might need it, they probably carry it in inventory. They also sell products you might not initially associate with solar power, like solar-powered generators, power stations perfect for juicing your personal devices at a campsite or during a home power outage, and solar-powered flashlights.

If you spend much time browsing Renogy’s website, you might find that you suddenly need several items you didn’t previously know even existed. And you would be justified. Renogy’s product line-up is not only sustainably focused (obviously, everything is solar focused), but their products are completely functional and frequently more useful than you would have imagined before starting your research.

Renogy is now a cornerstone of the solar industry, providing superior solutions in both the consumer and commercial markets. If you are looking for consumer solutions, you will find everything you need in Renogy’s diverse portfolio. If you plan on spending much time off the grid, Renogy has a kit that will power your devices and dreams.

Renogy Solar Kit Product Portfolio

A big hurdle for most people is that they don’t know how much juice they need, or maybe more specifically, don’t know how many panels they need to produce sufficient power for their needs. While this can be an intimidating problem for some people investing in solar for the first time, Renogy makes this easy by creating kits for every need and by describing their kits in a way that makes sense for the average Joe.

Home Solar Kits

Renogy sells three home solar kits, including the tiny house package, the cottage package, and the villa package. The tiny house package (1200 Watt) is excellent if you have a weekend cabin where you primarily plan to use personal devices like phones, tablets, and laptops. The Home Solar Kit also has enough juice to power small washers & dryers and other low-draw appliances.

The cottage package (2500 Watt) and villa package (4800 Watt) naturally provide more power to keep your life running. The Renogy cottage package is a mid-tier, semi-permanent installation which might work perfectly as a backup system if you frequently lose power in storms. It is powerful enough to run televisions, sound systems, and most refrigerators and freezers in addition to the personal devices the tiny house package will cover. The villa package is sufficient for acting as a primary power source, strong enough to support a little power tool usage on top of your primary appliances.

Renogy Solar Panel Home Kits vs. Go Power vs. Zamp Solar Image

Solar Kits for Vans/Trailers/RVs

Renogy’s solar kit for vans (100 Watt) is an entry-level kit, strong enough to keep small electronics like lights, tablets, and laptops powered up and ready to go. The trailer package (200 Watt) is naturally a mid-tier package that falls somewhere in between and will give you enough extra power over the van kit to power-efficient water pumps or other low draw appliances.

The Renogy RV package (400 Watt) is the advanced kit that is powerful enough for televisions, and even occasional microwaving. If you like to spend your days on the open road, touring the countryside, and infrequently returning home, then the RV package is definitely worth your consideration. It will meet all of your basic needs.

Marine Solar Kits

There isn’t quite as much variation in boat sizes as there might be between small campers and large RVs, so there are only two marine solar kits. The smaller package (200 Watt) is a mid-tier power supply that will power your devices and maintain your battery. It will give you enough juice to hook up a gaming console, fishing lights, and laptop, keeping you thoroughly entertained on the water.

The larger marine kit (350 Watt) is an advanced system that will manage all of the same equipment as the smaller kit and support a large battery bank or heavy draw appliances. Both of the marine kits include flexible solar panels, making them a little easier to mount in a tight space with few flare surfaces, like a boat.

Outdoors Solar Kits (For Camping/Tailgating)

The Renogy outdoor kit is perfect for weekend adventures, including camping and tailgating. The 100 Watt phoenix mini power station with 21 Watt flexible solar panels will enable you to keep your phones and tablets charged and even power your laptops and gaming consoles.

Trucking Solar Kits

The trucking kits are very similar to the marine kits. The smaller trucking kit (200 Watt) is big enough to keep your battery topped off and power televisions and gaming consoles, in addition to your cell phone and laptop. The larger trucking kit (350 Watt) is strong enough to keep your HVAC and refrigeration systems going all night and all day, in addition to all of your personal devices. The Renogy trucking kits also use flexible solar panels, like the marine kits.

Renogy vs. Zamp Solar vs Go Power Review Article Image

Are Renogy Solar Kits Worth It?

Renogy is an industry power-player for a good reason. They offer every solar system component you can think of in almost any kit configuration you could need. In addition to solar panels and solar kits, they also sell solar generators, power stations, portable chargers, and solar-powered flashlights. If you can think of a way solar might be implemented, chances are

Renogy sells the industry-leading product in the category. The company places a higher priority on direct-to-consumer selling, so customer service is also much more robust than some of the competition.


SUMMARYthumb_upPROS
thumb_downCONS
  • check Kits designed for any and every use
  • close Installation can be intimidating, even if it isn’t difficult
  • check 25 year output warranty
  • close Portable panels take up storage space
  • check Variety of configurations and mounting options
  • check Renewable energy source
  • check Renogy also sells everything from portable car jump chargers to solar power generators

Renogy vs. Go Power vs. Zamp Solar Review Article Image

Go Power! - Solar Panel Kit Review

The best thing that Go Power! has going for them is that they are a long-time industry player. They have been around since 1996, and their panels come pre-installed on some RVs, so you know they are well respected, and their technology is well established.

While all of our highlighted brands have both residential and industrial products, Go Power! might focus a little more heavily on fleet products than the competition. For example, they install their flexible solar panels on trucks to power lift gates. Their consumer-focused products are still great options, but you can also interpret the company is focused on commercial business and selling consumer products through dealers. This is a perfectly acceptable business model, and they do have some products on Amazon. Still, if you want direct company interaction and customer service, then Zamp Solar or Renogy might be better options.



Go Power! Solar Product Portfolio

If you want to go through a dealer rather than purchasing online, then Go Power! is a good option, as it has a long reputable history with the industry and is a favorite with dealers. That said, Go Power! and its competitors all have kits available online, which in our estimation is not only convenient but less intimidating and less of a hassle than dealing with a salesperson. Each of the brands is very clear regarding how to choose the right solar kit for your needs. If you decide to go with Go Power!, these are the kits to be on the lookout for:

RV Solar Kits

Go Power! sells three different kits worthy of your RVing needs. Go Power!’s primary solar panel will produce 190 watts of power, and the three systems include one panel, two panels (380 watts), and three panels (570 watts), respectively. The Weekenders ISW Solar Charging system (190 Watts) is one of Go Power!’s most popular and expandable systems. It also includes a 1500-watt pure sine wave inverter.

The Weekender system is compatible with the 30-amp service, but if you need 50-amp capabilities, you can upgrade to the Solar Elite system. The Solar Elite system (380 watts) is sufficient for full-time RVing and all of your devices and low to medium draw appliances. If you enjoy your luxuries, and have high-draw appliances or run multiple appliances and personal devices at once, then you will want to consider the Solar Extreme system (570 watts).

For lightweight RVs, the flexible solar kit packages sold as Marine kits might be your best bet. The flexible panels can withstand a curve of up to 30 degrees, making it easier to mount on certain rooftops. The flexible panels only have a 5-year warranty compared to the 25-year output warranties on the traditional solar panels.

Marine Solar Kits

Similar to the competition, Go Power!’s marine kits use a flexible panel system, which can be attached with adhesive or screws. This system’s primary benefit is that owners don’t need custom mounting to install the solar panels. The panels are flexible enough to fit in most locations, and mounting with adhesive or screws is much more accessible to the common marine life aficionado than custom mounting might be.

The 50 Watt kit is the starter kit that will be sufficient enough to keep your personal devices charged while you are on the water. Go Power! also sells 100-watt and 200-watt marine systems if you need more juice to run your marine appliances. Go Power! marine solar kits will give you the confidence you need to stay on the water longer and make much less noise than traditional generators, enabling you to focus on the sounds of nature.

Portable Solar Kits

Go Power! sells three portable solar power kits that range from 90 watts to 200 watts. Go Power!’s portable kits are fairly standard and can be used for RVing, ATVing, tailgating, etc. These Go Power! portable kits aren’t as sophisticated as some of the competitor portable kits and aren’t weatherproof, so they need to be attended to at all times.

Go Power vs. Zamp Solar vs. Renogy Review Article Image

Are Go Power! Solar Panel Kits Worth It?

The company sells dependable solar power kits, chargers, batteries, and inverters. Of course, Go Power! doesn’t have a strong direct-to-consumer business since they focus heavily on commercial business and their dealership network for their consumer business. Still, they make reliable products that have been trusted for decades.


SUMMARYthumb_upPROS
thumb_downCONS
  • check Most established competitor (founded in ‘96)
  • close Steady and functional, but not cutting-edge
  • check 25 year output warranty
  • close Portable panels aren’t weatherproof
  • check Rigid and flexible panels
  • check Renewable energy source
  • check Pre-installed on some RVs

Go Power vs. Renogy vs. Zamp Solar Review Article Image

Do Solar Panels Require Maintenance?

There are a lot of things to like about solar panels. Not only are they cost-effective for getting off the grid when you consider how much generators and plug-in fees cost, but the obvious benefit is they use renewable energy and are better for the planet. What people might not realize is that solar panels are also relatively low maintenance.

Solar panels don’t have any moving parts, which reduces the likelihood of any maintenance issues. To keep your solar panels adequately maintained, keep them clean, and regularly inspect your setup for loose connections or cables and damage. You won’t need any crazy specialized tools or need to deal with greasy parts.

Renogy Solar Panel Van Kits vs. Go Power vs. Zamp Solar Image

What Is The Best Solar Panel Kit?

People often say, “The sky’s the limit,” but that truth takes on special meaning when it comes to solar panel kits. If you are looking to get off the grid and find a little adventure, solar panels will power your dreams anywhere the sun is shining.

If you are looking to power up your RV to travel to the national parks and beyond, we recommend the solar kits from Zamp Solar if your camper or RV has Zamp Solar compatible ports built-in already. The plug-and-play convenience is hard to argue with.

Beyond that convenience, Zamp Solar is an innovative company making their products here in the USA. Founded in Bend, Oregon, Zamp Solar is all about the adventurous lifestyle and makes products to fuel the same for you.

While we are believers in Zamp Solar, if you are looking for solutions beyond RVs, we happily recommend Renogy solar kits. It is a close call between Zamp Solar and Renogy, but Renogy has proven to be forward-thinking and innovative.

  • Best Overall Solar Panel Kits - Renogy
  • Best For RVs with Zamp Solar Ports - Zamp Solar

Look no further than their periphery product line-up that oozes love for all things solar-powered. Solar panels and solar kits are the bread and butter for Renogy, but they pour their knowledge and innovative spirits into everything you might need solar power on the go.

Need to keep your phone charged during frequent power outages? Renogy sells various solar-powered generators, power stations, and portable chargers to keep you going for hours.

Want to power your gaming systems and televisions during your game day tailgating, on your family camping trip, or while spending a day on the water. Renogy has a multitude of solutions perfect for your exact needs.

And if you are looking for more permanent solutions for an off-the-grid cabin, or your van or trailer, every DIY Renogy package comes with all of the necessary parts you need for an easy installation.

Renogy’s entire mission is to make solar power accessible to everyone, regardless of your need, and they deliver on that mission. Not only do they make premium products for every situation, but their website is chock-full of wiring diagrams and FAQs because enabling YOU is at the heart of everything they do.

Purchase your Renogy solution today, and start living your dreams tomorrow.



Renogy Solar Panel Kits vs. Go Power vs. Zamp Solar Image

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