This is my hands-on review of the Victron SmartSolar MPPT Charge Controller.
I spent a total of 3 weeks testing it on its own as well as alongside other top MPPT charge controllers. I installed it in a solar power system and tested its ease of use, power output and voltage accuracy.
After all that, I think the Victron SmartSolar MPPT is the best MPPT charge controller on the market. It’s pricey, but it’s built-in Bluetooth, free mobile app and ease of setup make it the most plug-and-play MPPT I tested. For experienced users, it’s also got plenty of customization and advanced features.
Full review: Best MPPT Solar Charge Controllers
Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30 Charge Controller
The best MPPT solar charge controller
The Victron SmartSolar MPPT was the most “plug-and-play” MPPT I tested. It has plenty of battery presets for all the most common solar batteries. And the built-in Bluetooth lets you use Victron’s free mobile app to remotely monitor your solar power system from your phone.
|Rated charge current:||30A||Max. PV open circuit voltage (Voc):||100V|
|Battery voltage:||12/24V||Battery types:||LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom|
|Max. PV input power:||440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V||Max. wire size:||6 AWG (16 mm2)|
|Bluetooth monitoring:||Yes (built-in)||Temperature sensor:||Yes (built-in)|
Victron SmartSolar MPPT Review
After taking it out of the box, I first noticed the Victron SmartSolar is small and light for an MPPT.
Beyond that, the controller doesn’t have a screen — just a few LED indicators to let you know what charging stage the controller is in.
Normally that’s limiting, but the Victron SmartSolar’s built-in Bluetooth gets rid of the need for a screen. With Bluetooth, you can easily monitor everything from your phone. I like that better because it gives you more information and enables remote monitoring. I could be in my kitchen and check on the status of my controller in my basement.
I immediately went to my basement to install the Victron in a test solar power system. Four screws are all you need to mount it.
After mounting, I connected the controller to a LiFePO4 battery and a 100 watt solar panel. The Victron’s wire terminals are just okay. The screws themselves feel strong and durable, but the terminals are a little too shallow and close together for my taste.
Once installed, though, I tend to forget about the wire terminals altogether. And I never had a problem with wires slipping out during setup or use.
Once you’ve connected your Victron to your battery and solar panels, the next thing you’ll want to do is download the VictronConnect app.
To pair your phone to your Victron, simply open the Victron app and select your charge controller from the devices list. Here’s a quick video of me doing it:
Note: You may need to enter a pin code the first time you pair your phone. The default Victron pin code is 000000 (six zeroes).
You don’t pair it by going to your phone’s Bluetooth settings. It’s a different process than most Bluetooth devices.
Now you can monitor your solar power system from your phone. The Victron app is powerful and gives you all sorts of information about how much energy your solar panels are producing as well as your battery voltage and charging current.
For instance, when I paired mine, it told me my 100 watt panel was producing around 45 watts (due to some mild cloud coverage).
As a simple test of the Victron’s Bluetooth range, I went to the second story of my house and tested if the Bluetooth would still connect. I estimate I was about 30-35 feet from the Victron controller, and my phone still connected just fine. In fact, it showed up as having 2-3 bars of Bluetooth ‘service.’
After trying out the Victron by itself, I wanted to test it alongside other top MPPT charge controllers. In addition to testing usability and build quality, I tested each controller’s voltage accuracy against a multimeter connected to the battery terminals.
Here are my results:
The Victron placed first in my test with an average voltage discrepancy of only 0.075 volts. Most of the other models had an average discrepancy of 0.1-0.2 volts.
Next, I tested the max power output of all the MPPTs when connected to a 200 watt solar array. I measured power output with the Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor.
Here are my results:
I don’t put too much stock in these results because of the variables I couldn’t account for, such as fluctuations in solar irradiance and solar panel temperature. Regardless, it was nice to see a first-place finish from the Victron, given its price tag.
Note: These specs are for the model I tested, the SmartSolar MPPT 100/30. Victron has a whole SmartSolar product lineup with different PV voltage limits, charge current ratings and compatible battery voltages should you need a different size.
- Rated charge current: 30A
- Maximum PV open circuit voltage (Voc): 100V
- Battery voltage: 12/24V
- Battery types: LiFePO4, sealed (AGM), gel, flooded, custom
- Maximum PV input power: 440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V
- Maximum wire size: 6 AWG (16 mm2)
- Bluetooth monitoring: Yes (built-in)
- Temperature sensor: Yes (built-in)
- Power consumption: 30mA @ 12V, 20mA @ 24V
- Operating temperature: -30 to +60°C (-22 to +140°F)
What I Like
- It’s easy to set up. The Victron is about as “plug and play” as a charge controller gets. It works well out of the box and has plenty of battery presets for the most common types of solar batteries.
- It has Bluetooth built in. For nearly every other MPPT controller, you need to buy a $30-40 Bluetooth dongle to be able to pair your phone. And I was impressed with the Victron’s Bluetooth range.
- It has a robust mobile app. The Victron app is my favorite of any charge controller app I’ve used. It’s easy to pair your phone to your controller and monitor your system remotely from anywhere in your house or vehicle.
- It has lots of customization and advanced features. For advanced users, you can create custom charging profiles and edit other settings like temperature compensation. You can also pair multiple Victron devices, such as a second charge controller.
What I Don’t Like
- It’s expensive. The Victron SmartSolar was the most expensive MPPT I tested.
- It has mediocre wire terminals. They’re a little shallow and close together compared to other MPPTs I own.
Who This Charge Controller Is for
- You want the best MPPT charge controller and don’t mind paying top dollar. The Victron was my favorite of the 5 MPPT solar controllers I tested.
- You want the most features and customizability. The Victron app lets you create custom charging profiles and edit most charging settings. It also pairs with other Victron devices such as battery monitors to give your more control and information about your system.
Who This Charge Controller Isn’t for
- You want the best bang for your buck. In that case I’d recommend the Renogy Rover. The Rover is quite a bit cheaper and would work well in most solar power systems.
Which Victron SmartSolar Model Is Right for You?
The SmartSolar MPPT product line has plenty of options of differing PV voltage and charge current ratings. Here’s a quick comparison table of some of the more popular models on Amazon:
|Victron SmartSolar MPPT 75/15||Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/20||Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/30||Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50|
|Max. PV Voltage||75V||100V||100V||100V|
|Rated Charge Current||15A||20A||30A||50A|
|Max. PV Input Power||220W @ 12V, 440W @ 24V||290W @ 12V, 580W @ 24V, 1160W @ 48V||440W @ 12V, 880W @ 24V||700W @ 12V, 1400W @ 24V|
|Buy Link||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
If the Victron SmartSolar MPPT isn’t right for you, here are my top alternatives:
- Victron BlueSolar MPPT 100/30. The Victron BlueSolar is like the Victron SmartSolar but without Bluetooth built in. As a result, it’s quite a bit cheaper. And you can always add Bluetooth later on by buying the Victron VE.Direct Smart Dongle.
- Renogy Rover 40A. I think the Rover 40A is the MPPT controller with the best bang for your buck. If you don’t want to pay top dollar for the Victron, this is the one I’d recommend next. It has presets for all the most common types of solar batteries and lets you create custom charging profiles. It doesn’t have Bluetooth built in, but you can add it by getting the Renogy BT-1 Bluetooth Module. Renogy’s mobile app was my second favorite. Read my full Renogy Rover MPPT Review.
- EPEver Tracer 4215BN. The Tracer BN had my favorite hardware of the MPPTs I tested. It’s built like a tank and has my favorite wire terminals of any solar controller I’ve ever used. It has presets for lead acid batteries, but not LiFePO4 batteries. It lets you create custom charging profiles, though, so it can work with lithium batteries if you spend a little time setting it up properly.
The Bottom Line
The Victron SmartSolar MPPT charge controller was my favorite of the 5 MPPTs I tested. It had the best voltage accuracy and power output.
Bluetooth comes built in to all Victron SmartSolar controllers. This lets you check on your system from your phone using the VictronConnect app. Pairing your phone takes all of 15 seconds and, once paired, you can monitor your system in real time and edit system settings such as battery type.
If you want an MPPT that’s easy to set up and works great out of the box, the Victron is the one I’d recommend.
The only real drawback to the Victron is its price. It’s a premium product and is priced like one. If you don’t want to spend all that money, look at a cheaper MPPT such as the Renogy Rover 40A.
A small ask: If you found my Victron SmartSolar MPPT review helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider buying through one of my affiliate links below — I’ll get a small commission which will help fund more reviews like this one. Thank you! 🙏