Best Marine Battery Chargers

Marine Battery Chargers - Reviews & Guides For 2020

Our Top Marine Battery Chargers

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Marine Battery Chargers buying guide

Marine battery chargers act like a saving jacket for your juiced up boats. These saviors can charge the battery and save you from challenging situations.

Selecting a suitable charger can save your day. All you need is to study all the elements before making a purchase carefully.

A buying guide presents all the necessary information in an organized way under one roof. You can easily analyze the performance and usability of the different products by going through these pointers.

So without any further ado, let us dive into this detailed guide.

What are Marine Battery Chargers, and why should you buy them?

If you want to maintain your marine battery efficiently, you must consider a marine battery charger. You do not need to spend a lot of money to get a good quality marine charger.

There is a large variety of products available on the market. But you must select the best marine battery charger that will be one of the most crucial parts of the boat.

Without using the right charger, the marine battery can get damaged severely. Also, it would be best if you kept the battery charged when not in use.

Having a marine battery charger will help you keep the battery in a sustainable condition and improve its performance.

For quick charging, you will need a robust and high current charger. Otherwise, you can choose a charger with a low current rate for storing the battery.

Types of Marine Battery Chargers

You must choose the right type of chargers that can recharge the marine battery without any damages. Typically, two charger types are there, including the manual chargers and automatic chargers.

  1. Manual Chargers

It is effortless to understand that you can set the chargers manually. Put simply; you can turn on/off the chargers by your hands.

Also, the current and voltage can be adjusted as per your requirements. You just need to switch them off manually for a complete shutdown.

  1. Automatic Chargers

On the other hand, automatic chargers can sense both the voltage and inner current without your help. When the marine battery is fully charged, the chargers will switch off automatically.

Gel, Wet Cell or AGM Batteries

  1. Gel Batteries

Gel batteries have a long lifespan because they are resistant to shock and vibration. Also, they can withstand low temperatures effectively.

Liquid electrolytes are used to fill the batteries, and they are sealed. Due to recombinant technology, they do not need any water.

Gel batteries do not get affected by over-discharge, so you can store them for an extended time without recharging. They are free from plate sulfation, which is suitable for their life cycle, and this is why boaters prefer to use gel batteries.

However, gel batteries are a little bit expensive than others, and they require high voltages for recharging

  1. Wet Cell Batteries

Wet Cell batteries are the traditional type of battery that contains a mixture of distilled water and sulfuric acid.

A good quality wet cell battery is appropriate for 1,000 discharge/recharge cycles.

Having wet cell batteries means you do not need to worry about the weight and damage caused by overcharging.

But one major downside of these wet cell batteries is that they require high maintenance. You must examine the cells regularly and make sure that the compartments of the battery are well-ventilated.

Also, there is a chance of acid spilling, and they are not resistant to high vibration. So, it will be better not to choose them for your boats.

  1. AGM Batteries

In AGM batteries, glass matting is packed between the plates of the battery. This saturated acid electrolyte helps oxygen to get mixed with hydrogen and, thus, reduces the need for water refilling.

They are sealed tightly, so there is no possibility of acid spilling. You need to clean the exterior frequently.

AGM batteries are easy to install, as well. They have high resistance to shock and high vibration. Moreover, they have a low rate of self-discharging.

However, AGM batteries are expensive, and you cannot replace them when damaged.

Essential Things To Deem About While Purchasing The Best Marine Battery Chargers

Size

The first thing you should check while buying a marine battery charger is the size.

Both weight and dimensions of the marine battery chargers should be considered because you will not want to carry extra weight on your boat.

If you choose an onboard charger, look for the right fit so that you can stow it properly.

Also, you should check the size of a portable marine battery charger before buying it.

Checking the battery size, precisely the battery capacity, will be the right decision. You will need a powerful charger for recharging a large battery quickly.

The larger batteries with more capacity require more time to be charged completely.

Therefore, you should decide the size of the charger according to the marine battery size.

Battery Voltage

There is hardly any doubt that you must prioritize the battery voltage when you are about to buy a marine battery charger.

Most of the modern batteries come up with 12-volt units, but you should ensure whether it is appropriate for your system or not.

For instance, a 12-volt charger will not be able to run a 24-volt system effectively. So, it is recommended to find a charger that can be used at various voltages.

There are some modern chargers perfect for different battery sizes. They can adjust the current and voltage according to the battery sizes.

It is one of the decent ways to get your marine battery fully charged without any hassles.

Multi-purpose

If you are a marine enthusiast or an expert boat rider, you will understand why it is essential to carry an extra battery on your boat.

It does not matter which size or type of batteries you are carrying; you will always need more power.

To eliminate the problem of carrying multiple chargers, you can choose the marine battery chargers, which are compatible with different battery types.

You can opt for a multiple bank charger to charge more than one battery without wasting any time.

Battery banks

A multiple bank charger is handy to charge multiple marine batteries at the same time. So, when searching for marine battery chargers, you should pick up the multiple battery banks for quick recharging.

The number of batteries you can charge with the charger directly depends on the banks the system has. For example, two batteries can be charged with the 2-bank charger while you need a 3-bank charger for three batteries.

If you want to charge a deep cycle battery and a starter battery simultaneously, you can go for a multi-bank charger. Also, you can charge more than one battery on board to power several other devices.

However, it will be an imperative choice to focus on multiple battery banks instead of getting multiple battery chargers to add an extra battery conveniently.

Charging Time

You must calculate how much time the battery takes to get fully charged before selecting a marine battery charger.

You should remember that the charging time is related to factors like the size and type of the battery.

Every charger has its capacity for taking amperage. So, different circumstances determine how much time the charger will take to recharge the battery.

It is no brainer that having a powerful charger will always help complete the charging process faster.

Recovery Time

Without looking for the recovery time, it will be challenging to make a good purchase of the marine battery chargers.

Recovery time refers to the amount of time the charger takes to recharge the battery when it is completely drained.

You will always be wanting your battery to recover the charge as quickly as possible.

The charging speed of a marine battery charger is determined by amp hours. With a higher amperage, you can have a better recovery time. However, it is related to the power distribution system as well.

If you have a 30amp 2-bank charger, you should remember that each bank will get a maximum of 15amp, so it will not work as fast as you think.

If you plan to be on your boat for an extended period, it will be wise to invest in a charger capable of quick charging.

Power Source

For the onboard battery charger, it will be crucial to get an accessible power unit when you leave your boat on the water. Therefore, you must look for the power source if you have a plan for docking at night.

People who use their boat only in the daytime can pass over this factor. It is the reason why many people are likely to have portable marine battery chargers.

You are allowed to take the portable charger to your home to power it up at your convenience.

Durability

Another critical factor is the durability that you must check when you are going to buy your marine battery charger.

You should choose a durable charger if you need to take it with you on the boat. Therefore, it will be better to make sure that the charger you choose can withstand shock and vibrations efficiently.

Besides, the battery charger should have waterproof protection so you can use them on your boat without any headache.

Moreover, a marine battery charger should be durable enough to power the battery when stored in the offseason.

Smart Charging

You will go for a marine battery charger that is capable of smart charging.

There are some marine battery chargers engineered with an advanced processor to identify the battery types quickly. It helps to analyze the battery condition so that you can safely adjust the requirements for charging.

It is possible with the help of some unique technology. Like, most of the charging systems run on a multi-stage charging method, which is very useful to prevent overheating, and thus, you can charge your marine battery carefully.

You can also use them for maintaining and trickling the charge. Some chargers are equipped well to regulate the charge rate depending on the temperature outside.

Moreover, you can see LED indicators or a clear display to understand the charging status.

Safety Features

If you want to avoid unnecessary troubles related to charging, you must pay for a good quality charger. Picking up the right charger for safety will be a useful option.

Safety is incredibly essential for both the operators and the battery. The performance of the battery depends on its charger. If you fail to choose the right charger, the battery will get damaged very quickly.

A marine battery charger is a piece of beneficial electrical equipment, so getting a charger with additional safety features will be worthy of your money.

Therefore, you must look for features like inline fuses, reverse polarity protection, ignition protection, etc.

A sturdy and robust casing resistant to vibration and shock will also come in handy for the operators.

Furthermore, you should pay attention to the waterproof rating when buying chargers for marine batteries.

Portable or Onboard

When it comes to choosing the marine battery chargers, you have to decide first what you need - a portable model or an onboard one.

Generally, three types of onboard chargers are available in the market. Precision chargers are premium quality onboard chargers that power up the batteries in less time and ensure maximum protection.

Digital control chargers also work in the same way as a precision charger, but it has a bit less power.

Alternator chargers are required for some extra boost and extended battery life to be useful in addition to the onboard unit.

On the other hand, portable chargers are controlled digitally, and they are equipped with Automatic Temperature Compensation, so they work very fast in a meaningful manner.

However, it is up to your personal preference which one you need the most. It is recommended to go for a permanent onboard charger for multiple batteries on a large boat.

For a smaller boat, a portable model can serve your purpose efficiently as it does not need much power.

Budget

Last but not least, the budget for your battery charger should be taken into consideration.

In general, boating is considered more expensive than any other pastimes. So, you just cannot cut corners as per your wish. You have to act smartly.

You will spend a hefty amount of money to buy the new batteries, and you will not want to replace the battery within a few days because they have drained.

Therefore, you should look for some advanced chargers to maintain the excellent condition of your batteries effectively.

There are some premium chargers that can be used for charging the car, motorcycle, and ATV batteries. So, it will surely make justice to your money.

How to install a marine battery charger

It is hardly any difficult to install the marine battery chargers, and if you follow the manual guide available with the product, you can effortlessly fix the charger.

Here are the detailed steps so that you can have a fair idea of the overall installation process.

  1. You should mount your charger using stainless steel nuts and bolts and self-tapping screws. Make sure the place you have chosen is dry and airy.
  2. It will be better to use a bigger fuse. If the charger has the highest output of 2-amps, you may look for a 25-amp terminal-mount fuse.
  3. To ensure your safety, you must choose a waterproof connection. It would help if you covered all the joints before crimping. Use a hairdryer or hot air gun to warm up and then remove the wires using any crimp-on tools. You can have crimp-on tools or go for the double crimpers for better performance.
  4. The cables should have proper support. You can choose cable ties or plastic tips or whatever efficiently works for the cables.

Besides DC, you must also pay attention to the AC side. You may check the instructions for installation for different wire sizes and do not forget to use wire ties or saddle clips for better support.

Marine battery charger maintenance tips

A marine battery is an integral part of the boat, so you must also take care of the battery as you do for several other parts. However, it will be effortless to maintain marine batteries if you know how to get your job done the right way.

There are different accessories and tools available in the market that will help you in the best possible manner to maintain the marine battery chargers.

Usually, AGM batteries do not need much attention because they are designed with proper sealing. But you must have a smart charger to recharge the battery.

Using a smart charger, you can reduce the possibilities of any kind of damage to the unit. You should keep the flooded acid full all the time.

You should use only distilled water to top off the battery. Tap water contains different minerals, so you must use the neutral distilled water to avoid electrolyte.

Moreover, you should check the terminal clamps to make sure they are clean and corrosion-free. You can use petroleum jelly or something that resists corrosion to prevent them from being damaged.

It is needless to say that you should keep the connection tight and fix the loose connection without any delay.

If you can follow the tips mentioned above correctly, you can maintain the battery's excellent condition for an extended period.

Safe charging tips to follow

To maintain the marine battery chargers, you should go through the manual guide in the first place. You will have all the required information given in the guide, so follow them carefully.

  1. The battery charger must be unplugged when you are going to connect or disconnect the charger to the battery.
  2. You should choose a dry and well-ventilated area to charge the battery.
  3. When you have the flooded batteries, you should be very careful about charging. You should not charge the battery unless the hydrometer reading shows beneath 1.225 of specific gravity. The load test should be under 9.6 volts (for open circuit 12.4 volts). You should not charge the battery above 48 hours.
  4. During charging and storing, the battery should be kept far away from any flammable substances.
  5. In case you notice that the battery has started to overheat, disconnect the charger, and immediately take help from the manufacturer.
  6. You must keep the unit clean and dry. Mix baking soda with water and apply the paste on the battery to keep it corrosion-free.
  7. If you experience a situation when the hydrometer and voltage reading remain the same even after two hours of charging, you must detach the charger and consult the manufacturer.
  8. You should not power up the battery when it is frozen. Make sure the temperature is at least 60° before charging.
  9. It will be wise to wear gloves to protect your hands from acid while working with the battery.
  10. You should use the same battery type on the boat so that it does not shorten the battery tank quickly.
  11. The terminal connector should be kept clean properly; otherwise, they will lose the conductivity.

When you leave a battery uncharged, it will cause sulfide damages. Also, it reduces battery capacity. So, you must charge them after every use.

FAQs

  1. Should a deep cycle battery be used in place of regular batteries?

No, we do not recommend using deep cycle batteries as they have thicker plates and take a lot of time to charge.

  1. What is the right number of banks on my charger?

Always keep an eye on the number of batteries that you have; the number of banks depends on the number of batteries.

  1. What to do if the battery charger starts overheating?

The battery charger is backed up by an in-built system for safety to prevent any overheating issues. Thus, you should always purchase a good-quality charger initially.

Final Verdict

With a suitable charger, you can easily juice up your boat's battery in the moment of need. Never forget to pack the charger before going out on your boat.

Here is this extensive guide, you will find all the essential factors to sort out the best product. You can go through them quickly and select an elite product.



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