What’s The Best Marine Battery Charger?
When it comes to boat batteries, a good charge is like a full gas tank. You’ll want a full “tank” if you want to enjoy a complete, carefree day on the lake. Plus, a full charge ensures you have enough power to get back to shore safely.
Since there aren’t any charging stations out on the lake (unless you count solar power), you had better charge up with the best marine battery charger you can find!
What’s the best battery charger for a boat?
First of all, what kind of charger do marine batteries require? Do you need one that’s made just for boats? Not necessarily. You can use any deep cycle battery charger for your trolling motor battery or house battery.
But unlike a generic phone charger, deep cycle battery chargers aren’t all the same. So the best marine battery charger for you will match your battery in three ways:
- Chemistry. Your battery will be one of 4 types: lead acid, AGM, gel, or Ionic lithium. Some chargers can handle several different types.
- Voltage. Your boat battery charger must match the voltage of your battery. The most common voltage for marine batteries is 12V. You might also use 24V, 36V, or 48V.
- Capacity. Your battery has an amp hour rating (Ah). The amp rating (A) of your charger shouldn’t be higher than your battery’s Ah rating.
Is it possible to charge your boat battery with a charger that doesn’t match? Sure, but you may get a very slow charge, or none at all. It might charge the battery only part way. Worst case scenario, you may damage your batteries.
So, if you want to take advantage of your battery’s full capacity and protect your investment, get a charger that fits–like your best pair of jeans.
Marine Battery Charger Types
Now you know what chemistry, voltage, and capacity to look for in a charger. Next, let’s discuss types of chargers. Your choices are:
Read on for details about each charger type:
Onboard Battery Chargers for Boats
What’s the best boat battery charger that most anglers and boaters choose? The kind that can be mounted right on the boat–onboard. Just bring your boat to the dock, garage or trailer and connect to shore power. There’s no need to haul your batteries off the boat.
Want to save time charging? Get an onboard bank charger. These let you charge multiple batteries at once. LithiumHub offers a convenient 2 bank charger, plus a 4 bank charger that allows you to charge different battery types together.
Portable Battery Chargers for Boats
If you have a small boat like a kayak with a trolling motor, a portable marine battery charger might work for you. These can only charge one battery, and can’t be mounted inside your boat. But you wouldn’t want to mount a charger inside a boat with limited space anyway!
Solar Battery Chargers for Boats
What about boats that aren’t limited in space? If you have a spot to mount solar panels, you can charge your batteries with solar energy. A solar marine battery charger consists of a solar charge controller, solar panels, and cables.
Once you’ve decided what type of charger to get, you might wonder if there are other differences that make one charger better than another. There sure are…introducing smart chargers!
Best Marine Battery Charger: The “Smart” Option
At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, be smart and get a smart battery charger! It can enhance your boating or fishing experience. How? By making sure you get the most out of your marine battery.
What does a smart lithium battery charger do? Why is it the best marine battery charger? We’re glad you asked…
- It protects your marine battery from damage. Smart chargers stop charging before that point of no return called “overcharging,” thanks to their battery management system (BMS). Now you can stop babysitting your batteries. Just “set it and forget it”!
- It dishes out all the details. Micromanaging isn’t a virtue when it comes to relationships. But it’s great for battery chargers! They’ll pass on all the “secrets” to you, like charge levels and time to charge. Best of all, they’re Bluetooth capable, so you can monitor the charge from your smartphone. For boaters and anglers, this means knowing exactly what time you can get out on the water.
- It’s faster and more efficient. When you pair a lithium smart charger with a lithium battery, you get the fastest charge possible for any battery type. Smart marine battery chargers also charge more efficiently, meaning they use less energy to charge more.
- It’s lighter and less bulky. This is a huge perk for small boats that don’t have the space for bulky batteries.
The Best Battery Charger for Your Boat
“Answers may vary” is technically the best response for the question, “What’s the best marine battery charger?” But an onboard lithium smart charger is hands down the smartest choice for most boats. For kayaks and canoes, a portable lithium smart charger is best.