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Having a marine battery charger onboard is a wise idea if you rely on battery power. Even after the longest day out on the water, a charger can top up your battery and keep it in shape until your next voyage.
There’s nothing worse than turning up at the marina, enthused for a big day out, and being let down by a dead battery. That’s why you should buy the best marine battery charger that you can!
It’s important to take a few things account before buying the first product that you see. For a start, not all battery chargers will charge multiple types of batteries. Some can, but most do not. Before you buy a battery charger, make sure that you know what type of battery that you’re trying to charge.
For example, a sealed AGM battery has different properties to a flooded lead acid battery, and a gel battery won’t be the same as a Lithium Ion unit. It’s important to make those distinctions early on, because the wrong charger could ruin your battery!
To take the stress out of buying a marine battery charger, we’ve put together a list of the top units on the market, with a short buying guide to help you find the right product.
Another contender for the best 2 bank marine battery charger is the Pro Mariner Pro Sport 12. This battery isn’t as advanced as the one mentioned above, but it does have a more attractive price tag, and it will still get the job done.
This lightweight, onboard battery charger is compatible with a ride range of battery types, including wet cell, AGM, and high-performance AGM batteries, with an optional gel cell addition. It had a 12 amp capacity, with variable on-demand distribution, and has an output of up to 24 volts.
It’s a smart charger, so it has a lot of intuitive features such as a distributed on-demand charging function that distributes power to where it’s needed most. It also has the ability to check a battery’s status, adjust to different battery types, and operate on an energy saver mode. This can be used to automatically maintain batteries, or charge using reduced AC power consumption.
It features a good selection of safety features, including dual safety fuses, over-load, over-voltage, over-temperature, reverse polarity, ignition, and short circuit protection. What’s more, it has a waterproof rating of IP67, and it’s shockproof and vibration resistant.
It works for a number of batteries, and though it’s bigger than most in size, it will still sit in your boat without taking up too much room. It also ships with a 2 year warranty.
Compatibility: Wet cell, AGM, HP AGM, and optional Gel cell functionality
Banks: 2 bank battery charger
Amps: 12 (variable on-demand distribution)
Warranty: 2 year warranty
Next up, we have another product from Minn Kota. The Minn Kota MK330D is one of the best 3 bank battery charger modules on the market. It’s affordable, versatile, reliable, and won’t let you know down. Like the last Minn Kota charger, this one is also available in a variety of sizes, but we think the 3 bank model is a standout product.
In terms of value for money, you get a lot of technology for an affordable price point. This battery charger is compatible with lead acid and AGM batteries, with enough features to keep them in good order.
Using a digital control and microprocessor, the Minn Kota MK330D has advanced automatic multi-stage charging, which senses the level of a battery’s depletion and charges them appropriately. These stages include bulk, trickle, and maintainer charging.
There’s also an advanced temperature compensation system that adjusts the charging output in relation to the ambient temperature, which prevents overheating and other issues that may harm your battery. It can also be used as a deep cycle battery charger.
Other cool features include LED lights that display the health of your battery and charging status, and a tough waterproof and shockproof construction that keeps your battery protected. All Minn Kota battery chargers come with a comprehensive 3 year replacement warranty, which should give you huge confidence in their products.
Compatibility: Lead acid and AGM batteries
Banks: 3 bank battery charger
Amps: 30 (variable on-demand distribution)
Warranty: 3 year replacement warranty
Another candidate for the top marine battery charger would be the Genius 4 from NOCO. NOCO have a number of battery chargers in their range, but we rate their 4 bank model highest. It’s a marine-rated charger, but it’s also versatile enough to be used for a wide range of other applications, including charging your car, motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or lawn mower batteries too.
This charger is fully compatible with all 6v and 12v lead acid, wet, gel, and AGM batteries, as well all common marine, automotive, maintenance-free, and deep cycle batteries. It even has a special mode for the charging and maintaining of some lithium-ion batteries.
It’s not difficult to use. The advanced internal microprocessor can identify battery type, monitor its status, and charge it and maintain it accordingly, without you having to worry about overcharging. All you have to do is plug in your batteries, and relax.
Equipped with sparkproof technology, protection against over-heating, over-charging, reverse polarity, and waterproof with an IP64 rating, this is one of the safest (and best) 4 bank marine battery charger units on the market. It even boasts a comprehensive 5 year warranty too.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free charging experience, for multiple batteries at a time, at an affordable price, then we recommend giving this charger a try.
Compatibility: Lead acid, Wet, Gel, AGM, HP AGM, and Lithium Ion
Banks: 4 bank battery charger
Amps: 40 (with variable distribution)
Warranty: 5 year warranty
Dual Pro’s Professional Series 2 is one of the best 2 bank marine battery charger units on the market. This American made charger gets the seal of approval from multiple boat manufacturers, which is no mean feat.
Specially designed for wet cell and AGM batteries (with an option for gel cell batteries), this charger is ideal for trolling motor batteries, fresh and saltwater boats, and even for your automobiles too. This product won’t let you down. And even if it does, you can repair it! It’s a green battery, which means that you can tinker with it if necessary.
The brand’s own DeltaVolt technology takes a lot of the guesswork out of charging. It features a five-stage smart charging system controlled by an advanced microprocessor. This processor controls automatic charging functions, can adapt to both deep cycle and cranking batteries, and allow for the charging of different battery sizes and types at a time.
It’s totally waterproof, with an IP 68 rating, and features a number of other smart protective features. For example, it’s hermetically sealed, which means it can be submerged in water without causing damage, and it comes equipped with reverse polarity, and short circuit protection too.
If you’re looking for reliable charger, try this one.
Compatibility: Wet cell, AGM, and optional Gel cell functionality
Banks: 2 bank battery charger
Amps: 30 (15 per bank)
Warranty: 3 year warranty
Next, we have another product from ProMarine. This time, it’s the brand’s top of the line ProTournament Elite 360 Quad model, which is arguably one of the best 4 bank marine battery charger setups on the market. It’s a high-performance battery charger that’s specifically designed for heavy-duty and demanding situations.
Compatible with lead acid, AGM, and HP AGM batteries, the Elite 360 Quad features distributed charging, which uses the maximum available amps to charge batteries rather than relying on fixed outputs. It can easily swap charging profiles for different battery types by quickly changing programming plugs.
The charger utilizes a five stage charging profile to charge your batteries as efficiently as possible, maximizing overall longevity, keeping your batteries in tip top health. It features maintainer, trickle, and reconditioning charging functions too. A series of LED lights display your battery’s health, and let’s you know the battery’s charging status. There’s also a very useful push-to-test feature.
Another interesting feature is the charger’s forced induction cooling system. A special fan is used to prevent the charger from overheating, whilst simultaneously boosting the charging speed. It also boasts in-line safety fuses that protect against over-charging, over-heating, reverse polarity, with ignition protection. It’s shockproof, and waterproof to IP67 standard.
Made from extruded aluminum, this charger is also quite light. It weighs around 14 pounds, which is significantly lighter than other 4 bank units.
Compatibility: Lead acid, AGM and HP AGM batteries
Banks: 4 bank battery charger
Amps: 36 (with variable distribution)
Warranty: 2 year warranty
The Guest Charge Pro is one of the best 3 bank onboard marine battery charger setups available. It’s a lightweight and compact that can simultaneously charge three batteries at once in a fast, accurate, and efficient way. Plus, it’s not expensive either!
The Guest Charge Pro is compatible with flooded lead acid and AGM batteries. The charger itself is a 12 volt, 15 amp unit, that offers 5 amps per bank. It features a five-stage charging process, including an analysis stage, pre-charge, charging, conditioning, and maintainer function. It’s also fitted with an easy-to-read LED display that shows the status of your batteries and charging process.
In terms of safety and protection, this battery charger is equipped with in-line fuses for the best DC wire protection, along with guards against reverse polarity, over-voltage, over-current, over-heating, and ignition. And since it’s a marine charger, it’s also waterproof rated to IP67 standard for both salt and fresh water, and shock resistant too.
This charger also has cable strain fittings which stop your wires from tearing.. Each product comes with a 2 year warranty from the manufacturer.
Compatibility: Lead acid, and AGM batteries
Banks: 3 bank battery charger
Amps: 15 (5 per bank)
Warranty: 2 year warranty
Minn Kota is one of the biggest names in marine technology, so it should come as no surprise to see a couple of their products on our list of the best marine battery chargers. The company’s line of onboard chargers boast advanced charging technology, and a myriad of other interesting features specifically engineered for marine applications.
The MK110PC is a single-bank charger, though if you like the sound of it Minn Kolta produces the same model in a variety of sizes, up to 4-bank, 60 amp variants. However, we’ve decided to focus on one of the brand’s most basic option first: the 10 amp MK110PC.
Compatible with GM, gel, and HP AGM batteries, the MK110PC can easily switch between battery types, adopting the right charging profile to provide high-quality charging at a fast pace. The charger uses a digital interface that connects to an advanced microprocessor, that controls the line voltage, battery status, and even compensates the charge for temperature changes.
It’s waterproof, shock-resistant, vibration-resistant, and corrosion-resistant too. It also boasts ignition, arc, reverse polarity, and short-circuit protection, and it’s compliant with FCC rules. What’s more, it comes complete with a 3 year replacement warranty.
Compatibility: AGM, HP AGM, and Gel
Banks: single bank battery charger
Warranty: 3 year replacement warranty
Finding The Best Marine Battery Charger: A Buying Guide
Buying a charger isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. There are so many variables to think of. What type of battery do you have? What voltage is it? How many batteries do you need to charge? Do you need a portable model or a permanent on-board device?
And that’s only the beginning.
To make sure that you buy the right product for your needs, we’ve put together a short buying guide to help you out. These are some important questions to ask yourself, and important features to look out for:
What voltage is your battery? That’s arguably the most important question you need to ask yourself first. The vast majority of modern marine batteries are 12 volt units, but that might not be true for the system you’re running. If you buy a 12v charger and it turns out you’re running a 24 volt system, that could a problem.
If you’re not sure, or need to find a charger for a series of batteries of different size, then investing in a charger that can charge at different voltages would be the easiest thing to do. Many modern chargers can regulate currents to suit different battery sizes and types, leaving you with fully charged batteries and no need for a headache.
What Type Of Charger Do You Need?
Before you buy a new charger, you have to find out what kind of battery you’re going to be charging. For example, deep cycle battery charging is different to regular charging, and AGM battery chargers may not work for gel cell batteries. What works for one battery may not work for another. That’s the moral of the story here.
Marine batteries come in a variety of styles, such as flooded lead acid batteries, AGM, gel, and modern lithium ion varieties. Each of these marine batteries has different types of charging requirements. Luckily, the vast majority of quality chargers (both onboard charger and portable battery charger models) are compatible with at least two different types of batteries. They come equipped with smart fully automatic microprocessors that can regulate amperage and voltage to fully charge different types of batteries.
Since we’ve touched on it above, it’s worth looking for chargers that offer a degree of smart charging. These devices are equipped with special processors that can identify the type of battery that needs to be charged, and analyse the battery’s status, adjusting the charge requirements to safely charge the battery.
Most of these systems use multi-stage charging technology, which carefully charge a battery but prevent it from over-charging. They can also be used to maintain a charge, and trickle charge too. Some even adjust the charge rate in relation to the outside temperature.
Many of these chargers feature LED indicators and charging status displays.
Portable Or On-Board Battery Charger?
Do you need an on-board battery charger or a portable model? That will depend on a number of factors. The most important will be the size of your boat. If you have a large boat with multiple batteries, having a permanent on-board battery charger is a wise idea, since you’ll be able to charge more than one battery at a time from a permanent fixture.
If you have a smaller boat that doesn’t demand a lot of power, then a portable model will suffice. And if you have plans to use your charger to charge other equipment, like your motorcycle or car battery, then a portable charger could be a wiser investment.
Charging can be an unnecessarily complicated business, but if you invest in a charger that takes safety seriously, the task can be a breeze. By safety, we mean safety for both you as an operator, and for your actual battery. At the end of the day, a battery charger is an electrical item, so it’s a wise idea to invest in one that takes safety seriously.
Features to look for include inline fuses, reverse polarity protection and ignition protection. A tough shock- and vibration-proof casing is also very useful, and since we’re talking about marine batteries, having a high waterproof rating is absolutely essential.
For those looking to charge multiple batteries at once, you’ll want a device with multiple battery banks. The number of banks a charging system has relates to how many batteries it can charge simultaneously. A 2 bank charger can charge 2 batteries; a 3 bank charger can charge 3.
A multi-bank charger is for those who want to be charging a deep cycle battery with a starter battery at the same time, or for those who have multiple batteries onboard that power a number of other devices.
If you use two batteries, a 2 bank marine battery charger might seem like the most sense. However, if you plan on adding another battery in future, factor that into your search. It may be more cost effective to invest in more battery banks than buying multiple chargers.
How long a charger takes to fully charge, or recover, your battery is likely to influence your purchase. Naturally, everyone wants a fast-charging system. Nobody wants to wait around. Generally speaking, you can determine a charger’s charging speed by making a note of the amp hours.
Higher amps can mean fast charging, but it depends on how it distributes the power too. A 30 amp 2 bank charger looks fast, but it may only supply a maximum of 15 amps per bank. Keep that in mind.
Fast and efficient charging won’t come cheap, but it’s a solid investment. If you want your battery to recover in a short space of time, within a few hours, then you’ll have to pay for that pleasure.
While it might not seem like a major priority, it’s worth looking at the dimensions and weight of your desired marine battery charger. When you’re on a boat, space is at a premium, and you don’t want to be carrying excess weight either. Chargers can be surprisingly weighty, and there are some models that aren’t as easy to stow as you’d think.
Multiple bank chargers can be very heavy, so make sure you check the weight before you hit the buy button. Similarly, if you’re thinking about buying an on-board battery charger, make sure it will actually fit in the area that you’re planning on stowing and using it. Even if you’re looking for a portable marine battery charger, check the weight and dimensions just to make sure that you can carry it!
Finally, and possibly the most important thing to consider when purchasing a new charger, there’s the budget. Boating is an expensive pastime, and there are many places where you can cut corners and save money—but this isn’t one of them. Batteries are expensive, and replacing them because they’ve died isn’t a nice feeling. It’s far better to invest in the most advanced charger that you can afford and take care of those batteries.
If you’re not convinced, try finding a premium charger that you can use for more than marine applications. A charger that you can use to charge your car, motorcycle, or ATV battery will be worthwhile.
In Summary: What’s The Best Marine Battery Charger?
If you’re looking for the best marine battery charger, then we’d recommend the Minn Kota MK110PC precision battery charger. This small unit is great value for money and can be used for a wide range of applications.
If you have more money to spend and want a real premium product, then the Pro Mariner ProTournament Elite 360 Quad charger gets our seal of approval. It has all the tools to get the job done.
Finally, if we had to choose one product as an overall favorite that has the perfect mix of affordability, versatility, with plenty of usable features, then we would have to recommend the Noco Genius G4 4-Bank charger. It’s a 4 bank charger that does everything you need it to, at an affordable price, with a fairly impressive 5 year warranty too.
Joe Appleton is an outdoor enthusiast who loves everything from bushcraft and hiking to wild camping and boating. If he’s not out in the woods, you’ll find him out on the water.