Best Motorcycle Battery Maintainers: Best Chargers for Boosting Battery Health
Get the most out of your motorcycle battery with these top chargers
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Seasonal vehicles such as motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles often sit for extended periods of time. For the most part, there is little to worry about while they're dormant. However, when you try to start them following a long period of rest, there's a good chance the battery will be dead. A good battery maintainer will ensure the vehicle stays charged as well as monitor its health during the off season. Check out the best motorcycle battery maintainers for safe and sustained charging.
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Benefits of Motorcycle Battery Chargers
- Battery life. The issue with having your motorcycle battery on charge for long periods of time is the damage it can do. Overcharging can shorten your battery’s life, but using a battery charger will keep your battery healthy.
- Fewer replacements. If you damage your motorcycle battery after overcharging, there is no going back. Using a battery maintainer will save you from future replacements.
- Safety. Leaving your battery plugged in for weeks (if not months) on end with a regular charger is an extreme fire risk. Battery chargers minimize this risk with temperature monitoring and decreased power output.
- Saves energy and money. An added benefit of reducing the power that is supplied to your battery is saving energy. Instead of wasting electricity and money on a charged battery, a float charger will save you in the long run.
Types of Motorcycle Battery Chargers
Your regular motorcycle battery charger works the same as a phone charger. You plug in your battery, and it continually charges at the same rate until you unplug it. The problem with this way of charging a motorcycle battery is that leaving it plugged in for prolonged periods can damage the battery, waste power, and even be a fire hazard.
A trickle charger was made to replace the standard style and is fairly common today. These chargers use more advanced technology to monitor the charge level and adapt to your battery's needs. The benefit of this "plug and forget" style is that it reduces the unnecessary power waste of traditional chargers and reduces fire risk. The only advantage it has over a floating charger is that no matter when you unplug it, the battery will be fully charged.
A floating charger, battery charger, and battery maintainer are all the same thing. This is a type of charger that also improves on traditional motorcycle battery charging but uses a different technology than trickle chargers. A floating charger will charge the battery fully, and then shut off. It allows the battery to drain to a predetermined level, then it turns back on and repeats the cycle. This is an improvement over the trickle charger because it saves more power and eliminates the fire risk from continuous charging. The only downside is, depending on when you disconnect it, it may not be at a full charge.
Battery Tender by Deltran
As the name suggests, this company is a very popular brand that produces the best motorcycle trickle chargers on the market. The company, Deltran, started out as a small family-owned business in 1965. It became a mainstay in the industry thanks to its state-of-the-art designs and popularity among dealers. Today you can find the company's Battery Tender brand all over the world, thanks to countless vendors and distributors.
Motorcycle Battery Charger Pricing
- Under $30: Some of the best battery chargers start at under $20. These chargers are typically smaller and may have fewer options when it comes to connectors or displays, but they remain reliable and easy to use.
- Over $30: The higher-priced 12-volt motorcycle battery chargers give you a lot more options. Some of these battery chargers will have large LED displays or indicator lights, and they can sometimes generate more amps.
The whole point of a battery charger is having multiple charging modes. The least advanced charger has one setting: charge. When you're shopping for a battery charger/maintainer, you want features that will make them worth your while. A trickle charge setting is good because it reduces the overall power that is supplied to your battery once it is fully charged. A maintain charge setting is better because it will completely shut down, charging for periods of time. The best and most advanced charger can offer both options on top of a regular charge mode.
A battery charger won't help you out too much if it isn't compatible with your battery. There are multiple different types of terminals, so pay attention to how the charger will clip onto your battery. The bigger issue may be your outlet options since some battery chargers have shorter chords that might make them harder to use.
Reverse Polarity Protection
Although a simple feature, this can save you from doing severe damage to your motorcycle battery. A common issue is to accidentally connect the cables to the wrong terminal. Instead of damaging the battery, your battery charger will alert you that the connection is incorrect. Reverse polarity protection will keep your power supply and electrical circuits safe from the battery's power.
- Amps and Volts: When you're choosing a charger, the volts have to match the volts of your battery (i.e., a 12V battery needs a 12V charger). The amps correspond to the amount of power that will be supplied to your battery. While lower power is good for the long term, having a charger that can both charge fast and reduce power may be preferable.
- Temperature Monitor: An incredibly useful feature that some battery chargers include is a temperature monitor. High temps in the battery can have adverse effects, and overcharging (even through a trickle charge) will overheat the battery.
- Notifications: There are different methods for information to be represented on a battery charger. Some premium chargers will have an LED screen, while most still use indicator lights. It's also important to know how easy it is to read and what information is being presented.
Best Motorcycle Battery Charger Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Be aware of what type of battery you have for your motorcycle. This may affect which chargers you can buy, although the best battery chargers can be used with both lead-acid batteries (including AGM and gel cell) and lithium-ion batteries.
- Depending on your charger's amperage, you may not be able to charge a completely dead battery. Some trickle chargers only work with more than half-full power banks.
- Consider how long you plan to leave your battery charging. A lower-powered float charger is the best for a battery that will be sitting for a few weeks or more, while a stronger charger might be needed if there are shorter breaks between usage.
Q: What is the best battery charger for a motorcycle?
A: There is no best option, but some are better than others. Trickle chargers and float chargers are recommended for long periods of time since they save power and won't hurt your battery.
Q: What sized battery charger should I buy?
A: When you're considering the best size battery charger for a motorcycle battery, the answer has to do with the cell. The voltage always needs to match, so 12-volt batteries require a 12-volt charger.
Q: How do you use a motorcycle battery charger?
A: Step one: Disconnect the battery from your bike (ground or negative first). Step two: Attach the trickle charger (positive first). Step three: Turn on the charger and let it sit. Step four: Disconnect the charger when it is finished, and reconnect your battery.
Q: Can you overcharge your battery with a trickle charger?
A: While trickle chargers reduce the risk of overcharging, it is still possible. Trickle chargers and float chargers still need to checked once in a while and not plugged in for extended periods of time.
The best motorcycle battery available is the Battery Tender Plus 1.25 Amp Charger. This option gives you premium features at an attractive price.
If you're looking for a more affordable option, then the Foval Automatic Trickle Battery Charger is the least expensive option and still keeps your battery protected.