LAST UPDATED: August 11, 2019
Best Motorcycle Battery Maintainers: Best Chargers for Boosting Battery Health
Get the most out of your motorcycle battery with these top chargers
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON August 11, 2019
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
The best battery charger for motorcycle batteries is the Tender Plus made by Deltran. The company's Battery Tender brand makes numerous products, plus every item from the company has a class-leading 10-year warranty. The Battery Tender Plus gets a boost over its related products (like the popular Battery Tender Junior) thanks to the item's healthy mix of impressive features and affordability.
The Battery Tender Plus is a smart charger, and because of its features, it gives you more flexibility for charging your motorcycle's battery. The Battery Tender Plus will charge your device fully and then adjusts its voltage to maintain your battery. In fact, it uses four separate steps to help keep your battery healthy: initialization, bulk charge, absorption mode, and float mode. This portable motorcycle battery charger also has reverse polarity protection and a temperature monitor that adjusts the output based on your battery’s health.
Despite its useful features, this motorcycle smart battery charger might not be the best for you. At only 1.25 amps, it is a relatively low-powered charger for the price. The Battery Tender Plus also has a basic notification set up with just two LED indicator lights. Some users may not like the lack of controls for turning the device on or off.
A cheap battery charger doesn't necessarily compromise on quality. Foval offers a comprehensive and easy-to-use battery maintainer for a fraction of the cost of its competition. Because of its size, this handheld motorcycle float charger is an excellent choice if space is an issue.
The Floval Trickle Charger is most notable for its affordability, but the included capabilities are no less impressive. The device has a spark-proof lead connection, reverse polarity protection, and automatic charge adjustment. It includes LED indicator lights to inform you of the state of charging and level of power and uses four different levels of charging that adapt to your battery's needs. Many of the customer motorcycle battery charger reviews note that the Floval charge is incredibly easy to connect thanks to its fast grip and versatile connectors.
While this is a great trickle charger for motorcycles, it might not be the best fit for you. This is the lowest powered charger on our list with just 1 amp. While low power is suitable for long-term usage, it all depends on your personal preference and how long you charge. This battery charger and maintainer also lacks some more sophisticated features such as a temperature monitor.
This compact battery maintainer can both recharge and repair your battery. It’s simple to use with its plug-in-and-leave-it technology. The built-in monitors will ensure the health of your battery. It uses a patented float/pulse technology for maintaining your battery. You’ll need a 12V plug to power your maintainer. You can use this maintainer to charge small and normal sized batteries.
If you have a battery that is deeply discharged, this maintainer can help repair it and bring it back to life. Plug in the maintainer and let it get to work. It will monitor the status of the maintainer and battery with its built-in automatic temperature gauge. This will protect your equipment from overheating. The entire battery maintainer unit is durable and can be used outside. It’s both dust- and shock-proof.
Unfortunately, this maintainer cannot save a battery that’s completely dead. It will also take a long time to recharge a deeply depleted battery. Sometimes this takes up to 24 hours of charging. You may also find some of the testing features to not be effective, such as the alternator and starter tests.
This 12V automatic battery charger is compact and durable. It’s capable of charging all types of 12V lead-acid batteries. This includes sealed maintenance-free and flooded batteries. There’s a built-in microprocessor that controls the charging progress and will know when your battery is fully charged. Once charged, it switches into float mode to maintain the battery without overcharging it. There’s an LED indicator light to indicate the charging status. The charger comes with alligator clamps, eyelet terminal cables, and a quick connector that can be installed into your motorcycle.
You’ll like using this charger because it’s automatic, so there’s no manual operation required. It also helps you conserve energy by going into standby mode when it’s not connected to anything.
Unfortunately, the indicator light can malfunction and show green even when your battery isn’t fully charged. There’s also a risk of the charger “blowing up” the battery, which can cause battery acid to spill within your car’s engine compartment.
This DieHard battery charger and maintainer comes in either a 2-, 3-, 6-, or 10-amp. It has a microprocessor that makes the functions of this charger fully automatic. There’s a five-stage charging process that it goes through when charging your motorcycle battery. You’ll know the status of the charge based on the LED indicator light.
You’ll like using this charger and maintainer because it comes with built-in safety features. These include overcharging protection. The unit will automatically stop and then resume when the battery becomes discharged. It also comes with a quick connect harness for installing on your motorcycle.
Unfortunately, this charger may not be effective at charging your motorcycle battery. You’ll leave it connected for several hours, and the light turns green, but your battery is still dead. It functions more like a trickle charger and maintainer than an actual charger.
This battery charger and maintainer can charge fully drained batteries that are lead-acid, gel, PB, and AGM. This unit is water- and dust-resistant for durability and reliability. It has a five-stage automatic charging process. Once your battery is fully charged, it will automatically switch into float mode to maintain your battery’s charge.
What makes this charger stand out is that it’s loaded with safety protections. It has safeguards for reverse polarity, over voltage, short circuit, overload, overheat, overcharge, and spark protection. There’s an intuitive LED indicator light to let you know what the status is of your battery’s charge.
Unfortunately, the plastic parts of this charger can feel flimsy. The unit also automatically defaults to 12V. This can be a problem when the power goes out while you're charging in 6V mode. When the power comes back on, the charger will be in 12V mode.
This battery charger and maintainer has a DC output of 13.8V and AC input of 110-240V. This unit is made from high-quality ABS plastic. It has built-in safety features that include polarity reverse, short circuit, over voltage, overcharge, and overload protection. It has a four-stage smart charging process. There’s an LED display to indicate the current stage of the process.
What makes this charger stand out is the built-in diagnostic technology. It detects defective batteries before it attempts to charge them. It also has Constant Pulse Current Maintenance that helps it to avoid overcharging and discharging, and maintain stable performance.
Unfortunately, the “smart” feature of this charger can malfunction. This results in the charger not charging your battery at all. The lights may not accurately indicate the battery’s charging status.
This smart charger comes in either a 6V/12V/8A, 12V/15A, or 12V/25A. It works with all types of 12V lead-acid batteries and can automatically detect the different types of batteries to determine the correct charging rate. There’s a microprocessor that controls several safety features. These include over voltage, overheat, short circuit, overtime charging, and reverse polarity. It has a six-step charging program that it will automatically cycle through.
What makes this charger stand out is the winter charging mode. This is a specific mode that you can use during winter conditions. It helps you sustain your battery for longer, so its useful life lasts longer. It also has an LCD screen that has vivid icons to indicate the battery’s status, voltage, type, current, and error information. This is significantly more intuitive than a single LED indicator light.
Unfortunately, the clamps can easily slide off the battery posts. The screen on this charger can also stop working. Then you’re left with no way of knowing the status of your battery’s charge.
This motorcycle battery maintainer comes in either 2A/12V&6V or 5.5A/12V&6V. This charger and maintainer can effectively charge both lead-acid and lithium batteries. There are four indicator lights that indicate a fault, rev, charging, and full charge. It also has several safety features built into it, including reverse polarity protection, overheat prevention, and short circuiting protection.
What makes this charger stand out is that it has IP65-rated water resistance. It can also identify a bad battery. This prevents you from wasting your time trying to charge a battery that will never perform. It also has power outage memory. That way, if you lose power while charging, it can pick up right where it left off when the power comes back on.
Unfortunately, the useful life of this charger is not a long one. It will randomly stop working one day. The terminal rings are also quite small, which makes it almost impossible to connect to your motorcycle battery.
Choose from either the 400 or 1200 model. Both models have a hybrid LED charging gauge and an LCD display. You can use this charger to maintain AGM and flooded batteries. It can recover dead and completely discharged batteries. It has a microprocessor to control the charging for efficient and safe operation. It has a multiple stage process that cycles through each phase automatically.
What makes this charger stand out is that it can boost the performance of your battery with its built-in battery health mode. It is also easier to use with a tilt stand and dual purpose hook. It even has a wall organizer bracket. This makes using and storing your charger easier and neater.
Unfortunately, the screen on this unit can be hard to read. It may also not fix your fully discharged battery. The unit isn’t very durable, and it may arrive in two pieces.
- 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.