Onboard battery chargers provide you with a very convenient way to charge up a boat after your fishing adventure has ended. Such batteries are safe and fast and will keep your boat charged until you decide to take on a new fishing adventure. However, choosing a high-quality product is key to getting these benefits, since not every battery charger will keep your boat full or charge it effectively.
The type of battery isn’t the only thing that should influence your decision. There are many types of marine batteries, such as flooded lead acid, sealed absorbent glass mat (AGM), gel, or even lithium ion. Manufacturers use a variety of technologies to produce the ideal charging profile, and some succeed more than others.
This is why you need reliable and detailed information on marine battery chargers – to be able to make the most informed decision and choose a charger that will actually serve you, and for a long time! Before we go into the top nine options we found on the market, let’s talk about the selection process.
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How to Select the Best Onboard Marine Battery Charger
Selecting an onboard charger might seem like a complicated process, but this does not have to be the case. If you ask yourself the following questions, you can come up with the solution very quickly.
How many banks do I need?
You can hook up every 12V battery there is on the boat to a single charger if it has enough banks. Choosing a charger with three banks will provide you with a 12V battery and 24V-trolling motor. But if you have a 36V trolling motor, you will need a charger with a minimum of three banks. In this case, the perfect choice is a four-bank charger. This is the first and most important thing to consider if you want to be able to actually recharge the boat and make it last until your next boating trip.
How long am I willing to wait for the batteries to recharge?
Also referred to as the “recovery time,” the speed with which you can recharge the batteries after they are emptied is a very important factor to consider when buying a battery charger. High-quality chargers can achieve this within five hours by putting out approximately 15 amps per one bank. Other, weaker chargers can take up to 12 hours to complete this process. Therefore, if you fish often and multiple days in a row, you will need a charger that provides a fast recovery time.
What type do I need?
Not every charger you will find on the market will turn out to be compatible with your batteries. If you make a mistake or ignore such a mistake, this can lead to expensive and often permanent damage. In general, AGM and gel batteries require high-quality, specialized chargers if you want them to last longer. On the other hand, lead acids are simpler, but you must handle them with care. If you overcharge them, this can boil off the flooded cells and destroy the battery.
Most experts recommend a “smart” charger, which take temperature and battery chemistry into account when charging. These chargers also cycle through three phases to ensure a full charge and prevent any damage to the battery. Smart chargers are relatively inexpensive and worth the cost in terms of extending the life of the actual battery.
How much should I expect to spend on a onboard boat battery charger?
Finally, you must consider one of the most important factors in making any kind of purchase – how much are you willing to spend? The price of chargers will vary greatly based on different factors. The number of whistles, bells, and banks can empty your pockets. For example, a two-bank charger without battery monitoring or digital protection will cost much less than a three-bank charger with these features.
However, attempting to save money without taking your specific charging needs in to concern can ultimately backfire. Due to the difference in cost, you might decide to purchase the two-bank charger. This option can be bad for you if you have a 36V trolling motor because of the lack of banks, and the absence of features can damage the battery permanently. It is important to balance out cost with the features that you need in order to spend money wisely on the right charger for you.
When you have the answers to these questions in mind, you can decide which is the best battery charger for your budget and needs. Remember – the perfect charger will be of high quality, an affordable investment, a right fit for your battery, and will serve you for many years to come.
Top Nine Onboard Marine Battery Chargers for Your Boat
To help you come to a conclusion, we analyzed some of the popular battery chargers on the market and listed the top nine choices you should consider. Here you will find details on each of the chargers popular among fellow boat owners and enthusiasts, including a short list of the main features each item offers.
Take a close look at what all these offer and make the decision based on the answers to the questions we previously asked. Remember – the best battery charger is the one that combines affordability, reliability, and durability. While all items in this list are obviously durable and made of high-quality materials, it is the pricing and the specifics that will determine your final say.
This 3 bank onboard marine battery charger is one of the most precise, popular chargers bought by boat owners. It combines the best options – a longer run time and a shorter charge time. That is the difference between a top of the line charger you’ll never have to replace and a charger with no specially added features for safety, speed, and durability. That is, of course, if the less-reliable chargers haven’t already caused damage to the battery in the first place.
The Minn Kota MK 345 PC Precision Charger is an excellent tool to take with you on water. This is one of the fastest chargers that can be bought at an affordable rate. It is safe for the battery and actually protects it instead of damaging it. This extends the battery life and makes for longer run times, so you will need only a couple of hours to rest and fill your batteries and those of the boat, and you are ready to go again. With the increased run time, you can stay on the water longer after you recharge the battery.
Due to the extra added features such as low line voltage compensation, battery equalization, and true rated output, this is a much-improved product manufactured by the same company that has been producing reliable chargers for years. These features make the 345 PC Precision charger the most protective and fastest charger you can use on the water.
As with any other quality charger you can find, this one is also waterproof. However, it is also made of aluminum construction that is resistant to vibration and shock. Due to the rugged marine grade, saltwater-tested aluminum used to manufacture the product, you can enjoy unparalleled durability. The design is specifically made to be corrosion-resistant.
With the digital control option, you can now leave the charge for your battery to the charger itself. The digital control feature allows for more precise and highly regulated battery charge, which means that you can relax and sit back while your batteries are being recharged.
- Three-bank charger x 15 amps
- Vibration and shock resistant construction
- Waterproof charger with unparalleled durability
- Saltwater-tested, marine grade aluminum used in the production
- Fully resistant to corrosion
- Provides fast and controlled charging of your battery
- Reverse polarity, short circuit, ignition and arc-protected
- Low line voltage compensation, battery equalization, and true-rated output for enhanced performance
- Digital control feature
If you need a highly rated three-bank battery charger, this one is an excellent choice you should look into. The ProMariner 43021 is a great tool for charging your boat’s batteries fast and effectively. It reduces every risk you are exposed to with those cheap and unreliable chargers, and it is still an affordable solution that won’t empty your pockets.
The ProMariner ProSport 20+ 3 bank marine battery charger has a capacity of 20 amps and volt output of 12/24/36. The new series includes the exclusive and popular “System check OK,” as well as the individual LED indicator “Battery Bank Trouble.” The company is popular for their incorporation of distributed-on-demand technology for charging, which works by taking all available amps for charging and distributing those to all the batteries that require fast charging. For example, if the battery for the engine start requires only two amps, the rest of the charge will be distributed to the other batteries, such as the trolling motor or house battery.
This charger is guaranteed to be both shock-resistant and waterproof. One of the best features of the technology, in addition to its reliability, is the weight compared to other chargers. The ProSport charger is 40% lighter than those old epoxy-filled chargers.
Each of the models manufactured by this company has four selectable profiles for charging, including a monthly storage reconditioning mode that will extend the life of the battery. Due to the software and microprocessor controlled charging technology, you can use this product with ease for a long time. The Energy Saver Mode implemented in the ProMariner will maintain the batteries and keep them fully charged. During long-term and short-term storage, the software reconditions the batteries for maximized performance. It also automatically maintains and charges the crank battery, while doing its magic by distributing the remaining amps to the other batteries.
When the charger is in function, you can see the LED indicators. These are also on in conditioning and auto maintain modes, as well as AC power. For increased safety and durability, the charger features rugged and compact extruded aluminum, as well as dual-in-line safety DC fuses for the banks. It also has built-in features for overload, over-voltage, reverse polarity, over-temperature, and ignition protection.
The item comes pre-wired, making it extremely easy to install it. Charging takes eight to ten hours.
- Three-battery bank that uses ProSport technology
- Waterproof charger with a lightweight design
- Not compatible with 4D batteries
- Advanced technology that distributes the amps where needed
- Charging lasts for eight to ten hours
- Reconditioning of all batteries monthly to maximize performance and battery life
- Built-in overload, over-voltage, over-temperature, ignition protection and reverse polarity
The NOCO Genius GENM3 Battery Charger is one of the best marine battery chargers known to boat owners. These waterproof, compact chargers can be used on 12-volt lead-acid batteries and are a highly affordable, safe option for use. You can mount the charger onto any vehicle, including boats, tractors, RVs, and cars. Due to the advanced technology and safety precautions the company has taken, the product is safe to leave connected for an indefinite period of time. Unlike low-quality chargers, this product won’t overheat or destroy the battery if connected for a longer period of time.
Not only does the NOCO Genius battery charger protect your battery from harm, but it also diagnoses and repairs previously caused damage. By purchasing this item, you needn’t worry about overheating or similar battery problems, nor will you have to replace the batteries as often as you did before.
The GENM3 is a marvelous choice of a charger that recovers, charges, and diagnoses gel, wet, MF, and AGM batteries. It can maintain all battery sizes and is a perfect solution for a rugged environment. It is so safe that everyone can use it, since it will not overcharge the battery, generate sparks, or overheat.
Thanks to the innovative features included in its creation, this charger is much more useful than you’d expect when you see the price. Because of its many features, the charger charges two times faster than the traditional ones. You can use it with varying AV voltages and not worry about ignition – it is protected. Based on all this, ETL approved this item for Canada and the US, while the manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty.
- Safe for use
- Protects against short circuit, open circuit, over current, overheat, overcharge, and reverse battery hookup
- 12-amp battery charger for all types of lead-acid batteries
- Features an advanced recovery mode that will repair the battery’s damaged areas and make it longer lasting
- Uses pulse charging to recover sulfated and discharged batteries
- Rapid charging technology – two times faster than the traditional batteries
- Compact and lightweight design
- Waterproof and shock-resistant
This Minn Kota brand marine onboard battery charger is a 4-bank, 15 amp charger. This charger has the ability to charge and select different types of batteries by a bank, protecting them from any damage that might result from under or overcharging. This charger also has an LED display for the bank that allows you to get a timely readout of the power or connection status, percent of charging, as well as battery type selected.
Even when the voltage into the Minn Kota Precision On-Board Charger has dropped, you can get a full and rapid charge of your batteries. The low line voltage compensation feature automatically adjusts for a voltage input drop which occurs when you use a long extension cord or experience troubles with an overloaded outlet. To protect your batteries from any permanent damage, this charger utilizes a feature called automatic temperature compensation, which automatically adjusts for fluctuations in temperature, therefore preventing under and over-charging.
Regarding the materials used in production, this charger has a durable and rugged design that prevents corrosion and is fully waterproof. The aluminum construction used to produce this precision charger is one of the highest-rated, meaning that you can expect to use this charger for a long time.
This item has a warranty of three years. It is one of the best decisions you can make if you need a single bank charger that won’t cause the damage other chargers potentially can. It is a highly affordable item with features that are characteristic of even the stronger chargers. But, the most important thing of all is that it offers you protection and peace of mind.
- 4 bank charger, 15 amp
- Shock-resistant, waterproof, and vibration resistant
- Full and rapid charge of various types of batteries by bank
- LED display with a timely readout of charging percentage, battery type selection, power status, etc.
- Automatic Temperature Compensation for longer battery life
- Made of quality aluminum for longer duration and better resistance
- Corrosion-resistant construction that is saltwater tested
- Reverse polarity, short circuit, ignition and arc-protected
This fifth choice of an onboard marine battery charger has three banks, 12/24/36VDC output, and a total of 36 amps. It is called an “elite” battery charger because that is exactly what it is – a premium charger you can get at an affordable price. For more control over the charging process, this charger has a LED status that will tell you everything you need to know about the battery charging process.
This is one of the fastest chargers you can get thanks to the many features it includes. It features forced cooling of air in case of overheating, digital five-stage charging, and the advanced Distributed-On-Demand technology. This technology works by distributing the available amps among all batteries that need power. For example, if one of your batteries needs 2 amps, the rest will be automatically distributed to other batteries that require more.
The difference is clear – you can charge batteries up to three times faster than with your old, traditional charger. The product is fast and lightweight, providing your batteries with the power they demand. This means that the days when you had to spend an entire day or longer waiting for the batteries to be recharged are long gone, because the strength and system of the ProMariner Elite battery charger will do this many times faster. With the Distributed-On-Demand technology, you won’t even have to track the charging process or manually distributing the amps among the batteries that need recharging. This tool will do it all for you, and you get those benefits at an incredibly low price.
Other features available with this tool include digital five-stage charging combined with temperature control and compensation, high fill rate charging, auto maintenance and energy saving modes, conditioning, and automatic recondition automatically done every month. Moreover, this charger is waterproof, shock resistant, and protected against overload and over-voltage.
You have the option of buying a tri-color charge status LED remote, which can be placed up to 12 feet away from the charger, allowing you to check on the status of the battery from anywhere on your boat.
- 12/24/36V, three-battery bank elite triple battery charger
- Designed to extend battery life and deliver fast charging
- Uses Distributed-On-Demand Technology, meaning that it distributes the remaining of the amps amongst the batteries who need this
- Automatically maintains and charges the crank battery and distributes the rest of the amps to the house battery and trolling motor battery
- Features a LED display with mode indicators for charging, real-time charge status, etc.
- Shock resistant, waterproof and lightweight item
- Made of high-quality, extruded aluminum design
- Has dual in-line safety fuses for the trolling motor and the house battery, as well as protection for over voltage, over temperature, overload,
- reverse ignition and polarity
Do you need a 4-bank marine battery charger? Well, you are in luck because we have selected the best 4 bank marine battery charger for you. This onboard charger is not just affordable, but it also combines rugged construction with high-technology features. Basically, it contains all you need to keep your batteries charged and your boat out on the water.
The housing of the NOCO Genius battery charger is sealed and waterproof. You can mount it directly onto all kinds of applications that do not limit you to just boats. With the processor called NOCO VosFX added to this battery charger, you can constantly oversee the power input, charger, and attached battery activity. In addition to this, the item is perfectly capable of maintaining, charging, diagnosing, and recovering your batteries. You don’t have to put any effort into it – simply adjusting it will make it start filling the current needs and fixing the batteries. Sparks will also not occur due to the protection features added to this item.
For such a compact and lightweight charger, the NOCO Genius battery charger is very efficient and versatile, not to mention fast. When you compare it to traditional linear chargers, this one charges batteries two times faster. Even with varying input voltages, you can get your batteries fully charged.
Feel free to use this item on gel, wet, AGM and MF batteries. There’s no need to track its progress – the charger will automatically shut off and remain in bulk charge mode.
- Four-bank, 40 amp smart on-board battery charger
- Charges all types of batteries that are lead-acid and range from 25-230Ah
- Charges wet, MF, gel, and AGM batteries
- Designed specifically for safety: will not generate any sparks and will protect against short and open circuit, reverse battery hookup, overheat, overcharge, and overcurrent
- 100% waterproof and sealed to endure in the most extreme weather
- Weighs only 15.6 lbs.
- Features rapid charging technology
Are you tired of having to wait for hours to recharge the batteries of your engines? Do you find it annoying that you have to wait for almost an entire day to get back on your boat and get out on the water? If you are, the Minn Kota digital charger might just be the perfect charger for you.
The Minn Kota On-Board Digital Charger is specially engineered to keep people on the water, in their boat for as long as they need it. With two charging banks and ten amps of power in total, this is a highly popular charger. The microprocessor of the Minn Kota is digitally-control, keeping the battery protected and safe. The status codes on the display will inform you of the charge stage, give you error notifications, and let you in on the maintenance mode status information.
This battery charger is very convenient and fully automatic, making it extremely easy to use. Not only does it compensate for occurring changes in temperature, but it will also chop the charging time in half. Made of aluminum construction, this is a highly durable battery charger, resistant to both shock and vibration.
Recovery time of the Minn Kota on-board battery charger is 10 to 12 hours, which is up to two times faster than the traditional chargers you are used to.
- On-board battery charger with two banks
- 5 amps per bank making for 10 amps in total
- Recovery time of the charger is 10 to 12 hours
- Enhances statues codes
- Charges up to two times faster than other traditional chargers in high temperatures
- Features a digitally-controlled microprocessor for battery duration and protection
- Very convenient and simple to mount
- Automatic temperature compensation in different weather conditions
- Automatic multi-stage charging
- Shock resistant, vibration resistant and waterproof
- High-quality aluminum construction
- We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers, and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer
The ProMariner ProSport 3-battery charger is one exquisite item that comes at a fee every boat enthusiast will gladly spend. It has an output of 12/24 Volt and a 12 amp capacity. As the name suggests, it has two power banks.
The ProSport Chargers all have a digital microprocessor control system. This particular series incorporates the new and exclusive “System Check OK,” as well as the LED indicators known under the name “Battery Bank Trouble.” In addition, the charger uses Distributed-On-Demand charging technology, meaning that all the remaining amps are distributed to any of the remaining batteries that require charging, without you having to check and choose.
ProMariner 43012 ProSport 3 Battery Charger is shockproof and waterproof. It is much lighter than the older technology items, more specifically 40% lighter. As a result, users can enjoy greater reliability, cooler operation and a charger that will last for years to come. Made of rugged extruded and compact aluminum, this item is highly durable. The dual in-line safety fuses keep everything protected from over-temperature, overload, reverse polarity, etc.
Each of the models of ProSport has four charge profiles that can be selected digitally. These include a storage reconditioning mode that turns on once a month and does wonder for the battery life. Other features of this item include software and microprocessor pulse charging technology control. In other words, the energy saver mode will monitor the batteries, and the auto maintain will keep them charged wherever needed.
The engine crank battery is automatically maintained and charged while the remaining amps are distributed to the house battery or trolling motor battery. During all these processes, you can look at the LED indicators for conditioning, charging, and auto maintain modes, as well as battery type being selected and AC power.
- Pre-wired for easy mounting
- ProSport three-battery charger with 12 amp capacity
- Uses Distributed-on-Demand technology for charging and distributing the remaining amps to other batteries
- Shock-resistant and waterproof
- Light wear and easy to set-up
- Fully digital, LED indicators included
- Made of compact, durable aluminum
- Dual in-line safety fuses for protection
This might not be the strongest battery charger you can get, but if you need a two-bank, affordable, and highly durable solution, it is one of the best you can get. The 12-volt two-bank on board battery charger by ChargePro has 10 amps and built-in safety features. It will protect your battery from over-current, over-temperature, over-voltage, reverse polarity, and ignition. To provide maximum DC wire protection, the manufacturer has implemented in-line fuses. As every other item in this list, the Guest ChargePro battery charger is 100% waterproof. It is also shock resistant, which is checked for saltwater and freshwater applications.
On the LED user display, you can track the status of both battery banks in the duration of the charging process. The control and sensing per Bank are optimized and very simple, making it possible for you to keep track of the remaining time before you can get back on the water.
The manufacturer makes sure that every user receives a two-year warranty, guaranteeing that this is a high-quality charger. The charger can be used on every 12-volt AGM lead-acid battery and the materials used in production are going to last you for years to come. Combining a 40% lighter design than other models and low-profile sealed aluminum housing, the ChargePro battery charger guarantees longevity and efficient dissipation of heat.
- Two-bank charger with 10 amps and 12 volts
- Safety features: over-current, over-temperature, over-voltage, reverse polarity and ignition protection
- In-line fuses for more protection
- LED user display
- Five charging stages
- 40% lighter design than other models with the same specifications
- Low profile aluminum housing for higher duration
- Efficient heat dissipation
- Lightweight model
- Waterproof and shock resistant
Did you find something you like?
You surely have – we have included an item for everything and everyone. All items in this list share the same three features. They are affordable and a great bargain for the quality provided. They will last you a very long time thanks to the high-quality materials used in production. And finally, they are safe and will protect your battery from damage, which is not something you can say about every on-board charger sold on the market.
To choose one, go through the questions we mentioned at the beginning and consider the chargers that fit your requirements. If you need fast charging, you might want to get a stronger battery charger. The choice should also be based on the type of batteries you use. No matter which you decide to purchase, be sure to clean your battery’s terminals and connections. Turn off the battery switch, remove it from the box, and check it for damage and debris before charging. The best charger in the world will be of little use on a corroded battery.
The wrong choice of a battery charger won’t just hurt your budget, but can also cause permanent damage to the batteries that keep your boat moving and functioning. No boat owner ever wants this. You’ve already spent plenty of time and money to get it going. Therefore, make a wise choice and keep your batteries as safe as you can. The highly rated items in this shortlist will provide you with exactly that – security and speed. If you make the right choice, you’ll be back on the water in no time!