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Comparing Battery Maintainers: Which is Best for You?

03/04/2021

A battery maintainer can be an excellent tool for vehicle and equipment batteries to maximize their lifespan. The proper battery maintainer allows you to maintain a charge in the battery so you don’t have to worry abut your car battery dying, and then having to revive or replace it.

Some of the biggest benefits of using battery maintainers include:

  • Keep a charge: Most car batteries will have a charge that decreases over time until there’s no juice left. Using a battery maintainer allows you to keep that battery power topped off, which extends the life of that battery and saves you money in the long run by avoiding premature replacement.
  • Better storage: If you have a seasonal vehicle you keep stored away for long periods of time, you can use a battery maintainer to store that battery and keep it charged, without risking any damage or overcharging.
  • Battery restoration: Some types of battery maintainers also include chargers that allow you to switch between modes and bring back seemingly dead lead-acid batteries to life again.

Categories of battery maintainers

As you browse the market for an ideal battery maintainer for your needs, you will have three main options:

  • Single-bank maintainers: This is the most common type of maintainer, and also the most basic. It’s meant for a single battery. Depending on the brand, it might have some additional, smart charging features.
  • Multi-bank maintainers: If you have more than one battery to store or maintain, you can use a multi-bank maintainer that comes with slots for two, four or 10 battery banks. Just make sure you have enough cables to connect your batteries!
  • Hybrid maintainers: Hybrid maintainers offer several charging modes, allowing you to charge dead or near-dead batteries in addition to maintaining healthy batteries.

Picking your brand

Now that you have a basic understanding of battery maintainers and their benefits, what are some of the most reliable brand names in which you can place your trust?

Here are a few different options you might consider in your search.

Noco 3-Bank 30A On-Board Battery Charger
Noco 3-Bank 30A On-Board Battery Charger

NOCO

One of the most well-reviewed and widely used battery maintainers on the market is the NOCO Genius, a charger and maintainer combination that comes at an affordable price while still providing you with some useful, advanced features for battery protection and charging. It’s a highly versatile piece of equipment that is ideal for most people in need of battery maintainers.

The NOCO Genius is highly portable, so you can keep it in your car and take it with you on trips. The product line comes with several options for amperage and banks, and the box is designed to be strong and, if you wish, permanently mounted on solid surfaces. Low-amp models will stay cool on whatever surface you’re using them on.

Because it’s a hybrid charger and maintainer, there are a few drawbacks, including a visual display that’s a little light on features compared to some other maintainers on the market. But for the most part, this is an ideal solution for people getting their first maintainer.

Battery Tender Plus 12V Battery Charger and Maintainer
Battery Tender Plus 12V Battery Charger and Maintainer

Battery Tender Plus

Battery Tender Plus is an outstanding single-bank battery charger and maintainer. It packs quite a lot of features into a small package.

It’s a 1.25-amp charger and maintainer that can automatically switch between charging and maintenance if you’re in need of long-term support. This makes it extremely easy to use, especially for people who are inexperienced in reviving dead batteries. The cables are easy to use and clamp down like jumper cables.

Optima Digital 1200 12V Performance Charger
Optima Digital 1200 12V Performance Charger

Optima

Optima is another trusted brand for battery maintainers and chargers, and the Optima Digital series is perhaps its most trusted line.

The Optima Digital 400 features a hybrid LED battery charging gauge with LCD display. It automatically maximizes battery life and performance thanks to a helpful built-in battery health mode. It works with vehicle batteries, marine batteries and motorcycle batteries.

The Optima Digital 1200, meanwhile, is capable of charging batteries other types of chargers simply cannot due to its increased amperage and power capabilities. It charges faster than many competitors, and has add-on features like USB charging ports compatible with devices like phones, tablets and cameras.

Odyssey OBC-20A Portable Charger
Odyssey OBC-20A Portable Charger

Odyssey

Odyssey features a line of battery chargers and maintainers as well, with LED battery charge monitors and automatic six-stage performance charging. You can find them in six-, 12- and 20-amp models. Their fanless design adds some durability because it eliminates the risk of fan failure, which can make for costly (and inconvenient) repairs.

Use these battery maintainers and chargers with AGM and flooded lead acid batteries.

Do you have a preferred battery charger brand or model? What are you currently using with your car? Let us know below!

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