Your trolling motor is probably one of the most useful and valuable assets that you have as part of your angling arsenal. However, without proper running power, it can prove to be a hassle, and potentially put a spanner in the works for your fishing trips. To ensure that your trolling motor battery has constant access to running power, it’s important to invest in a good quality charger, and if you’re currently shopping for one, then read on, because we’ve got a thorough guide on how you can find and purchase just the right one.
Before we get into what types of chargers are available for you to choose from, let’s first take a look at what you should specifically look out for when shopping for a battery charger.
Each battery comes with a 'bank capacity' which is the amount of batteries that the charger can power up. For example, if the charger says ‘single-bank,' then it will have enough power capacity to power a single 12-volt battery, whereas a ‘double-bank’ charger has enough capacity to recharge two 12-volt batteries. The same principle applies to a ‘triple-bank’ charger and so on.
Onboard chargers with this feature have different connection points suited for different batteries, and enable you to choose a specific type of battery setting when connecting, to ensure that your batteries remain safe and secure throughout.
Then there’s the amperage, a rating of how long it takes the charger to replenish an empty battery. A charger with a rating of 15 amperages (also known as ‘amps’), is super-fast at recharging, with the second-best option being a 10-amp charger. If you don’t mind waiting or are looking for a charger to power up a mid-range battery, then a 5-amp charger will be enough for you.
Low-line voltage compensation is an essential element of the off chance that you are keen on an onboard charger that will guarantee that you get a quick and exact charge, even when dealing with long extension cords and overloaded outlets.
As the name implies, onboard chargers have to be permanently attached to the battery even when not charging, and require that you link them to an AC power source to charge. Portable chargers are very convenient because they’re lightweight and easy to carry. All you need to do when using them is to attach them to the batteries and then remove them once again when the battery's full. DC chargers are also convenient because they use power from the boat’s alternator instead of AC power to recharge the batteries. Of all these options, onboard chargers are the most popular, as they’re a practical and trouble-free option.
When it comes to this particular comparison, most people opt for precision chargers due to their quick charging precision. It also helps that they often come with a feature that allows you to choose the type of battery to connect to the ‘bank,' plus they’re cool and lightweight as well.
Another viable charging option is to use photovoltaic solar panels to generate AC like power that’s derived from the sun. Setting up these solar panels can be quite costly, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping on a budget. For more details, be sure to read our post on solar battery chargers.
Below is a list of 6 additional "nice-to-have" features to look out for:
Now on to the fun part; here’s our list of top trolling motor battery chargers to choose from:
This charger is an onboard with two banks with a 12-amp charging capacity, and up to 24-volt output. It’s a sturdy piece of hardware that’s made with extruded aluminum, which is waterproof and shock-proof, and features LED status indicators that inform you when the battery is running low. The charger is digitally operated through microprocessors and includes Distributed-On-Demand Charging, which is technology that equally distributes the available charging amps amongst the batteries for a faster and more efficient recharge.
Another neat feature on this charger has digitally selectable charge profiles which automatically reconditions the batteries that it’s attached to via the ‘long-term storage’ mode. It comes with a two-year warranty as well.
This portable charger from Minn Kota comes with a 2-bank system and five amps to charge multiple batteries at once. It charges according to 3-stage programming that prevents over or under charging, as well as a convenient LED display with an ON button that indicates when the power comes on. The three charging modes offered by this charger include bulk, absorption, and maintenance, and these protect your batteries against short circuitry and reverse polarity.
It’s easy to carry with a molded handle design and a 3-year warranty that further cements the quality promise of this product.
This powerful onboard charger can power up to 20 amps and has a 2-bank system that works great for charging 12-volt and 24-volt batteries. It’s well constructed and designed to protect against dangerous sparking, overheating, overcurrent and short circuit, which means that it won’t overcharge your battery either. It’s also waterproof and has a compact and lightweight design that makes it easy to transport around.
Other features on this charger include the ability to charge fast, superior safety features that include ignition protection and easy setup, as well as advanced NOCO VosFX processor technology which continually monitors the power input to prevent extreme power input while stabilizing the battery. The box comes with an owner’s manual as well as a user’s guide, product registration card, and a 3-year warranty.
This speedy digital battery charger from Schumacher has a 10-amp capacity, 1 bank and a 2-amp slow charge proficiency that protects smaller batteries from overcharging. Its electronic push buttons make it easy to operate, while the highly visible monitor digital readout and the battery meter is there to alert you of the battery’s charging status. You can also use the readout to select the type of battery that you want to charge, as the charger features 3 charge rates and options to charge AGM, gel cell or standard batteries.
This charger also comes with an in-built System Test to quickly detect when your battery has problems and adjusts the charging rate accordingly. Other features on this charger include a microprocessor, multi-stage charging that provides for bulk charging, absorption, and monitoring, as well as a whopping five-year limited warranty. In addition to the charger, the box also comes with 50-amp battery clips and a handy user’s manual.
This is an onboard charger that’s available in a 1, 2 or 3 bank variety, with the 2 banks featuring 12 and 24-volt charging power capacity. It’s controlled via the microprocessor to provide a charge that adjusts to the battery’s status and a 120/ 230V universal input that allows for better flexibility and mobility.
This charger also features Sense-Send technology which intuitively anticipates the power needs of each battery to provide an accurate charge and avoid damage due to overcharging. It is entirely sealed to withstand exposure to different weather conditions and offers excellent value for money.
This portable 1 bank charger from Schumacher offers features like 10 amp charging power with a maximum capacity to fully charge a 12-volt battery within a few hours’ time. It works great for different batteries, including deep cycle and AGM types; while the solid circuitry adjusts amperage to suit the battery’s charging state. It comes with a two-year limited warranty and is made from tough polypropylene that protects against weather conditions for a prolonged lifespan.
This is a 1 bank solar powered battery from DuraVolt which is well-constructed for longevity. It’s water resistant and portable, with a low profile and lightweight design. It’s easy to install with a plug and play design, and the manufacturer offers on-going support to help you figure out how to use it over time. This charger is a lifetime investment and will last you for years to come, and all it requires is exposure of its panels to sunlight, and it’ll provide a trickle charge for both 12 volt and 24-volt batteries.
As you can see, trolling motor battery chargers come in different types with different features, with some being more superior to others regarding quality, build, durability and function. To get the most out of your charger, be sure to select one that explicitly states the ability to charge your trolling motor battery, and with the features needed to suit your preferences.