3 Best Battery Chargers for Pontoon Trolling Motors

Hey there my fellow fishing fanatics and welcome to my post, where we will check out my three best battery chargers for pontoon trolling motors to keep you running with this year. As with anything that runs on a 12V battery these days, a good charger is essential in not only keeping it charged, but in peak condition as well.

However as usual, there is a bit to think about when it comes to battery chargers – especially for marine type batteries.  So to help you out, I have had a bit of a look around and come up with three good options below.

Let’s check them out.

My three recommended battery chargers for pontoon trolling motors

I will review these in more detail below, but if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

11/17/2022 09:14 pm GMT Lasso Brag

What are battery chargers for pontoon trolling motor batteries?

So, as a recap, a trolling motor battery is a rechargeable 12V battery that is used to power the motor when it is attached to a pontoon boat in the water. Like most batteries of this type as used in caravans, kayaks and camping setups etc., they need to be recharged during, or after use. This is where a battery charger comes into play.

So in short, 12 volt (12V) battery chargers connect to the terminals of your battery and plugs into a power outlet or generator. Once connected, most will charge the battery in one of three ways:

  1. Maintenance charging: This is also known as ‘trickle charging,’ sending a small amount of electricity to your battery to keep it healthy while stored for extended periods. Another term for these is a ‘smart charger’ where the charger will increase or decrease charging power depending on the need of the battery.
  2. Conventional charging: This method sends power to your battery to charge it from a low amount of power. It takes between 6 and 24 hours to charge a battery fully depending on the size.
  3. Engine start function: This is equivalent to jump-starting your car. It requires a lot more power and is typically found on heavier-duty chargers.
best 12v battery chargers - NOCO Genius

Check out these: Pontoon boat trolling motors

What should you be looking for?

Below are some of the main factors you should take into account as you shop for a good 12v battery charger for your pontoon boat trolling motor.

  1. Battery type
  2. Battery charger type
  3. Voltage
  4. Battery banks
  5. Amp hours (AH)/Watts
  6. Automatic or manual charging
  7. Weatherproofing
  8. Additions

Battery Type

In general, when it comes to 12v batteries, most chargers will do the trick. However, if you are not sure what you have, here is a quick explanation of the two major battery types that you may have:

Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) – AGM batteries (also known as Sealed Lead Acid or SLA), are lead acid batteries that are sealed, leak-proof and maintenance free. They are generally quick charging, last longer on a charge and have a longer life-span.

These batteries are generally deep cycle – meaning that they are designed to discharge small amounts of current over a longer period of time. Almost all chargers will work on AGM batteries – given they are effectively the standard these days – but always worth a check anyway.

Lithium-ion batteries: These are a newer technology on the market and work in the same fashion as your mobile/cell phone battery. They are more expensive than the others but are also generally smaller and lighter. They will handle being charged and discharged a lot better and have a much longer cycle life (number of times charged and recharged) as well.

Not all chargers are suitable for these types of batteries so do your homework before purchase.

Battery charger type

In this feature, there are at least three types of battery chargers that you should know about:

  1. Charger – This battery charger, as the name implies, that can replenish the charge in a car battery even if it has been completely discharged. Basic chargers are widely available in the market today and it is usually possible to find the ideal charger for your battery depending on its size, shape, and amperage.
  2. Maintainer – Battery maintainers or smart chargers are designed to keep car batteries from completely discharging. Battery chargers with this feature are helpful for a quick “fill-up” and for maintaining the product’s overall health.
  3. Restorer – Battery restorers breathe new life into old batteries. As contaminants accumulate in a battery’s cells, the battery loses its effectiveness. Restorers can break down these contaminants so that the battery can once again hold a charge.

To be honest however, most general chargers on the market can handle all three of the above requirements in the one unit – as long as they match the battery type as above.

Voltage

It is critical to match the voltage of the battery charger to the voltage of your battery. A 12V battery, for example, will require a 12V charger. However, if you connect two 12V batteries in series, the effective voltage is 24V, requiring a 24-volt charger.

If you are unsure or need to find a charger for a series of different-sized batteries, investing in a charger that can charge at different voltages is the simplest option. Many modern chargers can adjust currents to accommodate different battery sizes and types or banking where more than one 12V battery is connected to the motor.

Battery banks

As above, some trolling motors require more than one battery to run so if you want to charge multiple batteries simultaneously, you will need a battery charger capable of banking.  The number of banks in a charging system corresponds to the number of batteries in use it at the same time.

Therefore, a two-bank charger can charge two batteries and a three-bank charger can charge three etc.

Amp hours (AH)/Watts

12V batteries are stamped with an ‘Amp Hour’ rating which is a unit of electric charge determined by the number of amps being pulled from the battery divided by the total AH rating of the battery. For example, a battery that is rated at 100AH will give 100 amp hours of power when fully charged. So if a trolling motor is pulling 20 amps of power from the battery, then it will last approximately 5 hours until it ‘runs out’. i.e. 100hours/20amp = 5 hours.

When it comes to charging a battery, charger capabilities are recorded in watts or amps. In general, the higher the wattage, the faster your battery should charge however if the wattage is too large for the battery, it can damage it.

There are so many variations to calculation out there (albeit based on the same science) that my eyes went crossed in about 5 minutes, but I have found a formula that I think can give you the basics in terms of amp changing requirements:

Amps

  1. Determine the battery voltage – generally 12 volt
  2. Locate the Amp hour rating for the battery’s capacities (AH)
  3. Determine your preferred re-charge time requirements (6 hours minimum, usually 24 hours maximum – if not known, assume 10 hours)
  4. Divide total Ah by the re-charge time to get charging current – e.g. 100Ah / 10 hours = 10 Amps.
  5. Add 20% to allow for battery in-efficiency – e.g. 10 AMPS + 20% = 12 AMPS
best 12v battery chargers - battery charging

Automatic or manual charging

Two charging methods are available for battery chargers – automatic and manual:

Your battery charger will handle the entire process for you if it is an automatic type. When your battery reaches full charge, these chargers immediately shut down or enter maintenance mode. If you plan to do other things while your battery charges, it is often easier to use an automatic charger.

Manual chargers on the other hand just charge at one ‘speed’ until you turn it off whether the battery is charged or not. In reality, unless your charger is really old, you will struggle to find one these days that does not incorporate some sort of automatic on/off capabilities.

Weatherproofing

Since you will use the battery on a boat, a basic level of exterior protection can keep the charger in good working order for a long time. Water and dust resistance is an important feature, often denoted by the IP rating system, which measures how resistant something is to these elements. Basic heat protection can also help protect a charger’s interior components.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. LED status display: The display allows the user to determine the battery’s health and charging status.
  2. USB charge port: The port allows you to charge your mobile devices, which is useful when you are in open waters and have a draining mobile phone battery.
  3. Temperature compensation – This feature describes the charging process, which extends battery life by dynamically adjusting voltage based on ambient temperature. In colder weather, it ensures maximum UPS battery charge. In warmer operating conditions, it reduces the risk of overcharging. This quality is essential because we know how the temperature fluctuates when camping.
  4. Reverse polarity protection – This is another feature that you can also look for in purchasing a 12 V battery charger. It is a safety feature that prevents electrocution or sparks from flying if the cables are accidentally connected to the wrong end of the battery.

My Three Recommendations Broken Down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. ADPOW 5A 12V Automatic Smart Battery Charger

First on my list is a versatile deep-cycle battery charger equipped with features that ensure performance and safety for you and your battery. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: ADPOW
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Number of banks: One
  • Compatibility: 12V Pb/SLA/GEL/AGM/VRLA/sealed lead-acid batteries and WET/FLOODED
  • Dimension: 9.61 x 4.41 x 2.72 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • LED indicator
  • Safety system to avoid short circuits/OVP/OCP/Polarity reversed, etc.
  • Lifetime warranty

Why have I chosen it?

Due to its 7-step automatic charging performance, this first option is suitable for wholly drained 12-volt batteries with an LED indicator that provides visual feedback on the device. The integrated Automatic Smart Battery Charger adds extra safety with short circuit protection, overload protection, overcurrent protection and a variety of other preventive measures to keep the battery safe. This is a great option for those running smaller motors and batteries.


2. Newport Vessels 12V Smart Battery Charger

My second recommended product is a kit with a battery charger and a battery box featuring a battery meter, USB charge port, DC12 charge port, and independent circuit breakers for primary output. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Newport Vessels
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Number of banks: One
  • Compatibility: GEL, SLA, Wet Cell, AGM
  • Dimension: ‎12 x 10 x 17 inches (Battery box); 6″ x 3.5″ x 2.6″ (Charger)
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • LCD display
  • Battery box included
  • Pulse Repair Technology

Why have I chosen it?

Instead of a constant stream of electricity, the charger employs pulse battery charging technology, in which the equipment sends a series of controlled pulses into the battery allowing for high amounts of voltage to be applied to the battery immediately without overheating it.

It also incorporates Pulse Repair Technology which can charge, maintain and repair batteries leading to longer life for them as well.


3. Minn Kota Digital On-Board Battery Chargers

This final option is compatible with lead acid and AGM batteries and includes enough features to keep them in good working order in banks of 2. It is Saltwater tested and fully corrosion-resistant designed to stay on the vessel with the batteries. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Minn Kota
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Number of banks: Two, three or four
  • Compatibility: For use with 12, 24, 36 or 48 volt systems with 12V / 6-cell batteries that are flooded/wet cell, maintenance free, or starved electrolyte (AGM) only (40-130 amp hour rating)
  • Dimension: ‎7.48 x 11.5 x 3.98 inches
  • Weight: 11.02 pounds

Other inclusions:

  • LED display
  • Corrosion-resistant

Why have I chosen it?

The battery charger has an advanced automatic multi-stage charging system that uses a digital control and microprocessor to detect the level of depletion in a battery and charge it appropriately. The charging stages are bulk, trickle, and maintainer.

The product also includes an advanced temperature compensation system, which adjusts the charging output based on the ambient temperature. The technology guards a trolling battery against overheating and other harmful related problems and it can also be used to charge deep-cycle batteries.

Other cool features include LED lights that display battery health and charging status and a rugged, waterproof, and shockproof construction for extra protection.

11/17/2022 09:14 pm GMT Lasso Brag

Conclusion

There you have it, my three best battery chargers for pontoon trolling motor batteries. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul