Battery Charger Buyer's Guide
Keep your battery in tip-top shape
There are many reasons why motorcycles (unfortunately) get put away to storage: repairs, restorations, and sometimes life in general means you have to put the bike away for a while. For most of us though, winter is the most obvious reason motorcycles get put away, and as we type this winter has begun to rear its ugly head in the way of snowstorms and bitter cold in many regions of the US. Unfortunately, for many motorcyclists, that means a long depressing few months of storing away your beloved two-wheeled friend from the elements. For long-term storage, it’s best to get yourself a smart battery charger to maintain the optimum voltage level to be sure your bike’s battery voltage doesn’t drop to potentially damaging levels, leaving you unable to ride when that first nice day comes around. Remember, you want to avoid the cheap chargers that continuously charge your battery without any regard for its current voltage. These “dumb” chargers can actually damage your battery and should never be used.
We scoured the market and put together a few of the most popular units in this battery charger buyer’s guide to help you learn about different chargers and their features from various brands. Consider this a one-stop article to decide which charger is best for you and your battery.
Table of Contents
Battery Tender Junior
Battery Tender is probably one of the most widely known brands to us motorcyclists. The Deltran Battery Tender company has been around since 1965 and has been stocked by powersports dealers around the country for years. The Battery Tender Junior is one of the company’s most popular models and is a great relatively low-cost smart battery tender in a small package. Plug it in and forget about it.
The Battery Tender Junior incorporates a “brain” which allows the tender to detect when the battery has reached a full charge, then reverting the tender into float/maintenance mode to keep the battery at the optimum voltage. This unit also continuously monitors the state of charge and switches back to charge mode if necessary, making the unit a set-it-and-forget-it type of application. Two LEDs on the front convey the charger’s status. The Junior comes with a four-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, and Float Mode), is spark proof, and reverse polarity protected all the while coming with a five-year warranty. If you like to be on the cutting edge of technology, Battery Tender also makes the Power Plus™ 75A Booster Battery Charger w/Wi-Fi to connect your phone via the Battery Tender app to receive notifications and check your battery status with your mobile device. The Battery Tender Junior comes with a five-year warranty and can be used with AGM, and Gel cell batteries.
Amazon Basics Battery Charger
Whether you like it or not, Jeff Bezos has infiltrated nearly every facet of our lives, including keeping your motorcycle battery topped up (unless you have a lithium one).
With the Amazon Basics Battery Charger you get a sleek and compact charger that plugs into any 120v outlet and delivers 12V at 800mA for lead acid, AGM, and gel type batteries for less than $20. It uses alligator clips to attach to the battery terminals and features reverse polarity protection, meaning it won’t turn on if you have the clips attached to the wrong terminal. Having O-ring attachements would have been nice, but for the price they are understandably not included.
Backed by a one-year limited warranty, it includes a fused ring terminal harness and can safely be used indoors, say, in a garage.
Noco Genius 10-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger
The Noco Genius 10 really is a powerhouse when it comes to battery chargers, maintainers, trickle chargers, and desulfators. Designed for 6-volt and 12-volt lead-acid automotive, marine, and deep-cycle batteries, it also works on flooded, gel, AGM, and maintenance-free batteries. As an added bonus, it can also keep lithium-ion batteries in tip top shape.
The genius of it all comes in the many features Noco packs it with. An integrated thermal sensor detects the ambient temperature and alters the charge to eliminate over-charging in hot climates and under-charging in cold climates. It can charge batteries as low as 1-volt. Or, if your battery truly is a goner but you want to give it one last shot, you can use the all-new force mode that allows you to take control and manually begin charging dead batteries down to zero volts. Finally, the Noco Genius automatically detects battery sulfation and acid stratification to restore lost battery performance for stronger engine starts and extended battery life.
With nearly 4,000 reviews on Amazon – 83% of them positive – the Noco Genius 10 is clearly a popular choice for keeping your battery alive and as healthy as possible.
Yuasa 1 AMP Automatic Battery Charger & Maintainer
Yuasa, one of the largest OEM battery suppliers of powersport vehicles, also makes a few different battery chargers to service its massive lineup. Keeping the theme of relatively inexpensive low amp chargers, we are looking at Yuasa’s 1 AMP Automatic Battery Charger & Maintainer because you simply don’t need a charger with more AMPs unless you need to charge a battery more quickly. If you’re just plugging your battery in for the winter to maintain it or are in no need to quickly charge a battery, one amp will do. The Yuasa 1 Amp charger is a simple smart charger with only three LEDs and two cords with an internal processor to prevent overcharging which also utilizes a three-step charging cycle to charge and automatically switch to maintenance mode.
Use of this charger couldn’t be more simple, connect the alligator clips or battery rings to your battery, and the LEDs will tell you the status of the unit: charging, maintaining, or full, as well as a fault indicator, should there be an issue with the battery itself. Yuasa does not recommend this charger for use with lithium-ion batteries. This charger carries a five-year limited warranty.
TecMate Optimate 3 Battery Charger
The Tecmate Optimate 3 is a robust smart charger with that touts itself as an all-in-one tool for battery testing, charging, recovering, and maintaining. The Optimate 3 can be used for AGM, Gel, Standard batteries and comes with alligator clips as well as battery rings and uses an SAE type plug should you already have a system attached to your motorcycle. Where the Optimate three stands out on this list is its ability to recover or desulfate severely discharged batteries (claimed to be able to recover batteries with voltage as low as 2V) with a seven-step recovery program. Otherwise, the Tecmate system works much the same as other chargers on our list as a smart charger with LED indicators on the front of the unit to tell you what status the charger is at when connected to your battery. Like the others, the Optimate monitors voltages to prevent overcharging and will revert to maintenance mode once the battery is fully charged.
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