How To Choose The Right Battery Charger

How To Choose The Right Battery Charger

Having recently had a few battery problems after I had supposedly charged them up, I’ve come to the conclusion that my trusty charger may not be as decent as I thought...

But let’s go back a step first - why do you even need a battery charger in the first place? Doesn’t your car/motorbike/boat have an alternator that charges the battery for you?

Well yes and no.

Car batteries DO get charged when driving but never to 100% and often we end up using the battery when the car is turned off (say for the radio or using your phone) or we accidentally leave things turned on like headlights and that causes problems – the lead acid batteries found in cars only like being in a fully charged state, any less charge is actually doing it some harm.

Then you have motorbikes and boats. They are typically used in a similar way – weeks (or sometimes months) of no use and then it has to work perfectly first time when the weather is good and you want to take it out.

Different again are camping batteries which aren’t necessarily connected to a car but may have solar panels or a portable generator attached. They are also different in the way they deliver that power. For example, your car needs a large amount to start up where as your camping battery is designed to deliver a small amount over a long period of time.

Clearly the way all those types of batteries are used are different and so their internal make-ups are different. They could be lead-acid, leadcalcium, absorbed glass mat, lithiumiron phosphate, gelified electrolyte and the list goes on.

And because all these different battery types have different internal chemistries, they have different charging requirements. Some want a slow steady stream of current to charge them up all the way to full, others need the voltage and current to be adjusted or tapered at just the right rate throughout the charging process, so no damage is done to the internals. Not to mention that the battery may be new or old and have different needs throughout the course of its life.

This is where having the latest “smart” chargers is, well, SMART! They literally have an onboard computer that not only has pre-set charging programs for each battery type and size, but they can also ACTIVELY identify the health of the battery connected then adjust their charging program accordingly! So not only will you be able to charge your batteries faster, but they’ll preserve your batteries for longer and save you money!

Victron Blue Smart 6 & 12v 1.1a Battery Charger & Maintainer IP65


Introducing the new super versatile, fully automatic charger and maintainer for batteries commonly found in power sport applications such as motorcycles, personal watercraft and even lawnmowers.

Set on the platform of the hugely popular Blue Smart charger range, this new 1.1A output charger is fully controlled from your smart device via Bluetooth. Suitable for 6V and 12V, lead acid and lithium batteries, and featuring advanced charging algorithms, in-built diagnostics and multiple safety protocols, the Blue Smart charger manages your battery to ultimately extend its service life. It really is Smart.

Real time monitoring and control via your Bluetooth enabled smart device provides instant feedback of battery status, provides charge profile options and charge history and even has a dead-battery recovery and power supply mode.

- Steve Pizzati
Auto Expert and Battery World Advisor