Batteries are an essential component of any modern vehicle. They have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, but they still don’t like to be left unattended for too long. Without regular use, your car battery can become damaged.
Batteries of all types need to be cycled regularly to keep them charged. If you are going to leave your car, truck, boat, motorcycle, ATV, or other toy sitting for long periods, the battery will likely suffer.
That’s why you need one of the best trickle chargers…
These devices trickle out a low steady current to match your battery’s discharge rate. That’s the rate at which the battery naturally loses its charge. This means the trickle charge will keep your battery fully charged at all times.
Unfortunately, there are a vast number of options to choose from, and not all will function on all types of batteries. However, we’ve already taken a good look at them all and put together this review of the best battery trickle chargers for your money currently available.
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect Trickle Charger for you…
- 1 Top 7 Best Trickle Chargers In 2021 Review & Buying Guide
- 1.1 1 Deltran 021-0128 Battery Tender Plus Charger and Maintainer – 12 Volt – 1.25 Amp – Best Cross Compatible Trickle Charger
- 1.2 2 STANLEY BC25BS Smart Battery Charger for Car/Marine Charging – 12 Volt – 25 Amp – Most Versatile Trickle Charger
- 1.3 3 BLACK+DECKER BC2WBD Fully Automatic Waterproof Battery Charger/Maintainer – 12 Volt – 2 Amp – Best Waterproof Trickle Charger
- 1.4 4 Deltran 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior Charger and Maintainer – 12 Volt – 750mA – Best Motorcycle and ATV Trickle Charger
- 1.5 5 NOCO Genius G15000 Pro-Series Battery Charger and Maintainer – 12/24 Volt – 15 Amp – Best Professional Trickle Charger
- 1.6 6 Schumacher SC1280 Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger Maintainer – 6/12 Volt – 15/3 Amp – Best Marine Trickle Charger
- 1.7 7 BLACK+DECKER BM3B Fully Automatic Battery Charger/Maintainer – 6/12 Volt – 1.25 Amp – Best Budget Trickle Charger
- 2 Best Trickle Chargers Buying Guide
- 3 Types of Trickle Chargers
- 4 Top Brands
- 5 Trickle Charger Pricing
- 6 Battery business…
- 7 So, which of the Best Trickle Chargers should you invest in?
Top 7 Best Trickle Chargers In 2021 Review & Buying Guide
1 Deltran 021-0128 Battery Tender Plus Charger and Maintainer – 12 Volt – 1.25 Amp – Best Cross Compatible Trickle Charger
Many of us have toys in the garage that we look forward to taking out in certain seasons. That might be an ATV, snowmobile, or small fishing boat. No matter what your hobby, Deltran has you covered with their model #021-0128.
It’s all about that tender touch…
You don’t want to flood your battery with too much power any more than you want to let it drain down. That’s why it’s essential to select the right trickle charger for your vehicle. It’s also why Deltran makes multiple models of their Battery Tender line.
This model is a charger and a maintainer, all built into one single unit. When you first hook it up to your power sports battery, the device will top-up the battery’s charge. Then, once your battery is fully charged, the Battery Tender Plus will switch over automatically to float mode.
What does that mean?
In float mode, the trickle charger will maintain the voltage levels of the battery to keep it fully charged. This will be done without overcharging the battery.
If the battery should drop under load, the ISM adaptive charging will kick back on to top things up. A solid-state 2-color LED light shows if the device is in charging or storage mode.
What about compatibility?
The Battery Tender Plus is designed to function with lead-acid, flooded, and sealed batteries. This includes AGM and gel cell batteries, which means you’re most likely covered no matter what you ride, drive, etc.
We like that this unit is easy to use and quick to set up. Even better, it features a spark-proof design during lead connection. It will also automatically detect reverse polarity to ensure you are correctly hooked-up before it provides power.
- 12 Volt/1.25 Amp design.
- Automatic float mode.
- Compatible with most battery types.
- ISM Adaptive charging.
- Easy to use and safe design.
- Battery Tender’s poor customer service if you have any issues.
2 STANLEY BC25BS Smart Battery Charger for Car/Marine Charging – 12 Volt – 25 Amp – Most Versatile Trickle Charger
One of the best trickle chargers for your garage is likely the #BC25BS from Stanley. It’s a Smart Battery Charger for car and marine charging applications. We think many shoppers will agree; it’s a smart buy for a few reasons.
Cover all of your battery maintenance needs with one device…
Yes, the Stanley BC25BS does have trickle technology, and we’ll get to that momentarily. First, though, we want to point out the best feature of this unit.
In the case of an emergency, this unit can deliver a 75-Amp engine starting jump. It only takes around 90 seconds, and you can jump-start your car. If you need to get to work, school, etc., this can really save the day.
As for the long-term battery maintenance…
This trickle charger will maintain any AGM, GEL, or WET marine or automotive 12 Volt battery. It’s super simple to hook up and starts with a push of a button.
Stanley employs high-frequency smart charging technology to keep the battery perfectly charged for extended periods. It will first charge the battery in ‘fast charge’ mode and then click-over automatically to trickle charge.
But wait, there’s more…
The design also allows you to keep an eye on your battery’s charge. This detailed LCD usage display helps extend your battery’s life by keeping you fully in the know.
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses and sunshine, though. We have found that this unit is not ideal for use on older batteries. It just doesn’t deliver the correct amount of juice for non-compatible batteries.
- 12 Volt/25 Amp design.
- Works with AGM, GEL, and WET batteries.
- 75 Amp engine start feature.
- High-frequency smart charging technology.
- LCD usage display.
- May not work with older batteries.
3 BLACK+DECKER BC2WBD Fully Automatic Waterproof Battery Charger/Maintainer – 12 Volt – 2 Amp – Best Waterproof Trickle Charger
It’s not surprising that Black + Decker also makes a battery maintainer. They make everything else, it seems, so we had high hopes for the BC2WBD. It’s their Fully Automatic Waterproof Battery Charger and Maintainer.
But is it the best trickle charger out there?
As long as you have a 12 Volt AGM, GEL, or WET battery, you should be good to go with the BC2BWD. This is a 2 Amp battery charger and maintainer combo, featuring a high-frequency charger that is fully automatic.
It also comes equipped with an AC low-voltage compensator. We like this feature as it ensures proper performance when combined with an extension cord. Even better, there is a built-in circuit protector to eliminate overcharging and reverse polarity. It even helps with short-circuiting issues.
The best part?
Easily the top-selling feature on this trickle charger is the SP67 rating. This certifies the unit is completely sealed. It’s waterproof, dustproof, and that means it can be used in the rain.
We also like that this unit is designed with connectivity in mind. There are three different ways to connect the unit. There is a 12 Volt DC accessory plug, battery terminal rings for long-term attachment, and battery clamps. This last option makes for super simple use, as does the hands-free magnetic backing. All in all, this really is the best trickle charger for the price.
- 12 Volt/2 Amp design.
- Waterproof and dustproof.
- Charges and maintains your battery.
- Three ways to connect.
- Built-in circuit protector.
- Not ideal for use in the extreme cold.
4 Deltran 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior Charger and Maintainer – 12 Volt – 750mA – Best Motorcycle and ATV Trickle Charger
Another option from Deltran sold under the Battery Tender brand is the Junior Charger and Maintainer. This is a brilliant option if you don’t have heavy power requirements. We’d recommend it for motorcycles, ATV, etc.
But is it the best trickle for ATVs?
Model #021-0123 gives your battery a full charge first. Then it switches over to float mode and maintains the voltage for safe long-term storage.
There are spark-proof lead connections, and they feature the same reverse polarity protection as the bigger model reviewed above. We like the low maintenance and easy to use design. It’s also nice how lightweight and compact this unit is.
But wait, there’s more…
Yes, this smaller version also features the ISM adaptive charging technology. So, if your battery should ever drop below the optimal charge while in float mode, the unit will kick back over to charging mode; similarly, this smaller option does come with a solid-state LED indicator light. This lets you know the state of the charge.
This model also comes with a 12-foot output cord for easy use. However, it’s the 5-Year Warranty that we really appreciate.
What to use it on…
This is not the best trickle charger for your SUV. It’s too small for that, really. However, this unit is perfect for 12 Volt lead-acid, flooded, or sealed AGM/GEL batteries. In fact, we’d say it’s one of the best trickle chargers for motorcycles.
- 12 Volt/750 mA design.
- Automatic float mode.
- Highly compatible.
- ISM adaptive charging.
- Great for motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, etc.
- Not ideal for larger automotive batteries.
5 NOCO Genius G15000 Pro-Series Battery Charger and Maintainer – 12/24 Volt – 15 Amp – Best Professional Trickle Charger
If you would prefer something on the professional side of our list, this next option is for you. It’s made by NOCO, and it’s called the G15000 Genius Pro Series. It certainly sits above the others on this list for a couple of reasons.
What makes this a professional grade trickle charger?
First off, it’s powerful with a maximum power consumption of 255 watts. It also works with just about all 12 Volt and 24 Volt batteries. This includes lead-acid, WET, GEL, AGM, and all other standard automotive, maintenance-free batteries.
That covers both automotive and marine batteries. Even better, it’s designed to recharge all kinds of workshop and garage machine and tool batteries. And yes, it can also keep your vehicle at full charge for year-round storage.
Is it easy to use?
Oh yeah, just plug this unit in and hook up your battery. The advanced charging technology will automatically maintain and monitor the battery.
If that’s not enough, NOCO even built in a Progressive Repair Mode that works on heavily sulfated 12 Volt batteries. There is also an Optimized Charge Mode to use with lithium-ion batteries.
And we’re not finished yet…
While this unit is considerably more expensive than many others, it can do an awful lot more as well. Besides the many features noted already, this unit can also be converted into a 5 Amp power supply.
It can run a constant-current, constant-voltage as a DC power source. You can also use it to maintain your onboard computer while swapping batteries.
Oh, and did we mention it’s spark-proof and backed by a 5-year warranty?
Well, it is. It also features reverse polarity protection for safety. It really is the best professional trickle charger.
- 12 and 24 Volt/15 Amp design.
- Progressive Repair and Optimized Charge Modes.
- Highly compatible and versatile.
- 5 Amp power supply capabilities.
- Backed by a 5-year warranty.
6 Schumacher SC1280 Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger Maintainer – 6/12 Volt – 15/3 Amp – Best Marine Trickle Charger
One of the best marine trickle chargers is the SC1280 from Schumacher. Like the others on our list, it has a couple of things that set it apart. The question is, though, is it the best marine battery maintainer charger for the price?
We think so, here’s why…
The SC1280 has a really unique design that allows it to work with both 6 and 12 Volt batteries. That makes it highly versatile, no matter what kind of toys you have in the garage.
Even better, this unit automatically detects the required voltage and adjusts accordingly. There’s no button to switch from 6 Volt to 12 Volt charging.
Is it safe?
Yes, this unit is equipped with reverse hook-up protection. If you have the clamps reversed, it simply will not click on to charge. This saves you from accidentally ruining your battery.
It also automatically switches from charging (15 Amps) to maintaining (3 Amps). This will ensure that your battery is ready when you need it. Plus, it’s compatible with standard, AGM, gel, and deep cycle batteries.
- 6 and 12 Volt/15 and 3 Amp design.
- Reverse hook-up protection.
- Automatic charging/maintaining switchover.
- Widely compatible.
- Known to overcharge some batteries.
7 BLACK+DECKER BM3B Fully Automatic Battery Charger/Maintainer – 6/12 Volt – 1.25 Amp – Best Budget Trickle Charger
One of the best budget trickle chargers is produced by Black + Decker. Their model #BM3B is one of the cheaper trickle charges available. But, is it any good?
It all depends on what you’re charging…
Like the option just above, this unit is designed to work with both 6 Volt and 12 Volt batteries. This includes AGM, GEL, and WET batteries, which covers the most common applications.
The unit also will automatically switch from charging to maintaining once the battery reaches max load. However, that is where the similarities stop. This option delivers less than half the number of amps during float mode, at 1.25 Amps.
This makes it ideal for some batteries, but it’s not enough for others…
This is likely why some people have ended up with a low or even dead battery with this unit installed. So, no matter which product you choose, do always check your battery manufacturer’s recommendations.
Another key difference with the BM3B is that it comes supplied with both clips and O-ring terminals. This makes installation super easy and more secure for long-term storage. Plus, there’s also a built-in routing bracket to keep the unit fixed safely in place.
- 6 and 12 Volt/1.25 Amp design.
- Built-in circuit protection.
- Charges and maintains your battery.
- ETL Certified.
- Built-in mounting bracket.
- Low float levels may not maintain some batteries.
Best Trickle Chargers Buying Guide
Our review should have something on it for just about every battery maintaining requirement you might have. The hard part is in narrowing down the options to the one most suited to your needs.
This is when you need to consider a few finer details…
We know that everyone’s first thought is generally related to cost. We’ll cover this on its own below, but for now, let’s start with voltage.
Trickle chargers are made for a wide range of applications. This includes keeping your car’s battery properly maintained when it’s kept off-road for a long time. However, there’s a huge difference between a boat, SUV, or motorcycle battery. Each one has different requirements and limitations, both in the amount of power it can hold and the speed at which it can disperse that power.
After all, your motorcycle doesn’t need as much juice to start as a big truck. You wouldn’t try to drive a truck on a motorcycle battery, or vice versa.
So, why would you expect the same trickle charger to work on both truck and motorcycle batteries? Some actually might, but they tend to be much more expensive.
Connection points are another key consideration…
If you’re mechanically minded enough to be shopping for a trickle charger, you’re wiser than the standard driver. You’re likely also already familiar with the traditional battery clamp connection points. These are super easy and very quick to connect.
This is why many trickle charger manufacturers use this attachment point style. However, it’s not the only option, nor the best really for long-term use. After all, they aren’t the most secure.
There are some trickle chargers with O-ring terminals included. These are far more secure than the clamp style attachment points. If you’re putting your boat, ATV, etc., in storage until next season, this connection style is essential.
Ensure you don’t reverse the polarity…
Another critical feature to watch out for is reverse polarity protection. It’s very easy to put the positive/negative connection point in the wrong spot. Without a reverse polarity safety feature, this can kill your battery.
This is also why many manufacturers build in some form of safety feature to keep the unit from powering up when not correctly connected.
Types of Trickle Chargers
There are supposedly two types of trickle chargers: Traditional and Smart units. However, this isn’t 1990, and things are now far better than they once were.
Smart Trickle Chargers
Modern science and engineering have brought us the smart trickle charger. These units make up the vast majority of trickle chargers for sale today.
This style of trickle charger allows you to plug it in and walk away. Everything is taken care of until you want to start up the vehicle again. Usually, these units will be able to monitor and adapt the current flowing into the battery.
Traditional Trickle Chargers
You might notice that we didn’t actually include any traditional trickle chargers on our list. Yes, they tend to be considerably cheaper than smart units. And yes, they also are often able to charge any size of battery.
However, they also tend to be highly dangerous. You have to monitor this style of trickle charger at all times, as they don’t automatically shut off. That can easily lead to battery overcharging, which obviously isn’t a good thing.
When shopping for a new trickle charger, you’ll quickly notice a few names tend to dominate the market. The question is, which of them makes a reliable product?
Battery Tender by Deltran
One of the most ubiquitous trickle chargers around is the Battery Tender brand. These are produced by Deltran, and there is a wide range of options to cover all battery sizes. Their product quality tends to be slightly better than you’d expect for the price point.
Black + Decker
Whether you know automobiles or not, you likely have seen this brand. Actually, you probably already have some product made by the company somewhere in your garage or house.
They make everything, which is how they keep costs down. While they once were known for high quality, these days, the reputation is slipping to more budget-friendly, lower-quality products.
Another well-known brand throughout many industries is Stanley. They make tools and machinery to get any project accomplished. Thankfully, they also are still working to maintain a reputation for solid products.
Trickle Charger Pricing
We promised that we’d talk about pricing, so here it is. We’d like to say that we were saving the most important information for last, but we can’t. It’s just not the case.
The simple fact is, pricing should not be your primary concern here. Today’s modern throwaway economy shouldn’t be applied to everything. Trickle chargers that may fail are rather pointless.
Therefore, it’s far better to spend the extra dollars to save yourself buying a new battery, or why bother?
You may also want to browse our Best Battery Terminals Review, our reviews of the Best Car Battery Charger, the Best Car Jump Starters, the Best Motorcycle Battery Chargers, and the Best Deep Cycle Battery Charger for the money currently on the market.
Other super useful stuff we recommend for general vehicle maintenance can be found in our reviews of the Best Rust Prevention, the Best Breaker Bars, the Best Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Bug Tar Removers, or the Best Vehicle Lifts for Home Garages you can buy in 2021!
Back to trickle chargers…
So, which of the Best Trickle Chargers should you invest in?
With such a variety of products to choose from, things can at first seem overwhelming. We’ve done our best to present a lot of useful information, and hopefully, this has all helped you find the ideal trickle charger for your automobile, boat, etc.
If not, don’t worry. We have one last suggestion. We’d recommend going for the…
It might be more expensive than the others reviewed, but it’s well worth it. Not only does it do much more than the others, but it’s also far more reliable. When it comes to the tools, gadgets, and gizmos in our garage, quality is paramount.