I consider batteries as the real deal. Regardless of the high-end parts of your vehicle, you’ll need a battery to make the vehicle run.
It makes the battery one of the essential parts of a car; therefore, maintaining it is necessary. Batteries usually get enough charge from turning on the ignition system daily, which is enough for most of us.
However, some drivers don’t drive regularly and end up with problems with the battery, which comes as no surprise as it requires regular charging.
Using a battery charger seems like the only solution in such a case, but it often leads to overcharging and damaging the battery in the long run.
Situations like these call for a battery maintainer. Remember, a battery maintainer is different from a charger. Let’s have a look at how.
What is the Difference Between a battery maintainer vs a trickle charger?
Before getting into a detailed discussion, let us first have a look at the prominent differences.
Battery maintainers are entirely automatic, whereas a trickle charger is manual. The former won’t overcharge, but this problem may occur in the case of a trickle charger.
Another main difference is that battery maintainers have float mode, which is absent in a trickle charger.
I see people have an ambiguous discussion about the amperage, which confuses a lot of people. Here is how it works. Trickle charger means low amperage with manual operation, whereas a battery maintainer gives similar amperage, i.e., low but its auto.
What is a Battery Maintainer?
A battery maintainer is a battery charger that supplies a small amount of charge to the battery for an extended period when the vehicle is dormant.
There is no need to disconnect it once the battery is complete as it offers an entirely automatic operation, which is pretty great manually.
What makes it so unique?
Even if you aren’t driving for several days, you don’t have to worry about the battery dying. It is explicitly designed to keep the battery in good condition and improve its health.
A battery maintainer only starts charging when the voltage drops, so even if you leave it unattended for an extended period, it damages the battery and goes off as soon as it reaches 100%.
The best and most helpful feature is that you have to make zero effort. If you don’t trust your memory like me, it comes in handy as it automatically turns off charging when the battery is charged.
What size battery maintainer do I need?
When it comes to buying a battery maintainer, there are some considerations you need to make beforehand to get the most suitable one for your ride.
- Battery size
Check your battery type. Is it a 6v or a 12v? An 8/10 of an amp works the best for 12v. For a 6v battery, it is best to go for a 6v maintainer.
- Battery Type
There are commonly three types; AGM or absorbed glass mat battery. If you get a standard maintainer for an AGM battery, you’ll end up damaging it.
- The amperage of the battery and the maintainer
This factor also plays a vital role as it affects the battery’s period to get ultimately charged. If you go for higher amperage, the battery will be charged faster.
Nonetheless, very high amperage can also lead to damage, so be careful about that.
What is a trickle charger?
It is an electric charger that charges the battery with zero loads at the same rate that it discharges. It enables the battery to remain fully charged.
Remember that out keeps charging the battery; therefore, you will have to disconnect it once the charges reach 100%.
What Should You Use a Battery Maintainer or Trickle charger?
If your vehicle has a flat battery, forget about using a smart charger as it won’t work. Such batteries require a trickle charger.
To simplify it more, let’s take an example. If you have a battery of 12v that is highly discharged, almost about 8v, a smart charger won’t be of any use here.
You will have to bring up the charge by manually charging it until the charge in the battery is above 8v. If you want to switch it to an intelligent charger after that, it will work just fine.
Is a battery maintainer the same as a trickle charger?
A trickle charger and battery maintainer might seem quite similar, but there are various prominent differences. The latter is a much more advanced and versatile piece of equipment.
So the answer is No, they aren’t the same. A maintainer adjusts the current flowing to the battery depending on the battery state, whereas a trickle charger keeps supplying a small amount of current at a uniform rate.
Look at it in this way. A trickle charger is a more traditional and old-school way of reviving and charging batteries.
These were pretty popular around 20 years ago, but battery maintainers are more of a trend these days due to their precise performance. They are better for battery health and life.
Battery maintainer vs trickle charger Recommendations
Before getting into the whole purchasing process, you should remember a couple of things, i.e., the amp and the battery’s voltage.
The voltage amp is your main concern here. Make sure to mention your vehicle type while buying a battery maintainer. It is necessary as the type of battery matters. The kind of acid is used, or is it dry. These factors count.
Here are some suggestions for you which have been the top choices of many experts:
Battery Tender 2-Bank Charger
This maintainer offers a 3-step charging that optimizes the power of the battery, avoiding overcharging. So if independent charging is what you are looking for, it is the one for you.
The design is pretty sturdy, including spark-proof and reverse polarity protection, so you don’t have to worry about that. See the latest price of Battery Tender 2-Bank Charger
NOCO GENIUS1, 1-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger
If your battery charge has dropped to almost 1 volt, it’ll still work as it’s an all-in solution to battery problems. This maintainer offers automatic precision charging, and the best part is that it’s compatible with almost all types of vehicles.
It is more compact, more versatile, and all in all, a much better solution for a battery that needs charging. See the latest price of NOCO GENIUS1, 1-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger
Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer
Many maintainers in the market offer high-end performance but aren’t easy to use. This one will solve that for you.
The lightweight, simple and low maintenance design takes away all the hassle of complicated operation. See the latest price of Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer
FOVAL 750mA Automatic Trickle Battery Charger
For any piece of equipment, the most important thing is safety. This trickle charger is spark-proof reverse polarity protected to ensure safe operation.
If your vehicle has flooded, sealed maintenance-free, or lead-acid batteries, it is the best choice as it’s compatible with them and works for almost all kinds of cars. See the latest price of FOVAL 750mA Automatic Trickle Battery Charger
Sunway Solar Panel Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer
This trickle charger compensates for small, steady battery drains from the vehicle’s alarm system. All it needs is enough sun.
It offers a sturdy build with simple operation and compatibility with various vehicle types, from marines to ATVs and boats.
Being a solar battery charger, it is eco-friendly to maintain and safely charge batteries, including Gel, Wet, SLA, AGM, and Deep Cycle batteries. See the latest price of Sunway Solar Panel Car Battery Trickle Charger & Maintainer
Battery Charger Automotive 12V 5A Smart Battery Maintainer Trickle Charger
If your primary concern is a wide application, go for this one. It fully charges drained 12V SLA, AGM, GEL, VRLA, and sealed lead-acid batteries.
It offers quick, easy, and, on top of all, automatic charging for your batteries. Just remember that it is not compatible with 24-volt and 6-volt batteries. See the latest price of Battery Charger Automotive
Battery Maintainer vs Trickle Charger – In Conclusion
With all being said, what is the bottom line? Everything points towards battery maintainers being a better choice all in all.
Trickle charges are only reasonable if you want to plug it in for a short and monitored period. I recommend going for a battery maintainer as they are far handier than a trickle charger.
It’s cost-effective, reliable, and much less hassle than a trickle charger. There are so many options in the market. You can also get a multipurpose one that works for batteries with a charge left as low as 1volt.
Another reason why many experts side with buying a maintainer is its charging speed. What’s even better is that despite charging fast, it does not harm the battery health, instead, it improves.