Choosing a Portable Battery Charger

Keep your boat's battery charged by using a portable battery charger.

One of the easiest things you can do to make sure you won’t be stranded at the dock is to keep your boat’s battery charged. We took a look at three portable chargers priced at less than $65.

Choosing a Portable Battery Charger
Marinco Charge Pro 1.1 AmpMarinco

Marinco Charge Pro 1.1 Amp
The Buzz: The compact Charge Pro 1.1 measures 6 inches long by 2½ inches wide by 13/8 inches high, so it can fit in your pocket. It has an output capacity of 1.1 amps and can be used to charge or maintain voltage level in a battery. The AC cord is a lengthy 6 feet long, and the DC side has a 4-foot cable with interchangeable 2-foot leads with alligator clips or ring terminals. LED indicators show the charge status. It has built-in protection against short circuits, reverse polarity and overcharging. It has a two-year warranty.

The Zap: Of our three chosen models, it has the lowest amperage output at 1.1.

Price: $64.99;

Choosing a Portable Battery Charger
The Noco Company Genius 3500The NoCo Company

The Noco Company Genius 3500
The Buzz: Our most powerful unit of the three, the Genius 3500 has a charging capacity of 3.5 amps. It has dimensions of 711/16 inches long by 211/16 inches wide by 17/8 inches high. It is a fully automatic switch-mode charger. The DC cables have clamps and eyelets, and there are built-in status indicators that show charge level, standby mode and battery type. Its housing is rated as waterproof, and the unit comes with a five-year warranty, the longest of the three reviewed here. It can also fit in your pocket or slide into a backpack.

The Zap: It does not have any type of temperature compensation.

Price: $75.95;

Choosing a Portable Battery Charger
West Marine BC2WM Battery Charger/MaintainerWest Marine

West Marine BC2WM Battery Charger/Maintainer
The Buzz: The BC2WM is a 2-amp charger that delivers three-stage charging. It is sealed to resist dust, oil and moisture, and is rated as waterproof and submersible. It comes with clamps and ring terminals. Status indicators include LED lights for reverse polarity/fault, battery charging and charging complete. It has a magnetized bottom and a hanging hook for hands-free use. The warranty is one year.

The Zap: West Marine reviews talked of the clamps not staying connected to the battery. Also, the one-year warranty is the shortest of the three models.

Price: $49.99;