Best Battery Tender & Maintainers In 2020 Review

best battery tender for 2020 battery maintainer review and buyers guide

Why review the best battery tender in 2020? It’s not uncommon for our readers to have multiple vehicles. You may have a daily driver that gets used for the majority of your driving and a fun car that sits in the garage, waiting for beautiful weather.

Unfortunately, this can be tough on the battery. When a vehicle isn’t driven, the battery begins to lose charge because it’s not being topped off by the alternator. As we all know, a dead battery equals no fun.

So what’s the best way to keep that battery fully charged and ready to crank up the fun? A modern battery tender is your answer. Unlike old school trickle chargers, battery maintainers monitor the charge level of your battery and only apply a charge when it falls below a certain level. Because of this, they can be hooked up to your battery for an indefinite amount of time. Cool right?

There are a ton of battery maintainers on the market in 2020, so we decided to find the best models for every budget.

Best Battery Tender

Battery Tender® Plus 12V, 1.25A Battery Charger

best battery tender

We lead off with what we believe is the overall best option on the market.

The iconic Battery Tender battery charger was the original Smart Battery charger. It was the first charger on the market that fully charged a battery and then automatically switched to a float maintenance charge mode.

It’s also one of the best selling units on the market. Their technology has been “borrowed” by dozens of other companies but, they continue to outsell everyone by building the best products.

Another cool thing is the warranty. They offer an insane 10-year warranty, by far the longest in the industry. This gives you an idea of how confident they are in their battery chargers.

Here are some product features:

  • Fast and efficient: This 1.25-Amp charger will charge as fast or faster than any 3-amp charger available
  • Temperature compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage according to ambient temperature.
  • Automatically switches from full charge to float charging mode.
  • Reverse Polarity Protection to ensure user safety. Red & Green Lights Alternately Flash in this condition.
  • Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, Float Mode).
  • Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance-free batteries (AGM and gel cell).
  • Perfect for ATVs, Cars, Lawn Mowers, Motorcycles, and Scooters.
  • Safe: reverse polarity protection to ensure user safety, red and green lights alternately flash in this condition

Our Review

This really is a great unit. It’s simple to use, reliable, and the fact we can leave it unattended for months on end make it a no brainer. We highly recommend it.


Best Budget Battery Tender

Battery Tender® Junior 12 Volt Automatic Battery Charger

best budget battery tender

Battery Tender is back at it again! This is their Junior model, which is the best selling battery charger on the market. Why is it the best seller? The price. It does many of the things the more expensive chargers on the market do. It just takes longer.

If you have a fully charged battery that you just need to keep topped off this little fella will most likely do the job. If you have an older battery that isn’t holding a charge like it used to, it may not have enough power to keep up.

The Battery Tender Junior also carries a ten-year warranty.

Product Features

  • Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance-free batteries (AGM and gel cell).
  • Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, Float Mode).
  • Automatically switches to float / maintenance voltage after fully charging the battery.
  • If the battery voltage drops too far under load, full charger output power resumes.
  • Solid state two color LED indicates stage of charger.
  • Spark proof.
  • Plugs directly in to the wall
  • Safety timer: 80 Hrs.
  • Reverse polarity protected.
  • 12′ output cord.

Our review

One drawback is due to the lower power; this may not work on trucks and larger SUVs. We do recommend this, but only if you’re working with a tight budget and have a reliable battery in your car.


Best Battery Maintainer With Jump Start

Schumacher SC1281 6/12V Fully Automatic Battery Charger and 30/100A Engine Starter with Advanced Diagnostic Testing.

best battery maintainer with jump start

Now we are getting into some interesting hybrids. The SC1281 is a great way to keep your battery maintained while having the power to jump-start a dead battery.

It also has a battery and alternator tester, which provides charge level and helps diagnose electrical problems.

Schumacher is well known for building quality electronics. They’ve packed just about anything you could ask for into this little box.

Product Features

  • Microprocessor Controlled ─ Automatically adjusts the amperage rate to charge & maintain
  • Multi-stage charging for added precision, safety & battery life
  • Battery and Alternator Tester ─ Provides charge level and helps diagnose electrical problems.
  • LED display, indicators and push-button controls ─ For ease and accuracy
  • Auto Voltage Detection ─ Automatically detects 6 or 12 volt batteries.
  • Reverse Hook-Up Protection ─ Charger will not operate if clamps are reversed.
  • “Connect it and forget it” all season long
  • Start/Stop Interface

Our Review

This is our preferred type of equipment when it comes to battery maintenance. It’s nice to have the added power to jump-start a vehicle if you need it. Having everything in one tool just makes sense. We highly recommend this to anyone that would prefer the added features it offers.


Best High Tech Battery Maintainer

NOCO Genius G3500 6V/12V 3.5 Amp Battery Charger and Maintainer

best high tech battery maintainer

The Genius G3500 ultra-safe smart battery charger from NOCO is a battery charger and maintainer 6 volt and 12 volts for lead-acid batteries and 12-volt lithium batteries.

Everything about this design is just smarter and faster. Not only does it charge batteries two times faster, but it also recovers damaged cells. You can leave it plugged in all day every day, and it won’t overcharge because it’s continuously monitoring battery activity for safe and efficient charging.

It also features spark-proof technology and protection against reverse polarity. The ultra-compact lightweight design makes this the perfect portable charger to have in your garage or on the road.

Product Features

  • A 6V and 12V battery charger and maintainer.
  • Charges lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries up to 120 amp-hours.
  • Recovers deeply discharged batteries down to 2-volts.
  • Spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection.
  • Built-in battery desulfator to recover worn-out batteries.
  • Safely monitors battery actively with zero overcharges.
  • Suitable for start-stop and CANbus vehicle systems.
  • Advanced diagnostics indication for damaged batteries.
  • Progressive repair mode for heavily sulfated 12V batteries.

Our Review

If you like high tech products, this is perfect for you. We’ve used these in the shop and they are a very nice piece of equipment. They are also surprisingly inexpensive. We recommend this for our more tech-friendly readers.


Finding The Perfect Battery Tender & Maintainer

So now that we’ve covered the best options available, let’s dive into what features to look for in a battery maintainer.

Easy To Use

It would seem like this is obvious, but some of the units of the market make things way too confusing. They pack too many gizmos and blinking lights into what should be a simple product. The result is too many buttons and options, so you have to continually refer to the manual to figure out even the most basic tasks.

Fast Charge Options

High amperage maintainers should offer different modes that allow you to choose what type of charging you want to use. A quality unit should provide a “fast charge” option. This will allow you to charge a battery if you need to quickly.

Most users will use in the standard auto mode for maintenance but occasionally you may need a battery topped off in a hurry.

Safety Features

When you’re dealing with electricity and chemicals, safety should be a major concern.

Here are the minimum features to look for

  • Spark-proof technology
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Overcharging protection

Warranty

The should be at least a 3 year easy to use warranty on the product. You work hard for your money, don’t waste it on a company that doesn’t stand behind their products.

In Conclusion

In 2020 there are many options for a quality battery maintainer on the market. We covered our favorites here, but there are others you may want to check out. Just use our simple guide to make sure you find a quality product.

About Tim Croft

Tim is the lead gearhead at Punishment Racing. He's been in the automotive industry for 20+ years as a technician, fabricator, and shop owner. Twitter