Battery Charger or Battery Maintainer?

charger
batteries

#1

I have a car that gets minimal usage (child at college, care at home). The battery keeps dying, as the accessories drain it with no usage. I was looking into buying a battery charger (about $50) and noticed that we could get a “battery maintainer” for about $20. Which should I do?

Thanks, George


#2

A trickle charger a.k.a. a battery maintainer should do the job. If the car is outside, you could even consider a solar-powered unit. However, what kind of time frame are we talking about? A battery in good shape without any excessive parasitic load, should be able to maintain enough charge for at least several weeks.


#3

A large battery tender (or maintainer as you call it) would be best for your needs and will keep the battery healthy. I recommend them for anyone with a motorcycle or car that is inactive for long periods. I find Deltran brand products to be top notch: http://www.batterytender.com/


#4

The battery maintainer is more suited to your purpose. All you have to do is remember to use it.

The charger is more versatile. You can even use it as a maintainer. And if the battery ever runs down for any reason (you left a door open overnight) the charger will get you going in about 30 minutes while the maintainer is of little value to you in this case.

Also - your neighbors who have riding mowers would prefer you have a battery charger.


#5

Off and on, it could be a few months at a time. with the battery maintainer, does it need to be plugged-in the whole time?


#6

If we’re talking months, I’d suggest using gas stabilizer if you aren’t already.


#7

You could hook it after a few weeks, but the problem is remembering to do so!


#8

In the well-stocked DIY garage it’s always nice to have a battery charger. For the vehicle that sits between drives the battery maintainer will allow you to hop in and go. Mine is a 1979 chevy short stepside with grand total original miles of 69871. For it I use the solar trickle charger that plugs into the lighter socket and sometimes, say six months between drives, it’s not quite enough and I have to get out the charger or jump it. I’ve been wondering about getting something more high tech but have not yet.


#9

Thanks everyone for your comments. I still can see benefits to both, but am leaning toward getting a charger.


#10

A good way to use a battery charger as a battery maintainer is to plug it into a 24 hour light timer. Fifteen minutes a day should keep it fully charged.


#11

Yes, it should be plugged in the whole time. Trickle chargers like this are usually pretty smart. They can adjust power to compensate for the battery’s needs.