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Nothing can bring down the curtain on a hunting or fishing trip quite like a dead battery. Especially if you are eager to get an early start. Whether that’s a truck, boat, trolling motor, or some other essential gear, starting off the day underpowered is sure to translate into lost opportunity in the field. Fortunately, it’s easy to hedge against occasional battery fails by always keeping a charger close at hand. Whether it’s a plug-and-play jump starter or a mountable trickle-charge unit, you’ll be glad you made the investment next time you turn the key only to find that the clock is ticking on your latest adventure. Here are several factors to consider when choosing a reliable battery charger.

Battery Type

Not all battery chargers are created equal, so be sure you’re selecting one that’s designed for the type of battery you plan to top off. Schumacher

Not all batteries are created equal. They differ not only in voltage rating (6v and 12v), but also in construction. For example, standard lead-acid, absorbent glass-mat (AGM), deep-cell, and lithium batteries can all have different charging requirements. A charger with multiple modes to cover both the battery type and regulate its rate of charge will prove the most versatile for sportsmen with a variety of vehicles, boats, and equipment.

Smart Charging

You can ruin a battery by overcharging it, so get a charger with an auto-shut off to prevent accidents. NOCO

One of the worst things you can do to a battery is overcharge it, which can cause toxic gases to expand, kill the power cells, and even cause a sealed battery to explode. The best way to avoid this is with a modern “intelligent” charger, which incorporates microprocessor technology to analyze and adjust the rate of charge at all times to avoid over-doing it.

Mountable Maintenance

Some batteries can go bad if left dormant, so keep one attached to an automatic charger if you can. Battery Tender

Mountable chargers are meant to be permanently fixed to the vehicle or machine. They function more like battery maintainers than traditional chargers, always keeping your battery at peak performance even while not in operation. That constant optimization will extend the cells’ productive life. Check to make sure that ring connectors for permanent installation are sold with the unit, and if it also comes with interchangable alligator-style clips for occasional charging of other batteries, that will make the device more versatile. Mountable chargers are great for machinery that doesn’t see everyday use and may suffer from battery drain while dormant, such as riding lawn mowers, snow blowers, and motorcycles.