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PWC Battery Charger — What to Buy

If you ever feel like you’re buying a new battery for your jet ski every year, then a battery charger is a must have for you. The reason why your battery dies so quickly is that you’re not using your jet ski enough.

Batteries go flat if they don’t get used, the same thing would happen to your car if you left it to sit as much as your jet ski.

The next question you might have is “what’s the best jet ski battery charger”? This is what we want to answer in this post.

It’s not what you might expect.

Best Battery Charger/Tender For Jet Skis

The best charger has got to be a Solar Charger like this one here (Amazon Link Ad). The reasons are simple…

  • It’s easy to setup.
  • Most are water resistant (It’s a jet ski, so you’ll be near water).
  • Better for the environment (uses the free energy from the Sun).
  • Works if there is a power outage.
  • Doesn’t need to be in direct sunlight, just needs to go on the outside of the watercraft.
  • Can be stored away quickly and put out just as quick.
  • Don’t need to be plugged in – great if you store your PWC somewhere with no power.

It honestly only makes sense to have a solar charger. I’ve had customers in the past ask me to get complicated battery switches and wall chargers to setup for their machines. I never understood why anyone wanted to go through this much trouble? Keep it simple!

A solar charger is not meant to charge a dead battery(works more like a trickle charger), it’s meant to keep the battery alive and topped up. If the battery doesn’t get used for weeks or even months, it goes dead. The battery drains a little at night, and by day the solar charger restores that charge.

This cycling is what makes the battery happy and allows it to be able to start for you every time you want to ride.

It’s easy to forget about the jet ski and when you do want to ride nothing is worse than finding out the battery is dead. You avoid this issue by keeping the battery charged.

Wall Chargers

You can still use wall chargers if you want. If you have power where you keep your PWC, then a battery charger works well.

Just make sure to buy a Battery Tender Junior 12V, 0.75A Battery Charger like this one here (Amazon Link Ad) so that it doesn’t overcharge the battery. Overcharging the battery can be just as bad as letting it die.

Keep The Battery Connected?

It’s okay to keep the battery connected when charging so long as the charging rate is under 2 amps and the battery can vent.

Going over 2 amps could fry the electronics, and this is why they say never to jump a jet ski from a car because it supplies way too many amps.

Fast Charging

It’s best to avoid using fast chargers as they go over the 2 amps that I recommend keeping under. Plus, a fast charger could fry the electronics of the watercraft.

Jump-Starting A Jet Ski

Never jump start a jet ski from a car or truck, you will fry the electronics.

You can use a jumper box or jumper pack to jump-start a jet ski but this has its own problems. For example, the jumper pack needs to be kept charged too.

I’ve recently found a SuperCap Jumper Pack (Amazon Link Ad) that I keep now in my truck because it can jump start a dead battery using the dead battery. I know it sounds crazy but it works and here is a video proving it works. It’s hard to believe a dead battery can charge this SuperCap enough to start a jet ski but it works.

Keep in mind, a jumper pack is not a replacement for a new battery. Don’t go riding on a dead battery because it could leave you stranded. A jumper pack like the SuperCap is just nice to have around mostly for your truck or car.

21 thoughts on “PWC Battery Charger — What to Buy”

  1. Hi Steven.

    I am going to add a 2nd battery to my SeaDoo GTX. I am using the OEM kit to add the second battery. I am considering a NOCO onboard charger. Would you use a 2 bank connected to each battery or a single bank connected to the original battery.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Hi Steven,
    Just purchased a 2021 SeaDoo GTI170 and want to keep a solar charger on it while parked on the jet ramp. What solar charger would you recommend. I plan to connect the harness to the battery and plug in the panel and attached to ski once the cover is on. Thanks in advance for your recommendation.
    Art

    Reply
    • Any 12-volt 5-watt solar charger will do. You’ll want the quick disconnects for your setup, many solar chargers come with them.

      Reply
  3. I keep my sea doos on a covered lift. I’d like to install a smart trickle charger. The guy at West Marine told me to put an onboard charger in, install an AC plug port in the hull, and then use and extension cord. That is all easy enough. But I can’t find anywhere on the internet anyone else doing that. Is that bad advice. Is there a more simple solution that is that easy?

    Reply
    • This is something you see more on boats and not on jet skis. I personally would not do it because it requires drilling a sizable hole into your fiberglass. What I found to be the simplest solution is to use a 5-watt solar panel charger. The batteries in jet ski die because they’re not being used and a small solar charger keeps the battery active and that is all you need. I do this on my Spark and just now after 6 years replaced the battery where others who don’t charge the battery get 1 to 2 years out of a battery. I have quick connections on the solar charger and when it’s time to ride I disconnect and store the charger away. This will be the easiest thing to do as it does not require any extension cords to worry about tripping over or getting shocked.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Steven. I saw that in earlier posts. I like the idea, but my jet skis are under a covered dock and with trees / shade nearby. Getting a cord out to good sun would involve having to mount the solar panels (which I’d rather not do) and run pretty long wires. Any other suggestions for a convenient plugged solution?

        Reply
        • It seems the inboard charger is your only option. I’ve done this in the past and routed the cord out of the glove box because it was easier than drilling the fiberglass body, plus it cheaper to replace the glove box then fix a hole in fiberglass. You can make it look good with the right flush mounts. It’s an involved process so I would talk to your local dealer about installing one. The guy I did his for had an electrician come out with me so he can have custom cord length and proper fittings installed on his lift and skis. He had the cords come down from above and it was easy for the rider to open the glovebox and plug them in. It was a really cool system.

          Reply
  4. I just changed the battery in my 2000 sea doo GS two weeks ago. I’ve been extremely busy and didn’t ride it for two and half weeks. I went to ride it the other day and the battery was dead. Is that normal to die that quick?

    Reply
    • No, a new battery should not die that quick. Some 2-strokes do have bad current leakage so that is possible but not always the case. It could be the battery is bad from the factory, I’ve seen that happen a few times.

      Reply
  5. Steven, thank you for the advice. I purchased the charger you recommended and it is perfect. I did take it one step further and added a marine grade cigarette plug to my front compartment so now all I have to do is plug in the charger. Thanks again!

    Reply
  6. Hello steve,

    I just replaced my battery in my 2007 gtx 4tec 155 about a month ago and everything was going good until today i got on and the start button would not work I put a trickle charger on it (Battery tender) and a few hours latter it turned over no problem… So I do a lot of tubing with the kids so I stop and start the machine a lot could that be the issue or is it something else like a draw?

    thanks for the great info!

    Sean

    Reply
    • I would replace the battery if you do a lot starting and stopping. It could be an old battery that is worn out and the battery charger just gave it a surface charge and might die again if you let it sit again for a few days. A new battery is a safe bet.

      Reply
  7. Steven, your recommendation on the 2 amp charger not being a problem is not accurate. I bought the YUUSA 2 amp units for both of my Yamahas and left them on for the months when not in use and they completely dried out the batteries in 8 months and fried them. I replaced the factory installed acid filled battery’s with AGM units but am not sure about the effects of leaving these chargers on all the time and intend to use a timer on them now. Crazy thing is I cannot find any info on this anywhere on the web. Shame on Yamaha or any other manufacturer putting acid filled battery’s in their $15,000 machines to save $30, absolutely disgraceful! Worse yet is there is absolutely no caution on this problem. YUUSA customer service told me that there is instruction in their tech manual and in the battery instructions that owners should check the fluid in the battery once a month and refill as necessary as trickle chargers will cook the fluid out the pressure release tube if left on for months.

    The expectation that any pwc owner is going to disconnect the battery and pull it out of the machine once a month to check the fluid is absolutely moronic. These pwc manufacturers should be called out for this atrocity as I understand they all put acid filled battery’s in new machines.

    Reply
    • Yea, the batteries that come from the factory are not that great. You’re kind of damn if you do and damn if you don’t with those batteries. If it’s a smart charger it should have turned itself on and off as it needs it. The 2 amp is the highest you want to go with these small batteries, but you can go lower in amps for chargers. I often tell people to go with the solar chargers instead since they naturally turn off when there is no sun. But the AGM batteries are far better and Sea-Doo has been going to a cross between AGM and Liquid batteries with there latest models. These batteries Sea-Doo is using now are quite good, I still have my 2014 Spark with original battery that I’ll go ahead and replace at the end of the year and all I did was keep it on a solar charger when I’m not using it. At least Sea-Doo sees the issue with the old style of batteries and is doing something about it.

      Reply
  8. What should I do during long term storage? I live in the north and only get to use the machine a few months of the year. The rest of the time its under cover on the trailer in my garage.

    Reply
    • Only worry about keeping the battery charged if you don’t plan on riding your jet ski for more than a month or two. Honestly, the battery won’t die if you don’t ride or charge it for a month or two. It’s when people forget to ride or charge the battery over the winter which can last for several months. If you live somewhere that gets cold and you have to winterize your jet ski I would recommend pulling the battery out and keeping a smart battery charger on it through the winter. It’s important to use a smart charger as it will turn on and off as the battery needs it.

      Reply
  9. I’m an old guy that just bought a 3 up IBR Spark to pull my grand kids around. I’ve rented jet skis before, but never owned. I greatly appreciate your advise…I thought I new a lot but now I know much more. One great thing was the assy of the rear step, which the dealer forgot to put on. I told him I would put it on myself…just two screws and the holes are already drilled. I did not think about the chances of the holes leaking….. I am also keeping it in the water. THANK YOU…I will definitely use sealer.

    Reply

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