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The Best Jet Ski Battery Chargers, Plus An Option When You Have No Outlets

I don’t want to leave you hanging, the best jet ski battery charger will be a 12-volt smart-charger that charges at a MAX of 2 amps. This goes for all jet skis, no matter the brand or year.

You must not charge over 2 amps! And you need to use a smart-charger! There are also other little details you need to do that we’ll discuss below.

They sometimes go by the names “trickle-charger” and “maintaner” too.

Important: Just like a boat, it’s good practice to vent your engine compartment for a few minutes before working on it or starting it, especially if it’s been sitting, or you just put gas in it!

1. NOCO GENIUS2, 2-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger

NOCO Genius 2 amp battery charger

My overall best pick for a jet ski battery charger is the NOCO GENIUS2 2-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger. Here are the reasons why it’s my top pick for all jet skis.

Buy the NOCO GENIUS2, 2-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger Here (Amazon Link Ad).

Features

  • 2 Amps – not too much and not too little of charging power, it’s just right.
  • Smart charger – It turns on and off as it’s needed.
  • Has a built-in maintainer.
  • Can detect sulfation and help restore the cells. (Super helpful for older batteries)
  • One of the few smart chargers that will try to bring back a dead battery.
  • Small – It doesn’t take up much room.
  • Its alligator clips are easy to use on batteries.
  • Temperature compensation – Needed for hot days or cold days in storage.

Tip: These chargers are the same you find for car batteries. So yes, you can use a charger made for car batteres for your PWC, so long as it’s 12-volt and meets the correct amps (under 2 amps).

2. Battery Tender Plus 12V Battery Charger and Maintainer

Battery Tender 1.25amp battery charger.

The second-best option for jet skis is the Tender Plus 12V Charger and Maintainer. Here is why I picked it!

Buy the Tender Plus 12V Battery Charger and Maintainer Here (Amazon Link Ad).

Features

  • 1.25 amps – Just enough amps to charge a watercraft battery at a good speed.
  • Super simple to use – Plug it in, connect to the battery and select 12 volts and let it go.
  • Maintainer – Turns on and off as it’s needed
  • Small – Stores away nicely when not in use. (Nice, if you’re like me with too much junk and not enough storage)

3. A Solar Charger

My Sea-Doo Spark with the solar charger and cover on it.

Consider getting a solar charger like this one here (Amazon Link Ad) for the battery in your jet ski.

A solar charger is a great option if you need to charge or maintain your jet skis battery without being near a power outlet. (It doesn’t even need to be in direct sunlight, just some, and it keeps the battery maintained)

This is what I use on my setup to help maintain my jet skis battery, and I go over the full details here. Do solar chargers actually work? Yes, it surprises many, read the post to understand why.

How To charge Your Battery

We have a post here that goes over the steps to charge a PWC battery.

But here is a short version…

  1. For good results, remove the battery from the jet ski.
  2. Connect the positive (+) cable of the charger to the positive (+).
  3. Connect the negative (-) cable of the charger to the negative (-).
  4. Plug the charger power cord into the correct wall outlet.
  5. Wait for the smart charger lights to go on and let you know it’s charging.

When charging is done, remove the negative (-) cable of the charger first and the positive (+) cable next.

What To Do If charger Is not working?

If the battery chargers status lights don’t come on when you connect, then make sure you have it hooked up right.

  • The positive cable of the charger goes to the positive of the battery, and the negative of the charger goes to the negative of the battery.
  • If the lights do come on, but the charger says the battery is bad, you need to get a new battery. It’s too sulfated to recover.

You could have a Surface Charge

If the chargers says it’s charged, but when you start the engine, it doesn’t start, then you only had a surface charge. There could be other reasons why your engine is not starting as talked about here.

A surface charge is not a full charge! You’ll need to get a new battery, no matter what the charger says about the battery charged status. (Batteries can lie, this is one of those examples)

Only a load tester can determine if the battery is good to start the engine, and not the LED light on the charger (or voltmeter!).If you don’t have a load tester, many auto part stores will load test a battery for you, and a lot do it for free!

The Signs Of A Bad Battery

  • 0 to 11.9 volts is considered bad.
  • 12.4 volts is considered weak.
  • 12.7 to 13.2 volts is considered good.

What matters more than voltage is amps, and a load tester can only test this. Many auto parts stores will load test a battery for you.

The easiest way to tell if your battery is bad is by listening to the engine area when you try to start.

  • A weak battery will struggle to turn over, especially in the water.
  • A super-weak battery will give you multiple clicking noises when you press the start button, as talked about here.
  • A completely dead battery may power on the gauges, but nothing happens after that.

Most of the jet ski starting problems come from bad batteries

The majority of jet ski starting issues you’ll run into will most often be a bad battery.

So if your engine won’t start, replacing the battery is often the first thing you should do, even if you think the battery is fine. (And double-check the new battery is fine too, I’ve had a few of those not work even when brand-new)

How often should you charge your battery?

Lead acid batteries are rechargeable, but they will die and won’t recharge if you don’t use your machine for months.

It’s ideal to recharge the battery in your jet ski every 3 months that you don’t ride.

So if you don’t ride you in August and September, you should charge your jet ski’s battery at least once in December for the ski to have the best results.

Tip: If you’re not riding for a few months, you should take the battery out of the jet ski and use the smart chargers with a maintainer built-in to keep the battery good when in storage.

Please avoid installing battery switches!

No, your jet ski does not have a battery switch and does not need one either!

Seriously, DO NOT install a battery switch! They make things worse and not as good as a simple solar charger.

Batteries In Skis die from not being used enough

The reason why the battery in your ski dies is not that the thing is always pulling a little power, but instead, it’s because the lead-acid battery goes flat if it’s not being used regularly.

If you ride all the time, the battery stays active and lasts for a long time because it’s being used. However, when you leave it to sit for too long (months), it goes flat, and adding a battery switch doesn’t fix this.

Give a solar battery chager a try instead of a battery switch

Instead of a battery switch, consider getting a solar panel. When you’re not riding, hook up the solar panel, and it will keep the jet ski’s battery active and lasting for longer. See how I have my solar charger set up.

My Spark without a cover but the solar charger is on the seat while at the dock.

What charging amps to use?

You want to charge the battery in your ski at a max of 2 amps. Lower amps like 0.5 (“500mA”)to 2 amps are fine too.

Going over 2 amps charges it too fast for these small batteries, and you can end up cooking the battery, which is very bad.

Make sure to vent your jet ski when charging

When charging your batteries, you need to vent the ski hull, as lead-acid batteries release a small amount of hydrogen and oxygen when charging.

Leave the access panel, seat, or hood ajar when charging or better yet, take it out. Also, keep the rain off your machine when you have an access panel, seat, or hood open, so you don’t flood it with rainwater.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Charge A PWC Battery?

It takes about 12 hours to charge an empty battery fully. It can take longer or shorter, depending on what’s best from the smart charger. This is why we suggest using smart chargers, as they turn on and off as they’re needed. You need to let your jet skis battery charge fully and slowly if you want the battery to last. It’s ideal to not rush these things.

When Should You Replace Your Battery?

The most I’ve gone without replacing one is 5 years, but that is because I kept it on the solar charger when I was not using it. Ideally, it would be smart if you replaced it every 3 years. If you’re replacing your battery every year, then it means you’re not riding it enough or charging it enough during the off-season. Lead-acid batteries go bad when they’re not used for months. You can sometimes recover a dead battery that’s been sitting for a long time by charging it, but a good bit of them don’t recover.

Why Does My PWC Battery Keep Dying?

We have a guide that explains why your skis battery keeps dying here.

Can You Jump Start A Jet Ski Instead Of Charging It?

No, do NOT jump-start the batteries in your jet ski, especially from your car or truck. I explain why this is bad in this post.

What size battery do I need?

You need a 12-volt battery that ranges in sizes from 16, 20, to 30.

What type of battery you need and what is the best one to get can be found in this guide here.

Does Riding Around Charge The Battery?

No, riding your PWC will not fully charge your battery. It may give it a surface charge but nothing lasting. PWCs use a stator and not an alternator like your car. A stator only maintains a charge and does not fully charge as an alternator would.

Do You Need To Add Water To Your Battery?

Adding water to watercraft batteries is not very common these days. Most manufacturers are moving to sealed batteries, which makes adding water a thing of the past. Even if you have a non-sealed battery, I would not add water to your jet ski and instead, get a new one. The trouble you would have to go through to get the distilled water, get a hydrometer, and mess with dangerous sulphuric acid is not worth it if you ask me.

Author

Steven

I started working at a power sports dealership in 2007, I worked in parts, service counter, and as a technician before moving to sales in 2013. I created StevenInSales.com in 2014 to answer common watercraft questions I would get from people. Now managing the site full-time, I continue to provide advice and web tools for my readers about watercraft. I've owned several watercraft, with a Sea-Doo Spark as my current main PWC.

8 thoughts on “The Best Jet Ski Battery Chargers, Plus An Option When You Have No Outlets”

  1. Great advice on battery and charger. I am looking at purchasing our first jetski, Seadoo gti 130. This website has been invaluable to supply the information I need. Thanks very much

    Reply
  2. Hi. Picked up the 2 amps NOCO charger and noticed the battery says charge at 1.8 amps. Will the extra charge amperage cause any issues? The same store also had a 1 amp NOCO available. Thanks.

    Reply
    • It’s fine. I’ve never seen a 12-volt lead acid battery be that specific about charging amps (except maybe for computer power supplies, but not automotive), they usually round up to 2 amps. The biggest thing is that you don’t want to go over 2 amps, so avoid the 2.5, 3, 4, etc. amp chargers. Also, make sure it’s a smart charger, the ones that turn on and off as needed.

      Reply
  3. Hey Steve
    I’ve just ordered a new GTX230 and will be keeping it on a Jetski Pod at a marina with a cover on it between rides, so no ability to have a smart charger hooked up.
    A little confused by your battery charging advice in that; on the one hand you say the battery needs to be on a charger if you’re not riding the ski for more than 3 months (winter). So I’m guessing it will be fine if I’m riding the ski at least once a month year round, but then you go on to say that riding the ski won’t change it up because it runs on a stator & not an alternator?
    So does this mean whether you ride it or not, it will still need to be charged up every three months?
    Maybe I’ve misunderstood you, can you please clarify.
    PS Yeah, we can ride year round in Oz no snow here. Our winters are just less hot than our summers
    Cheers Steve

    Reply
    • It’s more about keeping the battery active than charging it. When you ride your jet ski it’s keeping the battery active with the stator and so does putting it on a battery charger. A stator will charge a battery but it’s more of a side effect of maintaining the charge. If you’re not keeping the battery active the internal plates sulfate and cause it to die, this takes months to happen. Charging a dead lead acid battery will sometimes loosen the sulfation and allow the battery to charge again but if you ride it more or keep it on a smart charger the plates won’t sulfate. If the sulfation is too much the battery won’t recover when using a battery charger.

      This is why I like the solar battery chargers as they supply just enough power to keep the battery active, they don’t even need to be in direct sunlight.

      So if you’re riding your jet ski often, once a month is fine, you don’t need to charge the battery as you’re keeping it active. But if you go the whole winter without running the jet ski or keeping the battery on charge you run the risk of the battery being dead because it sulfated too much and the battery charger might not be able to “smack it back to life”.

      Reply

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