What does a battery maintainer do

Are you wondering how to properly store your motorhome or boat? Do you have a car you can sit in for a while? If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, then a solar battery maintainer can be an important tool to keep in your storage kit.

But what exactly does a car battery maintainer do? Read on to learn when to use a battery maintainers, its pros and cons, and how to choose the best baatery maintainer for you.

Let’s start!

a battery maintainer

What is a battery maintainer

A battery maintainer is essentially a small battery charger that sends a small amount of energy to your battery. Doing so will keep the battery inactive for extended periods of time and keep the battery fully charged. They can also help extend battery life by preventing damage to the battery.

The battery maintainer sends a trickle charge to your battery and can sense when it’s fully charged. At this point, it turns off to avoid overcharging the battery, ideal for use when the battery has been idle for a while without any use.

The battery maintainers can be a device that plugs into the wall or can be used with a small solar panel.

When you see a single small solar panel on a vehicle, it’s usually for battery maintenance.

A battery maintainer is essentially a small battery charger that sends small amounts of energy to your battery. Doing so lets the battery sit for long periods of time without any activity and lets the battery retain a full charge. They can also help extend the life of your battery by preventing damage to your battery.

Since maintainers are used for maintenance during periods when cars aren’t going to be used, time isn’t of the essence when charging. This means that a maintainer can give a battery a “low and slow” charge, which is better for its health than a faster charge or a jump.

A Battery Tender® only turns on and charges the battery when the battery requires charging while a battery charger keeps charging the battery regardless of whether it requires it or not.

When Should I use battery maintainers 

Most of the time, the battery maintainer is used to start the engine’s battery. Since these batteries only charge while the engine is running, they require maintenance, hence the name.

If you own any type of vehicle for two months or more, a battery maintainers will help you charge the battery so you can start your car, truck, van or RV as soon as the time comes.

But why does the battery die when not in use? This is so-called parasitic drains and self-discharge. Anything connected to the battery, such as the vehicle’s computer and its electronics, will use a small amount of electricity. Although very slight, this small amount of energy can completely drain your battery over time.

In addition, batteries have so-called self-discharge. Due to the battery’s chemistry, the battery loses its stored energy over time, even without any connections. However, this problem with lead-acid batteries is much more serious than that of lithium batteries, which is why battery maintainers are essential for lead-acid batteries.

When should I use maintainers

What is the difference between a battery charger and a battery maintainer

You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just use a battery charger? What’s the difference?”

A normal battery charger will not stop sending voltage to the battery, no matter what state of charge the battery is in. For some batteries, this can be detrimental to the battery in the long term. Some battery chargers have a smart mode that senses storage and lowers the voltage or shuts down like a maintainer.

On the other hand, the battery maintainer shuts down once the battery is fully charged. When the battery starts to drain again, the maintainers will restart, making it ideal for extended use.

What are the advantages for maintainers

Given what we’ve discussed so far, the advantages of battery maintainers are clear – they keep your battery safely charged so you can hit the road (or on the water) anytime, anywhere.

They will also prolong your battery life by preventing the battery from dying permanently during cold periods. Fortunately, they are suitable for long-term use, giving you more peace of mind when your vehicle or boat is parked.

Overall, a small battery maintainer is more cost-effective than a full-sized charging system that’s just used to keep the battery fully charged.

What are the disadvantages

Battery maintainers are great for a number of reasons, but of course, they also have their downsides. For example, you probably don’t need one at all. If you drive at least 30 minutes a month, you may be able to avoid unnecessary charges, no.

The battery maintainer is not a charger and should not be used if there is any significant load on the vehicle. Make sure all electronics and lights are turned off, otherwise the battery maintainers may not work properly and you will still experience a dead battery.

Is it safe to use the battery maintainer all the time

So, can you really leave the battery maintainer on all the time? Fortunately, the answer is yes! The battery maintainer is designed for continuous and long-term use. When used properly, they should be completely safe to use for as long as you need.

It’s not a bad idea to check in with the maintainers every once in a while. While it shouldn’t cause any damage to your battery, it may short out at some point. Every month or so, just check to make sure the maintainers are still kicking.

Can they be used with lithium ion batteries

This depends on. If you’re using high quality batteries like our Maxworld Power Batteries, which have their own built-in BMS, the battery maintainers will charge them. However, if the maintainer is specifically designed for lead acid, it may not remain fully charged.

However, if you are using a Lithium battery without a BMS, do not attempt to connect the battery maintainer as this may lead to an unsafe situation.

Thankfully, most lithium batteries don’t require a battery maintainer, so this isn’t something you need to worry about. Lithium batteries have a much lower self-discharge rate, and if disconnected, they won’t crash even when in storage.

lithium ion batteries

How to choose a battery maintainer

The main factor to consider when choosing a battery maintainer is the voltage of the battery. Find a maintainer who can charge your specific battery properly.

For example, Battery Tender’s 1.25A 12V battery charger and maintainer is a popular model. It can charge most powered sports cars, but not car batteries.

There are also battery maintainers that can charge multiple batteries at once. If you have multiple batteries in the same or different vehicles, you may consider one of them.


Whether a battery maintainer is worth the cost ultimately depends on your needs for a battery maintainer. After all, they serve a specific purpose – to keep your battery charged safely for long periods of time.

If your vehicle or boat will last for months, the answer is yes; having a battery maintainers to start the battery is definitely worth it. You can rest assured that your battery is safely charged and you don’t have to buy new batteries as often!

However, if you have a set of lithium batteries for your household power source, a battery maintainer is not the best option. Charging and disconnecting them is your best bet.

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