Onboard chargers are quickly becoming must-haves on fishing boats.
This is especially true if you need multiple batteries to run your trolling motor, fish finder, etc.
The Digital and the Precision are both excellent, but the Precision charger offers more features and faster charging times.
The Digital model, on the other hand, is less expensive.
If you’re looking for a Minn Kota onboard charger and wonder which model to choose, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s get started!
Minn Kota Digital and Precision Compared
|Number of Banks||1, 2, 3, 4-bank||1, 2, 3, 4-bank|
|Amps per Bank||5A, 6A, 10A||6A, 10A, 15A|
|Flooded Lead-Acid Battery Charging||✔||✔|
|AGM Battery Charging||✔||✔|
|Gel Battery Charging||✖||✔|
|Battery Type Selection||✖||✔|
|Low Voltage Compensation||✖||✔|
|Warranty||3 Years||3 Years|
What They Have in Common
Both Minn Kota chargers are installed onboard and wired permanently to the batteries. This is great as you don’t need to connect anything to the batteries each time you want to recharge—all you need to do is connect the charger to AC power.
Onboard chargers are especially convenient when you have multiple batteries on your boat and a 24V or 36V trolling motor.
Smart Multi-Stage Charging
The Minn Kota Digital and Precision are automatic multi-stage chargers. They will monitor the state of your batteries, fully charged and maintain them. They sense ambient temperature and adjust the charging voltage accordingly.
The LED lights give you information about the current charge/maintenance stage for each battery.
Both have versions designed to charge from a single (1-Bank) up to four 12 Volt batteries (4-Bank).
It’s the same rugged quality we usually expect from Minn Kota. Both the MK Digital and the MK Precision models are vibration and shock resistant.
It’s not surprising they are waterproof; however, they are also made with materials that resist salt water, so you don’t have to look for a different saltwater version to match your Riptide or any other saltwater trolling motor.
3 Reasons Minn Kota Precision is Better
More Amps Means Faster Charging
The Digital charger series has the maximum current output of 10 amps per battery bank, while you can go as high as 15 amps per bank with the Precision charger.
The higher the amp rating, the faster your battery will be fully charged.
If you have small batteries and have plenty of time to recharge, the amp rating won’t be important. However, if you have a large battery bank or want faster charging times, go for the high-end Precision model.
The MK Precision Can Charge Gel Batteries
The Minn Kota Digital charger is suitable only for flooded and AGM lead-acid batteries.
The Precision, on the other hand, can also charge gel batteries. The advantage of deep-cycle gel batteries is that you can discharge them down to 75% depth of discharge, and they generally have longer service life than AGM or other lead-acid batteries. (up to 1000 charge/discharge cycles)
Select Each Battery Type with the Minn Kota Precision
With the Precision charger, you can manually select each battery type so that they are properly charged.
If you have a separate battery on your boat of different size or type, for example to power your fish finder, this feature is a lifesaver.
Conclusion: Which Charger Offers Better Value?
Both onboard chargers from Minn Kota are great products with thousands of happy anglers.
The Minn Kota Digital charger has fewer features, but you can save some money if you don’t need them. It is a very capable smart charger that will look after your battery. It is also less expensive.
On the other hand, if you want the best onboard charger made by Minn Kota, you should consider getting the Precision model. With its low-voltage compensation and a higher current output, it will do a better job charging your battery bank. Also, if you have gel batteries or might be getting them in the future, then the Precision charger will keep them topped up.
6 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Trolling Motor Battery Charger
Onboard or Portable?
Onboard chargers are installed and wired permanently to the batteries. This makes them very convenient to operate as all you need to do connect them to AC power.
Portable chargers need to be connected and removed from the batteries every time you need to charge them.
Smart vs Manual Battery Chargers
Smart chargers, also called automatic or intelligent, constantly monitor your battery’s current state and use a multi-stage charging process to deliver the right voltage and current at the right time.
This means you can connect your smart charger to the battery and pretty much forget about it. Your battery will be fully charged and properly maintained.
Even if left connected for a very long time, there is no risk of overcharging your battery.
Manual chargers are less sophisticated and usually less expensive than smart/automatic chargers.
Manual chargers don’t monitor the battery and will keep charging it until the charger is disconnected or unplugged.
This means you can’t just connect them and forget. You will need to monitor the state of the battery so it’s not overcharged. Overcharging leads to shortened battery life, damage, and potentially dangerous situations.
Battery Types and Charger Compatibility
You need to make sure that your charger will charge the battery you have. Most trolling motors are used with the following types of batteries:
- Flooded Lead Acid
- Lithium, for example: LFP or LiFePo4
If you want to use a gel or lithium-ion battery, you will need to make sure that your battery charger (and trolling motor) is compatible, as a different charging profile is required for each battery type.
Number of Batteries and System Voltage
Depending on the voltage of your trolling motor, you will need to charge one or more batteries. A single battery bank charger can charge a 12-Volt battery, which is all you need if you have a 12-Volt trolling motor.
If your motor operates at 24 Volts, you will need to charge two 12 Volt batteries connected in series (double bank), at 36 Volts – three batteries (triple bank), and at 48 Volts – four (quadruple bank).
Many chargers are designed to charge multiple battery banks.
Pick the Correct Charger Size
Battery chargers come with amperage ratings that tell you how fast they can recharge depleted batteries.
The higher the Amp rating, the faster your battery will be fully charged.
Less expensive 5 Amp chargers can recharge a medium-size battery in less than 12 hours. However, if you have a large battery bank or want faster charging times, you will be much happier with a 10 Amp or 15 Amp charger.
If you plan to charge your battery bank onboard or outdoor, you will need a waterproof battery charger.
Additionally, some chargers are designed to be used around salt water and come with a special corrosion-resistant coating.
Other important features to look for in a good charger are a short circuit and reverse polarity protection.