PDB Tested: SmartMonkey 200

Published online: Dec 25, 2013 PDB Tested

StartMonkey 200- Battery Charger

The StartMonkey 200 is billed as the world's smallest dead battery jump start system and while its lack of size is appealing, it's what the charger is capable of that truly makes it a must-have for boaters.

The list of what it's capable of was enough to get me to want to test it out. The claims almost seemed too good to be true so I wanted to get it in my hands to see if it really was as good as advertised.

First Claim: A fully charged StartMonkey can restart a standard 12-volt battery up to 10 times. Surprisingly enough, this is true as far as I can tell. I felt like a hero going around jump starting boats this spring, but I ran out of batteries to jump before it ran out of juice.

Second Claim: StartMonkey holds its charge for at least a year. I haven't had it for year since it just came out, but I do like that four LED segments shine green when it's fully charged and it drops down to three segments when 3/4 charged and so forth. When the StartMonkey only has a 1/4 charge left, the LED array turns red. (It self-protects against 100 percent drain.) I wish these lights were a little brighter to see in the daylight, but that's really the only knock on this.

Third Claim: Requires four hours to charge from 50 percent, eight hours from empty and holds 75 percent of charge for up to three years. Again I wasn't able to test it for longevity, but I can tell you it recharges quickly. Plus it has an input socket so you can recharge it via the supplied in-car charger as well.

To use, simply connect StartMonkey to the terminals of your battery for a few seconds and then start your boat. Once your engine fires up, StartMonkey automatically switches off, and it can be stored in the case provided.

On its website it retails for $179.95, which seems fair based on the peace of mind it offers. It protects from short-circuit, has over-charge protection, incorrect polarity protection and if you try and use it on something other than a 12-volt battery like a 6- or 24-volt, the StartMonkey won't activate.

Weighing just two pounds and measuring 6.9-inches by 1.8 inches by 1.9 inches, it truly is remarkable what this charger is capable of.