Audio Reviews

NOCO Genius5 Battery Charger Unbox & Review

In this article: I will unbox the NOCO Genius5 car battery charger, describe its features and functions, and then use it to demonstrate how it works.

It’s inevitable that sooner or later you’ll hop in your car, hit the key and get nothing more than one click Sound. Sometimes it’s because you’ve left the interior lights on for several days, or it could be because your car battery is reaching the end of its days. In any case, a dead car battery is a frustrating experience and an often uncomfortable problem to solve.

Today, you can drop off your dead battery at almost any auto parts store and have it charged and tested. It’s important to remember that auto parts stores are trying to sell you parts. I’m not saying they’re going to lie to you directly to sell you a battery, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their testers were wrong on the battery swap side either. In many cases (like mine) the battery charger that the stores use is not able to charge all the batteries.

The problem is that the battery I’m using is a gel battery. These must be charged with an energy-saving charger. The battery will not charge with high amp inputs and the auto parts store test equipment will report it as a bad battery. In reality, it just needs to be charged more slowly. This is where the NOCO Genius5 battery charger can come in handy.

NOCO has long been a member of our list of the best car battery chargers, so I picked one up after dealing with too many dead car batteries while testing electronics. Today I share my experience with this compact charger.

Unpack & first impression

Packaging is important because it gives the buyer information about what the product can do, but it’s also a way for brands to differentiate themselves from the competition. Well-made, safe packaging is (in many cases) a sure sign that a company is proud of their products and wants you to have the best experience.

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The Genius5 comes in a standard cardboard box with the logo clearly visible all over it. It’s definitely not discreet, although the rest of the shipping packaging doesn’t give you any information whatsoever as to what the product is.

Opening the shipping carton reveals the retail packaging. Now you can find all the details you are looking for about exactly what you are holding in your hands. NOCO even uses an entire side panel to illustrate what’s in the box.

The main body of the battery charger rests in a cardboard nest surrounded by styrofoam insulators that ensure the device is not damaged during transport. The charger’s “rock” is slightly larger than a deck of cards and about five times as thick. It’s pretty hard. The power cord is permanently mounted on one side while the output cord is mounted on the opposite side. The top of the charger shows numerous LED lights for the functions and features of this battery charger.

My first impression is overall positive. The main unit feels sturdy and its small size is a welcome change from the bulky battery chargers of the past. The cables are small, but given the power of this charger, that shouldn’t be a problem. The battery terminals themselves are interchangeable. They don’t feel extremely robust, but should be sufficient.

What’s in the box

Inside the box you will find the main battery charger unit with a 72″ power cord and a 56″ cord with interchangeable plug. The charging cables themselves are 21 inches long and separate from the main charging cable.

A mounting strap is also included, presumably to attach the charger to a workbench. A multilingual user manual gives you a basic overview of the features and functions of the device.

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NOCO Genus5 features

The Genius5 delivers a charging current of 5 amps for trickle charging of car batteries. It works with 12 volt and 6 volt batteries, 12V AGM and 12V lithium batteries. It also works with wet cell, lead-acid, gel cell, improved flooded, maintenance free, and calcium batteries. Lithium batteries must have a built-in maintenance system in order to charge properly.

In addition to charging batteries, the Genius5 can also repair 6 and 12V batteries. The repair function repairs batteries that have been lying around for a long time, are old or have not been maintained for a long time. The Genius5 repairs stratified and sulfated batteries to restore performance.

The Genius5 is intended for charging partially discharged batteries above 2 volts. When the battery is below this voltage, the charger includes a forced mode that initializes the charge cycle. Batteries should be removed from the vehicle when using the Force Mode feature to avoid damage to electronics.

With the NOCO Genius5

The Genius5 is pretty easy to use. Connect the positive clamp to the positive pole and the negative pole to the negative pole. Plug the charger into an outlet. Press the mode button on the charger to select the appropriate battery chemistry and function.

LEDs light up to show the mode and a display shows the remaining charge. The LED will fade in and out to let you know the device is working.

The time it takes the charger to charge a battery depends on the size of the battery and the amount of charge required. At only 5 amps, you can expect it to take a while to fully charge a battery.

How it works

I have an eight year old gel battery that is in a car that is rarely driven. Since it sits a lot and is old, the battery tends to die quite often. I tested the battery’s open circuit voltage before charging and it showed just under 11 volts – not enough to start the engine.

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The battery in question is rated at 900 cold crank amps and delivers 95 amp hours. I set up the charger and walked away. The Genius5 took about eight hours to fully charge the battery. The end-of-charge voltage was 13.5 volts.

After running the load cycle, I decided to run the repair cycle. It took four hours to run, although it’s difficult to quantify if it actually made any difference. At least I had a feeling the battery would be in the best possible shape going forward.

Conclusion

There are a number of things that stand out about the design and function of this battery charger. The small size is a great departure from the old battery chargers and the lightweight, compact design means easy storage. The design of the charging cable is interesting. The ability to quickly connect the charging cables also means the unit can accept optional charging clips, sold separately, and makes replacing damaged parts easy.

Designed with safety in mind, the Genius5 can run on a battery indefinitely. The low amperage means it will take a long time to fully charge a discharged battery, but it’s also a great way to ensure your battery is being charged safely and correctly. It offers a repair function that should improve the performance of most car batteries.

The NOCO Genius5 did a great job of charging a gel cell battery that’s notoriously difficult to charge, and it got the job done in a reasonable amount of time. Since this isn’t used all the time, it’s particularly nice that it’s easy to store away.

Having used many different types of battery chargers over the years this is a great option that seems to get the job done and well built. It’s a significant improvement over old battery chargers that took up a lot of space.

Joshua Elliott
Bacon practitioner. Certified coffee fan. Lifelong food junkie. Web trailblazer. Typical internet fanatic.

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