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Cars are now even more reliant on batteries than ever before, and you need to charge them when they run out of power. Below, we peek at some top-rated car battery chargers available, and there’s a handy buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision.
Battery Tender Plus
This fully automatic charger will save you lots of time and effort. Unlike a trickle charger, tender plus maintains a level voltage, reducing the risk of damaging your battery. Since your safety is a top priority, it is spark-proof and offers reverse polarity protection. It’s perfect for not only cars, but motorcycles, lawnmowers, scooters, and ATVs as well.
The package includes alligator clips and battery tender ring terminals. Additionally, you get a quick connect harness, which comes in handy when faced with hard to reach areas. The AC input power cord is 6 feet (1.83 m) long, and that for DC output is 4.5 feet (1.37 m). Main features include:
- Reverse polarity protection
- Spark proof
- Tender ring terminals
- alligator clips
The alligator clamps are small. Also, the bottom of the device can easily scratch your car, because it doesn’t have feet or rubber stand-offs.
This charger and maintainer will be there for you when you need it the most. You only need a few hours to get back on the road after your car’s battery runs out. Not only that, you can use the BC15BD to power your boat, lawnmower, motor home, ATVs, snowmobiles, and jet skis that have not been in use for months. The secret to it having all this capability is its ability to charge and maintain any WET, AGM, or GEL 12-volt battery.
With the addition of the LCD, you can deduce what’s going on with this 15-amp battery charger. It is easy to store because of the built-in cord, clamp storage, and cable wrap. It can automatically switch from fast charge to top-off, and finally, trickle charge modes. The charger is ETL and CEC compliant, and Black+Decker is so confident in it, they give you a 1-year warranty upon purchase. Its main features include:
- ETL certified and CEC compliant
- Reverse polarity protection
- Fast charging
- Reverse polarity protection
- Fully automatic
The cord could be longer, and even though the LCD screen is a welcome feature, it is somewhat buggy and therefore frustrating to use at times.
This car battery charger is fully automatic and controlled by a microprocessor. The result of this is easy usability and your peace of mind. You won’t have to waste your precious time checking it every now and then since the 5 stage charging system takes care of everything. In addition, conspicuously laced LED indicators show you how far you are into the charging process.
DieHard 71219 guarantees your safety by having features geared towards that. For example, if the clams are wrongfully connected, the reverse hookup protection shuts off the charger immediately. Additionally, the float mode monitoring feature regulates your battery’s voltage throughout every stage. It features multiple options when charging up 12-volt accessories. You also find 50 amp clamps and permanently attachable ring connectors in the package. With the various connection options and a quick connect harness, this car battery charger is perfect for hard to reach areas like in most motorbikes. If in doubt of the product, then take advantage of its 3-year warranty. Its main features include:
- LED indicators
- Three connector options
- Guaranteed safety
- 3-year warranty
The quick-connect harness is short, and the clamps are too small: meaning that some older “American-made” car batteries may be incompatible.
The SC280 cannot only charge your battery; it can maintain it as well. With the help of its digital display and LED indicators, you can easily see what’s going on and control it. It features auto voltage detection, meaning it can select the charge rate required, doing away with many unnecessary buttons.
You can even use this charger for general purposes in your household. Its small size and weight is a massive plus for many as well. It also features reverse hookup protection and is compatible with standard, AGM, deep-cycle, and gel batteries. Its main features include.
- Compatible with many battery types
- Can be used as a maintainer
Maybe Schumacher went a bit too far in their innovation since there no ‘start button’ on the SC1280. It automatically starts charging after connection. This attribute is a letdown for many, who find it inconvenient, and prefer to go more ‘old-school.’ Additionally, it’s a little hard trying to understand how this charger works. Fortunately, there’s a detailed manual to help you know what all the buttons, codes, and blinking lights mean.
Ampeak Smart Charger
You won’t stay on the road for too long, with this fully automatic car battery accompanying you. It has a quick charge feature and is compatible with small batteries like those in motorcycles, lawn tractor, snowmobiles, and ATV. It also has a reconditioned function that adapts to high voltages of up to 16V.
Operating this smart charger is quick, easy, and intuitive. It also has an intelligent temperature protection system. The cooling fan dispenses heat from vents, in turn increasing charging efficiency. You can use this charger for all types of 6V and 12V batteries, including but not limited to STD, Gel, and AGMs. Its main features include:
- Fully automatic
- Reliable cooling fan
- Safety guaranteed
- Ease to use
The fan tends to be a bit loud, and the leads to the clamps are a bit short.
Kawish automatic car battery charger
Don’t let the small size of this device fool you because it is really powerful. Its compact size also means that it’s highly portable and easy to work with. The maximum current output is 10A, and takes around 5-7 hours, to charge most batteries fully.
It has five charging options, which are a trickle, float, constant voltage, constant current, and finally, idle mode. When charging, you can see the current, voltage, and power used on its reliable display. The unit stops charging your battery at 14.1 V automatically.
The great thing about it is that it has both auto and manual modes. Kawish doesn’t compromise on your safety, and thus the charger has not one but four types of protection. In use, you will be safe from reverse connections, overheating, short-circuiting, or low voltage. Its main features include:
- Auto and manual mode
- Five charging options
- Four types of protections
- Works rapidly and effectively
The case is not that sturdy, so you have to be extra careful not to drop it. Also, the cords provided are a bit short and lacking.
TowerTop smart battery charger
This automatic charger selects the charge rate for maintaining and charging your batteries. It features a 15A boost charge, 8A quick charge, and 2A trickle charge. You can connect and use it on all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, some of which are AGM, STD, and Gel. Moreover, it has a 7-step charging process. This auto battery charger is powerful, lightweight, and portable.
The TowerTop features an LCD screen display, and the programs it has include battery test, recondition, floating, bulk charge, soft start absorption, and desalination. Safety shouldn’t be a concern either because this multiprocessor controlled charger has a short-circuit, overheat, over-voltage, overtime charging, and reverse polarity protection capabilities. Some of its main features include:
- Advanced winter charging mode
- 7-step charging program
- LCD screen display
The power cord it comes with is very short. Also, it’s not the sturdiest of car battery chargers, so you have to be careful not to damage it easily.
AstroAI Battery Charger
This device is easy to use and ideal for application in cars, motorcycles, mowers, snowmobiles, and boat batteries. This 6v and 12v battery charger is indeed very powerful and can be applied for use in SLA, WET, AGM, and VRLA batteries.
Let it handle everything for you with the four-stage charging process, which are initialization, bulk absorption, float, and fills. These processes ensure your battery is at optimum levels regardless of your presence. Also, do not worry about electrical problems like shocks, overcharging, fires, overvoltages, and short circuits, since its computer has advanced safety features to take care of that.
AstroAI also adds alligator clips and battery ring in the package. If you are still skeptical about the device, then take solace in the 5-year warranty, and use it in the unlikely case things don’t work out. Some of its main features include:
- Ring terminal leads and alligator clips included
- CE and RoHS approved
- Reliable AI safety features
- 5-year warranty
This car battery charger is not ideal for use in bigger batteries. Additionally, the alligator clips included are lackluster.
BMK Smart Battery Charger
You can sit back and relax as this fully automatic unit takes care of everything. With its 5A DC output current, the BMK charger is perfect for use in many batteries. It is small, portable, and made of high-quality ABS, for you to take it anywhere you go without it dragging you down or it breaking down easily.
The BMK charger has many safety features, like OV, OC, battery-reverse polarity, short circuit, and overload protection. It also has the four-stage automatic charging process and constant pulse current maintenance. The LED indicators are conspicuously set up to display the different charging statuses. Some of its main features include:
- LED indicators
- Fully automatic
- Enhanced safety features
- Easy to use
- Very portable
The LED is sometimes faulty and can show incorrect information. Additionally, the device tends to get very hot, so be vigilant with where you put it.
Manual vs. auto battery charger
The manual battery charger is slowly but surely being phased out of the market. The primary reason for the manual type market decline is that with an auto battery car charger, you won’t have to keep frequent tabs on the battery’s charging status.
Automatic battery charger
This type switches modes to suit the underlying conditions. For example, as soon as the battery is charged to capacity, it fine-tunes its power output to prevent overcharging. As a result, battery life improves, compared to those frequently charged by manual chargers. For seasonal batteries that you don’t use all year-round, its best to use an auto charger. However, the automatic car battery charger costs a lot more than manual types.
Manual battery charger
With this type, you get several settings that you can tinker with. Ordinarily, you can choose from 6 to 12 volts and amperes ranging from 2, 6, 10, and more. Some manual types even have type selections like a deep cycle, flooded, or AGM.
The biggest downside to these types is that you have to be careful not to leave your battery on them for extended periods after they are charged. Due to their lack of automatic regulation, you have to be vigilant all the time, which is sometimes untenable.
Factors to consider when buying the best car battery charger
When looking a car battery charger reviews like this, you’ll realize how important this product is. Cars are reliant on fossil fuels as they are on battery power to operate well, and looking into the future, it would seem that batteries would be even more necessary.
However, a battery cannot sustain itself, and it must be recharged constantly. A charger use can affect the life of your battery and the car’s usability. Almost every motorist has encountered such a time when they have driven long enough that their batteries are depleted. If the battery suddenly gives up on you, it can be a time-consuming endeavor as you try to get your vehicle up and running again. Here’s what you should look at so as to get the right charger to go along with your car.
Type of Battery
Before purchasing a charger, you should first consider the type of battery you have. Otherwise, you might end up with a charger that’s not compatible with your battery. You want to avoid buying a charger that won’t be of any use to you, worst of all, you’ll have wasted your hard-earned cash in the process.
You should opt for a gel cell battery if you have a gel cell charger. On the other hand, you can use the same type of charger for wet cell, absorbed glass mar, valve regulated lead-acid, and maintenance-free batteries.
You also need to determine the size of your battery. Knowing how much amp hours your battery stores will give you an easier time when choosing the charger’s amperage as well. You should try to balance out the battery capacity and charger amperage because the two will affect the amount of time you’ll need to recharge your battery fully.
For instance, if you have a 50-amp hours full-size auto battery, it will take you about six hours to fully recharge it if you were using a 10 amp charger. That means that it would take up to eleven hours to charge a 100 amp hours battery with the same type of charger.
As you can see, the best thing you could do is settle for a charger with a higher amperage if you have a large battery. The charger you get should be able to charge your battery within a convenient period. To calculate the amount of time you’ll need to charge your battery, take its amp-hour rating and divide it by the charger’s amp rating, then add 10%.
You will also need to ensure that the charger’s voltage is compatible with your battery’s voltage. Most cars have a 12V system, so a 12V charger will be your best option if your vehicle falls in the same category. Examples of such vehicles include Toyota, Chevrolet, Mazda, and Ford.
If you’re looking for a multi-functional car charger, you should opt for one that also charges at 6V. Such chargers are handy because they can charge your car battery, and utility vehicles, to mention a few.
The Charger’s Amperage
Amperage refers to the amount of current that flows through a battery charger, or the amount of current a charger can handle. If you’re looking for an entry-level charger, you should get a ten or 20amp version. However, extensive users are best suited for 20 to 100 amp chargers.
Chargers with a higher amperage also have a fast charging rate, but you shouldn’t let that be a determining factor when making your purchase. Even though you’ll be able to use your battery after a short while, experts don’t always approve of fast charging one’s battery.
If you’re looking for the ideal car battery charger, you should try getting one that has auto voltage and amperage detection. Such chargers can also automatically select the best charging rate for your car battery. The safety feature helps keep your battery from overcharging and overheating.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to charge a car battery with a charger?
Fully charging a dead car battery takes anything between 4 to 24 hours. The time depends mostly on the size of the battery and how many amperes you’re charging it with. The most common chargers have an output rate of around 4 amperes. This means it would take 10 hours to charge a battery the size of 52Ah. However, fear not if you’re in an emergency because a charge of say 1 hour will still be able to start up the engine.
Can you leave a car battery charger on overnight?
If you leave the battery continuously connected to a charger, it will eventually die. However, this will depends on the type of charger you use. Chargers like the ones in this list actively monitor the battery, which goes through different stages of charging.
The first stage is a constant current, whereby the battery is charged as fast as the battery can take, or the charger can output. The second is a continuous voltage, where a fixed charge is applied to the battery. The final stage is trickle charging, whereby the battery is left at its standard operating voltage, without charging or discharging.
With such a setup, you can safely leave your battery to charge overnight, as microcontrollers take care of everything, reducing the risks of damage.
Can a completely dead battery be recharged?
This depends on how “dead” the battery is. A car’s battery is rechargeable, and death can simply mean discharged. In such a case, once the engine is running, the alternator recharges the battery. Nevertheless, nothing lasts forever, and a battery is considered utterly dead after the non-reversible chemical processes eventually degrade the battery.
At such a point, your battery won’t be able to take and hold a charge, and the usability depends on the design and materials used to manufacture it. A weak or marginal charging system usually leads to premature failure and sulfation as well.
Most people don’t know how a charger affects batteries other than charging it. I hope that this review has given you a broader and clear perspective on what’s important. The best car battery chargers in this list are designed to make your life less stressful, and much safer when dealing with your car’s battery.