When your car motor doesn’t start because of the dead battery, it’s time for the best car battery charger to prove its cost. This device must replenish the battery quickly yet gently not causing its overload or boosting it too much.
The battery chargers for cars can be split into jump starters and trickle chargers. The former boosts the battery so it provides cranking amps to the motor. While it might be a catch in stranded situations, such treatment doesn’t benefit a battery. Instead, the trickle chargers replenish the power bank slower yet steadier, not letting it overload or lose its capacity.
The best car battery chargers are considered the smart ones that make a kind of the trickle chargers. These devices are designed to control the battery amperage and voltage and provide the optimal charging schedule for it. They are perfect to use in the maintenance mode, allowing the power bank to sit still yet not losing its capacity. Besides, the smart car battery charger can handle most of the battery types.
There are several types of the power banks for cars existing today. The most conventional are lead-acid batteries, while the most recent are AGM and Li-Ion power banks. They all have different inner structure and require individual charging approach. The best battery charger for car can power any battery type efficiently without affecting its operation and capacity.
The best automotive battery charger both suits your needs and matches the power bank of your car. Pick one among the car battery charger reviews below!
Auto Battery Charger Reviews
Battery Tender Plus 021-0128: Powerful Auto Charger, with Enhanced Safety Options
This multifunctional 12V car battery charger provides high efficiency. Having 1.25-Amp capacity, it charges a car battery as fast as much more powerful devices and does it accurately. The appliance is completely automatic, checking the power bank state at intervals and ensuring its optimal charging or maintenance mode. It maintains four charging stages ensuring both the quick engine start and accurate battery refill.
The small car battery charger is secured from overcharging and incorrect position of the terminals signalizing the user once it happened by flashing red and green lights. It is also protected from temperature shift working steadily in both relatively cold and hot weather. Due to its multipurpose usage, it can serve all types of lead-acid batteries, as well as AGM and Gel Cell ones.
The Battery Tender Plus has strong build and weighs considerably. This makes it inconvenient for light vehicles like Smart-type vehicles. Still, any larger vehicle will benefit from having its battery secured from the drain. The power bank actual position isn’t an issue for this charger as well, as it provides both clamps and O-rings for connection to different types of terminals.
- Carefully measured voltage output ensures no spark appearance at connection and charging.
- Precise battery state diagnostics and indication.
- Solid cords and connections, copper alligator clips.
- Doesn’t fit for completely drained power banks.
- Non-responsive customer support.
CTEK 56-353 MULTI US 7002: Sophisticated Device for Tailor-Cut Charging
This is one of the most versatile among small battery chargers for cars. It undergoes eight stages on its way to the power bank complete diagnostics and individually set charging. The CTEK supports four different ways of feeding the battery ensuring up to 150 Ah in charging mode and 225 Ah in maintenance mode. The feeding appliance can power all types of batteries except Li-Ion ones supporting the battery capacity and securing it from damage. This is the best car battery charger for dead battery in our list.
This top rated automotive battery charger has several protection levels guaranteeing the safety of the charging operation and battery condition. The device can be used as a maintaining one, as it efficiently measures the voltage and amperage of the power bank adjusting its performance and preventing overload and excessive charging. The inexperienced users are additionally secured from mistakes by enhanced reverse polarity protection.
It also deals with the sulfate build-ups. Once having tracked the inconsistent charging pass, the charger sends out the pulse current breaking the sulfates and enabling reload of the battery inner level.
- Additional protection from short circuit and sparks enables safe usage in vehicles with sensitive electronics.
- The sealed construction provides full water-resistance and enables the usage in different weather and climate.
- Compact and easy-to-use (plug-n-go type).
- Charging large batteries (over 150 Ah) takes considerable time.
- Low quality of protective coating for alligator clamps.
NOCO Genius G3500: All-Fitting Auto Battery Charger with Different Voltage Support
This top rated smart car battery charger can successfully power up different types of power banks. It can feed 12V and 6V current to all kinds of lead-acid batteries (including AGM) and also 12V Lithium-Ion batteries (especially the ones with the integrated battery management system). Its versatility is supported by the advanced safety of usage including anti-spark technology, overcharge prevention, and incorrect polarity protection. That’s why it may be considered as probably the best portable car battery charger for some users.
It has an integrated Repair Mode tech allowing it to revive damaged battery partially restoring their capacity and maintaining their operation. However, the sulfate breaking pulse current can be applied to 12V batteries only. The charger also fits the deep-cycle batteries powering and maintenance, providing the completely drained battery power up.
The unit has an integrated computer that performs the power bank diagnostics and selects the needed charging schedule. It features a multi-stage operation treating the battery delicately and prolonging its life by flexibly adjusting its performance and applying the individually measured amount of voltage and amperage.
The device has rubberized foot for non-slipping positioning near the battery. For wall mounting, there are special holes made in the casing.
- Efficiently and quickly boosts any battery up to 120 Ah.
- Informative and well visible LED indicators provide consistent feedback on charging process.
- Can be used for charging the CANbus system components.
- The alligator and eyelet clips are connected the same pair of cables.
- The manual contains confusing descriptions.
Schumacher SC1319: Fast Charger and Maintainer, for Various Car Batteries
This compact charger has an advanced microprocessor system used in the heavy duty car battery chargers. Its tailor-cut operation modes allow it to replenish the energy banks faster than more powerful models. It fits many types of energy banks including the ones used in cars, SUV, lawn mowers, motor boats, small trucks, etc.
It is versatile, handling both 6V and 12V batteries and has preset powering modes for each type that are selected automatically. The device has a built-in precise diagnostic module turning on once being connected to the power bank and defining its voltage and capacity left. Basis this data, the best-fitting charging mode is applied. The charger can destroy the sulfate deposits, enable quick bulk charging or turn into the maintenance mode once the battery liquid level reaches 90%.
The Schumacher is lightweight, yet, its plastic housing is firm and temperature-proof. Its ribbed design provides additional solidity together with rugged cable connections. Due to the sealed box, the charger can work in extreme weather conditions including rain and snow. Its charging capacity doesn’t get affected by temperature as well — it can power up the drained batteries both in heat and frost.
- Fast processor controls spark and reverse polarity protection, prevents overheating.
- Built-in LEDs immediately inform of the state of charging.
- Full automation of diagnostics and operation.
- It turns off after 12 hours of work.
- Gets warm upon working at extreme load.
Battery Tender 022-0185G-dl-wh: Sturdy Middle-Class Smart Charger, with Safety Timer
The device can charge a car battery with 1.25 Amps at a steady speed and maximum voltage of 12V. It undergoes four stages when powering the energy block finalizing the process with the maintaining mode. The shifting between the stages is made automatically, upon tracking the correspondent battery voltage. The charger is safe to apply at the variety of lead-acid power banks from flooded models to gel cell ones. It keeps the battery even of a large truck from discharging if installed in floating feed mode and replenishes the smaller batteries efficiently and safely.
The charging appliance features several protection technologies. It secures the power bank from damage from incorrect clamp positioning, from excessive amps feeding, from sparks appearance, and short circuitry. For old-type or harmed batteries, there is additional security of a safety timer. The timer can be set up to 72 hours and disconnects the power to prevent battery damage.
This fast car battery charger has a classic Battery Tender design, with ribbed sides, thick firm plastic, and strengthened cable connections. The interface is simple having two LED lights for the indication of the powering process.
- Efficient energy saving (in floating mode).
- Can be used in different world locations due to high range of input voltage accepted.
- The clamps and eyelets have solid cable and connection isolation.
- Non-water-resistant (limited exposure).
- Included cables are rather short.
BMK 12V 5A: Smart Energy Feeder for Small Power Banks
This rapid car battery charger encompasses many of the options presented in the more expensive automobile chargers. It can power up and keep the battery level, track the battery state and adjust its operation with regard to it. It feeds steady 5 Amps at 12V current and fits for most lead-acid battery types. The mower, jetski, motorcycle power banks are replenished within a few hours. The batteries over 100 Ah can also be handled; yet, to charge them fully will require more time. It can deal with sulfated power banks detaching the deposits with the high pulse current.
The BMK applies the enhanced technology and can be mentioned among the best 12v battery chargers. It doesn’t allow the power bank to get an excessive current load or become hot. It is secured from short circuit and sparks, as well as not yielding to improper terminals’ hookup. The device is fully waterproof and can be used in extreme weather conditions.
The setup is simple plug-n-go one. For better accessibility, the alligator clamps or ring terminals can be chosen. The cords are solid and well-isolated.
- LED indicators highlight the feeding process stage at 25-100% level.
- Fit for powering and maintaining deep cycle batteries.
- Fully isolated clamps, no metal exposed.
- Mediocre build & finish quality.
- The cable is too short to reach the ground from the all-road’s hood.
Battery Tender 12 Volt Junior: Compact Charger for Compact Batteries, 4-Stages Feeding
While looking for the best cheap car battery charger consider the next model. This small yet sturdy charger works perfectly as a maintainer for small and mid-size power banks. It can feed 12 volts ensuring long battery’s life and preserved operation quality.
The Battery Tender also works as a bulk feeder for ATV, motorcycle, small car energy banks.
The integrated microprocessor efficiently analyzes the battery voltage and sends the precisely measured amount of current to ensure damage-free battery tending. Once the charge is full, the tender automatically switches to the maintenance mode to keep the battery ready-to-go at any moment.
Like more powerful battery chargers for cars, this one features multi-level security tech. It causes no sparks at connection, blocks the feeding in case of incorrect clamp’s hookup, allows no excessive voltage or overcharge.
The charger has a minimal interface. The two LED lights indicate the charging being in process and full level of the battery liquid. In case of incorrect positioning or other troubles, the lights turn to blink.
The device has both alligator clamps and ring terminals supplied. A 12-foot cable is a good bonus enabling to install the charger for constant maintenance mode.
- Small cost for high-quality operation.
- Flexible ribbed cable connections ensure safety and steady supply.
- Small size & weight ensures good portability / usage in tight places.
- Doesn’t work as good for Gel Cell power banks.
- No desulfation mode.
NOCO GENIUS10: Year-Round Service for All Battery Types
This NOCO car battery charger provides 10 Amps at 6V or 12V, depending on the battery type. The needed voltage is selected automatically basis the data the charger takes out of the preliminary battery diagnostics. Grounding on the battery state, the internal microprocessor picks the optimal scheme for battery treatment.
The NOCO Genius car battery charger can charge and maintain various kinds of lead-acid batteries including deep cycle ones. It also fits for charging 12V Lithium-Ion power banks. The car battery of 230 Ah is charged within a few hours, the automatic switch system preventing the battery overcharge. There is also an anti-sulfate pulse feeding mode sending out the 13.6 volts that efficiently dissolves the sulfate deposits and restores the power bank chemistry.
The appliance is very easy to use requiring no more than a proper hook up to the energy bank and plugging in to the power source. In the case of reverse polarity or accidental clamp contact, it shuts the current stream avoiding sparks or power bank damage.
It has a solid build and fully coated clamps to ensure the user’s safety.
- Can replace a car battery for feeding the onboard electronics during the exchange of the power block.
- Safe year-round operation (in maintenance mode).
- Sturdy rubberized plugs.
- Not fit for heavy duty charging.
- Doesn’t detect a battery level of less than 5%.
MOTOPOWER MP00205A: Cost-Saving Smart Charger for Small-Sized Batteries
This tiny charger feeds 0.8 Amps to all batteries and successfully maintains the charge in small power banks. The motorcycle, jetski, toys, and other different household devices can be kept operational for long or charged upon the work. Any kind of lead-acid energy block can be handled: from flooded conventional models to the most modern AGM and Gel ones not requiring special treatment.
The unit features full automation of the process and can be safely left connected to a battery for a long period. The built-in microprocessor navigates the charging through four stages based on the actual level of battery charge. The feeder performs constant voltage measurement to ensure the liquid level is 100% and the battery can be operated immediately. In the floating mode, the charger doesn’t take the current from the battery, instead constantly monitoring it and applying pulse charging when needed.
The device is safe to use as it doesn’t spark at terminals crossing, has no room for short circuit and block the current path when improperly connected. Both alligator clamps and ring terminals are supplied with the charger. There is also a quick hookup harness included allowing it to handle the charger quickly.
- Low energy consumption even at full load operation.
- Wide input voltage range allows using the charger across the world.
- The charger has a waterproof level (though not fully resistant).
- Single LED indicator isn’t fully informative with regard to the battery state and troubleshooting.
- The clamps do not have a full protective coating.
BLACK+DECKER BC2WBD: Weather-Proof Charger with Low Voltage Compensation
This powerful heavy duty battery charger can easily boost any car battery within a few hours supplying 6 Amps of consistent 12V. Being a smart charger, it is safe to leave hooked up without supervision, as the unit turns automatically into float operation once the power bank is full. It replenishes easily the power blocks of cars, motorcycles, boats, and other middle-sized vehicles and can serve as a maintainer for SUV and trucks.
The Black and Decker car battery charger has sealed casing and doesn’t pass through any dust specks or water. It is also temperature proof and can be used almost in any kind of weather and climate conditions.
Being a high-frequency unit, it features a low voltage compensating tech. It means it can be connected through the extension cable without losing the capacity or shorted amperage. The device is also secured from different circuit failures: sparks, short circuit, overload, and overcharge. The improper clamps placement isn’t a threat to a battery or charger either.
- Fit for all types of lead-acid energy blocks: of flooded or cellular design.
- A DC plug allows connecting the charger from inside of the car.
- Versatile mounting options (magnet / hook).
- No eyelet terminals supplied.
- The unit is rather heavy.
Learn How to Charge a Car Battery
Do the following simple steps to be aware of how to use a car battery charger:
- Make sure the battery is disconnected / the car ignition is turned off.
- Check the battery. Define the type of your power bank and, if it is a flooded one, check the liquid level. If required, replenish it with the distilled water. For any type of the battery: make sure the posts are clean from dirt and corrosion.
- See that the charger is turned off.
- Apply the positive clamp to the positive post of the energy block. Then hook the negative clamp to the negative post.
- Turn on the charger. Check out that its interface shows the charging is in process.
- If you have a smart charger: you can leave it plugged in. If you don’t: monitor the charger and turn it off once the power bank is full.
Can You Overcharge a Car Battery?
If you already know how to charge a car battery with a charger and the battery is treated with too many amps too fast or fed with power when it is already full, it can get overcharged. It means that internal liquid starts boiling and producing gasses. This process can lead to swelling of the battery box and even explosion.
Such undesirable effect can be gotten if powering the battery with an old-type bulk charger. Yet, even trickle feeders if left unattended can cause too much power to be supplied to the battery.
The modern smart units incorporate a battery feedback system allowing them to stop the current flow once the battery’s level is full. All car battery chargers on our list above belong to this type and have the overcharge protection technology activated.
How does a Battery Charger Work?
The battery charging appliances are many, yet they have one thing in common. They send out the current (DC type) to the battery in order for it to activate its internal process (an electrolyte reaction or Lithium ions’ movement) and be able to produce power. Most of the modern battery chargers for cars have integrated voltage controller letting to monitor the battery state and shut off the charger once the voltage reaches the desired level. In short, the best automotive battery charger’s work is as follows:
- Current (AC) is received from the power outlet / another source.
- The high power transformer inside the automotive battery charger converts the AC to DC optimizing its voltage (usually to 12V).
- The DC passes through voltage controller and then through the battery.
- The power block gets “refilled”.
How to Recondition a Car Battery That won’t Hold Charge?
If your car battery discharges often and without an obvious reason, take the following steps:
- Check electronics. Make sure there is no loose circuit or other problems with your car wiring.
- Test the battery. Apply the voltmeter and hydrometer (if applicable).
- Refill the liquid (if such treatment is foreseen by the manufacturer).
- Apply a smart charger with desulfation tech. The pulse current will break the deposits and restore the battery chemistry. The careful slow charging will recondition the power block and restore its operation.
How to Desulfate a Battery with Charger?
Sulfate deposits growing on the powerhouse lead plates cause the poor current passthrough and slowing of the internal chemical process in the battery. To remove the sulfur crystals, the auto battery chargers with desulfation technology are applied.
These devices can pass higher voltage current (about 15V) through the battery that results in partial or complete breaking of the deposits and their dissolving in the electrolyte liquid. In this way, the internal level of the energy block is refilled and the battery becomes operational again.
The process can take considerable time depending on the battery’s shelf life and the character of sulfur build-ups. It also might result in just a partial liquidation of deposits. It means that the battery is able to take charge yet gets discharged faster. Still, in some cases, even a long-sitting battery can be fully restored to its nominal capacity.
How to Choose the Best Car Battery Charger?
There are many important issues that you should keep in mind in your efforts to acquire a great battery charger that would match your vehicle totally. Obviously, different models vary not only in their price but also in the combination of features they can deliver to the customer. Hence, it could be essential for you to create the list of features that you want to be found in your ideal device and get the right choice based on that. Here are some main aspects you should keep in mind while seeking to choose the top car battery charger.
- Think about battery type. You should be well aware of the fact that there is no charger that can charge all battery types at once. While many models can be used for maintenance-free, wet-cell, absorbed glass mat, and valve-regulated lead-acid batteries at once, they will prove their inconsistence if you are going to try these chargers for a gel cell battery. Therefore, if your car has a gel cell battery, then it is vital for you to purchase only those vehicle battery chargers created exactly for this battery type.
- The importance of the battery size. This aspect is really significant as it tells you how many amp hours the battery in your car can store. In most cases, a standard car battery has a capacity of 48 amp hours. This means it can work for almost 50 hours giving 1 amp per hour. Therefore, to restore the full charge of this battery with a 10-amp charger, you will need to wait for about 5-6 hours. At the same time, you are free to opt for more powerful chargers capable of restoring more than 10 amps per hours, but you will be obliged to pay considerably more for such models.
- Think about portability. If you are the one who thinks of charging a car battery in your garage, then you should not be concerned with the portability issues at all. Make sure that you have an item having enough power to return your dead battery back to life. However, if you are the one who travels by car a lot and may experience the problem of lack of battery charge on the road, then the issue of portability becomes the critical one for you. In this very case, it could be useful for you to have a good car battery charger that is compact enough to be stored in your car. Also, you should opt for those models that should not be plugged to the electricity source to charge the battery.
- Additional features that can make a difference. There are several great additional features that are usually included in the most up-to-date models. One of these features is battery testing that helps the user identify the battery’s current state and assess its capabilities as well as inform you if the battery is not receiving the full charge. The battery charger for vehicles may contain multi-step charging to provide proper control over the charging process. These steps usually include recovery option, soft start mode, absorption, bulk, trickle as well as maintenance function. The float mode is called to prevent the battery from overcharging. Moreover, the availability of such beneficial features as reverse polarity warning, spark-proof clamps, clamp amps can also improve user experience and safety issues.
Overall, these aspects are meant to help you find the most suitable model out of myriads of automobile battery chargers that are sold today.
My name is Brandon, and I’ve been interested in cars since I was a kid. I got a bachelor’s degree in Automotive Technology and worked in a private car workshop. I have two cars that have been completely upgraded with my own hands. So I successfully put all my knowledge into practice.
Last update on 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API