Almost all car owners have experienced that dreadful moment when they turn the key in the ignition and… nothing! Nobody has time to deal with that. A dead battery can really ruin your day’s plans, but if you are smart enough to own the best car battery charger, you will stay miles away from the inconvenience and loss of time waiting for someone to come along and rescue your car with a jump-start.
Today, there are literally hundreds of car battery chargers available for every situation, and depending on your needs, you can select one accordingly. Many modern car battery chargers actually help in conditioning the battery, thus ensuring a longer lifespan and improved performance. They also have cleverly inbuilt features that allow safer and more efficient use.
|Images||Product Name||Our Rating||Our Reviews|
|BatteryMINDer Model 12117||96%|
|CTEK Multi US 7002 12V Battery Charger||98%|
|Deltran Battery Tender (021-0128)||97%|
|Optima Digital 400 12V Battery Charger& Performance Maintainer||96%|
**Below, you’ll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How To Choose The Best Car Battery Charger
As mentioned earlier, the ‘best’ battery charger is one that satisfies your current situation, so when shopping for the product here are a few things you need to keep in mind.
1. Battery Size and Voltage
When buying a battery charger, make sure its output voltage is the same as that of your battery. Any difference in voltage will not only have an effect on the charging but could also cause permanent damage to your battery. Plus, you should select one according to the type of vehicle you own, i.e. car or truck. After all, the size of the vehicle determines the size of the battery, and hence the power capacity of the charger you need. Common inexpensive car battery chargers for home use generally handle 12 Volts and in some instances 6 Volts too.
2. Battery Chemistry
Almost all car batteries are lead-acid, consisting of lead plates in an acid solution. The difference in chemistries comes from the difference in their composition, i.e. whether they are standard lead-acid, Deep Cycle or AGM, or Gel Cell. You do not necessarily need to remember all the details about the chemistries, but you should know the type. Keep in mind that not all chargers can handle the unique needs of Gel Cell, AGM or Deep Cycle batteries since most cater to standard lead-acid.
3. Manual or Automatic
Car battery chargers can be automatic or manual. The majority are automatic, which means they can detect that the battery is fully charged and automatically switch to a float mode or trickle charge to prevent it from overcharging. You should definitely opt for a charger that offers this feature.
4. Microprocessor Control
This is where a microprocessor is attached to the charger that can regulate the whole charging process based on the charger’s feedback and the battery itself. Many modern chargers are microprocessor controlled and they have additional options for recovering or conditioning batteries and offer finer control over the charging procedure, thus enhancing charging performance.
5. Ease of Use
It is important to invest in an easy-to-use charger. If you are looking to avoid technicalities, definitely go for a fully automatic charger with minimal adjustment. If you own multiple vehicles (with different battery types), you need to invest in a complex but capable charger with selections for charging rate, output voltage, and battery chemistry. Car battery chargers can be light or heavy, small or large, and bulky or portable. If you are looking for a large charger, make sure it has handles for added convenience and portability.
Charging A Car Battery With A Battery Charger
1. Connect The Charger
- Make sure the charger is off
- Connect the positive (red) battery terminal with the positive cable on the charger.
- Connect the negative (black) battery terminal with the negative cable on the charger.
- Set the charger to its lowest charge rate
2. Set The Charger
Once you have connected the charger, set the amps and volts. If you want to slowly trickle charge the battery, set the amperage to a lower setting as compared to when you want to start your car quickly. If you have time, always go for trickle charging since it does a better job of charging your battery. However, if you are in a hurry, set your charger to high amperage.
3. Plug-in And Charge
Plug the charger in and go about your business. You may have the option to set a specific amount of time for the charger to work, or it may automatically shut off when the charge is complete. Either way, it is a bad idea to play with the cord or move the charger during the procedure.
After the battery is fully charged, you can turn off the charger and remove it from the outlet. Disconnect the cables in the opposite order in which you connected them: negative clamp first, positive clamp second. Your battery should be fully charged by this point and you should be ready to go.
Safety Tip: When charging your car battery, always wear protective gloves and safety goggles. In addition, there is always a risk of the battery exploding when recharging, so make sure you follow the appropriate battery maintenance and safety protocols.
How Long Does A Battery Take To Charge Completely?
If the battery voltage is less than 11.85 and your charger is on a 5-amp charge rate, it will take approximately twelve hours for a battery with 400 to 500 cold-cranking amps to charge fully. That same battery will require around six hours to charge completely when the amp rate is 10. The time required for a battery to charge completely depends on the open-circuit voltage and the number of cold cranking amps. Remember that if a cell is malfunctioning, the battery will fail to charge at all. In this case, take your battery to the local mechanic who will know the best possible solution to the problem at hand.
The 5 Best Car Battery Chargers Reviewed
The BatteryMINDer Model 12117 is a popular option among car owners due to its high capability and convenient size. The Model12117 is a 2-stage maintainer/charger/desulfator that offers the useful life and performance of 12 Volt sealed lead-acid batteries including flooded (maintenance-free, filler cap, valve regulated lead-acid, lead-acid), deep cycle, starter, and hybrid making it one of the best options out there.
It automatically dissolves harmful sulfation with the help of low voltage, safe, patented high-frequency pulse technology. Another great feature of the charger is it prevents your battery from overcharging. In case you leave the charger plugged in, you don’t have to worry about overcharging.
- Easy to use
- Maintainer and charger combined
- Small and portable
- Maintains/charges up to four batteries in one go
- Offers spark, short circuit and polarity protection
- Indicates if connections are accurate through “blinks” and charge indicator when the battery is charged fully
- 12-Volt only
- Fewer controls
- Not suitable for aviation or gel batteries
CTEK Multi US 7002 12V Battery Charger features cutting-edge battery charging technology owing to a number of incredible features. The model comprises an 8-step, automatic switch, microprocessor-controlled charging with four different charge modes that provide convenience, ease of use and a set-and-forget charging. The 8-step switch modes feature:
- Soft start
- Maintenance/pulse charging
The model is quite versatile and capable of charging and maintaining a number of lead-acid 12-volt batteries, which include MF, wet, AGM, gel and Ca. The charger increases the battery’s recovery and longevity thanks to its pulse charging.
- Unique 8-step charging system
- Short-circuit, spark and reverse polarity protected
- Charger and Maintainer, all in one
- Microprocessor controlled
- Includes 2 interchangeable connection leads, one with eyelet terminal and one with clamps
- For 12-Volt batteries only
Tender (021-0128) is a 1.25-amp battery charger designed to completely charge a battery and maintain its proper voltage without causing damage. It comes with a quick connect harness for areas that are harder to reach. It is also fully temperature-compensated, which ensures that the charge voltage is optimal and in accordance with the ambient temperature. The charger will charge just as fast as or even faster than any 3-amp battery charger available in the market.
- Switches from full charge to float mode automatically
- Temperature-compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage
- Fast charging
- Protected against reverse polarity thus ensuring user safety
- Comes with green and red light indicators
- Lights are relatively small and difficult to see
- Tends to get hot
The Schumacher SEM-1562A-CA is a completely automatic six or 12-volt battery charger that automatically switches to float mode in order to prevent damage to the battery. Automatic temperature offers accurate charging regardless of the ambient temperature. The model is ideal for charging large and small batteries and delivers 1.5 amps of power. It is both a charger and a maintainer and comes with a multi-phase charging procedure.
- Multiprocessor controlled
- Doesn’t overcharge during periods of non-usage
- Automatic temperature compensation
- LED Smart Display shows charging, full charge and trouble modes
- Hard-wearing, tough plastic housing
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Automatic voltage identification determines if the power output of the battery is 6 volts or 12 volts
- You can choose between using permanent ring terminals and quick-disconnect harness
- Desulphation mode recovers and reconditions batteries that have been left discharged for a long period
- Both charger and maintainer
- Limited to only 12-volt batteries
Optima is well-known for producing high-quality batteries and battery chargers, and Digital 400 12V is a product directed at people who are performance-oriented. The reason why this battery charger is so popular among users is its ability to improve discharged batteries that other chargers fail to charge. Besides maintaining and charging, it features a built-in health mode that automatically optimizes battery life.
- 4-amp battery charger and maintainer that has the capability to recover batteries that have been discharged down to 1.25V
- Quick-set selection
- Features a health mode to optimize battery life
- Protects against overtemperature, reverse polarity, and sparks
- Dual-purpose hook
- Spark-resistant connection technology
- Interchangeable ring terminals and battery clamps
- Incorporates a cord wrap
- Temperature-compensation during charging
- Quite pricey
Comparing the five products, their features, and pros and cons, we conclude that the CTEK Multi US 7002 12V Battery Charger is the best car battery charger that you can currently find on the market. Its outstanding technology that brings a special 8-step charging system, along with microprocessor-controlled charging and four separate charge modes are features that you should be looking for in a car battery charger.
Another reason why we choose this product over others is that it is flexible and has the ability to charge and maintain various 12-volt, lead-acid batteries. The charger’s state-of-the-art technology allows it to increase the battery’s lifespan while also recovering it from any damage. Lastly, the CTEK Multi US 7002 gives users a chance to set the charger and forget about the battery since they won’t have to worry about it getting overcharged.
For its given price, you simply cannot go wrong with this product.