- 1 Car Battery Charger Reviews – Top-Picks
- 1.1 1. Battery Tender Plus 021-0128 Car Battery Charger
- 1.2 2. BLACK+DECKER BC15BD Battery Charger
- 1.3 3. DieHard 71219 Battery Charger
- 1.4 4. Schumacher SC1280 Battery Charger
- 1.5 5. Ampeak Battery Charger
- 1.6 6. KAWISH Car Battery Charger
- 1.7 7. TowerTop Battery Charger
- 1.8 8. AstroAI Battery Charger
- 1.9 9. BMK Battery Charger
- 2 How Does a Car Battery Charger Work?
- 3 Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
- 3.1 What to Consider When Buying a Car Battery Charger?
- 3.2 The Most Important Car Battery Charger Features
- 4 Automatic vs. Manual Car Battery Charger
- 5 How to Use Your Car Battery Charger?
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Best Car Battery Charger Comparison Chart
- 8 Wrap Up
It’s interesting how essential batteries are for our lives, without us even realizing it. From our TV remote control to our vehicle, batteries are a vital part of our every-day comfort. In fact, when it comes to cars that are not run by kinetic energy, batteries are the most essential unit.
However, car batteries can´t sustain themselves. That’s why, if you want to be prepared when yours suddenly gives up on you, you need to have the best car battery charger. Sadly, most people think that a battery charger only charges up your battery. This, however, is not true, and in this buying guide, you will find out how these units affect your battery.
Aside from all the useful info and tips, you can also choose a high-quality product from our list of reviews on car battery chargers. Let’s get started!
Car Battery Charger Reviews – Top-Picks
Here is a list of the top-rated car battery chargers! These are all excellent, and even though they have some disadvantages that we will mention in our reviews, we are sure you will be pleased with each one of them. That’s why they are not arranged in any particular order, and the choice is only yours.
Battery Tender Plus 021-0128
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BLACK+DECKER BC15BD Battery Charger
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DieHard 71219 Battery Charger
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Schumacher SC1280 Battery Charger
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Ampeak Battery Charger
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KAWISH Car Battery Charger
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TowerTop Battery Charger
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AstroAI Battery Charger
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BMK Battery Charger
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1. Battery Tender Plus 021-0128 Car Battery Charger
This car battery charger is fully automatic and will save you time and effort. It is designed to fully charge your battery and then maintain it at a proper storage voltage without damaging it as a trickle charger could. The Battery Tender Plus is perfect for cars, ATVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and scooters.
What we like about this 1.25-Amp product is that it charges batteries as fast as most 3-amp chargers. The package also includes a quick connect harness for areas that are hard to reach. The length of the AC power cord is 6 feet, the one of the DC output cord- 4.5 feet, and the one of the DC accessory- 1.5 feet.
When it comes to safety, this unit is an excellent option since it offers reverse polarity protection, and it is spark proof. However, we didn’t enjoy the fact that the bottom of the device can easily scratch your vehicle as it does not have rubber feet. On the other hand, the package includes battery tender ring terminals and alligator clips. Both are reliable, even though the alligator clips are a bit small.
- Reverse polarity protection
- Battery Tender ring terminals and alligator clips
- Spark proof
- The bottom does not have rubber stand-offs or feet
- Alligator clamps are small
2. BLACK+DECKER BC15BD Battery Charger
Thис BLACK+DECKER battery charger and maintainer can quickly get you back on the road in the moments you need help with your car battery. Moreover, this device can be used on boats, motorhomes, lawn tractors, ATVs, jet skis, snowmobiles, and vehicles that you have not used for months. We think this product is excellent because it can charge and maintain any GEL, AGM, or WET 12V battery.
There two things that we believe could get better. Firstly, we think the cord could be a bit longer. Secondly, as much as we enjoyed the LCD screen, it sometimes tends to glitch, and this is very irritating. Other than that, we were pleased with how this unit worked., especially the part where it automatically switched from fast charge to top-off, to trickle charge.
This 15-amp battery charger is easy to use and store since it has a built-in cord, cable wrap, and clamp storage. You don’t have to worry about safety as the product is ETL certified and California Energy Commission (CEC) compliant. You also get a 1-year warranty.
- Fully automatic
- Charges quickly
- ETL certified and CEC compliant
- 1-year warranty
- Reverse polarity protection
- The cord is not very long
- The LCD screen sometimes glitches
3. DieHard 71219 Battery Charger
The thing our team really liked about the DieHard 71219 was how easy it is to use. The device is fully automatic and microprocessor controlled. You don’t have to waste your time checking on the battery every hour since the 5-stage charging system will provide precise charging. The unit also has LED indicator lights that will show you how the charging process is going.
As far as safety is concerned, there is nothing that you should worry about. The reverse hookup protection will shut off the charger if the clamps are incorrectly connected, and the float mode monitoring will maintain your battery’s voltage. If you are still worried, keep in mind that this product comes with a 3-year warranty.
When we tried this device, we also enjoyed the fact that there are many ways to charge up- 12-volt accessory plug, permanently attachable ring connectors, and 50-amp clamps. Due to this connector options, the quick connect harness, even though a bit short, is perfect for hard to reach motorcycle batteries. We also noticed that the clamps are too small, and they may not fit some older ‘American-made’ car batteries.
- Three connector options
- LED indicator
- 3-year warranty
- The quick-connect harnesses are a bit short
- The clamps are too small
4. Schumacher SC1280 Battery Charger
The Schumacher SC1280 device is both a battery charger (6/12V) and a maintainer (15A). It works great with automotive and marine batteries, and with the digital display and LED indicator it has, you can easily control the charging process. The fact that there is no ‘start’ button was a bit disappointing. Not all people find it convenient that the charger starts automatically after it is connected. On the other hand, this unit features auto voltage detection and can automatically select the charge rate you need, so one button is not that big of a deal.
The fact that the battery charger is small and lightweight is a great advantage. The unit is suitable for general household use. However, we believe that when it comes to ease of usage, this product is a bit hard to understand. You will surely need the manual to understand the blinking lights, the codes, and all the buttons.
Other than that, this charger has only positive sides, like the reverse hook-up protection it features. It is also compatible with standard, gel, AGM, and deep-cycle batteries.
- Chargers different battery types
- Can be used as a maintainer
- There is no ‘start’ button
- Hard to operate
5. Ampeak Battery Charger
With this fully automatic car battery charger, you won’t stay on the road, not being able to start your car, for too long. You can use the device as 6V/12V 2A trickle charger and use it on small batteries like ATV, motorcycle, lawn tractor, and snowmobile ones. You can also get a 12V 8A Quick Charge for your everyday charging needs. The reconditioned function, on the other hand, adopts high voltage up to 15.8V.
Our team liked how quick and easy this device operated. The working cycle consists of 5 cycles, each continuing for 4 hours. Our favorite feature is the intelligent temperature protection system. The device has a reliable cooling fan and a vent to disperse heat and therefore increase charging efficiency.
The fen, however, tends to be a bit loud. This and the fact that the leads to the clamps are a bit short were the only disadvantages we noticed when we tried the product. This battery charger can be used for all types of 6V and 12V lead-acid batteries, including STD, AGM, and Gel ones.
- Easy to use
- Fully automatic
- Cooling fan
- The cooling fan is somehow noisy
- The leads to the clamps are a bit short
6. KAWISH Car Battery Charger
The KAWISH car battery charger may seem small but is really powerful. Its maximum current is 10A, and it needs around 5-7 hours to charge your battery fully. We loved how portable the charger is and how easy it is to work with it. However, we noticed that the case is made out of cheap and thin aluminum, and you should be careful not to drop it.
On the other hand, the charger has five charging options- constant current mode, constant voltage mode, float mode, trickle mode, and idle mode. The unit stops charging at 14.1V. During the charging process, you can see the current, voltage, and electricity as the device has a reliable display. The design of the unit is excellent, except for the case and the cords that are a bit short.
The greatest thing about this charger is that it has both auto and manual mode. It is also entirely safe for use, having not one but four different protections- low voltage, reverse connection, overheat, and short circuit protection.
- Four different protections
- Automatic and manual mode
- Works quickly
- The cords are a bit short
- The case is made of thin aluminum
7. TowerTop Battery Charger
This fully automatic charger features 2A trickle charge, 8A quick charge, and 15A boost charge. It can be used on all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, including AGM, GEL, and STD. It is also so smart that it automatically selects charge rate for maintaining and charging.
The TowerTop battery charger has a 7-step charging process, and this was probably the thing we liked the most about this product. The program includes desulphation, soft start, bulk charge, absorption, battery test, recondition, and floating. You don’t have to worry about safety either. This charger is multiprocessor-controlled and has overvoltage, overheat, short-circuit, overtime charging, and reverse polarity protection.
This battery charger is portable and lightweight, and that’s also the reason why it is not as sturdy as most chargers. Still, it is powerful, and we are sure you will be pleased with how it works. Even though the power cord may seem short to some, the device has an LCD screen display and an advanced winter charging mode. We could calmly say that the advantages are more than the disadvantages.
- 7-step Charging Program
- LCD screen display
- Advanced winter charging mode
- The power cord is a little short
- Not sturdy
8. AstroAI Battery Charger
This AstroAI battery charger is not only easy to use but is ideal for motorcycles, mowers, boats, snowmobiles, cars, and more. It is indeed very powerful and suitable for most 6V & 12V GEL, AGM, WET, VRLA, and SLA batteries. However, it works better with smaller batteries than big car and truck ones.
The four-stage charging process- initialization, bulk, absorption, float, fills, and maintains your battery at optimum levels, while you do your everyday tasks. The charger has a computer with advanced safety features, so you don’t have to be worried about electrical problems like overvoltages and short circuits, shocks, fires, and overcharging.
Alligator clips and battery rings are also included in the package. Our only gripe, though, is that the alligator clips are made out of cheap material and you should be careful not to break them. Still, if something is wrong with the AstroAI battery charger and the fault is not yours, you will be pleased to hear that you get a 5-year warranty.
- CE and RoHS approved
- Includes alligator clip and ring terminal leads
- 5-year warranty
- Reliable safety features
- Not suitable for bigger batteries
- The alligator clips are not durable
9. BMK Battery Charger
With its 5A DC output current, this battery charger is perfect for batteries with 15-100Ah. Since the unit is fully automatic, you will save time and effort and at the same time, be calm that no electrical problems will occur. The BMK Battery Charger is small and portable, but it is also made out of high-quality ABS. The many protections ensure the safety of the battery- reverse polarity, OV, OC, short circuit, overload protection.
Our team likes the constant pulse current maintenance function of this unit. The 4-stage automatic charging process is also an essential advantage. The charger also has a LED indicator that is designed to display the different charging status of the 12V smart charger. We, however, were not very pleased with how the display worked and believe that it is not very helpful and glitches a lot.
You should also be careful with where you put the device as it tends to get very hot. Still, it does a great job, and you can use it not only for your car but for your boat, lawnmower, motorcycle, and other electric vehicles as well.
- Fully automatic
- Easy to use
- The indicator lights are not that helpful
- Gets hot easily
How Does a Car Battery Charger Work?
A car battery driver puts energy to your vehicle’s battery by driving an electric current to it. It draws 120 volts of AC from a household outlet and converts it to a 12-volt DC.
Typically, the capacity of a car battery is 48 amp hours and an ordinary charger charges at two amps. That means that it will take 34 hours for your car battery to be fully charged. However, some battery chargers have a different charge rate, ranging from 2 to 10 amps.
Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
‘How to choose a car battery charger?‘ is a question that you surely need to ask yourself since this unit is crucial to your vehicle.
What to Consider When Buying a Car Battery Charger?
Here are the subsidiary questions that you need to think about, and once you answer them, you will get the answer to the main one.
What type of battery do I have?
Most car batteries are lead-acid ones and have lead plates in an acid bath. However, they can differ in chemistry. Yes, we know… you thought you left chemistry behind at school, but this is nothing too complicated.
Your car battery can be standard lead-acid, deep cycle, AGM, or Gel. You don’t even have to know how they work to find a suitable charger; you just need to know which type your battery is. Not all car battery chargers are designed to handle the needs of AGM, Deep cycle, ad gel batteries. Most models are designed for standard lead-acid. That’s why you have to be careful when choosing and always read the product’s characteristics thoroughly.
How easy is it to use the charger?
A major focal point of today’s battery chargers is how easy they are to use. Not every user is a professional, so people tend to look for devices that are simple, efficient, and have a straightforward application.
Is the size suitable?
You can find battery charges with different sizes. Some units are incredibly portable but are unable to jump-start a dead battery and will take a while to charge. Others are super powerful and could jump-start your car battery but are so vast and massive that will take up half your trunk.
Is the price worth it?
Ask yourself what exactly are you going to use the charger for? How often are you going to use it? Do you need a bigger charger that’s more expensive or you could get by with a portable one? Are you buying the unit for professional usage at a workshop, for example, or you want something that you can store in your trunk and move quickly? The answers to all these questions will affect the price.
Is this car battery charger safe to use?
When choosing such a unit, safety features are something you must be very careful with. Pick a charger that offers features like reverse polarity protection and auto voltage and amperage detection. If you are not sure what these terms mean, keep on reading, and we will explain everything.
Can this car battery charger jump-start my car?
Most car battery chargers cannot jump-start your car. If that is the function you look for, then you need to look for a special device. Bear in mind that the jump-starting feature in car battery chargers is not that strong since they aren’t meant to be used for that. If you want to jump-start your vehicle, our team recommends you check out our article on jumper cable buying guide.
Does the product have a warranty?
Battery chargers can be a pricey purchase, so you need to make sure the product you look at has a guarantee in case some issues show up. Most units come with a 5-year warranty, but some of them cover even more time.
Along with the warranty, always check into the company’s customer service. Read the reviews of other customers.
The Most Important Car Battery Charger Features
Buying car tools, accessories, and equipment is not a task you should take lightly. These are some of the essential features that you need to look for when choosing a car battery charger.
The range of the amperes determines the capability of your charger. For this reason, you must know precisely what for you are about to use the battery charger. Lower amperes are an excellent option if you don’t use your car too often and you want to make sure your battery won’t go dead when you leave it idle for too long.
Higher ampere options are more expensive but could jump-start a dead battery to get you on the road immediately or at least a lot faster than lower ampere models.
A ramp range between 750 milliamps to 20 amps is more than enough for most purposes. More power will be needed only if you plan to jump-start your battery.
Most cars have a 12-volt battery system, and you have to make sure the car battery charger you get can charge 12 volts. Luckily for you, many battery chargers have 6-volt, 12-volt, and 24-volt charging, and they can be used on motorcycles, cars, and bigger trucks.
Keeping tabs on the battery capacity while charging it, is handy. For this reason, a good car battery charger should have indicators for this purpose.
Aside from indicators, you should also look for a unit with an alarm in cases of reverse polarity. These features are essential, especially if you are a driver that is not very familiar with how to charge your car batteries.
When you choose products like this one, safety is paramount. Overcharging your battery may have detrimental consequences, and experiencing battery failure can be hazardous since car batteries have harmful chemicals in them. As car parts that should be taken seriously, car batteries require a charger with certain safety features. Our advice is to always look for units that have:
- Reverse polarity protection- This safety feature will make sure there is no electrocution or sparks if you accidentally misconnect the cables.
- Float mode/ Maintenance mode- This feature is found in automatic chargers, and it detects when your battery is fully charged. I many cases, severe overcharging can cause overheating, acute damage, and even explosions. That’s why our team recommends that you always look for car battery chargers with a float or maintenance mode.
- Spark-resistant clamps- Even if you are extremely careful while charging, sparking is still possible when connecting the charger clamps. The good thing is that some units have a safety feature that can reduce and even prevent the sparking at the connection.
Automatic vs. Manual Car Battery Charger
The two main types of car battery chargers are automatic and manual. Nowadays, many people choose to buy automatic chargers as they do not require users to keep frequent tabs on the amount of charge that the battery is receiving.
- Automatic Battery Charger
This charger switches modes, as soon as the battery is fully charged, to prevent overcharging. Therefore, these battery chargers improve battery life. They will keep your battery at full charge once it is completely charged. That’s why they are a perfect choice for seasonal batteries- the ones that you don’t use year-round. However, keep in mind that automatic car battery chargers are way more expensive than manual ones.
- Manual Battery Charger
With a manual car battery charger, you usually get several settings to choose from. Most of them have a voltage section where you can choose from 6 and 12 volts, and an amperage section, where you can pick your amperes- 2,6,10…
Some manual battery chargers even have a type selection- AGM, Flooded, Deep Cycle. Still, you must be very careful with such chargers. Do not leave them on your battery for an extended period after the battery is fully charged. These units are not suitable for maintaining the battery charge.
How to Use Your Car Battery Charger?
Knowing how to use a car battery charger correctly is essential not only to your safety but to the safety of your vehicle. Here are the steps you have to follow:
- Make sure you use the correct charger for your particular car battery.
- Read the charger manual carefully and make sure you understand how the charger works. The warnings must be read extra carefully.
- Remove the black (negative) cable first, and then remove the red (positive) one.
- Make sure that the power switch is off and your car battery charger is not plugged into an electric outlet.
- Connect the positive cable of the crager to the positive battery terminal and the negative cable to the negative terminal.
- Decide whether you want to charge your car battery quickly or slowly (trickle charge). For a trickle charge, select a lower charging voltage and current, and for a quicker charge- a higher setting. You must check the charger manual for the proper settings. Our team recommends trickle charging as the better option, and if you want to find out why, go check out our article on trickle charger reviews.
- If your charger is automatic, select whether it will run for a specific amount of time or automatically shut off once your battery is charged.
- When the battery is fully charged, turn off and unplug the charger.
- Disconnect the cables. You must start with the negative one.
The safe charging of car batteries is no joke, and there are many things you must be careful with. Here are our top 5 safety tips:
Always wear eye, face and hand protection and charge your battery in a well-ventilated area.
Cables must not be touched or moved during the charging process!
If you want to make adjustments or remove the cables, cut the power before doing so.
Always check if the charger leads to the battery are not loose, frayed, or broken.
Before removing charger leads from your battery, always turn the charger OFF. This way, you will avoid dangerous sparks.
- Q: Can I charge my car battery if it is still connected to the vehicle?
A: Yes, if you have a charger with voltage spike protection and active monitoring. Old chargers could give voltage sparks if they are used on a battery connected to the vehicle, and this can damage the electrics in your car. So, in the end, everything depends on the type of charger you have.
- Q: Can I jump-start my car with all car battery chargers?
A: No, most car battery chargers are not suitable for jump-starting your car. If that is your primary purpose, our team recommends that you get yourself a jump starter instead.
- Q: How to know how much amperes I need?
A: You need to know what you are going to use your charger for. If it will be just for maintenance than you don’t need anything more than four amps. However, if you plan to use the charger for both maintenance and fast charging, our team recommends that you get a more powerful unit.
- Q: How long does it take to charge a dead battery?
A: If you want to charge your dead battery fully, it usually takes between 4 to 24 hours depending on the size of the battery and how many amperes it is charging with. To fully charge a battery of the size 52Ah, you will need around 10 hours, but you will probably be able to start your car within 1 or 2 hours.
- Q: Can all car battery chargers be used as battery maintainers?
A: No, most car battery chargers, especially manual ones, should not be used as battery maintainers. The primary purpose of a charger is to charge your battery. If you want something that will keep your battery charged while you are not using it, our team recommends that you get a battery maintainer or an automatic car battery charger that offers this function. Such chargers, however, are often way more expensive.
Check out our roundups of the best car batteries here!
you may also like: choosing a cordless impact wrench
Best Car Battery Charger Comparison Chart
|Battery Tender Plus 021-0128||$$$||11 x 4 x 11″||2 pounds||1.25||12 volts|
|BLACK+DECKER BC15BD Battery Charger||$$$$||12.4 x 5.8 x 9.9″||6.3 pounds||0-15||12 volts|
|DieHard 71219 Battery Charger||$$||7.2 x 3.9 x 6.8″||1.45 pounds||2||6 / 12 volts|
|Schumacher SC1280 Battery Charger||$$$||10 x 10 x 4″||2.9 pounds||15||6 / 12 volts|
|Ampeak Battery Charger||$$$||9.6 x 7.6 x 4.9″||2.95 pounds||2 / 8||6 / 12 volts|
|KAWISH Car Battery Charger||$$||7 x 6.1 x 3″||1.87 pounds||10||12 / 24 volts|
|TowerTop Battery Charger||$$$$$||8.7 x 5.7 x 4.5″||4 pounds||2 / 8 / 15||12 volts|
|AstroAI Battery Charger||$||4.2 x 2.9 x 2.8″||9.4 ounces||1.5||6 / 12 volts|
|BMK Battery Charger||$$$||9.5 x 4.5 x 2.9″||1.44 pounds||5||12 volts|
Every car owner needs to have the best car battery charger. Now that you have read our complete buying guide on how to find the most reliable unit, you realize how important this product is. Its proper usage affects the life of your car battery and your vehicle itself. That’s why we believe our list of will be useful to you.
If you like our article and you think it may be helpful to others as well, make sure you send it to all your friends. Also, if there is anything you would like to share with us, leave us a comment or an email.
Since our primary goal is to help our readers find high-quality units, we have many other pieces devoted to picking the right unit. Go check them out as well! Thanks for reading, and as always- stay put!