How many times have you ended up with an empty car battery when you least need it? And perhaps in those moments you always promise yourself to find a way to maintain that power unit of yours.
While we are helpless to change your negative past experiences with car chargers, there is something else we will be able to do – help you get the best trickle charger. And while selecting the right model can be tricky since there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind, there are also too many units available on the market. As a result, you may find it challenging to decide on one.
Luckily, in our buying guide, you will find our team’s top pick reviews of trickle chargers that will undoubtedly sway you in the right direction. After you are done with them, keep reading to find out a lot of useful information and tips about these handy little gadgets.
Best Trickle Charger Reviews for Your Car Battery
1. Battery Tender Automatic Battery Charger
This battery charger is suitable for ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, and automobiles. When compared to other trickle chargers, Battery Tender’s unit is lightweight and compact. Furthermore, it can even be used in tiny places. However, the cord is not as substantial as we would like, and you get the feeling that it can be easily damaged.
The irritating sound that this Battery Tender Battery Charger makes while charging is also something that we did not enjoy. Still, the unit has many other positive characteristics. It can be used on 12-volt lead-acid, flooded, or sealed maintenance-free batteries like AGM and gel cell.
This unit is spark-proof, and it comes with a 5-year warranty, so if something happens, you can be calm that your money won’t be wasted. This trickle charger has two LED lights that indicate the stage of the charger as well. The input voltage of the Battery Tender Automatic Battery Charger is 120VAC / 60Hz, while the output voltage is 12 Volts DC /750 MA.
- Can be used on different types of batteries
- Lightweight and compact
- 5-year warranty
- The cord is not that substantial
- Makes an intermittent beeping sound while charging
- Gets hot quickly
2. FOVAL Automatic Trickle Battery Charger
This trickle battery charger will not jump start your car, but if you give it some time, you will see how well it will charge your battery. We loved the fact that the unit is designed to charge while the battery is connected. That means that you don’t have to disconnect the battery. The Foval Automatic Trickle Battery Charger is also spark-proof and reverse polarity protected.
This product includes an 8-foot output core. However, we think that the connecting cord from the unit to the electrical outlet should be a bit longer for bigger convenience. Our team also didn’t enjoy the fact that there were no written instructions on how to use the device, and you are going to have to look everything up online.
On the other hand, this device features LED indicators that will give you visual state-of-charge feedback and diagnostic information, even when it is in maintenance mode. Moreover, this battery charger is lightweight and can be used on lead-acid, flooded, or sealed maintenance-free batteries. It also offers a complete 4-step charging program- initialization, bulk charge, absorption mode, and flat mode.
- Reverse polarity protected
- LED indicators
- Quiet operation
- No written instructions manual
- The connecting cord is too short
3. Battery Tender Plus Battery Charger
Here we have another great product from Battery Tender. The Plus version is indeed a robust charger that can offset the drain and keep your battery at top performance. Moreover, this unit is perfect for your car, ATV, motorcycle, or scooter.
The Battery Tender Plus Battery Charger is spark-proof and reverse polarity protected. The 10-year warranty it comes with will give you peace of mind, and the fully automatic operation it features will save you a lot of nerves. This 1.25A battery charger also has red and green indicators, a 6-feet AC power cord length, and a 4.5-feet DC output cord length.
There are two things that we believe can be considered disadvantages. The first one is the size of the clips. The clamps should be a pinch bigger so that you can clamp over the terminals and not just the bolts. The second one is that your battery must have at least 3V before charging can even begin.
- 10-year warranty
- 4-step charging program
- Spark proof
- The clips are a bit too small
- The battery must have at least 3V before charging even begins
4. BLACK+DECKER Battery Charger
The BLACK+DECKER high-frequency battery charger and maintainer will keep your battery at optimal capacity during the offseason. It can charge 6-volt and 12-volt AGM, GEL, and WET batteries. It is suitable for RVs, cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, ATVs, snowmobiles, and many more. Depending on the battery you are about to charge, you just need to slide the voltage selector switch to either 6V or 12V.
You have both battery clips and battery ring terminals included, and the unit is fully automatic, so charging will stop once the battery is fully charged. Then, it will switch to float mode monitoring so that it could maintain change. This battery charger is super easy to use; however, the instructions in the manual are poorly written.
We noticed that the device tends to get warm after a few hours of usage; however, this is a common thing with most battery chargers, and as long as it is not extremely hot, you won’t have a problem. Also, BLACK+DECKER’s product has built-in circuit protection.
- Can charge both 6 and 12-volt batteries
- Battery clips and battery ring terminals included
- The instructions manual are not well-written
- Gets warm easily
5. MOTOPOWER Battery Charger
The MOTOPOWER Battery Charger is suitable for all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, flooded or sealed maintenance-free batteries. It is a compact unit that can be used with automobiles, motorcycles, marines, RVs, children toys, etc.
Since it is a fully automatic unit, there is no need for any manual operation, and the microprocessor-controlled program monitors the whole charging process. The most significant advantage, however, is the product’s durability. The reason for this is the multi-level safety protection and battery rescue this product offers. Besides, the device protects against short-circuits, overcharging, and reverse polarity. Also, it comes with a constant pulse current maintenance function that helps the battery avoid discharge and excessive charge.
When it comes to the design, there were some things that our team did not like. For example, the wires of the unit are thin and short. We have found that the material the ring terminals are made of to be unreliable- lightweight aluminum. The input voltage of this product is 100-240V AC / 60Hz., while the output one is 12 Volts DC / 800Ma.
- Multi-level safety protection
- Constant pulse current maintenance function
- Fully automatic
- Thin and short wires
- The ring terminals are made out of fragile aluminum
6. OrionMotorTech Battery Charger
Here we have a simple, compact device that is extremely affordable and still highly effective. It works with all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, and also flooded or sealed maintenance free ones. You can calmly use it on your car, truck, motorcycle, boat, lawn tractor, and many more.
Since the charger is fully automatic, you will also save some time and nerves. We liked the fact that this product is super easy to operate, and it has an energy-saving design with one LED indicator. You can see the charging status of your battery, and you don’t have to worry about overcharge, reverse polarity, or short-circuit. This battery charger also uses a spark-free technology.
Another significant advantage is the 5-year warranty you get. The Input Voltage Rating of this unit is 110-240V, and the output one is 12-14.8V. Bear in mind that the unit does not charge that quickly, which is not surprising considering its low price. Also, be careful not to drop it, as it may soon get damaged.
- Works with all 12V batteries
- Spark-free technology
- Energy-saving design
- Does not charge that fast
- Short cord
- Breaks easily if you drop it
7. DieHard Smart Battery Charger
This battery is fully automatic and has a 5-stage charging process for precise charging and monitoring of your cells. The DieHard Smart Battery Charger and 2A maintainer are not the quickest ones, and you may need to have some patience until your battery charges. Still, it is a sturdy device that we were pleased with.
One of the things that we didn’t like, however, was the LED indicator of the device. It flashes if clamps are reversed and the charger does not operate normally, and we find that to be very useful. However, we noticed that the indicator gets easily damaged, and you should be careful not to break it.
On the other hand, the DieHard Smart Battery Charger and 2A Maintainer have many positive aspects. For example, you get 3 connector options – a 12V accessory plug, 50-amp clamps, and permanently attachable ring connectors. This charger is also backed by a 3-year warranty, so if something happens to the unit, you won’t have to worry.
- 3 connector options
- 3-year warranty
- 5-stage charging process
- The LED indicator gets damaged easily
- Charges slowly
8. Central Purchasing, LLC Battery Float Trickle Charger
Most of the cars have electronics that draw current from the battery even when off. It may be just a little current, but still, be a problem if you do not drive your vehicle often enough. This 12 Volt Automatic Battery Float Trickle Charger by Cen-Tech is a simple and compact unit that will keep your battery charged and save.
Keep in mind that this device cannot be used with 6V batteries, and you need to pay attention to polarity when hooking it up. If you don’t have easy access to the power unit’s positive, the clip connectors may also be a hassle. Still, our team finds this product to be very durable and safe to use due to its automatic safety shutoff and thermal overload protection.
The 12 Volt Automatic Battery Float Trickle Charger by Cen-Tech is not suitable for charging dead batteries (which is normal, since it is a trickle charger), but is perfect for keeping your battery from dying. It is also super convenient that you can hook the charger up to the battery without removing the cell from the vehicle.
- Automatic safety shutoff
- Thermal overload protection
- Does not work on 6V batteries
- The clip connectors may be hard to attach
Trickle Charger Buying Guide
There are some things you have to consider before buying a power unit for your car and here we are going to make it clear how you can choose a battery charger.
What To Think About When Buying a Trickle Charger
Batteries AA and AAA are usually the most compatible with chargers. If you need something for a 9V, C, or D-size batteries, you have to check if the model can charge them.
Number of batteries you have to charge simultaneously
If you want to charge more than one battery at once, some chargers can fit between two and eight. The hard part is determining which ones can cover many batteries. That is why you should always check the product’s specifications.
This feature is handy, almost a necessity. It will indicate when the battery is charged – something significant so you don’t overcharge it. The most advanced units in this field even have digital displays showing the progress of the charging, estimated time till full charge, etc. Some units will even tell you if the battery can still receive a charge (this way you know when you need to replace it).
If you get a charger with a sizeable water-proof casing, you can use it for a more extended period. Plus, electricity and water don’t go well together, so this is something essential.
Are Trickle Chargers Safe?
Using any type of battery charger is generally safe. However, here you have to hook up an external electrical supply to a box full of Sulfuric Acid. So yes, you still need to do things carefully and with caution.
Safety matters and this is especially true when there is a procedure or a task related to car maintenance and repairs. Clumsiness shouldn’t be dismissed as well. Installing or detaching a car batter requires lifting and if you drop the unit on your car, you will likely create a dent or a scratch on the body of the vehicle. We want to have you prepared for any situation and this is why you should make sure to read our comprehensive guide on choosing a dent puller.
Trickle vs Regular Battery Charger
Power units have various functions in terms of charging, so here we are going to compare the two main types. In case you are looking for a specific power unit or just curious what the market has, do not hesitate to check out our car battery buying guide for more information, helpful advice and lots of handy tips.
What is the difference between a trickle charger and a battery charger?
After all, achieving the perfect combination between a charger and a battery is the way to go. So let’s see the types of battery chargers that you have at your disposal.
Regular Battery Charger
This type of charger is made to charge a battery as harmlessly and as swiftly as possible. However, in case you didn’t know, charging a battery too quickly can cause damage. It can also lead to a reduction in the item’s capacity, shortening its life cycle, and potentially even cause it to catch fire. That’s why it’s better not to rush these things.
Since this type of battery sends constant voltage to the battery while it’s turned on, you have to check it regularly to make sure it doesn’t continue charging past 100%. Vehicle owners constantly forget to unplug the charger from the battery and leave it overnight. Not a good idea.
This charger is right for you if you want to charge your battery immediately, but you should check it all the time while keeping the disadvantages in mind.
Trickle Battery Charger
Now, the trickle battery charger is the opposite of the regular one, because it yields very low voltage. This means it takes a lot longer to charge the battery. We advise you to use this charger right away when you get a new battery. And if the battery has been put away for a long time, make sure to charge it periodically to its max. This way, when you need to use it, it will be ready for application.
How A Trickle Charger Works?
All battery chargers have the same mechanism of action. When connected, they deliver an electric current to a battery, so its cells can feed on this electricity and regain power. The difference comes when you look at the different amperage the battery charger feeds. When it comes to trickle chargers, this amperage is low. We think that charging your battery slowly but in a less damaging way is one reason why you should consider a trickle charger for your car.
How To Use A Trickle Charger
There are several things to do to charge your car. And here we have listed them in a few simple steps to make using a car battery charger easy and trouble-free.
- Step 1
It is effortless to use a trickle charger. Most such chargers have a simple box, two alligator clips, and a power cable. Before connecting anything, you have to set the voltage and amperage according to your battery’s specs.
Interestingly enough, the car brand also matters. So, what is considered to be the best trickle charger for a BMW, isn’t going to be the best for a Porsche. Check the buttons and switches on the box and set them before connecting the charger to a power source.
- Step 2
Before even beginning to connect your charger, it is crucial to ensure some safety precautions. The first one is that your vehicle is parked in a dry, well-ventilated place. Such action is vital because, during the charging process, hydrogen gas can be produced. If it is concentrated in a space with no ventilation, there is a risk of explosion or fire. Make sure that your vehicle is turned off, the key is removed, and the charger is still unplugged.
- Step 3
This is an essential step. You have to find a good location where you can attach the negative terminal of your charger. This will ensure that everything will be safely and effectively done.
The best way is to use a large bolt, which is connected to the chassis or engine block. It can also be a spot where there is bare metal on the frame. If you can’t find any of these, it will be enough if you use an area of the frame of the car where there is no dirt, grime or oil. Also, never use the negative terminal on the battery, because it can lead to fire or an explosion.
Storing all of these things properly is essential when it comes to safety. After checking our complete best tool chests, you will surely find a suitable tool cabinet you can use for all of your battery charging supplies.
- Step 4
Attach the alligator clips. They are usually in two colors – black and red. The red one, or the positive cable, should be connected to the positive terminal of the battery. Make sure the connection is reliable, then do the same with the black wire and connect it to the ground location. Once again, ensure that there is a stable connection before you plug in your charger. You shouldn’t touch the wires once they are charging the battery. If you do that, it will cause severe electrical shock or injury.
- Step 5
Once all of the steps above are done accurately, connect the trickle charger to a power socket. Then make sure the settings are correct, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations for the battery you’re charging. Plug in your charger and turn it on.
Usually, the battery charger would have an amp meter. It will show you higher values if the battery is dead, and 0 if it is fully charged. If the meter reads low, then either your battery is charged, or your ground connection isn’t right. To retry the connection, first, turn off the charger, unplug it and then proceed.
If the problem continues, then either your charger doesn’t work properly or the battery is completely depleted and unusable.
Read on to find more details on car battery charger reviews!
After getting to this point of our guide, you should have all the answers you need about trickle chargers. However, we have created this list with the most common question that any car owner may have. Do not skip this part as you can recycle all the info you know so far.
- Q: Can you leave a trickle charger on all the time?
A: No, and Yes. People sometimes mistake a trickle charger for a maintenance charger. The difference is that since the trickle charger feeds power that is equal to the battery’s rate of self-discharge, it should be disconnected once the charging is complete. This is done so overcharging can be prevented.
However, some trickle chargers can be left with the battery for months without harming it. Others units allow this to continue for only a few days at best. To check this, look at your charger’s manual for details.
A maintenance charger is made to stay connected to the battery at all times. You set a charge level, and it will automatically turn on and off to maintain this range you’ve set up.
- Q: How long does it take to charge a car battery?
A: It can vary from one battery charger to another because it depends on the charger’s strength and battery power. But there is a rule of thumb which says that a typical car battery holds 48 amps of power. If you are using a 2-amp charger, it will take about 24 hours to charge it fully.
- Q: How long does it take to charge a Motorcycle battery?
A: A 2-amp charger will need approximately 3 to 5 hours to charge a battery.
Well, guys, as this is the end of our buying guide. You now know everything there is to know about finding the best trickle charger. If you still have not decided on a unit, make sure you have checked all of our reviews of trickle chargers as they include the top products available on the market nowadays.
In case you feel like we have missed something in our article, feel free to leave a comment or email us, we love it when we have feedback from our readers. Also, do not forget to send and share this article with your friends.
If you find this buying guide helpful, you will be pleased to know that we have many other guides devoted to finding the most reliable product. Don’t lose more time, and go check them out as well. Thank you for reading, and as always – stay put!