Driving along a dark, dusty road on a wintry night is not a very pleasant activity but it is made more bearable by modern automotive conveniences such as your heater, windshield wipers, heated windows, car stereo and headlights which are part of your cars electrical system, all powered by your cars battery.
The reality is if your battery dies you will stall, so we’ve assembled this informative list of the 6 best automotive battery chargers to help you get started searching for the right portable charger you can take with you as you drive.
Owning and operating the right car battery charger for your vehicle means that your cars electrical system will always be maintained and kept in good working order, and dealing with the nightmare of a stalled vehicle can be a thing of the past.
Why We Have Recommended The 3 Auto Battery Chargers?
To make your search easier, we’ve included our top 3 picks of car battery chargers. All of these are portable, can be toted with you as you drive. They are top of the line, loaded with exciting and useful features and microprocessor controlled so you get the perfect charge each and every time.
Our number one pick for the best auto battery charger is the NOCO G15000 12/24 volt car battery charger. This model is designed to be portable so you can easily handle it when you need to charge your battery, as well as stow it away in your trunk or back seat.
Versatile, as it maintains the batteries of your off season vehicles, such as boats and motorcycles, as they sit immobile. The NOCO is a ‘smart’ charger as it is controlled by its own microprocessor, and is considered one of the fastest battery chargers, charging up to 2 times quicker than the competition.
The second choice on our list, is The CTEK (56-353) MULTI US 7002 12-Volt Battery Charger. The CTEK not only charges, but is also versatile and maintains the battery life of off season vehicles such as marine and RVs.
According to CTEK, it is the ‘smartest’ battery charger in the world, so all you need do is to connect it and forget it. This unit is portable and compact and versatile as it can charge the following battery types: wet, maintenance free, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), and gel.
Our third entry is the Optima Digital 1200 12V Battery Charger and Maintainer. This portable, compact car battery charger comes with a built-in microprocessor and maintains off season vehicles.
The really nice feature is the presence of USB ports which you can use to charge up your cell phone, tablet, any USB device, which helps if you are stranded alone on a dark road, or for use on road trips or vacations.
List of Top Automotive Battery Charger
|Schumacher || SC-1200A/CA |
6 Best Automotive Battery Chargers Reviewed In 2018
At the top of our list for battery chargers is the versatile, streamlined, compact and portable NOCO Genius G15000 12V/24V 15A Pro Series UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger. This 15 amp charter has been designed by NOCO to charge up a 12 volt and 24 volt lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries up to 400 Ah with zero over charge, as well as car, truck, boat, and deep-cycle batteries.
Users prefer this charger to its competitors for many reasons, and one of them is speed as it can charge a battery 2 times faster, as well as jump start dead batteries, charges in cold weather, and fix damaged batteries. The user friendly interface allows you to choose different modes such as repair mode, supply mode, AGM+ mode, and lithium mode.
You can also use this charger with micro-hybrid start/stop vehicles as well as CANBUS electrical systems, and power up DC devices. This charger manages it all by way of a built-in microprocessor which functions to keep track of battery activity such as charging, and works to reduce energy usage, as well as protections such as spark-proof technology, reverse polarity and overcharge protections.
You can keep your compact NOCO G15000 hooked up 24/7 without worry. It is constructed with with convenient external mounting holes, rubberized non-slip base, is UV resistant and has a waterproof rating of IP44, maintain communication with your NOCO with its bright LED indicator lights, which keeps you updated on diagnostic information.
Summary- The compact, portable and versatile NOCO Genius G15000 12V/24V 15A Pro Series UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger is our first choice for battery chargers. Charges 12 volt and 24 volt lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, charges 2 times faster than competition, jump start dead batteries, repair damaged batteries.
Works with CANBUS electrical systems, powers up DC devices, energy efficient, spark-proof technology, overcharge and reverse polarity protections. Can use 24/7, has convenient mounting holes, rubberized non-slip base, selectable modes, UV resistant and a waterproof rating of IP44. We give this our top spot due to its fabulous features, affordability and ease of use.
CTEK is a well respected maker of fine battery chargers, and markets itself as the ‘smartest battery chargers in the world’. CTEK (56-353) MULTI US 7002 12-Volt primary switch mode Battery Charger is number 2 on our list due to its advanced features and easy of use as you simply connect the CTEK charger and go about your business.
The compact, portable CTEK charger works in any type of vehicle, uses its own patented float/pulse charging which will not damage your battery, and can be used on many 12 volt lead-acid batteries such as wet, maintenance free, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), and gel.
This charger is compatible with cars, trucks, marine vehicles, motorcycles, even gardening equipment, is spark free, has a short circuit proof design, and reverse polarity protection.
The smart features of the CTEK are there to monitor your batteries condition and will notify you if you need to desulphate or charge your battery, the patented pulse charging during maintenance phase.
If it detects that you need to desulphate, then CTEK’s own patented desulphation process will recondition the battery. When charging the CTEK goes through 8 steps: desulphation, reconditioning, Soft Start, bulk, absorption, analysis.
Summary- The CTEK (56-353) MULTI US 7002 12-Volt Battery Charger is a primary switch mode battery charger full of useful features.
Easy to use, portable, patented float/pulse charging system, guaranteed to not damage your battery, versatile to be used on lead-acid, wet, maintenance free, absorbed glass mat and gel batteries.
Can be used on cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and more, spark free, short circuit proof design, reverse polarity protection, patented 8 step desulphation process. This is a great buy for anyone looking for a charger that maintains and desulphates the battery.
The Optima Digital 1200 12 volt Performance Battery Charger’s high efficiency 12 amp charging is just what you need to recharge your batteries, as well as help prolong the life of your car battery.
This ‘smart’ car battery charger is under microprocessor control, improves the performance and charges, conditions and maintains 12 volt AGM batteries as well as flooded batteries, charges on 120 volt standard outlets, built-in, ergonomic charging clamps with non-slip grips and LED worklight.
Versatile, this also has a USB charging port which lets you charge up your iPad, iPhone, smartphones, cameras, which makes it perfect for camping, long road trips and even short vacations.
The convenient maintainer port is just what you need to keep the batteries healthy. If you have seasonal vehicles such as boats, motorcycles, and other recreational vehicles that must sit for a period of time.
To help you keep track of charging, fill rate, and more, you’ll find the tri-colored LCD battery charging gauge handy, as well as the quick set selections, all of which make it super simple for anyone to operate, under any conditions.
Summary- The Optima Digital 1200 12V Performance Battery Charger and Maintainer not only charges your vehicles batteries, but is also designed to maintain seasonal vehicles such as boats, motorcycles, tractors and recreational vehicles.
12 amp charging power, microprocessor controlled, 12 volt AGM and flooded batteries. Uses standard 120 volt outlets, ergonomic charging clamps, LED worklight. USB charging ports for iPad, iPhone, smartphones, cameras and more. We love this one due to its USB charging ports which will come in handy while you travel.
The lightweight, compact Schumacher SC-1200A-CA SpeedCharge 12 Amp 6/12V Fully Automatic Battery Charger with push-in button amperage control, is a ‘smart’ charger due to its microprocessor. This easy to use charger its LED indicator lights will keep you abreast of the charging process.
If you are not an auto geek, no worries, as this ‘smart’ charter will automatically adjust the amp rate to the charge even going into Slow Charge for smaller batteries, maintain batteries, and has float mode monitoring which allows you to maintain the battery after fully charged. Auto volt detection means that it will automatically detect 6 or 12 volt batteries, and it comes with a reverse hook-up protection.
The Schumacher comes with 50 amp clamps which you can use on both the upper and side battery posts as it quickly charges up most standard automotive batteries including boat, RV, truck, agricultural vehicles, along with deep-cycle, AGM and gel cell car batteries.
This 3 pound unit is designed for your comfort and transportability with its integrated, retractable handle that also doubles as a convenient cord wrap for storage.
Summary- The Schumacher SC-1200A-CA SpeedCharge 12Amp 6/12V Fully Automatic Battery Charger is an energy efficient, ‘smart’ battery charger which uses a microprocessor to control the charging process. Easy to read LED indicator lights, automatically adjusts the amp rate to the charge, Slow charge feature for small batteries.
Auto volt detection, revese hook-up protection, and 50 amp clamps. Versatile enough for agricultural vehicles and maintenance of off season vehicles, deep-cycle, AGM and gel cell car batteries. 3 pounds, small compact easy to carry with built-in handle.
The compact and portable with high charging power density Battery Tender Plus 021-0128, 1.25 Amp Battery Charger with a spark-free hook up, is a fully automatic car battery charger that is guaranteed to bring your battery up to 100 percent full power.
Charge without worry, as the Battery Tender Plus automatically adjusts the voltage from a continuous full charge, to a float level after the charging cycle is complete, preventing overcharge.
This microprocessor controlled charger by Deltran has a powder coated aluminum chassis, 1 output bank, comes with reverse polarity protection, thermal protection, short circuit protection, built-in indicator lights, temperature compensation which compensates for both cold and hot temperatures during charging.
This unit is versatile and comes with a 6 foot AC power cord and works well with all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries including AGM and gel cell. So feel free to use it on your car, truck, boat, lawn mower, recreational vehicles and even agricultural equipment all without concern of overcharge.
It uses a thorough 4 step charging process which includes: Initialization, built charge, absorption mode, and finally float mode. Feel free to leave this charger wiring connected to the battery while driving with the E-Z quick disconnect harness, it ships with a quick disconnect ring set and alligator clips.
Summary- The Battery Tender Plus 021-0128, 1.25 Amp Battery Charger is a compact charger you can use with your seasonal as well as off season vehicles. High charging power density, fully automatic, switches from continuous flow to float mode, does not overcharge.
Micoprocessor controlled, temperature compensation, works with all lead-acid, flooded, sealed maintenance free batteries including AGM and gel. Charges using a 4 step charging process, reverse polarity protection.
The Stanley BC25BS 25 Amp Bench Battery Charger with 75 Amp Engine Start is an affordable, fully automatic, and efficient way for you to charge and maintain your vehicles 12 volt batteries.
The Stanley battery charger is simple to use, just hook up the battery charger clamps to your vehicle’s battery terminals, press ‘charge’,and the LCD digital display keeps you updated on the batteries status using easy to see icons.
This 3A/25A/75A battery charger and maintainer is equipped with a microprocessor, and will automatically choose the charge rate and switch from rapid charge to trickle charge to prolong your batteries life. Stanley’s own patented 75A engine start is quite fast and responsive, and can jump-start a vehicle in 90 seconds.
Other features include the alternator check which alerts you to possible issues, reverse polarity protection, Stanley’s battery reconditioning technology works to reverse sulfate buildup on your battery plates, which in turn, improves performance of both battery and charger. Comes with all you need to get started, including heavy duty cables, clamps and an owners manual.
Summary- The Stanley BC25BS 25 Amp Bench Battery Charger with 75 Amp Engine Start is a compact, portable car battery charger, fully automatic, for 12 volt batteries.
We like this because it is Simple to use, has an easy to read LCD digital display, 3A/25A/75A battery charger, maintainer, equipped with microprocessor.
Switches from continuous charge to trickle, 75A Engine Start jump starts in 90 seconds. The Alternator check, reverse polarity protection, reconditioning technology are also fantastic features.
How to Use Auto Battery Charger?
It happened, you are stalled and now you need to charge up your car battery. Before you start, get protective goggles and protective gloves, wear long sleeves, tie your hair back and remove jewelry or any bits of loose clothing like scarves.
I also encourage you to have a portable, rechargeable LED work lamp in your car, so even if you are stranded out in the dark, you can charge up using one of these portable lamps.
NOTE: These are only guidelines to give you a rough idea of how to charge your cars battery from a charger. You are totally responsible for following the instructions in the owners manual that came with the car battery charger that you purchased. Each car battery charger is unique in its own way, so only use the manual that came with that unit.
Step 1: As you will be working on your car, it is a good idea to put your parking brake on, to prevent your car from accidentally moving while you are working on it. Open your hood and examine your battery for any signs of damage such as leaked acid or cracks.
If your battery is damaged, then do not touch it, do not connect your charger to it, unless you are skilled with automotive engineering, it is best to call a tow truck to have it towed to a certified mechanic.
Step 2: Take out your vehicles owners manual and locate the positive and negative terminals on your vehicles battery. The positive terminal will have a ‘+’, ‘P’ or ‘POS’, the negative terminal will have a ‘-‘, ‘N’, or ‘NEG’. Make sure your battery charger is off and unplugged, and ground the car battery.
Most cars have a negative ground, so connect the positive charger clip to the positive terminal, positive charger clips are red, and negative charger clips are black, always connect the positive first.
Step 3: Next, take the negative charger and clip it to the cars a heavy gauge metal part of the frame or engine block. Never, under any circumstances clip it to fuel lines, sheet metal parts or your carburetor. Make sure it is as far from your battery as possible, by going as far away as the cables will allow.
Step 4: Make sure your car battery charger is still off and unplugged. Next, connect the battery charger just as it states in your battery charger manual. This is terribly important, as car battery chargers are unique and may have their own set up steps. Only plug the cord into a grounded outlet and flip it on when you are sure you have completed all previous steps correctly.
Step 5: Now just let your charger do its job, and under no circumstances are you to touch the charger clips while charging. If you do not have a car battery charger with a float mode, that automatically adjusts the amperage, be watchful you do not accidentally overcharge and damage the battery.
When the charge is complete, turn the charger off and unplug it from the outlet. Once unplugged, remove the charger clip you connected to the frame of your car, remove the clip connected to the battery posts, and start your car, there that’s it!
The Final Thought (Conclusion)
As complex as it may seem to those who have no knowledge of cars, manufacturers like the ones we have listed, have worked very hard to ensure that they have created products you will be able to operate easily, without the help of a mechanic.
If you are still in doubt as to which battery charger to choose, here is a good hint: look up the product and find its owners manual online and study it, because if it is easy for you to read and understand, you’ll have no problem hooking it up on your own.
As always, we hope you have enjoyed our article on how to find the best automotive battery charger for you, and look forward to seeing you return and view more of our exciting, helpful and top of the line products for your automotive needs.