We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you work in an automotive shop or just want to be prepared at home, something from our selection of car battery chargers will save you from spending money on a new battery by safely and efficiently charging up just about any type and voltage. They are great for bringing dead batteries back to life after winter storage and for keeping them in optimal condition. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.
10. VMax BC1204
- Great marine battery float charger
- Works only on 12-volt systems
- Gets very hot in use
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. Noco Genius G750
- Impact- and uv-resistant
- Suitable for all-weather use
- Eyelet cables tend to slip off
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
8. Black & Decker BC15BD
- Engine start boost mode
- Patented alternator check system
- Included clamps are low quality
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
7. CTek 56-865
- Included leads are interchangeable
- Can be mounted for permanent use
- Very long charge time
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Deltran Battery Tender Plus
- Compensates for ambient temperature
- Exceptionally rugged chassis
- Suitable for all vehicle types
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Pulse Tech XC100-P
- Quick disconnect feature
- Spark-free operation
- Overheat protection
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. BatteryMinder 128CEC1
- Can extend a battery’s life
- Auto restarts after power failures
- Diagnoses battery problems
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
3. Stanley BC15BS
- Can recondition old batteries
- Screen shows the charging status
- Reverse polarity safeguards
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Schumacher SEM-1562A-CA
- Durable plastic exterior
- Auto determines battery type
- Budget-friendly price
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Optima Digital 400
- Comes with a kickstand
- Bad connection alerts
- Integrated cord wrap
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
On Being Prepared For All Things Automotive
Most people tend to take their vehicles for granted. We only truly pay close attention to our car or truck when something is not going right. The failure of a brake light, the need for a new timing belt, or just that pesky, ubiquitous check engine light blinking in the corner are reminders that, in fact, the modern automobile is a remarkably complex piece of machinery. The average car produced in the last few years contains no fewer than 30,000 different components, as it turns out, when you count every last nut, bolt, cylinder, and wire. The fact that most motor vehicles work well for many years across many thousands of miles is a testament to great engineering and manufacturing.
The fact is, though, that eventually any car is going to have its share of issues which need maintenance and repairs (or else that necessitate the replacement of the vehicle entirely). For many people, the solution to any automotive issue is to simply get the car to the shop and let a professional mechanic figure out what is wrong with it. And while serious automotive issues are best left to the professionals, there is much the average Do It Yourself minded individual can do when it comes to caring for his or her car.
The first step in DIY automotive repair is always diagnostics: you can’t remedy a problem if you don’t know what’s wrong. Next comes assessing whether or not you can really solve the issue. And third, prior to any actual work commencing, comes making sure you have the right tools for the job. At a bare minimum, taking care of your car at home involves a good oil pan, a great jack, a set of torque wrenches, and a car battery charger.
Proper automobile maintenance, both at home and in a professional shop, should also always involve safety gear, including gloves and protective eyewear at the minimum, with thick and durable coveralls, sturdy boots, and potentially respiration gear, ear protection, and even head protection for the truly well prepared person.
Choosing A Car Battery Charger For Professional Use
Breathing new life into a dead car battery isn’t an act of sorcery, it’s an act that professional mechanics complete countless times each and every day. Recharging a dead battery can save a mechanic’s customer huge amounts of money, earning the shop lifetime loyalty. It’s also the ecologically responsible approach to recharge a battery rather than replacing it in the event that the battery still has a valid service life left.
Car battery chargers run the gamut when it comes to prices, with some units costing less than a tank of gas and others costs two hundred dollars or more. The speed with which some of the higher end units work helps to compensate for their cost, as their efficiency allows you to move on to other tasks more quickly. Many of the high end charges also feature built in monitoring equipment and displays that let you diagnose the condition of a battery and monitor the progress of the charge, helping you to avoid overcharging and potentially damaging a battery. (These features are also helpful for the DIY mechanic, of course.)
Make sure to consider the size and weight of a car battery charger, as you will likely have to move it around your shop frequently. Larger units may offer more power, but if they’re a pain to get into position, the frustration may not be worth the few minutes you save.
The Right Car Battery Charger For Home Use
Contrary to common misconception, simply jump starting a car is not a way to recharge its battery. The car will keep running well until it is turned off, and may even be able to start itself up again later if the battery is relatively new and in good condition, but more often that not, if a car battery dies once, requiring a jump, it’s going to happen again sooner than later. A car keeps its battery charged while its engine is running, but most cars can’t reliably recharge their batteries to anywhere near their full capacity after a total drain.
That’s why many people, especially those with older vehicles, choose to buy their own car battery charger. A car battery charger can cost well under fifty dollars, which is about half the price of the average car battery. A one time purchase of your own car battery charger, therefore, could save you from buying new batteries many times over.
And even if you car battery charger only breathes enough life into your vehicle’s battery to let you drive it to the shop, you will still save money as compared to having the “dead” car towed there, so these units still make savvy investments. Think of it like this: even if you only use your moderately priced car battery charger one or two times, chances are good that it will still have saved you money.
Just make sure to exercise proper caution around a car battery: there is ample opportunity for injury or property damage if you mishandle a battery, especially if it is in a compromised state.