Being prepared when your vehicle stops moving is the best-case scenario, especially when in dire situations.
A dead battery in an unlikely setting is frustrating and a burden when you don’t have technological prowess on how to handle it.
Having a car battery charger is the easiest way to jump-start and recharge the dead battery in a few minutes. To know the best car battery charger and how to choose them, continue reading this article.
Top 9 Best Car Battery Charger Reviews
Not all car battery chargers are made equal. Some are better than others in regards to their classification, price, and material. In this article, we list the top ten car battery chargers that will suit your needs and will help you in times of need.
Battery Tender Plus 021-0128
Battery Tender is a veteran when it comes to manufacturing battery chargers on almost all types of vehicles.
It’s no wonder as they were in the business for several decades and they bring you one of their bestsellers, the Battery Tender Plus 021-028.
Flexibility and its advanced technology are a few of its main selling points. BT Plus has the flexibility to charge several types of batteries such as lead-acid, flooded, sealed, AGM, and even gel cell types.
Its advanced technology pertains to the microprocessors which control the charging process, making it optimal to be a trickle charger.
Just like other Battery Tender products, there are four steps in the process namely Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Charge, and Float Charge. Red and green LED light indicators to show what stage of charging your battery is currently in.
Red Light On/Red Light Blinking. The circuit monitors if there are appropriate battery voltage levels and good electrical continuity between the battery and the charger.
Red Light On and Green Light Off. There is a constant flow of current at full power. This entails that the battery is at its 7% to 80%.
Red Light On and Green Light Blinking. There is a constant voltage which makes the battery conditioned for top performance.
The battery charging current then drops below the optimum recharge threshold which ends this stage. BT Plus is temperature-compensated to ensure the ideal charge voltage depending on the ambient temperature.
Red Light Off and Green Light On. There is a constant voltage at this stage. The battery is kept at 100% and protects it from an excessive drawing of current. Once at full charge, the charger automatically switches to this mode to prevent overcharging.
Portability is also a focal point of BT Plus. With its dimensions measured at 11x11x4 inches and weight of 2.3 lb, it’s compact enough to bring anywhere without problems.
Battery Tender ensures your safety when you use their products including the spark-proof and reverse polarity protected cables in both alligator clips and tender ring terminal forms. Power will only be transferred to the wires when you do things right away.
The features are all promising, but you should always be careful in handling battery chargers.
We recommend that you disconnect the charger from the battery when it becomes full and doesn’t let it idle for several hours. The surface of BT Plus can be hot which could be at risk of overheating and even fire accidents.
BT Plus has the longest warranty among all other BT products, having a 10-year full warranty.
- Compatible with several types of car batteries
- Four-step charging program to protect the battery from damage
- Extend battery life up to 3 times
- Ten years warranty
- Temperature-compensated so the output voltage won’t affect the charger at temperature changes
- It May become very warm
Battery Tender 021-0123
The first entry in our list is Battery Tender Junior 021-0123, a famous car battery charger with a well-secured design that significantly improves the car battery at an affordable price.
This one can recharge several types of batteries such as 12V sealed, lead-acid, flooded, gel cell, and AGM. Indeed, a perfect choice for beginners like you.
This battery charger has a 12-foot output cord which is spark-proof during lead connection. The alligator clips and ring terminals have no problem connecting to the said battery. In fact, there’s reverse polar protection that will alert you in case you make a mistake.
One of the main features of Battery Tender Jr 021-0123 is its size. Having dimensions of 8x4x9 inches and a weight of 1.8 lb, this is one of the best candidates when it comes to portability. Among all other Battery Tender Junior Chargers, this particular model is the smallest and lightest, which directly influences its low price.
Considering its price and quality make, we recommend disconnecting the charger from the battery after it becomes full. Charging at long periods of time may subject this charger to high temperatures.
Since it has a plastic housing, this car battery charger is prone to be hot on the surface, or a worst-case scenario, it might catch fire.
The charging process is fully automatic because of the microprocessors that control it. In short, there’s no chance of overcharging, because as soon as it’s fully charged, it switches to maintenance or float mode automatically.
There are four steps in the charging process namely Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Charge, and Float Charge. During charging, there are two LEDs with the colors red and green that will indicate what charging stage the battery is on.
The Float Charge, in particular, maintains the state of the battery and prevents it from drawing excessive current. This phase can continue indefinitely.
Battery Tender Jr 021-0123 comes with a 5-year full warranty in case of defects.
- Works with several types of car batteries
- Smart microprocessors
- Four-step charging process for optimum performance and maintenance
- Equipped with safety features e.g. reverse polarity alarm, spark-proof connection
- Five years warranty
- Risk of catching fire
CTEK (56-959) Silver MUS 4.3 TEST & CHARGE
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The CTEK (56-959) makes it into our list for its versatility and convenience. It works well with different types of vehicles, not only cars, as long as the batteries are within its application.
There’s a special cold mode feature (or snowflake) that aims to optimal charging and maintenance at cold temperatures.
As car owners, we know that batteries, even if unused, lose their power gradually due to sulfation which also shortens the battery life. Charging sulfated batteries is all the more difficult but this car battery charger, can recondition sulfated batteries through a patented method
Examples of the batteries that CTEK (56-959) caters are gel cells, wet, maintenance-free, and AGM. CTEK chargers are made simple and function simply too.
There are, in fact, three modes that you can toggle depending on the battery. The first one is the low current mode – this is denoted by the motorcycle icon preferred to be used on small 12V batteries.
The second one is the higher current mode, denoted by a car icon, for automotive applications and larger batteries. The third and final mode is the winter mode.
Once you picked the preferred mode, you can just connect and forget. Connect the charger to the battery terminals with either alligator clips or O-rings, and once it finishes charging, it will switch to a maintenance phase automatically.
There’s no risk of damaging or overcharging because CTEK (56-959) was designed not to harm the electronic systems.
Before we forget, this CTEK charger has a 4-step charging process controlled by a unique charge algorithm. The charging processes are duly monitored by the software installed inside and therefore prevent any mishaps while the charger is connected to the battery.
The smart technology is also capable of regulating the voltage to protect the sensitivities at the electrical hi-fi partitions.
One of the very few setbacks of this CTEK charger is its short cable length. At most, it reaches only up to 7 feet.
This CTEK charger is a good thing to have as the housing is robust and can resist any changes in the temperature or situation.
Its IP65 classification means that it’s both dust and water-resistant. Moreover, it works best between -4°F and +122°F. The output power is automatically reduced when it exceeds the stated maximum temperature limit.
Other safety features that must not be ignored include the spark-proof and reverse polarity-protected connections. The red LED light will function as an indicator that no charge is received or when the connections are wrong. CTEK (56-959) comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
- Additional winter mode for cold temperatures
- Extends battery life 2-3 times
- Severely discharged batteries could be rejuvenated
- Splash and dust proof
- Output power is reduced automatically at higher temperatures
- Short cable length
Schumacher SEM-1562A-CA Speed Charge Battery Maintainer
If you are traditional with the brands you trust, then you should know about Schumacher which has been producing battery chargers since the late 1940s.
The Schumacher SEM-1562A-CA is an inexpensive alternative if you’re on a budget and if you will be using it with batteries that are seldom used.
What makes it capable is its versatility and can be used for 6V or 12V batteries with virtually no limitations. The simple instruction is just to connect and forget.
You don’t need to be concerned about overcharging because the microprocessors will prevent it from happening.
If you use this battery charger to charge a large battery that wasn’t fully charged, the battery may lose some of its capacity. The large battery will then be unable to hold a charge and would then be rendered useless.
So for the sake of preserving the state of the large batteries, better use SEM-1562A as just a battery maintainer. It works well with small batteries, though
The battery type is detected through automatic voltage detection. The input charge will be automatically configured, and the multi-phase charging process then commences.
It has an advanced charging technology because the charger is designed to analyze data and configure the input such as the current and voltage. The charger can make adjustments on the fly. After the battery charges at 100%, the charger automatically shifts to Float mode and will function as a battery maintainer.
But when the ambient temperature changes or the battery gets hot, the SEM-1562A will take care of the problem by adjusting the charging rate abruptly after analysis.
This battery charger can charge deeply discharged batteries as long as there’s a remaining charge inside starting at 0.1V. This is done through the Desulfation mode which takes from 8 to 10 hours. When it fails, the yellow LED light starts to blink.
Though the cable wires are short in length, they come in eyelet and clamp versions. They feature a quick disconnect harness for easy removal and have reverse polarity protection when the clamps or O-rings are connected to the wrong terminals.
The use of extension cords isn’t recommended unless absolutely necessary. Upon purchase, this one has a warranty of 2 years.
- Maintains small and large batteries
- Auto voltage detection
- Analyzes data to automatically deliver current charge
- Not recommended for charging large batteries
- Short cable length
NOCO Genius G3500
Maintaining the maximum performance of a battery is important.
You are already aware that even if the battery is discharged or not even used, its power is continually reduced along with its battery life.
With NOCO Genius G3500, charging and maintaining the battery will go hand in hand to rejuvenate even the drained batteries.
G3500’s exterior is well-designed as two of its focal points are its portability and versatility.
Just like other NOCO chargers, G3500 works well with several battery types. It’s just not a car battery charger as it correspondingly provides services on other vehicles like motorcycles, motorboats, tractors, etc.
Just like the previous G750, there are two options either 6V or 12V, that you can change at will through a switch. Be aware that the unit can memorize the last selected mode upon next usage, so you might want to double-check what battery you will be charging.
The charger is quite capable of auto-adjust depending on the current needs. This battery charger/maintainer has a built-in thermal monitor in which the sensors will automatically adjust the charge depending on the ambient temperature.
The charging process is two times faster compared to others due to its cutting-edge technology which delivers superior performance.
To know the current battery percentage, there are four circles from 25% to 100% which will flash green LED. At full charge, overcharging is prevented via switching to the maintenance phase.
One thing to know about G3500 is it also doubles as a battery maintainer. You need not worry about unplugging it for fear of toasting the battery because there are smart microprocessors that will constantly observe the battery state.
When it’s full, there’s no draw of current. So when the battery life is depleted, charging resumes until it enters the maintenance phase again. G3500 is an effective energy saver.
One of G3500’s features is its ability to bring an almost dead battery back to life. With pulse charging that uses high voltage, the low-voltage, sulfation, and lost capacity batteries are rejuvenated.
This repair feature is only applicable to 12V batteries and not the 6V ones. Fully drained batteries with no detected voltage or remaining minimum charge won’t be able to charge.
You may need a little help from other battery chargers to solve this problem: which is to collect some charge. Plugging G3500 after that will work fine.
Just like other NOCO chargers, all safety features like reverse polarity protection, and spark-proof cables remain intact.
Cable connectors that come upon purchase have alligator clips and O-rings. G3500 has mounting holes and a rubber base to avoid slipping and scratches from hard surfaces.
It comes with a five-year warranty.
- Maintains battery indefinitely
- Suited for different battery types
- Charges 2x faster
- Five years warranty
- Current charge automatically adjusts depending on temperature changes
- Smart charging technology prevents it from overcharging
- Won’t charge if the battery is fully drained
- Repair feature only available to 12V batteries
NOCO Genius GENM1
The final NOCO product able to make it into our list is the NOCO Genius GENM1 which may be the most expensive among the lot. But its safety features are something to be praised.
You can say that safety is this product’s main priority to work on most types of batteries that run on 20-120Ah virtually on any type of vehicle.
NOCO Genius GENM1 boasts a rugged appearance. With its IP68 classification, it’s said to be 100% waterproof and can work even in extreme weather conditions.
Not only that, but this charger is also shock and vibration-resistant. Meeting the USCG-33 CFR 183.410 requirements, NOCO Genius GENM1 is never at risk of igniting because of the temperature-controlled circuitry inside.
As an onboard charger, you might find this one quite heavy and big. It’s actually meant to be placed in one area, unlike most portable chargers.
With its dimensions of 6.6x5x3.8 inches and a weight of 3.3 lb, you can consider this one to be heavy duty. You might find the cable to be quite short. It only measures 6 feet.
One other thing to know is the cable wire. There’s only one version – the O-ring or eyelet terminal connector available upon purchase. It limits the way to connect the charger to the battery
GEN Mini 1 uses Rapid Charge Technology which is like other NOCO chargers, it’s 2x faster than other conventional battery chargers. Not only twice as fast but there’s also minimal energy consumption to attain that.
One other thing that is common to NOCO chargers is their ability to bring the deeply discharged and poor-performing batteries back to life. It can recover the sulfated batteries by pulse charging (transferring high voltage).
The charging process of this battery charger takes eight steps. If the battery charge has stopped on Bulk Charge mode for a long period of time, the charger will automatically shut down.
Upon auto-switching to the maintenance phase at full charge, you can just connect and forget. Meaning the battery is never at risk of overcharging because the charging will resume when the battery life is depleted and stop drawing current at 100%
Unlike other NOCO chargers, NOCO Genius GENM1 allows the use of extension cords without any specification. The microprocessors inside the charger are capable of variable input compensation at varying AC input voltages.
GEN Mini 1 comes with a 5-year limited warranty
- Works with different battery types
- 100% waterproof and weatherproof
- Ignition protection
- Pulse charges deeply discharged batteries
- Charges 2x faster compared to others
- Five years warranty
- Short cable length
- Limitation on connectivity
NOCO Genius G750
The NOCO Genius G750 makes it into our list as one of the bestsellers among the NOCO products.
This battery charger has the capability of fully charging a drained battery ranging from lead-acid to gel cell batteries.
It is compatible with a long list of battery types found in most vehicles. Its versatility to function well on different vehicle types is one of G750’s selling points.
G750 serves as both charger and maintainer maximizing its portability for both 6V and 12V batteries.
There are two battery charging modes to choose from, easily differentiated by the voltage used. They can be interchanged through a switch. Don’t worry; G750 automatically memorizes the last selected mode when restarted
What makes this battery charger superior to the traditional automotive battery charger is its ability to charge the batteries two times faster because of the high-frequency and high-efficiency platform. The energy consumption is thereby minimized because of this.
One other main feature is its built-in battery desulfator that recovers worn-out or deeply discharged batteries. It can rejuvenate these said batteries through pulse charging until they bounce back again.
The charging process of G750 is controlled by the onboard microprocessors which provide five steps towards the maintenance phase where the battery voltage will constantly be monitored to determine if a maintenance charge should be done.
The battery charger can then be left connected indefinitely without any risks of overcharging. Unlike other automatic battery chargers which are susceptible to overcharging, G750 doesn’t conform to their methods.
From its external design, it can be noticed that the electrical outlet connector is located directly at the back of the unit.
It’s unlike the other battery chargers that have connector plugs that lengthen the reach of the battery charger without the need of an extension cord.
However, for G750, the housing also functions like a plug and takes much space when connecting it to an AC outlet. NOCO discourages its patrons from using extension cords as a safety precaution unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The exterior of the G750 pertains to its portability because of the 4.4×2.7×1.3 inches dimensions and 0.2-lb weight. It has a robust construction with IP60 classification making it dustproof and water-resistant.
Aside from the 5-year warranty, other features to watch out for are the spark-proof cables (alligator clips and eyelet terminal connectors). Like other battery chargers, there’s reverse polarity protection through an orange LED light.
- Safely connected 24/7
- Suits many battery types on many vehicle types
- Auto shut off if charger remains in Bulk charge mode for an extended period
- Rejuvenate poor-performing and disabled batteries
- Auto memory on the last selected mode
- Five years warranty
The whole unit acts as a plug that takes up space at the outlet
Extension cords must be used only when necessary
Schumacher SC-1200A SpeedCharge
Schumacher SC-1200A SpeedCharge makes it into our list mainly because it’s not just a charger.
It’s also a maintainer and a tester that is virtually applicable to different types of batteries and most battery sizes.
Either the battery is a 6V or 12V, this one has auto adjustments on its amperage to charge batteries quickly.
SC-1200A is microprocessor-controlled, and by that, it has a multi-stage charging process that will charge a battery 2x faster compared to conventional chargers.
The charger constantly monitors the battery condition and may adjust the charge rate downward in an attempt to prevent battery damage. You can leave it on indefinitely as the charger quickly switches to float mode at full charge to maintain the battery.
This battery charger is quite big and heavy. Its dimensions are 9.8×7.6×3.5 inches, and at the 3.1-lb weight, portability is not its priority.
You may find the cable length to be short as it only measures 6 feet. Cable connectors are only available in 50A alligator clips. Schumacher doesn’t recommend the use of extension cords unless it’s absolutely necessary.
SC-1200A can also charge a fully drained battery. Just hook it up, hold two buttons at the same time, and pre-charge to reach at least 1V. No more than 5 minutes should be spent in this mode because you can severely damage both the battery and the charger.
This is important so that later on, the charger knows that something’s connected to it upon normal charging. Desulfation mode takes 8 to 10 hours. If it fails, an orange LED light will be the indicator.
The battery charger may go to Abort Mode during errors to preserve the battery life and prevent further damage to the units. This means that when it meets an error, the charging will shut off and the yellow/orange LED will flash.
- Recommended for different battery types and sizes
- Automatically detects the battery and will configure its settings
- Capable of desulfating a dead battery
- Rejuvenate poor-performing and disabled batteries
- Charges 2 times faster
- Two years warranty
- Short cable length
- Limitation on connectors
Black & Decker BM3B
If you’re on a budget and want to look for a car battery charger to power up the rarely used battery found in your garage, the Black & Decker BM3B might be a good option to consider.
There are still some batteries that are 6V, so BM3B offers flexibility between 6V and 12V batteries via a switch.
At its affordable price, BM3B has a lot of cables to interchange depending on the terminal. There are alligator clips, O-rings, and a DC connector plug to minimize connection problems.
BM3B is not a picky charger and works well with wet batteries, gel cell, and AGM batteries may it be from RVs, lawn tractors, motorcycles, and cars.
BM3B is a smart charger as it uses high-frequency technology to keep batteries at an optimal charge. There are two LED light indicators, red and green.
Red light means a bad connection or the battery doesn’t accept the charge or may act as an alarm when the polarity is reversed. Greenlight serves as a signal that the battery is charging. At full charge, the charger switches automatically to float mode to prevent overcharging.
One more thing is the protection seal feature that protects the housing of this car battery charger from moisture, oil, and dirt.
There’s a built-in mounting bracket that mounts safely on the vehicle’s battery until you remove it. This means that the charger can sit for extended periods of time without being started.
You may find it a demerit or not but BM3B only has a one-year warranty, a given setback compared to other car battery chargers.
Given its price, don’t expect premium performance from BM3B as compared to the expensive ones. This one is best used for batteries that aren’t always used.
- Works with different types of batteries
- Toggle between 6V or 12V charge setting
- Different connection options
- Automatic smart charging technology
- Protection seal for enhanced durability
- Not recommended for long time charging
- Works best on rarely or seldom-used batteries
Best Car Battery Charger Buyer’s Guide
Other ways to solve a dead battery problem is to hire a fellow motorist or call a friendly mechanic. Some others end up buying a spare battery to store inside the trunk. But this is not always practical for some drivers.
Battery chargers are applicable to any vehicle such as ATVs and motorcycles. There are many different kinds of battery chargers, but we’ll focus primarily on cars in this article.
Choosing them is kind of difficult especially for newcomers who just started driving recently. There are some terminologies that might be your first time hearing
It’s important to be emphasized that getting the wrong battery charger not applicable to a particular vehicle type can cause damage not only to the charger but also to the vehicle. Car battery chargers have different specifications, and this guide will somehow help you choose your first charger.
Battery chargers for cars vary depending on the power sources used. Some common car batteries are flooded, gel cell, AGM, etc. Flooded or wet cell batteries are the most common for cars and may come in conventional or sealed versions.
The latter doesn’t need much maintenance as there’s no frequent adding of water to be done. But for conventional flooded batteries, need continuous replenishment of distilled water because the electrolytes are easily spent when charging. These are common in classic cars, but they’re still available today.
Gel batteries, on the other hand, are batteries that use the gel-like substance in replacement of water for the previous battery type mentioned. Gel cells are picky when it comes to battery chargers, but a few models can work with gel cells and other battery types simultaneously.
Jump-starting a dead battery with a battery charger is the same as having another car do it. The principle involved is transferring electricity from the battery to the other by sending enough amount of amperage to start the car.
A car’s battery is said to require high amperage or cranking amps for a short time to start it. A 300-CA should be able to do it. But there are times it’s harder to jump-start the dead battery in cold weather. Depending on the temperature, the cranking amps, or specifically cold-cranking amps (CCA) become higher.
Jump-starting the car battery has its risks, though. You need to have a piece of high-performing equipment with the right connections to avoid damaging the battery and other electronics most modern cars have. In short, you need to know how to jump-start a car properly.
Know that this feature is not common with most battery chargers. This means that a battery charger with a jump-start potential means more bucks to be spent.
Get yourself a charger that has a high amount of amperage per millisecond. This means that the battery delivers more current at a fast rate without risk of damage. It is also a good sign to tell the overall charger quality.
Car battery chargers can range from 2 to 12 hours of charging time. Indeed, it varies greatly depending on the level of the charger.
It’s common sense to assume that the quicker the battery charges, the more expensive it would be. Price also indicates the portability of the device, so, small chargers that can fit into your palm have quick charging times.
Cable and Clamps
Longer cables are best preferred because they offer movement when you’re jump-starting the car. The length is something you should consider as a safety feature. Another thing is the insulated clamps.
The car battery charger should be insulated to protect you from electric shock. Spark-resistant clamps reduce the sparks that fly off when the cables are connected to the car’s battery.
Reverse Polarity Alarm
This safety feature is most applicable for first-timers. The alarm goes off from the battery charger when you connect one cable to the wrong terminal. Connecting both of them can seriously damage the battery and the charger, though.
There are times that some experienced users can be absent-minded when connecting wires, so this feature is always great to have.
Most battery chargers of today have an automatic shut-off feature as soon as the battery becomes fully charged. This prevents damage to the battery because of overheating and overcharging.
Two methods are currently used: resistors/capacitors and microprocessors. The former has a risk of falling while the latter has different charging stages.
The ten listed above are all used by many car owners because they have certain safety features and display good performance which set them up on the scale.
Don’t look for others; the best car battery charger is surely one of the above as long as it matches your preferences. Buying a car battery charger is best recommended, so you’ll become prepared when the unwarranted happens.
If we are to pick our top two car battery chargers, they are the NOCO Genius GENM1 and CTEK (56-959).
For the former, it is simply because it’s the most advanced NOCO charger on our list. There are similar features found in the other two but with NOCO Genius GENM1, what makes it different is the 100% waterproof and weatherproof construction.
This makes it OK to use the charger without fearing it to get damaged if it accidentally becomes wet. Other things which make it superior to other chargers are the fast charging, recovery of fully drained batteries, and the free use of extension cords.
For the CTEK (56-959), what makes it better than the others is its unique way of charging sulfated batteries. It uses a patented method exclusive to CTEK. One more thing to admire is the three modes that you can select depending on the size of the batteries.
The first two modes are the battery sizes, and the last one is called snowflake mode – which enables the charger to function well at cold temperatures. Other features that make it unique are the following: water and dust resistance, automatic current charge adjustment depending on temperature, and extended battery life 2-3 times