The best battery chargers are dependable devices used to bring dead batteries back to life. Used cars, winter stored lawn mowers, old boat batteries, and more can all be restored with the help of a battery charger. Some of the best battery chargers can even jump start your vehicle in an emergency, and include extra safety features like shock proof operation and reverse polarity warnings. Each battery charger is different, however, so this guide will help you choose the best battery charger for your specific needs.
Our top 10 list includes the highest rated battery chargers for everyone. Whether you need a simple trickle charger or one capable of jumping in a pinch, we’ve got you covered.
What You Need to Know About Battery Chargers
Seasonal vehicles like lawn mowers, boats, and RVs may sit for extended periods without use. Their batteries slowly discharge over time, eventually making them too weak to start your engine. This is also a common problem in winter, when drivers use more of a car’s battery power than is recharged by the alternator. To keep batteries in top shape even when they’re not being used, you need one of the best battery chargers.
Battery chargers are designed to recharge ‘dead’ batteries over the course of hours or days, depending on the amp setting. More amps mean a faster charge, but charging too quickly can actually damage your battery. Instead, it’s better to charge your battery at a low amperage (2 – 6) for a longer period. In an emergency, or when you don’t have time to wait for a full charge, some of the best battery charges have a jumpstart function for a quick engine turn.
In addition to maintaining your battery, high quality battery chargers can come with a number of features. These range from safety features like reverse polarity warnings to smart features that automatically choose the optimal charge settings for your battery. For older batteries, some of the best battery chargers even condition and de-sulfate for improved charge capacity and a longer life.
Each battery charger is very different, so consider all their features before choosing the best one for you. If you’re still undecided, keep reading to learn more about our top 5 picks for the best battery chargers.
Top 10 Best Battery Chargers Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Battery Chargers
Simple, safe, dependable, and affordable. All these words come to mind when we use the CTEK 56-864. This little battery charger weighs just under 2lbs and fits right in your hand for exceptional portability and storage. In addition to its portable size, this battery charger is also temperature and shock resistant.
The CTEK 56-864 has just one amperage setting of 4.3, but for trickle charging there’s no better choice. It’s compatible with the full range of lead-acid battery types, and treats each battery to an 8-step process designed to extend the life of your battery. This process includes a de-sulfation and a reconditioning stage which can actually recharge batteries which other battery chargers can’t even recognize. All 8 steps are automated once you select your Mode setting at the beginning of charge. We praise CTEK for keeping all the essentials in this battery charger without overdesigning or blowing out the price point.
This battery charger is affordable on any budget, and will even save you money in the long run by conditioning your batteries to last twice as long. It’s also safe and easy for everyone to use, meaning you don’t have to be a mechanic to understand it.
Looking for something with a little more style? The Optima Digital 400 is a reliable, heavily constructed handheld battery charger with both LED indicator lights and an LCD display. With its rugged design, extra-long cords, and powerful battery recovery, this battery charger could easily be used in a professional setting.
It’s a little heavier than the CTEK, but the cord length and LCD display more than make up for the added weight. It charges at a maximum rate of 4 amps per hour and is compatible with all 12V lead-acid batteries. Select your vehicle type before you start the charge, then let this battery charger go to work diagnosing the health of your battery and automating the charging and reconditioning steps.
A little pricier than the competition, this battery charger justifies its price with its exceptional construction. Like the CTEK, it’s also capable of bringing batteries back from the brink, charging batteries as low as 1.25V. Before you go buy a brand new battery for your RV or boat, try the Optima Digital 400.
The CTEK and Optima are great battery chargers, but they’re limited to lead-acid batteries. The NOCO Genius G3500 is one of the best battery chargers for slow charging both 12V/6V lead-acid and 12V lithium ion batteries. That means you can use this charger to charge electric and hybrid car batteries.
Like the first two battery chargers on our list, the NOCO Genius G3500 uses a single 3.5 amperage setting. This is appropriate for those who want to slowly recharge a discharged battery. As its name suggests, this is a smart battery charger that automatically identifies your battery and the most efficient way to charge it. Using a multi-step charge system, this battery charger ensures the overall health and longevity of your batteries.
Slow charging is great for maintenance, but you don’t always have days to wait for your battery to charge. For fast charging and jump starting, you’ll need the power of the Schumacher SE-4022. This battery charger uses analog controls so you can decide how quickly a battery charges. Use 2 amps for a slow charge, 10 for a fast charge, and the 40/100 or 200 amp options when you need instant power.
Use with either 6V or 12V lead-acid batteries, this battery charger has enough power settings to charge them all. Unlike other battery chargers, the Schumacher SE-4022 gives you, the owner, complete control. This extends to the timer, where there is no automatic shut off when your battery is fully charged. You’ll have to set it on a manual timer and check periodically, but for some users this is a pro, not a con.
The Stanley BC25BS is a nice combination of the Optima and Schumacher models on our top 5 list. It features two modes, charge at 25 amps and engine start at 75 amps. We like the 75 amp engine start mode, which much stronger than in most of the best battery chargers. It will faithfully jump your vehicles in an emergency within 90 seconds.
At 25 amps charging, this battery charger uses a 3-step cycle that conditions your battery and charges it quickly. The LCD display keeps you conveniently updated at a glance, letting you see how many amps are being used and how full the charge is. Not fully automatic, yet easy enough for anyone to use, this battery charger is a great choice for home or on the road use.
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