The only permanent things in life are death and taxes, so they say. This means that your vehicle’s trusty battery charger will soon expire and need a replacement. Not really sure about the basics of this innovative device? Want to try out a model from a new brand? Our handy guide on car battery chargers aims to help you out.
- How does a car battery charger work?
Answer: Vehicle battery chargers operate by pulling in 120 V of AC current from an outlet and changing it into 12V DC current, which is utilized for charging vehicle batteries. Standard chargers usually charge at approximately 2 amps. For batteries with 48-amp hours, expect the battery to be completely charged after 24 hours. There are lots of available chargers in the market that can charge from 2 amps down to 10 amps.
- What are the features I need to consider when buying car battery chargers?
Answer: You need to take into consideration the portability of the unit, its power, usability, whether it has water and dust-resistance plus safety features (float mode, clamp amps, reverse polarity alarm, battery tester, etc.)
- Can I leave a vehicle battery charger plugged in?
Answer: It’s safe to leave a car battery charger plugged in as long as it does not have a battery in it. While there are models that might experience a minor power drain from being plugged in, it must not incur any sort of damage to the charger.
- When should I make use of a 2-amp, 10-amp or 12-amp charge rate?
Answer: The charge rate you apply will be based on how fast one needs to charge a battery. It will also depend on the actual battery size. Higher amp settings mean the battery will be charged in a faster rate. Always check the vehicle battery’s specs first before using just about any charge rate.
Our Top Picks
Battery Tender 12 Volt Junior Automatic Battery Charger
- Water-resistant model
- Includes safety timer
- Comes with reverse polarity protection
- Has spark-proof clamps
This 12V model from Battery Tender is a nice portable charger, capable of charging slowly. It includes a micro-processor unit that is used to evaluate the condition of the vehicle battery. It continues to charge in appropriate modes mechanically. The safety features it comes with include reverse-polarity protection, and spark-proof clamps. Your car will have its juice and it will never get damaged from this charger.
Black & Decker BM3B Fully Automatic 6V/12V Battery Charger
- Charge and maintain 12V and 6V batteries
- Connects easily
- Ends charging once battery is full
- Integrated circuit protection
The Black+Decker BM3B is another compact model that delivers. It includes battery terminal clips, an extra DC lighter plug and rings. The plugs of the charger have features which allow users to transition between a variety of cables with minimal effort. It charges 12V and 6V and other battery types. Check out how it works in this review video.
Motopower MP00205A 12V 800mA Fully Automatic Battery Charger
- Maintains 6V and 12V batteries
- Voltage Auto Detection
- 5 charging stages
- Spark-free technology
When it comes to applications, this Motopower model has decent range. The charger is designed to work on lots of vehicles, whether a four-tire or the two-tire kind. It’s quite a user-friendly model since it’s an automatic device. It comes with voltage auto detection so the charging is ended as soon as the process is completed. The unit also comes with safeguard features. Get more insight on this product in this review video.
CTEK MULTI US 3300 12 Volt Fully Automatic 4 Step Battery Charger
- Exclusive 4-step charging system
- Spark-free features
- Safe from reverse-polarity and short circuiting
- Safe to use in all climate conditions
The CTEK 56-158) MULTI US 3300 car battery charger comes with a user-friendly, lightweight and portable design. A good find—you can use the charger on a wide variety of weather conditions and temperatures. For example; it has cold mode option for charging batteries in the winter. Another plus is the addition of safety features from issues like short circuiting and sparking. See more of the charger in this video.
Leicestercn LST Trickle Battery Charger
- Excellent compact design
- Automatic trickle charger unit
- LED Indicators
- Over-current and overload protection
The LST Trickle battery charger is super compact and user-friendly. It comes with a micro-processor switch mode meant for 6V and 12V output. The charger is quite durable and includes a sealed external case which guards it from unnecessary elements. The design also combats corrosion and other damage wrought by the elements. See this charger at work in this video.
Stanley BC25BS Fully Automatic 25 Amp 12V Bench Battery Charger
- Charges/maintains 12V/AGM/GEL/WET batteries
- Automatic 3-stage charging
- Battery re-conditioning feature
- Reverse-polarity protection
The Stanley BC25BS is made to tackle and save damaged, worn batteries. This is another compact, lightweight model that’s easy to use. The cables that come with the charger has a sufficient length, and it has other plusses like an LCD screen, safety features, an alternator check and a jump start. Check out more essentials on this unit in this review video.
A car battery charger that is spot-on with your vehicle battery’s specs leads to a longer life for your battery and savings. We certainly hope we have helped you in choosing a good one!