Best Car Battery Chargers: Smart and Portable

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 28, 2020
Without a doubt, a proper car battery charger is an essential part of any emergency kit for your vehicle. Dealing with a dead car battery doesn't seem to be that troublesome and challenging if you are already equipped with this device. To choose the right charger for you car battery just proceed to read our review! ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2021
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Compatible Batteries
Output Current
Kit Contents
Protection
Special Features
Warranty
 
PROS

The Auto-Repair mode can revitalize stored, old, idle, stratified, sulfated, and overall damaged batteries. Moreover, the integrated thermal sensor will help you in determining which charging mode to pick depending on the ambient temperature.

CONS

It takes some time to learn all charging modes.

OUR VERDICT

The GENIUS5 car battery charger utilizes an advanced high-frequency switch-mode technology that allows converting excess AC power into positive and safe DC power for quick and hassle-free charging. To top all that, the onboard microcomputer negates the risks of power loss, which makes this model an optimal pick for all car battery types.

detailed parameters
Compatible Batteries

6 V and 12 V lead-acid batteries (including AGM batteries), 12 V Li-ion batteries

Output Current

16.5 V max, 5 A max

Kit Contents

Charger, Eyelet connectors, Battery clamps, Mounting bracket with self-tapping screws

Protection

Short-circuit, Open-circuit, Overheating, Overcharge, Spark-proof, Reverse polarity protection, IP65 housing protection

Special Features

Integrated thermal sensor, Improved start voltage sensor with force mode, Charging status indicators

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The advanced safety technology that is implemented in this unit features an 8-stage protection system that ensures that your car battery won't get flooded or damaged during charging. Moreover, the battery test mode makes it easy to quickly check if your vehicle's battery has been damaged in the past.

CONS

The power cord is a bit short to be used effectively.

OUR VERDICT

A smart charger from TowerTop can boast quite a few handy features, starting from automatic battery type detection to multiple charging modes. The versatility of the unit makes it a great pick for both new and older car batteries.

detailed parameters
Compatible Batteries

12 V lead-acid batteries (including AGM batteries)

Output Current

12.8 V max, 15 A max

Kit Contents

Charger, Battery clamps

Protection

Over-voltage, Over-current, Overheating, Overcharge, Overdischarge, Short-circuit, Anti-reverse current, Reverse polarity protection

Special Features

Complete 7-step charging program, Advanced winter charging mode, LCD display

Warranty

1 year

PROS

An improved start voltage sensor that features a force mode allows charging pretty much any battery with voltage ranging from 12 down to less than a single volt. As a bonus, the housing features an IP60 protection rating that enables utilizing the charger in any and all conditions.

CONS

The appliance tends to get quite hot during prolonged use.

OUR VERDICT

Although the NOCO GENIUS2 is surprisingly small, it can still charge pretty much any 6-volt and 12-volt car battery out there. Its low weight also makes it an excellent portable option that you can always take with you.

detailed parameters
Compatible Batteries

6 V and 12 V lead-acid batteries(including AGM batteries), 12 V Li-ion batteries

Output Current

14.8 V max, 1 A max

Kit Contents

Charger, Eyelet connectors, Battery clamps

Protection

Short-circuit, Open-circuit, Overheating, Overcharge, Spark-proof, Reverse polarity protection, IP60 housing protection

Special Features

Integrated thermal sensor, Improved start voltage sensor with force mode, Charging status indicators

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The kit includes a high-quality connector harness, clamps, and ring leads. The quick-disconnect design of the harness enables quickly switching between the batteries.

CONS

The plastic case and the wires are not meant for cold winters.

OUR VERDICT

While the appliance has a relatively low output voltage of 6 volts, it is still one of the best options for smaller cars. With this tiny kit, you will be able to charge and maintain the batteries of scooters, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and many other vehicles.

detailed parameters
Compatible Batteries

6 V lead-acid batteries (including AGM batteries)

Output Current

6 V max, 1.25 A max

Kit Contents

Charger, Eyelet connectors, Battery clamps

Protection

Short-circuit, Open-circuit, Overheating, Overcharge, Spark-proof, Reverse polarity protection

Special Features

4-step charging program, Quick-disconnect harness

Warranty

5 years

PROS

The body of the charger contains special mounting holes, so securing the device in the needed position is a piece of cake. Additionally, the kit includes a 12-volt adapter for jump-starting using the car lighter.

CONS

The LED indicators are very hard to see in daylight.

OUR VERDICT

This smart and portable charger is capable of switching between charging mode and float mode automatically. It is a great solution for every car owner thanks to its battery maintaining capabilities and surprisingly fast recharging process.

detailed parameters
Compatible Batteries

6 V and 12 V lead-acid batteries (including AGM batteries)

Output Current

1A

Kit Contents

The charger, Ring terminals, Battery clamps, DC accessory plug

Protection

Reverse polarity protection, Overcharge protection, Short circuit protection


Special Features

Indicators (Charge status, Fault)

Warranty

1 year

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NOCO GENIUS5

Widely Compatible

Judging by its appearance, the NOCO GENIUS5 is not the most impressive battery charger. However, it’s not the looks that make it one of the best car chargers out there, so let’s take a quick glance at what’s going on under its plastic “hood”.

For starters, this upgraded GENIUS model is almost twice as small as the previous models of the same product line. To be more precise, GENIUS5 is 35% smaller than the NOCO GENIUS G3500, which makes it one of the most compact models that the company has to offer.

When it comes to the power output, GENIUS5 is not so tiny after all, since it is twice as powerful than the previous car charger from NOCO. To elaborate on that, this particular charger boasts 65% more power output compared to that of G3500, which is quite impressive considering how small it is.

In addition, the charger can deliver up to a 16.5-volt current without breaking a sweat, which ultimately makes it compatible with both 6-volt and 12-volt lead-acid car batteries. Likewise, this particular model can be used for charging AGM and li-ion batteries with the maximum input voltage of 12 volts.

Review of NOCO GENIUS5 6V And 12V Battery Charger for car

Full Set

Other features include an integrated thermal sensor that can automatically monitor and adjust the charging type according to the fluctuations of ambient temperature. Owing to this, the chances of undercharging or overcharging are rather limited when you use the GENIUS5. Furthermore, it also provides your car with an all-season and all-weather battery. Thanks to the advanced charging modes, you can select the required charging for your battery, be it recharging a drained 12-volt one or fixing a damaged 6-volt model - the GENIUS5 will handle that for you.

Although the charger won’t be able to completely fix damaged car batteries, it can reverse the damage done to their energy cells, which is a nice addition to an already great set of features the appliance offers.

Aside from the main unit, the kit comes equipped with eyelet connectors that can be fitted on smaller batteries and battery clamps for standard-size car batteries. On top of that, the package additionally includes a special mounting bracket that features self-tapping screws that enable quicker adjustment of the clamps to the battery.

Finally, if you have been searching for a high-quality battery maintainer and an excellent charger for your car battery, then this model from NOCO will fit that bill just right. Compact, light, and extremely powerful, it is by far one of the best car care appliances out there.

NOCO GENIUS5 6V And 12V Battery Charger for car in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $69.95
Stock In stock
ASIN B07W8KJH44

 

TowerTop 2/8/15A 12V

Hassle-Free Charging

Aside from its uncharacteristic looks, the TP106MP from TowerTop is one of the smartest chargers for automobile batteries that you can find on the market today.

Contrary to most products that utilize rudimentary charge controls, this TowerTop model is powered by a microprocessor which enables a faster and more controllable charging regardless of the battery type you connect this appliance to. Not only does the device show the charging process of the battery in real-time, but it can also be used to trickle charge flooded and otherwise damaged battery cells. Thanks to this subtle yet highly effective charging mode, you can be sure that your car battery will surpass its warranty period without breaking a sweat.

To be more precise, the TP106MB can perform a full 7-step charging program that involves desulfation of stale battery cells, soft start, bulk charging, as well as absorption, recondition, and floating. The process will end with a thorough battery test that will be transmitted onto the built-in LCD screen to inform you that charging has been successful.

Review of TowerTop 2/8/15A 12V Smart Battery Charger for car

Suitable for Most Battery Types

Moving on, the appliance can be used for quick charging just like your mobile gadgets. Although it is not recommended to use it on completely flat batteries due to the risk of damaging some of the energy cells, it can come in handy when you need to start your vehicle as soon as possible.

The thing that we didn’t really appreciate about this particular product is its power cord length. Although it will suffice when used with smaller vehicles, if you own an SUV or a bigger car, you will have a hard time connecting the appliance to the battery without a cable extender due to the limited cord length. That said, if you own a high-quality cord extender, this won’t be that huge of a problem in the long run.

On the side note, this convenient charger features a multi-protection system that prevents excessive damage to the battery that can hinder its effectiveness down the road (or simply its service life). This includes built-in overheating protection, overcharging, protection against short circuits, overvoltage, and, of course, a reverse polarity protection circuit that will turn the appliance off in case you hook up the clamps on the battery in the wrong order.

Suitable for 12-volt AGM and acid-based batteries, this charger will prove an invaluable asset for both damaged and vulnerable automotive batteries. So, if your car battery tends to die out in the most crucial moments, we recommend getting this battery revitalizer to keep it in a good shape.

TowerTop 2/8/15A 12V Smart Battery Charger for car in the use
Last updated price $64.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07Q3VF9DC

 

NOCO (GENIUS1)

A Good Alternative to Bulky Chargers

The GENIUS1 is yet another charger for car batteries from NOCO. However, this time around, its usefulness is not limited to automobile appliances only, so let’s get into it.

Starting off, we should probably mention that the dimensions of the charger are fairly modest. Measuring only 3.43 x 4.02 x 6.73 inches, the GENIUS1 is definitely not among the biggest charging devices available today but, that said, it deals with revitalizing drained and partially drained battery cells better than some top-of-the-line models. Just like other NOCO chargers, this one is equipped with a thermal compensator that enables revitalizing batteries in hot and cold weather conditions and negates the risks of over- and undercharging the energy cells.

The only real drawback of this small charger is its tendency to get hot during prolonged use. That said, this aspect doesn’t affect the overall performance of the gadget, so it just means you’ll need to be a bit more careful when disconnecting it from the battery. Other than that, there are no other problems with the appliance, which makes it a solid overall option, especially if you are on a tight budget.

Review of NOCO (GENIUS1) 6V And 12V Battery Charger for car

Small yet Powerful

Moving on, let’s talk specifications. Despite being quite small compared to fully-fledged battery chargers, GENIUS can still deliver up to 14.8 volts with a 1-ampere strong current, which is quite nice. With that in mind, the appliance can effectively charge both 6- and 12-volt lead-acid batteries. In addition to this, the GENIUS1 can be used for charging and repairing AGM batteries that usually require higher charge and discharge rates. Last but not least, you can also juice up li-on batteries with an input voltage of up to 12 volts. Combined, these aspects make this particular NOCO model an invaluable charger that can handle pretty much any consumer-grade battery model out there.

Conversely, the effective use of the charger is not limited to automobile batteries only. Owing to the built-in mode switcher and high-quality clamps that come together with the main unit, you can utilize the charging device on starter, deep-cycle, as well as on marine battery types.

All things considered, the GENIUS1 will be a good pick for users that seek a simple yet reliable battery charger that can handle all standard car batteries without too much of a hassle. Tiny, versatile, and highly portable, it is one of the best car battery charger models that you can find in the medium price range.

NOCO (GENIUS1) 6V And 12V Battery Charger for car in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $29.95
Stock In stock
ASIN B07W46BX31

 

Battery Tender Junior 6V

Adjusts Charging Modes on the Fly

The Battery Tender Junior is a corded, fully automatic charger that is designed to recharge your automobile batteries quickly and without putting too much elbow grease into it.

What makes this particular model stand out when it comes to design though is that it’s not exactly a “corded” appliance in a normal sense of the word but more of a plug-in charger. Although it may seem weird at first, it actually saves quite a lot of space when used, as well as completely eliminates the risks involved with using long power cords leading from the power socket.

Other convenient features include an automatic charging mode switcher that switches the output voltage from floating to maintenance once the battery connected to it has been fully charged. Likewise, if the battery voltage drops significantly under load, the charger will provide full power output to maintain the required voltage levels. The maximum output current and voltage of the appliance are 1.25 amperes and 6 volts respectively, which makes it suitable for charging small batteries.

Review of Battery Tender Junior 6V Fully Automatic 6V Automotive Battery Charger for Cars

For Smaller Vehicles

Compatibility-wise, this particular charger is meant solely for 6-volt batteries. This includes lead-acid, gel, as well as AGM batteries. This allows charging regular cars, scooters, ATVs, motorcycles, big lawn mowers, jet skis, and similar vehicles with smaller engines. To add more, although the 6-volt output of the appliance won’t let you fully charge bigger batteries, the Battery Tender Junior can still maintain the charge of road cars, SUVs, pickups, and other large engine vehicles.

Contrary to other similar appliances though, this one comes equipped with a special harness instead of regular clamps. Their quick-disconnect design enables attaching the cables directly to the battery fast and easy. Moreover, the harness features reversed hook-up protection as well as spark-proof clamps that will keep both the charger and the battery safe before and after you connect the cables. The fused ring terminal and alligator clips, on the other hand, allow using the charger on different battery connectors.

To wrap things up, the Battery Tender Junior is an excellent stationary charger and will come in handy for users that own more than one car or have issues with older car battery models. Conversely, this charger model will be especially useful for cars that haven’t been used for quite some time in order to keep their batteries up and running.

Battery Tender Junior 6V Fully Automatic 6V Automotive Battery Charger for Cars in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $0.00
Stock May be out of stock
ASIN B00Y54JI4G

 

Black & Decker BM3B

Easy to Use. Simple to Operate

With the advantageous design and automatic charging mode, the BM3B Battery Charger by Black&Decker really deserves special attention. Actually, it is one the easiest-to-use models, all you need to do is just set the sliding switch to the right position (6 or 12-volt depending on your battery), attach the clamps to the corresponding posts of the battery and plug it in. The BM3B charger will do the rest! The BM3B charging equipment shuts off automatically when your car battery is charged completely. In addition, special indicators show the battery charging status.

This charger and maintainer combination model comes with mounting holes that can be used for a reliable mounting of the unit in a vertical or horizontal position on any workspace. For example, you can secure it right on a wall in your garage or in any other convenient place. Although the corded design makes such a placement a good idea, you would probably be better off by simply using it closer to the power outlet or in conjunction with a cord extension due to the fact that clamp cables are rather short.

Review of Black & Decker BM3B Battery Charger / Maintainer for car

Always Crucial

With its compact and practical design, the BM3B Battery Charger/Maintainer offers other important advantages. Apart from battery clamps and ring terminals, the model comes with a DC plug for charging the battery of your vehicle via a cigarette lighter receptacle. In some cases, the use of this connection brings benefits, as there is no need to open the hood to access the battery. However, it's important to make sure your car allows this way of charging.

To connect the charger to a battery, simply attach the positive (red) clamp to the positive (+) post on the battery and the negative (black) clamp to the negative (-) post. The BM3B Battery Charger/Maintainer features protection against reverse polarity, thus in case of incorrect connection, the indicator will inform you about the misconnection.

On a different note, if you forgot to charge the battery of your car in due time or a cold, damp weather made it run out unexpectedly quickly, take advantage of a jumper cable that allows starting your vehicle using the battery of another car even if yours is completely flat.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for a high-quality charger and maintainer for your car battery, then this product from Black&Decker will be right up your alley. Compatible with 6- and 12-Volt battery models it is one of the most versatile stationary chargers available today.

Black & Decker BM3B Battery Charger / Maintainer for car in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer

Last updated price $20.18
Stock In stock
ASIN B0051D3MP6

 

What Is a Car Battery Charger?

Car batteries, like any other electric batteries, require recharging from time to time. For this purpose, you need to use a device designed for this purpose — a car battery charger.

A basic charger for automotive batteries plugs into a standard power socket (or another 120-volt power source) and supplies the electricity with proper parameters to the connected battery. By using this charger, it's possible to charge up a battery of a car, motorbike, boat and other vehicles as well as power tools, equipment, among others. While some models feature a limited number of option, when it comes to the number of charging modes, most of the modern trickle and battery chargers can effectively power up all standard car batteries including 6-volt and 12-volt ones. Products with higher output amperage will be able to charge the energy cells fast, while trickle charger models are designed for charging the batteries steadily, without damaging them.

To be sure of maintaining the engine of your car at its maximum efficiency and in a good condition, select the right motor oil! Additionally, in our reviews, you can decide on the appropriate car vacuum cleaner and car wax.

What Features to Compare

Finding a car battery charger that is compatible with your vehicle’s battery can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you are not exactly a car-person. Regardless of the fact if you are tech-savvy with vehicles or not, we will break down the core features of every model on our list to make your search a tad bit easier.

Compatibility

Selecting the right battery charger for a car, motorbike or a boat, first of all, it is important to check whether the device is compatible with the model you chose. To put simply, each car battery has its rated capacity specified in amp-hours (Ah), while chargers usually provide the value of the charging current or output amperage they deliver (A). If you want your device to charge the battery faster, you need to consider the models with a higher amperage output. However, it's equally important to know the voltage of the battery of your vehicle. Passenger vehicles and motorcycles are typically equipped with 6-volt and 12-volt batteries, while 24-volt batteries are commonly used on trucks and other big transport vehicles with diesel engines.

Special Features

There are other important points to consider when choosing a vehicle battery charger. For example, extra connectors included in supply packages of some charging devices of this type provide more flexibility of use and simplify their connection to different battery posts. Some chargers come with built-in LED indicators that show battery charge status and provide information about the current device operating mode. Alternatively, some chargers are equipped with electronic LCD screens that not only show the current charging status but can also help in selecting the right charging mode depending on the given battery model. Furthermore, universal battery chargers are also capable of revitalizing damaged or flooded batteries thanks to the low-amperage charging modes. Likewise, the desulfation mode can prolong the service life of older car batteries by renewing the depleted energy cells and dissipating sulfates inside the battery itself.

Safety

As you may already know, it's critically important to take safety precautions when working with electricity, and using a car battery charger is not an exception. To ensure user's safety of use, some chargers come equipped with rudimentary safety features such as protection from reverse polarity connection, overcharging, short circuit. As for protection measures, many of them may come integrated into the charger body or into the connectors that come equipped with the main unit, thus we recommend considering it carefully. The best options offer more than just basic protection, though. The so-called “smart chargers” are powered by special microprocessors that not only protect your vehicle’s battery from potential damage caused by improper use of electricity but also allow the unit to determine the type of battery you are connecting it to automatically. Conversely, some devices feature charging mode selectors on the main unit.

FAQ:

Q: Does the size of a car battery charger matter?

A: Yes, it does. Using a smaller battery charger than recommended typically takes longer to charge the battery to the same level. However, if you are planning to use the charger only for the maintenance, it will handle this task quite easily. A car battery charger with higher output current will charge batteries quicker but may shorten their lifetime.

Q: Is it important to ensure correct charging voltage?

A: Basically, the value of float and high rate voltages is determined and specified by the battery manufacturer. It depends on two factors: battery chemistry and its build. Deviating from the recommended values will naturally result in the battery undercharge or overcharge, and therefore reduce the battery’s lifetime and performance.

Q: What is a maintenance mode of a battery charger/maintainer?

A: In a maintenance mode, the charger/maintainer keeps the full battery charge at the same level by supplying the current in small portions when necessary. Typically, if the actual battery voltage drops below a certain preset level, the unit switches to the charging mode and performs the charging until the battery voltage returns to the full charge level. Then the appliance switches back to the maintenance mode. Usually, chargers switch between these modes automatically.

Q: How long can I leave my charger connected to my battery?

A: It actually depends on the type of the vehicle battery charger you use. Typically, a battery charger should be left connected to a battery in your car until the battery is fully charged. If you're planning to utilize a manual charger, it should be disconnected as soon as the battery charge level has reached its full. The point is that such chargers do not shut down by themselves and continue to supply electricity to the battery even in case the battery has got already charged. Automatic chargers in their turn usually ensure optimal charging mode and prevent overcharging of the battery. Automatic chargers don't change operational parameters of a battery to such a large extent as manual chargers, however, they are also not designed for uninterrupted use with batteries. Therefore, it's reasonable and safer to disconnect car battery chargers from your battery after the charging is complete.

Q: What is a microprocessor-controlled smart battery charger?

A: A microprocessor-controlled battery charger is a device which controls all aspects of a battery charging to increase the charging rate and lifetime of the battery. Basically, these chargers collect all necessary information from the battery and adjust the charging current and voltage based on this information. This approach enables the charger to charge your battery quickly, and completely. In addition, a fast intelligent charging doesn't affect the working parameters of the battery and its lifetime.

Sources:

1. What are the 3 Stages of Smart Chargers? BatteryStuff.

2. How to Pick the Right Battery Charger, BatteryStuff.

3. Tips for Choosing the Right Car Battery Charger, DoItYourself.com.

4. Automotive battery, Wikipedia. February 26, 2017.

5. Car Battery Chargers Buyers Guide, Halfords.

6. Selecting the right battery charger, RACQ.

7. How to Use a Car Battery Charger, HowStuffWorks.

8. Valerie Johnston All About Car Battery Chargers, YourMechanic. November 24, 2015.

9. Using a car battery charger, How a Car Works.

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