The Best Car Battery Charger you can use in 2021


Even the best prepared drivers have found themselves in a situation where their car batteries have run down and need to be jump started. This can and would put a damper on whatever plans you had for the day even though cell phones have made it a lot easier to call the mechanic or a tow van to get you out of that sticky situation.

What can you do prevent getting stranded on your way to work or school? The answer is simple – you can purchase one of the best car battery chargers and keep it charged and tucked away in your trunk until the situation arises. Most are portable car battery chargers which greatly increases the convenience of carrying them around.

When you are done reading through this article you would have probably have been properly convinced on why you need to get a car battery charger. Now you need to decide what jump starter would be right for you. We made this professional review to save you the trouble of going through the hundreds of products and brands on the market which can be very overwhelming and confusing especially if you lack a tech background.

*Note* that in this article, the terms “battery chargers” and “portable jump starters” may be used interchangeably to refer to the portable jump starters or portable battery chargers. In the strict sense, vehicle battery chargers are required to be plugged into a household outlet in order to charger a battery. Portable jump starters can be used on-the-go and do not require to be plugged into an outlet.

Why you should consider getting a portable car jump starter?

If your cars are functioning normally, it already has a mechanism in place that keeps the battery fully charged. That mechanism is the alternator, which provides enough electric power to keep the battery charged as long as the engine is running. Even in the healthiest of engines, when turned off the battery auto-discharges at a rate of about 1% every day. This rate is higher when the environmental temperature is higher.

What’s on your mind is probably, “why then do I need a car battery jump starter?” The answer is quite simple – the alternator is only functional when the engine is running but there is a lot of battery usage going on by electric devices (including radios, car phone chargers, interior lights and headlights) within the car even when the engine is not running. So, the more electric devices you make use of when the engine isn’t running, the more you need a portable car battery charger.

With the general knowledge of how car batteries run down, we would now highlight the reasons you should just decide to break the bank and purchase your own battery jump pack.

It saves money

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. How does this work? After purchasing your battery jump pack, you save money on professional battery replacements and battery jump starts. You also save money on getting a new battery all together even if you would carry out the replacements on your own. Either way, getting a new high quality car battery charger would be more economical in the long run.

Avoids battery replacements

Changing a car battery on most vehicles car be as straightforward as removing the electrode clamps on the old battery, taking it out, putting in a new one and attaching the electrode clamps on the battery. However, in other vehicles like hybrids, it can be a lot more complex than that. With a portable jump starter you save yourself the stress altogether and with auto battery chargers you get additional features such as fast charging, alternator checker, float mode, overcharge protection, etc.

Serves as a charger for other devices

Some car battery chargers are fitted with USB ports and other features which are suitable for keeping other smaller devices like power tools, phones and recreational vehicles charged.

They are helpful in an emergency

Some battery charger models come with the “jump” or “quick” start option which can be a lifesaver when you’re far from home and cannot use the usual long term, slow charging option.

What are the types of car battery charger on the market?

There isn’t just one type of car battery charger on the market. This distinction can be useful when you’re on the market to avoid selecting an unsuitable option. The types of battery chargers are as follows:

Chargers

These basically restore the charge in a car battery, even if it has been drained completely. They are the most common types of car battery jump starters on the market, and it is usually easy to find the charger with the right size, shape, and amperage that you need for your vehicle.

Maintainers

They are less common than the basic chargers and are meant for keeping battery chargers from completely discharging. As long as you remember to make use of them from time to time, they help maintain the battery’s overall health.

Restorers

These literally restore new life into old and dead batteries. They are the least common and most expensive type available on the market. Restorers function by breaking down the contaminants in the battery that are responsible for the loss of effectiveness in an old battery.

What to look for when buying a car battery charger?

Now you know why you need a car battery charger and the types of chargers available for purchase but you’re still not ready to hit the market. There are other additional mandatory features to look out for when browsing through the sea of brands and models. We took all these features into consideration when making our list of best car battery chargers and they include:

 ● Power
Generally, car battery chargers need to be compatible with a wide range of car batteries it may come across. Also, different car batteries require different level current (amp) levels to work effectively. Some chargers come with the ability to detect the required amperage and voltage for a specific battery and provide said specifications which make charging easier and safer. It’s best to check your battery for the minimal required parameters before making a purchase.

● Safety
Safety first! Modern car battery chargers should come with safety features to prevent electrical accidents which can result in serious injuries. One of such features would include “weather proofing” – which is protection from water and dust since the chargers see a lot of outside or garage use and other forms of exposure to the elements.
Protection from heat is also paramount as high temperatures may result in damage to the internal circuits of the charger.

● Portability
Small and light battery chargers are obviously more convenient that their bulkier counterparts as they can be easily used and carried around. The average charging time of most chargers is 2 – 10 hours. The more portable chargers tend to take longer to charge than the lager models.

● Value for money
Some prices may seem a bit high but when considering the additional fitted features it may seem worth it. That said, high prices don’t always mean a better performance so it’s best to read the specifications and reviews of the product you plan to purchase.

● Usability
Making use of your car battery charger shouldn’t be rocket science. It should be straightforward and easy to use even for a layperson. This is why auto battery chargers are preferred as they can read your battery’s status and adjust the setting that you would have had to do manually, on its own.

● Additional features
To be certain you’re getting the most out of your car battery for the price you paid for it, extra features are necessary. Features such as built-in radios, emergency lights, water and spark proof casing, USB and 12 volt outlets for charging smaller devices, rapid charging option and others go a long way to increase the ease-of-use and lifespan.

How to charge a car battery using a portable jump starter?

At this point you have purchased your best jump starter and you’re ready to charge your car battery. Here is an outline of the steps required to charge a car battery using your portable battery jumper.

1. Be sure that the engine and all accessories and lights in the car are turned off.

2. Locate your battery charger, the position of which may vary greatly depending on the make and model of your car. If your car’s model require complete removal of the battery before commencing charging, ensure you have the right tools for that.

3. Remove the negative (usually black) or ground cable first. It is usually attached to the electrode marked with a negative (-) sign.

4. Remove the power (usually red) or positive cable next. It is usually on the positive (+) electrode.

5. Clean the terminals to remove any excess corrosion on the electrodes. Do not touch both terminals at the same time.

6. Make sure the charger is off before hooking it up to the car battery. Do not let the exposed ends on the cable to come in contact with each other.

7. Hook-up the positive cable on the charger to the positive terminal on the battery.

8. Hook-up the negative cable to the negative electrode on the battery.

9. Set the charger to the slowest allowable charge rate.

10. Turn on the charger once you’re sure the jump starter is in place.

11. Leave it place for about 2-3 minutes before cranking the engine. Your battery may be dead if you haven’t been able to start the engine after 5 intervals of 2-3 minutes each.

12. Turn off and remove the jumper after the engine starts. Remove the negative cable first, then the positive.

13. Replace the vehicles cables. Positive first, then negative.

The battery charging time depends on the battery voltage (in volts) and the charger’s charge rate (in amps).

Ensure you recharge the portable battery charger when you get home. This usually takes between 12 and 24 hours to complete.

●  Amperage – 3000 Amp
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – lithium ion

This portable car battery charger from NOCO packs quite a punch for its lightweight, and compact packaging. With its 3000 amp battery, this 12 volt battery charger is said to be able to jump start a car battery up to 40 times after a single charge. It is packed with safety features such as protection against sparks and reverse polarity. It serves as a car jump starter pack, LED flashlight, portable power bank for charging smartphones and other USB devices. Additional features such as fast charging mode, IP65 water/ dust protection, scratch resistant exterior.

Pros

Cons

Portable, compact design

Charging may take a while

Very safe

Not be compatible with 6V batteries

Multifunctional


Lots of additional features


Water/ dust resistance


●  Amperage – 200 Amp charger, 40 Amp maintainer
●  Voltage – 6V, 12V
●  Battery type – fully automatic lithium ion

This fully automatic Schumacher jump starter is perfect for jump starting car, SUV and truck engines. It is fitted with a microprocessor that automatically adjusts the amperage with a multi-stage charging feature for increased safety and battery life. It also detects the battery voltage (12 volt or 6 volt battery charger) and automatically adjusts the voltage discharge. Additional features like an accurate digital display, alternator tester, battery diagnosis, LED indicators, etc.

Pros

Cons

Fully automatic amperage and voltage discharge

Accessories like cables could be thicker to permit prolonged and heavy-duty use

Can serve as a battery and alternator tester


Float/maintenance mode


High value for money


Compatible with both 6V and 12V batteries


●  Amperage – 3000 Amp
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – lithium ion

This battery charger serves as a perfect example of what a charger packed with additional features should look like. It provides an unrivaled 3000 Amp lithium battery that can jump start your 12V battery even in freezing temperatures. Safety features such as mistake proof connection, overload protection, high temperature protection, etc. Additional features like a built-in cigarette lighter socket, LED flashlight, 3.0 USB ports make this compact car battery charger totally worth the bargain.

Pros

Cons

Packed with safety features

Not suitable for charging 6V batteries

Numerous additional features


High peak current


High value for money


Multifunctional


●  Amperage – 80 Amp charger, 2 Amp maintainer
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – Fully automatic lithium ion

The DEWALT DXAEC80 is a professional car battery charger that comes with a peak 30 amp battery that is compatible with all forms of 12V car batteries. It is a fully automatic car battery charger with multi-stage charging – fast charging, top-off, trickle charge depending on the charge levels. It also has dual battery capability that permits charging two 12V batteries simultaneously. Additional features like alternator check, LCD screen that displays charging and battery status makes it easier to use.

Pros

Cons

Reverse polarity protection

Not compatible with 6V batteries

Packed with additional features


Dual battery capability


Multi-stage charging increases battery life


Easy to setup and use


●  Amperage – 10 Amp
●  Voltage – 12V, 6V
●  Battery type – fully automatic lithium ion

This second product from NOCO rightfully earned its spot as one of the best car battery chargers. With compatibility with both 6V and 12V batteries, this fully automatic batteries detects the battery voltage and charge level automatically adjusting the amp output depending on the level. It comes with an integrated temperature sensor that alters the charge rate based on environmental temperature to avoid over- or under-charging. It serves as both a battery charger, maintainer and restorer as it detects and eliminates battery sulfation and acid stratification which reduce the lifespan of the battery.

Pros

Cons

Compatible with a wide range of devices

May overheat with prolonged usage

Powers both 6V and 12V batteries


Fully automatic controls


Multipurpose


Packed with safety features


●  Amperage – 2000A
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – lithium ion
 

The Audew jump starter has a peak current of 2000A and a massive capacity 20000mAh making it easy to start any 12V battery regardless of the vehicle. It has additional features such as 3 lighting modes on the LED light, USB and type-C outputs, cigarette lighter and power bank. The LCD indicator screen displays the battery and charging status. Safety features like reverse polarity, overcharge, overload and overvoltage protection are all fitted on the Audew jump starter.

Pros

Cons

High safety index

Not compatible with 6V batteries

Numerous additional features


Multi-functional


High peak current and capacity


LCD indicator screen for convenience


●  Amperage – 800A
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – lithium ion

This lithium ion car battery charger from DBPOWER is compact and powerful with 800A peak current and an 18000mAh capacity making it suitable for charging any 12V battery and other smaller USB compatible devices like smartphones and other devices like laptops fully. It is protected against short circuiting, overloading, overvoltage and overcharge. The LCD display screen displays the exact remaining power making for increased convenience.

Pros

Cons

High safety index

Not suitable for charging 6V batteries

Can charge laptops and smartphones


High battery capacity


Compact design


LCD screen for increased accuracy


●  Amperage – 800a
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – lithium ion

This is suitable for jumpstarting 12V car batteries up to 30 times on full charge because of its massive 18000mAh capacity. Up to 12 months standby time on full charge and additional features like LEDs, LCD display screen, Cigarette lighter socket, USB outlets for charging compatible smaller devices.

Pros

Cons

LED lighting with 3 different modes

Would cause damage when used to charge 6V batteries

2 USB ports


Safety features


Compact, portable design


Multifunctional


●  Amperage – 2A/8A/15A/Auto
●   Voltage – 12V
●   Battery type – Automatic lithium ion charger

This automatic fast charger has varied charging rates depending on how quick you want the battery to charge. Remember that prolonged fast charging can damage your battery. Specialized to be efficient in winter. Safety features such as protection against overvoltage, overheat, overcharging, short circuiting and reverse polarity. Additional features like LCD display, battery testing, desulfation, bulk charge and power optimization.

Pros

Cons

Lots of safety features

Not suitable for 6V or 24V batteries

Winter mode


Multifunctional


LCD display and other additional features


Automatic and manual charge rate settings


●  Amperage – 15 amp
●  Voltage – 12V
●  Battery type – Automatic lithium ion

This 15 amp bench battery charger comes with a fully automatic integrated circuit that automatically switches between 3 modes – fast charge, top-off and trickle charge depending on the level of battery charge. Equipped with an LCD screen, safety features like reverse polarity protection, alternator and battery checker, battery reconditioner, etc.

Pros

Cons

Compact and safe

Would damage 6V batteries when used

LCD screen indicator


Automatically adjust charge rate


Packed with additional features


Frequently Asked Questions

Should I charge my car battery at 2 amps or 10 amps?

The average car battery has a 48 amp hour capacity. This means it would take a charger delivering 1 amp 48 hours to full charge it if it was flat. A 10 amp charger would charge 5x faster than a 2 amp battery. Slower charging is preferred in non-emergency situations because higher charge rates can buckle the battery plates.

How long does it take to charge a car battery with a 12V charger?

The length of time required to charge a battery depends on the amperage of the charger. So, for a flat 48 amp hour battery it may take from minutes at 40 amps to 24 hours at 2 amps.

Is it safe to leave a car battery charger on overnight?

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t leave the battery charger connected for more than 24 hours. The more modern battery chargers come with regulated output which monitor the output with reference to the level of battery charge.

What happens if you leave a car battery charging too long?

Overcharging a battery causes generation of excess hot gas – causing heating and wearing off of the electrode. In sealed batteries, this gas build-up may even cause the explosion of the battery. Modern chargers generally have protection against overcharging and if they don’t, it’s your duty to properly monitor the process.

Can I start my car with the battery charger still attached?

Yes, you can. It won’t hurt the battery, the charger or the car.

Do I hook-up the red or black first?

When hooking up the charger to the battery, the red or positive or power cable is attached first to the positive (+) terminal on the battery.

Conclusion

In as much as we try do everything we can to prevent mishaps like a dead battery, sometimes it is unforeseen and inevitable. In order to avoid getting stranded, it is best to purchase one of the best car battery chargers recommended above as they are portable and super convenient and easy to use. The review of the various products was carried out by professionals and on numerous available products on the market before developing a compact and reliable top 10 list.


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