A dead car battery is one of the most common reasons for a car not starting. Aside from being a hassle, a failing auto battery can also be dangerous if it happens in the middle of nowhere; bonus points if it’s in the dead of night and you have no signal. Sure, we all have some version of auto club available to us but even calling their roadside service can result in several hours of waiting before they show up. And while you could also ask a friend or a family member to come and bail you out with jumper cables, even that can be a bit of a hit or miss, depending on how far away you are from each other.
The solution is to always have a portable car battery charger in your car. These are compact little devices that provide a burst of charge to your car battery, allowing you to quickly start your vehicle no matter where you are. The best car battery charger is fast and simple to use and will be your savior when you need to get your car started fast.
Not sure which model to get for your vehicle? Start by checking out models with the right voltage and enough amperage to charge your car’s battery, and then look for additional features if you need them. To take the guesswork out of buying this automotive first aid kit and help you get the best value for money device, we’ve put together a list of what we believe are some of the best car battery chargers currently on the market. Read on for our recommendations plus advice on what to look for in your next auto battery charger!
- Best Overall: Clore Automotive Booster PAC ES2500 12V Car Battery Charger
- Best For Maintenance: Battery Tender 12 Volt Junior Car Battery Charger
- Intuitive & Compact Option: Battery Tender Plus 12V 1.25A Car Battery Charger
- Best For Dead Batteries: NOCO GENIUS10 10-Amp Smart Car Battery Charger
- Best For Cold Weather: Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Car Battery Charger
- Best For Fast Charging: Schumacher SC1309 6/12V Wheeled Automatic Battery Charger
- Best Value For Money: Schumacher SC1280 6/12V Rapid Battery Charger and 15A Maintainer
- Best For Trucks & RVs: CTEK (56-353) MULTI US 7002 12-Volt Battery Charger
- Easiest To Use: TowerTop Smart Battery Charger
- Best Cheap Option: BMK BLUEMICKEY 12V 5A Smart Battery Charger
The Best Car Battery Charger
Simple to use and sporting plenty of power, the ES2500 from Booster Pac is a mainstay in our tester’s garage. This portable jump-starter acts as a battery pack to give your auto an extra kick to get going if you leave the headlights on all night. While it’s certainly powerful enough for home use, the ES2500’s portability makes it an ideal companion on road trips.
“It’s compact, loaded with enough power to start our SUV easily, and is simple to use,” our tester reported. The industrial-grade hot jaw clamps are secure and easy to differentiate, thanks to the clear colorways. At under 20 pounds and barely larger than a burly laptop, this car gadget can easily be stashed on a shelf or underneath a car seat when not in use. “It’s a no-brainer for road trips,” our tester reported. “It doesn’t take up any space in the car and it’s a lifesaver when the car won’t start.”
1100 peak amps, 300 cranking amps
LED battery status indicator
Ability to jump up to 5 vehicles on a single charge
Industrial grade hot jaw clamps
Working temperature 20˚-115˚F
- BrandClore Automotive
- Weight18 Pounds
Simple to Use
Holds charge for months
Takes a while to charge
No on/off Switch
Get the Battery Tender 12 Volt Junior Car Battery Charger and never be stuck out in the middle of nowhere. This auto battery charger and maintainer features a complete 4-step charging program with ISM adaptive charging. The smart microcontroller means the charger maintains the correct level of power sent to the battery to ensure no overcharging occurs. Reversed hook up protection also ensures that the battery charger will not start unless it is correctly connected.
This great car battery charger is compact enough to keep in your glove compartment so it’s ready and waiting for you to use in an emergency. It’s great for charging a range of vehicles, including motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, lawnmowers, and more, and ideal for maintaining cars and SUVs.
Complete 4-step charging program
ISM adaptive charging
Reversed hook-up protection
Quick disconnect harness
Solid-state two-color LED indicators
- BrandBattery Tender
- Weight1.8 Pounds
Compact and easy to use
Designed to extend the life of any lead-acid battery
5-year limited warranty
Relatively easy to hook up wrong if you’re a beginner
No extra features
Battery Tender Plus 12V 1.25A Car Battery Charger is smart charging made easy. Fully automatic and easy to use with 4-step charging program, this auto battery chargers 12 volt lead-acid, gel cell, AGM and flooded batteries using a low and slow approach, making it healthy for your car battery.
The unit features a quick connect harness and includes ring terminals and alligator clips that are easy to hook up to your battery and get your car going again. It also has reverse polarity protection just in case you accidentally switch the chargers, as well as safety indicator lights that let you know exactly what it’s doing. With a compact design and a nice long power cord, this is one of those things that you should never leave home without. You may also be interested in some of the top power inverters for cars. Check them out.
4-step charging process
Includes quick connect harness
Reverse polarity protection
LED light indicators
6 feet AC power cord
Ring terminals and alligator clips included
- BrandBattery Tender
- Weight5.6 Ounces
Maintenance-free battery charging
Spark proof, reverse polarity protected
Safety indicator lights
Needs to be regularly checked
The clamps are on the smaller side
If you’re looking for a simple-to-use, reliable and compact battery charger for car, we recommend taking a look at the NOCO GENIUS10 10-Amp Smart Car Battery Charger. Designed for 6-volt and 12- volt lead-acid batteries for cars, trucks, ATVs, boats and other vehicles, this well-rounded car battery charger provides stronger engine starts and extended battery life.
The integrated thermal sensor prevents over-charging in hot weather or under-charging in cold weather with more power and better performance. It can also automatically repair and reverse any damage your battery may have incurred saving you the cost of getting a new one. The charger also comes with indicator lights to let you know when charging is done and it’s easy to use for those who aren’t mechanically minded. Our guide to the best car jump starters features more useful products for your vehicle. Be sure to browse them.
Designed for 6-volt and 12-volt lead-acid batteries
Integrated thermal sensor
Charges dead batteries or maintains working ones
Compatible with all types of vehicles
Includes battery clams & integrated eyelets
- Weight3.97 Pounds
Simple and easy to use
Designed to eliminate over and under charging
More power and better performance
Can be slow in charging some batteries
On the pricier side
Ampeak’s car battery charger is compact and straightforward to use, especially when the mercury drops below zero. It has an MCU Controlled Program to ensure the right amount of power enters your car battery at the right time, resulting in faster charge times and a reduced chance of damage due to overcharging.
Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Car Battery Charger is encased in a durable ABS shell and a convenient storage section to keep the cables from tangling. The handle has been ergonomically designed for easy carrying so switching this car battery charger from one car to another can be done quickly. You’ll never need to worry about battery over-voltage, overheating or overcharging as the charger regulates everything for you. Our guide to the best-selling tire inflators features more quality products you should keep in your car, so check them out.
MCU controlled program for smart charging
High voltage reconditioning
6-step charging process
Convenient cables storage
Durable ABS shell
Comfortable and easy-to-carry handle
- Weight3.8 Pounds
Specialized design for charging the battery in winter
No worry about battery over-voltage, overheat, overtime charging
Intelligent, easy to read LCD display
Not suitable for dead batteries
Runs hot so may not be ideal for warm weather
When you need a car battery charger with extra power, you turn to the Schumacher SC1309 6/12V Wheeled Automatic Battery Charger. Yes, it’s bigger and more expensive than most car chargers for cars and other vehicles, but that’s why it provides a 200-amp jump start for rugged use.
This great car battery charger can be wheeled around your garage to get everyone on their way and best of all, it’s a battery and alternator tester making car maintenance a breeze. It is microprocessor controlled to ensure your car battery gets the exact dose of energy it needs and features multi-stage charging for added precision. The float-mode monitoring automatically maintains the optimum level of battery charge, removing the guesswork for you and with color-coded clamps, you can’t go wrong. Don’t forget to also browse our selection of the top-rated tire changers for more quality devices like this.
Battery and alternator tester
Multi-stage charging for added precision
Auto voltage detection
Reverse hook-up protection
Strong starting power
- Weight13.88 Pounds
Color-coded clamps for easy use
High standard of energy efficiency
Float-mode monitoring automatically maintains optimum battery charge
Too large for convenient portability
One of the most expensive battery chargers on our list
Take the worry out of your next road trip by taking the Schumacher Rapid Battery Charger and Maintainer with you. This compact and lightweight car battery charger automatically selects the charge rate for charging and maintaining your car’s battery and the auto voltage detection automatically detects 6 or 12V batteries eliminating the risk of over or undercharging.
The display is easy to read and the entire unit is easy to operate at the touch of a single on/off button. There is also a reverse hook-up protection to avoid nasty mishaps. Delivering 15-amp rapid charge and maintaining it at 3-amp rate, the Schumacher SC1280 is a great choice for a wide range of vehicles. To keep your car clean, be sure to pick your favorite wheel and tire cleaner from our list.
15A to charge and 3A to maintain your battery
Auto voltage detection automatically detects 6 or 12V batteries
Automatically selects charge rate for charging and maintaining
Reverse hook-up protection
Charges compatible battery types
Easy to read display with indicator lights
- Weight3.05 Pounds
Compact and easy to carry
One button operation
Works with AGM, gel and deep-cycle batteries
Long charging time
The clamps could be bigger
If you have multiple vehicles, including a truck or an RV, the CTEK (56-353) MULTI US 7002 12-Volt Battery Charger is an excellent option. Fully automatic, with a universal fit for most batteries and multiple charging modes, this top-rated car battery charger with pulse maintenance is both safe and simple to use in all weather conditions.
Featuring a unique 8-step automatic charging process and 4 charge modes, the device allows for convenient no-watch battery charging. It can even help extend the life of your battery making it energy and cost-effective. This car battery charger can restore battery life as well as recondition flat batteries quickly and effectively so keep it close and never be stranded on the side of the road. For more amazing car gadgets like this, check out our guide to the best tire pressure gauges.
Maintenance pulse charging increases battery life
Fully automatic and easy to use
Conditions and recharges the battery
Shockproof and dustproof
Restores battery life and reconditions flat batteries
Fast and effective charging
- Weight1.76 Pounds
Universal fit for most car batteries
Helps extend battery life
Ideal for maintaining deep cycle batteries
Can be slow to charge some batteries
The clamps could be a little bigger
If you’re looking for a reliable, straightforward-to-use auto battery charger, we highly recommend checking the TowerTop Smart Battery Charger out. Fully automatic, with a safe 7-step charging process, and compatible with all types of 12V lead-acid Batteries, this is a must-have device in your car emergency kit.
For ease of use, it has an easy-to-read LCD screen that lets you know the charging status, battery status, and when you’re done, and the cables store neatly thanks to the unique, clever design. You’ll also love the flexible handle which is ergonomically designed for easy carrying. For maximum protection, the TowerTop comes with a number of safety features, including overtime charging, over-voltage, reverse polarity, short circuit, and over heat. Our guide to the most sought-after car GPS navigation systems features more useful devices to keep in your car, so check them out.
Charges all types of 12 Volt lead-acid batteries
LCD screen displays charging and battery status
Unique storage cables design
All-inclusive battery clip
Comes with a number of safety features
Working temperature: 32°F (0°C) – 104°F (40°C)
- Weight5.3 Pounds
Easy to read and use display
A host of protection features for safe charging
Ergonomic design and flexible handle
Battery clamps may not fit on all terminals
No on/off switch
One of the best features of the BMK BLUEMICKEY 12V 5A Smart Battery Charger is that you can avoid wasting hours charging your car battery only to discover it’s defective and can’t be charged. That won’t happen with this car charger as it diagnoses the condition of your battery thanks to the defective battery recognition.
This is an all-in-one battery charger and diagnostic tool that is compact and easy to use. It can charge and restore most batteries and with the quick disconnect harness, you can get moving again in a flash. There are also a number of safety features as well, such as overcharge and overvoltage protection. The price is more than right too, so get one for your whole family. You may also like some of the best-selling tire repair kits from our list. Don’t miss them.
All-in-one battery charger and diagnostic tool
Quick disconnect harness
Stabilizes internal battery chemistry
Defective battery recognition
72-hour safety feature
Overcharge & overvoltage protection
- BrandBMK BLUEMICKEY
- Weight1.3 Pounds
Compact and easy to use
Charges and restores batteries
Includes heavy-duty alligator clips
The indicator is not always accurate
The cables could be longer
Why Trust Us
Because we spent over 16 hours on research, as well as tested some products. Unfortunately for us but lucky for you, we also have plenty of experience with failing car batteries. To give you the most reliable chargers on the market, we scoured the internet for the best rated battery charger devices, had our testers report their experiences with their products, and we also consulted with experts on the topic.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone who drives a car or any other vehicle often and wants to keep it in good shape for as long as possible and avoid costly battery replacements. Whether you’re looking for a simple-to-use, affordable and portable car battery charger, or an ultra-powerful one that you can use at home, our top picks should have you covered.
How We Picked
The best car battery chargers are reliable, straightforward to use, and don’t cost an arm and a leg – which is why we focused on those three (and a few more) factors when choosing the products for this guide. We tried to include devices that would be ideal for most people’s needs and budgets, so there are many affordable, portable options as well as a few pricier and more powerful units on our list.
How We Tested
While we didn’t test all car battery chargers featured on our list, we thoroughly researched every single product (its features, brand reliability, how satisfied the buyers are, etc.), taking in the input from actual customers as well as experts. One of our testers tried the Clore Automotive Booster PAC ES2500 12V Jump Starter, describing it as a “no brainer for road trips” as it’s compact and loaded with power. In fact, our tester liked the unit and its intuitive design so much that it became a mainstay in his automotive first aid kit.
Features To Look For In A Car Battery Charger
To get the best automotive battery charger for your vehicle, we suggest paying attention to the following features.
Amperage – Battery chargers come in a variety of amperages which determine the amount of current they can handle. In general, the higher the amp, the faster the charging will be. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to go for the highest amperage you can find – it’s safer to use a slower charging rate for some batteries. The good news is, if you opt for an automatic charger, the device itself will detect what amp and charging mode is best for your battery.
Voltage – Before you purchase a car battery charger, it’s essential that you check your own vehicle’s battery voltage. Most car batteries are 12 volts, so it’s a good idea to look for 12-volt chargers. This said, if you want a more versatile device, you may need a different voltage.
Safety Features – Whether you’re a beginner or have decades of experience, we recommend looking for auto chargers with a wide range of safety features as it can be easy to overcharge and even ruin your battery without them. At the very least, you want reverse polarity and over-heating protections, as well as spark-resistant cables.
Charger Size – As you’ve probably noticed by now, battery chargers come in a variety of sizes. If you’re looking for a portable option, check out smaller, more compact devices that will be easy to pack in the trunk (note that most will not be able to jump-start a completely dead battery). If you’re looking for something powerful that you can use at home, opt for bigger chargers as they have excellent jump-start capabilities.
Types Of Car Battery Chargers
Automatic – There are two main types of automatic car battery chargers and they generally fall into two categories. The first type of automatic car battery charger is the type that you need to first charge via an electrical outlet. Once the car battery charger is completely charged, you can use it to start a car battery that has died. You simply attach it to the battery terminals, turn it on and start your car. Once the car is charged, you can remove the car battery charger and recharge it, ready for use the next time you need it. The second type of automatic car battery charger works in a similar way, but you attach it to your car battery and pretty much leave it attached. This type of automatic car battery charger continuously maintains the level of power in your car battery and gives you a reading on the power remaining in your car battery via a display.
Manual – Unlike automatic or smart battery chargers that are pretty much able to do everything on their own, with manual chargers you have to keep an eye on things and manually stop charging when the battery is sufficiently charged. In short, they are quite a chore. On the plus side, they tend to be much cheaper than their automatic counterparts.
Not sure if you actually need a car battery charger? The other method for recharging your car battery is to use jumper cables. This is usually efficient, but it means you need to find someone who is willing to come to you to attach the jumper cables from your car battery to theirs. Otherwise, you can also do this with a mini power pack or generator. In terms of convenience, there's no doubt that (automatic) car chargers are better.
Car Battery Charger FAQ
Q: What is a car battery charger?
A: A car battery charger is a small device that is basically used to start a car battery that has depleted power. The main reason for power depletion that was not the result of a defective battery is leaving the headlights or radio on. This type of mishap can happen to anyone and it happens more often than people think. Having a car battery charger in your car is just as important these days as having a spare tire. You never know when you’re going to need it. These days, a car battery charger not only rechargers a battery, but it can also diagnose any problems as well as restore battery power and maintain your car battery in such as way as to extend its working life.
Q: Can you overcharge your battery with a car battery charger?
A: With most newer models of car battery chargers, it’s almost impossible to overcharge your car battery. Most of the modern vehicle battery chargers are equipped with diagnostic technology and sensors that will automatically stop the charging process when the car battery is full. This is an essential feature that not only prevents damage to your car battery, but also acts as a mini maintenance service.
Q: How long does it take for a car battery charger to recharge a car battery?
A: Depending on the make and model of the car battery charger you have, it could take anything from 4 to 12 hours to fully recharge your battery. This is fine for overnight charging when your car is safely enclosed in your garage but for when you’re out on the road, especially at night, you want a car battery charger that can get you moving again, and fast. Many of these compact automatic car battery chargers are small enough to keep in the trunk of your car or glove compartment, but supply your car battery with enough power to turn your motor over. You can then get home and fully charge your battery, ready for the next day.
Car battery chargers can be a lifesaver, particularly for shift workers who find themselves stranded in an isolated car park or remote road in the middle of the night. Many of the ones in our selection work fast at getting the car going again. They may not be a permanent or long-term solution for your car battery, but they’ll certainly work well enough to get your car started so you can get home or to a safer place like a gas station or crowded shopping complex. Get one for yourself and for your family members.
- Automotive battery - Wikipedia
- How a Car Battery Charger Can Keep Your Vehicle Ready to Go - Consumers Reports
- 5 Facts About Car Batteries For Students In Online Automotive Course - Automotive Training Centre
- Why Do We All Need a Car Battery Charger? - Did You Know Cars