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5 Best Car Battery Chargers in 2019 – Buying Guide and Reviews

You find batteries in just about everything. Replacing or recharging them is an everyday fact of life.

Back in my days selling consumer electronics I used to tell customers, “The world runs on AA batteries,” before selling them a 48-pack of our store brand.

While we are hyper-aware of the need to recharge batteries in our gaming controllers and certainly our cell phones, many of us neglect the most important battery in our lives.

Be honest, when was the last time you gave much thought to the battery in your automobile?

Man plugging cables from a car battery charger onto the battery
Cars, trucks, ATVs, boats, and motorcycles – they all need a battery to get started unless you’ve got a kick-start, pull-start, or you’re Fred Flintstone.

And the only time it’ll cross your mind will be when it doesn’t work. Today, we’re going to help you get ahead of the game.

In this article, we’ll tell you why you should have a battery charger handy, how it works, and what it can do for you.

We’re also going to help you figure out what features the best battery charger for your needs should have.

Finally, we’ll review a few of the best chargers on the market to help make your decision a little easier.

Ok, let’s plug in!

Quick Links to Our Top 4 Picks for Best Car Battery Charger

Clicking the links above take you to further information, customer reviews and current prices on Amazon.

Short Forms to Know Before Reading

To give my fingers a break, and to help you understand product specs, I’ll be using plenty of short forms throughout this article. If you already know them, bear with me.

  • AC – Alternating Current (what comes out of a wall)
  • DC – Direct Current (what’s in a battery)
  • Ah – Amp hours (capacity of a battery)
  • A – Amps
  • mA – milliAmps (thousandths of an Amp)
  • V – Volts

What is a Car Battery Charger?

A car battery charger is no different from any other battery charger. You plug it into your household power and connect the cables to the terminals on your car battery.

The charger has a built-in transformer and will convert the electricity from 110/220 volt AC to 12 volt DC. Turn it on, walk away (or not – we’ll come back to this later), and come back to a reinvigorated battery!

Car Battery Charger Vs. Jump Starter – What’s the Difference and Which Do You Actually Need?

Recharging your car battery is not the same as jump starting, or boosting your battery.

The typical jump-start involves connecting a vehicle’s dead battery to the functioning battery of a second vehicle with cables. The dead car can usually steal enough charge from the running car to fire up the ignition and then be on its way.

A jump starter or booster pack takes the place of the second vehicle and can be very handy in a pinch.

Basically, it’s a rechargeable battery pack you attach to your car battery. If you just need to get your car started, the jump starter will usually be able to do the trick. If you don’t already have one, check out our guide to the best jump starters.

However, what it cannot do is recharge your battery. It delivers just enough juice to fire up the engine, and that’s it.

If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and you’re not concerned about fully recharging, a jump starter can be a Godsend. It’s particularly handy if your battery goes kaput when you’re away from home.

While a jump starter or booster pack is no substitute for a car battery charger, it can be a useful accessory to have around. If you’re the type who is likely to remember to keep it charged (an uncharged jump starter is just dead weight), this isn’t a bad thing to keep handy, especially if you have an older car that has occasional battery issues.

A charger is also somewhat different to a maintainer. The best battery maintainers keep a batetry charged and in good condition for long time periods during which the battery is not being used. You can connect them and leave them attached for weeks, months, maybe even years. A charger is a plug and go top up to charge a battery, and aren’t meant to be left connected for long time periods.

Why We Recommend Owning a Car Battery Charger

Your car is, in fact, a giant, rolling battery charger. While you drive, the engine powers the alternator, which is a small generator based around an electromagnet. This generator supplies electricity back to the battery where it is stored until needed.

Obviously this is grossly oversimplified, but sufficient for our needs here. If you want to learn more about batteries and alternators, have a look at this article at How A Car Works.

If your battery dies, or if it fails to hold enough charge, your car won’t start. You may be able to jump start it and get it running, but there’s no guarantee the battery will recharge, even if you leave it running for a long time.

A car doesn’t do a great job of fully recharging a battery after it drains completely. (Older cars particularly suffer in this area.)

With a car battery charger handy, you can quickly restore charge to your battery, even if only enough to get it started and drive it to a garage. Either way, you’re coming out ahead if you compare the average price of a charger to either a new battery or getting towed to a service center.

This is one of those rare occasions where a gadget can pay for itself after just one use.

A Few Words On Sulfation

One of the most common reasons a battery loses the ability to hold a charge is sulfation. Soft lead sulfate crystals form on the plates inside lead-acid batteries during the normal course of use. Typically, that’s not a problem.

If a battery is left discharged for an extended period, or if it is repeatedly undercharged, the lead sulfate crystals may harden. Hard crystals block the pores of the positive and negative plates, preventing them from taking on a charge. A fully sulfated battery is useless for any purpose other than an ugly doorstop.

Many battery chargers claim to have the ability to desulfate your battery. Some manufacturers are a bit vague about the technology they’re using, so healthy suspicion is highly recommended.

Fully charging a sulfated battery may desulfate the plates. Keeping a battery fully charged will prevent sulfation from happening in the first place.

How to Choose the Best Car Battery Charger for Your Needs

There are a lot of chargers to choose from. Let’s have a look at some key features, and figure out what you should be looking for to best suit your situation.

Car Battery Charger Type / Battery Compatibility

Just going out and grabbing the first charger you see is not the way to shop for a battery charger! You have to get a charger that’s compatible with your battery type(s). Yes, “batteries” plural – maybe you have a boat, ATV, lawn tractor, motorcycle, or other vehicle or device that employs a starter battery?

Some of the many different car battery types to look for include:

  • Lead-acid
  • Sealed maintenance free
  • Deep cycle
  • Gel Cel
  • AGM
  • Wet cell / flooded
  • Valve-regulated Lead-acid
  • Lithium-ion

While you probably have a standard lead-acid battery in your car, don’t assume. Look under the hood, and think about what you’ll be charging before you buy.

Automatic or Manual Charger?

If you’re a “set it and forget it” kind of person, you’ll want an automatic car battery charger. With this type of charger, the unit stops charging once it senses the battery is at peak capacity.

A manual charger will keep charging until you switch it off. Overcharging can ruin the plates and prevent the battery from ever taking charge again. In worst-case scenarios, the battery can explode. As you might imagine, this is extremely dangerous for you and your vehicle.

Choose an automatic charger (manuals are less common now than they once were) to protect your battery, your vehicle, and yourself!

Voltage Range

Batteries for vehicles come in one of two voltages: 6V and 12V. Odds are, your everyday vehicle has a 12V. Be sure before you buy, however. Some older vehicles have 6V batteries. 6V is also found in tractors and other small vehicles.

Some chargers handle one voltage or the other, while some will charge either. If you only need 12V, you might be able to save a few bucks with a dedicated charger. For maximum flexibility, choose a dual voltage charger.

Amperage (Peak and Jump Start Voltage)

I’m not even going to try to explain amperage here. We just want to know what’s best for our needs.

Among the specs you’ll see on chargers and jump starters, you’ll notice Peak Amperes. The higher the number, the heavier draw it can handle from your vehicle. This is important if you want to jump-start your car rather than charge (some can do both – we’ll get to that), and is a good indicator of the quality of the components inside the charger.

If you’re trying to get a big vehicle going in a cold climate, your charger/jump starter needs to have the peak amperage to handle a heavy draw. While charging amps can go from as low as .75 amps (often shown as 750mA) to about 60 amps, for a heavy jump you may need more like 275 amps.

Average Charge Time

In a nutshell, the more amps, the faster the charge will be – remembering that a fast charge is not always what’s best for your car. A small vehicle, like a lawn tractor, only needs a low amperage charger to do the job.

A typical car battery has about 45 amp/hours. A 10 amp charger should have it recharged from fully depleted in about 5-6 hours. Check your amp hours before you get a charger and consider how long is too long to wait for a full charge.

Of course, the time required to charge a battery will vary, depending on whether you’re fully recharging, topping up, or trickle charging for maintenance.

Battery Tester Feature

If your car doesn’t start, always look for the simplest explanation first. Typically, that would be a dead battery.

A charger with a tester feature can show whether or not the battery has charge in it. If it seems to have enough to get the job done, then the problem must be elsewhere.

If your charger doesn’t have a testing feature, there are many standalone, reasonably priced car battery testers on the market, and we have a step-by-step guide to check out on how test your car battery.

Safety Features

A good battery charger will have many safety features to protect you and your vehicle. The most basic features include insulated clamps and spark-resistant clamps. Both of these features can prevent a shocking situation.

Other features to consider are:

  • Reverse polarity warning (it’s all too easy to clamp on to the wrong terminal!)
  • Overload protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Over-current protection
  • Over-voltage protection
  • Overcharge protection

Jumper Cable Length

A good charger can turn into a pain in the butt in a hurry if the cables don’t reach your terminals.

Think about where you plan to position your charger and pick cables the right length. Some chargers come with extension cables to adjust for differing needs.

If you already have a charger, and your cables are too short, or you pick a model of charger but wish they had longer cables, you can purchase jumper cables separately.

Jump Start Feature

Recharging a battery gradually over a span of hours is all fine and dandy… IF you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere!

Some chargers will allow you to draw enough power to actually fire up the engine so you can get on your way. You may not need it often, but it’s a great feature to have in a pinch if you need to jump start your car.

Trickle Charge

This is a terrific feature to have on a charger that’s hooked up to a battery that is used irregularly. Once the battery reaches a certain level of charge (generally between 85-95%), a charger with this feature will automatically switch to a very slow charge that will take the battery up to 100% and hold it there.

With a trickle charge flowing into the battery, you know you’ll have power whenever you need it. This is great for things like a golf cart, boats and personal watercraft, yard tractors, and more.

Battery Diagnostics

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have your own personal mechanic on call at all times? The next best thing, at least when it comes to batteries, is having a charger that can also run a diagnostic on your battery.

Some chargers can let you know if your battery is incapable of accepting a full charge. This is important information to have; a battery that drains because you left your lights on overnight can be restored, but a battery that’s actually defective should be replaced.

(Note: For more information battery life, check out or article: How long does a car battery last?

Maintenance Mode

This feature works a bit like trickle charging but skips the initial recharge. Instead, Maintenance Mode is for keeping a good battery charged and healthy during long-term storage.

So if you put your summer toy away for the season, or if you’re heading off for a vacation, you can hook up your battery and be sure it’s fully charged when you need it again.

Ease of Use

It’s impossible to quantify this category, or even define it with precision. Me, I find a home theatre system easy to use, while others in my family find it utterly baffling. How easy you need something to be depends on your previous experience, and general aptitudes.

Convenience features, many of which I’ve listed above as safety features, will also make a car battery charger easier to operate. Definitely choose an automatic charger that goes into trickle mode, or shuts off completely.

If you can check the instruction manual to see if it’s comprehensible, that’s a good start toward determining how easy a time you’ll have operating it. Look online to see if the manufacturer’s website is of any help, too.

Best Battery Charger Recommendations and Mini-Reviews

We have scoured the Internet and automotive stores, and come up with a short-list of 5 chargers we think are worth taking a closer look at. We’ll cover the specs, features, and pros and cons of each unit, and we’ll crown our winner in the last section.

Here they are, in no particular order:

NOCO Genius G4 UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger

NOCO Genius G4 6V/12V 4.4 Amp 4-Bank Battery Charger and Maintainer

Well, it says it’s a genius, and it has science-y stuff in the logo. Is this the Sheldon of car battery chargers? The G4 is one of a series of Genius chargers, each featuring different amperage. We chose the 4-bank 4.4 Amp as being the most versatile of the lot, and best suited for an average automobile.

Overall Impressions

It’s a good-looking unit and appears solidly built. You can mount it to a wall if you like, and I’d say it would make your garage look pretty legit. At first glance, it seems complicated, but study it for a moment, and you’ll realize it all makes sense. The displays are clear and logical, and operation ought to be a snap.

It’s very lightweight, so you may be tempted not to take it seriously. Don’t worry – it’s plenty rugged, and, like the Millennium Falcon, “she’s got it where it counts.”

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps
  • Two eyelet connectors
  • Two battery clamps
  • Four extension cables

Features

  • Four charging banks
  • Spark-proof connectors
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Water, shock, dirt, and dust-proof
  • Crush resistant
  • Over-charge, over-current, overheating protection
  • Battery desulfator
  • Adjusts charge for ambient temperature
  • Battery diagnostics
  • LED indicators for charge level

Specs

  • Charges 6V and 12V batteries
  • Charging amps: 4.4 (1.1 x 4 banks)
  • Charges up to 40 amp/hours
  • Good for lead-acid (deep cycle and starter) and lithium-ion batteries
  • Compatible battery types: Wet/Flooded, Gel Cel, Maintenance-free, Absorbed Glass Mat, Enhanced Flooded Battery, Calcium
  • Fully charges motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, personal watercraft (e. Sea-Doo), lawn mower batteries
  • Maintains all car, truck, SUV, RV, diesel truck, and boat batteries
  • CANBUS compatible
  • Weight: 2.7lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.3” x 9.4” x 2.5”
  • Charging cable length: 10 feet
  • DC cord length: 5 feet
  • AC cord length: 5 feet
  • Wall-mountable

What We Like

We really like looking at this charger! It’s sleek, but it’s entirely functional. We also love the idea of being about to charge up to 4 batteries at once. Not sure how often that would happen, but it’s still cool.

Being able to charge both 6V and 12V makes it useful for your road, marine, and garden vehicles. Ten-foot cables mean you’ll be able to connect with ease, and you can do it safely, too, with the spark-proof clamps, and reverse polarity indicator.

While we’re on a safety kick, it’s also nice to know that you cannot overcharge your batteries. Since the Genius G4 is always monitoring the battery, it only allows a trickle charge if the battery is less than full already.

If, in fact, the desulfating feature works (there are differing opinions on the effectiveness of desulfators, ranging from miracle cure to snake oil) it’s awesome that this charger can actually restore a decrepit battery.

It’s nice to know that this little guy can fully charge a motorcycle, ATV, lawn tractor, or similarly sized battery all the way back from the dead. The LEDs will let you know where you’re at in the charging cycle, too.

The battery diagnostic feature is terrific. With an easy-to-understand indicator, you can see whether your battery might have a short, or if it’s totally pooched. Either way, it’s time to replace or consult a pro.

What We Don’t Like

Well, it’s a bit of a shame it won’t recharge a dead battery in a larger vehicle, but hey, you can’t have everything. You might actually be able to recharge a small car battery, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to

If you have a lot of toys in your garage (motorcycles, ATVs, etc.), the NOCO Genius G4 could prove to be indispensable. You can plug in all your goodies at once, and then leave them be, secure in the knowledge they’ll be ready to go when you need them.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You don’t own a motorcycle or other small vehicles
  • You only need to charge one battery at a time

Final Thoughts

We quite like this unit for its versatility and functionality. It’s well suited to numerous applications and would be a great addition to most garages, especially if you have a line-up of toys and equipment.

If you’re feeling like you’d enjoy having a genius taking care of your batteries, get up close and personal here:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Schumacher SC-600A-CA SpeedCharge 6 Amp High-Frequency Battery Charger

Schumacher SC-600A-CA 6/4/2 Amp Charger And Maintainer

I used to have a motto: you can have it fast, or you can have it good – you can’t have both. Evidently the people at Schumacher weren’t listening. That’s no surprise considering the Schumacher family’s history with the NHRA.

If you want a good charge, but you don’t have the time or patience to wait for a standard charger to do its job, is this charger the solution?

Overall Impressions

I can’t say the SC-600A creates much of an impression at first glance. I guess I did get the vague impression I was looking at an old transistor radio, based on the upright design and the large handle projecting from the top.

Still, it looks streamlined and simple enough to operate. The nifty + and – symbols printed on the clamp handles (on top of color-coded black and red grips) certainly speak to a device that has been designed with the beginner in mind. And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps

Features

  • Up to 2x faster charging than conventional chargers
  • Handle doubles as cord wrap
  • Desulfation mode
  • LED indicators
  • Auto voltage detection
  • Reverse polarity indicator
  • Automatic float-mode (won’t overcharge)
  • Microprocessor adjusts amperage rate
  • Auto-start (charging won’t begin without a clean connection)
  • 2-year warranty

Specs

  • Charges 6V and 12V batteries
  • Charging amps: 2A for 6V, 6A for 12V
  • Charges up to 12Ah (6V) or 22-59Ah (12V)
  • Good for lead-acid batteries
  • Compatible battery types: Deep cycle, Wet/Flooded, Gel Cel, Maintenance-free, Absorbed Glass Mat
  • Fully charges and maintains motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, personal watercraft (e., Sea-Doo), lawn mower, car, truck, SUV, RV, diesel truck, and boat batteries
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 3 x 7.5 inches
  • Charging cable length: 2 feet

What We Like

This is a very simple to use, and highly versatile charger. You can pretty much hook it up to anything and get a full charge. It even knows if you hooked up a 6V or 12V without you having to worry about a selector switch or button.

6A mode will get your small to mid-sized batteries up and running faster than most chargers on the market, which is fantastic when you’re in a time crunch. We also like that it will switch automatically from charging to float-mode for maintenance and battery protection. Combine that with the reverse polarity indicator, and it’s a foolproof charger. The rubber grips (with clear red/black +/- indicators) are a nice safety feature, too.

As an added bonus, Schumacher uses recycled and recovered material in its products. We recognize that batteries aren’t the most environmentally friendly items, so this helps us feel a little better.

What We Don’t Like

It’s a shame it won’t charge Lithium-Ion batteries, but that likely won’t matter to most people. There is no diagnostic mode on the charger, so there’s no way to tell if your battery has had the biscuit or not.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to

It would take less time to say whom it isn’t suited for. Pretty much if you have a vehicle, this charger will work for you. It is especially good for anyone who is confident his/her batteries are in good health since there is no diagnostic mode. It’s also great if you’re on a budget, given the appealing price.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You want to run diagnostics
  • You have Lithium-Ion batteries

Final Thoughts

This is a very good, no-frills charger for people with basic battery charging and maintenance needs. Don’t expect to be wowed by all the features and versatility, but do expect reliable performance and relatively quick charging.

Want to know more? Easy – just follow the link for details and purchasing options.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Black+Decker  BC15BD 15 to 40 Amp Bench Charger, Engine Start and Alternator Check

BLACK+DECKER BC15BD Fully Automatic 15 Amp 12V Bench Battery Charger/Maintainer with 40A Engine Start, Alternator Check, Cable Clamps

Black+Decker is another really well-known name in the tool universe. Their product line is extensive and generally of better-than-average quality. It stands to reason that they should make a good battery charger, too. And the verdict?

Overall Impressions

It’s nothing if not solid-looking. It honestly seems like it could withstand a serious beating and not even flinch. That’s good for a product that’s going to get hefted about from place to place in your garage.

Compared to some other models I’ve looked at, it seems slightly retro on the front. There are actual buttons to push, and an LCD screen with basic information presented with minimalistic graphics. Still, it’s all neatly laid out, and everything is clearly labeled and easy to find. Even a complete novice should have no trouble using this charger.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps

Features

  • One-touch automatic charging
  • 3-stage charging: fast charge, top-off, trickle
  • LCD indicator
  • Reconditions sulfated batteries
  • 40A engine start mode charges from dead to start power in 8 minutes
  • Alternator diagnostics
  • Built-in cord, cable wraps
  • Clamp storage
  • Reverse polarity indicator
  • Carrying handles
  • Fold down front feet for easier viewing

Specs

  • Charges 12V batteries
  • Charging amps: 0-15A
  • Good for lead-acid batteries
  • Compatible battery types: Wet/Flooded, Gel Cel, Absorbed Glass Mat
  • Fully charges and maintains motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, personal watercraft (e., Sea-Doo), lawn mower, car, truck, SUV, RV, diesel truck, and boat batteries
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.35” x 9.76” x 5.63”

What We Like

Despite some initial reservations, we ended up liking the simple display and button configuration. This is a very easy unit to use! It’s great that it will work with pretty much every battery in the stable. When not in use, its compact size makes it easy to store.

The alternator diagnostic feature is one we haven’t come across often, but it’s a good one to have. Basically, the charger checks your battery while under load and from that can deduce if the alternator is doing its job – which is to keep your battery charged. Identifying the alternator as the problem could save a lot of aggravation and expensive time in a shop.

Another great feature is the 40A engine start timer. Although 8 minutes is much slower than the immediate results of a jump starter, it’s a heck of a lot faster than waiting for a standard charger to put the juice back in your battery! It’s almost a 2-in-1 starter/charger.

What We Don’t Like

Not being able to charge 6V batteries is a bit limiting. It’s also too bad you can’t charge Lithium-ion batteries. Some B+D models are waterproof, but this one isn’t; if it were, it would be perfect for marine applications.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to

Most vehicle owners will find this charger useful, despite the lack of 6V capabilities. Anyone slightly intimidated by battery charging, in general, will appreciate the simplicity of operation. And, of course, Black+Decker aficionados will want to add this to their collection!

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You have lithium-ion batteries
  • You have 6V batteries
  • You want a dedicated marine charger (and are concerned about it getting wet)

Final Thoughts

For basics, but with a few extras, this charger is a good choice. The simplicity alone is enough to recommend it, but the bonus features make it an excellent investment. We expect good things from this unit.

To read more, to see what it looks like on a bench (wow!), and to buy your own, click the link:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Optima Digital 400 12V Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger

Optima Digital 400 12V Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger - 150-40000

This is definitely one of the smaller units we’ve seen, so it’s only natural to be a bit skeptical. Mind you, plenty of good things come in small packages, so we’re willing to give this little guy a shot. How does it stand up versus the big boys?

Overall Impressions

First impression is that it’s small. Actually, let’s rephrase that – it’s compact. The Digital 400 is actually fairly hefty, at about 2.5 pounds. That’s pretty chunky, considering its small frame.

A lot is going on when you look at the front of the unit, and it’s packed in there pretty tight. You might think at first that it’s only meant to work with Optima’s color-coded series of batteries, but it will certainly work with all brands.

It’s certainly a convenient looking little package. It won’t take up much space, and the cords wrap nicely around it. If you like to keep a tidy garage, you’ll love this charger.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps
  • Eyelet connectors and cables
  • Wall mounting bracket

Features

  • LED indicators
  • LCD display
  • Built-in hook for hanging
  • Kickstand for standing on a flat surface
  • Built-in cable wrap
  • Clamp storage on a wall mount
  • Automatically changes from charging to maintenance mode
  • Conditioning mode
  • 30-Day storage reconditioning mode
  • Spark-free connectors
  • Reverse polarity indicator
  • Over-temperature protection
  • Extreme temperature compensation

Specs

  • Charges 12V batteries
  • Charges up to 130Ah
  • Charging amps: up to 4A for large batteries, up to 3A for small batteries
  • Good for lead-acid batteries
  • Compatible battery types: Wet/Flooded, Absorbed Glass Mat, Deep cycle
  • Fully charges and maintains motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, personal watercraft (e., Sea-Doo), lawn mower, car, truck, SUV, RV, diesel truck, and boat batteries
  • Cable length: 6’
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7.1” x 3.9” x 2.7”
  • Wall mountable

What We Like

You get a lot of feature for such a small unit, and it is smartly designed for use and storage. Being able to mount it, set it on a table, or hang it somewhere handy, makes it super versatile and useful in nearly any situation.

The 30-Day reconditioning mode is great for bringing a seriously bunged up battery back to life, or for keeping a battery maintained while you’re away. It seems as if you can recharge even the deadest batteries (yeah, I know – there technically aren’t degrees of dead, but you know what I mean) of nearly any size or function, making this a one-stop charging stop for 12V batteries.

What We Don’t Like

The display is kind of busy, and it might take time to learn to read it “at a glance.” We wish it could charge 6V batteries, too, as well as Lithium-ion.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to

Most owners of small to medium-size vehicles will find this unit useful given the variety of batteries it can charge. People with limited workspace in the garage or shed will appreciate the small size of the charger.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You have a large vehicle with a big battery (charge time for batteries over 100Ah can be measured in days)
  • You have a bunch of 6V batteries
  • You have a lithium-ion battery

Final Thoughts

This is an impressive little charger, with a lot going for it. It’s not the most versatile charger, but it’s pretty good for most average motorists. The convenient size certainly makes it a top contender, especially if you have a small garage.

You can take a big look at this little guy, and even place your order, with a click of the link:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

STANLEY J5C09 Jump Starter

STANLEY J5C09 Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps, 120 PSI Air Compressor, Battery Clamps

Ok, technically this isn’t a car battery charger, it’s a jump starter. However, there is value to be had in a jump starter, so we thought we’d include one here.

A jump starter, as we explained earlier, won’t charge a dead battery. What it will do is give you a shot at starting your vehicle if the battery has been drained.

Overall Impressions

The first thing we like about this starter is that Stanley makes it. If you don’t know this brand, then you’ve probably never owned a tool. Our confidence in its reliability is high.

It looks pretty smart, all black and silver with that good, industrial yellow for high visibility. Overall, it gives the impression of being a serious piece of equipment, without appearing complicated or intimidating.

The whole thing looks well thought out with nice features like the dual cable management systems to keep your cables in good condition and easily separated.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps
  • Adaptor nozzles for the air pump
  • 12V male-to-male cable charging cable.

Features

  • USB charging port
  • 12V DC outlet
  • 120V AC charger
  • LED emergency light
  • Air compressor (for inflating tires)
  • Reverse polarity indicator
  • Battery status LED indicators
  • Powder coated all-metal clamps

Specs

  • 500 instant starting amps
  • 1000 peak amps
  • 120 PSI compressor
  • Weight: 18lbs
  • Dimensions: 11.2” x 8” x 13.5”

What We Like

This pack offers a lot of versatility for everyone from contractors to casual motorists. There are plenty of amps to get your car started, and we like the convenience of being able to charge up other devices via USB, 12V DC and 120V AC.

Mind you, many modern cars come with all this stuff built in, but, if you’re like me and you have an older car, these are great to have. The air pump is a nice feature, too, even if you only use it for inflating rafts and floaties at the beach, (though we really do prefer a dedicated, portable air pump for tires!)

It’s easy to recharge; plug it in overnight at home or any available standard wall outlet. We also really like the reverse polarity indicator; if you thought your day sucked because your battery was dead, just wait until you blow it up because you got your + and – mixed up.

What We Don’t Like

It’s a little hefty at 18lbs, so you might not care to move it around a lot. Having said that, Stanley recommends recharging it every 30 days if you haven’t used it. If you’re going to stow one in the trunk, don’t forget about it, or else the next time your car won’t start, you might have two dead batteries on your hands!

We would have preferred rubber grips on the handles to a powder coat.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to

Anyone with an older vehicle or one light on features will appreciate the versatility of the Stanley J5C09 jump starter. The security of carrying your own boost for emergencies, and the convenience of an air compressor and charging outlets, make this a seriously handy gadget to take with you.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You have chargers in your car already
  • You have a very small car and don’t need this many amps

Final Thoughts

Getting caught with a dead battery can range from inconvenient to downright dangerous. Carrying a jump starter is a great insurance policy against being stuck in a lousy situation. If you’re the type who will remember to keep the jump starter charged, this thing could really save your bacon. All in all, we consider this to be a good investment.

To look at it from every angle (seriously, there’s a crazy stop-motion video on Amazon to check out), and perhaps make a purchase, we’ve got the link for you:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Are You Ready to Lead the Charge?

All of these chargers will do the trick, but one of them stood out from the crowd. Our top recommendation is the Schumacher SC-600A-CA.

It was a tough decision – there are plenty of good reasons to recommend each of the units we reviewed. Overall, however, the speed and versatility of the Schumacher makes it the best choice for the most motorists. Not only will it charge most batteries, both 6V and 12V, but it will do it quickly and simply. Oh, and for a great price, too!

Now you’re charged with knowledge! Hopeful,ly you now see the value in owning a battery charger. It really is something every vehicle owner should have at the ready. You’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being prepared, and you’ll never be caught short again.

Now that you know how great it is to own a battery charger, be sure and let your friends and family in on the secret, too. Share this article with them, and invite them to check out the site for plenty more automotive info.

Thanks for reading – we hope you got a charge out of it.

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

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Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars. Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned. Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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