You’re looking for auto battery chargers, but you need to ask yourself a couple of questions before you buy. First, should you really be looking for auto battery chargers at all or is your requirement really for another piece of equipment you haven’t considered?
Manual Automotive Battery Chargers
Manual auto battery chargers fulfill the very narrow requirement to provide a battery charge that brings a battery from a low charging state to fully charged. Depending on the Amp output of the charger, it can take a while. If you’re actually looking for a device to perform car battery charging on your car so that you can start it, it may not be the right tool for the job. The advantage of a manual battery charger is price. They are simpler devices without microprocessor control and so they will be less expensive than other chargers.
Battery Jump Starters
A battery jump starter is the tool you need to jump start your vehicle. It is a completely self-contained unit that you simply hook to your batteries terminals and start your car. You don’t need a Good Samaritan to take pity on you, you don’t need a donor vehicle to provide the jump starting power, and you don’t need a set of jumper cables.
Best of all the new lithium car battery booster models are lightweight, compact, and relatively inexpensive so you can easily take it everywhere with you in the car and they’re fast, jump starting your car in a matter of seconds.
Looking for other great battery chargers? Be sure and see our other articles about some of the best:
- Maha Battery Charger: Best Rated Most Popular Multi-Battery Charger
- Battery Charger for Car: Top 7 Best Rated Car Battery Chargers
- Waterproof Battery Charger: Top Rated 12V Battery Charger Maintainer
- 3 Bank Marine Battery Charger: 5 Top Rated Boat Battery Chargers
- Battery Maintainer: Powerful High-Tech Battery Tender Charger
- Deep Cycle Battery Charger: 5 Top Rated Smart Chargers
- Best Onboard Marine Battery Charger 2-Bank Options
- Forklift Battery Chargers: New Tough Smart Battery Chargers
- Auto Battery Charger: Best Next Gen Car Battery Charger
- Automotive Battery Chargers: Best Value Wheeled Car Charger/Starter
- Golf Cart Charger: Charger Rescues Tee Off Time
If you’re storing your vehicle or it will not be used for a long period, you don’t need an automotive battery charger as much as you need a car battery tender or battery charger maintainer. Most new battery chargers will at least shut off when the battery is fully charged although that would need to be confirmed for any car battery charger you’re considering.
A battery tender on the other hand goes beyond shutting off and can actually maintain a battery at the proper charge automatically virtually indefinitely without monitoring by you. Modern battery tenders are computer-controlled and use charging algorithms to run batteries through a number of phases that result in maintaining the health of your battery.
Another function of a battery tender or battery maintainer is keeping your 12V car battery healthy. Lead-acid batteries can build up sulfate crystals which are converted to lead sulfate deposits on battery plates when the charging cycle doesn’t match with usage and the battery lives without a proper charge for an extended period.
If it hasn’t been too long a period, the sulfation can be reversed by a good battery maintainer which can prolong car battery life.
So you can see that you have to be careful that you buy the right tool for the job. Which do you need, a battery recharger alone that will simply bring a battery up to full charge, a battery tender to maintain a battery for a longer period of time, or a battery booster that will jump-start a vehicle.
If you really need a battery charger, what type of battery do you have and is it 6V or 12V? Most vehicles use 12V batteries, but some antique cars, tractors, and other equipment use 6V batteries. Do you need a starting battery or deep cycle? What about battery chemistry? Do you have a sealed lead-acid, AGM, or gel-cel battery? There are vehicle battery chargers that are designed for each battery type and chemistry. Make sure the charger you buy matches your battery’s characteristics.
Where will you be using your battery charger? Will it be used in a wet or damp environment? Will it be used in high-temperature environments or ultra-cold environments? There are battery chargers designed to be waterproof and many battery chargers are tested to operate in very hot and very cold climates.
We don’t really recommend simple manual battery chargers because they do nothing to monitor your battery’s health or prolong its useful life. You should buy a modern microprocessor-controlled battery charger maintainer or battery tender that shuts off automatically when the battery is fully charged and then maintains the battery at the proper charge level virtually indefinitely.
With that in mind, our research in this article centers around battery charger maintainers and battery tenders.
We researched many models from several manufacturers on forums, review sites, retail sites, and manufacturer sites to find the most popular, best-rated models for your consideration.
Take a look at our list and see if one of these vehicle battery chargers is the best battery charger for your needs!
The Schumacher SC-600A-CA SpeedCharge 6-Amp High Frequency Battery Charger produces 6 amps of power for faster charging, is capable of charging either 6 or 12V batteries, and features a microprocessor-controlled, multi-stage charging process that enhances your battery’s useful life. At 6 amps, this Schumacher charger has one of the highest outputs in our list. Here’s what you need to know.
Auto Battery Chargers: Features
- 6 amps of charging power and Schumacher’s advanced SpeedCharge technology means up to 2X faster charging
- Fast Charge, 6-Amp mode monitors battery condition and adjusts charge rate down as required to prevent battery damage to lead-acid and AGM batteries while Medium Charge, 3-Amp mode is perfect for everyday charging
- Multi-stage charging process provides precise amperage control, safer operation, enhanced battery life, with Float Mode monitoring for maintaining the optimum battery charger automatically without damage
- Built-in microprocessor automatically adjusts amperage rate to match the needs of the battery
- Auto voltage detection automatically detects 6 or 12-volt batteries
- Reverse polarity protection safety feature notifies you of a problem immediately using a flashing LED indicator
- Sturdy built-in handle makes transport easy and acts as a convenient cord wrap for the clamps and power cord
- Durable 50-amp clamps are compatible with both top and side post batteries
- Bright LED indicators keep you informed of charging status at a glance
- 2-Year limited warranty
- Dimensions are 5.9 x 3 x 7.5 inches and it weighs in at 2.12 lbs.
If you’re looking for a battery charger/extender/maintainer that can handle either 6 or 12-volt batteries and produces a reasonable 3 amps of power, then the Schumacher SP3 3-Amp Automatic Battery Extender/Maintainer may be the right charger for you. Ideal for maintaining stored power sport, car, motorcycle, ATV, RV, boat, and classic vehicle batteries, this extender/maintainer keeps batteries charged automatically for extended periods without damage and without constant monitoring. Its multi-stage charging capability provides precise amperage control, safer operation, and extended useful battery life. Here’s what you need to know.
- 3 Amps of power for reasonably fast charging
- Computer-controlled, multi-stage charging process provides precision amperage control, safer operation, and longer useful battery life with Float Mode monitoring that automatically maintains the ideal battery charge without damage to the battery and without checking
- Automatically detects connection of either 6 or 12-volt batteries
- Reverse polarity protection prevents damage to the battery or the charger and provides a safer charging environment
- Designed for sealed lead-acid batteries
- Unique animated display provides step-by-step battery charger usage instructions
- Quick-connect harness allows you to attach any of 3 connectors in seconds
- 50-Amp quick-connect alligator clamps adapt to either top or side-post batteries
- 1 – 24-inch fused ring leads harness with weather cap
- 1 – 12V DC adapter
- 1 – Hook attachment to hang unit
One of the most powerful smart chargers in our list, the Schumacher SC-1200A/CA SpeedCharge 2/8/12 Charger/Maintainer/Tester is flexible, fully microprocessor-controlled, provides for slow, medium, and fast charging of conventional sealed lead-acid, deep cycle, AGM, and gel cell batteries. With fully automatic operation, it switches from Continuous Charge to Float-Mode Monitoring to maintain your battery at the ideal charging level without constant checking. Here’s what you need to know.
- Powerful, fully automatic, microprocessor-controlled 6V/12V, 3/8/12 Amp automotive battery charger provides flexible multi-stage charging of conventional sealed lead-acid, deep-cycle, AGM, and gel cel batteries
- Computer-controlled charging program uses Schumacher SpeedCharge technology to charge up to 2X the speed of conventional chargers and includes Float-Mode Monitoring that maintains batteries at the ideal charging state without constant checking
- Automatically reduces charging rate to prevent battery damage and increase the life of car, truck, marine, RV, farm equipment and other batteries and adjust to Slow Charge mode to maintain smaller batteries like those for motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, power sports vehicles, water sports vehicles, lawn tractors, and others.
- Uses 3 Amps for maintaining, 6 Amps for medium charging, and 12 Amps for rapid charging
- 6/12 Volt automatic detection
- Reverse polarity protection with LED indicator cuts power if clamps are reversed to prevent charger or battery damage and to reduce the risk of explosion
- Digital display keeps you informed about battery charging status at a glance and voltage at clamps
- 50-Amp clamps adjust to either side or top-post batteries
- Sturdy, built-in handle does double-duty as a handy cord wrap for the clamps and power cord for easy portability
- 2-Year limited warranty
- Dimensions are 7.6 x 3.5 x 9.8 inches and it weighs in at 3.1 lbs.
One of the high-efficiency models from Battery Tender, the Battery Tender Plus 02-0185G-DL-WH Black 12-Volt 1.25 Amp Battery Charger/Maintainer uses less power during the charging process than traditional battery chargers. Designed for the California market, anyone can take advantage of the energy-savings provided by this charger and maintainer. One of the most popular battery tenders out there, it uses its built-in smart charger capability to charge and maintain batteries automatically, without damage to your battery and without monitoring. The low charger amperage output is good for a battery’s health, but will not charge your battery very fast. Look to this charger more for its maintenance capability than fast charging. It’s really perfect for the smaller batteries in cars, boats, ATVs, motorcycles, lawn mowers, and water sports vehicles. Here’s what you need to know.
- High-efficiency 1.25 Amp charger and maintainer has one of the lowest power outputs in our list, but it’s designed more for maintaining than fast charging
- Microprocessor control with advanced algorithms allows it to charge and maintain your flooded or AGM battery’s proper charge level automatically, virtually indefinitely without damage and without intervention
- Complete 4-step charging program including Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption, and Float modes
- Safety features include reverse polarity protection with red & green lights flashing alternately warning, short circuit protection, and spark-proof connections
- Built-in 72-hour safety timer removes power to prevent damage to marginal batteries
- Dimensions are 10.5 x 3.5 x 10.5 inches and it weighs in at a lightweight 1.7 lbs.
- 5-Year limited warranty
- 1 – Fused quick-disconnect ring terminal harness for difficult to reach battery locations
- 1 – Fused quick-disconnect alligator clips
Optima produces high-end batteries and battery chargers like the Optima Digital 400 12V Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger for the performance-oriented. Its claims to fame is its ability to recover discharged batteries that other chargers cannot. Beyond charging and maintaining, it has a built-in health mode designed to maximize battery life automatically. It is by far the most expensive charger on our list at least some of which must be due to the Optima brand and the striking design. Optima puts quality into all their batteries and equipment and they are very design-conscious which appeals to many off-road and racing enthusiasts. Here’s what you need to know.
- 4 Amp performance-oriented battery charger and maintainer with the capability to recover discharged batteries down to 1.25V that other chargers cannot
- Hybrid LED battery charging gauge with LCD screen that displays battery-connected, check-battery icon alerts, and pre-charging battery status display mode
- Quick-set battery-type selection
- Built-in health mode maximizes battery life automatically
- Automatically maximizes battery life and performance with a built-in battery health mode
- Ambient air temperature compensation during charging
- Safety features include spark-free connection technology, reverse polarity, and over-temperature protection
- Dual-purpose hook and tilt stand design
- Included wall organizer bracket
- Designed to charge and maintain performance AGM batteries used in water sports, motorcycles, and other motorsports applications
- Spark-free connection technology
- Integrated cable management and cord wrap
- Interchangeable battery clamps and ring terminals
The Black & Decker BC6BDW 6-Amp Waterproof Battery Charger and Maintainer is a great choice for operation in wet conditions like the marine, automotive, water sports, motorcycle, lawn, power sports, and recreational equipment environments. This full-automatic charger and maintainer produces a full 6-Amps of power which is one of the highest output powers on our list. Charger automatically detects battery type and required charge rate for easiest operation. Here’s what you need to know.
- 6-Amp, fully-automatic, smart charger
- Automatically detects and sets battery type and charge rate required by your battery
- Sealed from dust, oil, and moisture to prevent corrosion, this model is a great choice for operation in demanding outdoor environments
- Perfect for maintaining the batteries of stored lawn equipment, motorcycles, RVs, power sports, water sports, and antique vehicles
- Better capable of handling the low-voltage problems of extension cords using AC low-voltage compensation
An advanced technology battery charger, tester, and maintainer billed as the most advanced fully-automatic 12V battery charger, the Optimate 6 Ampmatic TM-181 9-Step 12V-5A Battery Saving Charger Tester Maintainer features a comprehensive 9-step computer-controlled charging program. It’s capable of charging, testing, and maintaining the lead-acid, AGM, and GEL-cel 12V batteries of a variety of vehicles. Perfect for months-long maintenance of any size 12V lead-acid battery, deep cycle, automotive, marine, motorcycle, and many others. With advanced-technology multi-stage desulfation this Optimate can restore neglected batteries from as low as 0.5 Volts. Here’s what you need to know.
- Microprocessor-controlled, 9-step, fully-automatic, advanced-technology 12V, 5-Amp battery charger, tester, and maintainer
- Comprehensive 9-step computer-controlled charging program includes:
- Low Volt Start (0.5V)
- Test Before Charge
- Pulse “Wake Up”
- Turbo Save
- Pulse Save
- Controlled Charge
- Test After Charge
- Optimate Maintenance
- Multi-stage desulfation restores neglected batteries from as low as 0.5 volts and saves batteries other chargers can’t by being able to distinguish between a healthy discharged battery and a sulfated battery that needs recovery
- Ampmatic Charge Control automatically adjusts current to suit any battery size from 3 to 240Ah or conditions the battery for the fastest and most complete charge
- Cell Voltage Balancing Mode correctly prepares new batteries for first use and optimizes battery performance
- Daily Battery Condition Tests & Interactive Float Charge maintains the battery at full charge virtually indefinitely without risk of overcharging, damage to the battery or vehicle electrical system, and without intervention
- Safety features include spark-suppressed connections, short-circuit protection, and automatic battery-disconnect power shutdown
- Durable, sealed weatherproof case with built-in wall mounts
- Compatible with 100-240V, 50-60Hz power
- 3-Year limited replacement warranty
- 1 – 6-foot power cord
- 1 – 6-foot charging cable with SAE connector
- 1 – Weatherproof battery lead and standard battery clip set
- Weatherproof case with wall mounts
Known for their safety features and high-quality construction, NOCO Genius UltraSafe smart battery chargers like the NOCO Genius G3500 6V/12V 3.5A UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger are some of the safest and most technologically advanced available. Capable of handling 6V and 12V lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, it is also one of the few to do both chemistries. One of the best at maintaining automotive, marine, RV, power sports, water sports, lawn and garden, and deep-cycle batteries, it can actually repair damaged batteries. In its latest iteration, the G3500 can even be used with micro-hybrid, start-stop vehicles, and CANBUS electrical systems. Here’s what you need to know.
- Microprocessor-controlled ultra-compact, portable, lightweight, 6V/12V 3.5A smart battery charger is designed for both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries and actively monitors battery activity for reduced energy consumption and safer operation
- Perfect for maintaining automotive, marine, RV, power sports, water sports, lawn and garden, and deep-cycle batteries
- Built-in advanced technology allows this charger to charge 2X faster than conventional chargers
- Capable of repairing damaged batteries by applying a high-voltage pulse charge when low-voltage, sulfation, or lost capacity is detected
- Charges fully-drained lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries up to 120Ah
- Designed for use with micro-hybrid Start-Stop vehicles and CANBUS electrical systems, this model counteracts increased cyclic energy demands placed on batteries in micro-hybrid vehicles
- Automatically and dynamically changes charge current when a load is placed on the battery
- Safety features include reverse polarity protection, spark-proof connections, overcharge protection, overcurrent protection, open-circuit protection, short-circuit protection, and overheat protection
- Multi-level firewall safety barrier prevents unsafe and abnormal conditions
- You can safely leave it connected charging your battery 24/7 indefinitely without damage to your battery or electrical system and without intervention
Energy-save mode minimizes energy consumption when full power is not needed
- Temperature compensation technology sensors adjust charge based on ambient temperature
- Active monitoring detects organic battery feedback and alters the charging process accordingly
- Mountable using built-in external mounting holes and has a rubberized base that enhances use on multiple surfaces without scratching
- Stabilizes internal battery chemistry for increased performance and longer battery life
- Impact, UV, and water-resistant (IP65)
- Easy-to-read LED indicators keep you informed about the charge state of your battery even providing diagnostic information while in maintenance mode
- 5-Year limited warranty
- 1 – X-Connect battery clamps
- 1 – Eyelet terminals
One of the most popular battery chargers and tenders out there the Battery Tender 021-0123 Battery Tender Junior 12V Battery Charger is a fully-automatic, lightweight, compact battery tender perfectly designed for use in tight spaces where larger chargers cannot operate. With the lowest output power in our list, it’s not your first choice for fast charging. If you’re looking for a charger to maintain the batteries of cars, motorcycles, ATVs, power sports vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, water sports vehicles, boats, airplanes, RVs, golf carts, backup generator systems, and others, this is your simple, value-priced choice. Here’s what you need to know.
- Microprocessor-controlled, fully-automatic, lightweight, compact, 0.750 Amp, 12V battery charger and maintainer
- Complete 4-step charging program includes Initialization, Bulk Charge, and Float modes for optimization of battery power without overcharging
Designed specifically to maintain the 12-volt flooded or sealed lead-acid, AGM, and gel-cel batteries of stored or infrequently-used vehicles like cars, trucks, antique vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, power sports vehicles, lawn and garden equipment, water sports vehicles, boats, airplanes, RVs, golf carts, backup generator systems, and many others
- Advanced technology design charges your battery to full charge without overcharging and then maintains the charge level indefinitely without damage to your battery or electrical system and without intervention
- Solid-state two-color LED charge state indicator keeps you informed
- Safety features include spark-proof connections and reverse polarity protection
- Unique Infinite Sequential Monitoring (ISM) Technology
- 5-Year limited warranty
- 1 – Fused alligator clips
- 1 – Fused ring terminal harness
- 1 – 12-foot output cable
Swedish CTEK AB invented the modern automotive smart charger for consumer use almost 20 years ago and its battery chargers are the choice of many premium auto manufacturers like BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, and Lamborghini who offer them under their own brands. One of its most popular and best-rated chargers, the CTEK 56-864 MUS 4.3 12-Volt Fully Automatic 8-Step Battery Charger can improve the health and lengthen the life of your battery using its patented de-sulfation process. Some of its unique features include a battery diagnosis mode that determines if your battery can receive and retain a charge, a reconditioning function that can restore a stratified or deeply discharged battery, and a cold weather mode that optimizes charging during cold winter days. Here’s what you need to know.
- Durable, high-quality, fully-automatic, 12V smart battery charger and maintainer produces a choice of 0.8 Amps or 4.3 Amps with computer-controlled multi-step charging program that can prolong the life of your battery
- Designed to desulfate, charge, recondition, and maintain all vehicle battery types and chemistries including wet/flooded, calcium, gel-cel, and latest Start-Stop AGM
- Capable of solving multiple battery-related problems using its patented 8-step charging program, CTEK chargers are proven to extend your battery’s life by up to 3X
- Extreme rugged design is shockproof, weatherproof, dustproof protecting unit in damp, dusty conditions and is capable of operating in extreme temperature conditions from -4 to 122 degrees F
- Patented desulfation process removes sulfate from lead plates prolonging battery life
- Charger and maintainer produces a very clean voltage and current that is safe for batteries and vehicle electronics regardless of how long the charger is connected
- Special reconditioning function restores stratified and deeply discharged batteries that would be otherwise unable to accept a charge
- Cold weather mode optimizes charging during cold winter days
- Charges demanding AGM batteries like Optima batteries
- LED display keeps you informed during the entire charging process
- Safety features include non-sparking connections, short-circuit protection, reverse polarity protection, and over-charge protection including error lights
- 5-Year limited warranty
- 1 – Comfort Connect clamp
- 1 – Comfort Connect M6 eyelet
- 1 – Storage bag
Auto Battery Chargers
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