In this article: We'll review 4 of our best pick car and truck battery chargers with quick reviews, opinion, photos and price comparisons to help you save money.
Ever left your headlights on for too long? Or, listened to music while you wait for someone or something? Just to find that when you’re ready to turn your car back on.. CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK. It could happen at a hotel, the grocery store, gas station, anywhere! Whatever the case that may have led to your dead car battery, you’re going to want to re-charge it so that you won’t have to keep jump starting your car at the worst times. No one likes to be stuck on the road or in a parking lot.
The car battery chargers on the market today offer a number of features that won’t just help you restore your battery’s charge after draining it dead. in many cases, they’ll condition it to make it last longer and even maintain it for your. And if you happen to drain your battery and have access to an outlet, most of them will also jump start your car too (notice we italicized access to an outlet). For the cases where you’re on the road without access to power, you’ll want a battery jumper. But for all other cases, a battery charger is a great tool to have in your garage to help charge, jump and maintain your battery.
But no one wants to spend the good part of an hour researching the right car battery charger. We’ve assembled a list of this year's best car battery chargers to help you choose the best product for your car. We're constantly updating our list too, so the products you see on this list are always relevant.
Best Car Battery Charger List
- 6V/12V Battery Charger
- 2A/15<>40A/125A Power Output
- Automated charge mode
Schumacher PSC-12500A Quick Review
You’re going to see a few Schumacher car battery chargers on our list. They are a ‘powerhouse’ of a manufacturer. The PSC-12500A stood out to us the most though out of their impressive catalog of car chargers. It’s pretty simple for one. It has a ton of great information that you can see right on the face of the charger. For example, you can see the voltage of the battery, battery charge %, current charge amperage, etc. But it’s also really nice because you can select the type of battery you have (6V or 12V), and it has an automated, microprocessor controlled charge mode that will allow you to set it and forget. The design is modern and the craftsmanship is great. And just in case, the warranty period for this unit is 5 years. Simple, affordable, and just a great choice for a charging unit.
Some of the features of this unit include:
- Charges both 6V and 12V batteries
- 125 AMP 12V engine start mode for emergency restarting
- 2A 12V trickle charge
- 15<>40A and 12V rapid charge with self-adjusting, variable rates
- 5 year warranty
- 12V/24V Battery Charger
- 0-15A Power Output
- Automated charge mode
NOCO Genius G15000 Quick Review
The first thing we’re going to say about this unit is it’s a bit more pricy than our top choice. BUT, it’s on our list for a reason. The NOCO Genius chargers are a highly regarded car battery charger, and they have a number of fantastic unique features that set them apart from their competitors. What we really like about the NOCO series is the design. They’re lightweight and compact, making them easy to store, carry and use. They come with heavy-duty battery clamps with quick-connect and disconnect plugs. They’re encased in a waterproof shell to seal the internals from both dust, dirt, and of course water which makes them very long-lasting too. They really thought about everything. The G15000 is a 12V/24V charger, so if you’re looking to charge 6V batteries, you may be better off with their G3500. The NOCO G15000 is an automated battery charger for both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. They’re designed and built to provide ultra-safe charging, which means that they won’t overcharge your battery or short out in any way. It also has a Jump charge feature to give your car a jump when you need it. Overall it’s a great choice. If it weren’t for the price, this unit would probably be at the top of our list. If you're looking for a more affordable NOCO Genius, check out our full writeup and review of the NOCO Genius5.
Some of the great features of this charger include:
- Deeply discharged battery recovery
- Spark-proof technology
- Reverse polarity protection
- Worn-out battery recovery
- Battery monitoring and tendering (automated)
- Advanced diagnostics
- Repair mode
- Jump start mode
- 5 year warranty
- 6V/12V Battery Charger
- 2A/10A/40A/200A Power Output
- Manual charging with timer
Schumacher SE-4022 Quick Review
We warned you that Schumacher may end up on our list a few times. The SE-4022 is a highly reviewed and highly rated battery charger. It has a rugged design and a number of great features. We recommend this highly for the enthusiasts who want a charger that want longevity, durability and functionality. It’s a wheeling design for rolling around the garage or workshop with ease, has a built-in fan for long charges and easy to read color meters and dials. What we liked the most about the SE-4022 is its heavy duty yet incredibly simple design. It has both 6 and 12V charger modes, with 2/10/40/200 AMP charging. It also has a voltmeter for checking battery charge, and temperature overload protection to prevent your batteries from overheating. However, it’s worth pointing out that this unit does not have an automated charging mode so you’ll need to set the timer to an appropriate time, or monitor the battery charge and turn it off when charged. If it’s good enough for truck fleets, it’s good enough for your garage or shop!
Some of the key features of the SE-4022:
- 200A engine start
- Timer controlled (hold, 0-2.5hr)
- Cooling fan for high performance and longevity
- Heavy-duty transformer
- 6ft power chord
- Temperature overload protection
- 12V Battery Charger
- 0-4A Power Output
- Automatic charger with maintenance mode
Optima Digital 400 Quick Review
Optima is a premier manufacturer of both batteries and battery chargers. Their Red Top batteries are among our top rated car batteries in our list of the best car batteries. What better company to make a quality battery charger than the quality battery manufacturer themselves! The Optima Digital battery chargers are engineered to efficiently charge your car battery. But one of the core features and benefits of their chargers is it's ability to maintain and extend the life and performance of your car battery. It's the ideal choice for those who may have invested in a very high quality battery (like a Optima Red, Blue or Yellow Top) and want to make it last. The Digital 400 is a 12V charger though so if you are looking for a unit for 6V, you'll need to consider another charger on our list. It features an automated charging, simply connect and go and it'll automatically kick into maintenance mode once the battery is fully charged. One of the things we loved about the Digital 400 is it's LCD Display. It has tons of great information like the charging status, voltmeter, amperage, any faults that it identifies with the battery and more. It even has a LCD backlight to light up the screen during maintenance mode.
Some of the great features of the Optima Digital 400:
- Custom profile setting
- Mode/Fault message center
- LCD display
- Reverse polarity and temperature protection
- Conditioning mode
- 4 amp max
Best Car Battery Chargers: What to Look For
Finding the right car battery charger for your needs can be difficult. There’s so many on the market with so many different features that you might not need. Let alone different voltages, amperages, and other things you may not know about or, frankly, care about. Here’s a few common terms that you’ll want to know and understand before you choose a charger:
Voltage: Voltage is technically designed as the measure of the strength of an electrical source of power for a given current level. But to keep it simple for you, you just need to know the voltage that your battery operates at. Almost ALL cars operate on a 12V system. Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Chevrolet. You’re going to be 99% safe to purchase a 12V charger for your car battery. Unless you’re looking for a cross functional charger that will not only charge your car battery, but maybe one of your utility vehicles like a Jet Ski or maybe a UTV. In that case you’ll want a charger that also charges at 6V.
Amperage: Amperage can be defined as the strength as well, but think of amperage in this way. And this is a very common way to describe amperage vs voltage. It’s called the water flow analogy: Think about water in a pipe. Voltage is like the pressure of the water, while amperage is the volume of water that flows in a given amount of time (current). The higher the amperage, the faster your battery is going to charge. But this isn’t always a good thing – to charge your battery fast. In our opinion, an auto voltage and amperage detecting battery charger is ideal. This way you don’t need to mess with the settings. Simply hook it up and go.
Safety Features: Obviously safety is important. Car batteries have toxic materials inside them so failure can be dangerous. Some of the features you’ll want to look for to prevent any issues include:
- Spark-resistant clamps – So that you don’t scare yourself with a quick spark show in your garage when you touch the two together. Or ruin your charger.
- Reverse polarity warning – For those who have a tendency to connect the wrong cable to the wrong side of the battery
- Auto voltage and amperage detection – We mentioned this before but this can prevent overheating of the battery when you charge it.
Other Features to Consider When Looking:
- Jumper cable length
- Jump start feature
- Trickle charge
- Battery diagnostics
- Maintenance mode
Some of you may be wondering if your battery is bad. In the case that your battery no longer will maintain a charge (we recommend load testing it as well), check out our recommendations for the best car batteries too.