- Do It Yourself Auto Repair
Best Car Battery Charger Under $50
Car Battery Buying Guide
There are a number of different features to look for when buying a charger and I have highlighted these below:
Speed of Charge:- This is simply how quickly the charger will put a full charge back into a car battery. This determines the amount of current being put back into your old battery. This will also determine how long you need to keep the battery on charge.
Different Modes:- I have different vehicles including cars, bikes and a boat with different sizes of batteries. Therefore I needed one with different settings.
Length of the Lead:- There is of course the length of lead from the power source to the unit and also the length of the jump leads to consider.
Clear Display:- You will want a nice clear display, and especially one that tells you what percentage of charge has been completed.
Portability:- Is it easy enough to carry around with you? Is it easy to store away?
Help With Finding A Low Budget High Quality Charger
To be honest I was shocked when I went to buy a battery charger for my car. I had never really had to do that before and in my mind I thought I would be paying around $25-30 for one. Now I did know that batteries can be expensive, but thought that chargers should be fairly cheap.
Boy...did I get that wrong. When I called into the local garages in my area the prices shocked me and so I know I would have to do some researching before parting with my money. The only thing I knew about them was that I wanted decent quality, and also that I did not have a great deal of money to spend on one.
Draining batteries is a common enough problem especially in older cars. Sometimes that is due to a fault with the wiring, so it is best to get that checked out first. In my case I had a car, as did my wife and both daughters. One in particular of those, who shall remain nameless, is a tad forgetful. She tends to leave the lights on and of course that is one certain way to empty a car battery.
My other daughter is at college so her vehicle is not driven all the time and invariably that one needs to be charged when she returns home.
I had borrowed one a few times but didn't want to keep on doing that, so I decided it was time to get one of my own.
Top Rated Car Battery Charger from Schumacher
This was the one that I went for myself as it got really good reviews and was at a nice discounted price. I paid just under $35 for this one and I got it because it ticked many of the boxes that I outlined in my short buying guide above.
It is very light which I liked and also automatically adjusts the rate of amps for charging. That I found really helpful as otherwise the temptation would always be to fire it up on the highest charge rate. That isn't always the best thing to do. It really depends on the state of the battery as to what rate is ideal to recover it to its full potential.
It charges about twice as fast as many of its counterparts, and I liked that fact that it could be used on either top mounted, or side mounted batteries.
Best Selling Small Battery Charger
How To Use A Car Battery Charger
Car Battery Charger Reviews
These chargers have certainly changed a lot over the years. In days gone past these were a fairly basic design with a couple of jump leads, and a meter that showed you the state of the battery, and when it was fully charged.
These have now been replaced with more sophisticated models and almost all of them are digital, and will use LED digital displays. You can also select the "rate of charge" and that is certainly something that is a great advantage. Having the ability to select this rate, or even better have it auto detected, means that you will be able to prolong the life of your older batteries.
As you can imagine there are any number of makes and models available in the market place. No doubt you will be familiar with many of the common brand names such as:
- Battery Tender
- Black and Decker
There are many more but the above are certainly the most popular. When I review anything I like to look for a lot of reviews first, and then see if they maintain strong and consistent reviews. That is what I did when I was looking for one for myself.
In terms of the price point that I was willing to pay both Schumacher and Battery Tender seemed to do a number of different models in this price range. The best rated one that I could find, with the highest reviews and a cracking price point was the Junior 12V one from Battery Tender.
At under $20 this is exceptionally good value for money. The only reason I didn't go for this one is that it can only be used on 12 volts and I have different sizes that I need to charge from time to time.
Step by Step Method To Using A Charger
It is easy to assume that everyone knows how to do this simple task. Unless you are an experienced car mechanic, then it is not always as easy as it sounds. Back in the day it was a lot easier, but with the newer chargers that are available, you do have to take a little time to figure it out.
This video should help anyone out who has never had to do something like this before. On here you will find some useful tips on how to set it up for the very best results.
The Older Style Charger
2 Seconds of Your Time Please
What Is Your Favorite Brand of Charger?
Best Battery Charger Brands
As I mentioned already there are many manufacturers who make these. It would be useful to help others out if you could take the short poll. It will only take a couple of seconds of your time and I would greatly appreciate it.
That way we can get a really good idea which brand is the most popular.
As you can see there are quite a number to pick from and we will all have our own favorites.
Thanks for your time.
Carry A Set of Jump Leads
One thing I would recommend to everyone is to carry a set of jump leads, jumper cables or as they are sometimes called "Booster Cables." These are really useful if for some reason your battery has gone flat, and you are out and about.
With a set of these, you can hopefully find someone who will allow you to connect your flat battery to their car, and that should at least get you fired up, and be able to start your vehicle. These are basically just a set of two leads, with crocodile clamps on each end.
You connect one set to the flat battery and the other to a battery that is working. Always make sure that the engine of the good power source is running, as this will help retain the charge in that. It is also useful to rev the car when the flat battery is being tried.
Types of Charge
Initial - As the name would suggest this is the initial charge that a battery gets.
Bulk - This is where a constant current is delivered and lasts through to about 75% of the total charge.
Absorption - This is the final stage of the charge and it is this element that optimizes the charged state.
Float - This is what keeps the battery charged. In most cases this will be done by the alternator in the car or vehicle.
Cold Weather & Charging
Most of the time a battery will work away quite merrily. In the wintertime though is when batteries come under pressure the most. There are of course very scientific reasons for this, but the bottom line is that this is the time of year, when you will need a charger the most.
That, along with a set of jump leads in your car will always be a good idea in the winter months.