Best Car Battery Chargers for 2024

Looking for something to inject life back into your car’s battery? Then check out our test of the 12 best car battery chargers on the market.

Battery chargers have been around almost as long as cars have had batteries, yet in the last couple of decades they’ve become significantly smaller, smarter, and dearer. As such, it can be tricky to decipher which package is the right one for you.

Luckily, we managed to get our hands on a whole bunch of them and decided to put the market’s best car battery chargers through their paces. During the test, there were four criteria for success that we were particularly interested in. Namely; usability, versatility, reconditioning ability (to keep things running smoothly), and any extra useful features that we liked.

So, without further ado, here are the results!

Best Car Battery Chargers

NOCO Genius10UK battery charger

NOCO Genius10UK

Award: Best Buy

RRP: £120

Performance: 12/14

Is it worth the money? 6/6

OVERALL SCORE: 18/20

NOCO may have shot themselves in the foot here because it’s hard to imagine why you’d ever need another charger after buying this one. Not only does it cater for all lead/acid technologies – including 6 volts – it also handles lithium batteries. And, better still, you can select optimum charge cycles for lithium and AGM technologies, including 6-volt AGMs – do such things even exist? All other smart charger staples are present, such as repair and power supply modes. And a manual Force setting allows charging of batteries that are so utterly dead that they aren’t even electronically detectable.

Draper 53491 battery charger.

Draper 53491

Award: Recommended

RRP: £69

Performance: 10/14

Is it worth the money? 6/6

OVERALL SCORE: 16/20

Draper’s 53491 is a wallet friendlier alternative to NOCO’s Best Buy. It takes all lead/acid technologies – including 6 volts – in its stride, and also works with lithium batteries. Usual smart charger goodies, like AGM mode and power supply mode, are joined by a couple of leftfield extras: 6-volt power supply and Gel battery mode. Max output is a meaty 10 Amps. But the Draper does have a couple of drawbacks, both concerning neglected batteries. There’s no selectable repair mode, and a battery needs to have at least 3.5 volts of charge for the unit to recognize it.

NOCO Genius5UK battery charger

NOCO Genius5UK

Award: Recommended

RRP: £74

Performance: 9/14

Is it worth the money? 6/6

OVERALL SCORE: 15/20

NOCO’s budget alternative to its BEST BUY retains most of its bigger brother’s clever bits – you’ll be gutted, I’m sure, to hear that it loses the Genius 10’s 6 Volts AGM mode – but max current drops to 5 Amps. In stark contrast, Draper’s 53491 matches that 10 Amp max output but has fewer features. In reality reduced current isn’t a big deal as most batteries – even high-capacity ones – drop to less than 5 Amps draw within a few minutes of the charge cycle starting. Halving the charge current certainly doesn’t mean doubling the charge period.

CTEK CS One battery charger

CTEK CS One

Award:Recommended

RRP: £220

Performance: 11/14

Is it worth the money? 3/6

OVERALL SCORE: 14/20

CTEK’s new, lithium capable, flagship puts ease of use at its core. Its swish panel has just one button and a ring of lights indicating charge time left. Usefully, the first light becoming fully lit means that a battery is game for a starting attempt. CTEK favourites like Reconditioning and Power Supply modes are now accessible via Bluetooth. As is wake-up mode, which safely boosts fully dead lead/acid batteries, and lithiums below their ideal minimum voltage. The clamps, rather cleverly, remain electrically dead until connected, and they’re both black – leaving the unit to figure out mundane stuff like polarity.

CTEK CT5 Time To Go battery charger

CTEK CT5 Time To Go

RRP: £100

Performance: 7/14

Is it worth the money? 5/6

OVERALL SCORE: 12/20

It’s almost as if, when developing their technological tour-de-force CS One, CTEK snook a few features onto this model – basically an uprated version of the evergreen MXS5. The CS One style circle of white indicators – estimating the charge time left in hours – is the most obvious crib. But, be warned, like a sat-nav’s estimated time of arrival, initial estimates aren’t all that accurate. However, a fully illuminated first indicator, again, means there’s enough oomph for a starting attempt. Usual CTEK favourites, Recond and AGM modes, are backed up by an advanced, temperature compensated, 5 Amps charge cycle.

Laser 7652 BATTERY CHARGER.

Laser 7652

RRP: £41

Performance: 5/14

Is it worth the money? 6/6

OVERALL SCORE: 11/20

Like CTEK, Laser has honed in on ease of use with this model. Tech heads may appreciate the battery voltage being displayed during charging, but others will prefer the mobile style battery graphic also shown. And, overall, this is a bargain – albeit basic – smart charger. Like most smart units it caters for all lead/acid battery technologies (including 6 Volts), and its automated cycle handles both charging and long-term conditioning. But, other than a winter cycle, there are no other options available. And a battery must have at least 7.5 volts of charge for the unit to recognise it.

Ring RSC612 SmartCharge Premium Plus battery charger.

Ring RSC612 SmartCharge Premium Plus

RRP: £79

Performance: 6/14

Is it worth the money? 5/6

OVERALL SCORE: 11/20

COMMENTS: Although rather a long in the tooth model, it stands out from the crowd here thanks to a smattering of diagnostic functions. Such as the rating of a battery’s starting power, and various useful alternator tests. Those aside, though, there’s still plenty to like. Whilst the RSC612 doesn’t cater for Lithium batteries, all other lead/acids are within scope. And smart charger essentials present include dedicated Winter, AGM, desulphation/repair, and condition only modes. But age has slightly caught up with the unit: it’s not weatherproofed so should ideally only be used inside, and it doesn’t cope well with really dead batteries.

Sealey Schumacher SCI90S battery charger

Sealey Schumacher SCI90S

Performance: 8/14

Is it worth the money? 3/6

OVERALL SCORE: 11/20

A physically bulky, and heavy, unit that has all the abilities of a good smart charger, but uses more traditional technology to achieve them. And it’s a starter charger too: capable of giving a three second blast of up to 150 cranking Amps. But, much like Ring’s RSC612, this unit’s impressive spec – when it was launched – is becoming a little dated now. We like the dedicated modes for small, AGM, Gel, and Calcium batteries. But sadly, the case isn’t weather sealed, so this isn’t a unit you can leave on a car parked outdoors for long-term battery maintenance.

Clarke CB09-12 battery charger

Clarke CB09-12

PRICE: £69

PRICE FROM: www.machinemart.co.uk

Performance: 5/14

Is it worth the money? 5/6

OVERALL SCORE: 10/20

Some parts of this package are really well thought out. Such as a knatty adapter that lets you charge your car’s battery through a cigarette lighter socket. Alternatively, select the charger’s power supply mode, keep it hooked up the through the lighter socket, and swapping a battery without losing memory codes becomes effortless. Another adapter, leading to a lighter socket, allows 12-volt accessories to run directly from the unit. Dedicated modes for small, AGM, Winter, and Calcium batteries, are bonuses. But rather short leads, the lack of a repair function, and patchy performance on really flat batteries lost points.

Wolf WBC180 battery charger

Wolf WBC180

Award: BEST BUDGET BUY

Performance: 4/14

Is it worth the money? 6/6

OVERALL SCORE: 10/20

It’ll surprise nobody that this wallet friendly entry from Wolf is less sophisticated than most. But if you simply want a gutsy, 10 Amp max current, charger that will safely boost all lead/acid batteries – including 6 volts – then you really can’t go wrong. Especially as the comprehensive LCD display shows charge progress by either current battery voltage or a more intuitive mobile/tablet style graphic. Biggest drawbacks are no dedicated charging cycles, other than a winter mode. And whilst the unit will happily maintenance charge batteries, its unsealed case rules out long-term use on an outdoor car.

CTEK CS Free battery charger

CTEK CS Free

RRP: £280

Performance: 8/14

Is it worth the money? 1/6

OVERALL SCORE: 9/20

We still can’t decide if this, the world’s first cordless, lithium capable, battery charger, is genius or bonkers. The unit’s paltry 6Ah of internal charge means it cannot fully charge a big dead battery in one go or away from the mains. But it’s enough to rapid charge (allow around 10 mins) most batteries well enough to start an engine – much like a booster but slower, yet far safer. Add in the CS Free’s ability to charge one battery from another, or a solar panel, and it becomes interesting. But, on its own, it’s just too pricey and limited.

Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger

Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger

RRP: £35.00

Performance: 3/14

Is it worth the money? 5/6

OVERALL SCORE: 8/20

We love the swish minimalist styling, but a single LED – changing between red (clamps wrong way around), flashing green (charging), and solid green (charged) doesn’t give much of a clue of what’s happening or how long the charge is likely to take. But leave the charger to do its thing, and this 4 Amp max current unit isn’t so bad. Like most models here it caters for all types of 12-volt lead/acid batteries, albeit with no dedicated cycles. Weatherproof construction makes long term conditioning more practical. And the charger reinvigorates batteries discharged right down to 3 volts.

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Words by James Stanbury, first featured in Car Mechanics.

The post Best Car Battery Chargers for 2024 appeared first on Fast Car.

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