Vehicles that aren't used regularly, can suffer from loss of battery charge. That's were car battery chargers come in, they will help do a number of things, from keeping your battery topped up, to jump starting your car and even charging your battery from empty to full, who'd have thought it!
Below we have tested 5 of the best car battery chargers, jump starters and trickle chargers to help you decide which is best for you.Back to top
Which Car Battery Charger Do I Need
Solar Powered Car Battery Charger
If you have a decent battery already and want to keep it topped up, or you will be going away for a few weeks or months and want to make sure your car starts when you return, a solar powered car battery charger is exactly what you need.
A solar car battery charger will actually prevent your battery ever draining and could be the perfect option for anyone. It will stop you from ever needing a battery jump starter or a car battery charger.
Car Battery Tester & Charger
Maybe you have persistent battery problems, something like the CTEK MXS 5 could be the answer to your problems, it has an 8 stage charging process and will slowly charge your car battery using the mains power.
Car Battery Jump Starter
Maybe you need a jump starter, if your cars battery isn't charging properly, you could have a back-up portable battery that will help jump-start your car when you find yourself in a pickle.Back to top
How To Bump & Push Start Your Car Manually
Are you wondering how you can start your car if you have an empty battery? Well, you're in luck, if you have a manual, which most of the UK do you can push start your car with the help of a friend or two or a little hill.
At the bottom we've embedded a video which shows you how you can bump start your car in less than a minute. To summarise this process;
- Turn your cars ignition ON
- Press your clutch firmly to the floor and put your car in gear, 1st or 2nd will work
- Get your friends to push the car until you are doing at least 5mph OR a little slope will help with speed
- Make those pushing aware you are about to pop the clutch
- Release the clutch slowly through its biting point, you can press the accelerator a little at the same time
- Drive away and keep the engine running
Overall the Sauoki U10 is a great car jump starter, real simple to use and does more than one job. If you are after a solid charging device the CTEK MXS 5.0 with it's 8 stage maintenance charge is our favourite. You can use it at home and fully charge your battery and check along the way.
If you're off on a holiday for a while or have a car you don't use too often, the solar power car battery charger trickle charges your car whilst you are away, in a safe manner, is simple to use and we really liked it.
The Draper and Ring are both good chargers and if that is all you require and want to charge at home, or in your garage, you can't go much wrong with these either, they just don't have the safety features of the others and are a bit bulkier.
|1||Review of Suaoki U10 Portable Car Jump Starter||4.2/5||£££|
|2||Review of AA Solar Power Car Battery Charger Maintainer||4.2/5||££|
|3||Review of CTEK MXS 5.0 Car Battery Charger||4.8/5||£££|
|4||Review of Ring RCB212 Car Battery Charger||4.4/5||££|
|5||Review of Draper 20486 Car Battery Charger||4.4/5||££|
This is a review of the Suaoki U10 Car Jump Starter looking sleek in design we investigate whether it functions as well as it looks.
The Suaoki U10 Jump Starter comes provided in a small hard case. You can see already the case is well made, makes it easy to transport your jump starter kit and prevents it from any knocks while it travels. The case is also zipped for further protection and inside there are three compartments containing everything you need making it compact yet spacious to get everything in and out. I know I haven't even started talking about the Jump Starter itself but the package it comes in and how it is organised already makes for a well thought out product.
- 1 x Suaoki u10 Jump Starter
- 1 x Pair of Intelligent Clamps
- 1 x AC Power Charger Adapter
- 1 x Car Charger
- 1 x Micro USB Cable
- 1 x Muti Language Manual
- 1 x Hand Held Hard Case
As you can see from the list the charger comes with a power charger adapter and in car charger which means you can charge the unit via the mains or while you are on the go in the car (provided your car has a cigarette lighter or power port which some models of car such as some fiat pandas or nissan micra's do not). This allows your unit to then be portable to help when you need to charge the battery up in an emergency. It also comes with a Micro USB cable, this actually does not involve charging your car however it can help in providing charge to devices that use USB charge such as some mobile and portable computer devices.
Looking closely at the unit. It has a battery capacity of 20000mAh, which is an substantially large size capacity. Protected by a long rubber seal are the input port, the jumper port and two USB ports allowing you to charge 2 different devices from it at a rate of 2A meaning you can charge your phone quickly and a tablet or similar too. The LCD screen provides a clear accurate level of how much battery charge is available from the pack. On the opposite side to the ports is a compass. At the front of the unit are 3 LEDs that can be used for 4 different light functions. To operate the light use the main button next to the ports. This is really handy if you have a battery problem at night and need to navigate around your engine and battery when it's dark.
Hold the button down provides strong lighting, press it again will go into Strobe lighting and press it one more time it will go into a flickering SOS mode. To go to an emergency red lighting mode start again and press the button twice. This is great if you've broken down, you can place this at the back of your car to warn oncomers that there is a vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
With both the lighting, compass and extra charging facilities makes the Suaoki U10 not only a car battery charger but a life line with abilities to get yourself out of a lost environment, it really is a great multi tool.
The size and shape of the device reminds me of a large in-destructable phone. The strong material of the unit and rubber seals over the ports allow it to be splashproof and dust proof and when carried in the case provides even further protection. It is remarkably small when you compare it to many car battery jump starter kits on the market and the others we have tested. It comes in close to the CTEK MXS 5, but that isn't portable, unlike the Suaoki.
How To Use the Suaoki U10 To Jump Start Your Car
To use the Suaoki U10 to charge your car battery requires you to pull back the rubber seal away from the jumping port. Plug in the device attached to the jump leads into the jumping port, a light will then show on the jump leads device as to whether their is sufficient battery power in the pack available. It is best to make sure that it is fully charged to give you the best chance to get your battery going again.
In some case you may find a red and green light appear on the jump leads device. This means that there is much more charge in your car battery than there is in the power pack itself and it will not work. You actually have to let your car battery run out a little more for it to function, personally I feel this is a bit of a nuisance that you have to fiddle around with your car with the lights, radio etc to run it down more before it could be boosted back up.
Once you get the steady green LED you have roughly 30 seconds to start the car, apply the clamps again, notice the green LED, enter your car, start it in neutral. If it starts, go back to the charger unit and remove from your car battery. It's that simple and once completed, your car is running and the Sauoki car battery charger & jump starter will tell you how much battery it has left. You can either put the device back in to your boot or if at home, charge the device to 100% again.
In reality you should not let your Suaoki go below 100% ability while travelling by car as that is the main purpose of this gadget. I would recommend using the Suaoki as a car battery charger firstly and as a battery charger to other devices as secondary.
The clamps themselves are quite large, sturdy but easy to use. They appear to be big enough to fit on most battery terminals. The leads are quite short but as you have no need to plug into anything else such as the mains or another vehicle, your charging unit can sit pretty much next to your battery while it charges. It is now a case of connecting up, waiting for the battery to charge your car battery and when a green light appears you're off and charging your car battery. With an output charge of up to a whopping 800A even on half power it should get your car battery going again.
This really is a great little device for regular commuters, road trips, even someone just about to do a challenge such as the Mongolian rally! Saying that, it would also work for those who are less confident with cars and are "regular accidental left the car lights on ran the battery down" kind of person then this device stowed away in your glove compartment will save you a lot of time, effort and embarrassment.
- Small and compact
- Sleek design
- Comes in multiple colours
- Splashproof body
- Dustproof USB ports
- Includes a 4 Torch Flash light modes (Strong, Storbe, Red Warning Light and SOS)
- Includes an inbuilt compass
- Can also be used as a powerful power bank back up
- Comes in hard carry case
- Easy to use
- Makes a great gift
- Next day delivery via Amazon Prime
- Be careful not to let the battery go low while charging other items such as your phone, tablet or kindle on it.
- Doesn't come with multiple phone charger options so no ability to charge an iPhone for example
- To maintain the battery power efficiency, you need to recharge it at least once a month
To sum it up the Suaoki U10 is quite the delight in car battery charging and jump starter technology. Providing exactly what is needed to start your car battery and a little left over to charge whatever else you need. Portable, convenient, efficient and even weatherproof, what more can you ask for. I like this product that much that id happily go and buy a USB adapter for my phone to charge this also. In my personal opinion I would keep it charged from home ready to go when needed on the road and you'll never have to worry about a low car battery again.
We were heading away for a few weeks and we had had a problem with our battery in the past, so we tested out this solar battery charger maintainer to see if it could keep our car battery in the best condition and topped up whilst it wasn't being used.
Are you going away or do you have persistent car battery problems? If either of these are true, a solar powered car battery charger could be perfect for your vehicle. They are the perfect trickle charge devices and will keep your car battery topped up, so you never have to worry about it losing it's charge ever.Back to top
How Do Car Solar Battery Chargers Work
It's very simple, you connect the solar panel to your (E)OBD connector within your vehicle, let your solar panel sit on the dashboard or underneath a large glass window to collect sunlight. If the blue LED is flashing, it is working and charging your battery from the inside of your car. Just like I said, it's really simple!
You can even charge your battery by using the crocodile connectors that are provided and connecting them directly to your car battery under the bonnet. This isn't as neat a connection and you'll have to lift your engines bonnet and leave it up to charge, but at least you have this option.Back to top
What Is an EOBD Connector
This is a connector, found somewhere around the cars steering wheel, out of sight, that you can plug in to, to charge your cars vehicle and do other electronic tasks with.
With regards to the solar car battery charger, you can charge the battery from inside your car. Just plug it in to the OBD connector and let it sit there.
How To Find Your EOBD Connector
Using the link below, you can search your cars manufacturer and model and be able to plug in to your connector.
http://www.outilsobdfacile.com/location-plug-connector-obdBack to top
Solar Car Battery Charger
The blue flashing LED light will flash as soon as it is the view of a bright light or sunlight, this doesn't specifically mean it is charging. It just means that it is ready to charge when plugged in in its current position in the sun.
Just like above, this solar battery charger is simple to use, we took our car down to our parents and left it there for just over 2 weeks whilst we went on holiday. We left the solar panel on the dashboard facing south and went on our way.
We returned two weeks later, made sure to unplug it all before we started the car and it worked perfectly. The car started first time and our battery seemed to be fully charged. This was in late summer though and there had been decent weather in the time we were away.
This may not be so good in winter and you'd need optimal sunlight for it to work perfectly and as expected. In this case, we can also recommend the Sauoki U10 we have also reviewed. With a jump starter you can be sure that if the worst was to happen, you can get your car started and back on the road.
Make sure to remove and disconnect from the connector or battery before starting your car.Back to top
- Trickle charges a 12V battery while parked
- Very simple product, easy to use, just plug it in and let it charge whilst you are away
- Great price
- Charges in sunlight, even in the UK, from both natural and indoor lights
- Make sure you don't leave it plugged in whilst you start your car, you will blow some fuses
- You have to access your (E)OBD socket, easy in some cars, harder in others
An awesome car car product, if you are away for a while, it is perfect to keep your cars battery charged, maintained and topped up for the duration of your stay. The only downside is you have to find the OBD connector, but we added a link to help you find yours. It even works under cloud cover, the LED still flashed when it was raining, so that was good.
This is a review of the CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger, we find out whether its just what you need for an emergency flat battery situation.
The CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger is a small compact charging unit that comes with crocodile clip cables, eyelet cables and a mains plug power attachment.
The MXS 5.0 has the ability to charge a 12 volt lead acid battery, covering most cars, motorbikes and campervans. As this battery charger is a Smart charger that means once your battery is fully charged the charger will monitor and maintain the charge level. It can take more than several hours to get to this point, but once it does, you're safe in the hands of the smart functionality.
Making it go through each of the 8 stages encourages and allows you to recondition your battery once a year, maintaining and prolonging your car batteries life. This is where this battery charger shines, it's main purpose is to bring life back to your battery and check it's condition as you charge it.
Charging With the CTEK MXS 5
Firstly to begin you need to connect your crocodile clips, make sure to read your car manufacturers recommended guidelines on how to connect to your battery.
If you accidentally put the crocodile clips on the battery the wrong way this will not cause you any safety issues or problems, the charging unit will simply display a red light indicating they are the wrong way round, making it pretty fool proof for anyone whether you are car savvy or not, this is a great feature we think.
You then need to put your charger plug into the mains, once turned on at the mains it comes on automatically that is why its a good idea to connect up and be ready to go before plugging in.
Simple to use, the CTEK MXS 5.0 has an 8 step process that is highlighted on the front panel with LED's that light up one by one from stage 1-8. Depending on your battery type and how discharged it is depends on how many stages it will need to go through and where the charging will start from.
Your 8 stages are:
- Soft Start
- Bulk Charging
- Pulsatile maintenance charging
With the 8 stage process, this battery charger has the ability to bring some of the most stubborn car batteries back to life. If you are in a rush the charger can get to stage 3 and it would be suitable to un-attach the leads, start the car and be able to drive off.
Not all batteries will need to go through this process, infact the whole process is recommended for when reconditioning your battery. There is a MODE button on the charging unit which you press to state your battery requirement from "Car" "Car in AGM" "Car in Reconditioning" " Car in AGM Reconditioning" this will then therefore analyse and determine which stages will be needed out of the 8 available. There is also the options to do the same as the above but for a Motorcycles.
THe MXS 5.0 comes with the added function of automatic temperature compensation this means it will charge even in very hot or very cold environments. Making it a very robust piece of kit whatever the season.
The one thing that his charger needs however is a mains connection, therefore using while broken down or trying to charge a battery on a boat will not be an option with this charger.
TH CTEK MXS 5.0 is great for home use as a battery charging device with your car plugged up in your garage. One downside we noticed is that of lead length, they are quite short. You will definitely need an extension lead to get this charger to your car if you don't have a garage.
- Safe and simple to use
- Sturdy build
- 5 year warranty
- LED flashlight provides a good safety feature
- Suitable for all types of car batteries
- Shock and dust proof
- The leads are quite short
- Needs to be attached to a 240 mains supply to charge
The CTEK MXS 5.0 Battery Charger is a compact well developed smart battery charger that can also evaluating battery status and help revive even the most discharged battery back to live.
This is a review of the Ring RCB212 12A Car Battery Charger, we look at how well it fits its purpose for your car needs.
When it comes to a good old fashion charger that simply does what it says on the tin, the Ring RCB212 aims to tick that box.
The RCB212 is a strong, sturdy battery charger and I have to say that it isn't as big as I thought it would be. It comes with full instructions and if you accidentally lose those there are more instructions printed on the charger itself and we have included the manual pdf on this page. The charger has a large carry handle making it easy to whip out of the boot of your car and the crocodile clip leads are neatly stowed away to one side of the charger. The length of the leads are pretty long as car charger batteries go.
We tried the RCB212 with our car battery, which we found very easy to use. Firstly you need to connect the crocodile clips to the battery terminal points before you plug the charger into the mains, it is important to do it that way round rather than plug into the mains first as the charger will automatically come on. Also make sure to check the manufacturers recommended guidelines for your car model. What is great about this charger is it is very versatile and can be used for a variety of battery types not just your car, so if you are an outdoor enthusiast who also has a boat, campervan and a jetski this will also work for different battery types.
There is a slow and fast rate option to which you can choose dependent to the time scale you have. If you have put the clips on the wrong way round there is an LED that will lite up to tell you Once plugged in and charging the RCB212 will light up the LED that points out its charging happily away, leave it for a little while it should then change to the LED lite up that says charged. This charger will not overcharge and will automatically switch to maintenance mode once fully charged. What I did notice though is that it does get very hot and as the outer casing is plastic I would not leave it for a long period of time, instead monitor it till it says charged and then disconnect the clips and turn off.
Although it doesn't have a jump start feature, it's a great car battery charger which will take your car battery from empty to full in a matter of hours in a safe manner (if using slow charge).
- Suitable for Cars, Motorbikes, lawnmowers, jetskis, boats
- Clear LED screen shows your battery level
- Easy to use
- Stores away easily
- Comes with polarity protection
- If you loose the instructions there is a sticker on the side of unit and we've included the Ring RCB212 Instructions to download
- Cable tidy keeps it neatly together
- Be careful as it can overheat and get quite hot
- Not the smallest battery charger available
If you are simply after a no fuss good standard battery charger at a good price that is easy to use and pack away the Ring RCB212 is for you especially if you have a number of other battery types as well as for your car, just make sure not to leave for a long period to make sure it does not over heat.
This is a review of the Draper 20486 Car Battery Charger, made for home use we look at how well it functions at charging a car battery.
The Draper 20486 is a battery charger for home/work uses only due to its size and mains connection needed. It comes boxed with a user guide and instructions also on the charger. The crocodile clips are easy to use, the length of the cables are decent and there is a large integrated carry handle.The design is quite large and bulky but is not too heavy at a weight of 2.5kg.
The battery charger requires mains electricity as it isn't portable. The jump leads attached are of a good length at around 2 and a half metres, being the longest we tested out of the 6.
Before using the charger I would check that your battery falls between the correct parameters for the battery charger.
To use you need to connect your jump leads crocodile clips to the correct battery terminal points, make sure to check the guidelines for your car make/model at the right position for this as some vary. There is then a switch on the charger to choose either a 6V or 12V battery option, make sure this is set correctly. Plug in the mains lead and then click the switch into the ON position. Charging will then start.
For me I found it a bit strange no LED lights to indicate the charge had started you just have to assume you have plugged, switched and clicked everything correctly once your charger is clicked "ON". I was a little skeptical but if you read up on the charging current meter that is displayed it will explain what it is doing and you will soon realise if it is operating from the point at which the dial is reading.
The charger operates very quietly. At the back of the battery pack appears to be a small vent which you can hear the battery charger "humming" away quietly another little indicator that the charger is working. Again with the lack of a charging indicator, was also a visible 'had charged' indicator. For our battery the dial went to 0 and I took this to meaning no further charge required and that everything was finished.
From flat it managed to charge our car battery after about 12 hours of charging. This will ultimately vary between battery makes and models but I would say it does take a while so if you are after your battery charging fast look elsewhere. On a very positive note after charging the battery was tested with the CTEK MXS 5 and was functioning well enough to go back into our car. I would recommend monitoring your battery charge and not to just leave it overnight as it will overcharge once left on past the point of charge and may cause it to destroy your car battery altogether. There is no smart technology involved with this battery charger, so that was a negative to us.
- Well made solid battery charger
- Integrated carry handle
- Long length battery leads
- Works on both 12V and 6V batteries
- Available for next day delivery with Amazon Prime
- Only suitable for acid electrolyte filled batteries
- Can not be left for a long period or it will overcharge
- Does not indicate when charged
- Requires mains electric to charge
- Only usable for batteries up to 45AH
The Draper Battery charger is great for a standard, good value for money car battery charger for use at home. If you are not in a hurry and have the time to check on its charging this is a worthwhile purchase.
Do I Need A Car Battery Charger
That depends on a few things, if you think you apply, or your car does to any of these then yes.
- Do I leave my vehicle for long durations, weeks or months at a time. If so, then a car battery jump starter to get a flat battery going or a solar car battery charger will trickle charge your battery whilst you're away. So when you return, you can just unplug the solar charger and start your car.
- Does my car battery light turn on on the cars dashboard. If so, you could have a faulty car battery, if you were to run a fresh charge using something like the CTEK MXS 5, it will slow charge your battery for you in 8 stages and check it's health along the way.
- Does your car not get used for months on end or you have an old car battery? You could do with charging it using one of the other car battery chargers over a few hours to make sure it's full before you leave for a big journey.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Car Battery
This totally depends on your car battery size and how empty your battery may be. You can expect to fully charge a car battery in about roughly 8 hours from empty using the CTEK MXS 5, Ring or Draper above listed above.
Can I Charge Motorbikes & Other Vehicles
Yes, you can, but make sure that the voltage is the same, if you buy a battery charger for 12v batteries, then your 12v car battery and 12v motorbike battery will both be fine for charging.
You could probably charge other vehicles too, such as; jet skis, boats, lawn mowers, vans and golf buggies.
Do I Need To Remove My Car Battery To Charge
You don't need to remove your car battery from the vehicle. Disconnect your positive lead from the battery and put it to the side. Connect your charger to the positive and negative battery posts and turn your charger on.
Will They Charge A Completely Flat Car Battery
The Ring, CTEK, Draper will all charge a completely flat battery, but make sure to check they have auto-off as well, so once they have been charged, they don't overcharge.