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Charging car with electricity and jumper cables. Credit: Getty Images

The Best Car Battery Chargers of 2022

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Charging car with electricity and jumper cables. Credit: Getty Images

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Product image of Schumacher SC1281

Schumacher SC1281

This is a versatile charger that can handle 6-volt and 12-volt batteries, while also serving as a jump starter for your vehicle. Read More

Pros

  • Integrated jump starter
  • Diagnostic tools

Cons

  • Reports of auto-shutoff failure
Product image of Ctek MXS 5.0

Ctek MXS 5.0

This is a charger made specifically for 12-volt batteries, with all of the checks and safety features to be used unattended. Read More

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Safe for unattended use
  • 8-stage charging with monitoring

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries
Product image of Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Charger

Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Charger

This is a charger for 12-volt lead-acid batteries with a dedicated winter mode, to keep charging efficient even in the cold weather. Read More

Pros

  • Dedicated winter mode
  • Numerous charging rates
  • LCD display

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries
  • Only for lead-acid batteries
Product image of Nexpeak NC201

Nexpeak NC201

This is a charger for 12- and 24-volt batteries with a 7-stage quick-charge cycle for faster charging. Read More

Pros

  • Supports 12- and 24-volt batteries
  • Summer and winter modes

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries
  • Reports of early unit failure
Product image of Noco Genius 5

Noco Genius 5

This is a 5-amp automatic battery charger designed for 6- and 12-volt batteries, able to both charge and maintain batteries for maximum performance. Read More

Pros

  • Charges 6- and 12-volt batteries
  • Several safety features
  • Charges dead batteries

Cons

  • Reports of faulty equipment

Car battery chargers are an excellent tool to have on hand. Unlike a jump starter, a car battery charger keeps the power source for your lawn mower, boat, car, SUV, or truck charged after extended periods of sitting. These tools come in handy if you’re garaging a car in the winter, putting a snowmobile away for the season, or keeping the batteries for your boat’s trolling motor full in between fishing trips.

There are a few considerations before purchasing one. First is to make sure that the charger is compatible with your battery type. Not all chargers are compatible with lithium-ion technology, for example. In addition, make sure that the charger can handle your battery’s voltage. While most car chargers will handle 12-volts, some also work with six- or 24-volt batteries. Finally, check that your charger has all of the safety features you need—improper charging can lead to your battery overheating and breaking or, worse, starting a fire. At a minimum, any charger should be equipped with temperature sensors as well as trickle-charging technology.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Schumacher SC1281
Schumacher SC1281

The Schumacher SC1281 is a versatile charger, capable of both charging batteries over time and jumpstarting large car batteries in SUVs and trucks. The charger can handle both six-volt and 12-volt batteries, making it perfect for charging everything from motorcycles and small watercraft to large batteries for boats and trucks. The charger is fully automatic, able to adjust the amperage as needed, with integrated diagnostics to ensure that your batteries are charging safely and with maximum efficiency.

Unlike most car battery chargers, the Schumacher SC1281 gives you the emergency support you need. The integrated jumpstart feature has two modes, depending on your situation. The first is a 30-amp quick boost to get your battery over the hump. If the battery is committed to not starting, however, then the 100-amp jumpstart is powerful enough to start an SUV, truck, or boat.

Pros

  • Integrated jump starter

  • Diagnostic tools

Cons

  • Reports of auto-shutoff failure

Product image of Ctek MXS 5.0
Ctek MXS 5.0

The CTEK 40-206 automatic battery charger is one of the highest-rated chargers on the market for 12-volt batteries. This charger features built-in temperature compensation, to adjust the charge rate to match the ambient temperature; a desulphation and reconditioning mode to restore battery life and power to aging batteries; and safe, convenient “set it and forget it” features to prevent overcharging when your battery is left unattended for extended periods.

The 40-206 also has a dedicated AGM mode, making it perfect for charging absorbent glass mat batteries. If you’re looking to charge a 12-volt battery for your vehicle or equipment, then it’s hard to go wrong with the CTEK.

Pros

  • Reliable

  • Safe for unattended use

  • 8-stage charging with monitoring

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries

Product image of Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Charger
Ampeak 2/8/15A 12V Smart Charger

The Ampeak smart battery charger is a great option for charging all kinds of 12-volt lead-acid batteries. This unit automatically selects the proper charging rate for your battery—from 12 amps, 8 amps, or 15 amps—allowing you to charge GEL, AGM, and STD lead-acid batteries. With the multi-stage precision and ongoing monitoring, there’s no worry about overcharging or undercharging the battery, regardless of the temperature.

The advanced LCD display sets this unit apart from similar chargers, giving you an easier and more immediate view of your battery’s status. Whether you’re charging a car, motorcycle, boat, ATV, or RV lead-acid battery, the Ampeak charger can handle it.

Pros

  • Dedicated winter mode

  • Numerous charging rates

  • LCD display

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries

  • Only for lead-acid batteries

Product image of Nexpeak NC201
Nexpeak NC201

The NexPeak 10-amp car battery charger is a go-to solution for charging both 12- and 24-volt lead-acid batteries. The NexPeak offers a seven-stage quick-charge feature for faster charging times. The unit also offers eight levels of protection for your batteries, including smart controls, temperature controls, reverse protection to prevent damage to the charger, a cooling system, fireproof materials, and overvoltage protection. In addition, the unit automatically attempts to repair the function of your battery, restoring life and power.

The LCD screen and simple installation make this charger an easy-to-use option for anyone looking to charge their car, motorcycle, or boat battery.

Pros

  • Supports 12- and 24-volt batteries

  • Summer and winter modes

Cons

  • Not for dead batteries

  • Reports of early unit failure

Product image of Noco Genius 5
Noco Genius 5

The NOCO Genius 5 is a five-amp automatic smart charger, designed for six- and 12-volt batteries. Beyond simply charging your batteries, this product is a full battery-maintenance station. It features a maintainer to keep the battery at optimum power without overcharging. It also includes a desulfator to recover some of the battery performance that is inevitably lost over time. Finally, the NOCO Genius 5 includes thermal sensors to adapt the charging rate to the ambient temperature, preventing overcharging in hot climates and undercharging in cold.

The Genius 5 is compatible with numerous types of batteries, from lead-acid to marine and deep-cycle, from flooded and gel to GM and lithium-ion batteries. This means that it can work with a wide variety of vehicles, from lawnmowers to ATVs and motorcycles to cars, SUVs, and trucks.

Pros

  • Charges 6- and 12-volt batteries

  • Several safety features

  • Charges dead batteries

Cons

  • Reports of faulty equipment

Meet the tester

Jean Levasseur

Jean Levasseur

Contributor

Jean Levasseur became a professional writer over a decade-long career in marketing, public relations, and technical writing. After leaving that career to stay home to care for his twin boys, Jean has continued to write in a variety of freelance roles, as well as teaching academic writing at a local university. When he's not reviewing tools or chasing toddlers around the house, he's also an avid fiction writer and a growing woodworker.

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