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Best Battery Chargers

Updated September 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 20 Models Considered
  • 10 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 111 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best battery chargers

    Last Updated September 2018

    In today's technological society, we have countless battery-powered devices around the home and office. Laptops, cell phones, tablets, cordless phones, remote controls, RC vehicles, portable speakers, smart home devices – all of them have batteries, and all of those batteries need charging. That’s why you need a reliable battery charger – or more than one.

    While some devices come with a battery charger included, others require you to purchase a separate charger, and finding the right one can be confusing. The right battery charger for you depends on the variety and size of batteries you want to charge, in addition to a range of other factors.

    Continue reading this shopping guide to learn more about battery chargers, or scroll up to see our top five picks.

    Make sure your battery charger comes with relevant leads or adapters necessary for charging different kinds of batteries.

    Types of battery chargers

    Manual battery chargers

    Manual battery chargers charge batteries continuously, but It's very easy to undercharge or overcharge your batteries. We'd only recommend a manual charger if you don't have much to spend.

    Advantages

    • Inexpensive

    • LED indicator light to show battery charging
       

    Disadvantages

    • No light to show battery fully charged

    • Don’t switch off when battery fully charged

    • Possible to over- or under-charge battery

    • Slow

    Smart battery chargers

    Smart chargers have a microprocessor inside that enables the charger to tell when the batteries are fully charged, at which point they shut off automatically. Smart chargers are worth the higher cost.

    Advantages

    • Charge level of battery on screen

    • Shut off automatically when battery charged

    • Can’t over- or under-charge battery
       

    Disadvantages

    • More expensive

    Trickle battery chargers

    Trickle chargers are like smart chargers, but instead of turning off completely when the battery is fully charged, these constantly "trickle" a small level of power into the battery. These are for batteries that slowly lose power when not in use.

    Advantages

    • Prevent discharge when battery not in use

    • Battery stays ready for use
       

    Disadvantages

    • Don't work on lithium-ion batteries

    Rugged and reliable

    This durable battery charger is shockproof, weatherproof, dustproof, and approved for year-round use. What's more, regular use can even extend the lifespan of all types of lead acid vehicle batteries.

    Battery charger features to consider

    Battery size compatibility

    Battery chargers come in a range of sizes to handle everything from small household batteries to car or boat batteries. Some can charge just one type of battery, while others are universal models, compatible with batteries of various sizes. Think about what size batteries you need to charge and choose your charger accordingly. You might need to buy more than one charger if you have a wide range of battery sizes because it's rare to find one charger that can take on both household and vehicle batteries.

    Battery type compatibility

    What type of battery will you be charging? Popular battery types include lithium-ion (Li-ion), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), nickel-cadmium (NiCd), and lead acid. Not all chargers are compatible with all types of batteries. If you're unsure of the composition of the batteries you want to charge and you can't find it written on the batteries, you'll need to contact the battery manufacturer.

    Speed

    How quickly can a battery charger take a battery from flat to fully charged? That depends on the charger you choose. Battery chargers are generally classed as either slow, fast, or superfast.

    • Slow chargers take somewhere between six and ten hours, so most users leave their batteries in them overnight.

    • Fast chargers are significantly quicker, taking roughly one to four hours to fully charge batteries.

    • Superfast chargers are impressively quick, taking just 15 to 30 minutes to charge a battery.

    Battery capacity

    A battery charger’s capacity refers to the number of batteries it can charge at one time. Those models designed for large vehicle batteries can usually only charge one at a time. Those designed for small household batteries may be able to take up to eight at once. The right capacity for you depends on your battery needs. If you only want to charge a couple of AA batteries at once, you probably don’t need a model that holds eight batteries.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Manual chargers generally deliver a slow, steady charge. That is why they are often referred to as "overnight” chargers.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    NiMH and NiCd batteries aren't designed to withstand extremely high currents, so superfast chargers can shorten their lifespan.

    Battery charger prices

    You can find battery chargers across a wide range of price points, from less than $10 to over $100.

    • Inexpensive

    You can find basic manual battery chargers for household batteries for $5 to $15. These aren't the best chargers out there, but one will suffice for occasional use.

    • Mid-range

    Most mid-range battery chargers cost roughly $15 to $40. These are usually smart chargers, but you might find some manual models for large batteries.

    • Expensive

    If you're looking for high-end battery chargers for large batteries, you can generally expect to pay between $40 and $100, but you can find some very high-powered models that cost even more.

    Low-cost versatility

    The MOTOPOWER Automatic Battery Charger is a versatile charger that's compatible with all kinds of 12V lead acid batteries. It automatically switches off when the batteries are fully charged, and it comes at a very affordable price, too.

    Tips

    • Check the voltage of your chosen battery charger. Some chargers are designed to charge batteries of a certain voltage only. Universal models should adapt to different voltages.

    • Check the amps of your chosen battery charger. As a rule, the larger the amperage, the more quickly it will charge your batteries.

    • Think about how often you'll use your battery charger. If you'll be using it daily, it's worth spending more for a durable model. However, a basic model is fine if you're only likely to use it a few times a year.

    • Decide whether you need a universal battery charger. If you're buying a charger to charge one type of battery only – a lead acid car battery, for instance – choose a charger to suit that particularly battery. However, if you want to be able to recharge a wide range of batteries, opt for a universal model.

    • Consider whether you need an emergency starting mode. Some models have a special high-amp mode that enables you to jump-start your car battery in an emergency.

    • Check that your batteries aren't overheating during charging. You should expect them to get relatively warm as they charge, but if they feel scaldingly hot or much warmer than normal, it could pose a fire hazard. Unplug the charger from the outlet.
    Always charge your batteries at room temperature. Batteries don't charge as effectively in low temperatures, and lithium-ion batteries don't charge at all in freezing temperatures.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I charge my batteries via USB?

    A. While most battery chargers run from a power outlet, you can find some that are designed to charge batteries via a USB port. These chargers are generally for small household batteries because a USB port doesn't provide enough power to charge large batteries.

    Q. Can I use my battery charger overseas?

    A. Not all battery chargers can be used overseas, but some can. To be compatible for use in any country, your chosen charger will need to have an input voltage of 100V to 240V AC. Plus you'll need the relevant adaptor to allow you to plug it into the power outlets in the country you're visiting.

    Q. Can I recharge non-rechargeable batteries in my battery charger?

    A. While it might be tempting to try to get the most out of your standard alkaline household batteries, the clue's in the question – no, you can't recharge non-rechargeable batteries in a battery charger. These are designed for single use only. If you want to recharge small household batteries, you'll need to buy the rechargeable kind.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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