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Buying guide for best LiPo battery chargers

If you are a hobbyist who enjoys flying RC planes, helicopters, or drones, you are likely using a LiPo battery to power your crafts. LiPo batteries are ideal for this because they are lightweight and pack a great deal of power. However, LiPo batteries will need to be charged and monitored even when in storage. A high-quality LiPo battery charger is the device that allows you to safely accomplish this task.

The best LiPo battery chargers have safety features to ensure you cannot overcharge your LiPo batteries. Additionally, a quality LiPo battery charger will offer a range of modes and functions, making it a versatile tool that can serve you in a number of situations.

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The fact that a LiPo battery fire has gone out doesn't mean it’s safe. Each cell that a LiPo battery has is compromised and may combust at any time, even after the first cell fire has been extinguished.

Key considerations

When shopping for a LiPo battery charger, there are a number of features that the ideal model will have. Following is a list of the most important items to consider.

Safety features

If LiPo batteries are not charged, discharged, and stored properly, there is a very real risk of explosion and/or fire. You need a LiPo charger that has failsafe features that won't allow you to accidentally do something like overcharge your LiPo batteries — the maximum charge for a LiPo battery is 4.2 volts. Ideally, you'll also want a model that has a display that informs you precisely how it is functioning, not just an on/off LED.

Variety of modes

The best LiPo battery chargers are designed to function in a variety of modes so you can get the most bang for your buck. A balance mode, for instance, lets you charge a specific number of cells evenly — each LiPo battery is made up of a number of cells, and if just one of those cells obtains a voltage that is too high (above 4.2 volts) or too low (below 3.0 volts), it will permanently damage your battery.

Other modes you want are a storage mode that will either charge or discharge your LiPo battery until it is at 3.7 or 3.85 volts and a discharge mode that allows you to safely and easily discharge your battery. If desired, a fast charge mode can come in handy as well.


Many LiPo battery chargers have the capability to charge a wide variety of batteries, including LiPo, Li-ion (lithium-ion), LiFePO4 (lithium Iron phosphate), NiMH (nickel-metal hydride), NiCd (nickel–cadmium), and SLA battery packs (sealed lead battery packs). Make sure the charging unit that you are considering can charge all the battery types that you have.

Other features

Following is a list of a few other features to consider before purchasing a LiPo battery charger.

Ease of use

Some LiPo battery chargers are not very user friendly. Make sure you purchase a model that is easy to set up and use.


The more information that comes up on the screen of your LiPo battery charger, the less chance you'll have of making a dangerous mistake. Look for a model with a screen that displays ample information.

User interface

Look for a LiPo battery charger that interfaces in a way that makes the most sense to you (and still fits your budget). Most models have a few buttons that you press repeatedly to get to where you need to be, but some high-end models feature a touchscreen so you can navigate faster and with greater precision.

Charging time

If speed is of the essence in your situation, do your research to find out how long the LiPo battery charger you are considering will take. Or, as mentioned, consider a model with a fast charge mode. It is important to note that, often, the fast charge mode disengages the balance charge (which is why it can accomplish the task more quickly) and may not fully charge your battery.


Is it important to you to have a lightweight, compact, portable LiPo battery charger for use in the field? If so, that is what you should look for.

LiPo battery charger prices

Inexpensive: If your budget is your primary concern, you will want to look in the $10 to $30 price range. Notably, the LiPo battery chargers at this price point will be lacking in many of the features that you may find desirable.

Mid-range: In the $30 to $50 price range, you will find a solid selection of units that offer a number of good features at a price that’s not too high. In other words, this is where you should look for the best value.

High-end: If you are a heavy-duty user, the LiPo battery chargers found at the higher end of the price scale may be for you. These will include features like a touchscreen interface that you just won't be able to find at a lower price. For all the bells and whistles, look in the $50+ zone.


After purchasing your LiPo battery charger, be sure to fully read the instruction manual so you have a comprehensive understanding of how the charger works and the precautions you need to take to remain safe.

Following is a list of quick tips to help you understand how a LiPo charger works. Note: these tips are in no way meant to be a comprehensive guide to using a LiPo battery charger. They are listed for general information purposes only.

  • A LiPo battery can only be charged using a LiPo battery charger. Using any other type of charger could result in an explosion and/or fire.
  • When you plug your LiPo battery into the Tamiya connector on the LiPo battery charger, make sure the polarity is correct: red to red, black to black.
  • When charging a LiPo battery, it must also be plugged into a balance board. Otherwise, uneven charging may occur, resulting in an explosion and/or fire.
  • Each connector on a balance board is sized differently to help prevent you from charging your LiPo battery incorrectly.
  • Each LiPo battery has several numbers that provide important information such as capacity, voltage, cell count, and discharge rating. You will need to set the numbers on your LiPo battery charger to match the numbers on your LiPo battery when charging.
  • Always double- and triple-check connections and settings before you actually begin to charge a LiPo battery to be sure the safest conditions are present.
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Besides the potential for irritation and burns on the skin and eyes, if the fumes from a lithium fire are inhaled, lung function may be compromised, as higher exposures can cause a buildup of fluid in the lungs.


Q. What makes a LiPo battery special?
. LiPo stands for lithium-ion polymer. A LiPo battery is a rechargeable battery that uses a polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte. One of the most notable aspects is that these batteries can hold a great deal of energy in a very small package, and they can produce consistent power while discharging. Additionally, LiPo batteries can be charged very quickly.

Q. Why would I need a LiPo battery?
Because LiPo batteries are such lightweight items, it makes using them in RC planes, helicopters, and drones very appealing. In fact, LiPo batteries are the main reason why it is possible to use battery power instead of fuel for flight.

Q. Are LiPo batteries dangerous?
Yes. In fact, they are on the Special Health Hazard Substance List. These batteries are considered dangerous goods and are subject to additional regulations when shipping.

Q. What makes LiPo batteries dangerous?
As long as your LiPo battery maintains a voltage between 3 volts and 4.2 volts (and has no visible signs of damage), it is safe. If the charge drops below or goes above those parameters, permanent changes take place in the battery which will lead to a fire.

Q. How do you put out a LiPo battery fire?
A class D fire extinguisher is the best way to prevent a lithium-metal fire from spreading. If that is not available, water is your next option, but be very careful because LiPo batteries can still combust and burn when submerged in water.

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