Best Overall
Schumacher SC1280

A versatile, easy-to-use charger that quickly fills your battery.

Fastest Charging
Schumacher SC1309

A heavy-duty car battery charger that can also jump start vehicles.

Best For Old Batteries
CTEK Multi US 7002

A powerful charger that excels at restoring dead batteries.

Best Portable Charger
NOCO GENIUS10

This lightweight charger works with most batteries, including lithium-ion.

Best Trickle Charger
CTEK MXS 5.0

A smart battery tender that can recharge a depleted battery overnight.

A car battery charger can restore a depleted battery or maintain a battery you don’t frequently use. We’ve studied and tested several of the best car battery chargers so we could suggest the fastest, most reliable models.

A quality charger can extend car battery life if used properly. Keeping your battery regularly charged prevents sulfation – a process where lead sulfate crystals build up on the surface of a battery, rendering it inoperable. If you need something to jumpstart a dead battery, look for one of the best jump starters.

6 Best Car Battery Chargers

Five of the best car battery chargers as tested and reviewed by our auto product team.

  1. Best Overall: Schumacher SC1280
  2. Fastest Charging: Schumacher SC1309
  3. Best for Old Batteries: CTEK Multi US 7002
  4. Best Portable Charger: NOCO GENIUS10
  5. Best Trickle Charger: CTEK MXS 5.0
  6. Best Value: NOCO GENIUS1

#1 Best Overall: Schumacher SC1280

The Schumacher SC1280 car battery charger.

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The Schumacher SC1280 is a quick battery charger putting out 13.0 volts at a 15.0 amp current. It can fully charge a 105.0-Ah battery in 16 hours (this is relatively fast). The SC1280 is lightweight, portable, and easy to set up and use. It can automatically detect the battery voltage and adjust between 6.0-volt and 12.0-volt modes. While most cars use a 12.0-volt battery, 6.0-volt batteries are common in motorcycles.

This charger includes a two-year warranty, trickle charging, and desulfation mode. It also has an automatic shutoff feature to help prevent overcharging. However, several reports say this automatic charging feature can malfunction.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $55
  • Weight: 3.0 pounds
  • Amperage: 15.0 and 3.0 amp modes
  • Voltage: 13.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (wet cell), absorbed glass mat (AGM), and gel
  • Warranty: Two years

What’s In The Box?

There’s nothing included with the Schumacher SC1280 other than an instruction manual. The clamps are permanently attached to the device, which is designed such that the clamps are easily wrapped and stored.

Our Experience

The Schumacher SC1280 car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

The alligator clamps are a good size with long cables and therefore easy to use. The power cord is also fairly long, making it easy to set up to SC1280. The device’s computer automatically detects the proper voltage, so all you need to do is attach the SC1280 and press the start button to enter into charging mode.

The voltage was tested at 13.0 amps while the battery charger was in use, which is in the ideal range for a 12.0-volt car battery. This voltage stayed consistent throughout. Perhaps our favorite feature is the LCD screen, which can even provide an estimate of your vehicle’s battery charge.

Overall Rating4.6 out of 5
Charging Speed4.5 out of 5
Versatility4 out of 5
Ease of Use5 out of 5
Value5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 9,600 ratings

Many users are impressed with the charging speed of the SC1280 and appreciate that it can automatically detect battery voltage and adjust accordingly. Several reviewers note that this battery charger restored otherwise dead batteries after other chargers failed to do the same. Many say this is the best battery charger they’ve ever used with several others mentioning how helpful the LCD display is.

The most concerning negative reviews are from customers who say the automatic shutoff feature failed to work. This can result in overcharging, which can permanently damage your car battery. While this doesn’t appear to be a common issue, it’s a concerning malfunction. Make sure the automatic shutoff works properly before leaving any charger on your battery unattended.

#2 Fastest Charging: Schumacher SC1309

The Schumacher SC1309 car battery charger.

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Unlike the other battery chargers on this list, the Schumacher SC1309 is capable not only of charging a vehicle but also provides a good jump start. The built-in tester can detect battery charge levels and even has some diagnostics features.

While a bit heavier than our other recommended best car battery chargers, the Schumacher SC1309 is versatile and charges quickly. It’s easy to operate and includes desulfation and float modes. The SC1309 can fully charge a 105.0-Ah battery in about 16 hours.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $170
  • Weight: 30.0 pounds
  • Amperage: 40.0 and 400.0 amp modes
  • Voltage: 15.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (wet), AGM, and deep cycle
  • Warranty: One year

What’s In The Box?

The necessary alligator clamps are the only item that comes with the Schumacher SC1309.

Our Experience

The Schumacher SC1309 car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

This battery charger is simple to use and has large, strong alligator clamps. We found it one of the easier chargers to operate. Its size and long clamp cables allow you to rest the charger on the ground (other smaller chargers with short jumper cables can’t reach the battery from the ground).

The voltage output is consistent at 15.0 amps, which is a little high for a 12.0-volt battery but not high enough to endanger battery health. This voltage also means a fast charge rate and minimal charging time.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Charging Speed5 out of 5
Versatility4.5 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 1,600 ratings

Satisfied customers express surprise with the SC1309’s charging speed. Many say they used this battery charger to rejuvenate long-dead batteries with little difficulty.

One recurring negative comment comes from customers who report that the SC1309 stopped working properly after a couple of months. While this doesn’t seem typical, it’s not uncommon either. This charger comes with a one-year warranty, and one reviewer says they received a replacement from the company.

Several users also mention receiving faulty products with scratches and other damages. The company appears to have a good record of refunding these mistakes, but it’s a pain not to get a functioning product from the start.

#3 Best For Old Batteries: CTEK Multi US 7002

The CTEK car battery charger.

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The CTEK US 7002 is a beefed-up version of the CTEK MXS 5.0. It boasts many of the same features such as automatic switch charging. It can put out a bit more amperage (7.0 amps) and so will charge more quickly. This model is also built to withstand extreme temperatures and can operate between -4.0 degrees and 122.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Choose the 7002 if you need to restore an old or depleted battery. This is also a battery charger that works with a wide range of vehicles, even boat and ATV batteries. The 7002 has a broad temperature operation range and water-resistant construction.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $155
  • Weight: 27.52 ounces
  • Amperage: 7.0 amps
  • Voltage: 12.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (Wet), MF, AGM, GEL and Ca
  • Warranty: Five years

What’s In The Box?

The CTEK 7002 comes with alligator clamps and eyelet clips.

Our Experience

The CTEK car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

The CTEK 7002 is one of the easiest-to-use battery chargers we tested. Simply plug it in, attach the clips, and press the power button. The display will even give an indication of how much charge your battery has. When attached to our multimeter, we noted that this machine delivers a consistent 14.4 volts in normal mode.

We like that the CTEK 7002 operates in a wide variety of temperatures, and even has a mode for charging batteries at temperatures below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5.0
Charging Speed4.5 out of 5.0
Versatility4.0 out of 5.0
Ease of Use5.0 out of 5.0
Value3.5 out of 5.0

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 1,900 ratings

Reviewers like the 7002’s reliability as well as the safety features that prevent overcharging. The unit is also durable, with many describing drops and accidents that failed to break this car battery charger. It seems to work well at reconditioning and reviving old batteries, and many purchase it for that purpose.

Some say the unit can heat up quite a bit when charging for long periods of time. It is also more expensive than other options, though most feel the increased cost is worth the improved quality that comes with it.

#4 Best Portable Charger: NOCO GENIUS10

The NOCO GENIUS10 car battery charger.

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The NOCO GENIUS10 is a battery charger, maintainer, and desulfator. It can work on 6.0- or 12.0-volt batteries and includes thermal sensors to help prevent overcharging. The GENIUS10 can charge nearly every type of car battery, including lithium-ion batteries.

This small yet versatile car battery charger is energy-efficient and includes a three-year warranty. It can fully charge a 100.0-Ah battery in about 14 hours.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $100
  • Weight: 4.0 pounds
  • Amperage: 10.0 amps
  • Voltage: 13.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (wet), Gel, Ca, enhanced flooded battery (EFB), AGM, and lithium-ion
  • Warranty: Three years

What’s In The Box?

Included with the NOCO GENIUS10 are the battery clamps and a mounting bracket with self-threading screws.

Our Experience

The NOCO GENIUS10 car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

The NOCO is easy to set up, and while the alligator clamps are small, they open wide and are a breeze to attach. The NOCO display shows battery charge, and the one-button interface allows you to switch between modes. We love how lightweight this device is, hence why we named it the Best Portable Car Battery Charger of 2022.

One nice feature of the NOCO GENIUS10 is the overcharge mode. Most battery chargers, including the NOCO, automatically detect the battery and adjust voltage accordingly. When attempting to charge a completely dead battery, automatic detection won’t work. This is when overcharge mode comes in handy.

The NOCO put out a consistent 13.0 volts, according to our multimeter.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Charging Speed4.5 out of 5
Versatility5 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Value3.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 11,000 ratings

Reviewers say this battery works well with deep-cycle batteries, and users appreciate its ability to revive completely dead batteries using the overcharge mode. Several customers also praise the high quality of the included alligator clips.

Even positive reviews often mention that the instructions can be difficult to follow. While we didn’t have any issues with the GENIUS10, we also didn’t attempt to use all the advanced features.

Some reviews note that the desulfation mode doesn’t work as anticipated.

#5 Best Trickle Charger: CTEK MXS 5.0

The CTEK MXS 5.0 car battery charger.

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This small battery charger has an extremely long five-year warranty. It features built-in temperature sensors that adjust the voltage output based on temperature conditions. This automatic battery charger is programmed to tend batteries once they’ve reached full charge.

The CTEK MXS 5.0 can charge batteries up to 110.0 amps and takes about 35 hours to charge a 110.0-Ah battery. Because of its automatic voltage detector, you can use this product to charge not just car batteries but any battery under 110.0 amps.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $95
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Amperage: 4.3 amps
  • Voltage: 14.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (wet), calcium (Ca), AGM, and gel
  • Warranty: Five years

What’s In The Box?

In addition to the charger, the CTEK includes:

  • Soft vinyl carrying case
  • Comfort-connect eyelet
  • Clamps

The carrying case fits everything nicely, but it could be more robust. It’s soft and won’t offer much protection.

Our Experience

The CTEK MXS 5.0 car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

The CTEK is easy to start and features the most straightforward, easy-to-understand manual of the car battery chargers we tested. However, the CTEK loses some points because of the lackluster alligator clamps. They are rather small, and while we didn’t have problems getting them onto our test car battery, they are of noticeably lower quality than other car battery chargers.

This charger put out a consistent 14.0 volts when we attached it to our test battery. This is within the ideal range for a 12.0-volt car battery.

We like the preprogrammed multi-stage charge cycle, and the only settings you must choose are a 12.0-volt versus 8.0-volt battery as well as standard, AGM, or reconditioning mode.

Overall Rating4.1 out of 5
Charging Speed4 out of 5
Versatility4.5 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 3,800 ratings

Reviewers are impressed by the charging speed of the CTEK, especially since most purchase this battery for tending and trickle charging. Customers appreciate the tending safety features, and several people point out that they prefer this battery charger for their AGM batteries.

A couple of reviews mention that the CTEK is prone to overheating. However, proper positioning (ensuring the bottom vents are open) seems to help.

#6 Best Value: NOCO GENIUS1

The NOCO GENIUS1 car battery charger.

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This low-cost entry in the NOCO GENIUS series offers an alternative to the GENIUS10. It has many of the same features, including the ability to charge lithium-ion batteries. The GENIUS1 does lack some of the battery repair features of the GENIUS10.

This car battery charger is very small, simple to use, and energy-efficient. It can act as a desulfator, trickle charger, or battery maintainer for 6.0- and 12.0-volt batteries.

Key Features

  • Cost: About $30
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces
  • Amperage: 1.0 amp
  • Voltage: 15.0 volts
  • Battery type(s): Standard (wet), Gel, Ca, EFB, AGM, and lithium-ion batteries
  • Warranty: Three years

What’s In The Box?

The alligator clips are the only item included with the GENIUS1.

Our Experience

The NOCO GENIUS1 car battery charger attached to a vehicle battery.

Using the GENIUS1 is nearly identical to using the GENIUS10. It has excellent alligator clamps and a single button for switching to the desired mode.

When tested with our multimeter, the GENIUS1 showed a reading of 15.0 volts, which was more than the GENIUS10 supplied. The lower amperage of the GENIUS1 means it must supply a slightly higher voltage to increase the charging speed. Fifteen amps are within the tolerable limits for a 12.0-volt battery.

While designed more for smaller batteries you would use in ATVs and lawnmowers, this smart battery charger is capable of topping off 12.0-volt car batteries.

Overall Rating3.9 out of 5
Charging Speed3 out of 5
Versatility4 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 34,000 ratings

Praise and complaints for the GENIUS1 are similar to the GENIUS10. Many users say the review manual is difficult to decipher. However, using the GENIUS1 is mostly self-explanatory, especially for the most common tasks of charging and maintaining a standard 12.0-volt car battery.

Satisfied customers are pleased with the power in this tiny package. The overcharge mode to juice up dead batteries is a helpful feature, as is the temperature sensor.

A few comments claim the overcharge detection failed to work, and a couple of customers almost ruined their batteries. This doesn’t appear to be a common issue, but make sure overcharge protection is working before leaving the GENIUS1 attached to a battery unattended.

How Do Car Battery Chargers Work?

Car battery chargers utilize a process called induction charging to restore a car battery to working order. This is done by creating an electromagnetic field between two points, moving energy from a power source into the battery.  

Need more options to consider? We haven’t yet tested the following car battery chargers, but they have high customer ratings on sites like Amazon and Advance Auto Parts.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40

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The Boost Plus is a heavy-duty battery charger that is compatible with diesel engines up to 3.0 liters. It features a similar design as the other NOCO chargers we’ve recommended. It is the same general size and shape, but the Boost Plus offers a lot more amps than the GENIUS1 or GENIUS10. This device can charge a completely dead battery and many reviewers have had success rejuvenating their batteries after long periods without driving.

Biuble Car Battery Starter

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Another heavy-duty battery charger, the Biuble offers 1,000.0 peak amps. There are also 2,000.0A and 3,000.0A models available. This charger has a low self-discharge rate, which means that it won’t lose much charge after being tucked away unused for several months. The Biuble charger also has two USB ports for charging small electronics. Reviewers say this car battery charger is convenient, powerful, and reliable.

Black+Decker BM3B

 

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The Black+Decker BM3B is unique in the fact that it automatically stops charging when your vehicle’s battery is fully charged or topped off. This handy car battery charger not only offers a quick charge, but also protects against overcharging, reverse polarity, and short circuits. Additionally, a mounting bracket is built into this fully automatic battery charger to make your life easier.

Buyers Guide: Best Car Battery Chargers

Not all automotive batteries are the same. While most modern cars use 12.0-volt wet cell batteries, this isn’t the case with every vehicle. When selecting a battery charger, first determine your car’s battery type. You’ll need to purchase a compatible battery charger. Common car battery types include:

  • Wet cell
  • Absorbed glass mat (AGM)
  • Gel cell
  • Lithium-ion

Many car battery chargers are compatible with wet cell, AGM, and gel cell batteries, but not all are rated for use with lithium-ion batteries.

Amperage And Voltage

Amperage is a measure of electrical current. A battery charger’s amperage can affect how quickly it charges a battery. Generally, the higher the amperage, the better. You can use a charger with a higher amperage than your battery.

Voltage is also a measure of electrical current. Simply put, amperage describes the volume of electrons flowing through a circuit, and voltage refers to the force with which those electrons are moving. You want a battery charger with a voltage slightly higher than the voltage in your battery. However, if the voltage is too high, it can damage your car battery. You shouldn’t charge a 12.0-volt battery with much more than a 16.0-volt charger.

Trickle Charging And Desulfation

The best car battery chargers typically have several modes serving different purposes. The most basic use of a charger is to top off a battery’s charge or bring a dying battery back to health. But you can also use chargers for trickle charging and desulfation.

Trickle charging, or battery tending, is when a charger detects that a battery needs charging and automatically supplies power until the battery is topped off, then shuts down. Trickle charging is necessary to prevent seldom-used batteries from becoming depleted.

Old lead-acid batteries are prone to sulfation when completely discharged. Sulfation is a buildup of lead sulfate on a battery’s surface. Once sulfated, a battery can be difficult to charge. Some car battery chargers have a desulfation mode, which applies a higher voltage to recharge the battery. Once charged, the normal charging process breaks down lead sulfate buildup.

Battery Charger Vs. Battery Jump Starter

Keep in mind that a car battery charger is different from a jump starter. A battery charger provides a lower current to steadily replenish your battery’s power. A jump starter provides a strong current to reset a dead battery. Some battery chargers (such as the Schumacher SC1309) can act as a charger and jump starter.

How We Tested

The car battery chargers in this article underwent two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and cost.

We selected several car battery chargers for testing. Evaluation across our review categories is based on our in-person experience and online customer reviews.

Charging Speed

By considering a battery charger’s voltage and amp hours, you can determine the approximate charging speed. Batteries that charge a car faster received a higher rating in this category.

Most car batteries are 12.0-volt. A higher voltage will charge a battery more quickly, but too many volts can damage your battery. A few volts above a battery’s rating are acceptable and even desirable, but a car battery charger must produce at least 12.0 volts to charge a 12.0-volt battery. Maintaining a consistent voltage is also important for charging speed and battery protection.

Versatility

Not all car battery chargers will work with every type of battery. While most cars use a wet cell battery, some may use an AGM, gel, or lithium-ion battery. Chargers compatible with the most types of batteries scored best in this category.

Additionally, some car battery chargers have features such as overcharge protection and trickle charging options. Such features also contribute to a battery’s versatility rating.

Ease Of Use

An easy-to-use automotive battery charger has long clamp cables and durable alligator clamps. Battery chargers are also easy to use if they have long outlet cords and straightforward interfaces and instructions.

Value

Our value score is based on the relationship between a battery’s rating in all other categories compared to the price.

Best Car Battery Chargers Testing Process

Car Battery Chargers Testing Process

To test each car battery, we unpackaged it and attached it to a 12.0-V wet cell battery. We started the battery charger according to the instructions and measured the voltage using a multimeter.

During testing, our review team recorded careful notes about each feature of every battery. We also factor verified customer reviews on Amazon to determine if our experience is typical and to assess the longevity of these products.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. Our team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more.

Best Battery Chargers: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.