Editor's Choice
Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger And Maintainer

A well-designed and reliable trickle charger.

Premium Option
Schumacher SC1309

A heavy-duty trickle charger with a wealth of features.

Most Reliable
Battery Tender 3-Amp Car Battery Charger

A fully automatic trickle charger from a trusted brand.

Best Value
NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger

A budget-friendly trickle charger that’s easy to use.

Best Design
Black+Decker BC15BD

An exceptionally well-made and durable trickle charger.

A trickle charger is an incredibly useful piece of equipment to have around. When you don’t regularly drive your vehicle, your vehicle’s battery will slowly drain. Inclement weather and extreme temperatures will only hasten the process of your car’s battery draining. A trickle charger negates this depletion by slowly charging it back up to full. Some trickle chargers can get your car’s engine to start after being completely dead.

Our team of experts spent many hours researching and analyzing the qualities of different trickle chargers. Following a thorough review process and referring to our network of experts, our team decided upon the following list of best trickle chargers.

Trickle Charger Buyers Guide

The biggest thing to consider when looking to purchase a new trickle charger is how exactly you plan on using it. Which trickle charger is best for you and your needs will ultimately depend on your personal car battery maintenance requirements.

What Is The Difference Between A Charger And A Trickle Charger?

“You have two different types [of battery chargers]: you have chargers and you have trickle chargers,” said Kyle Marker, Parts Manager at Leith Lincoln, who has over 10 years of experience in the aftermarket auto parts industry. The difference between a car battery charger and a trickle charger is that they deliver different voltage levels and charge in different ways.

Trickle chargers deliver low voltage to a car battery over an extended period of time. This type of charger removes the need to recharge repeatedly. In some cases it can be left connected to the battery, however, you should double-check that your trickle charger has an automatic turn-off feature to do this safely.

Car battery chargers deliver a constant voltage to a vehicle’s battery to charge it as efficiently as possible. You cannot leave this type of battery charger attached to your car battery otherwise you will risk overcharging.

Types Of Car Batteries

Most modern vehicles are equipped with 12.0-volt wet cell batteries, however, this isn’t always the case. The most common types of car batteries are:

  • AGM
  • Gel cell
  • Lithium-ion
  • Wet Cell

What Is Trickle Charging?

Trickle charging, otherwise known as battery tending or maintaining, is a process best applied to seldom-used cars. In other words, trickle charging isn’t meant for your daily driver – but rather the old pick-up truck that you only pull out of the garage once a year. “Trickle chargers…Always worth it,” says Marker. “You ask me why? It’s because my Mustang won’t start right now because I [haven’t] start[ed] it in three weeks. The battery had 3.6 volts, and it is dead.”

By technical definition, trickle charging is the act of charging an already fully charged car battery at a rate equal to its self-discharge rate. Simply put, trickle chargers prevent car batteries from losing functionality by supplying enough charge. A quality trickle charger doesn’t risk overcharging your car battery and improves its long-term health.

Our Review Standards

To select the trickle chargers featured in this buyers guide, we consult our network of experts for their thoughts on chargers. These experts have over 100 years of combined experience in aftermarket auto fields ranging from detailing to accessories to tires, and everything in-between. These experts helped us identify the qualities that would be most important to someone looking for a trickle charger and the standout brands in each category.

Our team then combed through dozens of resources such as DIY mechanic and auto enthusiast forums, manufacturer and charger-specific websites, instruction manuals from manufacturers, and reviews from online retailers. We pay particularly close attention to quality reviews and recommendations that highlight the quality of warranties, customer service support, build quality, materials, and overall reliability.

We also factored in the quantity and quality of online retailer reviews from websites such as Amazon, RealTruck, Advance Auto Parts, and more. We looked at factors such as notable customer reviews, prices, meaningful superlatives, and discount shipping eligibility. We did the research so you don’t have to.

Why You Can Trust Us

Since 2020, we have published over 200 auto product reviews in an effort to make shopping for auto products easier. Our team of writers, editors, researchers, and product experts collaborates to thoroughly vet top products. We try to perform in-house testing on real vehicles whenever possible before making our recommendations.

When testing is not feasible, however, our aim is to make your life easier by doing all the online research for you and presenting that research in the form of easy-to-read product comparisons and buyers guides, rather than outright recommendations. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

#1 Editor's Choice: Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer

The Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer is compatible with a range of batteries, including 12.0 volt (V) lead-acid, flooded, absorbed glass mat (AGM), and gel cell batteries. It can both charge and maintain lawnmowers, scooters, dirtbikes, motorcycles, and ATVs. However, the Battery Tender Junior only maintains the battery of personal watercraft (PWCs) and cars.

Simple and safe to use, the Battery Tender Junior features spark-proof circuitry and automatic reversed hook-up detection. In the opinion of both our editor and our aftermarket auto parts expert, Kyle Marker, the Tender Junior is always worth it.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $35
  • Voltage: 12.0 volts (V)
  • Amperage: 0.75 amps (A)

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 39,500 ratings

With tens of thousands of customer reviews, the fact that the Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer boasts 85 percent 5-star ratings is worth noting. Many reviewers easily revived their dead batteries to full charge with this smart battery charger. Some customers refer to using it solely as a battery maintainer and several note how well it works.

#2 Best Premium Option: Schumacher SC1309

The Schumacher SC1309 is designed for those with heavy-duty charging needs. Although this buyer’s guide is focused on car trickle chargers, this model of Schumacher’s wheeled charger line can do more than just maintain your car’s battery. The amperage rate is automatically adjusted via a microprocessor to charge and maintain amongst several other clever features.

“Schumacher’s been doing this for a long time” muses Kyle Marker, Parts Manager at Leith Lincoln. He summarized his thoughts on which car battery chargers and trickle chargers stood out to him, saying “Schumacher is king.” That said, you do have to pay a premium price for the best and this option is no exception.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $80
  • Voltage: 6.0V or 12.0V
  • Amperage: 200.0A

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 1,700 ratings

Many reviewers shared their point of view on the same two characteristics of the Schumacher SC1309 – the fact that the charger works and that it’s easy to use. One man raves over the fact that this trickle charger displays the status of his car battery, saying it’s more than another car battery charger he’s used.

#3 Most Reliable: Battery Tender 3-Amp Car Battery Charger

Able to fully charge your car battery, the Battery Tender 3 Amp Car Battery Charger will switch to float mode to maintain proper voltage levels. The trickle charger offers selectable voltage (6.0V or 12.0V) and includes a ring terminal, alligator clip cable connections, lifetime customer service, and a five-year warranty.

Deltran, Battery Tender’s family-owned parent company, has been producing some of the finest car battery chargers on the market since 1965, making them one of the most reliable manufacturers in the business. When we asked our expert Kyle Marker, Parts Manager at Leith Lincoln with more than 10 years of experience in aftermarket auto products, what brands he prefers, “Battery Tender” was the first name out of his mouth.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $70
  • Voltage: 6.0V or 12.0V
  • Amperage: 3.0A

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 660 ratings

While only a few reviews for this product exist online, reviewers share how well this trickle charger works and confirm its reliability. One woman claims this trickle charger is great if you have multiple vehicles and don’t drive one everyday. Another reviewer says it’s great at maintaining the charge on the Optima Battery in his El Camino.

#4 Best Value: NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger

Improving upon the NOCO G750, the NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger is 35 percent smaller and offers 35 percent more power at an affordable price point. This clever device acts as a car battery trickle charger, a battery maintainer, and a battery desulfator. An integrated digital thermal sensor alters the charge to eliminate overcharging and under-charging by detecting ambient temperatures. At around $40, this comes in at an affordable price while still offering all the necessary features present in higher-priced options.

This 1 amp battery charger NOCO Genius is compatible with all types of vehicles, from powersport vehicles such as snowmobiles to low-speed vehicles (LSVs) such as golf carts. It’s also compatible with a range of battery types, including 6.0V and 12.0V batteries, lead-acid, marine, RV, deep-cycle, flooded cell, lithium-ion (lifepo4), and more. This automatic battery charger can charge a vehicle’s battery as low as 1.0V. Auto-detection and auto-repair find and restore battery damage before it becomes a problem.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $40
  • Voltage: 12.0V
  • Amperage: 1.0A

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 37,800 ratings

The NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger is a small trickle charger that customers highly recommend. Many reviewers reference using it to charge a completely dead battery, and doing so successfully. One reviewer says it’s perfect for motorcycles, as they don’t have large batteries compared to cars or SUVs

#5 Best Design: Black+Decker BC15BD

Offering fully automatic three-stage charging, the Black+Decker BC15BD Battery Charger/Maintainer switches from fast charge, to top-off, to trickle charge. This trickle charger offers AC low-voltage compensation to ensure optimal performance, even when using extension cords. It should be noted that the Black+Decker is compatible with AGM, gel, and standard marine or automotive 12.0-volt batteries.

A patented alternator check indicates whether or not your vehicle’s alternator is maintaining battery level. A sizable LCD screen displays your vehicle’s charging status and battery status, amongst other relevant information. Reverse polarity protection keeps you safe, while the battery reconditioning feature extends battery life. Additionally, the BC15BD is Electronic Testing Laboratory (ETL) certified.

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $80
  • Voltage: 12.0V
  • Amperage: 25.0A

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.3 out of 5 based on over 5,500 ratings

The Black+Decker BC15BD Battery Charger/Maintainer is praised by customers for working well and for its wealth of features. One reviewer claims they’ve used this trickle charger for the past five years and it has never let them down. Those with negative feedback complain about difficulties activating this trickle charger’s warranty.

Trickle Charger: Bottom Line

After taking into account a number of different factors, including price, power, features, warranties, and more, our team believes that the Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer is the Best Overall trickle charger on the market. However, if you’re looking for a low-cost yet still high-quality trickle charger to get started, we recommend the NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger.

Car Trickle Charger Comparison Chart

Approximate CostVoltageAmperage
Battery Tender Junior 12V Charger and Maintainer$3912.0V0.75A
Schumacher SC1309$1546.0V or 12.0V200.0A
Battery Tender 3-Amp Car Battery Charger$856.0V or 12.0V3.0A
NOCO Genius1 1-Amp Automatic Smart Charger$2912.0V1.0A
Black+Decker BC15BD$8512.0V25.0A

Car Trickle Charger: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.