Having a portable car battery charger that doubles as a jump starter can be a lifesaver, not only for yourself, but for anyone in need whose battery died. Whether it’s a problem with the alternator, the battery is just really old, or something else, manually charging it with a car battery charger should get you back on the road and on your way to where you need to go, at least temporarily. The most important thing is getting the car somewhere safe so you or whoever owns it can properly have it looked at and diagnose the problem.
A portable battery charger and starter kit is much more convenient than getting a jump from someone else’s vehicle. First of all, you can do it all by yourself with no one’s help. If you have one, you never have to rely on anyone else to help you out if your battery suddenly dies. Not all vehicle battery chargers offer the ability to jumpstart though. In fact, many require access to an electrical outlet to function. This is quite useful to have around the garage, but obviously wouldn’t help much if you had it with you but were parked nowhere near an electrical outlet. An extension cord could help, but if you need something that can also offer emergency aid, a jump starter/battery charger combo would obviously better suit your needs.
Jumpstart Kit vs Car Battery Charger
Jumpstart kits function by way of their own battery. They need to be charged before use, but can retain a charge for weeks or even months depending on the unit’s capacity. Aside from the ability to function without being plugged in, starter kits work the same as plug-in-only chargers.
Regardless of the unit you have, trickle charge or the slowest charge setting will give you the most thorough results. It takes roughly 6-10 hours to do this, but once you do, you should be good for many starts after that. A trickle charger for car battery is easy to find. Most chargers include a trickle function. A 12 volt car battery charger is the most common as most batteries in vehicles today are 12 volt. Unless otherwise noted, each one of the options in this review is a 12v car battery charger.
How to Use a Car Battery Charger
It doesn’t take long to learn how to use car battery charger or jump starters. The process is quite similar to starting a vehicle with jumper cables. You should consult your car battery charger instructions to understand any settings or features it may have. Once you’re ready, connect the red lead from the charger to the positive terminal of your depleted battery. Connect the black lead to a piece of unpainted metal somewhere else.
Apply safety glasses to protect yourself from any possible sparks. Plug the unit into a household electrical socket. Use an extension cord if necessary. If you are using a manual device, make sure it’s set to the correct settings. If you want it to trickle, then the lowest setting will likely be 2 amps. A normal charge rate is usually be either 6 or 12 amps. Jump starts are usually from 75 amps or higher. Once you’re all plugged in and hooked up, simply wait for it finish and check the gauge.
Automatic vs Manual Car Battery Chargers
Automatic units stop automatically when they are done. Depending on the model, they may also maintain the battery by keeping it at a state of 100% full if they remain plugged in. If it’s a manual device, you’ll have to check the charge reading to see when it’s done. A microprocessor charger offers some nice additional settings. It can give readings like the percentage of life remaining and more.
A heavy duty manual charger is the most powerful and versatile. Shop owners and people who work with vehicles daily could get good use out of one, but they’re not for the average consumer. They’re very big and heavy, but can offer the fastest and most thorough results with often around 40 amp charging and 100 and 200 amp start capacities. Some include timers for manual operation that cut off after a certain point. This is a good alternative to automatic function although it may not be as precise.
Best Car Battery Charger and Jump Starter for Sale Online
If you’re looking to buy a portable battery charger for car emergency support or any other uses, online is always the way to go. You won’t have to pay taxes on it (depending on your state of residence) and it will get delivered straight to your doorstep, most likely with free shipping and a lower base price in the first place.
Here are the best car battery charger options on the internet sold from various online marketplaces. These are some of the most highly rated and all around best portable car battery charger kits money can buy.
Stanley JC509 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Compressor
This Stanley car battery charger doubles as a portable air compressor for tires or any other uses you have for a 120 PSI compressor. It includes a built-in senor that automatically detects a mistaken connection, sounding an alarm if a clip gets attached to the wrong battery post. Its powerful 500-1,000 amp jump start capabilities should be enough for virtually any vehicle.
Also included is an LED flashlight, a USB charging port for devices of all kinds, and a DC power outlet. Although the JC509 lacks a level testing feature, it does include a trickle setting as well as standard speed. It’s also specifically designed to operate in unusually low temperatures with a 500 CCA (cold cranking amps) rating. For its high power capacity and abundance of additional features, the Stanley JC509 is an ideal choice for reviving and replenishing drained vehicles.
Black & Decker BC15BD 15 Amp Bench Battery Charger with Engine Start Timer
The Black and Decker car battery charger model BC15BD is light, compact, and affordable. It’s the best battery charger for car batteries in the range of only 7 lbs. It includes three charging modes, trickle, standard, and a 40 amp engine start mode. It also includes an alternator check feature that measures and evaluates voltage during use to determine if the alternator is operating and maintaining properly.
The LCD screen on the BC15BD displays precise readings in real time and also warns you if you’ve connected one of the clips to the wrong terminal. The BC15BD’s fully automatic operation allows you to simply connect it and start charging. It may also be manually set. It takes roughly 8 minutes to start an engine. The Black and Decker BC15BD is a solid, highly portable option that can easily be stored in any trunk.
Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter
Schumacher SC-1200A-CA SpeedCharge 12Amp 6/12V Fully Automatic Battery Charger
NOCO Genius G3500 6V/12V 3.5A UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger
It’s one of the only options on the market specifically designed to work with micro-hybrid start-stop cars and vehicles with built-in CANBUS electrical systems. Unlike most others, it works with both lithium ion and lead-acid set ups. This state of the art unit is the top pick for those with a hybrid.
Duracell Powerpack Pro 300
The Duracell Powerpack Pro 300 offers 1,100 peak amps. It can jump just about any consumer vehicle. What makes it unique is its abundance of charging ports including two for USB and two 300W AC power outlets. It also has a 160 PSI air compressor, and a built-on LED light. It has a safety alarm for mistaken connections, but with 120 CCA, it’s not really designed for extraordinarily cold weather conditions. 120 amps is still enough to get a good number of vehicles running, but not all.
In normal temperature conditions, it performs far better. The Powerpack Pro 300 is basically a portable super battery. If you would like something that can also save your hide when your phone or other electronics die, this is a great choice, especially for family camping or long road trips.