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Battery Charger: What’s the Best?

battery charger
Getting the right batter charger depends on your needs, but some portable models can nearly do it all.

Automotive batteries are used for a lot of things. Almost anything with an engine has some sort of battery. And once in a while, those batteries need to be charged. And that’s why there are a lot of different kinds of battery chargers. If you have a car or truck, you do need one. To get the right one, keep in mind what you need it for. If you only use it for the battery on one vehicle, you will be fine with the charger that’s made for that purpose. However, if you have more than one vehicle that you might need a battery charger for, you should think about getting one that has a few different charging options and speeds.

So, let’s talk about the different kinds of battery chargers.

Wheeled Battery Charger

These are large battery chargers with wheels on them so you can move them more easily. If you are a DIY auto repair mechanic, or if you’d like to be one, then this is one type of charger you need to consider. These chargers are meant for fast charging and engine starting. A wheeled charger is good to have in your garage in case something comes up.  They usually do not have a trickle charge or maintainer mode. However, this type of battery charger is large and not very portable.

It’s best to charge a battery as slowly as possible to keep it from overheating and failing. Every time you quick charge a battery, you shorten its life. So, these chargers are more ideal for emergency quick charges and engine starts, not for battery maintenance.

Portable Battery Charger

Also great for DIY auto mechanics, these chargers are the most versatile of the bunch. Most of them can fast charge a battery, some of them can start engines, and some can trickle charge a battery. Some portable battery chargers can do all three of these things. If you have a wide variety of vehicles and equipment that use batteries, then you need a versatile charger to meet all of their needs. You can use the same charger to start your car when it’s cold, to charge your truck battery when it’s dead, to charge your boat’s marine battery after a day on the water, and maintain your lawn mower’s battery. You can use one of these for just about anything.

Solar Battery Charger

Since solar chargers don’t need to be plugged into a power source to charge your battery, they are the best charger for mobile charging. If you’re off-roading or riding ATVs or motorcycles, a solar battery charger will come in handy. This is also useful for work and farm applications where you may find yourself far away from a power source when your battery needs to be charged. If your battery ever dies, you can just hook up the solar charger and let the sun charge your battery for you. These chargers are slow chargers only, and are great for trickle charging, but they will not be able to quick charge or start your engine. They are great for roadside emergencies, and can save the day if your battery dies on the road.

Trickle Charger

Trickle chargers (or battery maintainers) slow charge your battery. They are great for ATV, motorcycle, and lawn and garden batteries. Many of these kinds of batteries fail when they are put away for long periods of time and just left alone. A trickle charger keeps them fresh and charged when they are stored for the season, which makes them last longer. A trickle battery charger is usually very small and has an automatic shut off to keep it from overcharging your battery. You can get the most out of your battery by using one of these.


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