Modern cars put a lot of strain on batteries – rather than just powering the starter, lights and the radio, a modern car battery is expected to power sat navs, dash cams, phone chargers and so much more. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of the battery charger by carrying out tasks such as making sure the contacts are clean.
Even with good care and regular charging, the battery will need replaced periodically. However, you can greatly extend the life of your battery if you take good care of it.
What to Look For in a Battery Charger
Some of the best car battery chargers are ‘smart’ float and pulse maintenance chargers, which will check the condition of the battery as they charge, and will provide the battery with reconditioning treatments to extend its life. These chargers can be valuable for batteries that have sulphur build-up on the plates, and ones which are suffering from discharge because of infrequent use. If your batteries need a new lease of life, then a smart charger is the way to go.
Car battery chargers come in a few different varieties, and not all chargers are designed for all battery types. The most common types are lead acid (the old-style batteries), flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (quite common these days), AGM batteries, enhanced flooded batteries (EFB), and Gel cell batteries. It is important that you know what type of battery you have before you buy a charger. You should also consider the size of your battery and how many amp hours it can store and how quickly you need your battery to charge. A larger charger rating (amp) will charge a battery faster than one with a lower amp rating.
One thing that a lot of people don’t think about when buying battery chargers is how easy they are to use. If you want to be able to stick your battery on charge overnight and forget about it, make sure that the battery has a ‘trickle charge’ mode or an automatic shut-off, otherwise you could end up damaging the battery. A good charger will have long-enough cables that you can charge the battery in-situ if you wish.
Take a look at the extras that come with the charger, too. Insulated clamps are a must-have to prevent accidental shocks. Many good chargers now have temperature sensors and thermal cut-off.