Best Portable Car Battery Charger: Specs and Prices to Consider

January 27, 2012

When looking for a portable car battery charger, before deciding on a specific charger, you need to determine what your needs may be and whether or not you want a corded version. In the following paragraphs, you will be presented with the best versions of each type.

Corded Portable Chargers

If your battery is very low, you will need a corded portable battery charger. Schumacher makes some of the best portable corded battery chargers on the market. With output levels of up to 50 amps to ensure you are able to fully recharge the car battery and ensure optimal car battery life. The low level charge rate of 10 Amps is capable of providing the deep charge required to make sure the battery has the most amount of charge possible, which ensures optimal car battery life. Another type of charger is the trickle charger. This type of charger has a charge rate of 1 to 2 Amps. This ultra low charge rate ensures that the car's battery is kept fully charged, which also ensures the longest possible car battery life. Average prices for Schumacher battery chargers will be based on the output levels of the particular charger. Trickle chargers will cost between $20 and $50 dollars, depending on extra features, like output selection and selectable 6, 12 or 24 volt output. Higher output battery chargers will be slightly more expensive, being between $30 and $80, for outputs up to 50 Amps. A corded portable battery charger is required if your battery is extremely discharged. This is because they receive their power from a constant electrical power source.

Cordless Portable Chargers

Cordless portable battery chargers are also known as either battery boosters or jump start boxes. This is because instead of being powered by an electrical cord plugged into a power outlet, they have a high current battery in the enclosure which provides the boost required to start your car's engine. This type of charger or booster is also classified by the current output it is capable of delivering. Duralast makes some of the most popular battery boosters, with most car dealerships using them to start cars on their lots with dead batteries. Prices on this class of charger/booster also depend on the output they are capable of. A 7 Ah booster from Duralast will cost on average between $35 and $50. Additionally, Duralast makes an Extreme Duty 700 Amp booster/charger that is capable of supplying a peak of 900 Amps instantaneously with a cost of between $70 and $90, depending on where you buy it and your geographic location. The most convenient feature of this type of booster/charger is that you can charge it up at home or work and put it in your trunk for later use on the road, or when you're away from an AC electrical source.

The preceding paragraphs describe the differences between corded and cordless portable car battery chargers and average prices for them.

Related Questions and Answers

Is the Car Battery Tender Different from other Car Battery Chargers?

A car battery tender is a charger that will charge your battery, and then automatically switch to a float charge mode when required. Battery tenders will ensure that your batteries are also charged over long period of inactivity by supplying low voltage float charges over a long period of time. In short, a battery tender charges, maintains the charge and prevents the battery from overcharging as compared to a trickle charger. Trickle chargers cannot control the voltage of the battery after it has become fully charged. They do increase it up to 20 volts or more, which can create gassing inside the battery, making it dangerous.

Do You Have to Get a Battery Charger Dependent on the Car Battery Group Size?

Usually when you buy a car battery, the particular car battery group size is printed on the side of it, or on the top. Please check you are getting the right battery charger for the particular battery size. There are several different kinds of batteries, and mixing them up with different chargers can be dangerous. If you have a matched set of chargers and battery sizes, then you can do the charging yourself. Almost all car makers provide chargers that will charge their entire range of batteries no matter what size. If in doubt, check the manufacturer's instructions and hand the battery over to a garage to get it charged.  

Is a Car Battery Conditioner a Good Alternative to a Car Battery Charger?

Car battery conditioners are useful in reducing sulfation inside your battery. These devices are simple machines that can reduce the sulfur content inside the battery that are usually responsible for the battery dying out when it's stored for a long period of time. If you use a battery conditioner, the device will charge your car battery and reduce accumulated sulfur inside and even in older batteries. A good car conditioner will also maintain the charge of your battery and prevent any future sulfation inside the newly charged battery. There are cheap and expensive models in the market and you can choose the right one you want.