Portable Car Battery Charger Buying Guide

January 27, 2012

A portable car battery charger is needed if you frequently have issues and your battery dies a lot. This car battery charger will jump start the battery and give it enough charge to get you going again. Recharging a car battery is not hard, but if you do not have the correct tools then it can be very difficult. Most cars will automatically charge the battery every time the car is running, but for older batteries or a low quality battery, the charge will not hold and you will have problems.

The Main Benefits

There are many reasons that having a portable charger are good. One of the main ones is you can take it with you anywhere. The newest models are very small and compact and can fit in your glove box or under the seat so you can carry it with you. Basically all you need is an electrical outlet in order for it to work. These are very affordable and you can even find great bargains on auction websites. You can find many car battery chargers for under $100. By constantly topping up your car battery you are maintaining it, which extends the battery life. It can also be used for more than just your car, as you can charge the snow blower, motorcycle, lawnmower, and more.

Emergency Battery Chargers

There are emergency battery chargers that plug into the cigarette lighter plug. These are a type of low current battery pack and are very useful if you live in high crime areas, or tend to get stuck when the weather is cold. This type of charger can take up to 30 minutes to charge the battery and will only work on underpowered batteries. If your battery is completely flat, then it will not help. There are single use disposable chargers and then heavy duty chargers that work many times.

Jump Start

If you have a completely flat battery because you left the lights on or you parked the car outside in very cold weather, then a charger that works like a jump starter is best. You will need to open the hood and connect the jumper cables. Some chargers will have an alarm to tell you if you have the cables connected wrong. A 4-cylinder engine can be started using a standard jump start. V8 engines and trucks will need more power and you should check the cranking amps on your vehicle to make sure you get a charger that can start the engine. The cranking amps should be a minimum of the cold crank amps found in the car manual. The peak amps are not as important as the crank amps and they tend to be only a bit higher than the given crank amps.

Jump Starter or Battery Charger

Battery boosters and jump starters are two different things. Your jump starter can be used as a backup generator, as it uses rechargeable lead acid batteries. These will come with a warranty and can cost around $100. A battery charger is different than a jump starter and it will take some time to power up your battery as it has enough energy to start the car.

Related Questions and Answers

Can You Use Emergency Battery Chargers More than Once?

Emergency battery chargers, those boxes you see salespeople carrying around new car sales lots trying to start cars that have sat too long in the cold or heat without having been started, can certainly be used more than once. Indeed, most dealerships have two or three emergency battery chargers plugged in for use in cold weather starts. The key to the emergency battery box is that it must be kept charged at all times. You cannot let the charge drop or else you may burn out the batteries inside. Also be careful not to cross-connect the leads - black-red/red-black - as that will only burn out the box and the car.

Can a Disposable Charger for Cars Only be Used Once?

Unless you do something to compromise the integrity of the disposable charger, you should be able to use it more than once to recharge your car's battery. The disposable battery charger is designed to work until it fails totally. It does take some time for this to occur. This may sound like a battery charging box and it is similar. There is only one other device that might work in a disposable role, and that is one that uses a 13.8-volt outlet in order to get a surface charge into your battery. If this is the type of charger you are using, you will likely get more than one use out of it. Exactly how many is up to the way you use it and the condition of your battery.