Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
There are many different models of car battery chargers, but the most important feature when trying to choose the best one is whether it will actually jump the battery of a car. All battery chargers claim to perform this basic function, but a good way to find out how well the battery charger actually works is to look at customer reviews of the product. Some chargers work more like general tools and include air compressors and other car tools, which can be useful in an emergency. Other features, like the size or weight of the charger, should be considered secondary to this primary function.
Most people who want a car battery charger are looking for a portable device that they can carry with them and use on the go or at home in case of a dead battery. These chargers can help reduce the chances that you will have to flag down a stranger to get a jump, which can be useful both for convenience and safety. It is very difficult to gauge how well a charger will work without trying it for an extended period of time, which is why it is a good idea to look into reviews before purchasing any particular model.
One problem to look out for when choosing a car battery charger is whether the charger will jump a completely dead battery. Many chargers have only enough power to jump a drained battery, but not a completely dead one. This can be a major and frustrating problem when using these devices.
Additional features included in a charger for a car battery can be extremely helpful in an automotive emergency. The tools to inflate tires, check pressure, or even do minor repairs can all be part of a charger. These features do, however, drastically increase the price of the charger. It may or may not be worthwhile to invest in these features, as they are not as commonly used as the charger itself.
In some cases, you might wish to have a non-portable car battery charger for use in a garage or other area with access to power. Some chargers are so large and heavy that they are impractical to carry in small cars. It is important to reach a balance between size and power, because a smaller but less powerful device may not be sufficient in an emergency. Also, it is important to realize that if your battery dies often enough that you feel the need to buy a car battery charger for personal use, it is very likely that something is actually wrong with the battery or car and the problem will in no way be solved by a charger.
@Drentel may be right about the average person not needing a car battery charger very often. I think I could count on one hand the number of times I have had any trouble with my car batteries. However, the added features like the ability to inflate your tires could come in very handy.
You never know when you might get back to your car and find that you have a flat tire. Often times this is just a small, slow leak, and if you had a way to put air in the tire then you could drive to a garage and have it repaired without ever having to change the tire yourself.
Also, I'm sure plenty of you
have been in a situation where you had to change a tire and found that your spare was deflated. This is another time when the charger/air compressor would save the day. If nothing else, these portable chargers give you a sense of security. You have it there just in case something does go wrong.
For the average person, a charger for the car battery is not something you're going to need often enough to make the expense worthwhile. Like this article says, if you are having to boost your battery so much that you think you need a charger then you need a new battery, a new alternator or a new car.
You'd do better to buy a good pair of jumper cables and keep them in your trunk for emergencies. Usually, your battery is not going to die on you while you are moving, so in most cases you are at work, home, a shopping center or a service station. In all of these places you will most likely be able to
find someone who will be more than happy to give you a hand, and let you hook up to their car battery to get you started.
The biggest problem that most people have in these situations is they don't have the jumper cables, and they are stuck trying to find someone who does have them.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!