Jumping into your car to find that the battery is flat is highly frustrating. Using a smart battery charger that will safely restore power to a dead battery is the best option. There is a whole range of chargers available that are compatible with many types of batteries. All of our recommendations are suitable for the UK and plug straight into a standard outlet.
The best car battery charger is the CTEK MXS 10 Fully Automatic, which is available in various amperage ratings and uses a UK plug for safe charging.
Dealing with a dead battery can be fairly problematic. You may be able to use a portable jump starter but this is not the safest method. Allowing the battery to fully regain its lost power is the best option as it will not cause any damage.
Table of Contents
- Best Car Battery Charger
- Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
Best Car Battery Charger
|Car Battery Charger||Smart Features||Amperage|
|CTEK MXS Automatic||Yes||3.8 to 10 Amps|
|NOCO Genius G3500 UK||Yes||0.75 to 26 Amps|
|Ring RSC612||Yes||12 Amps|
|Maypole MP716||No||12 Amps|
|Draper 20486||No||4.2 Amps|
The latest batch of battery chargers available are far more sophisticated than they once were. Manufacturers have focused on improving safety, introducing automatic modes and even optimising the condition of the battery.
For those that have multiple cars, having a dead battery can become a regular occurrence. Having the best model available will allow you to easily keep the batteries topped up and maintained appropriately.
Below is a list of the best car battery chargers that are suitable for use in the UK and include smart features to safely charge dead batteries.
CTEK MXS 10 Fully Automatic Battery Charger
The MXS 10 is the most powerful car battery charger that is offered by the CTEK brand. It is suitable for home or professional garages and is compatible with a range of batteries regardless of the size. CTEK even claim that their charger will extend the battery life by up to 3 times, which is highly impressive.
CTEK are by far the most popular brand in the car battery charger industry with the MXS model being available in a range of amperage ratings.
Features of the CTEK Car Battery Charger include:
- Fully automatic
- Suitable for all batteries
- Can be used indoor or outdoor
- Restores battery life and reconditions dead batteries
- Spark free, reverse polarity connection
- Includes a 2 year warranty
The MXS model by CTEK comes with a premium price tag but its completely worthwhile. It has been designed and tested in Sweden, which as a result has made it a tough and reliable unit.
Overall, it is the best battery charger in the UK that is suitable for all car batteries. CTEK themselves claim that it will charge a dead battery in the shortest possible time too.
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NOCO Genius G3500 UK Car Battery Charger
It is suitable for all types of 6 or 12V batteries that include wet, gel and AGM types. NOCO offer this model with a variety of amperage options that include 0.75, 1.1, 3.5, 7.2, 15 or a 26 amp charger.
Other features of the NOCO Genius G3500 include:
- Fully charges batteries up to 120 AH
- Maintains all battery sizes
- Keeps the battery fully charged without overcharging
- Advanced repair mode for reversing damaging effects
- Automatic alters the charging process based upon real time results
- Includes an impressive 5 year warranty
In terms of the features, performance and attachments, the NOCO Genius G3500 offers the best value for your money. If you require extra amperage, there is the option for a 26 amp charger, which is the most powerful available in the UK.
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Ring RSC612 Smart Battery Charger
Ring are a brand that are behind the most popular wireless doorbell. However, they do produce a variety of other product with the RSC612 Smart Battery Charger being one of them. It is an award winning device that is suitable for lead acid, gel, EFB, AGM and calcium batteries.
The brand also offer other chargers but the RSC612 is the best option as it comes equipped with all the smart features.
Some of the features of the Ring RSC612 Smart Battery Charger include:
- Seven stage charging with winter charge mode
- Fully insulated charging clamps
- 4 Diagnostic tests and a maintenance mode
- 12 amp charger
- LCD display and memory saver
- Rugged protective rubber case
The Ring RSC612 is an excellent all-round smart battery charger that can fully recharge dead batteries in just 5 hours. It also features all the features you will require for charging batteries of all types and sizes.
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Maypole MP716 Battery Charger
The Maypole MP716 is a simplistic battery charger that is enclosed into a metal case for maximum durability. It is suitable for all passenger cars and commercial batteries as well as a caravan leisure battery.
Although it is not a smart car battery charger, it still includes all the safety features that you require for safe charging.
Features of the Maypole MP716 Battery Charger include:
- 12 amp charger
- Suitable for 12 or 24V batteries
- Easy to read ammeter
- Fully insulated battery clips
- Overload, reverse polarity and short circuit protection
- Charges up to 180 Ah
- Fast charge and boost functionality
Overall, it is a budget battery charger that is relatively powerful and will effortlessly charge dead batteries. It also has the added bonus of being a 24 volt charger, which is fairly unique as not many alternatives are able to do the same.
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Draper 20486 Car Battery Charger
If you require a more affordable car battery charger, the Draper 20486 is an excellent alternative. It is suitable for both the home or professional garages for charging lead acid batteries up to 45 Ah.
The Draper brand are known for their superior build quality with various products such as trolley jacks, wheel chocks and other tools. Their car battery charger follows their reputation with a rugged construction and durable copper leads.
Other features of the Draper 20486 Car Battery Charger include:
- Suitable for 6 or 12V lead acid batteries
- 4.2 amp charger
- 1.5 meter power cable
- Integrated carrying handle
- Lightweight at just 2.5 KG
- Insulated copper leads and battery clips
Overall, it is a cheap car battery charger that is easy to use and read with an analog gauge. The lightness and carrying handle also make it great for transporting to other jobs or around the house.
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Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
In order to restore power to a dead battery, you will require a car battery charger. They are available in a variety of different power ratings that range from as little as 0.75 amps to as big as 26 amps.
Along with the choice of different amperage ratings, there are also a range of types that include a standard, maintenance or smart car battery charger. Regardless of the model you choose, by owning a charger, you will always be able to restore power to a dead battery.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding car battery chargers.
Different Types of Chargers
Battery chargers have seen an enormous amount of improvement over the years. Manufacturers have been competing to produce the best, which has resulted in various different types being available. The main types include the standard charger, maintainer and the desirable smart battery charger.
These will be the cheapest and simply charge a battery at a fixed rate until it is fully charged. Not every charger will automatic switch, which may result in overcharging. This can be damaging to the battery and is why you must monitor the charging process.
The purpose of a maintenance charger is to keep the battery topped up without overcharging or causing any damage. They are designed to provide low current to help the battery maintain its perfect amount of power. This type of charger is perfect for those that have cars that they drive on the weekends or when it’s occasionally sunny in the UK.
Smart Car Battery Charger
By far the best type of car battery charger is one that is “smart”. In short, it is a combination of both the standard and maintenance types but extra features, which include:
- Additional safety functionality
- Diagnostic tests
- Battery repair modes
- LED display
- Various modes
- … and much more
If you are able to stretch your budget, we would highly recommend opting for a smart battery charger.
Many of the big brands will provide various amperage ratings with their chargers. Depending upon the battery size will determine the length of time it takes for a charger to restore lost power. Therefore if you were to have a charger with a high amperage rating, it will be able to charge the battery far quicker.
You can calculate the length of time it would take to restore power to a dead battery. As stated by NOCO, you can multiple the battery amperage per hour by the depth of discharge. This will provide you with the total number of hours to maximum charge.
If you require fast charging, you should choose a car battery charger with a high amperage rating.
Cables and Clips
Battery chargers need to be able to withstand tough conditions and heavy usage. To ensure that the device you choose is long lasting, you will want to ensure that the cables and clips are constructed of high quality materials. Thick copper leads and insulated battery clips are sign of superior build quality.
How To Charge a Car Battery
In terms of using a car battery charger, there are two methods. You can either leave the battery installed without any load or alternatively remove the battery to charge indoors.
Battery Left in the Car
Removing the battery in some cars can involve quite a lot of effort. Therefore leaving it installed may be the best option. Before you connect the charger, its important that you ensure all electrical loads are switched off. To ensure that this is the case, you will want to remove both the negative and positive cable from the terminals
Some vehicles may suffer electrical malfunctions if you connect the charger with the battery under load. Although it may be safe to do so, we always recommend removing the cables from the terminals for peace of mind.
Removing the Battery
Taking the battery out of the car and installing in doors is the safest option and in some case easier. Not all battery chargers may be waterproof and you will not be required to run an extension cable to your car.
When you come to installing the battery back into the car, we advise double checking its placed back correctly. This means checking the terminals are next to the matching positive or negative and that it is secured within the battery tray. The RAC have a great guide if you need assistance.
Almost all car battery chargers are compatible with lead acid batteries. However, not every charger will be compatible with lithium-ion, AGM, gel or wet cell battery types. Therefore it is crucial that you double check the battery you have installed in your car to avoid disappointment.
Many chargers may also work with other types of batteries that are used for lawn mowers, caravans and marine applications. Spending slightly more for a charger that is compatible with as many battery types can be very beneficial.
Without having access to a car battery charger, you can be left literally stranded with a dead battery. Regularly jump starting your car is not advised and can potentially cause damage to both the battery and the cars electronics. Fully recharging your battery to its optimum condition is the best and safe option.
All of our recommendations are suitable for a range of budgets and cover all the different types available on the market. Although it may not be something you use all the time, it is certainly a device that can save you a lot of time and hassle.