Jumping into your car to find that the battery is flat is highly frustrating. If this has happened, using a smart car battery charger that safely restores power to a dead battery is highly recommended and there is a whole range of chargers available. All of our recommendations are suitable for the UK market and plug straight into a standard mains socket.
The best car battery charger is the CTEK MXS Series, which is available in various amperage ratings and safely charges a wide range of battery types.
Table of Contents
- The Best Car Battery Charger
- Car Battery Charger Buying Guide
Car Battery Charger Comparison
|Car Battery Charger||Smart Features||Amperage|
|CTEK MXS Automatic||Yes||3.8 to 10 Amps|
|NOCO Genius G3500||Yes||0.75 to 26 Amps|
|Ring RSC612||Yes||12 Amps|
|Bosch C3 MCU||Yes||3.8 Amps|
|Maypole MP716||No||12 Amps|
|Draper 20486||No||4.2 Amps|
Dealing with a dead battery can be fairly problematic and although you may be able to use a jump starter, it isn’t the safest method. Allowing the battery to fully regain its lost power is the best option as it won’t cause any damage.
The latest batch of battery chargers 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.
Below is a list of the best car battery chargers that are suitable for use in the UK and include multiple smart features to safely charge dead batteries.
The Best Car Battery Charger
1. CTEK MXS 10 Fully Automatic Battery Charger
CTEK are a brand that dominate the UK market and the MXS 10 is the most powerful car battery charger that they offer. It’s suitable for home or professional garages and is compatible with a range of batteries regardless of the size. CTEK themselves even claim that their charger will extend the battery’s life by up to 3 times, which is highly impressive.
Other features of the CTEK Car Battery Charger include:
- Fully automatic
- Suitable for all batteries
- Designed and tested in Sweden
- Can be used indoor or outdoor
- Restores battery life and reconditions dead batteries
- Spark free, reverse polarity connection
- Trickle charging functionality
- Includes a 2 year warranty
Although the CTEK MXS 10 comes with a premium price, it’s a worthwhile investment that won’t disappoint. It’s the best car battery charger in the UK that’s packed full of intuitive features and is suitable for all battery types. If you don’t require the powerful charging but want all of the smart functions, the 5A or 7A models are a great alternative.
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2. NOCO Genius G3500 UK Car Battery Charger
According to the brand, it’s suitable for all types of 6V or 12V batteries that include wet, gel and AGM types. NOCO also offer this model with a variety of amperage options that includes a 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 the 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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3. Ring RSC612 Smart Battery Charger
Ring are a brand that are behind the most popular video doorbell. However, they do produce a variety of other products with the RSC612 Smart Battery Charger being one of them. It’s an award winning device that’s 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.
Other 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 comes with all of the desirable features you will require for charging batteries of all types and sizes.
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4. Bosch C3 Battery Charger
Bosch are a highly reputable brand in the UK and are well-known for their superior build quality. Their C3 car battery charger follows that great reputation with its improved design that’s automatically controlled by an internal MCU.
In terms of what’s included in the box, it comes as a complete kit that includes a power cord, charging cable connector, hook mount and detailed instructions.
Other features of the Bosch C3 Battery Charger include:
- 6V and 12V charger (3.8 amps)
- Suitable for lead, AGM and gel batteries
- Short circuit, reverse polarity and thermal overload protection
- Trickle battery charging functionality
- Dust and splashproof (IP65 rated)
- European mains plug
Considering the affordability and various smart features, the Bosch C3 is an excellent option that won’t disappoint. The main drawback is that it has a European mains plug but apart from that, it ticks all the boxes.
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5. Maypole MP716 Battery Charger
The Maypole MP716 is a simplistic battery charger that’s enclosed into a metal case for maximum durability. In terms of its compatibility, it’s suitable for all passenger cars and commercial batteries as well as a caravan leisure battery.
Although it’s not a smart car battery charger, it still includes all the safety features that you require for safe charging.
Other 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’s a budget battery charger that’s relatively powerful and effortlessly charges dead batteries. It also has the added bonus of being a 24 volt charger, which is fairly unique as not many of the alternatives are able to do the same.
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6. Draper 20486 Car Battery Charger
The Draper brand are well-known for their superior build quality with various products such as trolley jacks and other tools. Their car battery charger follows their great 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’s a cheap car battery charger that’s 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, trickle 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 last few years. Manufacturers have been competing to produce the best, which has resulted in a variety of different types being available. The main types include a standard charger, trickle charger and the desirable smart battery charger.
Standard chargers will be the cheapest and simply charge a battery at a fixed rate until it’s fully charged. Not every charger will automatic switch once charged, 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 the battery in order to maintain its optimum power. This type of charger is perfect for those that have cars 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’s “smart”. In short, it’s a combination of both the standard and trickle charger types but extra features can 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 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.
As stated by NOCO, you calculate the time it takes to charge a battery by multiplying the battery amperage per hour by the depth of discharge. This provides you with the total number of hours required to achieve maximum charge.
In short, 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 of charging batteries. You can either leave the battery installed without any load or alternatively remove the battery to charge it 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, it’s 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 placing it indoors is the safest option and it can sometimes easier. For example, not all battery chargers are waterproof and you may not be able to run an extension cable to your car.
When you come to installing the battery back into the car, we advise double checking it’s placed back correctly. This means checking the terminals are next to the matching positive or negative and that it’s 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’s 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. Therefore, spending slightly more for a charger that’s compatible with additional 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 isn’t advised and it can potentially cause damage to both the battery and the cars electronics. Fully recharging your battery to its optimum condition is the best and safest option.
All of our recommendations are suitable for a range of budgets and cover all the different types available in the UK. Although it may not be something you use all the time, it’s certainly a device that can save you a lot of time and hassle.