This article explains how domestic car battery chargers work and how to pick the best one.
It happens to every driver at some point in their life, you head out to your car and realise you’ve left your lights on and your battery is as flat as a pancake. My personal favourite is not quite closing a door or the boot properly while my car is in the garage. Old batteries will run out of charge more regularly and need topping up.
Jump leads are difficult to use safely and require a second car that can be parked close to the engine of the flat car. This is not always possible. Luckily we can now buy car battery chargers for under £100 in many online shops like Tesco Direct, etc.
What kind of battery have you got?
There are more varieties of car battery than you might think; there’s the most traditional flooded battery, the sealed, valve regulated lead acid battery and the gel and absorbed glass matt battery. It is vital to know what kind of battery your car has before going to purchase your charger, as some are only compatible with certain models. Be sure to check out what size of battery you have as well (most cars will range from 2 to 12 amp) and you’re halfway towards choosing the right charger for you and your car.
How Fast Do you Need to Charge
There are many different versions of chargers which differ in the speed they can recharge a battery. Trickle chargers provide a slow (i.e. overnight or longer) and steady charge; they can be used to keep a battery topped up and they are the most efficient to run. Alternatively you can buy rapid chargers. They are less efficeint but charge you battery in a few hours.
If you overcharge batteries you damage them and they need replacing a lot faster so it is advisable to buy a ‘Smart Charge’ recharger. The device can tell when your battery is fully charged and switch itself off automatically avoiding damage to your battery. Some of them also sense the condition of the battery and pick the best level of voltage for your recharge.
If you want a device that can instantly charge a flat battery look for the term “Engine Jump Start” on the packaging. Not all chargers are capable of delivering enough juice fast enough to jump start so don’t assume your recharger will be able to do this without checking.
Batteries contain highly corrosive chemicals and can give off poisonous gases. They are flammable and can explode in certain circumstances and there is a shock and spark risk. That means certain safety precautions should always be taken when working with and around batteries. Please read these simple and helpful guidelines for safe battery handling.