How to Choose a Car Battery Charger

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A vast array of car battery chargers are available to consumers to meet any possible requirements. The features and functions of a particular machine can be focused on a sole purpose, or wide enough in scope to accomplish a variety of tasks. Intended usage is a primary factor governing the selection of a charger, since the machine must be able to fulfill all realized expectations. Quality concerns should also be addressed in light of how often, and how long, you intend to use it. Making a proper choice in selecting the right tool for the job can prevent disappointments and unnecessary expenditures.

  • Consider a small trickle-type charger to maintain an optimum state of charge for a car in storage. You can also use this style of inexpensive charger to slowly restore the voltage of a deeply discharged battery. Monitor the charging progress, using the rather simple indicator lights these chargers are typically equipped with.

  • Select a more robust machine, if quicker, high-output charges are desired. Compare the charging ampere ratings between other models in the same price range to garner the best value. Consider the rate settings offered, and the type of charge level display, in regard to intended functions.

  • Choose a large roll-around type charger, if jump-starts are anticipated, or if the machine is to be used in a repair shop setting. Bear in mind the fact that bigger, multipurpose chargers can accomplish the same tasks as smaller machines, while the reverse is not true.

  • Inspect any charger under consideration for quality of construction. Give thought to the history and reputation of the charger manufacturer, and the warranty being offered. Be advised that a warranty is of no use, if the manufacturer goes out of business or changes the brand name regularly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't buy an open box item or a used car battery charger. It is the kind of tool that is better off bought new because there is no way to verify what someone has done to it, or how they may have abused or misused it causing damage that you won't know about until it's too late.
  • Make sure your charger has a jump start setting. Almost all of the name brand ones do, but this is important because it gives your battery a larger boost temporarily so you can jump start your car without the need for another vehicle.
  • While you are buying a car battery charger it is a great time to invest in a battery jumper pack. A battery jumper pack is a small hand carry unit that contains a battery and two jumper cable leads, and is used to jump start your car. You can charge this by plugging it into the wall at home. It is a good idea to have one of these in the trunk of your car. Then if your battery dies when you are out somewhere, you cant jump it yourself without having to ask someone for help or waiting until someone comes.
  • Follow all battery and battery charger manufacturer's precautions regarding handling and charging of lead-acid batteries.

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References

  • Electric and Electronic Systems for Automobiles and Trucks; Robert N. Brady
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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