Battery Tender Car Battery Charger

Last updated date: December 31, 2019

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We looked at the top Car Battery Chargers and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Car Battery Charger you should buy.

Overall Take

Designed to fully charge a car battery without damaging it the way trickle chargers can. It works as fast as (or faster than) 3-amp chargers. The quick-connect harness and 6-foot power cord make it easy to use. In our analysis of 155 expert reviews, the Battery Tender Battery Tender Car Battery Charger placed 5th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 28, 2020:
Checkout The Best Car Battery Charger for a detailed review of all the top car battery chargers.

Expert Summarized Score
15 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
5,649 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
This is a spark-proof battery, and it’s ideal for cars and other automobiles – such as motorcycles or scooters.
- Byways
The built-in microprocessor gives you set and forget capability unsurpassed in the marketplace.
- Geartec Online
One intuitive feature of this battery maintainer is the fact that it is temperature compensated. This means no matter the temperate, it will automatically adjust to ensure that the battery is charging to the correct voltage. Once the battery reaches its full charge, it will automatically switch to a float mode to keep the battery topped up.
- Pro Car Reviews
A 6-ft power cord is long enough to let you connect to your cell in a good distance from the outlet. An advantage is reverse polarity protection that guarantees safety as the red and green indicators alternately blink during this process.
- iPerfect List
This car battery charger is fully automatic and will save you time and effort. It is designed to fully charge your battery and then maintain it at a proper storage voltage without damaging it as a trickle charger could.
- Car Outfitter
Another handy feature is that LED indicator instructions appear on the unit. How thoughtful! This information is very helpful. Yet you don't have to dig for the manual.
- Best Advisor
Battery Tender features reverse polarity protection so as to ensure safety while using
- Top Ten Product Review
The charger is designed to fully charge a battery and continue it at proper storage voltage without the harmful effects caused by trickle chargers. Temperature compensated to make sure finest charge voltage rendering to ambient temperature.
- Review Fantasy
April 6, 2018 | Full review
It can quickly charge up a battery and also keep it at the optimum voltage without causing any of the damage trickle chargers are usually known for.
- RV Expertise
Responsive to change in temperature means it can be used the same in hot and cold places.
- Battery Focus
Reliable charging for a variety of battery types
- Car Battery Chargers Central
May 1, 2013 | Full review
The tender comes with reverse-polarity protection to help keep you safe. This 1.25-amp charger was created to completely charge your vehicle’s battery and keep it at the right storage voltage. It does this without the damaging impacts that trickle chargers can cause.
- Mostcraft
It comes with advanced technology meant specifically for modern sealed lead acid batteries.
- OBD Advisor
Spark Proof connectors
- Paul's Gigantic Garage
May 24, 2017 | Full review
It is very portable, being sized for a desktop and while it will take a long time to charge a battery when it’s completely dead, it is great for keeping your boat batteries topped up safety with its automatic change to float/maintenance mode when it detects a full charge.
- Profishing Gear Reviews
What experts didn't like
Charging larger batteries, it takes a while
- iPerfect List
The bottom does not have rubber stand-offs or feet
- Car Outfitter
This unit is not waterproof due the vents on top, so I put it up on a piece of wood to keep it off the floor, and shielded it with an inverted bucket in case it rains.
- Best Advisor
It is Slightly Difficult to Use on a Dead Battery
- RV Expertise
Shorter cord (6’) can make charging awkward
- Battery Focus
Indicator lights difficult to see in bright light
- Car Battery Chargers Central
May 1, 2013 | Full review
Gets quite hot during use
- OBD Advisor
Cannot charge dead batteries
- Paul's Gigantic Garage
May 24, 2017 | Full review
Will take a long time to charge a dead battery
- Profishing Gear Reviews

From The Manufacturer

Battery Tender Plus 12V - 1.25A. The Battery Tender Plus is a 1.25-amp battery charger designed to fully charge a battery and maintain it at proper storage voltage without the damaging effects caused by trickle chargers. Included is a quick connect harness for hard to reach areas. Temperature compensated to ensure optimum charge voltage according to ambient temperature. Automatically switches from full charge to float charging mode. Battery Tender at 1.25-amp will charge as fast or faster than any 3-amp charger available. Reverse Polarity Protection to ensure user safety. Red & Green Lights Alternately Flash in this condition. Complete 4-step charging program (Initialization, Bulk Charge, Absorption Mode, Float Mode). 10 year warranty. Perfect for all lead-acid, flooded or sealed maintenance free batteries (AGM and gel cell)

Overall Product Rankings

1. DBPOWER Portable Battery Charger and Jump Starter
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 17
2. GOOLOO Portable Battery Charger and Jump Starter
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Clore Automotive Jump Starter
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 16
4. NOCO Portable Car Battery Jump Starter Pack
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 15
5. Battery Tender Car Battery Charger
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 15
6. GOOLOO Quick Car Jump Starter and Charger
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 4
7. NOCO Car Battery Charger and Maintainer
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 15
8. BLACK+DECKER Battery Charger and Maintainer
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 18
9. STANLEY Car Power Station Jump Starter
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 14
10. MOTOPOWER Car Battery Charger and Maintainer
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 16

An Overview On Car Battery Chargers

A car battery charger is one of those things you might not think about buying until you need it, but then you will wish you had the foresight to purchase one in advance. Choosing the right vehicle battery jumper or charger device depends on several factors unique to your situation.

The primary consideration to determine is what type of car battery charger will best suit your needs.

Vicki Liston is the writer, producer and narrator of “On The Fly…DIY,” an award-winning home improvement and DIY show of unique project tutorials for the casual DIY’er.

“There are two basic types of car battery chargers: trickle and smart (also called multi-step) chargers,” shares Liston. “I don’t consider the float chargers to be actual ‘chargers,’ as they won’t resurrect a dead battery and are only used to maintain the charge.”

Learning the pros, cons and capabilities of a car battery charger type is helpful in the decision-making process.

“Trickle chargers are the most inexpensive,” Liston says, “but they are also the slowest.”

While this might seem like a downfall, it can be an advantage in certain situations.

“If you aren’t in a major rush to recharge, a trickle unit will serve you well,” explains Liston. “It’s actually better for the battery to charge slower than faster as a fast charge can generate a lot of heat and damage the battery.”

If safety is top of mind, a smart charger might be a better choice.

“Smart or multi-step chargers employ the use of a microprocessor to assess the battery and make automatic decisions about how to charge. The standard versions have the automatic stop feature to avoid overcharging, damage, and explosions,” Liston points out. “They can also detect if you’ve accidentally connected the cables to the wrong terminals, called ‘reverse polarity protection.’ A trickle charger will ruin a battery if connected incorrectly while a smart charger just won’t begin to charge at all. Understandably, these are the more expensive option, but they are also the safest.”

Be sure to check the amp rating on a potential car battery charger, as this will let you know how quickly it will charge your battery.

“Trickle chargers are rated at below one amp so it may take a few days to fully charge a battery,”  Liston says. “Again, slower is better for the battery, but you might not have the luxury of waiting around that long and need it up and running in a hurry.

“Higher rated chargers can run around 20 amps and the emergency ‘get this thing started NOW’ type chargers can crank out 40 amps to get you on the road in a hot minute,” continues Liston. “Some smart chargers allow you to choose a recharge setting based on your circumstances. You can set it lower when you have the time to wait and it won’t expend unnecessary, damaging heat. Set it higher only when the occasion calls for speed. You’ll have the best of both worlds in one charger.”

DWYM Fun Fact

The materials used to make vehicle batteries are recycled more than any other material used in consumer products in the world. A whopping 99% of battery lead is recycled, compared with 55% of aluminum cans, 45% of newspaper and 26% of tires and glass bottles.

Used lead grids, components and ingots as well as used plastic cases and pellets from an old car battery can be recycled into lead grids, cases and components for new automotive batteries.

Unfortunately, people do not always recycle responsibly. An estimated 1.8 million used batteries end up in landfills and other dangerous places. An improperly dumped lead-acid battery can leak lead, acid and mercury into the ground, lakes and streams.

The good news is that recycling used vehicle batteries is hassle-free. Most automotive parts retailers or dealership service departments will handle it for you. Just drop it off at a participating retailer. You might even receive a credit toward your need battery or even a general store credit when you do, making it a win-win for everyone.

The cycle for recycling automotive batteries is indefinite. The components of each vehicle’s battery are largely comprised of recycled lead and plastic, which can, in turn, be recycled over and over again.

The Car Battery Charger Buying Guide

  • If you decide on a trickle car battery charger, Liston highly recommends an advanced model to ensure the safest operation possible. “The lower end models should not be ‘attached and forgotten’ as they will not stop charging when the battery has reached maximum capacity,” advises Liston. “Because of this, they run the risk of overcharging and even causing an explosion. The higher-end models, usually referred to as advanced trickle chargers, can detect when a battery is fully charged and either stop or automatically switch over to ‘float’ mode to maintain the charge. “
  • Since you should always put safety first, the right clamps are essential. “Whether you go with a trickle or a smart charger, I highly recommend looking for a model with spark-proof clamps,” Liston notes. “Sparks can not only damage both the charger and the battery but they can cause fires so this safety feature should be a must.”
  • “If you are only looking to keep a car battery charged, opt for a 12-volt only model,” suggests Liston. “However, if you’ve got other types of battery-operated vehicles, such as an ATV, boat, jet ski, riding lawn mower, or golf cart, you might want to consider a 6/12 or a 12/24 volt charger. This will allow you to use your charger in multiple applications instead of having a different charger for each volt size. 6/12/24 chargers are commercially available however they are extremely expensive and it’s cheaper to own both a 6/12 and a 12/24 than one 6/12/24 version.”