How to Pick the Right Battery Charger
Let me start with a disclaimer: BatteryStuff.com does not sell inexpensive, off-the-shelf chargers often found at retail outlets and certain other online stores. We cater specifically to microprocessor-controlled chargers, also known as smart chargers. All the chargers we stock are reviewed, tested and selected based on function, reliability and durability. These chargers are designed to charge lead acid and other types of batteries based on computer-generated algorithms. Simply put, the charger collects information from the battery and adjusts the charge current and voltage based on this information. This allows the battery to be charged quickly, correctly, and completely when using a smart charger. All the chargers we sell can remain connected to a battery indefinitely and will not overcharge or damage it.
Here are some simple steps to select the right charger for your needs.
Step 1: Choosing a Charger Based on Battery Type
Whether your battery is maintenance free, wet cell (flooded), AGM (absorbed glass mat), gel cell or VRLA (valve-regulated lead acid), one charger should work for all types except for gel cell. However, some of our gel cell chargers will work well with the other battery types.
Step 2: Determining Battery Size
We don’t mean physical size, but how many amp hours your battery stores. For example, a typical full-size auto battery is about 50 amp hours, so you would choose a 10 amp charger that would take about 6 hours to recharge it if the battery were completely dead. Another instance would be a marine deep cycle battery rated at 100 amp hours. It would take a 10 amp charger about 11 hours to recharge a dead battery to near 100% full charge. To calculate your total charge time, a good rule of thumb is to take the amp hour rating of the battery and divide by the charger rating (amps) and then add about 10% for the extra time to totally top off the battery.
Some folks wanting quick recharge should look for a charger with more amps. If you’re not in a hurry, you can select a smaller charger. The most important thing is to make sure you have enough charger power to do the job you require in the time you allocate.
Step 3: Choosing a Battery Charger Based on Desired Outcome
Some folks require a charger to keep their motorcycle, classic car, or aircraft battery charged during the off season. In these cases, a simple low current charger will work fine. Others require a fast and powerful charger to quickly restore a trolling motor battery or a wheel chair battery set. Other types of chargers and the reasons you might need them:
- MULTI VOLTAGE Input chargers for use when visiting a foreign country
- Waterproof chargers for those times when you’re out in the elements
- Chargers that double as power supplies for RV use
- Multi-bank chargers for charging multiple batteries simultaneously
Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out which is the best charger for your application. Additional questions? Let us know in the comments below.
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