How to choose the right battery charger for you

With so many different vehicles and battery charger options now, it’s not always easy to know which is the best option for you. Here’s some advice when trying to select the best battery charger for you.

THE MARKET

It used to be easy to know which charger to go for – just get the biggest and heaviest you can find! That was fine when automotive batteries had to be checked every week and topped up, and they lasted about a year, two if you were really lucky.

Today’s batteries are a different animal, they are smaller, lighter, more powerful and you don’t need to top them up, and with luck they will last for up to five years (and much longer if it’s a Lithium battery). This change in technology has meant that the charger has had to develop too.

Different battery types require different charging routines to ensure that the battery is correctly and fully charged, with the sophisticated electronics now on all vehicles a fault with the battery can cause all sorts of problems.

BATTERY TECHNOLOGY

There are now three main types of battery technology fitted to vehicles:

Calcium/Calcium or Calcium/Silver type is used as a starter battery, and on single battery vehicles this is the type fitted.

AGM or Absorbed Glass Matt, on vehicles fitted with two batteries (and there are more than you think) this is the battery that powers the systems other than the engine related systems.

Lithium-iron type or LiFePO4 is where the cathode is made of lithium iron phosphate. As this technology is relatively new, you’ll find it on newer car models.

CHARGING METHODS

All these battery types require different charging methods if they are to be correctly charged, putting high current into a Calcium battery can damage it and be potentially dangerous, where an AGM type is more able to accept a higher charge. A Lithium Iron battery requires a charger that is specifically designed for Lithium Iron charging – any other battery charger could fatally damage the battery.

So to sum up the ‘one type fits all’ and ‘the bigger the better’ approach to battery charging is no longer acceptable as delicate electronics and humans can suffer unless the correct procedure is followed.

Each one of our charger models carries a description of the battery types it is suitable for.

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