Car Battery Charger vs Jump Starter: What’s the Difference. Battery buddy for car

Car Battery Charger vs Jump Starter: What’s the Difference?

If you’re not a car enthusiast, there’s a chance you don’t know about the distinction between a car charger v jumper. But, assuming at the very least you own or drive a vehicle, understanding how these two tools differ is crucial.

Experiencing a dead car battery isn’t a rare occurrence — all drivers have experienced this annoyance at some point. At best, it makes you late for work, at worst, it could prevent you from responding to a family emergency.

Both a car battery charger and jump starter can come in handy when you’re dealing with weak or dead car batteries — but they by no means do the same thing. This article explains the vital differences between a battery charger vs jump starter — and what is most suited for different applications.

What Is a Car Battery Charger?

To comprehend the concept of a car charger, all you have to do is refer to any other charger for any other device. For example, once your phone battery dies, the first thing you’ll do is plug it in. The same rule applies to battery car charger units. However, these devices convert household electricity to 12V DC, which is important — meaning they have to be plugged into a wall socket at all times. Every unit has a different estimated time of fully recharging a battery, and it depends on its overall output. The higher the output, the less time it needs to go through a complete recharge cycle. However, the price also scales with the increase of the output power — meaning that it costs more if you’re aiming for more amps and faster cycles. There are many types of chargers on the market, but the top-used ones are automatic. That means they shut off once the recharge cycle is complete and thus save power and prevent potential damage. In conclusion, a charger is a device that requires time to recharge a battery and delivers a steady flow of current.

What Is a Car Jump Sarter?

Jumpers deliver an instant power signal which provides sufficient grunt to start your car ignition — these devices have notably higher output in comparison to chargers.

That is why there is a term peak in this industry. It marks the highest possible amperage a particular unit can deliver. The larger your vehicle engine, the higher the amps needed to bring it back to life.

Instead of relying on household electricity, jumpers have dedicated internal batteries. As expected, the quality of this component has a massive impact on the overall price of the product.

Furthermore, jumpers can be used for a variety of other things, whereas chargers only usually perform one operation. Many modern starters come equipped with quite a lot of additional features — such as LED lamps and USB and micro USB outputs. Therefore, you can use them as an emergency backup for almost all Smart devices you own.

They’re also quite convenient because most models come with a visually appealing design and small dimensions. You can carry the jump starter in your car’s glove compartment and use it in times of need, especially if you’re on the highway, traveling, or camping.

Features of a Jump Starter vs Battery Charger

Here at Tool Nerds Towers, I’m often asked — what is better, a battery charger or jumper? The truth is, comparing a car battery charger vs jump starter is akin to comparing a smartphone to a laptop. Sure, they share similarities, but the relative usefulness and suitability are distinct — depending on your requirements. Below are the factors that characterize and differentiate each type of machine:

Recharging Your Car Battery

Ok, it’s obvious — battery chargers replenish the juice in your car battery. That said, car batteries themselves aren’t designed to become totally depleted — unlike your smartphone cell. Theoretically, your vehicle’s alternator should constantly recharge the battery during normal driving. Short circuits, old powerpacks, or leaving the lights or radio on, can all cause your battery to become drained — meaning it needs to be recharged. When comparing a battery charger v jump starter, it’s important to note that a jumper will not recharge your battery. Therefore, battery chargers are crucial for the vehicle owner — permitting you to give life back to a dead battery. However, if your battery keeps draining, further investigation is required to find the cause.

Quick Starting Your Engine

An external car battery charger isn’t a quick fix for starting your car. If the battery is dead, a battery charger requires you to partly or fully recharge the cell to get you up and moving again — which could take up to 24 hours.

This is where, when contrasting a battery charger and jumper, the jumper excels. Able to deliver an immediate kick to your ignition system, it allows you to be back on the road again in minutes.

If there is no internal fault and the battery isn’t failing, the alternator should then be able to replenish the battery during normal driving. However, if there’s a deeper issue and the cell isn’t being rejuiced — you still need to use a battery recharger and troubleshoot the underlying problem.

Lack of Portability and Mains Requirement

Compared to a car jumper, charger units are large, heavy, and unwieldy. They’re hardly portable machines to be kept in your car trunk. Furthermore, even if you take your charger on the road with you to safeguard against battery issues — you still need to locate a power socket to plug the unit into. Jump starters are small, compact, and run off their own lithium-ion power cells (as long as you’ve remembered to charge it). Meaning they’re ideal to keep in your car, truck, or RV.

Additional Functions of Battery Charger vs Jumper

Some jump box and charger units offer additional benefits on top of delivering power to your battery.

You can purchase both battery charger and jump starter machines that include an in-built compressor — permitting you to effortlessly inflate flat tires. Although, bear in mind that since a battery charger needs mains access — it can only be used in your home or garage. A jump starter with a compressor can conversely be used out on the road.

Furthermore, unlike standalone chargers, the majority of jumper for car battery units include additional outputs for tech devices — usually the most common USB sockets. And, as a bonus, many jumpers combine an LED lamp with SOS and strobe functions.

Should I Get an External Car Battery Charger or Jump Starter?

Your decision should depend on your expectations and requirements — there is no definite winner because these units don’t share exactly the same concept.

However, some of the good guidelines you should use are written in this article. For example, if you’re looking to fully recharge your battery at all times, opt for a charger. In case you’re having trouble starting your car in the morning, or during cold weather, a jumper might be a better solution — as it solves the predicament instantly instead of over the course of hours.

Another thing you should consider is the price difference between these two products. If you’re on a tight budget and in need of a fast solution, make sure you make the right one, or else it can backfire pretty quickly.

Final Words On Car Battery Charger Vs Starter

In a perfect scenario, you should own one of each, so you don’t have to worry about which is more efficient or more useful.

However, most people can’t count on the perfect scenario, especially those on a strict budget. Our advice is to take a good look at the pros and cons of both products and make sure you understand the difference. Even though it sounds simple enough, a surprising number of potential users get confused quite a bit by all the additional features, capabilities, and fundamental differences between jumpers and chargers.

Make sure to get a device manufactured by a well-respected brand on the market. As you can assume, the difference between cheap copies and legitimate units is massive.

Pay attention to the included batteries if you’re opting for a jumper, as it’s one of the most important features. As far as the chargers go, the better amp per dollar ratio you find, the more you’ll get out of it.

Always take safety seriously and follow the precautionary measures listed in the user manuals. Dealing with electricity, regardless of voltage, is dangerous and can cause severe, sometimes fatal, consequences.

I hope you enjoyed this comparison of a car battery booster charger vs jump starter, and found the information helpful and informative! If you have a car enthusiast buddy who you think might also benefit from this Charger v Jumper 101 — please feel free to share!

Difference Between Battery Charger and Jump Starter FAQs

Where Do I Put the Jumper Cables on Battery Charger?

Connect the positive (usually red) cable to the positive (marked as ) terminal onto the battery. Then, attach the negative cable (usually black) to the negative terminal (marked as – ) on the battery.

Can You Buy a Car Battery Charger That’s Cordless?

No. Due to the energy required to fully recharge a 12-volt vehicle battery — they need to be plugged into the mains or a generator. You can, however, purchase cordless jump starters to get you back on the road.

How Often Should You Use a Car Battery Pack Charger?

Unless you live in extreme weather conditions — either hot or cold — you shouldn’t need to charge your battery often. If you find that a dead or draining cell is a frequent occurrence, get the battery and your vehicle checked out by a professional.

I recommend using a multimeter to investigate voltage and current on a monthly basis, to ensure that your battery is healthy.

Do Portable Car Battery Chargers Stop Charging When Full?

Yes! A booster charger car battery unit will cease charging once your battery is full. This prevents dangerous overcharging and extends the life of the cell.

Car Jumper vs Charger — How Do They Differ?

A battery booster charger connects to a main outlet and is used to replenish dead or partly charged automotive cells. Jump starters are usually cordless, and offer a quick, high-power burst of energy to start a car ignition.

Can You Buy a Battery Charger With Jump Start?

Yes, but they’re extremely rare. Due to working on different principles — a charger delivers slow and steady power, and a jumper knocks out a Rapid high amp burst — combi units are extremely large and heavy as they contain twin internal systems.

What Are the Best Makes of Jump Starter?

For a reliable unit, I suggest checking out the ranges of starters provided by the leading manufacturers JF.EGWO, NOCO, Stanley, and Jump-N-Carry.

What Is the Best, a Battery Jumper or a Charger?

It depends on your requirements. Comparing a charger v jumper, chargers are mains powered units to replenish batteries over a few hours — jumpers are portable cordless devices that instantaneously provide a sufficient kick to start your car ignition.

How Fast Can I Charge My Car Battery?

On May 16, 1986, the iconic movie Top Gun was released. Part way through the best-on-best flight school training Maverick turns to Goose and says (with Goose joining in to finish the line) “I feel the need—the need for speed!” This immortalized string of words seems to personify American thinking. Our insatiable need to go faster, work faster, be faster is intertwined into our DNA. The underpinning of this mindset brings us to an often-asked question, how fast can I charge my battery?

Yikes! That sounds like a simple question, right? But there is so much more wrapped into those eight words that makes answering harder than one may think! Not harder in the sense of complicated, but harder in the sense that you need to understand what type of battery you actually have before connecting the Godzilla of chargers to your car. A basic understanding of battery type and chemistry will go a long way to help prevent catastrophic battery failure.

Safe Rule of Thumb for Charging Your Battery

If you don’t have the time or desire to figure out what type of battery you have in your car, SUV, pickup truck, bike, boat, or RV then speed of charging should be the least of your concern. Simply telling me you have a certain CCA battery does not cut it. If that is all the information you bring to the table, we must default to a safe rule of thumb. After all our goal, as ‘Battery Doctors’ is to do no harm.

For most all lead acid based batteries—Gell, AGM, Conventional—you can safely select a charger with a maximum charge current that is no greater than 20 to 25% of the batteries capacity. I know this article is about fast charging but I should also mention that you do not want to use a charge current of less than 3% of capacity (think trickle chargers and maintainers).

Try and Remember This Safe Maximum Charge Current Jingle: Rule-of-Thumb is 5 to 1

Now I can see the look forming on some of your faces. Most consumers have no idea what the amp hour (AH) capacity is for their car battery, so how are you supposed to apply the safe rule of thumb jingle? To that I would say your right. Many car battery manufacturers do not display this metric on the top sticker. They often seem to singularly and prominently display the CA or CCA. So how in the world can you convert CCA into AH when that’s the only number you have at your disposal?

That is a great question. Sadly, there is no magic formula to convert CCA into AH. They are two entirely different valuation metrics that do not relate to each other. The best option is to pull out your Smart phone and look up the battery part number online to try and see if you can find the amp hour rating.

Sometimes you may get lucky and the Reserve Capacity (RC) is provided on the battery or notated online. If so, you can generally multiply this number by 0.5 to get a sense of where the AH resides. (Some say multiply by 0.6 but I find this variable often has the AH coming out much larger than the manufacturers stated AH).

If you still cannot find the info you are searching for or just don’t want to take the time to find out, you can use some [very] rough estimates. Smaller cars will have batteries that are 25Ah to maybe 45Ah. Larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks will have batteries that range from 40Ah to 70Ah. Smaller RVs, fifth wheels and bass fishing boats often have at least 2 batteries that are 70Ah to 100Ah. Larger camper RVs and trucks could have 4 or more batteries ranging from 100Ah to 250Ah each.

To help put that in to practical terms a 50Ah battery (i.e. a midsize sedan to perhaps a 1500 Chevy truck) could safely use a 5A charger to as high as a 10A or 12A Smart charger. Obviously the 10A charger will be 2x times faster than the 5A charger so if speed is your goal do not select the smallest option. that would be dumb.

Remember, we are applying broad stroke logic here for when we don’t know specifics regarding your battery chemistry or specs. This safe rule of thumb will extend the longevity of the battery and help keep you safe. Let me put it like this, I would think having a car to come back too outweighs the extra hour or two you would save in charge time. Do you get what I am saying? The charred metal skeleton parked in your former home will not prove useful in the end.

Below is a short list of widely used Impact Battery approved car battery chargers that tend to fall within this safe-rule-of-thumb profile stated above and will allow you to safely charge your car battery fast (listed alphabetically):

Battery Theory and Maximum Charging Rates

We have covered some safe charging rates that will help you maximize your speed of charge when you are unsure of what you have. But obviously, we can charge faster if we know more information.

Knowing the type of battery you have makes it much easier to determine the maximum charge current you can use on your lead acid battery. Many of you seem to understand, at least fundamentally recognize, that there is a difference between what we commonly call deep cycle batteries and starting batteries. Or another way to state it is thick plate vs. thin plate batteries.

When it comes to charging your battery, knowing this vital detail may be half the battle. However, there is more to it than simply knowing if you have a starting battery or a deep cycle battery.

The Path of Least Resistance

A batteries internal resistance is of paramount importance when it comes to understanding its charge capabilities. We could not have a thorough discussion about fastest charge times without touching on some theory. To do this we need to mention, dare I say understand, Georg Ohm’s work in this area. Ohm’s Law is the mathematical relationship between current or amperes (I), voltage (V) and resistance (R). The basic equation being I=V/R.

Not wanting to dive deep into the theory and lose all my readers, I think it would be safe to make the following blanket statement:

Thick plate deep cycle batteries typically have a higher internal resistance than their thin plate starting battery cousins.

You may also find this short 6 minute video helpful in understanding the implications of resistance found in within your battery and battery system. James Dann does a good job at presenting basic theory in a very hands on practical manner.

Deep Cycle vs. Starting

Generally speaking, you can charge thin plate batteries at a higher current rate than what should be used on a thick plate battery. The internal resistance is far lower in starting batteries as they are designed to provide a burst of energy in a short span of time. These types of batteries need to magnify the rate in which energy can transfer. Whereas deep cycle batteries, generally with higher internal resistance, are designed to maintain a constant load over a longer time span. I guess you could say they need to slow down the rate in which energy is released.

A typical Group 31 sized battery is usually around 100 amp hour and are used in deep cycle and starting applications. A 100-amp hour thick plate [deep cycle] conventional battery should not be charged with the same amount of current as a 100 AH thin plate pure lead [starting] battery. The results could be messy!

Did you know that a deep cycle battery may actually charge quicker using a slower charge rate? It is true. By slowing the current flow you have removed the ‘bottle neck’ created by the increased resistance. The resulting heat and friction from trying to charge too fast is gone and the battery can actually absorb the charge faster at the slower speed.

A Painful Fast Charging Story

The premium pure lead AGM batteries such as NorthStar and Odyssey that use thin plates and are highly compressed can actually accept a charge rate equal to their stated amp hour capacity! That’s right they can be charged at 100% of their amp hour rating!

Don’t try doing that with a conventional starting or deep cycle battery, the results could lead to catastrophic failure. Case in point:

A couple years ago I took my Suburban to have some work done on the rear brakes. While in the mechanic’s care, he decided to place a 40A charger on my battery. About 15 minutes later, as he explained, he sniffed a terrible sulfur smell and disconnected the charger as he observed a pile of acid on the floor. With that, I no longer had a working battery. He had managed to warp the plates and shorted the cells. The Group 34/78 conventional battery I had in there was only rated for 45 or 50Ah.

Understatement of the Year: NOT ALL BATTERIES ARE CREATED EQUAL! Don’t assume what you did with your battery is what will work for your buddy’s battery.

Should there have been a Northstar NSB-AGM34/78 installed (As I now have), I would have been fine. This pure lead battery not only has a higher amp hour rating (65 AH) but could have withstood the 50A charge without causing harm.

Final Thoughts

Trying to push too much amperage on a battery that cannot accept such a high current rate will create tremendous heat and will damage the battery or worse. Tell tail signs of this type of abuse is a battery case that no longer has flat sides or is discolored. ABS plastic will start to flex and melt at 221 degrees Fahrenheit. It will ignite at 416 degrees. In case it was not obvious, if you are experiencing those types of temperatures, the battery has not failed you; YOU FAILED THE BATTERY!

There are some premium sealed AGM deep cycle batteries, such as Concorde’s LifeLine Marine Battery, that have a really low internal resistance. Like the North Star’s and Odyssey’s these batteries use high compression. These batteries can be charged at higher rates of current compared to other deep cycle batteries. I was told by one LifeLine Battery rep that they can be charged up to 5x their C rate. In truth I am still trying to wrap my head around that one and have yet to suggest such an extreme charge rate to anyone. What I do know is that these Concorde batteries are indeed an industry leader and highly sought after.

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There are two charger companies recommended by many in the industry including Impact Battery, that produce high output chargers. The first and aptly named, Quick Charge, is made right here in the USA and have 12V to 48V heavy-duty industrial battery chargers that can produce up to 100A. The other, Iota, is a charger/power supply manufacturer capable of producing up to 90 amps on their 12 volt units. That is some serious speed!

To recap, remember these four Fast Charging nuggets:

  • If you don’t know what type of battery is in your passenger vehicle, selecting a 10 amp charger is probably your safest bet.
  • The safe maximum charge current rule of thumb is 5 to 1.
  • Pure lead thin plate starting batteries can be charged the fastest, up to 100% of their rated capacity.
  • To a certain extent, deep cycle batteries can actually charge faster at a slower current rate.

Lists of best battery maintainers

When a vehicle is in storage, the batteries gradually lose power. Use a battery maintainer to keep your car’s battery alive. Nothing is worse than finding your car battery drained as you prepare for a road trip or are simply running to the store. Yes, you could always ask a neighbor to jump-start your dead battery and get you running again, but they might not be home. Owning your battery charger is crucial because it’s not the best idea to rely on the possibility that someone may be around.

Using a battery maintainer that ends up harming and reducing the lifespan of your car batteries is not something you want to do. Because of this, we took the time to find, identify, and evaluate the top five battery maintainers available.

Best battery maintainers

The followings are the lists of the best battery maintainers in the market today.

  • NOCO GENIUS10 Automatic Smart Charger and Battery Maintainer
  • DieHard 71219
  • Battery Tender Plus Battery Charger and Maintainer
  • Optima Digital 400 Battery Maintainer
  • Schumacher SC1355 Automatic Battery Maintainer

NOCO GENIUS10 Automatic Smart Charger and Battery Maintainer

Having a maintainer with as many built-in safety mechanisms as possible is also beneficial. It is challenging to surpass the NOCO GENIUS10 in that regard. The GENIUS10, an upgraded, more compact, more powerful version of NOCO’s G7200, features built-in safeguards against overheating, overcharging, short-circuiting, and open-circuit mishaps. Additionally, it is reverse polarity protected and spark-proof, so attaching the wires to the battery terminals in the wrong order won’t harm them. All of these functions make sure that the GENIUS10 protects not only you but also your battery, vehicle, and self.

The use of a car battery maintainer carries some danger. You run the risk of getting shocked whenever you handle electricity, so you should always carefully follow the directions that come with any automatic battery charger or maintainer you use. The GENIUS10 is not only secure but also has a lot of power. Any size of a car battery can be maintained thanks to the 10 amps of charging power.

DieHard 71219

It’s hardly surprising that DieHard, one of the most well-known brands in the battery industry, also produces a superb battery maintainer. This DieHard 71219 Shelf Smart Battery Charger and Maintainer offers incredible value and performance.

You can select from a variety of charging amps, but for battery maintenance, we advise sticking with the 2-amp model. Regardless of the model you select, you will receive incredibly strong cables for a secure connection, and the chargers themselves come with overcharging and reverse polarity protection features.

It’s easy to understand why this Smart charger and maintainer came in at the top of our list when you consider its portability, durability, and lightweight. The absence of settings designed for gel or AGM batteries is the only serious issue with this battery charger and maintainer.

There is no disputing that while the charger may charge certain battery types as well, it doesn’t perform as well as an AGM or gel battery-specific charger. You won’t, however, find a better match than this DieHard battery charger for the majority of residential garages!

Battery Tender Plus Battery Charger and Maintainer

When a battery is being maintained, the Battery Tender Plus continuously gives 1.25 amps of electricity until the battery is full, at which point it enters “float” mode. This indicates that it stops supplying electricity as soon as the battery stops being fully charged owing to typical discharge. When that happens, the Battery Tender Plus brings it back to full and then turns off the power until another discharge is placed.

One of the most well-known names in the battery charging and maintenance industries is Deltran’s Battery Tender brand, and for good reason—the company’s products are frequently hailed as some of the best available. The Battery Tender Plus, a charger, and maintainer that also won the top spot overall on our Cars’ list of the finest chargers, is a good example.

The Battery Tender Plus is a flexible option even if it doesn’t function with deep-cycle batteries. Instead, it can charge and maintain lead-acid, flooded, and sealed maintenance-free batteries. The charging feature may maintain cars, SUVs, and other larger vehicles, while it is mostly advised for those with smaller engines (such as motorcycles, ATVs, and jet skis).

Optima Digital 400 Battery Maintainer

If you use Optima AGM batteries, which are among the best on the market, you should pair them with this excellent charger. Look no further than the Optima Digital 400 if you’re seeking for the best AGM battery maintainer. Your AGM batteries can be maintained and recharged with it, in addition to normal lead-acid and gel batteries.

The hooks make it simple to hang on the hood of your car while you charge everything, and the LCD screen is very easy to see. The built-in battery health mode, however, really sets this AGM battery charger apart from the competition.

Any seasoned mechanic will tell you that using a conventional battery charger with an AGM battery won’t produce the desired results. So, it is preferable to purchase an AGM-specific battery charger and maintainer if you frequently operate with AGM batteries or solely use AGM batteries in your car.

To maximize the life of your battery, this mode automatically performs a diagnostic evaluation of its condition. This diagnostic test is carried out by the Optima Digital 400 throughout the whole charging and maintenance cycle, hence extending the battery’s lifespan. The Optima Digital 400’s pricing is its one serious flaw, yet it isn’t too pricey either. However, it’s advisable to save some money and use a conventional battery charger and maintainer if you don’t intend to charge or maintain AGM batteries.

Schumacher SC1355 Automatic Battery Maintainer

The Schumacher SC1355 is a dependable model from a reputable company for maintaining and charging car batteries. However, one feature that sets apart this Schumacher battery maintainer is the automated amperage adjustment that ensures your battery is maintained effectively, up to a maximum of 1.5 amps. It also switches automatically into float charger mode after the task is over, much like other automobile battery maintainers do. As a result, your battery will always receive care that is customized for it.

The strength of your battery charger determines how quickly your car battery charges (even during extended plugged-in maintenance). This is often expressed in amperes. Your charger is more powerful (and thus more expensive) the higher the amperage.

The Schumacher SC1355 also functions as a deep-cycle battery charger and lead-acid battery maintainer, which is an added benefit. It can therefore be used to recharge the battery of a boat in addition to a car or other smaller vehicle.


Is a battery maintainer a good idea?

The answer is that having a battery maintainer for starting batteries is worthwhile if you have a car or boat that will be idle for weeks or months at a time. You won’t need to purchase batteries as frequently and you’ll feel secure knowing that your battery is safely charged.

Is it OK to leave a Battery Tender on all the time?

Therefore, the quick response is “Yes, you can leave the Battery Tender® Plus (BT Plus) battery charger attached to a battery even when it is being used to power another appliance.”

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What is the best charger maintainer?

The followings are some of the best charger maintainers in the market today:

  • NOCO GENIUS10 Automatic Smart Charger and Battery Maintainer
  • DieHard 71219
  • Battery Tender Plus Battery Charger and Maintainer
  • Optima Digital 400 Battery Maintainer
  • Schumacher SC1355 Automatic Battery Maintainer

What is better a battery maintainer or a trickle charger?

Battery maintainers can be left plugged in whereas trickle chargers should be unplugged after they have finished charging. Keep in mind that while every battery maintainer is “Smart,” it won’t charge a battery that is already full.

battery, charger, jump, starter, difference

How do I choose a battery maintainer?

Generally speaking, your battery charger should be 10% to 20% of the battery’s Ah rating. For instance, a 10 Amp charger is the very minimum needed for a 100 Ah battery. You should keep the charger size to within 30% of the entire capacity to avoid overcharging.

How long will a car battery last on a maintainer?

The majority of car batteries in good condition last for at least two weeks before needing to be recharged by starting the vehicle and driving. However, you should still start your automobile once a week to replenish the 12-volt battery if you won’t be using it for a while for any reason.

Can you overcharge a battery with a maintainer?

A battery maintainer can be connected to a battery forever without the risk of overcharging, unlike normal and trickle chargers.

Can you leave a battery maintainer on overnight?

Battery life and dependability can consequently be extended by proper and consistent use of battery chargers. Even if using a high-quality charger eliminates the possibility of overcharging, the battery shouldn’t be left attached to the charger for longer than 24 hours.

Can you start a car with a battery maintainer plugged in?

Yes, but keeping it connected is unnecessary. When starting, it is safer to take the charger out of the battery. By the time you are starting your automobile, the battery has (or should have) reached its full charge.

What’s the difference between a battery tender and a trickle charger?

A trickle charger continuously delivers a consistent current. It is unaware of the battery’s state of charge or discharge. An intelligent battery tenders. Only when the battery requires charging will it start to recharge.


Battery maintainers are quite important for car owners and battery chargers. Well, with the lists of the best battery maintainers you can now choose the right one for your batteries. I hope you get a lot from this article, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!

What Does a Battery Maintainer Do?

Are you wondering how to properly store your RV or boat? Do you have a vehicle that will be sitting for a while? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, a battery maintainer might be an essential tool to keep in your storage tool kit.

But what does a battery maintainer do exactly? Keep reading to learn when to use a battery maintainer, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to choose the best one for you.

What Is a Battery Maintainer?

A battery maintainer is essentially a small battery charger that sends small amounts of energy to your battery. Doing so lets the battery sit for long periods of time without any activity and lets the battery retain a full charge. They can also help extend the life of your battery by preventing damage to your battery.

The battery maintainer sends a trickle charge to your battery and can sense when it’s fully charged. At this point, it shuts off to avoid overcharging the battery, making it perfect to use when your batteries will be sitting for awhile without any use.

Battery maintainers can be a device that plugs into the wall or can work with a small solar panel.

When Should I Use a Maintainer?

Most of the time battery maintainers are used on starting batteries for engines. Because these batteries do not charge unless the engine is running, they need a maintenance charge, hence the name.

If you have any type of vehicle sitting for two months or longer, a battery maintainer will help keep your battery charged, that way, you can instantly start your car, truck, van, or motorhome when the time comes.

But why does the battery die when you aren’t using it? It’s because of something called parasitic drain and self-discharge. Anything connected to the battery, such as a vehicle’s computer and its electronics, will use a tiny amount of charge. While very slight, this small amount of energy can completely drain your battery over time.

In addition, batteries have what’s called self-discharge. Due to the chemical nature of the battery, batteries lose stored energy over time, even with nothing connected to them. This problem is much greater with lead-acid batteries than lithium, however, and why a battery maintainer is critical on a lead-acid battery.

What’s the Difference Between a Battery Charger and Battery Maintainer?

You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just use a battery charger? What’s the difference between the two?”

A normal battery charger does not stop sending voltage to a battery regardless of its state of charge. For some batteries, this can be detrimental to the battery over long periods of time. Some battery chargers have a Smart mode that senses storage and will lower the voltage or shut off like a maintainer.

battery, charger, jump, starter, difference

On the other hand, battery maintainers shut off once the battery reaches its complete charge. When the battery starts draining again, the maintainer will kick back on, making it ideal for long periods of use.

What Are the Advantages of a Maintainer?

Given what we’ve discussed so far, the advantages of a battery maintainer are pretty obvious–they keep your battery safely topped off so you can hit the road (or water) whenever your heart desires.

They’ll also extend your battery life by keeping it from dying for good during cold spells. And luckily, they’re meant for long-term use, giving you extra peace of mind while your vehicle or boat sits.

Overall a small battery maintainer is much more cost-effective than a full-size charging system just for keeping a battery topped off.

What Are the Disadvantages?

Battery maintainers are fantastic for many reasons, but, of course, they have their downsides as well. For instance, you might not need one at all. If you’ll be driving your vehicle for at least 30 mins once a month, you can probably avoid the unnecessary expense and go without.

Battery maintainers are not chargers and should not be used if the vehicle has any significant loads on it. Make sure all electronics and lights are off or the battery maintainer may not do its job and you will still end up with a dead battery.

Is It Safe to Leave a Battery Maintainer on All the Time?

So, can you really leave your battery maintainer on all the time? Fortunately, the answer is yes! Battery maintainers are designed for constant and long-term use. When used correctly, they should be perfectly safe to use as long as you need.

It’s not a bad idea to check the maintainer every once in a while. While it shouldn’t cause any harm to your batteries, it could short out at some point. Every month or so, just check in to make sure the maintainer is still kicking.

Do They Work with Lithium-Ion Batteries?

It depends. If you’re using a high-quality battery like our line of Battle Born Batteries that have their own built-in BMS, then a battery maintainer will keep it charged. It is likely that it will not keep it completely full, however, if the maintainer is specifically designed for lead-acid.

If, however, you are using a lithium battery without a BMS, then do not try and connect a battery maintainer as it could cause an unsafe scenario.

Thankfully, most lithium batteries don’t need battery maintainers, so this isn’t something you need to worry about. Lithium batteries have a much lower self-discharge rate and, if disconnected, will not go dead even when in storage.

→ Click here to learn more about Lithium-Ion Batteries.

How to Choose a Battery Maintainer

The main factor you should consider when choosing a battery maintainer is your battery’s voltage. Find a maintainer that will properly charge your specific battery.

For example, the 1.25A 12V battery charger and maintainer by Battery Tender is a popular model. It can charge most power sport vehicles but doesn’t have the power to charge a car battery.

There are also battery maintainers that can charge multiple batteries at once. If you have more than one battery in the same or different vehicles, you might consider one of these.

Are Battery Maintainers Worth It?

Whether or not a battery maintainer is worth the expense ultimately depends on your need for one. After all, they serve a specific purpose–to keep your batteries safely charged over a long period of time.

If you have a vehicle or boat that’ll be sitting for months on end, the answer is yes; it’s absolutely worth it to have a battery maintainer for starting batteries. You’ll have the peace of mind that your battery is safely charged, and you won’t have to buy new batteries as often!

If however, you have a bank of lithium batteries for house power, then a battery maintainer is not the best option. Storing them charged and disconnected is your best bet.

What do you think? Are battery maintainers worth it? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!

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