Car battery chargers guide

If you have a car in storage, or your car just won't start, you might need the help of a battery charger!

Car battery chargers plug into your mains electricity socket and attach to the terminals of your car battery. They can be used to charge up a battery that has run low or to maintain a car battery that isn't being used - for example, if you leave your car in storage.

If you want to know how to charge your car battery, take a look at our guide.

What do they do?

All chargers send electricity to your car's battery, but there are three main functions that they can perform. Make sure that the charger you buy can do what you need it to!

  • Maintenance charging: Also called 'trickle' charging, this sends a small amount of electricity to your battery to keep it healthy while it's being stored for long periods of time.
  • Conventional charging: This sends power to your battery to charge it up from a low amount of power. It takes between 6-24 hours, but normally about 10 hours to charge a battery to full.
  • Engine start function: This is the same as jump starting your car. It takes a lot more power, so is normally seen on more heavy-duty chargers.

What types are available?

There are two main types of battery chargers: standard and smart.

Standard chargers

Standard chargers have traditional styling, simple interfaces and limited additional features. While they can be a cost-effective option, they don’t tend to have the more sophisticated functionality that you’ll get in a smart charger. They’re also not suitable for vehicles with start-stop technology.

Automatic Battery Charger

Best basic charger: The Halfords Automatic Battery Charger recharges and protects batteries in 12V vehicles up to 2L.

It’s suitable for lead acid and gel batteries and can recharge a battery in around 15 hours (based on a 60Ah battery).

Smart chargers

Smart chargers are more technologically advanced and can be used for both charging your battery and as a long-term connection for maintenance charging.

They come with various added features and provide multiple charging stages for more efficient charging, which helps to extend a battery’s lifespan.

They'll also automatically detect the fastest charging mode and will switch to a trickle charge when the battery is full, so there's no risk of over-charging and damaging your battery!


Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger

Best smart charger: The Halfords Advanced Smart Battery Charger (6A) is compact, easy to use and compatible with 6V and 12V batteries.

With one touch button operation, it provides a 7-stage charging cycle for lithium batteries and a 9-stage cycle for lead acid/AGM batteries, before switching to long-term maintenance mode when your battery is full.


Best smart charger for car enthusiasts: The NOCO GENIUS5 is one of the most advanced chargers of its kind.

High-performing, energy-efficient and compact, the NOCO GENIUS5 is designed to safely charge and maintain 6-volt or 12-volt vehicle or leisure batteries, including flooded, AGM, EFB, lithium and Start-Stop varieties.

Which one do I need?

If you know what sort of charging you want to do, there are just a couple of things to think about when picking a battery charger:

Engine size: How big is your engine? A bigger engine needs a bigger battery, which in turn needs a more powerful charger! Check that your charger is suitable for the size of your engine.

Battery type: What kind of battery have you got? Lead acid batteries work with all kinds of battery chargers as long as they're suitable, but if you have a gel or calcium battery, or an AGM/EFB battery that’s normally found in cars with start-stop functions, then you’re going to need a smart charger.

Features: What kind of features are you looking for? Do you want a digital display that’s easy to read? Perhaps a winter mode? Specific charging cycles? Have a think about your requirements and that will help to narrow down your options.

So, there you have it - a quick guide to car battery chargers. Make sure that the charger is right for the job that you want, and that it's compatible with your battery, and you're good to go! Head over to our range for more information, or see if we’ve answered your question in our FAQs below.

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