Whether you travel a lot or just commute from home to work, a dead car battery can hurt your day. Rather than get stuck on a turnpike or the side of the highway with a car that just won’t start, you can pack a car battery charger with you.
These small devices you charge at home. Their battery holds a charge until you need it and forms an important part of your emergency roadside kit. When your battery dies, you pull out your portable car battery charger, attach it to the car battery, and jump-start your engine.
How These Differ from Other Portable Charger Devices
These car battery chargers differ from the lightweight portable chargers that you use to charge your laptop or tablet. You cannot charge a car battery using those types of devices. The car battery charger holds a high-capacity charge so it can recharge quickly or change a large battery. Many car battery chargers offer two modes – trickle charge or quick charge. Trickle charges can take five to eight hours. The other thing that makes these devices different than lightweight, portable battery chargers is that some of the devices can jump-start from a ready state using a 40-amp engine start function. You hook jumper cables directly from the car battery to the device to do this.
While you cannot use the portable USB chargers to charge your car battery, you can use some portable car battery chargers to charge your smartphone or tablet. These devices have a USB port on the side along with the connections to attach jumper cables. You can also use these multi-device chargers to power up your jet skis, lawnmowers, and powered tool. When you need to work on a building project that requires power tools, you can take this device with you to charge the tools which free you from needing to run a lengthy extension cord and lets you work where you could not run an extension cord.
Problems That Can Occur with These Devices
These devices can fail if you need to use the reverse polarity function. Weather can also affect the performance and reliability of these devices. Extreme cold temperatures can cause a battery to lose charge while stored in your car trunk. This makes them less reliable in winter unless you keep them indoors and only take them with you to the car on each trip, then tote them back inside when you return home. In winter, always keep the battery in the vehicle’s front or rear seat, so it can remain charged. The heater in the auto will typically keep it warm enough to stop it from losing charge.
Cost of These Devices
A huge range of costs exists in relation to these items. You could pick up a cheaper version for about $30 that trickle charges a battery. You could also spend more than $125 on a charger/starter model that lets you trickle charge, quick charge, and jump-start a vehicle. Most of these battery devices do not include jumper cables. You need to purchase them separately. These items also have a wide range in costs from a low-end of $10 to a high-end of $70. Try to purchase a medium-length cable set, so you do not have to precariously position the charger to use it with short cables. Long cables tend to tangle in the trunk.
Consideration in Use
When your car battery requires a jump, this can signal you need to replace the battery. It depends on the situation. If you forget to turn off your car lights and the battery dies, you can probably recharge it, and it will continue to work fine for some time. If you just went out to start the car one morning and the battery has died during the night, you can jump it to drive it to the store and buy a new battery. Batteries do wear out, and it won’t work to simply charge the charger repeatedly and jump the battery multiple times. Batteries lose the ability to hold a full charge over time. Eventually, you need to replace that battery. It is better if you jump it and drive directly to an auto parts store, Walmart, Target, etc. to buy a new battery.