If you’re in the market for a battery charger, there’s more to it than you might first think. With so many different features and types to choose from, it’s important that you buy the right battery charger for your needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a battery expert or a complete novice, everyone could use a helping hand once in a while. So, if you want to make sure you get the most out of your battery charger, here is a buying guide to get you started on the right track.
Different types of battery charger
There are many different options when it comes to buying a battery charger, with some known as smart or intelligent chargers that can have multiple advanced features, as well as simple chargers that just get the job done.
Intelligent battery chargers carry functions such as auto cut-off and protection from overcharging, which can be incredibly helpful if you forget that you’ve plugged your batteries in! Some smart battery chargers will even monitor the voltage and capacity of your batteries to make sure they’re still in great condition.
Other clever types of battery charger to look out for are the ones that offer a ‘trickle’ charge. In other words, once your batteries are charged up but still plugged in, there will be a small, trickling amount of charge to keep them powered up. Be careful not to leave them plugged in for too long though.
You can buy battery chargers for one specific battery size, or a universal model that will allow you to charge the 5 most common sizes; AAA, AA, C, D and 9V. This is particularly useful if you use a variety of rechargeable batteries on a regular basis.
If you’re on the road a lot, or travelling, you may want to keep your eye out for a charger that has plugs appropriate for other countries.
Battery charging speeds
You’ve probably seen battery chargers that are described as super-fast and will charge your batteries in under 15 minutes. The speed of your charger will depend ultimately on your needs; do you need a quick charge up before you head out the door? Or are you in no rush for your rechargeable batteries to be powered up?
There are a range of battery chargers that are able to charge your batteries, from 15-minute and 1-hour chargers to overnight battery chargers. The charging time will also vary depending on the size and capacity of the batteries themselves.
The most important factors
Many people find that a charging indicator is very handy when using their battery charger. A lot of chargers will have an LED light to indicate whether the batteries are flat, charging or full. More advanced models will have an LCD display screen to give you further information.
Likewise, you may want to know how much capacity is left in your battery. The amount of charge your batteries receive will decrease over time, so making sure you know the condition of your rechargeable batteries can ensure you always have a back up!
Many high end, smart battery chargers can be expensive, so consider what you need from it before you buy it. Buying the cheapest isn’t necessarily the right solution either, so do your research on the chargers you find. The important thing to remember with using rechargeable batteries and a compatible charger is that you will still be saving money by not using disposable, alkaline batteries!