Car battery: 8 chargers tested (2021)

Eight car battery chargers under 90 euros in the test

A charger can significantly extend the life of a car battery. AUTO BILD, together with the testing organization KÜS, tested eight car battery chargers for less than 90 euros. And: more information about the right charger!

Discharged car batteries are still the number one cause of breakdowns in Germany. That’s why drivers should own theirs Maintain the battery with a charger and recharge it regularly. This is not only useful in winter, when cold temperatures and many consumers such as the rear window and seat heating cause problems for the car battery. Regular recharging is also recommended for short-haul cars, where the alternator often cannot fully charge the battery. Another reason to connect a car battery charger: Longer downtimes (e.g. in winter storage). If you do not take care of the vehicle battery during this time, the car will refuse to start the engine the next time it is started. Reason: one Vehicle battery discharges slowly, even when disconnected. If you want to prevent, it is best to use a trickle charger for the 230-volt household socket and leave the battery permanently attached to it. Top-of-the-line devices for easy use on the vehicle are available for significantly less than 100 euros. AUTO BILD, together with the testing organization KÜS and the independent test laboratory, has fact eight battery chargers at prices between 20 and 90 euros tested.

# Chargers in the test to offer

CTEK CT5 Time To Go

Price *: 80.74 euros

Test result: very good


NOCO Genius 5

Price *: 68.97 euros

Test result: good


Bosch C3

Price *: 42.20 euros

Test result: good


Gysflash 6.12

Price *: 74.76 euros

Test result: good


Optimate 6

Price *: 87.76 euros

Test result: good


Eufab 16616

Price *: 20.89 euros

Test result: still good


Norauto Essential

Price *: 49.99 euros

Test result: satisfactory


Einhell CE-BC 6M

Price *: 36.99 euros

Test result: sufficient

* Purchase price of the test product

Six car battery chargers convince in the test

The Swedish CTEK CT5 Time to go was the test winner with the grade “very good”, while Einhell’s CE-BC 6M was only awarded a “sufficient” rating. In between were four chargers rated “good”, namely the Noco Genius 5, the price-performance winner Bosch C3,
Gysflash 6.12 and Optimate 6. The testers rated the Eufab 16 616 charger as “still good”. The Norauto Essential received the grade “satisfactory”. With the chargers from Norauto, Eufab and Einhell, the testers complained, among other things, that the test battery had discharged again shortlyif the charger was disconnected from the mains but still connected to the battery. The loss of capacity due to reverse current from the charged battery was so great that no or only a few points could be given for it. Good for forgetful car owners: All test devices were also able to revive batteries that were deeply discharged to 4.5 volts. This can happen if, for example, you forgot to switch off the vehicle lights or the radio does not turn off automatically.

Conclusion by Bernd Volkens: As a screwdriver, there is basic equipment for the workshop, and that includes a good battery charger. I pay attention to quality, because the test shows: the differences in performance are great. If the socket is missing at the parking space, the battery has to be taken out and hibernated on the charger in the cellar.

The best car battery charger: CTEK CT5 Time to go

The test winner with the top rating “very good” was the CTEK CT5 Time to go. The Swedish manufacturer was also able to secure the top ranking in the 2018 test. With a total of 428 out of a possible 460 points, it achieved the best test result. In the quality chapter, the CTEK got the full number of points, it only left one point for the range of functions, and the charger is also at the fore in the other test fields. Plus: Thanks to the regeneration stage, the CTEK CT5 Time to go can, in the best case scenario, refresh batteries that have already been damaged by means of targeted voltage peaks. So it takes on a similar function to a battery pulse.

AUTO BILD test grade

  • High quality
  • Large range of functions
  • Easy handling


How AUTO BILD and KÜS tested it

We did not determine the differences between the chargers on the car, but in the laboratory. For the sake of comparability, all eight of them went to fact to Heimertingen in Bavaria, where there is a test stand on which the tests were carried out and documented in a reproducible manner. The highest scores were given for the electrical tests, followed by the range of functions and the quality – after all, a charger should do the job reliably with as many battery types as possible. In the drop test, the aim was to withstand a fall from a height of one meter without damage. In the charging test, a battery that had been discharged by 25 Ah was recharged and the time was measured. The charging curves were determined, the applied voltages and the current flow recorded. In order to receive the full range of functions, the chargers had to recognize different battery types and of course be able to charge them.

What kind of car battery charger is right?

Really good car battery chargers should have certain features. A lot of importance was attached to this in the test:

Charge retention: The GTÜ experts paid particular attention to the charging and charging maintenance procedure. A maximum of 50 of the total of 500 evaluation points, more than in any other individual discipline, could be earned. CTEK and Dino, who charge different battery types from wet to gel to AGM batteries particularly gently and, thanks to the interplay of recharge and trickle charging, can maintain optimum performance over long periods of time, achieved full points here.

Charging voltage: Universally applicable chargers should not only optimally adapt to different battery types with regard to the charging characteristics, but should also be suitable for really fully charging newer batteries with modern glass fiber fleece technology (AGM). This requires an optionally increased charging voltage of up to 14.7 volts. All “highly recommended” devices can do that.

Regeneration function: CTEK and Dino also offer a special regeneration function with which they can, under certain circumstances, help recharge batteries that have already been damaged. The battery is briefly gassed by a time-limited voltage increase of a maximum of 15.8 volts. In this way, a possible acid stratification can be eliminated in wet batteries. Almost all test devices were also able to revive batteries that were deeply discharged to 3 volts. Only with Pearl and Dino were these limits somewhat higher, namely at 4.5 and 6 volts.

How do you connect the charger correctly?

1. Disconnect the car battery: Remove the black cable from the negative pole and the red cable from the positive pole.

2. Check battery: Most batteries have vent holes for gas leaks; check that they are free. Remove battery if necessary.

3. Connect the charger: Do not yet apply power to the charger. Connect the red clamp to the plus pole and the black clamp to the minus pole.

4. Start the charging process: Plug the charger into the socket and switch it on. The charging process starts.

5. Battery full: Modern chargers automatically recognize a full battery and then switch off. With older devices you have to take a look at the display from time to time.

What does a car battery charger cost?

The AUTO BILD test has shown that a good charger for the car battery does not have to be expensive. There are good chargers for as little as 40 euros, such as the Dino charger, which won the test in terms of price / performance. For the best chargers in the test, 80 to 90 euros are on the label. But people prefer to stay away from cheap products for around 20 euros. In the test, there were mainly problems with reverse currents: In the case of the four “conditionally recommended chargers”, the GTÜ testers complained that the test battery soon discharged when the charger was disconnected from the mains but still connected to the battery was. The loss of capacity due to reverse current from the charged battery was so great that no more points could be awarded for it.

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