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By: Kathryn Parkman & Chris Davies | Updated Sep 17, 2021

Many of the portable car battery chargers on the market offer flexibility. Most can jump-start a vehicle. Some also have USB chargers, air tanks or built-in AC inverters.

If you’re looking for a charger, make sure it has enough amperage to jump-start your vehicle, whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle or something else. For instance, units made for a four-cylinder probably won't have enough amperage to jump a diesel engine or a V-8 gas engine.

Read our portable car battery chargers buying methodology to see how we rated each company.

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Our Picks for Top Portable Car Battery Chargers

NOCO GENIUS1

NOCO GENIUS1

4.6/5.0

Pros

  • Fully automatic
  • Works with cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers
  • Advanced battery maintainer
  • Integrated thermal sensor

Cons

  • Only works on batteries up to 30 amps
  • Charging may take a while

The NOCO GENIUS1 is a small 1-amp smart charger that will charge 6-volt and 12-volt lead-acid batteries in cars, marine applications and deep-cycle batteries. It also charges AGM, gel, flooded, lithium-ion and maintenance-free batteries.

The GENIUS1 features an integrated thermal sensor to detect ambient temperature so that it charges properly in hot or cold temperatures without overcharging or undercharging. It also has a feature that allows you to charge batteries that are completely dead.

This fully automatic portable battery charger works as a trickle charger, which means that it takes hours to charge a battery.

NOCO GENIUS5

NOCO GENIUS5

4.7/5.0

Pros

  • Compatible with all types of vehicles
  • Fully automatic
  • Charges dead batteries
  • Relatively small and lightweight

Cons

  • Desulfation process can slow charging times
  • Some people find instructions confusing

The GENIUS5 features a battery maintainer, desulfator and trickle charger. It will charge 6-volt and 12-volt batteries for cars, boats and all of your toys. The battery charger works on maintenance-free, lithium-ion, flooded, gel and AGM batteries.

It comes with an integrated thermal sensor to sense the ambient temperature. This function allows you to charge the battery without worrying about it overcharging because of the outside temperature or undercharging in cold climates.

This charger also restores old batteries by detecting battery sulfation and acid stratification. With the force mode, you can charge a battery that is fully depleted.

Potek 6V/12V 4A car battery charger

Potek 6V/12V 4A car battery charger

4.5/5.0

Pros

  • Features reverse polarity protection
  • Charges batteries from 2 to 120 Ah
  • Maintains all battery sizes
  • Features 11 stages to recharge the battery

Cons

  • Not waterproof or water-resistant
  • Must "scroll" through modes to find the different types of batteries

The Potek charger works with all types of batteries, including enhanced flooded batteries. It features an LCD screen so you can see the charging modes and has several safety features, including over-voltage protection, over-current protection, overcharging protection and over-temperature protection.

The 11 stages include diagnosis, pre-charge, desulfation, CC1, soft start, CC2, CV, analyze, repair, maintenance and recovery. It will charge batteries in cars, small trucks, lawn mowers, motorcycles, boats and more.

SUHU car battery charger

SUHU car battery charger

4.5/5.0

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Charge batteries for cars, trucks, boats, lawn mowers and more
  • Compatible with most batteries
  • Battery desulfator to repair batteries

Cons

  • Up to three days for pulse repair
  • Temperature scale is only in Celsius

The SUHU car battery charger charges 12-volt and 24-volt lead-acid batteries. It will also charge deep-cycle and marine batteries, but it does not charge lithium batteries. The charger features automatic sulfating and acid stratification and has a pulse repair function to repair a battery. However, it cannot revive a completely dead battery, and it can’t repair a battery with extensive damage.

This charger features automatic monitoring so that it stops charging when the battery is 100% charged. It also features automatic 12-volt or 24-volt detection. The case is durable and features an efficient design.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40

NOCO Boost Plus GB40

4.7/5.0

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Holds a charge for a long time
  • Heavy-duty clamps
  • GB40 recharges in about nine hours

Cons

  • For starting diesel engines with glow plugs, you need to let the glow plug light go off before you hook up the GB40

The NOCO Boost Plus GB40 will not only charge a battery, but it will also jump a dead battery. It’s a compact unit that puts out 1,000 amps. You can get up to 20 jump-starts on one charge. It will jump or charge gas engines up to six liters (V-8 engines) and diesel engines up to 3 liters. It features a mistake-proof design and spark-proof technology.

This booster pack also works as a portable power bank and includes an LED flashlight. It also charges USB devices. The GB40 features high-discharge lithium technology, so it’s safe to use in any climate. The rubberized casing prevents scratching your vehicle when you need to set it on the fender.

For such a powerful portable battery charger, it is surprisingly light. It weighs 2.4 pounds and includes heavy-duty battery clamps.

How We Found the Best Portable Car Battery Chargers

We chose these chargers based on their ability to charge several types of batteries, the extra features available on the chargers and recent customer reviews. We also looked for chargers that would also double as a jump-starter. For more, read our guides on how to find the best extended car warranty or car insurance.

Compare Portable Car Battery Chargers

Below, compare our top picks on whether or not they can jump a completely dead battery, amps, manufacturer’s warranty and price.

Dead battery jump Storage capacity Limited warranty Starting cost*
NOCO GENIUS1 Yes 30 Ah Three years $29.95
NOCO GENIUS5 Yes 120 Ah Three years $69.95
Potek car battery charger Yes 2 to 120 Ah $31.99
SUHU car battery charger No 6 to 150 Ah $29.99
NOCO Boost Plus GB40 Yes Varies One year $99.95

*As of publishing date

Bottom Line: What to Look For in Portable Car Battery Chargers

When purchasing a portable car battery charger, be sure the charger has enough amperage to charge your vehicle’s battery. If you are purchasing a charger combined with a jump box, be sure the jump box has enough cranking amps to turn your vehicle’s starter over. Also take the size of the charger and its weight into consideration. If you plan to carry it around, you don’t want it to be cumbersome.

Portable Car Battery Chargers FAQ

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A portable battery charger is one that you can take with you on the road to charge a dead battery. It might have additional features such as an air tank, flashlight, USB charging ports and more.
A charger charges the battery over time. A jump-starter cannot charge a battery – it only provides enough juice to start the vehicle a few times before it has to be recharged.
On average, a portable car battery charger lasts four to five years.
Yes, but it is a gas-powered generator that provides enough electricity to charge the large batteries in an electric vehicle.
Yes, you can charge a car battery without removing it.