Almost every motorist has had to deal with a dead car battery at least once from the time they started owning a car. This is a common occurrence, especially in the winter months when your car battery has to work extra hard to power the electrical components. In many cases, people either turn to a car battery charger or jump starter to resuscitate their batteries.
However, these two devices have very different functionalities in how they get your battery to start functioning once again. For the inexperienced, it can be confusing to choose between the two when faced with a dead car battery.
So, to get you more informed, we look at the difference between a car battery charger and jump starter, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Car Battery Charger
A car battery charger works like a laptop or mobile phone charger. The charger plugs into an electrical outlet and connects to the car battery terminals via cables that resemble booster cables. Just like in cell phone chargers, the car battery charger delivers a continuous flow of power to recharge the empty battery.
One thing to note, though, is that car batteries aren’t directly compatible with the standard electrical outlets as far as voltage and current type are concerned. They also don’t come with an average charging port. For this reason, the car batteries come in to sort out the issue.
Other electronics such as mobile phones have a charging port designed exclusively for chargers that can plug into the normal electrical outlets in our houses. Meanwhile, car batteries need a 21V DC type current to charge, but electrical outlets give out a 120AC type current. Furthermore, they use special cables that link to the battery terminal because of the lack of dedicated charging ports.
Types Of Car Battery Chargers
Car battery chargers feature varying Ah ratings, which relate to their strength and how fast they can recharge a battery. The amp-hour rating usually ranges between 0.5Amp and over 100Amp. On average, a car battery comes with a 48Ah rating whereas smaller vehicles such as snowmobiles and jet skis have a lower 20Ah rating.
This means if a car battery charger has a 6amp rating, it will need 8 hours to fully recharge the battery. To get the charging time required to get the battery to full capacity, simply divide the battery amp rating by the charger’s amp-hour rating, i.e. (48A/6Ah=8h).
Using A Car Battery Charger
A car charger battery is better suited for the maintenance of the battery when the car is stored in the garage and the battery is weak. However, if the battery keeps on dying even after hours of charging, it is probably time to replace it.
The car battery charger is perfect for maintaining a car’s battery charge on a vehicle that is stored away or for a vehicle with a weak battery. For example, If your car battery is consistently failing and discharged, try charging for several hours and see if it comes back to life.
Given that it will take a couple of hours to fully recharge a car battery, the charger is not ideal when it comes to emergencies. If your battery dies in the middle of traffic, you can’t use a charger for such a situation. Rather, you turn to portable car jump starters for a ready solution.
Portable Jump Starter
A jump starter is basically a portable battery pack that’s been designed to jump-start a vehicle without connecting to a power source or another vehicle. These devices come with a 12V DC output, as well as specialized jumper cables.
The jumper cables are connected to the car battery terminals and draw the power from the jump starter battery pack then transfer it to the car’s battery. A portable jump starter does not charge a battery as a charger does; instead, it merely helps to kick-start the battery via a quick injection of power.
As soon as the car engine turns on, the alternator starts charging the battery.
Using A Portable Jump Starter
A jump starter is an ideal accessory to have in your car when a dead car battery interrupts your journey. It comes in handy in such an emergency where an immediate solution is required. The compactness and portability of the jump starter allow you to carry it under the car seat or in the car trunk with no hassle.
Aside from kick-starting the car battery, portable jump starters can also be used to charge other electronics because they have USB charging ports. Their powerful LED lights may be used for extra lighting when you are driving.
So, the next time you get on the road, remember to carry your portable jump starter just in case your car battery dies without warning. However, if the car is sitting inside the garage, a car battery charger will come in handy for maintenance of the battery.