Car battery chargers are an interesting market to study. On the one hand, you could find plenty of cheap car battery chargers for some tens of pounds. They mostly work well enough, but can you trust them to last for a long time? Or, ensure that it won’t cause even more damage to your car? On the other hand, you’d find tonnes of high-quality chargers that’ll do your car justice. But, they often cost quite a bit of cash.
Then, there’s the happy middle ground where products like the CTEK MXS 5 exist. It’s a lower-priced and budget-friendly variant of the costlier, more premium and high-spec CTEK battery chargers. I’ve tested a handful of them before. While I do really like CTEK’s offerings, some of their chargers are typically out of reach for most people. This, then, solves that issue, yet still brings that top-notch CTEK standard.
There are, of course, some compromises. The CTEK MXS 5 features a lower charge rate, at a modest 5A. On top of that, it only supports batteries as big as 160Ah. It’s a bit of a downgrade from CTEK’s flagship chargers that can handle 10A outputs or battery capacities as large as 300Ah. Nonetheless, an MXS 5 is still more than enough for most people who need to recharge or trickle charge a passenger car.
I’d say it’s mostly suitable for normal cars or motorbikes, rather than large pickup trucks, SUVs, campers, or lorry batteries. Because it’s a lower-spec charger, the CTEK MXS 5 is also physically smaller in dimension. So, it does help to save you some shelf space. Or, if you just want to chuck it inside your glovebox in case of an emergency. You then get two different clamps – a quick connector, or crocodile clamps.
Smaller, But Still As Mighty
Besides being smaller, the CTEK MXS 5 is incredibly well-built and robust. It features IP65 dust and water resistance. Plus, there are a lot more built-in safety systems inside the unit that you don’t get to see, but most certainly appreciate. It includes temperature regulation, a desulphation programme, optimisation for start-stop batteries, spark-free clamps, reverse-polarity protection, short-circuit proof, and more.
Moreover, as with all CTEK battery chargers, using the MXS 5 is a breeze. There’s no need to fiddle about with any buttons or mess around with varying settings. All you need to do is plug it in, and it should start charging right away. Although, there is a MODE button that lets you alter between what type of battery you’re charging. In other words, whether you’re charging a car battery or a motorcycle battery.
In addition, there are more settings for AGM batteries. Or, if you’re plugging it in to recondition an old and ageing battery that’s been badly discharged. Should you need to check the charging status, the MXS 5 has a neat diagram showcasing what stage the charger is in at the moment, via lit-up LED lights. You can see then whether it’s just starting the charge, or if it’s already done, and is currently trickle charging.
Best of all, despite the many features it has, not to mention its solid build and ease of use, the CTEK MXS 5 can be had for £90. This also nets you the CTEK brand name and a well-deserved reputation for excellent car battery chargers. That’s a fairly great price point if you don’t need the higher charge output rate and compatibility with high-capacity batteries. As a package, it’s one of the best that you can buy.