Not testing your car battery regularly would possibly lead to a sudden power failure in the middle of nowhere. Just imagine how alarming that would be. Doing a test when the battery starts getting weak is not that helpful compared to regular check-up. You can even throw away a good battery just because of careless assumption. But, going to a mechanic regularly means extra expense and effort all over again. It is better to have your own battery tester in case of emergencies, especially during travel or out-of-town stays. If you’re now planning to buy one, here are the best car battery testers in the market right now:
Top Pick: MicTuning DC 12V Waterproof LED Digital Display Voltmeter
First things first, the cheapest one dominates the list. MicTuning’s LED car battery tester is waterproof and has a modern digital display. It can be used for 12 to 24 volts. It is also portable and convenient to install because of its small size and thinner built. Another great thing about this product is that it is cheaper than most, but it is compatible to a lot of battery types. This car battery tester is also useful for motorbikes, boats, ATVs, UTVs, caravans, trailers, trucks and RVs.
This product also doesn’t turn off. So, you can just attach it to a specific part of the ignition. This car battery tester focuses more on passive monitoring instead of manually attaching the tester on the battery whenever you need to. Even while driving, you can see the battery status no matter how problem-free it is. It can read voltage all the time. Some experienced product designers commend the modern design of MicTuning’s battery tester.
One special feature of this car battery tester is its intense brightness. It may be very beneficial for some. However, when encountering another bright element, specifically sunlight, the screen becomes hard to read. This product can also get unresponsive, slow or inaccurate during cold weather. If you’re planning to get a battery tester for the first time, MicTuning’s product will possibly be hard for you. It doesn’t have instructions for proper installation and wiring. Purchasing this battery tester can mean watching YouTube tutorials or asking Google.
Runner-Up: Cartman 12V LED Car Battery & Alternator Tester
Another cheaper option, Cartman’s car battery tester also has LED display. Despite being useful for batteries with 12 volts only, it is still a high-quality and durable product compared to most. Its features can be very similar to some popular brands. But, this remains one of the most affordable.
Cartman’s product comes with clamps of excellent quality. When compared to other brands in the same price range, it is way more convenient due to the absence of needle-like receptacles. Coiled cords, unlike this battery tester, have the tendency to deteriorate easily. This battery tester also reads fast in seconds after touching the clips to the battery’s terminals. Checking your car battery once a month would be a breeze. Thankfully, this tester aims for simplicity.
You can also use this product whenever you charge the car battery. With this process, you can avoid overcharging. This battery tester is a good alternative for a multi-meter. It is also perfect for emergencies because of portability. It is not recommended for shops, but it can be very helpful as an addition to your tool bag during travels.
Unfortunately, this product’s size is very small for some car batteries. To be more specific, its wires can be too short to reach the terminals. Still, this car battery tester is one of the most durable kinds.
Other Products You Should Consider
Here are other examples of the best car battery testers that are way pricier yet can be more suitable for professional use:
Clore Automotive Solar Cold Cranking Amps LED Electronic Battery Tester
This is the most expensive one here. Clore Automotive’s car battery tester can test batteries that have 12 volts from 100-1200 cold cranking amps (CCA), with an operating range of 7 to 15 volts. It is also compatible for various types of batteries such as deep cycle, spiral wound, gel cell, AGM and conventional. It can also be user-friendly because the gadget itself guides the user during the process. Unlike MicTuning, this product’s LED display can be adjusted to bright or low light. This makes it convenient to read.
The gadget’s construction is well-thought-out. Its size is portable as well. This car battery tester can remember the latest options given such as battery type, German Industrial Standard or simply called DIN, and test rating CCA. Some power supply technicians recommend this product. Some brands actually offer similar products such as this, but this one from Clore Automotive is more affordable. However, for the price, it still encountered more longevity or durability issues than some cheaper options.
Schumacher Battery Load Tester
This car battery tester from Schumacher can give a 100 amp load test for batteries with 12 volts. On the other hand, it provides 50 amp for 6 volts. Both volts can be tested up to 1,000 CCA. Unlike previous products, this item is recommended in shops. However, because of its limitations, it would last longer in smaller shops. Specifically, it is not a resistance circuit computerized tester, a more advanced and suitable tool for bigger businesses. Despite the limited capacities, it is still acknowledged by some professional technicians.
Like Clore Automotive’s product, Schumacher’s car battery tester also has the tendency to not last longer than a year. Its cables can get loose fast.
INNOVA Battery and Charging System Monitor
INNOVA’s car battery tester can be plugged easily into the vehicle’s power receptacle. It is made for negative ground systems amounting to 12 volts. The LCD display shows a bar graph to determine battery level. Meanwhile, the LEDs with various color codes alert the charge status. Reading data is easy in different angles because the gadget’s head turns.
This product is quite similar to MicTuning’s car battery monitor. You can also plug this anytime even while driving. Like the top choice from our best car battery testers, INNOVA also goes for passive, constant monitoring. Some buyers happily attest that this product can last for years. However, many got disappointed because of alleged low-quality construction.
How to Pick the Right Car Battery Tester
The downfall of all battery testers is inaccurate reading. We need to know the factors that will make us avoid flawed data.
100 Amp Increment Capacity
One of the most common mistakes of a car owner is assuming that all car battery testers have the same test mode. Actually, battery testers have different test ranges. What we’re looking for in a good battery tester is the capacity to adjust the meter into additional 100 amp. For example, you can switch from 400 CCA to 500 CCA. This contributes to more accurate readings in the future.
Who wants a poorly-constructed product, anyway? We should prefer a car battery tester with a rugged metal structure for intense durability. The handle must be well-insulated. Also, the tester needs clamps that are measured just right. We don’t want bulky clamps and delicate small ones. Carbon pile must compose the load resistor as well for accurate data.
For convenience, we need a car battery tester with a clearly printed scale. The product’s lens must not distort the reading when viewed from various angles. Inaccurate readings can sometimes be triggered because of the lens’s refraction over the meter’s pointer.
Evaluating every product from the best car battery testers to know the top choice is tricky. Why? All of them just can’t please everybody. Each battery tester encountered unhappy customers because of inaccurate readings. However, if you keep in mind our tips in choosing the right product, you can avoid this inconvenience.