There is not one person in the entire world that enjoys climbing into their vehicle and attempting to start their vehicle, only to find that the engine will not crank, the lights will not come on and you must have a dead battery. That terrible clicking noise of the car not turning over is all too familiar and all too scary. This is such a pesky fiasco that can ruin anyone’s day and it happens for all sorts of reasons. Maybe you or someone else accidentally left the car’s interior lights or headlights on. Possibly, the car hasn’t been started for a long period of time. Maybe the battery is just old or was not properly maintained. Batteries sometimes need their terminals cleaned out. Sometimes, in cold weather, the battery can just freeze. Unless you are an auto mechanic, to prevent such a hindrance, you should be checking your car’s battery power every so often.
Let’s avoid having to jump start the car, with the probability of that battery just dying over and over on you until you replace it. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to have some sort of premonition before that battery croaks? Car battery testers can help. Choosing the best car battery tester is an essential part of maintaining your vehicle. To ensure you get the best bang for your buck for a quality and affordable tester, here’s a look at some of the top-rated brands.
Schumacher BT-100 100 AMP Batter Load Tester
Topdon BT-100 Alternator Tester Battery Analyzer
Solar BA327 20-2000 CCA Electronic Battery Tester with Printer
Top Car Battery Testers
Your vehicle’s battery is a key component to the car and is also vulnerable. At any time, it can just go out, turn off and stop working. Then what? It’d be nice if your vehicle had the ability to diagnose the vehicle battery issue itself, but it does not. A car battery tester is a basic device that you can use to simply check up on the status of your battery on your own. This is guaranteed to save you so much in mechanic and car dealer fees. You will be able to know when to replace your battery before it dies to avoid the surprise of it dying on its own. This is a small investment to save you frustration and time!
Essentially, a functioning vehicle battery should be operating at 12.6 volts or more and when the engine on your car is running, it should increase to 14 volts. Battery testers work by connecting a conductive lead between the tester and the battery.
It’s time to say goodbye to those jumper cables. Picking out the right battery tester for you can be a bit complicated. Some are expensive and some aren’t. The features and abilities vary across the board. Some are simple, and others are more complicated, and all of this complicates your decision more. Is it worth spending more money for the newest and greatest?
What features do you need? Let’s start comparing.
1. Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester
Talk about a big bang for your buck. This tester packs in a lot of features at a low price point. It’s display is color coded and it is therefore, easy to read. No batteries are required for this tester to function. This product will test both standard and rechargeable batteries. With this product, you can switch between voltage type if you find the need to test a variety of different batteries. You can even test motorcycle or remote control batteries. Some users have found, however, that the performance is not the same when testing different types of batteries.
2. Amprobe BAT-250 Battery Tester
This tester is a different version of the Amprobe BAT-200 model. This one is built differently to better fit in just one hand to make testing easier. It was upgraded to better fit the shape of a human hand. A large difference between the two models lies in the display. On the 200 model, the display is parallel to the battery, where on the 250, the display is perpendicular to the battery. The display is also color coded and this model is said to deliver a faster response upon testing. You can test a wide range of batteries with this product and like the 200 model, it does not require batteries to function. This product is a dollar more than the 200 model.
3. Schumacher BT-100 100 AMP Batter Load Tester
This tester is much higher duty. At a higher price point, this tester offers much more than standard options. If you need to test 6 and 12 volt batteries that range up to 1000 CCA, this is a great choice. It is very well rounded, as it has the ability to test motorcycles, ATVs, boats, motorhomes and much more. This product has a top-mounted rocker switch which makes for simple operation. The tester included color-coded heavy duty clamps with the purchase. The meter is easy to read and it is shock resistant. The steel case is ventilated to keep it cool and it even has a carrying handle.
4. Topdon BT-100 Alternator Tester Battery Analyzer
This tester is both an alternator and battery tester all in one! This product provides you with a thorough analysis of your vehicle battery’s health by checking its voltage charge, internal resistance and aging status. This machine takes just seconds to test the battery and then provide you with a reading. This battery tester runs both an alternator cranking and a battery charging system test. There are three labeled blinking LED lights that will indicate whether the battery is good, bad or needs to be charged. There are two different ways to use the tester, both inside and outside of the vehicle. The tester can be used in many different languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Italian.
5. Solar BA327 20-2000 CCA Electronic Battery Tester with Printer
This car battery tester is versatile. You can use it for 6v or 12v batteries and has a wide operating range between 1.5v to 30v. It has a built in printer so you are able to print service documentation onto thermal paper. This is an awesome way to have the results of the test available to you. It will test both the starting and charging power and includes ten foot long cable leads. The product features an internal counter that can be utilized to track number of tests performed and it also has a warranty tracking code for each test performed.
6. Innova 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor
This car battery tester by Innova has the ability to plug directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter to actually observe battery and the battery’s charging system voltage. The LCD display will show you the measured voltage and a chart in the form of a bar graph of the battery’s charge level. It is said that this product is best when used with 12V systems(check to be sure it works with your car battery) and it has the ability to protect against any surges that can occur when jump starting or recharging the battery.
7. OTC 3181 130 AMP Heavy-Duty Battery Load Tester
With this tester, you will have results in ten seconds and has clamps with positive grips. The product has an extremely large display screen with zero adjust. One thing that sets this model apart from the others is that is has side tabs that allow for clamping on to the back of your toolbox or storage wall. It is said that this tester will work on all batteries.
8. Motopower MP0514A 12v Digital Car Battery Tester
Controlled by a microprocessor, this tester is cost-efficient. It has a lighted display, which makes for easy reading and has over-voltage protection and reverse hookup safety features. This battery tester is able to test batteries anywhere from 4v to 20v. It is advertised as a “connect and go” style battery tester, providing easy usage and it is said to fit comfortably in your hand, as it has a black rubber exterior. This product powers up off of the battery it is connected to, meaning no batteries are necessary for operation.
9. FOXWELL Battery Tester
The Foxwell battery tester gives you quick results when testing your battery. When you are testing the battery, you have the ability to check up on the aging status of the battery as well as it’s cold cranking ability, meaning cold cranking amps (CCA). This is the battery’s ability to start up in cold temperatures, a vital part of the battery function. The cable connected to the tester is 7.8 feet in length so you can literally hang out inside of the vehicle while testing the battery and the tester is small in size for convenience purposes (it can fit in the palm of your hand). The mechanism has a durable clip and a wire to keep a stable connection while you are testing the battery. The product offers different languages such as English and Dutch for added versatility for users. The clamps are comprised of an all-metal spray gold which are spark-proof and offer short circuit protection all around. This tester is capable of testing a 12v or a 24v charging mechanism.
10. Ancel BA101 Automotive Load Battery Tester
This tester is said to be able to produce more accurate results in comparison to other models. With a wide testing range, the Ancel model offers not only battery testing, but it can test the cranking condition of your vehicle’s starter and the charging of the alternator. This one packs a punch. Compared to other testers, this one only has a three foot long cable, but the cable is insulated. In seconds, this battery tester can produce results. The Ancel model delivers not only CCA and AH (a unit of electric charge), but it can also test JIS, IEC, BCI, GB (all battery rating standards) and more. It will also tell you the voltage power. This model has a two year warranty, but only tests 12v batteries. It is user friendly, with only four buttons and it has a three foot long cable which is insulated for safety.
11. Clore Automotive 1876 1000 AMP Carbon Pile Battery Load Tester
The Clore model has a variable load capability of up to 1000 AMPs and tests 6v, 12v or 24v batteries up to 2000 CCA. This tester is large and somewhat clunky, but it has huge clamps that are able to penetrate through corrosion to test a corroded battery. It assesses your battery capacity and can diagnose your alternator output as well as your starting system capacity.
12. Cartman 12V Car Battery and Alternator Tester
This product is both a car battery tester and an alternator tester for a very low price. It’s a win, win! It has an LED display in which a light will illuminate to indicate different results such as “good, full, fault, etc.”. However, this brand is only able to test 12v batteries. The appearance of this gadget is small and lightweight.
Performance is paramount when you are shopping around for your car battery tester based on features, quality, price and capabilities. Being proactive and testing your battery every six months or so significantly helps you catch a problem before it arrives and surprises you. Testing your own battery with most car battery testers is easy. First, you need to locate the connectors of your vehicle and make sure they are cleaned of dust, dirt and corrosion. Attach the connectors to your vehicle, being sure they are correctly matched up with the positive and negative charge. Turn the battery tester on. From here, the battery tester should do it’s job. The more simple models will most likely be complete. If you have one that tests other components such as the alternator, other steps may need to be taken. There are a few important factors that are best tailored to your specific wants and needs that you need to consider. Let’s take a look.
First, price is most likely the biggest factor here. It is true, you get what you pay for. There are a few testers on this list that are on the cheaper end, but are very limited in their functions. But if you are looking only for a tester that tests your battery and produces a pass or fail rating, then options like both Amprobe models and the Innova are a great option.
Having many different functions on your tester is a huge win. The Ancel model will tell you so many different variables including CCA ,AH ,JIS, IEC, BCI, GB and more. It will also tell you the voltage power and can test your alternator. The Cartman, Clore and Topdon models also have the ability to test your alternator. One product, the Solar model has the ability to print the results out for you. Having the ability to perform a wide range of functions is key when deciding which tester to put your money into.
Some of these models may be considered to be safer than others, and safety is always a priority, especially when dealing with anything electrical. The Ancel model has an insulated cable, specifically designed and addressed for safety. The Foxwell brand tester has all-metal spray gold on its clamps which are spark-proof and offer short circuit protection and the Schumacher product is said to be built to be shock resistant.
Although this may not apply to all consumers, to some, it is most likely the most important. A few of these testers have the ability to toggle between different languages settings. The models listed above with this feature are the Foxwell and Topdon models.
It’s the best decision that you could have made to invest in a vehicle battery tester. When you are shopping for the best battery tester for your vehicle, many factors are going to come into play when you are making a consumer decision. Deciding which features you require should be your first step. If you decide simplicity is your goal and you really only have one vehicle battery you are testing, then you will be able to go cheaper and chose a simple tester. However, if you have specific batteries that need to be tested, or a wide range of batteries, your choices may become more limited. Maybe you have different systems under your vehicle’s hood that need to be tested.
Keep in mind that price is a huge component in your decision. Remember that you truly do get what you pay for. More basic car battery testers may not perform as well as those specifically designed to meet a specific need. Paying a little extra for the best product will pay off in the long run.
Hopefully you were provided with some great options above that best suit your needs so you are prepared to make your decision. With so many options out there, you are guaranteed to find your winner.