The best trickle chargers for your car

Maintaining your battery couldn't be easier with one of these chargers.

A charger connected to a car battery

by Ryan Gilmore |

If your battery is beginning to drain, or you don't drive your car very often then to keep your battery working it's probably a good idea to look into buying a trickle charger. Also called a battery maintainer, these tools will prevent it from discharging over a long period of time.

Related: Best smart chargers | CTEK CS FREE review

Available as either plug-in or solar-powered, some even work as jump starters. We've examined the best trickle chargers on the market, examining price, size, purpose and extra features to select the best. We've chosen our favourites at a range of prices so you can find one that suits your needs.

The best trickle chargers

NOCO GENIUS10UK

The best trickle charger
NOCO GENIUS10UK
Amazon

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The big daddy of car battery maintenance, there's not much a good NOCO can't do to revive, charge and care for a car battery. The GENIUS10UK is a compact choice that packs a serious punch. Working as an advanced trickle charger, it'll keep your battery as healthy as possible and worry-free. If that's not enough it can also charge dead batteries, restore lost battery performance and works with both 6 and 12V batteries.

Pros Cons
• Last name in battery protection • Rather pricy
• Top-notch quality • Overkill for city cars
• Improved battery health

AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger

The best budget solar trickle charger
AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger
Amazon

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Solar charging is a clever option for keeping a car charged up anywhere outside. So long as the panel is in direct sunlight (and connected to your car's battery) it'll charge your car up. It's the perfect option for cars that sit idle for long periods of time outside. Be warned, however, it won't help dead, damaged or fully discharged batteries.

Pros Cons
• Harnesses the sun • No good on dead batteries
• Good quality
• Very well made

Clarke ATC12VB Auto Trickle Charger

The best trickle charger on a tight budget
Clarke ATC12VB Auto Trickle Charger

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A very simple way to keep your charge up - plug it into a standard three-pin socket and connect the cables to your car's battery. It's designed for 12V lead-acid batteries and is manufactured to be protected against short-circuiting, reverse polarity and overloads.

Pros Cons
• Good value • No good on dead batteries

CTEK Portable Battery Charger Maintainer

The best trickle charger for style
CTEK Portable Battery Charger Maintainer
Amazon

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The simple to use and good looking option from CTEK, this portable battery maintainer will hold its charge for a full year giving plenty of peace of mind. Like the NOCO it can be used to restart dead batteries too, using Adaptive Boost technology to restart a dead battery in the safest way possible. You can even buy a solar panel attachment for solar trickle charging.

Pros Cons
• Clever design • Rather expensive
• Helps keep battery safe • The solar panel attachment is eye-wateringly expensive
• Very well made

What you need to know about trickle chargers

Why is my battery going flat?

There are a lot of factors in why batteries go flat. the most obvious is that as batteries get older they lose efficiency and as such will discharge quicker. Modern cars also feature a lot of electronics (think computers, alarms. central locking and even the clock) which will eat up a battery charge if you leave the car alone for long enough.

Most cars use the old fashioned lead-acid batteries that love to discharge themselves over time. Leaving an interior light on or dashcam hardwired in can also speed up the discharging process.

Cold weather can also be a factor in flat batteries. Batteries need a comfortable temperature to work effectively and when it gets frosty you may notice they lose charge quicker.

Do I need a new battery?

If your battery is going flat in an unacceptably short amount of time and even a trickle charge isn't keeping it working properly then it's probably time to invest in a new car battery. Our guide to car batteries or Amazon Garage will probably be your best bet here.

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