In this post, we reviewed the five best car battery load testers and checkers.
If you’re a newbie in cars, perhaps you are wondering what exactly a battery tester is. So before we go on presenting your choices of the five bests, let us clarify what we are talking about first.
Wikipedia stated that a battery tester “is an electronic device intended for testing the state of an electric battery, going from a simple device for testing the charge actually present in the cells and/or its voltage output, to a more comprehensive testing of the battery’s condition, namely its capacity for accumulating charge and any possible flaws affecting the battery’s performance and security.”
To state it more briefly, a battery tester assesses the charge and actual condition of the battery. So with that, let’s see which products from the market make it to our top 5 list.
How to Load Test a 12v Car Battery
Top 5 Best Car Battery Load Tester & Checker
1. FOXWELL Battery Tester BT705 Automotive 100-2000 CCA Battery Load Tester 12V 24V Car Cranking and Charging System Test Tool Digital Battery Analyzer for Cars and Heavy Duty Trucks
The Foxwell Battery Tester BT705 is easily our favorite choice in this list. Despite being more costly than other battery testers, its specifications sure make it worth the price.
Foxwell BT705 can test both 12V and 24V batteries. This automatic tester can determine and show you the cracking time and voltage, and starter system within milliseconds. You can also see if your starting motor is still performing as it should.
There are, of course, other data about the battery that this tester can present. You can analyze and determine the health or status of your car battery, for one. You would also be able to determine the battery’s cold cranking capability and the aging status.
Additionally, it can determine if the output voltage is still within normal range, and if the charging current is normal. Also, it verifies if the rectifier diode still controls the currents as it should.
Can perform other various tests pertinent to the battery’s condition
Also does battery starting and charging tests
Tests may be accurate but the display may be erroneous
2. ANCEL BST500 12V/24V 100-2000 CCA Automotive Battery Load Tester, Car Cranking and Charging System Analyzer Scan Tool with Printer for Heavy Duty Trucks, Cars, Motorcycles and More (Black and Red)
The Ancel BST500 is another battery tester that is compatible with 12V and 24V batteries with 100 to 2000 CCA rating. As fast as 2.5 seconds, it can tell you the status of the battery – whether it’s already low or fully charged.
This tester also distinguishes if the cells of the battery are still effective or not. With this, you can instantly determine if your battery just needs a recharge or if it’s already calling for a replacement.
More so, it tells you about the performance of the battery’s starting and charging system.
With this information, the Ancel BST500 is suitable for typical car owners who just want to determine and monitor from time to time their car battery’s status.
Performs battery diagnostics quickly and accurately
May overheat when the test button is pushed for prolonged period
3. SOLAR BA9 40-1200 CCA Digital Battery and System Tester
Solar BA9 may be way more affordable than the previous two battery testers we mentioned. However, compared to other products with almost similar specifications, it was found to be quite pricey.
This tester is compatible with 12V batteries. You may use it test various battery types such as flooded, AGM, spiral, and gel cell.
It accurately determines the battery’s charge status and measure its cold cranking amps. To do this, the Solar BA9 is equipped with two clamps that should be connected directly to the car battery. The results will then be displayed to the backlit LCD.
The Schumacher BT-100 is an automatic battery tester that can determine the condition of the battery, its loads, starter motor draw, and a complete assessment of its charging system.
This battery tester can handle 100 amps load test of 12V batteries and 50 amps load test of 6V ones. Its meter is already shock-resistant but for increased durability, it is also encased in rugged, sturdy steel. It also comes with “super-grip” clamps and a top switch for easy use.
Can completely assess the battery’s charging system
Accurately test loads
Comparably heavier than others
5. Digital 12V Car Battery Tester Pro with AH/CCA Mode Automotive Battery Load Tester and Analyzer of Battery Life Percentage, Voltage, Resistance and CCA Value for Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Vehicle etc
This Suner Power digital battery tester is the most affordable one on this list yet its specifications shouldn’t be underrated. It can provide complete diagnosis on the battery’s voltage, resistance and health.
Suner Power also ensures that this battery tester is safe and of high quality. It will be able to test the battery’s load without damaging the battery in any sense.
Lastly, this digital battery is compatible with different battery types – flooded, AGM, gel, and deep cycle.
Can measure the battery’s load, health, voltage and resistance
Instructions were difficult to understand
How to use a battery load tester?
Despite the term used, some battery testers can provide more information other than the load or health of your car battery. Some models also allow you to determine to condition of your starting and charging system, and even that of the alternator.
So, before we proceed on the step by step process of using a battery load tester, here are some guidelines on using one (Source).
General guidelines on using a battery load tester
The ignition must be switched off and all electrical loads must be disconnected or removed from the battery.
You should not load test a battery while it is connected to a battery charger.
Before connecting the battery to a tester, make sure that it is clean and free from corrosion. Otherwise, you might not be able to obtain accurate results.
To connect the load tester to a battery with side terminals, you will have to screw in “charging posts”.
Load testers tend to get hot pretty quickly. To avoid overheating, you must allow your tester to cool down for at least 2 minutes after using it for 10 to 15 seconds.
Conducting a battery load test
The red cable must be connected to positive battery post while the black cable is to the negative post. Once connected, the LCD will display the battery voltage.
Prior to conducting the load test, the battery must be charged to at least 75%. At 70°F, the 75% charge would equal to at least 12.45 volts for a 12V battery. If the temperature is other than 70°F, then you just have to adjust the voltage.
If the battery is below 75%, recharge the battery first before conducting the load test.
Once the battery is sufficiently recharged, just reconnect the load tester to the battery, hold the load switch for 10 seconds, take note of the voltage reading on the LCD, then you may release the load switch.
After that, you may disconnect the red cable then the black one.
When and how often should you replace your car battery?
According to Warranty Wise, at the maximum, car batteries can only last for five years. However, most tend to wear down once they reach three years. It happens similar with that of your tablets, laptops or mobile phone batteries that deteriorates every time it is charged. So, when your battery is already three years old, it’s better to have a replacement battery ready.
Even if your battery was able to reach four years, it would already be unstable and unreliable. You could expect it to present some safety and reliability issues on its own.
To give you some clues that it is about time to replace your battery, just keep on reading.
Signs of a Failing Car Battery
Aside from using a car battery load tester, there are also telltale signs from the vehicle or the battery itself. Pep Boys have listed some of these signs.
Slow engine crank
Primarily, when you start a car, it takes power from the battery alone. After that, the alternator goes into action, replacing the power from the battery and keeps the car running along with the electronic accessories.
As such, when you notice that the engine cranks more slowly than usual when you turn the key in you your car, it means that the battery is on its last leg.
Once the power from the battery is too low, you won’t even be able to crank the engine. Instead, you’ll just hear a rapid clicking sound. Once this happens, obviously, the battery already needs to be tested and/or replaced.
Issues with electrical components
It is not only the engine that the battery powers. It is also responsible for other electronics in your vehicle. Particularly for newer car models, it includes the windshield wipers, power windows, dashboard lights, headlights, and literally everything that requires power.
So if you found some major issues, perhaps with your built-in GPS or headlights, then maybe you might also want to have your battery checked.
Dashboard warning light
Most cars, even the older models, have a dashboard warning light. You would find one battery-shaped. Similar with other warning lights, once you see it lighted then it automatically means that there could be some issues with your battery or with the vehicle’s electronics.
Swollen battery case
Sometimes, you just have to see the physical characteristics of your car battery. Similar with your phone’s battery, or any other batteries for that matter, once the battery case has bulged, it means that the battery has been exposed to extreme heat or cold. Such may cause your battery to be electrically dead.
As mentioned, the average lifespan of a car battery is three to five years (Source). This may vary depending of the number of full cycles that the battery go through, the temperatures it has been exposed to, and the number of deep discharges.
Once your battery is already in use for four years, it’s just wise to have it tested to know the real condition of your battery.
Specifically, the weird smell that you should be cautious of is that of rotten eggs. That smell would signify that the battery is venting out some gas because it has been frozen, overcharged or shorted internally.
This smell would also automatically signify that you just have to replace your battery immediately so as to avoid destroying other car parts as well.
It sure is a good thing that you have come to this post and read it up to the end. Monitoring your battery’s health and overall status is one of the preliminary steps to avoiding road accidents or any unexpected concern with your vehicle.
From our list here, the top two products presented may be quite more costly than the others but they can provide more information about your car battery than the other three. Yet, the remaining three still proves to be pretty useful enough.
So, you should just consider your budget and what information about your battery do you really want to have. That way, it will be easier for you to decide which one to buy.