The main considerations when choosing a lead acid battery charger should be its compatibility with the battery you need to charge, the charger output and its size or weight. Portability should also be a consideration if you need a battery charger to use away from home. The jump start function is another handy feature to check for when purchasing a battery charger.
Lead acid batteries are broken down into two groups, high voltage and low voltage. A battery bank of 50V or lower is considered a low voltage battery (assuming 50V is the highest voltage present in the system when the battery is fully charged). Knowing what kind of battery it is that you'll use the lead acid battery charger for is one of the most important things to consider. The charger should match the voltage of the battery and be able to deliver a full charge in a reasonable amount of time.
Most people purchase a lead acid battery charger to use with their car batteries, and the most common car battery voltage is 12V, although a 24V battery is used on some vehicles. The time it will take for the charger to fully charge the battery should be considered as well. For example, a 10 amp charger will be able to charge a standard car battery in about five to six hours. If you require shorter charging times or you have a large battery bank a charger with a higher amp output may be needed.To better select the charger, use the formula A=C/10 where A is the amperage of the charger in Amps and C is the capacity of the battery bank in Ampere per hours (Ah). Take the nearest commercial value of charger you can find, but don't exceed half the capacity of the battery bank or you will damage the battery or batteries.
If you need to charge different kinds of batteries, it is wise to check whether the lead acid battery charger you are considering can recognize the type of battery and deliver the correct charge automatically. If you require a battery charger for personal use it may be best to select a small portable charger. The larger chargers are more suitable for use in automotive shops, as they are more powerful and can also be bulky.
The jump start setting should be a consideration when choosing a battery charger. A battery charger with this function gives your battery a larger initial charge. This means that when using the jump start setting you will be able to start your car without the use of another car. It may be worth considering a battery jumper pack if your charger does not have the jump start setting. The jumper pack is small and lightweight, and can be kept in the car in case of emergencies. However, it must be periodically recharged otherwise it will lose its functionality. Some models can be recharged via the cigarette lighter plug in the car while others need to be connected to the main power.
An additional tip when purchasing a battery charger would be to invest in a well known brand name. Generic brands may not always function as well, and malfunction could lead to frustration. Reading the user manual is also recommended, because this will show you how to use the charger correctly in order to get the best results possible.