Choosing the best smart battery charger involves consideration of the battery quantity, power needs, and external light indication features. Some charger manufacturers offer devices that charge slowly, like non-smart versions, whereas others can rapidly charge in less than 20 minutes. You should also consider the charger's physical dimensions and water resistance features before purchasing.
Many devices around the home, like digital cameras, use multiple batteries for everyday use; the smart battery charger should be able to charge all the batteries simultaneously. Many charger models are available for purchase that will hold four, six, and even eight batteries at a time. In addition, you should verify the type of battery needing a charge; for example, an AA battery. Typically, a smart battery charger will only be able to charge the same type of battery, rather than powering multiple shapes and sizes, like mixing AA batteries with D batteries.
Each battery type requires a different amount of voltage; the smart battery charger must have a matching voltage specification to safely charge the batteries. You should verify the highest battery voltage needed, such as 24 volts, and purchase a charger that does not exceed this value. In fact, many smart battery charger models offer voltage switching; you can normally choose between two or three voltage levels to match different battery needs. Charging a low voltage battery with a high power charger can easily damage the battery or even cause injury if the storage cell leaks or explodes.
You should choose a charger model that has easily discernible light features. The smart charger will illuminate small light emitting diodes (LEDs) that are placed on the outside housing; these LEDs indicate the current charging process. There should not be a confusing light pattern, rather the charger model should have basic LED tone changes, ranging from charging condition to a fully charged state. Models with five or six different light patterns can be confusing and difficult to operate for multiple users.
Smart chargers are available in different charging speeds. Some devices charge over the course of a few hours, whereas others have internal circuitry to power the battery in 15 to 20 minutes. You should consider your personal habits; slower charging models will cost less to purchase, but you will need to wait for hours to have a full charge.
Some charger users need to place the device in small areas, such as on a boat. You should measure the charger's dimensions to ensure that it will fit in the space. Additionally, you will need to consider if you need a waterproof charger; these devices are more expensive than water resistant versions, but if you intend on using the charger near water, you will need the extra protection to prevent damage to the device.