Reviews

Best Car Battery Testers: Keep Your Car Battery Healthy

Basic and advanced testers you can use to maintain your battery

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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON October 13, 2019

Knowing the health of your car battery can be helpful if you want to avoid being stranded from a dead battery. Car battery testers are simple tools that read the power level of a typical 12-volt battery so you know when it's time to recharge or replace it. Some testers can be quite complex, so here's some helpful information you need to know.

Best Overall
TT Topdon Car Battery Tester
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Summary
Summary

A simple, easy-to-use car battery tester with a large display for testing the battery power of any car battery.

Pros
Pros
  • Detailed readout that presents a lot of information on the battery
  • Can be connected with a computer to transfer the data for a more detailed analysis
Cons
Cons
  • The interior battery of the tester has been known to arrive nearly dead 
  • The included data on the display can be confusing the first time you use it
Best Overall
TT Topdon Car Battery Tester
Best Value
AUTDER Car Battery Tester
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Summary
Summary

One of the best budget car battery testers that packs a lot of functionality in a simple and basic screen setup.

Pros
Pros
  • Quality feel and construction for a low price 
  • The operation is fairly straightforward, especially when using the basic instructions
Cons
Cons
  • Reading a vehicle's alternator can be difficult or inaccurate with this tester
Best Value
AUTDER Car Battery Tester
Honorable Mention
FOXWELL Automotive 100-2000 CCA Battery Load Tester
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Summary
Summary

It quickly and accurately tests 12V or 24V regular flooded, AGM flat plate, AGM spiral, gel, and deep cycle batteries.

Pros
Pros
  • It works on batteries that are both in and out of the vehicle
  •  It's easy to use, and the screen provides all the info you need about the battery, starter, and alternator
Cons
Cons
  • It may read a 12V battery as a 36V battery
  •  The printing option is finicky, and the device is expensive
Honorable Mention
FOXWELL Automotive 100-2000 CCA Battery Load Tester

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Car Battery Testers

  • Peace of mind. When you regularly check your battery, you will determine whether it's in good working condition. It’s helpful to know the status of the battery if you worry that your vehicle may not start properly.
  • Convenient. Automotive battery testers are the easiest way to test your battery status. Today's devices feature advanced technological features that make it simple for you to determine if a battery is functioning properly. Many are also alternator testers.
  • Very effective. A digital car battery tester more effectively assesses discharged batteries compared to a traditional load tester. It provides a battery's condition even when it's dead.

Types of Car Battery Testers

Digital Battery Tester

The main benefit of using a digital car battery tester is that it can test discharged batteries. Also, it can assess a variety of different types of batteries, such as AGM and gel cell batteries, which are becoming increasingly more common. In addition, these units feature functions that are not included on traditional load testers.

Traditional Load Tester

An auto battery must be fully or mostly charged for a traditional load tester to fully assess its condition. That's the only way to get an accurate assessment of the battery's capacity and condition. Specifically, a discharged battery needs to be charged in advance for 30 or 60 minutes for the load tester to work properly.

Top Brands

Topdon USA

Topdon USA is an automotive company based in Foley, Alabama. It produces high-performance products for automotive technicians, including code readers, diagnostic scanners, and battery testers, such as the TT Topdon Car Battery Tester.

Foxwell

Foxwell is located in the City of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, and was founded in 2009. The company makes automotive diagnostic scan tools and repair equipment, such as the FOXWELL Automotive 100-2000 CCA Battery Load Tester

Car Battery Tester Pricing

  • Under $20: You don't have to spend a lot of money on a car battery voltage tester. There are several options available in this price range, although you may not recognize the brands.
  • $50 and up: High-quality car battery load testers can cost over $100, depending on what features they include. Products on the higher end are typically more heavy-duty advanced tools with features such as the ability to test 12V and 24V batteries. They may also be more ergonomic.

Key Features

Battery Type

Different types of vehicles have different types of batteries. Some car battery testers and chargers work on many types of batteries, such as conventional, AGM, gel cell, spiral wound, and deep cycle ones. The more versatile the device is, the more useful it is. Just make sure it will work on your particular vehicle's battery before you make a purchase.

Ease of Use

For the most part, a car battery load tester is fairly simple to operate. If you're not mechanically inclined, choose a device that's easy to use right out of the box that doesn't require a complex setup. It should also provide test results that are simple to decipher. Smaller and ergonomically designed devices are great if you plan on transporting the device, and some have a compact design, so they can fit in a pocket.

Display

You check the voltage of your battery on the car battery tester's display. The bigger the display, the easier it is for you to see the information. Another feature to consider is whether the LCD display has a backlit screen. This will make it easier to read the unit in low-light conditions.

Other Considerations

  • Connector Leads: The leads connect to the battery connectors. It's important that they are large enough so they can work on any type of connector, regardless of its size. If you plan on using the device regularly or for a long period of time, think about getting a product with a connector lead handle that's ergonomically shaped for comfort.
  • Anti-Slip Back: When you're working on your vehicle, you may find yourself placing the car battery cell tester down for a moment. Look for a unit with an anti-slip back. You don't want it to fall on to the ground because it may break. Some devices are made with soft rubber that provides better grip.

Best Car Battery Tester Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
TT Topdon Car Battery Tester

This battery tester has a large display and is simple to use. It recommends whether a replacement is necessary and features a cranking test and charging system tests. The tester works on 12V lead-acid batteries that are regular flooded, AGM flat plate, AGM spiral, or gel. It's designed for cars, motorcycles, trucks, RVs, ATVs, and more.


The tester provides a detailed readout and provides accurate results in just three seconds. You can connect it to a computer to transfer data for a more detailed analysis, and it supports several languages in addition to English, such as Spanish and Russian. It checks a battery’s output voltage, charging current, and the condition of the rectifier diode.


However, there have been some complaints that the interior battery of the tester may be shipped dead. Also, all of the data on the display can be confusing the first time you use it.

Best Value
AUTDER Car Battery Tester

This is one of the industry's top budget car battery testers. It's highly functional yet features a simple and basic screen setup. It's designed for 12-volt car batteries and features an eight-light LED display that indicates the condition of the battery. It has a copper wire for better conductivity and accuracy.


The product has a good-quality feel and construction and is a good value. It is fairly straightforward to operate, particularly when you reference the instructions. Overall, it's a small, lightweight, and accurate battery, voltage, and alternator output tester.


One downside is that reading a vehicle's alternator can be difficult or produce inaccurate results. Also, the clamps are a little flimsy, and the wires may loosen over time.

Premium Pick
FOXWELL Automotive 100-2000 CCA Battery Load Tester

This tester is designed for 12V or 24V batteries, including regular flooded, AGM flat plate, AGM spiral, gel, and deep-cycle batteries. It features a copper clip and wire for more reliable results. It quickly and accurately measures the cold cranking amps and the state of the battery itself.


Overall, it's very easy to use. The on-screen prompts tell you everything you need in order to test the battery, starter, and alternator.  This device can be used on batteries in and out of the car, and it runs through several different tests before pronouncing the battery’s condition as either good or bad.


One issue with this battery tester is the printing option may not work. Also, occasionally it will read a 12V battery as a 36V battery. In addition, it is pricier compared to some of its rivals.

Most User Friendly
ANCEL BST200 Car Battery Tester

The ANCEL BST200 Car Battery Tester is designed for both professionals and home mechanics. It tests car, truck, SUV, and motorcycle 12V lead-acid batteries, including regular flooded, AGM flat plate, AGM spiral, and gel. The device provides results in just seconds and displays battery charging status, battery health, etc. 


It meets CCA, CA, MCA, JIS, DIN, IEC, EN, and SAE standards, supports 10 languages, and provides two test modes — "out of vehicle" and "in vehicle" — for more accurate results. The tester is small and compact with a backlit LCD, and it's user-friendly, so beginners can easily operate it. In addition, it has polarity reverse connection protection and will not discharge the battery or get hot or spark. 


Users report that it quickly displays a battery's condition, the interface is intuitive, and overall it works as advertised. One downside is that the device does not have its own power supply, so you can only read the data when it's plugged into the battery. Also, you may have to go online to decipher some of the abbreviations on the display if you're not familiar with them.

Honorable Mention
CARTMAN 12V Car Battery Alternator Tester

The CARTMAN 12V Car Battery Alternator Tester is a great option because it's effective and affordable. It's a great device for checking the status of the battery and the alternator. It features an LED display that indicates the condition of a 12V battery, and you can check whether it's okay to be charged. 


It alerts you when there is an overload and indicates the percentage of charging in the battery, as well as when charging is complete. Users report that it's easy to use and even though it's one of the least expensive options, it does the job well. It's small enough to fit in a glove compartment, and it provides quick and accurate results. 


Some complain, however, that the clamps are a little small and difficult to attach to the battery's nuts. Also, the directions could be a little better.

Tips

  • You can use a car battery tester to diagnose potential issues with the battery and its performance.
  • Some testers offer advanced readouts that present more information about the battery's health and overall performance.

FAQs

Q. Is a battery tester simple to read?

A. With the right display screen and user manual, it's pretty easy to use a tester to read the power level of any battery. Some testers, however, offer more advanced readouts and functions and may have a learning curve.

Q. How do I connect a battery tester?

A. Most testers are designed to connect directly to the battery terminals where it can complete the circuit with the battery itself.

Q. Are battery testers accurate?

A. Accuracy varies from tester to tester. In general, accuracy tends to increase with higher price tags. 

Final Thoughts

When you need a lot of accuracy and information related to your car battery, the TT Topdon Car Battery Tester is hard to beat.

The AUTDER Car Battery Tester is also an excellent option when you can live with a smaller screen and basic functionality.