Reviews

LAST UPDATED: October 13, 2019

Best Car Battery Testers: Keep Your Car Battery Healthy

Basic and advanced testers you can use to maintain your battery

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

  • Product Network

    16 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    12 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED 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
    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. It 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
    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
    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

    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 Car Battery Tester Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This battery tester has a large display and is simple and easy to use. It suggests 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 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, including 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

    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 12V 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 great 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 bit flimsy, and the wires may loosen up over time.

    Honorable Mention

    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.

    Why Trust Us


    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.

    Learn more

    Benefits of Car Battery Testers

    • Peace of mind. When you regularly check your battery, you will find out whether it's in good working condition. It’s helpful to know the status of your 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 really 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 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 a battery’s 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 you want. 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. 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 2020

    Best Overall

    This battery tester has a large display and is simple and easy to use. It suggests 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 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, including 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

    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 12V 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 great 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 bit flimsy, and the wires may loosen up over time.

    Honorable Mention

    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.

    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 simple to use a tester to read the power level of any battery. Some testers, however, do offer more advanced readouts and functions that 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.