Trickle Charger vs Battery Charger: Which one is right for you? Our blog post explains the differences and helps you make an informed decision.
If you want to keep your battery charged and avoid the frustration of dead batteries, you’re not alone.
But with so many types of chargers on the market, choosing the best one for your needs can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help. Because choosing between a trickle charger and a battery charger isn’t always simple.
Here’s the basics.
- Trickle chargers provide a low, steady charge for batteries not in use.
- Battery chargers give more power to drained batteries or those in need of a quick charge.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each and help you determine which one is the best fit for your needs.
Trickle Chargers vs Battery Chargers: Comparison
|Comparison Point||Trickle Charger||Battery Charger|
|Speed and Efficiency||Slow but steady, gives a low current all the time||Faster and smarter, knows when to stop charging if the battery is full|
|Purpose||Ideal for maintaining the charge on a battery over an extended period of time||Better suited for charging a battery quickly|
|Cost||Generally less expensive due to simpler design and fewer features||Can be more expensive due to advanced features and faster charging capability|
|Amperage||Provides a low amperage charge, typically between 1 and 2 amps||Can provide a higher amperage charge, ranging from 2 to 10 amps or more|
Here are the main differences between the two.
Speed and Efficiency
Trickle chargers are slow but steady. They give a low current all the time. Battery chargers are faster than trickles and also smarter these days. They know when to stop charging if the battery is full. Trickle chargers don’t always do this, so we need to be careful not to overcharge our batteries with them.
Both chargers are good for different things. If our car battery needs a little help, a trickle charger is good because it charges nice and slow. It stops the battery from dying and is useful to keep it topped up during periods of dormancy. But, if we need to charge a battery fast, then a battery charger is better. It can give us a full battery much faster.
Trickle chargers are generally less expensive than battery chargers. They are simpler in design and have fewer features, which makes them more affordable. With their advanced features and faster capability, straight chargers can be more expensive.
Remember we said that standard chargers are more rapid than trickles? This is because of the difference in Amperage output. Trickle chargers provide a low amperage charge, between 1 and 2 amps. That’s ideal for maintaining the charge on a battery over an extended period.
Battery chargers, in contrast, provide a higher amperage charge, ranging from 2 to 10 amps or more. This is better suited for a quicker charge on a depleted battery.
But, it’s important to note that a high amperage charge can lead to overheating and damage to the battery. There is evidence to suggest that a faster charge can reduce the long-term lifespan of a battery.
Understanding Trickle Chargers
Let’s look at trickle chargers.
How Trickle Chargers Work
So how does a trickle charger work? It gives a tiny amount of power to a battery. It’s like when I eat a small snack to keep my energy up. It helps the battery stay full and not lose its charge. This prevents sulfation – the buildup of harmful crystals on the battery plates.
Sulfation happens when a battery discharges over time. This causes crystals and sludge to build up on the plates inside the battery. It’s like having a dirty plate of spaghetti with sauce. If we don’t clean it well, bad things might happen. The battery could be ruined if it gets too far gone.
Common Use Cases
One reason someone might use a trickle charger is because of where they live. Cold places can cause batteries to drain faster. It can even freeze a battery, which is not good at all. Applying a slow charge to the battery in cold circumstances stops the electrolyte inside from thickening and keeps the battery active.
So, if someone lives in a cold place, they might want to use a trickle charger. They can stop batteries from going bad. These chargers are like octopi in a way because they help to keep a battery alive and healthy.
Trickle chargers are easy to use too. They’re a simple matter of clip and unclip. You can leave them on for a long time. They’ll still keep the battery charged and ready to use. Be careful not to leave them on too long, though. If your trickle charger is left on too long and doesn’t have an auto-shutoff, it may harm the battery.
Trickle Charger Pros and Cons
First, the good things. Trickle chargers can maintain your battery at a high state of charge. This is important because all batteries lose charge over time, even when disconnected.
They are affordable and work well for a boost if your battery won’t be used for a while. An unused battery can drain even faster if an appliance in the vehicle is drawing power from the battery when the vehicle is off. This is known as a parasitic drain. The trickle charge helps to counter the problem, although it is always better to locate the problem at the source and eliminate it.
Now, the bad things. Trickle chargers have some issues too. They might overheat or overcharge a battery, which isn’t good. Check the specifications when you buy one to ensure that it has an auto-shutoff feature. If it doesn’t, the charging process needs to be closely monitored to protect the battery from overcharge. Also, unlike maintenance chargers, they can’t adjust to the battery’s needs.
And while it is technically possible to charge a dead battery using a trickle, it’s going to take a while.
Pros And Cons Of A Battery Charger
Let’s talk about the good things first. Standard battery chargers can quickly charge car batteries that are dead or low on power. This is super important if you need to start your car in a hurry. Of course, it’s all relative. Even a relatively powerful 10 Amp charger takes a little time.
Another pro is that battery chargers can work with a lot of different batteries like 6-volt and 12-volt ones. They are better suited to reviving dead batteries, giving them a new chance at life.
Now, let’s take a look at some cons. A big downside of battery chargers is they might overcharge your battery if you leave them on for too long. Overcharging can cause harm to the battery and reduce lifespan.
There again, if you invest in a smart charger it will stop once the battery is full, so this won’t be an issue.
Another con is that, with their faster speed, they are not as gentle on your battery as trickle chargers.
Before You Go…
Before you go, there’s one more thing you need to know. If you’re still unsure about whether to choose a trickle charger or a battery charger, you might also be wondering about the difference between a battery charger and a battery maintainer.
In our next article, “Battery Charger vs Battery Maintainer? Learn the Difference Now!“, we’ll explore this topic in some detail and help you understand how to keep your battery in top condition.
We’ll explain how a battery maintainer can help extend the life of your battery and save you money in the long run. Don’t miss out on this essential information.
Here’s the FAQs
What is a trickle charger?
A trickle charger is a type of battery charger that provides a low, steady charge to a battery over a long period of time.
What is a battery charger?
A battery charger is a device that is used to recharge a battery by supplying it with electrical energy.
What is the difference between a trickle charger and a battery charger?
While both types of chargers are used to recharge batteries, a trickle charger is designed to provide a low, steady charge over a long period of time, while a battery charger is designed to provide a higher, more powerful charge over a shorter period of time.
When should I use a trickle charger?
A trickle charger is ideal for maintaining the charge on a battery over an extended period of time, such as when storing a vehicle or equipment during the off-season.
When should I use a battery charger?
A battery charger is better suited for charging a battery slowly rather than jump-starting a vehicle.
Which type of charger is more expensive?
Trickle chargers are generally less expensive due to their simpler design and fewer features, while battery chargers can be more expensive due to their advanced features and faster charging capability.