The best trickle charger to keep your car's battery topped up

A good trickle charger will help ensure your car will start even if you've left it a while.

trickle chargers

Flat things are often disappointing. Whether it be a flat glass of pop, atmosphere, tyre or battery. While there isn’t much we can do to prevent the first two events (apart from maybe a soda stream), flat tyres and batteries are our domain. And while we’ve already written guides for tyre inflators, battery chargers and jump starters, there is another important tool you can use to keep your battery topped up.

A trickle charger will simply maintain your car’s battery as long as it’s plugged in. A great tool for batteries that discharge or use on vehicles you don’t use for long periods of time, there are a wide variety of trickle chargers on the market.

We’ve looked at price, power, compactness and any nice extra features to select our top trickle charger choices. So without further ado, here are the best trickle chargers that may tickle your fancy.

The best trickle chargers

1. Noco Genius 10

The best trickle charger

Noco Genuis 10

Price: £119.95 | VIEW OFFER

A top performer wherever car batteries are included, anything by NOCO will seriously impress you with its quality, compactness and effectiveness for rating batteries from their deathbeds. An absolutely tiny device, the GENUIUS10UK is our top choice for trickle charging as it’s designed to keep your battery as healthy as possible. And if your battery is a little worse for wear, it’s an effective jump starter and can even help restore lost performance. It’s our number one trickle charger even if the cost is steeper than other options.

Pros    Cons
• Last name in battery protection  • Rather pricy
• Top-notch quality  • Overkill for city cars
• Improved battery health    


2. AA 12V Car Solar Battery Charger

 The best budget solar trickle charger

AA 12v Solar Charger

Price: £40.99 | VIEW OFFER

Let the sun do the hard work for you with this solar-powered trickle charger. Simply ensure the panel is in direct sunlight and connected to your car’s battery and it will ensure that there is a steady stream of volts keeping your battery healthy. While it can’t be used to raise a battery from the dead it is a great option for a car you leave idle and ouside for long periods of time.

Pros  Cons
• Harnesses the sun  • No good on dead batteries
• Good quality    
• Very well made    


3. Clarke ATC12VB Auto Trickle Charger

The best trickle charger on a budget

clarke atc12vb

Price: £19.19 | VIEW OFFER

At the other end of the trickle charging spectrum is this simple mains-powered example from Clarke that can only maintain a battery. Nowhere near as fancy as the other choices here it is a decent way of trickle charging a car that you keep in a garage. It’s designed for 12V lead-acid batteries and is manufactured to be protected against short-circuiting, reverse polarity and overloads.


4. CTEK Portable Battery Charger Maintainer

 The best trickle charger for both mains and solar powered charging

ctek portable charger

Price: £215.35 | VIEW OFFER

The ‘Taste the Difference’ model of the trickle charger world, this charger from CTEK may cost more than other options, but it’s far more stylish and offers some impressive specs. The built-in battery can last up to a year without going flat and if that’s not good enough, there is a solar panel extra you can buy for battery and solar trickle charging. It can also be used to jump-start a dead battery too, making use of clever Adaptive Boost technology to do it in the safest way possible. It’s just the expensive cost that holds it back, but for total peace of mind it’s worth it.

Pros  Cons
• Clever design  • Rather expensive
• Helps keep battery safe  • The solar panel attachment is eye-wateringly expensive
• Very well made   

What you need to know about trickle chargers

What are the different types of trickle charger?

Mains-powered trickle chargers are the simplest way of trickle charging, simply plugging into a standard three-pin plug and connecting to your engine. While it means your car is tethered to a power source, it is a good option if your car is kept in a garage.

Battery-powered options work the same as mains operated chargers but use an internal battery to provide the volts to your battery. These are often rechargeable via a USB port and mean you can trickle charge your car on the go.

Solar-powered ones are a bit cooler because they solely rely on the great orb of fire in the sky (the sun). This means they’ll effectively charge your car for free so long as there is sun and the solar panel is in direct sunlight.

Why is my battery going flat?

As batteries age, they become less efficient and so will discharge quicker. This is why it’s recommended you replace them every couple of years. Modern cars are also jam-packed with electronics that can help drain a car’s battery.

Computers, alarms. central locking and even the clock will contribute to a discharging battery. This will then be compounded if you leave your car for long periods of time without driving it.

If your battery is a little past it we have an article on Amazon Garage and buying new car batteries.

Can I use it to keep my EV battery topped up?

No. You’ll need a proper EV charger for that.


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