PROS / With a 500 CCA rating, the Stanley J5C09 is a powerful jump-starter.
CONS / This car battery charger doesn't come with a battery tester.
VERDICT / The strong jump-starting ability, safety features and portability make this an excellent tool to have in the trunk of your car.
The Stanley J5C09 is the best car battery charger for most situations. Its high cold cranking amps (CCA) rating means it has enough power to jump-start most engines, even in cold temperatures. It doesn't have quite as many emergency tools as other chargers do, but it's quite portable and has the safety features that matter. For its all-around capabilities, the Stanley J5C09 earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
With its 1,000 peak amps and a 500 CCA rating, you don't have to worry much about whether this car battery charger can get your car back on the road. All you need to do is hook it up to your car's dead battery, wait a few minutes and then try to start your car. Even in cold weather, the J5C09 shouldn't have too much trouble turning the engine over.
Unlike with most of the other car battery chargers on our lineup, you can use the J5C09 as a trickle charger to maintain your car's battery. If you have a vehicle that you don't use often (think RV or similar), that vehicle's battery can slowly degrade over time. That's why you want to use a trickle charger. It keeps seldom-used batteries topped off and in prime condition.
Few things are more frustrating than short jumper cables. The J5C09 comes with cables that are 3.5 feet long. That's long enough to give you plenty of work room, but not so long that it's a pain to store – a happy middle ground. Some other car battery chargers have very short 6-inch jumper cables or very long 7-foot cables. The Stanley J5C09 has built-in cable storage, which makes it more portable and convenient. With built-in storage, you don't need separate jumper cables that take up more space.
At 18 pounds, the J5C09 is a relatively heavy car battery charger. With so much weight, it can be a little cumbersome. However, it's not the heaviest on our lineup, and the features and options the J5C09 offers are worth a little extra weight. The handle is sturdy and makes moving the charger around easy.
After you use the J5C09 to jump-start your vehicle, you'll want to recharge it by plugging it into an outlet in your home. The J5C09 has overcharge protection, which means that you can leave it plugged in for as long as you want – it will stop drawing electricity when it's fully charged. Some car battery chargers don't have overcharge protection and can be a serious hazard if left plugged in too long.
The J5C09 has a reverse polarity warning, which can be very useful. When jump-starting your vehicle, you need to pay attention to which terminal of the battery you attach the red clamp to. You must attach the red clamp to the positive (and also red) terminal of your vehicle's battery. If you try to jump-start a vehicle with the red clamp attached to the wrong terminal (reverse polarity), you'll see a lot of sparks and possibly cause damage to both your vehicle's battery and the charger itself.
Emergency Tools & Features
When you're stranded by the side of the road, it's not always because of your vehicle's battery. That's why it's nice when car battery chargers have other emergency tools and features to help you weather other adversities. For example, the Stanley J5C09 has a DC power outlet and USB port that can keep your smartphone or other electronic devices going until help arrives.
It also has a built-in LED flashlight, which can be essential when you're stranded in the dark. When your car's battery is dead, there isn't any electricity to power internal lights, so it can be difficult to see where and how to attach jumper cables.
However, you won't find a digital display or a battery tester on the J5C09. While a digital display is mostly an aesthetic feature, the lack of a battery tester is important, because this would show you how much charge your battery has left before it dies. However, you do get an air compressor with this car battery charger, which can really help out if you get a flat tire.
Warranty & Support
A strong warranty is an indication that the manufacturer is confident in its product's ability to work well. The Stanley J5C09 has a one-year warranty, which is decent. However, some car battery chargers have warranties that last up to five years, which is preferable for reliability.
The Stanley J5C09 is the best car battery charger on our lineup and the most useful option in most situations. It has strong jump-starting capability and many useful emergency tools and features to help you out when you need help the most. This is a tool that you should keep in the back of your vehicle at all times.