The Best Battery Testers

Don’t fault your mower, tractor, or other device for poor starting performance when a failing battery could be to blame. The best battery tester can clue you in and keep your vehicles in operation.

Best Overall

The Best Battery Tester Option: TT TOPDON Car Battery Tester AB101 12V

Topdon 12V ArtiBattery101 Car Battery Tester

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Runner-up

The Best Battery Tester Option: ANCEL BST200 Car Battery Tester 12V 100-1100

Ancel 12V BST200 Car Battery Tester

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Battery Tester Option: D-FantiX Battery Tester, (Model: BT-168)

D-FantiX 9V BT-168 Battery Tester

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A weak or underperforming battery can do strange things to a vehicle, a piece of equipment, or a device. But, simply looking at the condition of a battery won’t tell you the whole story.

Fortunately, using the best battery tester can clue you in to what’s happening before you get sidelined. Keep reading to learn more about these helpful tools and how to choose one that best suits your situation.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Topdon 12V ArtiBattery101 Car Battery Tester
  2. RUNNER-UP: Ancel 12V BST200 Car Battery Tester
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: D-FantiX 9V BT-168 Battery Tester
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Foxwell 12V 24V BT705 Battery Analyzer
  5. BEST DIGITAL: Foxwell 12V BT100 Pro Car Battery Analyzer
  6. BEST ANALOG: Oemtools 24338 100A Battery Load Tester
  7. BEST FOR MOTORCYCLES: Ancel 6V 12V BA301 Battery Tester
  8. BEST COMPATIBILITY: X-cosrack Universal Battery Tester with Leads
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Konnwei 12V KW208 Car Battery Tester
The Best Battery Tester Options
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Battery Tester

We researched the most sought-after battery testers in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, compatible battery types, ease of use, and other special features included by top brands.

After extensive product research, we included options in our list of top picks that were all easy to use with either clips or leads. Plus, the clip-on options allow for hands-free testing for added safety. Each of these digital or analog options is capable of testing various battery types, including wet cell, gel, AGM, AA, AAA, C, D, EFB, 9-volt, spiral, gel, deep cycle, and many more for testing household, car, SUV, truck, boat, power tool, and power equipment batteries for added versatility.

Most of these picks also come with large LCD screens or analog gauges, large push-button controls, and lightweight constructions making them easy to use.

Our Top Picks

Armed with some solid background on the best battery testers, you’re ready to start shopping for the right model to suit your needs. Ahead, review a host of options considered among the best battery testers on the market. Be sure to keep the top considerations in mind when comparing products.

Best Overall

Topdon 12V ArtiBattery101 Car Battery Tester

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Those looking to keep tabs on a vehicle’s 12-volt battery system should check out the Topdon ArtiBattery101 car battery tester. Small and light, this handheld digital battery tester features a large, easy-to-read screen and provides menu text in English, Russian, Spanish, French, German, and Italian, making it one of the best car battery testers on our list.

This tester is compatible with most 12-volt systems, including wet cell, gel, and AGM, so it can be used for cars, trucks, boats, and most modern motorcycles. It provides readings during static state, charging, and cranking, allowing users insight on battery condition at all times. Topdon’s ArtiBattery101 also includes two leads with alligator-style clips for clipping on the battery terminals and connections for hands-free testing.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, gel, and AGM
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight with large screen that’s easy to read while checking battery power
  • Includes 6 preprogrammed languages: English, Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, and German
  • Suitable for cars, SUVs, boats, trucks, and motorcycles; provides readings while static, charging, and cranking

Cons

  • Item does not include a case for protection and storage

Get the Topdon digital battery tester at Amazon or Newegg.

Runner-up

Ancel 12V BST200 Car Battery Tester

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As a simple, quality digital battery tester that comfortably fits in the palm of the hand, the Ancel BST200 car battery tester deserves a look. This 12-volt battery tester is compatible with most systems, including wet cell, AGM, and gel, allowing the user to check the condition of batteries in lawn equipment as well as cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and RVs.

This digital model has a large display that’s easy to read and understand, with a simple four-button control pad. It has two permanently attached alligator-style clips, allowing users to clip the leads to the battery terminal for hands-free testing. Also, this unit has two testing modes, including in-car and out-of-car, to provide a reading whether the battery is disconnected or if it’s tied into the electrical system.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, AGM, and gel
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight with simple 4-button control pad and large display for easy reading
  • Includes 10 preprogrammed languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, and Russian
  • 2 testing modes (in-car and out-of-car) provide user more accurate data

Cons

  • A bit more expensive than other car battery testers on the market
  • Should not be connected to a battery over 18 volts

Get the Ancel BST200 battery tester at Amazon or Newegg.

Best Bang for the Buck

D-FantiX 9V BT-168 Battery Tester

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Anyone with a junk drawer full of loose batteries might want to check out this D-FantiX battery tester. Considered the best small battery tester, this affordable battery tester is compatible with small batteries, such as AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt which means this is also one of the best home battery testers we have on our list. Though an analog unit, the gauges are easily read and understood, with red, yellow, and green indicating battery health.

To test 1.5-volt batteries on the D-FantiX battery tester, simply slide the handle back and place the battery between the contacts; testing 9-volt batteries requires touching the contact to the appropriate points on top of the unit.

Product Specs

  • Type: Analog
  • Compatible battery type(s): AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Suitable for use with small, standard, and rechargeable household batteries Very affordable price point; gauges are easy to see while batteries are being tested

Cons

  • May drain some batteries while unit is being used to run test

Get the D-FantiX battery tester at Amazon, Kmart, or D-FantiX.

Upgrade Pick

Foxwell 12V 24V BT705 Battery Analyzer

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This Foxwell model was designed with professionals in mind. It’s compatible with both 12-volt and 24-volt vehicle electrical systems, including wet cell, AGM, spiral, gel, and deep cycle. The battery tester provides static, cranking, and charging values on cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats, as well as diesel trucks and RV systems.

This digital model features a large display that’s easy to read and understand, and it comes with clip-on leads for convenient hands-free use. Switching between menus and settings is also straightforward using the eight-button control panel. One button sends readings to a printer (sold separately) via Bluetooth for a hard copy of findings.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, AGM, spiral, gel, and deep cycle
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Made for professional use; suitable for 12-volt and 24-volt batteries
  • Provides static, cranking, and charging values; suitable for small and large vehicles
  • Large, easy-to-read display; includes clip-on leads for hands-free battery testing
  • Storage case included to protect against any bumps or breakage

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar car battery testers and battery analyzers
  • This item should not be used to test 6-volt batteries

Get the Foxwell BT705 battery analyzer at Amazon.

Best Digital

Foxwell 12V BT100 Pro Car Battery Analyzer

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Foxwell’s BT100 Pro car battery analyzer should be on the list of any home mechanic looking for an easy-to-use tester. This digital model features a large backlit LCD display, providing easy-to-read battery levels and values in any lighting conditions. It also features a simple keypad for quickly navigating through the menu.

This tester boasts a compact design that fits comfortably in one hand. This model also features clip-on leads that stay in place during testing, allowing for hands-free testing once attached. It’s compatible with most 12-volt batteries, including wet cell, AGM, and gel, so it’s compatible with modern motorcycles, lawn equipment, cars, trucks, and boats.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, AGM, and gel
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Large backlit LCD display is easy to read and use at night if required
  • Simple button keypad and menu-driven operation for additional ease of use
  • Has polarities wrongly connected protection, over-voltage protection, and automatic temperature compensation

Cons

  • Some users may consider the cables to be too short

Get the Foxwell BT100 battery tester at Amazon.

Best Analog

Oemtools 24338 100A Battery Load Tester

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Testing batteries on a budget needn’t mean settling for a poor quality product. This Oemtools 24338 100A battery load tester is a simple analog model that is compatible with 6- and 12-volt battery and electrical systems, meaning it’s suitable for cars, motorcycles of all ages, golf carts, ATVs, trucks, and boats.

The Oemtools 24338 100A battery load tester features a simple on-off switch and clip-on style leads for attaching to battery terminals. This load tester’s gauge uses color-coded values to display battery health.

Product Specs

  • Type: Analog
  • Compatible battery type(s): 6-volt and 12-volt batteries
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Can be used on cars, motorcycles of all ages, golf carts, ATVs, trucks, and boats
  • Simple on/off switch and clip-on style leads for hands-free testing
  • Can conveniently test 6-volt and 12-volt batteries in around 10 seconds

Cons

  • Larger than comparable units; may overheat before 10-second testing mark
  • Some users say this item’s battery test readings aren’t very accurate

Get the Oemtools battery tester at Amazon or CarParts.com.

Best for Motorcycles

Ancel 6V 12V BA301 Battery Tester

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While both cars and modern motorcycles use the same voltage, their batteries and electrical systems aren’t identical. So Ancel wisely designed its BA301 battery tester with settings for both vehicle types. Users can scroll through the different modes on the digital screen, choosing between car or motorcycle. The BA301 is compatible with wet cell, AGM, gel, and EFB batteries, and it even handles 6-volt batteries for older motorcycles and lawn equipment.

Considered the best battery load tester on this list, this model performs multiple tests, including static testing, cranking, and charging, which allows users to understand how their battery is performing in all situations. It also comes with clip-on style leads that attach securely to the battery terminal for easier testing.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, AGM, gel, and EFB
  • Ease of use: Moderate

Pros

  • Suitable for use on cars and motorcycles; presets included for each
  • Performs battery test, cranking test, and charging test along with other additional functions
  • 3 LED indicators tell users what happened to the battery
  • Works on a wide range of 6-volt and 12-volt batteries

Cons

  • Some users have reported experiencing some difficulty using this tester

Get the Ancel BA301 battery tester at Amazon.

Best Compatibility

X-cosrack Universal Battery Checker Tester with Leads

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Want the widest range from a battery tester? Take a look at the universal battery tester from X-cosrack. This model features a range from 1.2 volts to 12 volts, allowing users to check multiple batteries.

Unlike other models, which might require the user to snap the battery in place, this model features two attached leads. The digital display gives clear and easily understood readings. Note: While this tool can check batteries up to 12 volts, X-cosrack explicitly states it’s not designed for the batteries in a vehicle.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): AAAA, AAA, AA, A, C, SC, D, 9V, 3.7V 10440, 18650, CR2, CRV3, 2CR5, and A13
  • Ease of use: Moderate

Pros

  • Suitable for checking small battery types, including disposable and rechargeable household batteries
  • 2 attached leads for battery testing; checks batteries of 1.2 volts to 12 volts

Cons

  • May be difficult for first-time users; results may not be consistent
  • This item is not suitable for checking car or vehicle batteries

Get the X-cosrack battery tester at Amazon.

Also Consider

Konnwei 12V KW208 Car Battery Tester

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The Konnwei KW208 car battery tester is a worthwhile digital model with most of the functions of more expensive units, as well as a simple, user-friendly design. It’s compatible with 12-volt batteries, including wet cell, AGM, and gel, meaning it’s suitable for cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and power equipment.

This car battery tester by Konnwei features a large LCD display that provides clear voltage readings for quick, precise testing. It has clip-on leads for grabbing onto battery terminals. With its two testing modes, users will be able to accurately test batteries in the vehicle and batteries not yet connected to a 12-volt system.

Product Specs

  • Type: Digital
  • Compatible battery type(s): Wet cell, AGM, and gel
  • Ease of use: Easy

Pros

  • Can test 12V batteries, cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and power equipment
  • Large push-button controls and LCD screen for ease of use
  • Calculates car battery’s cold-cranking capability and aging extent, allowing for quicker, more precise repair
  • Displays test results as text and graphing, with real-time battery voltage shown in waveform

Cons

  • Some users report that this item will not work properly if a battery is overcharged
  • Screen options may freeze if an invalid reading is taken

Get the Konnwei battery tester at Amazon or Newegg.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Battery Tester

Staying on top of battery health can ensure that power equipment, vehicle, or even video-game controllers are working properly. Plus, these devices are more versatile than their name implies, as they can do more than just test voltage. The following sections point out the most critical factors to consider when choosing the best battery tester.

Types of Battery Testers

The two main types of battery testers, digital and analog, differ in the way they deliver information to the user.

  • Digital battery testers feature LCD displays that provide clear, accurate, easy-to-understand readings. Typically, users can switch between settings for static, cranking, and charging tests with a button. While digital models don’t boast new technology, they’re much more advanced than their analog counterparts.
  • Analog battery testers can be harder to read than digital models. They have a needle that rises and falls across a printed gauge, indicating the power level in the battery. The gauge is fairly small and has hash marks as well as numbers, so the reading may be less precise than with a digital tester. Also keep in mind that some analog testers do not have their own on-board batteries, so if the battery being tested is dead, none of the features will work.

Battery Type 

It’s important to know what kind of battery you’ll be testing, since not all testers are compatible with every kind of battery. Battery types include wet or flood cell, cylindrical, AGM (absorbed glass mat), gel cell, spiral wound, deep cycle, and more—designations that refer to the chemical makeup or construction of the battery.

Also, batteries vary in the voltage they produce. Smaller batteries, such as AA, AAA, C, and D, produce only 1.5 volts. These batteries don’t produce enough electrical signal for some battery testers, so testers designed for lower voltage are necessary. The units that can test these lower-voltage batteries typically don’t require leads, which are electrical contact points on the end of a wire.

Batteries found in older lawn equipment, small power tools, and some older motorcycles produce 6 volts, while larger vehicles such as cars and trucks use 12 volts. Both of these battery types require leads for testing.

Ease of Use 

Most battery testers are straightforward tools, but overly large, clunky models can be tedious to set up. Also, models with small gauges or tiny digital readouts can be difficult to read. The best battery tester will have a large gauge that’s easy to read quickly and accurately. A quality digital model will also feature straightforward buttons and control pads.

For smaller batteries, one-hand use can make testing a much faster process. For larger batteries, clip-on leads can make a huge difference, especially when going for accurate readings during cranking.

Connector Leads 

The best battery testers designed for larger batteries require leads, the electrical contact points on the end of a wire. One lead goes to the negative side of the battery, while the other goes to the positive side. As the energy from the battery passes through the leads, it registers a reading on the tester.

The leads on battery testers typically come in two types: points and clips. Points will do the trick, but clips attach the leads securely to the battery so the user can focus on the readings. This can be a big help, particularly while testing batteries in larger vehicles with complex electrical systems.

Types of Readings and Modes

Vehicle battery testers differ from multimeters in that they take different types of readings. They can take static readings when the battery isn’t connected to the car, load readings when it is connected, and readings during cranking and charging cycles.

With most digital models, users can hook these battery testers to the terminals, set it to the correct setting, place it on a surface, and then board the vehicle and crank the ignition. The battery will take all the readings and display them when the user gets out to review them.

Many testers also have settings for “in car” and “out of car” readings, which can be helpful for determining parasitic draw (when the vehicle drains the battery, even when it’s off).

Anti-Slip 

While testing the batteries in larger vehicles, users must often place the unit down on the vehicle. Whether it’s on top of the battery, on the edge of the fender, or on top of an air cleaner, putting the tester down allows the user to manipulate the leads with both hands. If the tester doesn’t have a grippy surface, it can slide off and become damaged. So a rubber anti-slip surface is helpful when testing vehicles. Some models feature rubber covers, while others might have a strip of rubber across the back.

FAQs 

Still have a few more questions surging through your mind? Check out the answers to some common queries about battery testers.

Q. How accurate are battery load testers? 

Battery testers are relatively simple tools, so accuracy is rarely an issue. Digital models are highly accurate, while the gauges in an analog tester might be harder to read with the same pinpoint accuracy.

Q. How do I test a battery to see if it’s good?

To test a battery, either place it in the appropriate slot in the tester or press the leads to the terminals of the battery. Analog models should provide a reading right away. Digital models might have a few menu prompts to follow before getting a reading.

Q. How long will my battery tester last? 

Battery testers are relatively simple tools, so it’s not unreasonable to expect 10 years of service from a quality model. Do keep in mind that most testers run on a battery, which typically needs to be changed once each year.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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