CTEK AB is a Swedish company with a world-wide reputation. Two decades ago, they were the first to pioneer the smart car charger. Their use of state-of-the-art technology means their car chargers give you the best charge and maintenance available.
A battery charger doesn’t have to be just for emergencies. The best CTEK battery charger models are also designed for long-term maintenance. They can save you from a failure, too, but they can also prevent it before it happens.
Sounds good, right? Check out the full reviews below to find the one that’s ideal for you.
- 1 Side by Side Comparison
- 2 CTEK Battery Charger Reviews
- 3 1CTEK 56-864 8-Step Battery Charger
- 4 2CTEK Multi US 3300 Battery Charger
- 5 3CTEK 40-206 MXS 5.0 Battery Charger
- 6 Why Buy CTEK?
- 7 Our Verdict: The Best CTEK Battery Charger
Side by Side Comparison
CTEK (56-864) MUS4.3 12 Volt Fully Automatic 8 Step Battery Charger
CTEK (56-158) MULTI US 3300 12 Volt Fully Automatic 4 Step Battery Charger
CTEK 40-206 MXS 5.0-12 Volt Battery Charger
|Charger Type||Trickle charger||Trickle charger||Trickle charger|
|Size||11” X 2.5” X 6”||6.5” X 2” X 1.5”||11” X 6” X 2.5”|
CTEK Battery Charger Reviews
Let’s start with this 8-step, fully-automatic CTEK charger. It’s an impressive unit that can optimize the performance of any size or style of battery. The accessories that come with it also make it incredibly versatile, capable of charging batteries other models can’t reach.
This is truly an all-weather charger. It’s rated for environments as cold as -4°F and as hot as 122°F—suitable for all but the most extreme conditions. It also won’t get damaged by dust or rain and has built-in shock protection.
You also don’t need to be a car expert to use this charger. It goes through the 8-step process automatically and it’s smart enough to know what kind of charge your battery needs. The LED display on the top clearly shows the charge progress.
The CTEK 56-864 is designed for maintenance more than emergencies. It will take a long time to charge a battery that’s completely drained. With enough time, though, it will improve performance in batteries of any size.
- 8-step process makes it very versatile
- Improves your long-term battery life and performance
- Guaranteed safe thanks to reverse polarity protection
- Water and dust resistant
- Easy to read LED display
- Can charge even hard to reach batteries
- Long charging time
- No built-in fan means it gets very hot
Who’s it for?
Any auto owner.
The Multi US 3300 is a more compact and streamlined version of the charger above. You might be surprised how much power you can get from a charger that’ll fit in your palm. It’s the ideal charger for use with household vehicles, equally easy to use in your garage or on the road.
We love that the Multi US 3300 is a truly all-purpose charger. It’s all-weather, first of all, and functions well in a range of temperatures and climate conditions. You can even permanently attach it to a problematic battery for continuous maintenance.
There’s one downside to its small size: the cables are equally compact. It’s a stretch connecting them on even a standard car battery. Aside from that, the design is user-friendly. The use of icons with LED light indicators makes it easy to interpret for a layman.
Even though it’s small, this charger has about the same charging time as the model above. It will also test and desulphated your battery, handy extra features you might not expect in a unit this small. That combination of convenience and functionality earns its place on this list.
- Cold mode for use in extreme winter conditions
- Tests and improves battery condition while it charges
- Lightweight and portable
- Can stay connected even while the battery is running
- Safeguards against sparking and short circuits
- Included cables are a bit short
- Won’t save settings between uses
Who’s it for?
Smaller vehicles and engines.
If speed is what you’re after, you probably want to check out the CTEK MXS 5.0. It’s the fastest charger in the CTEK arsenal. Anyone charging larger or more demanding batteries will find this one right up their alley, as well.
A combination of higher power output and advanced temperature compensation provides the improved performance of the MXS 5.0. A lot of chargers run extremely hot, but not this model. It’s more efficient, and that translates to a faster charge.
Now when we say faster, keep in mind this is still a trickle charger. You’ll need a few hours to get a car battery from empty to full. Where you’ll most notice the speed increase is when you’re topping off a battery, which it does in a blink.
The status indicators on this model aren’t quite as easy to interpret as the others above. The flip side of this is it gives you more information, like whether your battery is sulfated. Changing programs and modes is simple, too.
The MXS 5.0 is a must-have if you have a larger battery. It’s versatile, too, and any car owner can benefit from the powerful and intelligent design.
- Fastest CTEK charger
- Powerful charge great for larger batteries
- Temperature sensors prevent overheating
- Works well on both standard and dry cell batteries
- Multiple programs adjust charge to size of battery
- Remembers program settings between uses
- Controls and indicators a bit harder to interpret
- Won’t work with the CTEK cigarette lighter adapter
Who’s it for?
SUVs, trucks, and other larger vehicles
Why Buy CTEK?
We mentioned in the introduction that CTEK is consistently on the cutting edge. That’s not the only thing that draws people to these chargers, though. Here are some of our favorite features, which you’ll find on all the chargers reviewed above.
Recondition and Desulphation Modes
Most CTEK chargers will both desulphate and recondition your battery. The recondition function can restore even badly discharged batteries back to their full capacity. By continuously charging it, the battery maintains maximum capacity—a great thing for its long-term help.
Desulphation is a term you might not be familiar with. It’s basically equivalent to cleaning out your battery. Lead sulfate crystals are left behind during a battery’s charge cycle. Over time, these can build up and lower the battery’s capacity. CTEK chargers remove these crystals, improving performance.
Advanced Safety Features
Most battery chargers have a polarity protection feature which will prevent use if the clamps and poles aren’t connected right. CTEK chargers also have spark protection. If the clamps are accidentally touched together, the charger will shut down automatically, keeping you safe.
Smart sensors and charging
All CTEK chargers will automatically choose the right charging mode, proceeding through the charging steps without any user input. Many will also let you know valuable information about your battery, with indicators telling you the sulphation level and overall battery status.
Many charger brands claim to offer smart sensors. Those in CTEK chargers truly follow through, taking accurate readings and making the right decisions to operate at maximum efficiency.
Our Verdict: The Best CTEK Battery Charger
These are all great products, but if pressed we’d have to say the CTEK 40-206 MXS 5.0 is the best overall. It has everything you’ll find on the others but adds power and some handy features. We like that it’s equally useful for any car, taking the guesswork out of your purchase.
CTEK battery chargers don’t just fill up your battery—they can truly bring it back to life. Start using one today to give your battery more longevity and long-term power. It’s a small investment that will give you big returns!