Have you ever noticed how batteries always seem to die at the worst possible time? We never find out we have a dead battery when the weather is nice, we have nowhere to be, and have a spare car available. No, our battery always fails in the middle of a storm, in the dark, while we are away from home and in a hurry.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. Battery testers can tell you the health of your battery and help you diagnose other problems like no-start conditions. They are great tools to keep around the shop and don’t cost as much as you might think. In fact, you can pick up a high quality, reliable, accurate battery tester for less than $30.
While digital battery testers with printout capabilities are nice, they aren’t practical for the home shop. They are very expensive, and just not needed. Good analog battery testers can be extremely accurate and can tell you amp load, battery condition, starter motor draw, and diagnose the charging system for a small fraction of the price of a digital battery tester.
The Best Car Battery Tester
We love tools that surprise us with quality and capability. Many battery testers we tried were simply not of high enough quality to even consider buying. When we buy tools, we want them to last a considerable amount of time, and we don’t recommend any tool that we believe has a limited lifespan.
Our pick for the best car battery tester is the Schumacher BT-100 100 Amp Battery Load Tester.
When we received our Schumacher battery tester, the quality was noticeable right away. The meter is housed in a strong steel case that is finished in baked-on black enamel. The gauge feels and looks professional and doesn’t give any impression that it is a cheap tool. The housing has a built in, rubber insulated carry handle that can also be used to hang the tool when in use.
The meter itself is analog, which is the main reason the price is so low. Analog does not mean inaccurate or hard to use, though. We love the way the meter face is laid out and easy to read. All markings are in high contrast to the background and the information is easy to see.
A common problem in low and mid-priced battery testers is weak alligator clips that often fail, leaving you with no secure way to connect the meter to your battery. This is not the case with the Schumacher BT-100. The battery clamps are extremely robust and clamp to battery terminals very tightly. The wires are copper, which is the mark of quality battery test units.
Professional mechanics will tell you that for 99% of the times when you need a battery tester, an analog testing device is all you’ll need. Having all the bells and whistles can be nice sometimes, but when it comes to getting a job done quickly and cost effectively, there is just no need for an expensive battery tester when very high quality units can be had for such low prices.
We highly recommend the Schumacher BT-100 battery tester. Being able to accurately diagnose battery and charging issues with a tool priced under $30 is incredible, especially when the tool is built to last for many years. This product does exactly what it says, and it does it very well.
We find that Amazon is normally the best place to purchase tools like the Schumacher BT-100 because of their always low prices and the free shipping deal they normally offer. Overall we give the Shumacher battery tester a strong recommendation as it will serve you well for quite some time and represents a high value. Happy wrenching!