In our LiPo battery guide, we covered the basics of what you need to know about LiPo batteries – what the readings meant, how to select a battery and how to charge, balance, store, revive and dispose your batteries. An absolute MUST READ, if you have no clue about the subject. In this LiPo battery charger review and guide, we have included a small list of what we think is the best LiPo battery charger for your money, how to pick the right one and any accessories you might need. Read on!
Selection criteria and what to consider
LiPo chargers come at a really wide range of different prices – from about $10 all the way up to $200 and above. If you want the cheapest, easiest solution, we recommend you go with something like the Tenergy 1-4 Cells. It doesn’t give you very many options like the ability to discharge, but it should be enough for most hobbyists.
However, with battery chargers, it is always recommended that you invest a little bit more. Spend a couple more dollars, and you will have a really good charger at your disposal that can be used for years instead of needing to purchase a new one in case the cheap one dies out (which will be more likely, if it is cheap) or you happen to need the additional functionalities that the really cheap ones don’t have.
2. Multi-Chemistry capability
The next thing you MAY want to consider, especially if you are looking to charge different types of batteries including the NiCd and NiMh. This may not be as important if you plan on ONLY using LiPo batteries. Still, even if you are not really into the RC hobby, we recommend you purchase a multi-chemistry chargers. Most chargers, except the very cheapest ones have this sort of flexibility.
3. Charging speed
Like we mentioned previously, if you want additional functionalities like fast charge, you may want to purchase a LiPo charger that has this feature. The cheapest LiPo battery chargers generally do not have a user interface for different settings. By default, most of these chargers do a balance charge.
4. User Interface, multi modes and ease of use
If the battery charger is too complicated to use, then it is probably going to be a pain in the neck. The ones we have picked here are easy to use and come with easy to understand manuals.
However, it may also be important to you that the charger has different modes including discharge mode and the ability to set different charge rates.
5. Parallel charging capability – dual LiPo chargers
Parallel charging multiple batteries at the same time can be handy especially if you are looking to head out with longer potential flight times. Charing 3 or 4 batteries one after the other can take quite a while! Some of the more expensive chargers (we have listed one below) have this functionality. Alternatively, you can also use a parallel charging board. However, this method will only allow you to charge batteries of the same chemistry and ‘S’ rating.
6. Cooling capacity and sensors
This is very important for safety. If you are using a charger that is poor at cooling and unable to detect when the batteries are overheating, you are increasing the odds of a fire disaster. Always remember – safety first.
This is the maximum amount of power (in Watts) the charger can charge your battery at. It is the product of voltage and current so essentially the higher the power, the more capable your charger is at supplying the adequate amount of current that your battery needs to charge at. If you have batteries with large capacities lying around, higher the power capability, the better.
Last but not least, the brand you purchase from is something you must consider if you want the best LiPo battery charger for the money. Quality is especially important with charging a LiPo battery. Buy a charger from a cheap/fake brand and you increase the odds of a disaster. In this post though, we have handpicked only the chargers we think are from the best.
What is best LiPo battery charger for the money, then?
Here, we’ll present some recommendations. We have arranged them from the cheapest to the most expensive ones. Note – Make sure you get the original ones. We do not recommend getting cheap replicas that can damage your batteries. Safety first!
Tenergy 1-4 Cells Li-PO/Li-Fe Balance Airsoft Battery Charger
Cheapest of our recommendations, this LiPo battery charger does the simple function of balance charging LiPo batteries ranging from 2S to 4S cell count. All you need to do is to plug in your battery to this charger and it’ll take care of the rest. It has an LED display that shows overall and individual cell voltage. Extremely easy to carry and easy to use.
Remember though, that this charger does not come with a UI and it does not have additional functionalities like discharging the cells, getting the cell voltages to storage level and fast charging. Also remember that with this charger, you can only charge Li-Po and Li-Fe batteries (not multi-chemistry) up to a 4S cell count. Batteries with 3 or 4 cells may take a while to charge.
Great, cheap liPo battery charger for a beginner. If you want something more long lasting, flexible, durable and safe though, read on.
SKYRC iMAX B6 Mini
Note: Comes in two variations. With and without power supply. If you have a spare power supply of about 15-16V, go ahead and purchase the latter version to cut costs.
The SkyRC iMAX B6 Mini is a popular choice among RC and ‘drone’ enthusiasts. It is an excellent charger/discharger that supports up to 6S batteries and comes with everything you’ll ever need for your battery needs.
With this charger, you can charge, discharge for storage, set the charge rate and customize many additional settings. It even comes with 10 memory slots that holds battery data so you won’t have to set the charge rate and voltage every single time.
Although the manual that comes with it may not be the best, the charger is pretty easy to use. The cooling capabilities are excellent too. Overall, it is a very good long term investment!
This is another GREAT multi-chemistry battery charger that supports up to 6S batteries. A remake of a discontinued Traxxas model, it is similar to the SkyRC B6 in functionality and features in the sense that it can do everything including discharging for storage, setting charger rate and fast charge settings. A nice bonus with this charger is that it comes with different adapters in the box, making it really flexible and compatible with different battery brands.
Best dual liPo charger: HiTec 44167 X4
The HiTec X4 comes with an inbuilt AC power supply and has a four part computer controlled chargers. Using this charger, you’ll be equipped with the ability to monitor individual cell voltages as they charge.
It boasts everything that SkyRex and ProLead models have PLUS additional safety, durability and multi battery pack charging capabilities. Built with safety mechanism, the charger will only let you charge if you have plugged everything correctly.
Unlike solely using a parallel charging board, using this charger will allow you to charge multiple different batteries. It also comes with different adapters and balancing boards.
A pricey but excellent investment, if you are an RC/drone enthusiast. Definitely worth the buy if you have the extra money. If you want a less expensive charger, you can go for the HiTec X2, which allows you to charge 2 batteries at the same time instead of 4.
Additional accessories you might need
Tenergy Multiple Charging Harnesses “Octopus”
Multiple charging harnesses, supporting 7 different types of common battery plugs. A must if your charger doesn’t come with different adapters.
Teenitor Fireproof Explosionproof Lipo Battery Safe Bag
A cheap buy, but very important for safe charging. Burning down your house while charging a LiPo is definitely not what you would want!
Tenergy 5-in-1 Intelligent Cell Meter
An easy to use intelligent cell meter that lets you check your battery’s capacity, balance the battery, discharge the battery and check your battery’s internal resistance. It also allows you to check your ESC servo PPM. A very handy tool, especially if your battery charger is a simplistic one without features!
Aiskaer T Plug 2-6S Parallel Connect Plate Balance Charging Board
A parallel charging board that lets you charge batteries of the same chemistry and ‘S’ rating at the same time.
Make sure you remember the following while making a purchase, no matter the model –
- Quality is important to ensure safety and durability, do not buy cheap alternatives.
- Check if the charger comes with a power supply cord. If it doesn’t, you may have to buy one that is compatible separately!
- Some chargers come with different adapters for different batteries while others don’t. If yours fall under the latter, you may want to purchase a multiple charging harness.
- This is the last place you maximize cutting costs. Better be safe than sorry. Invest in a cheap fireproof bag at the very least!
Thank you for reading and hope this guide helped you to decide on what is the best LiPo battery charger for your needs. Please drop a comment if you have any questions and we’ll be sure to respond immediately!