Whether you’re running an RC race car or a drone, chances are you’re going to need a LiPo charger to keep things going. There’s a veritable landslide of new technology available in the area, and between all of the gimmicks, promises, and other stuff, it can be hard to cut through the fat to get to the meat of the matter in a timely fashion.
We’re here to show you four of the best LiPo chargers for the money. The main thing you’ll need to do is make sure they take care of your wattage needs, but after that you’ll have some choices to make. We’ll get to those in a moment but let’s take a look at some of the vast range of products available first.
UP120AC Balancing Battery Multicharger with 300Watt Power Supply
If you’re looking for the absolute top-of-the-line charger, the UP120AC is here to serve your needs. It’ll cost you a pretty penny, but it has a simply amazing amount of power, topping out at 240W with 24A total across the dual ports. It’ll handle nearly any battery you can find, and it comes with its own 300W power supply which will keep the whole thing running well for an extended period.
If you’ll only accept the best of the best LiPo chargers and you’re serious about the RC hobby then you’re in good hands with the UP120AC (see full specs). Make the investment and take your hobby to the next level.
Combo Special: Tenergy TB6-B Balance Charger + Power Supply
This programmable charger is great if you use batteries for a variety of purposes. You’ll find out quickly that it can store the data for five different sets of batteries, making it useful for those of us who like to run drones, cars, and more but don’t want to have to purchase separate chargers in order to make it happen.
It’s bargain priced as well, making this programmable charger (see full specs) a great way to keep things going if you’re into multiple parts of the RC hobby.
GoolRC B3 AC 2S 3S Compact LiPo Battery Charger for RC Quadcopter RC Car
For some folks, the high-end portable chargers can run a bit too high in price. If you want something for occasional use, then you can quite easily pick up this charger at a rock bottom price and get going. It’ll be slower-going, it doesn’t have a lot of capacity, but what it does do is get your batteries charged for less than a quarter of the price of even a programmable charger.
For the budget-minded RC enthusiast who mostly takes afternoon jaunts, this is a great charger, but serious hobbyists will want to take the plunge and invest a little bit more money. Still, for what it does, it remains one of the best LiPo chargers for the money.
Genuine SKYRC iMAX B6AC V2 Dual Battery Charger & Discharger
If you’re serious about the hobby, accept no substitutes. This programmable charger is currently state-of-the-art and it’ll keep you going for a relatively low cost and has some quick charging capacities that will leave you in awe. The modular construction of this charger allows you to add all sorts of cool capabilities if you choose to invest a little bit more money, ranging from temperature sensors to keep everything safe to a WIFI module which will let you access your batteries information remotely.
It’s lightweight, and the extra money will save you a ton of time when it comes to charging batteries. Consider it strongly if you’re heavily involved in the RC hobby and you’ll never look back.
Picking out a Good LiPo Charger
The main thing that you’ll have to decide on when it comes to charging RC batteries is whether to go with a “plug and play” or programmable charger.
Plug-and-play chargers don’t have many advantages other than being a lot cheaper if you’re not totally inept with technology. The price is good though, and if you’re just looking to run a single car or drone for short periods here and there they make budgetary sense.
Programmable chargers, on the other hand, are generally more expensive but offer an impressive amount of extra versatility. One with memory is pretty much required if you’re going to be running different types of RCs and don’t want to bother with having to pick out the settings each time you change the type of battery being charged.
In addition to these capabilities, they’ll also charge quicker for the most part.
You’ll also need to determine how much wattage you want to run in order to make the most of things. If you’re not totally sure, then you’ll find that 50-60W is enough for a single battery but many of us like to charge our batteries in parallel which will require a good bit more juice.
Multiple cell batteries will also require more power than you’d think, and quicker charging means that you’ll need more amperage delivered. In general a 2200mAH battery will require 2.2A for a normal charge, but you could be looking at up to double that for quicker charging.
Make sure you know what kind of batteries you have as will. While any LiPo charger will handle LiPo batteries, not all batteries are under that classification, and cross-support, while common, isn’t necessarily the rule.
Safety and Chargers
One thing to keep in mind is that even the best LiPo chargers can get HOT. It’s best to have a dedicated space in order to make sure you can safely charge things if you’re planning on leaving it unattended. Even if you’re in the room, get a piece of wood or ceramic to lay the charger on in order to avoid any risk of fire.
Many people have posted IR shots of their chargers online. They can be a fire risk, but some precautions will keep you and your home safe. Make sure that you’ve got a heat-resistant surface and a space with nothing rapidly combustible like paper or kindling around in order to further minimize the risk. Good luck!