Best LiPo charger buyers guide: Juice up that battery!

best lipo charger
Image courtesy davidd via Flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

The best LiPo charger is as important as the lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries for your radio-controlled model vehicles (R/C cars).

Sony introduced the first prototype cylinder Li-on battery in 1991. After several years of testing, the LiPo battery with pouch technology was produced and marketed.

One of the first battery-user segments to recognize the advantage of the new battery was the radio controlled crowd. With a longer charge life and more power, the LiPo battery was a dream come true.

Best-selling LiPo chargers on Amazon

Bestseller No. 1
Lipo Charger H B6 RC Battery Balance Charger Discharger for LiPo/Li-ion/Life Battery(1-6s) NiMH/NiCd (1-15s) RC Hobby Battery Balance Charger 80W 6A
  • [Wide Battery Type Compatibility]-Similar to our B6 V2, just better.It has the similar function, but is lighter and more cost-effective!The balance charger with high performance microprocessor can charge and discharge a variety of batteries such as 1.2V-18V NiMH/NiCD batteries (1-15 Cells), 3.7V-22.2V LiPo/Li-ion batteries (1-6 Cells), 3.2V-19.2V LiFePO4 batteries (1-6 Cells), and 2V-20V SLA batteries.Note: Do not choose the wrong type of battery when charging.
  • [Multiple Practical Functions]-The lipo charger is built in an independent Lithium Battery Balancer to monitor and balance each battery cell, and it has Fast & Storage Charging function, Data Storage & Load function, Cyclic Charging & Discharging function
  • [Easy To Operate]-Press the "Batt.Type" button to the user settings or select battery type or exit the program, press the "Start" button twice to the parameters setting, press the "Dec." or "Inc." button to switch over, press and hold the "Start" button to charge battery
  • [High Quality & Safe]-Using superior chip and materials to deliver quality performance, and the charger is designed with Reverse Polarity Protection, Short Circuit Protection, Over-Charge Protection, Over-Current Protection and Over-Temperature Protection for safety
  • [What you get]-The RC car lipo balance charger comes with a AC/DC adapter, a AC cable and a set of wires for all kinds of batteries. And your charger includes a 12 month warranty.
Bestseller No. 2
Tenergy TB6-B Balance Charger Discharger 1S-6S Digital Battery Pack Charger for NiMH/NiCD/Li-PO/Li-Fe Packs LCD Hobby Battery Charger w/ Tamiya/JST/EC3/HiTec/Deans Connectors + Power Supply 01435
  • One charger for many battery packs - Tenergy TB6-B balance charger/discharger is ideal for all hobby battery packs that are NiMH, NiCd, LiPO, Li-ion, LiFePO4, and SLA battery packs.
  • Wide connector compatibility - With one multi-charging harness, this AC balance charger can recharge battery packs with tamiya, mini tamiya, JST, HiTec, EC3, Deans, XT60, and bare leads connectors so that additional connectors can be added.
  • Wide voltage compatibility - Use the battery pack balance charger on NiMH/NiCd 1.2V-18V (1S-15S), with popular options of 6V, 7.2V, 9.6V, 12V. LiPO/Li-ion 3.7V-22.2V (1S-6S), with voltage capabilities such as 7.4V, 11.1V, 14.8V. LiFePO4 3.2V-19.2V (1S-6S), with popular options of 9.6V, 12.8V, 16V. SLA 2V-20V.
  • Multiple functions - More than a regular digital balance charger, Tenergy TB6-B comes with features like Li-ion and LiPO balancing, fast charging, data storage, cyclic charging, discharging, and much more for all of your battery packs.
  • Easy to read screen - View all charging statuses and settings on the electronic balance charger LCD screen as you navigate the modes and selections. Buy with confidence, your charger includes Tenergy a 12-month warranty.
Bestseller No. 3
ICQUANZX B6 V3 Lipo Charger Balance Charger Discharger for LiPo/Li-ion/Li-Fe/LiHV Battery (1-6S),NiMH/NiCd (1-15S),PB (2-24V),LCD Display with Power Supply
  • Battery Variety Charging - The smart battery charger can support many kind of batteries: LiPo, NiMH, NiCD, Li-ion, Pb, LiFe, LiHv, and smart batteries. Please choose the right type of battery when charge.
  • Wide Voltage Compatibility - Use the battery pack balance charger on LiPo/Li-ion 3.7V-22.2V(1-6 cell);LiFePO4 3.2V-19.2V (1S-6S);LiHv: 1-6 cell; NiMH/NiCd 1.2V-18V (1A-15S);PB: 2-20V; Smart Battery: I,II,III. So it is very useful.
  • Multiple Functions -Except charge, balance and discharge, it also has these functions: Terminal Voltage Control; Lithium Battery Capacity & Voltage Checking; Battery Internal Resistance Checking,Let you know when a cell is going bad;Data Storage and Memory Loading(Store up to 20 packs in memory); Digital DC Power.Automatically identify the cells counts of lithium battery section.Support LiHV battery.
  • High Quality & Safe- Using superior chip and materials to deliver quality performance, and the charger is designed with Reverse Polarity Protection, Short Circuit Protection, Over-Charge Protection, Over-Current Protection and Over-Temperature Protection for safety.
  • Bonus Accessories-The battery balance charger comes with 1×battery charger; 1×adapter; 1×Charging cable with XT60 and T-plug; 1×Crocodile clip;1 x Power Adapter;1 x Manual.
Bestseller No. 4
HTRC LiPo Charger 2S-3S Balance Battery Charger 7.4-11.1V RC B3AC Pro Compact Charger(White)
  • ★ Parameter: 2S & 3S charger, AC100-240V input, max charge current: 3*1000mA.
  • ★ Each cell is charged by independent line, which make sure each battery's cell is always fully charged, extending battery life. Note: This balance compact charger is suitable for LiPo Battery ONLY.
  • ★ LED to indicate: Double colour LED can display the process of charging (RED: charging; GREEN: full).
  • ★ This charger is compact and light, especially there is separated corresponding balance port for each battery pack.
  • ★ What You can Get: Thank you for choosing HTRC balance charger, you can get a balance charger, an AC cable, a manual, and a color box.
Bestseller No. 5
LiPo Charger,Battery Balance Charger Discharger 150W 10A AC/DC for Li-ion/Life/NiCd/NiMH/LiHV/PB/Smart Battery(Battery Charger Adapter)
  • [Universal Voltage Compatibility]- the battery balance charger support LiPo/Li-ion 3.7V-22.2V (1S-6S), with voltage capabilities such as 7.4V, 11.1V, 14.8V. LiFePO4 3.2V-19.2V (1S-6S), with popular options of 9.6V, 12.8V, 16V. LiHV 3.8V-22.8V(1S-6S). NiMH/NiCd 1.2V-18V (1S-15S), with popular options of 6V, 7.2V, 9.6V, 12V. PB 2-20V (1-10 Cells) and smart battery.Note: Do not choose the wrong type of battery when charging.
  • [Multiple Functions]: Compare to a regular digital balance charger,C150 Battery Charger comes with features like Li-ion and LiPO balance charging, fast charging, data storage, battery meter, NiMH cyclic charging and discharging and much more for all of your battery packs
  • [Terminal Voltage Control]- This Charger allows user to set the charge/discharge end voltage of the battery. For example:lipo battery end voltage is 4.2V /cell when charing, while on this charger, the end voltage is adjustable, rangs from 3.85v to 4.3v. Warning: this features for expert only!
  • [Smart Protection]:Low input voltage limit, automatic charge current limit, Delta-peak sensitivity, capacity limit, processing time limit,temperature threshold. Data storage and loading: 20 memory data. Firmware update
  • [What You Get] - The AC/DC balance charger comes with AC Power Cord,DC Cable,Balance Board,Explosion Proof Bag .Package also comes with octopus multi-charging harness with TAMIYA, TAMIYA mini, JST, T Plug, EC3,TRX,Deans connectors to be compatible with many charging connectors

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NiMH vs LiPo

Before LiPo technology, all of the R/C vehicles ran on dry cell batteries — nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries.

The new polymer electrolyte batteries (LiPo) use a liquid electrolyte contained in a pouch. They generate a higher capacity and discharge rates than NiMH, allowing longer electrical output — i.e., more power and punch when the battery is charged..

LiPo batteries are also lighter, with the possibility to be made in different shapes and sizes.

This innovation revolutionized the R/C model vehicle market.

Selecting the best LiPo battery charger for the money

When selecting a good LiPo battery charger that best fits your needs, check the following criteria to analyze the pros and cons of each charger.

But first, you should ask yourself the following questions and be able to answer them before purchasing a good charger.

  • What is your budget?
  • What is the largest battery (mAh and cell count) you will charge (currently and in the future).
  • Will you at a rate greater than 1C?
  • Will you parallel charge multiple batteries?

Price: Prices range from models like the Duratrax Onyx 230 for around $80 to upwards to the Hyperion 615i Duo for nearly $250. It’s easy to spend a lot on a vehicle, but remember there are accessories such as a charger you will need, too. Budget accordingly. There are good LiPo battery chargers under $100 on the market.

Multi-chemistry charger: If you have LiPo, NiMH, NiCd, and LiFe batteries, you might be better off buying a charger that can charge the different battery types. Otherwise, you end up with four different chargers, which an be cumbersome.

Heat sensors: Heat sensors are a safety mechanism that monitors your battery pack while it’s being charged.

You can set the temperature point where you want the charger to off to prevent overheating and damage to the battery. This is a nice feature, so check the chargers you are looking at to see if it’s included.

Charging speed: The charging speed is important to a lot of R/C operators. Check the speed specifications to see how long it takes to charge your battery pack.

A ‘fast charge’ mode on LiPo chargers sometimes accentuate speed over accuracy and balancing, leaving the battery not fully charged. Many operators chose to ignore that setting because they want fully charged packed.

Multi-pack charging: It’s convenient to be able to charge more than one battery pack at a time.

It’s especially nice to have the multi-pack charge options when you are running vehicles with two 2S or 3S packs and not having to have multiple chargers to handle your battery recharges.

Model memory: This is one of those features that is nice to have but not high on the importance list.

Most LiPo charging have units 10 or more model memories built in. Any extra memory beyond that is a bonus, but if it increases the price, it’s not worth the extra money.

Discharge mode: Being able to discharge a battery pack before packing up and going home is a nice feature, especially since you’re doing it in a controlled setting. This mode is also good for testing packs, and cycling batteries. Check it off as “must have.”

Charge AMPS: Many battery companies claim their batteries have no problem charging them at 5C rates.

A lot of people worry about pushing that high a charge into their packs, but many experienced operators feel that 10 amps on a 5000mah pack is now the norm. If you are using 4S packs, or your high quality pack can charge at a high rate, the AMPS numbers are important.

Balancer and AC/DC: All chargers should be able to allow the balancing of the packs/cells. Some do this with an additional interface box you buy and add on while others have an interface cable built into the charger. In either case, it’s good practice to use a balancer after several runs to make sure everything is in check.

The AC/DC ability of your charger is important. Without the ability to run the charger off a AC interface wall plug, you’re stuck without a power supply.

Visual interface: As technology advances faster and further, operating R/C vehicles can get more complex.

An efficient and easy-use operator interface can make controlling the vehicles much easier. If the LiPo charger you are looking at promises the moon but is difficult and frustrating to use, lose some of the extras to make running your R/C vehicles more fun and easier.

One way to gauge this is to see if you can operate the charger without having to constantly refer to the instructional manual.

The interface use is a very important part of selecting a proper battery charger for your R/C needs. You want your R/C experiences to be fun and enjoyable, so look for a charger that is easy to use.

All charged up: Ready to choose a lithium polymer charger?

People who revel in the recreational use of model R/C/ vehicles are always looking for new gadgets to enhance the experience.

An efficient, easy-to-use charger that keeps batteries fully charged at full power should be high on that list of valued accessories.

Find the best LiPo charger in 2021 on Amazon — whether from Traxxas, Airsoft, or …