Tested gear: The CTEK CS One 12V Battery Charger is idiot-proof - SUV VEHICLE

Tested gear: The CTEK CS One 12V Battery Charger is idiot-proof


With no buttons to press and no polarity to worry about, CTEK’s new battery charger will suit those who want good performance but don’t want to worry about the details.

What we love
  • Couldn’t be simpler to use
  • Also virtually impossible to stuff up
  • Comes with app-based functionality
What we don’t
  • It’s quite expensive in comparison to others on the market
  • You’ll need to use the app for more functionality
  • Doesn’t automatically jump-start a lithium battery

If you have a car that you only occasionally drive, or perhaps you’re trying to extend the life of your batteries before paying up for a new one, a quality battery charger is an essential ally. 

A quick look at battery chargers online shows a wide range of prices and features available, from as little as $20 to well over $500. 

Which do you need? Chances are, something around $100 or so will do the job well enough for most.

After all, it seems to be a relatively simple job to supply power to a battery to ensure it doesn’t go flat.

However, if you have a range of different battery chemistries to cater for, and some features like conditioning are required, you’ll be looking to spend a little more.

I have a few old cars that require constant battery maintenance, and have a mixture of lead acid, lithium (LiFePo4) and Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) styles that need attention.

When CTEK reached out to Drive to test out its latest CS One battery charger, I realised my two ropey old Land Rovers (and their batteries) would provide the perfect test bed.

The most interesting thing about this CTEK One charger is that both alligator clips are black… No positive or negative to choose from.

What’s more, there are no buttons or modes to choose either. Simply clamp either lead onto any pair of battery terminals, and the charger figures out the rest itself.

From this point of view, it seems quite idiot-proof in it’s application. You literally can’t stuff it up. 

And for those who don’t know (or care) about the details – but want an easy-to-use charger – this could be a great fit. 

Once the terminals are connected, the charger takes around 30 seconds to assess the battery type and polarity, and start the charging process.

Outputs range range between 2 and 8 amps, and the charger has worked well for me over the past three weeks cycling between three different batteries (of varying conditions) for days at a time.

Progress can be monitored through the flashing displays on the charger, roughly indicating how much time you have left until 100 per cent.

The CTEK companion app allows you to check on battery voltage and charging progress, along with some additional functions. This operates via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone.

‘Recondition’ is good for breathing a little bit of new life into a tired battery or you can run the charger as a power supply (for testing and diagnostics). Finally, there is a ‘wake’ function for zapping dormant lithium batteries into life.

Although on that last point, I’d prefer this feature to happen automatically. My main charger at home is a Noco Genius 10, and it will automatically wake a hibernating lithium battery to start the charging process (once you select the correct charging mode, of course).

General build quality of the CTEK One seems to be quite good, and the five-year warranty is nice to have. 

The CTEK CS One is priced from $399, and will be available to buy through Repco stores around Australia. The price makes it a bit more expensive than the similarly performing Noco Genius 10 we also have at home.

The Noco has a couple of amps of extra output, but it has no companion app and needs to be configured into different modes for varying battery types.

While the CTEK CS One is quite expensive, it comes with a fool-proof user experience that cannot be matched elsewhere.

The post Tested gear: The CTEK CS One 12V Battery Charger is idiot-proof appeared first on Drive.



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