Which CTEK Charger Do I Need?

It’s a CTEK battery charger for you, is it? Well, you’ve certainly made a good choice, as you’ll read in this article. But let us read your mind… you want to know: Which CTEK charger do I need? That’s what we’ll evaluate.

We’ll look at what your specific requirements are and show you exactly what each charger is capable of, compare them to each other and therefore make it easy for you to come to a conclusion about which one you need. 

Given that you’re here, you might already know that CTEK car battery chargers are the best quality in the world (their only rival is NOCO).

So let’s get cracking and choose your CTEK!

Which CTEK Charger Do I Need

Let’s start answering “Which CTEK Charger Do I Need”

We’ll start with a table that compares the CTEK battery chargers for all their key uses, features, dimensions and applications.

Check this table out and you may be able to work out which charger is best for you.

Edit
CTEK ChargerMXS 3.8MXS 5.0MXS 7.0MXS 10
     
Charge Current3.8A Max5A Max7A (7.2A Max)10A
Charges Batteries with Capacity Range1.2-85Ah1.2-110Ah14-150Ah20-300Ah
Maintains BatteriesUp to 130AhUp to 160AhUp to 225AhUp to 300Ah
Weight700g600800g997.9g
Dimensions16.8 x 6.5 x 3.8 cm27.2 x 14.4 x 5.4 cm20 x 10 x 20 cm20 x 10 x 20 cm
Output220–240VAC, 50–60Hz220–240VAC, 50–60Hz220–240VAC, 50–60Hz220–240VAC, 50–60Hz
Recondition Batteries (RECOND Mode)?NoYesYesYes
Charge Steps7888
12V Supply ModeNoNoYes (7A)Yes (10A)
Charge Voltages14..4V & 14.7V (Cold weather mode)14.4V, 14.7V (AGM), 15.8V (Recond)14.4V, 14.7V (AGM), 15.8V (Recond), 13.6V (Supply)14.4V, 14.7V (AGM), 15.8V (Recond), 13.6V (Supply)
AGM-specific ModeNo (but cold weather mode can charge AGM)YesYesYes
Automatic Temperature CompensationYesYesYesYes
Temperature-20C to +50C-20C to +50C-20C to +50C-20C to +50C
Waterproof/Dustproof?Yes, IP65Yes, IP65Yes, IP65Yes, IP65
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Please note:

There’s also a CTEK charger XS0.8, but we didn’t include it as this charger can only charge motorcycle batteries. It’s too small an amperage current to charge cars or bigger vehicles.

What do CTEK MXS Chargers Have In Common?

There are a few things that all these CTEK chargers have in common.

Manufacturing quality

Firstly, they all have the same manufacturing quality. They’re all designed and developed in Sweden. The build quality and the components used are high-end across all CTEK’s chargers. 

Of course, the actual components for each charger can differ and vary in how much power they can handle and deliver, but quality is high regardless. 

Toughness & Durability

Each CTEK charger we’ll talk about in this article is built for extreme conditions, from the lowest to highest models. 

CTEK have excellent reputation for their products ability to handle very cold temperatures, snow, wind, ice etc.

They’re really built from the ground up for outdoor use.

Longevity

As a result of these first 2 factors, you’ll find that your CTEK charger can last many years. The Car Battery Geek team know of a few mechanics that have been using their CTEK charger for more than a decade.

The Most Sophisticated Charging Process In The World

You may have thought charging a car battery is just stuffing power into the battery. And you can get chargers that effectively do just that!

But the the thing is, car batteries are what we call capricious. They’re moody, changeable and remember even the slightest mistreatment with impeccable accuracy. That’s why the exact same battery model can last a year and a half for one person, and giving them trouble with breakdowns or struggling to start the vehicle… and 5 years of flawless use for another person.

Our batteries get into all kinds of states, because none of us monitor our battery charge/discharge cycle like a robot. So our car batteries will be undercharged at times, overcharged at other times. They’ll suffer temperatures that are too high or too low. Sulfation will eat away at them.

The reason we revere CTEK’s chargers is that their 8-stage charging process is equipped to analyse exactly what state your battery is in and charge it with the right process at the right time, uniquely for your battery. That makes it more than just a charger, it’s a healer for your battery.

Safety

As you may expect with a manufacturer like CTEK, with this kind of sophisticated technology, the safety features are state-of-the-art. All the car battery chargers in this Guide come with short-circuit protection, reverse polarity protection, and are spark proof.

Temperature Compensation

The MXS 3.8, MXS 5.0, MXS 7.0, and MXS 10 all come with automatic temperature compensation. That means the battery charger has an in-built temperature sensor that will adjust the charging voltage according to the ambient temperature.

It’s an important feature for both safety and the effectiveness of the charging process.

Fully Automatic

Each charger is fully automatic, so you can connect the leads, then select the mode then press start. The CTEK will detect everything necessary and do the rest. It’s truly set and forget.

Charge all types 12V Lead-acid batteries

They’ll charge Maintenance Free, Flooded/Wet, Calcium (aka Silver Calcium, Ca/Ca), AGM and Gel.

IP65 – that means water proof and dustproof.

AGM Charging Mode

CTEK’s charger are built with specific modes to charge AGM batteries. If you have an AGM battery you need a charger that is specifically made for that battery type. 

We go into much more detail in our Ultimate guide to AGM battery charging

Note that the MXS 3.8 doesn’t have a specific AGM Mode, it has a Cold Weather mode that can be used for AGM. 

They don’t charge Lithium batteries

None of these chargers are for Lithium (LiFePO4) batteries, so don’t use them on this type of battery. 

If you have any LiFePO4 batteries, see this UK guide and review of CTEK’s Lithium-specific charger.

Minimum battery voltage of 2.0V

All these chargers have minimum battery voltage 2.0V. That means your car battery voltage must be above 2 volts for these chargers to work.

So if your battery is very, very deeply discharged these CTEK chargers may not be able to start the charging process.

If you have a car battery that is a long time unused or sometimes need to charge batteries that are very heavily discharged, you’ll need the NOCO Genius models, the Genius 5 UK (we’ve directly compared the CTEK MXS 5.0 to the NOCO Genius 5 UK) or the Genius 10 UK. They have something called Force Mode that will charge batteries even down to 0 volts.

It’s important to note that 2V is very low, most people will never encounter their vehicle battery being this low.

Choosing your CTEK charger

You may have been able to look at the table above and that info has allowed you to make an immediate decision about which one is right for you.

Or you may need more information and expert advice. If so, read on as we analyse the different models and discuss which is the best CTEK charger for your needs.

Which factors to consider?

Your decision will depend on price, the size of your vehicle, the type of battery charging you need, how fast you want charging to be. 

You won’t need to think about quality, durability or reliability of the technology as each model, even the lowest cost, is made with CTEK’s high standards.

Choose the MXS3.8 if…

You have a relatively small vehicle.

If you have small capacity battery of around 50Ah and you want CTEK’s quality technology.

You don’t mind the long charging time. 

If you have a 50Ah battery (which is very small for a car), for example, it’ll take around 13 hours to fully charge. For any batteries bigger than that, it’ll be a very long time to get it to 100% charge.

However, be aware that the MXS 3.8 doesn’t have the full 8-stage charging process, just 7 steps. It lacks the reconditioning mode (Recond Mode) that the other models have. We very highly recommend this reconditioning mode because it can be the difference between your battery failing or thriving (see the best ways to recondition your battery).

The 3.8 will definitely charge your battery reliably and safely. It will take your battery from discharged to charged as a good charger should. 

But the other models can effectively cure your battery from whatever state it’s in. That means potentially doubling or tripling your battery life, and preventing starting problems and breakdowns.

Choose the MXS 5.0 if…

You have a medium-sized vehicle.

5A is a decent charging amperage and will do a good job on medium sized vehicles and a decent enough job even on some medium-large vehicles (but it’s more suited to maintaining charge rather than fully charging large vehicles).

If your car battery is around 50Ah capacity, you’re looking at around 10 hours, if it’s 70Ah then it’ll be 14 hours, and 20 hours for a 100Ah capacity battery.

You want to maximise your battery lifespan and rejuvenate your battery every time you charge it. That’s what you get with RECOND Mode. You’ll be preventing breakdowns and cases of the car refusing to start. Approximately 50% of all breakdowns are battery-related, so using the MXS 5 can genuinely cause a significant reduction in your likelihood to break down. 

You can check out a full review of CTEK MXS5.0.

The CTEK MXS 5 doesn’t have 12V supply mode, so if you want that, read on.

Choose the MXS 7.0 if...

You have a medium-large sized vehicle.

At 7 Amp charging, we’re starting to get quite a powerful charge at this point. We’re talking 7 hours to charge a 50Ah battery, 10 hours for a 70Ah battery and for a fairly large 100Ah battery it’ll be 14 hours.

For medium-large vehicles, then, it’ll charge your battery quickly.

Like the MXS 5, there’s the excellent RECOND Mode to repair your battery from the ailments likely contained within. The high Amperage of 7A makes this mode even better on this charger than the MXS 5. So there’s more cases of seemingly dead batteries being revived, and greater ability to keep your battery in excellent health. And a healthy battery means its longer lasting and less likely to let you down.

The MXS 7.0 has 12V supply mode. With this, you can provide power for tire inflators, air compressors and similar devices that use a 12V DC supply.

The average person probably won’t need this, but it will be useful for some people.

Here’s a full review of the CTEK MXS 7.0.

Choose the MXS 10 if…

You have a large vehicle.

10A charging is a big current and it’ll comfortably charge vehicles of any size. If you’ve got a big vehicle, your battery wants and needs this kind of big charging current.

Using too small a current on big batteries is not good for their health or longevity, so the MXS 10 is the solution.

The MXS 10 is the one the professionals use, we know plenty of fleet owners and mechanics that use it. That’s because they can charge vehicles of any size very quickly.

It’s also because the MXS 10 is the model with by far the most success stories for reviving and rejuvenating batteries. 

The RECOND Mode of this model, with its particular blend of high amperage and voltage is best equipped to restore batteries. We’ve heard stories of the MXS 10 rescuing batteries that were in desperately poor condition, even batteries that seemed dead and beyond all hope of repair. 

Like the MXS 7.0, there’s the handy 12V Supply Mode. The 10A current produced with this supply mode means it can be used to protect your vehicle’s electrical settings, if you need to remove your battery from the vehicle.

We’ve prepared a review of the CTEK MXS10, just for you.

Summarising “Which CTEK Charger Do I Need?”

Choosing a CTEK charger is probably the best decision you could’ve made for charging your car battery and keeping it optimally healthy and long-lasting. Hopefully the above information has made that clear.

All these chargers will definitely charge your battery reliably, they’ll wear well over time, are unlikely to break down, and are safe.

The fact that MXS 3.8 doesn’t have RECOND Mode means that we’d struggle to recommend it. The MXS 5 costs a little more but we believe you’ll more than make your money back because of how much longer your car battery is likely to last (and potentially the next battery and the one after that). And then there’s the fact that it makes the hassle and expense of breaking down and failing to start much less likely. 

We’ve analysed how battery reconditioning chargers can give your car its power back.

All in all, the MXS 5.0 will be the one for most people who have an average/medium sized car. It has a high enough charging current to comfortably charge most vehicles. 

If faster and more powerful charging is important to you, then the MXS 7.0 or MXS 10. Also choose one of these higher Amperage models if your vehicle is larger than average. 

If you want the charger that really maximises your battery life and keeps the battery in the best possible health, then the MXS 10 is the one for you. It has the best performing RECOND Mode that will lengthen the life of your vehicle battery, that means this charger is the most likely to save you money by reducing future battery costs.

Decision made? Here’s where you can check them out below.

Click on the pic if you want to check out the CTEK MXS 3.8 on Amazon.

Click on the pic if you want to check out the CTEK MXS 5.0 on Amazon.

Click on the pic if you want to check out the CTEK MXS 7.0 on Amazon.

Click on the pic if you want to check out the CTEK MXS 10 on Amazon.

Hopefully that answers the question of “Which CTEK charger do I need?” fully and completely. Best of luck with your battery charging.