Every RC pilot needs a charger, so we set out to test out some of the most popular chargers available so that you can see which one is perfect for your needs. We found that the menu structures of many of these machines are similar in design, so once you learn one you can operate just about any of them. Although they are very intuitive, you should always read the instructions that come with them, and you should also stay with the unit while you’re charging. These two simple things will guarantee that you will never have a mishap with your batteries. Now let’s take a look at these outstanding new units.
A Main Hobbies Electron 65 AC
This is a solid, well-built compact machine that has many advanced features. Because it’s AC/DC, it’s perfect for both field and bench charging, and it’s easy to transport. It only supports charging one battery at a time, but it does handle up to a 6-cell LiPo and allows balancing. The menu system is intuitive and offers a number of user settings.
Hitec MultiCharger X2 Ultima
This is the perfect middle of the road charger for the pilot who flies park flyers to larger electric birds. DC input voltage and sleek design makes this the perfect charger for the field. The X2 is capable of charging all sizes and types of batteries, and can be connected to a PC for a graphic view of charging performance. Its intuitive menu system along with its four-button entry system makes it very easy to use. If you need a good field charger, this would be a wise investment.
HobbyKing Neutron 200W
This is another great field charger that can hold its own on the bench. It is the only charger available that can fully charge Turnigy’s new Bolt Series LiHV (LiPo high-voltage) packs. The intuitive menu system is operated by an easy to navigate touch screen. An integrated internal resistance checker allows you to monitor the health of the batteries. This is a great field charger that can easily serve on the bench.
Hobbico/Duratrax Onyx 245 AC/DC
The Onyx is a very portable small lightweight charger that is perfect for both the bench and field box. In fact one of the main features of this charger is that you really don’t have to do anything! To charge your battery all you have to do is select the battery type, plug it in and start the process. The Onyx charger does the rest. While it can charge two different batteries, with two different chemistries at the same time, it can only handle up to a 3-cell LiPo. But if you don’t need all the whistles and bells and just want a charger to do it’s job and charge efficiently and quickly, this is the charger for you.
Graupner Polaron AC/DC 240W
The Polaron AC/DC has all the same features as the EX model with two key di erences. It can use AC and DC current and can handle a maximum of 8A charge current. The touchscreen makes menu movement very intuitive and it has all the whistles and bells you could ever need in a charger. The Polaron AC/DC can easily handle all the needs for most flying enthusiasts.
Graupner Polaron EX
This is the flagship charger for Graupner and it rightfully deserves this title. This charger can handle just about all of the batteries that are currently out there. The color touch screen makes moving from menu to menu very intuitive. Another key feature of this charger is the viewing of individual cell performance including voltage and resistance during and after charging. The 12 V input can makes this a field charging, however, the design is perfect for a permanent place on any workbench. If your modeler who has a wide diversity of battery types and sizes then this is the perfect charger for your bench.
A Main Hobbies Prodigy 612 duo AC/DC
This is a well-built midsize charger that has dual charging ports. A perfect charger for electric pilots who use a lot of batteries each time they go to the field, this unit can charge a 6-cell LiPo up to 12A/100W for each charging port. The 20-model memory (10 each side) makes it easy to select your most common battery types. The menu system is intuitive and easy to follow with the 2-line LCD backlit screen. The Pre-Charge function gives users an opportunity to save Lithium batteries that have been discharged too far.
Horizon Hobby Prophet Sport Duo 50W
This is the perfect charger for the person who just wants to charge the batteries in a quick and efficient manner. This charger just requires a switch selection for battery type (one of two) and turning the knob to the correct amperage up to 6A. It is AC only so it’s perfect for your main bench charger. It is easy to use but you will have to refer to the manual to learn what the error codes mean when they pop up.Horizon Hobby Prophet Sport Quattro 4 100W
If you take a lot of batteries with you when you go flying, this is the charger you what to come home to. The Quattro has four channels that can supply up to 8A charging power per channel. This would be a great club or event charger if you have a power supply. Because it’s DC power, it requires a separate power cord (not included). This large charger is very easy to use: select one of the three battery types, dial in the amps up to 8 and hit the start button. The charger will let you know when the battery is fully charged.
Thunder Power TP610C AC/DC
This is Thunder Power’s all in one charger, which can be used in the field and on the bench. The intuitive menu system is easily navigated by using the four arrow buttons at the bottom of the screen. The ability to perform different charging procedures, charge different battery chemistry and 10 amps of charging power will satisfy most RC pilot’s needs. If you’re looking for a good all-around charger that can also handle larger packs, then be sure to check this one out.
Thunder Power TP820CD
This has been the benchmark charger for years and one that will last for years with its solid construction. It has a simple four button, intuitive navigation that guides you through all the menus for the correct selection of battery types and size for each charging port. This makes an excellent field and bench charger when used with an ample power supply. If you’re going to have only one charger for all your battery needs, you just can’t go wrong with the TP 820 CD.
Electrifly Triton2 EQ
The Triton charger has been around for a few years and this newly updated model keeps up with all the latest battery technology. Two buttons and a pressable rotating knob navigate the user through the intuitive menu design. This would make an excellent field charger for the pilot who is flying with a number of different battery types and sizes. If you need a solid performing charger that has stood the test of time, seriously consider the Triton2 EQ charger.
Graupner Ultra Duo Plus 80
This one is a solid piece of machinery. The DC only operations makes this a nice field charger, although because if it’s solid construction it is a good size unit. This charger can cover all of your battery packs and packs in a bit of power in performance. The menu system is different than most of the others and takes a little bit of getting used to, but you will find it easy to navigate. If you’re looking for a field charger that has everything you could want in one machine, this may be the one.
Hitec X1 Pro w/Epowerbox 17A
Price: $180 (charger/ePowerbox combo)
You just can’t help but love this little powerhouse charger. The menu system is intuitive but it does take a little time to get used to the single button navigation. This is a very solid, compact charger that is easy to have on the bench and in the field while only requiring minimum effort to transport. The balancing board can accommodate just about any type of balancing plug from your particular brand of battery. If you’re looking for a compact charger that can take care of your battery needs in the field and on the bench, this is the charger for you.