Product Review: Optima Digital 400 battery charger

Compact charger maintains batteries of equipment and vehicles sitting idle for long periods of time

Dead batteries. It’s a common problem with equipment and vehicles that sit without running for extended periods of time.

I know it’s an issue with the generator in my garage, which I used to forget to power up on a regular basis. Then, during a power outage, I’d pull off the cover to start it up and find the battery dead.

Many people encounter similar issues with snow blowers, vehicles and small equipment used only seasonally.

But the dead-battery syndrome isn’t an issue for me anymore: I plugged in an Optima’s Digital 400 battery charger/maintainer to keep my portable genset ready.

It works on all types of batteries, from smallest 12-volt found on generators and mowers to those found on pickups and larger equipment. The best part is it automatically maximizes battery life and performance with the built-in battery health mode.

I have been using it for a year, plugged into the battery on my Honda genset. It’s kept the battery healthy and ready to go when I need it.

Installation and use is dirt simple: You attach the charging plug wire and ground on the battery. Plug the Digital 400 into the wall outlet and plug in the leads to the connectors from the battery. Done.

The hybrid LED battery charging gauge shows the status of the battery and what the charger is doing.

I like the simplicity of the charger’s buttons and battery selection process, too; it’s quick and self-explanatory.

Another thing I discovered is it does a good job of bringing “dead” batteries back to life.  I hooked it up to a zero-turn mower battery that I thought was ready for the scrap heap, only to discover all it needed was some tender-loving care from the Digital 400 to bring it back to useful status.

For less than $110, the Optima Digital 400 is a good investment for anyone who has equipment and/or vehicles sitting idle for months at a time.

Key features

  • Automatically maximizes battery life and performance with a built-in battery health mode
  • Recovers discharged batteries other chargers cannot
  • Hybrid LED battery charging gauge with LCD display
  • Dual purpose hook and tilt stand design or hang it with the included wall organizer bracket
  • Integrated cable management and cord wrap
  • Quick set battery type selection for easy operation
  • Interchangeable battery clamps and ring terminals
  • Innovative multiuse design
  • Spark-free connection technology
  • Reverse polarity and over temperature protection
  • At-a-glance battery connected and check battery icons
  • Ambient air temperature compensation during charging
  • Pre-charge battery status display mode
  • Patent-pending design and software
  • Charges at a maximum rate of 4 amps

Bruce W. Smith is senior editor of sister site Hardworking Trucks.

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