Are you looking for a battery charger to keep your caravan’s leisure battery in good condition when it’s not in use? If so, you may find yourself browsing online or in caravan or car accessories stores, wondering which battery charger will be best for the job. The chances are that you’ll find several good value products from Draper Tools, because this Hampshire-based firm is such a household name. We tested two Draper battery chargers as part of our Practical Caravan group test of eight products, the Draper 11953 and the Draper 07265, the most expensive charger we tested, at £133.

They faced tough competition on our test bench, being put up against the superb CTEK MXS 7.0 battery charger, at £100, excellent CTEK MXS 5.0, at £60, Ring SmartCharge+ 12 at £65, and Ring SmartChargePro 25, £190. Then came the Sealey Autocharge 10D, £37 and the Clarke CC120 at £47.

We were looking for several key features in our quest to find the best battery charger to maintain caravan leisure batteries. We wanted a battery with a gentle conditioning mode to keep the leisure battery topped up at all times, between caravan holidays. Given that this would involve leaving the charger plugged in for days on end, we wanted the battery charger and conditioner to be weatherproof, so that it could be used outdoors, protected from the elements by no more than a battery box. We also wanted a long lead that would reach from the caravan on the driveway into the garage or house. We also wanted reasonably meaty output, to ensure that the charger was up to the job.

We modified this last requirement a little, in the course of our tests, because we found that the battery will really only draw what it needs from the charger. So typically a fairly flat battery of medium size will start off by drawing 10-15 Amps, if the charger is up to it. Then within only a few minutes, as the battery gets charged up, it will drop its demand for power and draw just 6 Amps or less, until it is fully charged. So a charger with a maximum output of 12 Amps won’t necessarily outperform a charger that delivers just 6-7 Amps to a typical caravan leisure battery. 

First we tested the Draper 11953, which had a list price of £60 at the time of our test. As with most products, prices vary between stores and online retailers, so it’s always worth shopping around for the best prices.

In sharp contrast to the two CTEKs and Rings, this is about as basic a battery charger 
as you’re likely to find these days. Just don’t consider using it for long-term maintenance duties — that’s not what 
it’s designed for. In fact, if left to its own devices, it won’t even switch off when 
a battery is fully charged, which would eventually boil most modern batteries dry.

But if you are happy to keep an eye on the unit, the Draper 11953’s thumping 13 Amp maximum output is more than enough to replenish the charge of the largest-capacity batteries.

On caravan leisure batteries, though, 
it’s safest to avoid the manually selected rapid-charging mode on this Draper 11953.