Best LiPo Charger : Battery Charger Showdown
I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for the best LiPo charger. For the past year or so I’ve been using the Venom Pro Duo. It’s been working fine but I want something smaller I can carry in my Lowepro Quadguard backpack.
Best LiPo Charger Contenders
The five charges listed are the 4 most popular charges used by drone pilots at races with the exception of the Hobbymate (because it’s new). The Venom chargers were probably the most popular chargers last year but now I’m seeing the ISDT chargers more and more.
Text in red denotes the best specification.
|ISDT D2||ISDT Q6 Pro||Venom Duo Pro||Venom Quad Pro||Hobbymate D6|
|AC Power||200w Total||NA||160w Total||400w Total||200w Total|
|DC Power||None||300w||160w Total||400w Total||650w Total (325w/channel|
|Max Charge Current||12A x 2||14A||7A||7A||15A x 2|
|Discharge Current||5A x 2||3A||1A||1A||15A x 2|
|Max Balance Current||1A||1A||.3A||.3A||1.6A|
|USB||5V @ 2A||None||None||5V @ 2.4A||5V @ 2.1A|
|Wireless Phone Charger||None||None||None||None||YES|
|Display||2.4" IPS||2.4" IPS||LCD - Monochrom||LCD - Monochrome||2.8" IPS|
|Weight||558g (1.2lbs)||119g (.26lbs)||898g (1.8lbs)||2131g (4.6lbs)||555g (1.2lbs)|
LiPo Battery Charging Basics
LiPo battery chargers are rated by power in watts (W). The formula for calculating power is P = I x V. P is power (watt), I is current (Amps) and V is voltage (V). The higher the power rating, the more batteries you can charge at once.
For the sake of this post, let’s just say we are charging 4s 1500mAh LiPo batteries charging at the normal 4.2v per cell so 16.8v for a 4s battery.
The charge current is rated in “C”. To calculate the charge current you look at the total capacity of the battery. Charging at 1C the charge current for one 1500mAh would be 1.5A, 2C would be 3A, 3C would be 4.5A…etc.
If you are using a balance or parallel board that lets you charge multiple batteries at once on one port, to figure out the current, just add up the total capacity of the batteries. So if you have three 4s 1500mAh batteries, the total capacity is 4500mAh or 4.5A. To charge at 1C the charge current is 4.5A, 2C would be 9A…etc.
The amount of current used in charging LiPo batteries will determine how fast the battery will charge. Lower currents will take longer to charge the pack but will help extend the life of the battery and is generally safer.
Here’s how you calculate how many batteries you can charge for a given power rating:
P = I(x) * V , x is the number of batteries
200w = 1.5A (this is the total current, 1.5A is a single 1500mAh pack)x * 16.8v (this is the voltage for a 4s battery)
11.9 = 1.5A(x)
7.9 = x
So 200w can charge about 8 4s 1500mAh batteries at 1C (1.5A)
Having a more powerful charger will let you charge more batteries quickly. A 200w charger can charge eight 4s 1500mah at 1C, at 2C it can charge 4 batteries and 3C it can do 2 batteries. A 400w charger can charge double the numbers. Sounds ok right?
With 6S batteries becoming more popular the power ratings becomes more important. A 200w charger can handle six 6s 1300mAh at 1C, at 2C it can charge 3 and 3C it can only charge 2 batteries.
- 200W AC power only
- 2 Ports
- USB 5v @ 2A
- Compact size
- IPS LCD screen
The ISDT D2 is probably one of if not the most popular charger right now. But is it the best LiPo charger in this list? It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Dual channel, 200w max, small, USB output, beautiful IPS LCD screen, two buttons and a scroll wheel makes it really easy to control. The only real drawback of the D2 is that it’s AC only.
ISDT Q6 Pro
- 300W DC Power only
- 1 port
- Very small charger
- IPS LCD screen
The ISDT Q6 Pro is the smallest charger in this group. It’s easily small enough to fit several in your bag and is really powerful. The drawback is it’s a single port charger and can’t take AC power.
It’s not uncommon to see racers with multiple Q6 Pro’s charging batteries.
Venom Duo Pro
- 160W AC or DC
- 2 ports
- Medium size. Will not fit in a side pocket of the Lowepro backpack
Venom Quad Pro
- 400W AC or DC
- 4 ports
- USB port
- Large size. Will not fit in a side pocket of the Lowepro backpack
The Venom Pro series were great chargers. Either dual or quad ports with 160w or 400w versions.
I’ve been using the Venom Duo Pro for about a year and I still find the menu still confusing to use.
- AC or DC
- 650w max!
- 2 ports
- Small – small enough to fit in the side pocket of the Lowepro Quadguard backpack
- USB output – great for charging phones or powering a small LED work light for night sessions
- Wireless phone charger
- 2.8″ IPS LCD screen
I’m going to rule out the Venom Pro LiPo battery chargers. Both of these chargers are pretty out dated compared to the newer chargers today. They are too big, per channel power is too small and lacks the sexy new multi-colored IPS LCD screens.
The ISDT D6 Pro has good power at 300w and is tiny but it’s only a single channel.
So it comes down to the ISDT D2 and Hobbymate D6.
You can tell Hobbymate made the D6 to compete directly with the ISDT D2. Hobbymate made the D6 just a little better than the D2 on every single spec. The biggest selling point on the D6 over the D2 is that the D6 can use DC power with a max power of a whopping 650w! That means at 1c you can charge about 25 4s 1500mAh battery packs at once! The D2 at 200w max can only do about 8 at once.
8 batteries may sound like a lot but if you need to quick charge 4s 1500mAh at say 4c, the D2 can handle two, the D6 can do six. You may never need this much power but it’s nice to know it’s always there if you need it.
Besides the power, the D6 just feels better to use. The D6 screen is only .4″ bigger but it looks much larger.
The D6 is also smaller by just a touch. It fits easily on the side pockets of the Lowepro Quadguard backpack. The D2 fits but it’s a tight squeeze.
The biggest advantage of the D6 over the D2 is that it can take DC power. This is huge. Using AC the power rating is the same for both chargers, 200w. Probably due to the limitations of the built in power supply.
If need to utilize the full 650w of the D6 you’ll probably need to hook it up directly to a 12v car battery or something similar. It needs a pretty powerful power source. I use the 120A Anker Powerhouse portable battery. I love this thing! It’s powered by lithium-ion batteries, has a 12v car socket, 110v AC outlet and 4 USB outputs. In the summertime I use the 110AC outlet to power a high velocity blower fan and charge batteries at the same time.
The Best LiPo Charger is the Hobbymate D2
Of all the battery chargers I’ve used over the past 3 years, the Hobbymate D6 is the best LiPo charger. It’s small, well built, beautiful 2.8″ IPS LCD screen, simple one button with scroll wheel functionality, takes AC/DC power, USB output, wireless smartphone charging, dual port and has enough power for any kind of batteries you need to charge.
Check out the Hobbymate D6, I think you’ll really like it.
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