In A Nutshell
- ZTS MBT-1 is the best battery tester of 2016. It can test more than 30 different battery types and gives meaningful, accurate readings.
- The ZTS Mini is an affordable and portable alternative. It tests 15 battery types.
Musicians, professional photographers, hobbyists, parents, and anyone else who is a frequent battery user should invest in a quality professional-grade battery tester. Be cautious of the slew of cheap Chinese battery testers available for sale on the internet. These products do not give an accurate reading, and instead will do little more than tell you whether or not your battery is dead.
Consider the Amprobe, the best selling battery tester on Amazon. It is available for $7, which sounds too good to be true because it is. As expected, it is flimsily constructed and gives iffy reports on rechargeable batteries. As many reviewers noted, it is only good at identifying dead batteries. Worse, it gives inaccurate battery readings and gives artificially high “good” readings on batteries that are on the precipice of death. That can cause unfortunate mix ups, like taking a battery “good” on charge to an important photo-shoot, only for the flash to die after a few snaps.
Luckily, ZTS makes a quality tester that gives a dependable reading. This battery tester is manufactured here in the United States and gives an accurate measurement in a very short period of time. Just place the battery on the nickel-plated brass contact and wait for the bar at the top to show what percentage charge the battery holds.
It tests almost every battery type, including NiMH, Lithium-Ion, Alkaline Lithium, Coin Cells, CR1620 Cells. It has a row of six LED testers that gives percentage reading of how much life the battery has left.
This is not a portable tester — it weighs over a pound and is 8 inches tall.
A Portable Option
If you want a professional quality battery tester that can fit in a purse or glove box, ZTS has the MINIMBT. The Mini is exactly half the MBT: half the size, it can test half the number of batteries (15), and is half the price.
The Mini tests 1.5v alkaline (AA, AAA, C, D, N), 1.2v NiMH/NiCd, 3v photo lithium, and 9v alkaline batteries.