Do you have a battery tester? If not, don't worry – you can still test your batteries to see if they are working properly. In this guide, I will walk you through the steps of how to test batteries without a tester. I will also provide some tips on how to extend the life of your batteries. Batteries aren't hard or pricey to check, so let's get started!

There are several ways to test batteries without a tester. You can do a physical check, a voltage check, or a load test. You can also pick a multimeter for voltage testing for my list of best budget multimeters.

Physical Check:

The first step is to do a physical check of the battery. This includes looking for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or swelling. If you see any of these, the battery is most likely bad and needs to be replaced. Learn how to test a starter solenoid.

Signs of a bad battery

  • Cracks
  • Leaks
  • Swelling
  • Corroded Terminals
  • Lose Connection

Voltage Check:

The next step is to check the voltage of the battery. You can do this with a multimeter. Most of the multimeter comes with separate battery check options like Innova 3340. You can also select a best multimeter or clamp meter from our top picks list of best DC clamp meters.

Testing Procedure:

  • Set your multimeter to the DC voltage setting.
  • Put the red lead on the positive terminal of the battery and the black lead on the negative terminal.
  • If the reading is above 11.8 volts, the battery is good.
  • Most of the time, if the voltage is below 12 volts, it means that the battery is sulfated and needs to be replaced.
  • For beginners I have made a detailed separate guide on how to test batteries with multimeter.

Load Test:

The last step is to do a load test. This will tell you how much power the battery can actually deliver. For your convenience, I have also made a list of top battery testers.

best battery load tester
  • To do a load test, you will need a load tester.
  • Attach the load tester to the battery terminals.
  • Connect the positive lead to the positive terminal and the negative lead to the negative terminal.
  • Run the test for 15 seconds.
  • If the battery voltage doesn't drop below 11 volts, the battery is good.
  • If the voltage does drop below 11 volts, the battery is bad and needs to be replaced.

Now that you know how to test batteries without a tester, let's talk about how to extend the life of your batteries.

How to extend the life of your batteries

Batteries are essential for many devices, from phones to laptops to cars. But they don't last forever. Eventually, they will need to be replaced. However, there are some things you can do to extend the life of your batteries.

  • Keep your batteries clean and dirt because it can help with the connection.
  • Make sure to keep your battery charged because it will help to prevent sulfation.
  • If your battery remains unchanged for too long, it will become sulfated and need to be replaced.
  • Store your batteries in a cool, dry place because extreme temperatures can damage them.
  • Be careful not to overcharge your batteries because it can shorten their life. Therefore, never use a low-quality battery charger.
  • If you have a car battery then must check your alternator(which charges the battery). I have also made a guide on how to test a car charging system.
  • Always use grease on the battery terminal to avoid corrosion.

By following the steps in this guide, you can understand how to test batteries without a tester and extend their life.

Safety Guide while testing batteries:

A little carelessness can lead to serious injuries while testing batteries. So, here are some safety tips that you must follow:

  • Wear gloves and safety glasses while testing batteries.
  • Do not touch the red and black lead with your bare hands as it can cause a short circuit.
  • Do not leave the multimeter on the battery for too long as it can overheat and damage the battery.
  • Keep children away from the area where you are testing batteries.
  • If you see any sparks or flames, immediately disconnect the multimeter and battery.


Nobody wants to buy a new battery every few months. The easiest method to test the battery is with a battery tester, but if you don't want to buy separate testers, a digital multimeter is a good option. So, I suggest you buy Innova 3340 or fluke 233 as it is one of the best multimeters for car battery testing.

I hope this guide was helpful in teaching you how to test batteries without a tester. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions

How can I test my battery at home?

Test any battery with a load is the easiest and quickest way to check it. If the appliance or car (in case you’re testing a car battery) is working properly under load conditions then  your battery might be good. You can also do a physical check as per above mentioned procedure.

What should a 6 volt battery read on a multimeter?

If you have a battery of 6 volts then it must be above 5.5V in idle condition. If the voltage drops below 5 then it means you have a bad battery and you need a replacement. 

How long should a car battery last?

A car battery should last at least 2-3 years, depending on how often you maintain it. You may be able to increase the service period of your car battery if you maintain its water levels and charge it properly. For lead acid batteries, this is a good time period. In contrast, gel batteries do not require periodic maintenance.