As we head into the colder months, energy will be on most people’s minds, particularly access to it in the event of an emergency or power cut. Having something with you that can help power necessities, whether in the home or in the wilderness, is important in this day and age, and CTEK’s CS FREE could be an ideal solution.
My husband is a child of the seventies, and he can still recall the disruption caused by rolling energy blackouts, frequently mentioning that there is always a possibility it could happen again. His long-lasting concern is the reason I have purchased all manner of rechargeable items, including heated clothing, audio devices, mini power banks and a plethora of lighting products. After all, I would rather we were not sat in darkness or cold in the event of a power cut.
As effective as all these products are, they still need one thing, and that is access to power to charge them. This is where the CTEK CS FREE, with its battery capacity of 10-130 Ah and output of 12 V, 20 A/240 W max., comes into play.
Let’s not ‘beat around the bush’; the world can be stressful, and the pace at which it operates can often feel overwhelming. One of the most popular ways to find some calm over recent years has been to embark on road trips, as they allow travellers to stay within their country’s borders whilst letting them choose how far they want to be from civilisation.
Heading off on a road trip and being in nature is hugely beneficial for one’s mental health; however, this does come with some drawbacks, one of which is access to power. It is why the Swedish Technology firm CTEK created the CS FREE, a 4-in-1 portable battery charger, maintainer, adaptive booster and powerbank.
What CTEK has created is very clever. It is a product that safely gives you power when you need it, and if you have a vehicle with a 12v battery, it can keep you out in nature for pretty much as long as you want.
Peace of Mind on a Road Trip
A plethora of power backup systems are currently available in the market, most of which were born following the massive energy price rises that started last year. The problem with many of them is they are bulky and heavy, which makes them difficult to transport.
CTEK has taken a different approach to other manufacturers with its CS FREE. The company has designed a powerful, high-tech product that is small and light enough for even me to carry in a backpack. It measures 248 x 98 x 78mm, similar in size to a typical red house brick, but weighs considerably less at just 1.4 kg.
This portable 12V powerbank boasts numerous features, one being Adaptive Boost technology, which allows it to charge a broad range of things from mobile phones to notebooks and, impressively, even a car battery. In fact, it can charge and maintain ‘any’ 12V lead acid or lithium battery.
Where the CS FREE ticks every box is on a road trip. If you’re travelling somewhere to escape civilisation and you’re doing it in a vehicle with a 12v battery, as long as you have access to the basics such as food and water and legal places to pitch a tent and preferably a CTEK solar panel, you can pretty much extend your road trip for as long as you want to.
Obviously, if you are planning to stay in the wildness for an extended period, there will be a time when you’ll need to top up the CS FREE’s power reserves unless you have the solar panel option, which we will come to in a later feature.
To charge up the CS FREE, you’ll need to head back to your vehicle, where you can recharge it using its battery via the optional 12V accessory plug using its alternator.
If you get back to your vehicle and it won’t start due to insufficient power in the battery, there’s no need to worry. The CTEK CS FREE is supplied with crocodile clips, and providing it still has enough power in it, using the supplied clips and a feature called adaptive boost, it can get a vehicle started in under 15 minutes.
The adaptive boost technology is very clever. It will analyse the current state of a vehicle’s battery, and unlike other boosters or jump starters, it only provides enough charge to start the vehicle. This means that it won’t damage sensitive electronics or the battery.
Although we have yet to check how quickly the CS FREE can charge a battery to the point it can start a vehicle, it certainly wasn’t through lack of trying. For a week, my husband Paul and I drove around hoping to find someone by the side of the road with a flat battery, and though we encountered many drivers in distress, they all had engine-related issues and were waiting for assistance to arrive (AA, RAC, etc.)
Even though we couldn’t experience the unit’s battery charging technology, we could test its merits as a high-tech powerbank. We started with a fully charged unit and fully charged mobile phones, camera stabilisers, rechargeable lamps, other small powerbanks, tablet computers and more, and it did this without any fuss.
The CS FREE is a remarkably simple-to-use device and is reassuringly large compared to the other portable powerbanks that we frequently use. It has USB-C and USB-A outputs, which we found adequate; however, if we had a wish list, we’d have preferred at least two of each socket.
With pretty much all battery technology, there is always a small risk of an accident. To ensure the CS FREE is as safe as possible, CTEK has incorporated spark-free connection and reverse polarity protection to eliminate risks during battery charging.
Overall, we’ve been very impressed by the CS FREE. Aside from being a portable battery charger, maintainer, adaptive booster and powerbank, it is also something equally important, a product that brings extra peace of mind.
Main features of the CTEK CS FREE
- It is a multi-functional 4-in-1 portable battery charger, maintainer, adaptive booster and powerbank.
- The CS FREE works with all types of 12V lead acid and lithium batteries.
- It can safely get you going from a flat battery within 15 minutes.
- It is suitable for use on cars, leisure vehicles, vans, boats, motorcycles, jet skis and more.
- The CS FREE can be powered by a service battery or an optional solar panel for complete off-grid charging.
- It can be recharged whilst on the move with an optional 12V accessory socket.
- It can be left safely connected to mains power, service battery or solar panel for smart maintenance charging.
- It has one USB-C and one USB-A output for charging tech like laptops, smartphones and tablets.
- It is easy to use, easy to operate, easy to understand
- There are no modes to select – just connect, and the CS FREE will do the rest.
- The LED countdown function on the top of the unit shows you how long there is left before your battery is fully charged.
- The CS FREE comes with a 2-year peace of mind warranty.
The CS FREE has an RRP of £280 and is available to order via www.ctek.com.
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