The 10 Best Terminal Cleaners
This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in March of 2020. When left unchecked for long periods of time, dirt and oxidation on battery terminals can impede the flow of electricity. Sometimes an improper connection like this can be the sole reason a vehicle isn't starting, so it's important to give these parts a proper cleaning every once in a while. All the options on our list will help you effectively clean battery connectors while minimizing effort. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 02, 2020:
One of the most common types of terminal cleaning tools are dual purpose models such as the Lisle 11120, Schumacher BAF-BI, and Elitexion 4 in 1. These options feature both cylindrical wire brushes for cleaning terminals, and receptive brushes for quickly cleaning battery posts. These options are nice if you're just looking for something that wont take up too much room in a glovebox or toolbag and will stand up to occasional use. However, just because these options are purpose built doesn't mean they're the highest-quality tool available for the job.
The Vim Products BS1 is not specifically sized for cleaning terminals or posts and doesn't feature specially designed brushes, but it features a super strong set of bristles that will stand up to more intense use than many of the purpose built options. The Neiko Industrial Wire Set is similar in that it is not designed to fit standard automotive battery terminals, but its ability to be used with a powered drill offers it an advantage compared to many purpose built options when it comes to tough grime and oxidation.
Most tools primarily intended for cleaning terminals are typically designed for standard automotive batteries, but a few of the options on our list are designed for more rare connectors you may be dealing with. For batteries with side-mounted terminals, such as the kind found on certain GM models, the OTC 4617 is the best option. If you're dealing with the pin or spade connectors that find use in some boats and RVs, the Innovative Products of America Master Kit is a great option. In addition to cleaning these specialized terminals, the metal files and scrubbers in this set may even be useful for standard sized terminals as well.
In addition to terminal cleaners we've got helpful articles on the best car batteries, battery charges, and automotive tool sets available. Always observe proper precautions when dealing with high voltages or currents.