When it comes to car maintenance and safe road travels, there’s an unspoken rule. If you own a vehicle, you must keep a portable jump starter handy as well.
The thing is, car batteries can fail you anywhere, anytime.
Maybe your kids left the car’s light on overnight. Or perhaps it’s cold outside, and the low temperatures have diminished the battery’s ability to provide sufficient power to start and keep the engine running. If you use your car only occasionally, there’s a high chance the battery will drain out on its own. So, you won’t be able to drive it whenever you want.
Imagine being on the road and the engine stalls unexpectedly. These are only some of the possible scenarios where having a compact jump starter in the trunk of your car can save you a lot of trouble.
If you are planning to buy a portable vehicle battery charger, here are some buying tips and a list of top-rated jump starters to help you make the right pick.
What to Look for in a Portable Jump Starter
A portable jump starter offers a safer, more convenient alternative to the traditional method of jump-starting a car with another vehicle’s battery. To find the one that packs the best performance and functionality in a unit, keep the following things in mind.
The most important factor to consider is the current rating of your car’s battery. You will need a jump starter that can provide the same amount of charge to shock the battery back to life. The power rating of jump starters is generally stated clearly under the product information section. Do not buy any portable car power station that does not specify the exact current, voltage, and energy capacity of the battery.
Once you find a jump starter that would work for your car in terms of power, the next thing to prioritize is the safety features. The best portable jump starter will have:
- Over-current protection – to prevent excessive current from flowing into your car’s engine and thus, protect it from damage.
- Reverse charging protection – to prevent the backflow of current to the jump box once the car has been started.
- Short circuit protection – to reduce the risk of fire in case the two clamps accidentally come in contact with each other.
- Overvoltage protection – to prevent damage to the jump starter battery if you forget to unplug it even after it has been fully charged.
- Under-voltage/ over-discharge protection – to keep the battery from draining below the critical charge level as it can reduce its longevity.
Size and Weight
Fortunately, bulky jump starters are a thing of the past. The battery chargers available in the market today are designed to fit in the trunk of the car without taking up a sizeable amount of space. However, their overall weight can vary significantly depending on the battery capacity. Before making a purchase online, always check the product weight. Make sure that you will be able to easily lift and carry the battery bank without straining your wrists.
Extra features, such as spark-proof cables, charge level indicator, LED flashlight etc. can take the functionality of a portable jump starter to a whole new level. This is mostly a matter of personal preference. So, for example, if you often go on outdoor trips like camping, you might want to invest in a jump starter that includes USB power outlets. This can help you to keep your smartphone and other electronic gadgets charged for days.
Best Portable Jump Starters
1) NOCO Boost Plus GB40
The NOCO Boost Plus GB40 is one of the most popular devices for jump-starting application. And it’s easy to see why.
This car battery booster comes with a whole host of features that make it the ultimate pick for the various car owners. Compact, yet powerful, this portable jump box is rated at 1000 Amps and can fire up around 20 engines in one go.
Its spark-proof technology reduces the risk of backflow, prevents short-circuit, and ensures safety even if you accidentally plug it in the wrong way.
Its high-performance battery is enclosed in a water-resistant casing which makes the starter safe to use in all kinds of weather conditions. Plus, it has USB ports so you can use it as a portable battery bank as well.
Dimensions: 3.2 x 1.7 x 6.7 inches
- Portable jump starter with 1000 Amps Lithium-ion battery
- Supports 6L gasoline engine and 3L diesel engines
- Embedded reverse polarity protection
- Comes in a microfiber storage bag to increase durability
- Micro USB charging cable helps keep other devices powered up
- Integrated LED flashlight (100-lumen) with seven modes
- One year warranty
- The clamps included with the package may not fit some car batteries
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
2) Clore Automotive Jump-n-Carry JNC660 1700
The Clore Automotive Jump-n-Carry JNC660 1700 is perhaps the most reliable jump starter you can get your hands on. After all, Clore Automotive has been the go-to brand for car drivers, two truck owners, and even professional auto mechanics for over 25 years for a reason.
Featuring a 22Ah Clore PROFORMER battery, this jump starter is designed with auto charge technology. It has a 12 Volt power supply and a peak current of 1,700 Amps to deliver exceptional cranking power for an extended duration.
The battery has a long service life and offers significantly more jumps per charge than most of the other starters available in the market. What’s more, this jump box comes with 46-inch heavy-duty copper cables. The cables feature industrial-grade hot jaw clamps that even penetrate corrosion to ensure the best possible connection and thus, a quick start.
Dimensions: 16.3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches
- Easy to use, high-performance jump starter
- Peak power of 1,700 Amps and 12 Volts
- 425 cranking Amps
- Built-in voltmeter lets you see the charge status
- Integrated battery charge level indicator
- Comes with 46-inch copper insulated jumper cables
- Suitable for all passenger cars
- Needs to be charged only once in a month
- A bit heavier than most portable jump boxes (weighs 18 lbs.)
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
3) TENKER 600A 14000mAh Portable Jump Starter
The TENKER 600A 14000mAh is a compact, heavy-duty car jump starter with multiple uses. Capable of reviving dead batteries of up to 20 vehicles on a single charge, this emergency battery booster is perfect for those drivers who frequently find themselves in this kind of trouble.
It has a peak current of 600 Amps and can provide a maximum energy charge of up to 14000 mAh. That’s sufficient to start 5.0L petrol engine and 3.5L diesel engine of both cars and trucks.
This jump starter is exceptionally lightweight and with its sleek design, offers superior portability. The unit also features two smart USB ports. It has a built-in electronic circuit that identifies the power requirements of the connected device to charge it at the fastest speed possible. This makes the TENKER jump box a highly practical tool for outdoor adventures like camping.
Dimensions: 6.65 x 3.35 x 1.42 inches
- Multifunctional compact jump starter
- Lithium-ion battery with 14000 mAh capacity
- Capable of delivering peak current of 600 A
- Intelligent metal clamps provide anti-reverse and short-circuit protection
- Equipped with three-mode flashlight (SOS, lighting, strobe) for emergency use
- Dual smart USB outputs charge electronic devices faster than regular charging ports
- The LCD screen makes it convenient to read the unit’s working status and charge level
- Needs to be charged frequently
- It comes depleted out of the box
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
4) Schumacher DSR115 DSR 4400 Peak Amp Jump Starter
The DSR115 DSR Peak Amp Jump Starter from Schumacher ProSeries is a heavy-duty battery booster that leaves an impression with its outstanding performance.
Since it’s specially designed to handle extreme conditions, you can rely on it to rev up virtually all kinds of road vehicles. With a peak output of 4400 Amps, it’s compatible for jump-starting passenger cars, trucks, tractor-trailer and everything else in between. It even works on large electric boats!
It has a 2 Amp external charger with an automatic cut-off circuit. This means you can leave it plugged in without worrying about battery damage due to overcharging. The power station comes in a rust-resistant storage case with ergonomic handles to ensure easy portability despite being relatively heavyweight.
This battery bank is also available in a smaller 2200 peak Amp unit.
Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 18 inches
- Exceptionally high-powered compact jump starter
- Comes with two 2 AWG 60-inch jumper cables
- Built-in 2.1 A USB port with 12 V DC power outlet
- Easy-to-read digital display
- Integrated reverse connection warning system
- Industrial grade design with practical use during a roadside emergency as well as around the workshop
- A great choice for professional automobile workers
- Very heavyweight (41.2 lbs.)
- May not fit into the budget of an average buyer
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
5) STANLEY J5C09 JUMPiT Portable Power Station
If you are looking for a battery bank that can deliver some serious jump-starting power, look no further than STANLEY J5C09 JUMPiT Power Station.
Designed for automobiles with larger engines under the hood, this heavy-duty unit provides 1000 peak and 500 instant Amps to get your vehicle going instantly. It’s best for truck owners and high powered passenger cars, such as SUVs.
What makes STANLEY JUMPiT stand out among alternative options is all the extra features that it offers.
This car power station has a built-in 120 PSI air compressor for emergency use. There is an anti-reverse protection alarm that alerts the user of a poor or improper connection. Moreover, the unit incorporates an LED light and USB port, making it an all-in-one emergency kit for road travels.
Dimensions: 11.25 x 8 x 13.5 inches
- Heavy-duty car battery booster with 1000 peak/500 instant Amps capacity
- Metal powdered coated clamps ensure optimal charge delivery
- Reverse polarity alarm protects against mishaps due to incorrect use
- Built-in 120 PSI air compressor for inflating flat tires
- Bright LED light with 270-degree swing ensures proper visibility for fixing your car at night
- 12V DC outlet and USB port provide on-the-go power for electronic devices
- Considerably heavy
- Power cord for charging the bank is sold separately
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
6) SCOSCHE PBJ300-1 PowerUp for Automobiles
The SCOSCHE PBJ300-1 PowerUp is, no doubt, the most compact jump starter of all. It’s so sleek you can easily fit it into your glove compartment!
Offering up to 300 Amps of power, it’s useful for reinvigorating engines of 4 to 6 cylinders and 3.5 L when your car’s battery dies in the middle of nowhere. It’s equipped with a 10 point safety protection system that prevents the bank from overheating, overcharging, over-discharging, reverse current, short circuit, and more.
This mini power station also includes a built-in LED light with a dual operation (strobe and SOS modes). The featured boost button allows you to revive fully discharged batteries in just a matter of seconds. The unit’s battery itself is said to be capable of 12-month standby operation. This means you can charge it once and then forget all about it until the need arises.
Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.2 x 2.8 inches
- Incredibly compact jump starter
- Extremely lightweight
- Uses lithium-polymer battery
- Offers ample power for jump starting up to 6 cylinders of 3.5 L
- Anti-spark design with override capability
- Overheat, over-discharge, and short circuit protection
- Fits about anywhere for easy access
- Sold in a rugged case
- Battery level indicator
- 5 Volt USB port for charging mobile devices
- Jumper cables are relatively short
- Not suitable for heavy vehicles
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
A portable jump starter is a piece of essential equipment for dealing with bad weather, old batteries, and other unforeseen circumstances that might call for external power to start your car. When buying a compact jump starter, first make sure that it can deliver the minimum power required to start your vehicle. Then, you may look into all the other features that it offers.