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At some point in your driving life, there's a great chance you're going to have to deal with a dead battery. More often than not, it'll happen at the worst possible moment. Luckily, this isn't as big a deal as it used to be thanks to portable car jump starters (and how-to videos), but with so many out there on the market, we decided to compile a list of some of the "best." Of course, everyone has their own idea of what the best portable jump starter is, so this list is based on user ratings and reviews. We've selected portable jump starters from a number of categories and price points to meet a variety of needs.
Delivers 1,500 Peak Amps
Made for use in temperatures from -4°F to 140°F
Features 8 safety protection systems
Includes USB 3.0 and USB-C connection ports
Built-in flashlight, strobe and SOS light modes are available
Delivers 2000 Peak Amps
Jump starts cars, SUVs and boats w/ up to 8.0L gas or 6.5L diesel engines
Rated at IP65 water resistance
Doubles as a portable power pack for USB devices
Includes a built-in LED light (with SOS mode)
Includes jumper cables, a USB-C charging cable and storage case
This AVAPOW unit can jump start cars, SUVs, and even boats with up to 8.0-liter gas or 6.5-liter diesel engines. It's rated at IP65 water-resistance, will operate in nearly any weather and features 8 different safety protection systems. Not only will this unit jump your car, like many others it also acts as a portable power pack featuring a built-in USB port as well as wireless charging capabilities for your phones, tablets and other devices. It also features multiple LED light functions including an SOS mode. Last but not least, this jump starter includes jumper cables, a USB-C charging cable and storage case with your purchase.
Delivers 1,000 Peak Amps and 500 Starting Amps of power
Built-in reverse polarity alarm tells you when there's an improper connection
Includes a built-in 120 PSI air compressor for tire inflation
Includes a high-powered rotating LED light
Built-in 12V DC outlet and USB port can be used for charging other electronic devices
Charges with a standard extension cord (not included)
This Stanley J5C09 JUMPiT delivers 1,000 peak amps and 500 instant starting amps. As a safety precaution, it includes a reverse polarity alarm to let you know when there’s an improper connection, so you won’t have to worry quite as much about user error. This starter also features a built-in 120 PSI air compressor for inflating tires, a built-in LED light with 270° rotation in case you need a jump at night, and a built-in 12V DC outlet and USB port. Keep in mind, however, that this car jump starter requires but does not include a standard household extension cord for charging.
Delivers 2000 Peak Amps
Can jump vehicles with up to a 7.5L gas or 6.5L diesel engine
Carries up to 20 jumps on a charge
Works in temperatures from -4°F to 140°F
Also charges USB devices like phones and tablets
Comes with its own clamps, cables and a carrying case
This NEXPOW portable jump starter can jump vehicles with up to a 7.5L gas or 6.5L diesel engine and carries up to 20 jumps on a single charge. It promises to work in extreme temperatures from -4°F to 140°F and includes safety technology like reverse polarity protection, over-current protection, high-temperature protection, over-load protection and more. There are also a few USB outputs built into the gadget, to allow users to charge their mobile devices, tablets, or anything else that uses USB. Naturally, the NEXPOW comes with its own clamps and cables, and it even includes a carrying case.
Delivers 2500 Peak Amps
Can jump most 12-volt vehicles with up to 8.0L gas and 8L diesel engines
Also works with motorcyles, watercraft, ATVs, UTVs, lawnmowers, snowmobiles and more
Can hold a charge for more than 3 months
Features a built-in LED emergency flashlight
Can also be used to charge USB devices like phones and tablets
This deal is similar to the NEXPOW battery jump starter above, but if you need a bit more power, this is the one you should go for. This beast has enough power to jump most 12 volt vehicles on the road including vehicles with up to 8.0L gas and 8L diesel engines. It will also work for motorcyles, watercraft, ATVs, UTVs, SUVs, lawnmowers, yachts, snowmobiles and more. Once charged up, the device can hold the charge for more than 3 months. It also features a built-in LED emergency flashlight with 4 modes. You can even use it to charge your USB devices like phones and tablets.
Delivers 1,000 Peak Amps - starts vehicles with up to a 6.0L gas and 3.0L diesel engine
Holds up to 20 jump starts on a single charge
Safety features include a "mistake-proof" design, spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection
Includes a built-in LED flashlight with seven light modes including strobe and SOS
Features USB ports for charging electronic devices on the go
Water-resistant (rated at IP65)
Only weighs 2.4 lbs
Includes a 1 year warranty with purchase
Not only does the NOCO Boost Plus GB40 provide up to 20 jump starts on a single charge, it’s extremely lightweight at just 2.4 pounds. The jump starter is rated for gas engines up to six liters and diesel engines up to three liters. Like some others, it has a built-in LED flashlight with SOS mode and can recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices. One thing that sets the NOCO apart is its IP65 water-resistant rating. It also has a rubberized casing to help prevent scratches. Last but not least, it even comes with its own microfiber storage bag.
Delivers 1,700 Peak Amps w/ 425 Cranking Amps of power
12V, 22Ah Clore Proformer Battery
Starts all passenger and light commercial vehicles
Includes built-in 46" heavy-duty #2 AWG Cables
Built-in DC outlet powers 12V accessories
Built-in DC input used to recharge internal battery
The Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry starts all passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles. It holds up to 40 jumps per charge and features 1,700 peak amps and 425 cranking amps of power with a 22Ah Clore PROFORMER Battery. The AWG cables attached are 46-inches long and the jump starter even features a built-in DC outlet to power 12 volt accessories.
What is a portable jump starter?
A portable jump starter is a tool you can use in lieu of a second car and jumper cables if you happen to get a dead battery and need a quick jump.
Why do you need a portable jump starter?
A portable jump starter is one of those things that you hope you won't need to use very often, but you'll be happy to have it when you inevitably do. It's not always easy, practical or safe to flag down another motorist to have them give you a jump when you're sitting with a dead battery. A portable jump starter allows drivers to be totally self-sufficient when it comes to finicky batteries. The convenience factor alone makes them worth it.
How do portable jump starters work?
Jump starters work in much the same way as traditional jumper cables, except that instead of using another vehicle as the power source, it uses a battery pack.
What size portable jump starter do you need?
This all depends on the vehicle you're planning to jump. Most jump starters come with information about the largest gas or diesel engines they can jump, so as long as you have that sized engine or smaller, you should be in good shape.
How do you use a portable jump starter?
With these devices, it's dead simple. First, make sure you have a compatible jump starter on hand and make sure it's fully charged and assembled. You'll want to connect the positive (+ or red) cable from the portable battery jumper to the positive (+ or red) post of the battery and the negative (- or black) cable to the negative (- or black) post of the battery. Red to red, black to black. Once the device is connected, simply head back into your car and try to turn it on. If all goes to plan, it should start right up.
Pros and cons of using a jump starter?
Jump starters are extremely convenient and can make an otherwise stressful situation involving a dead battery into, essentially, no big deal. Many people don't feel comfortable going up to a complete stranger to ask them for a jump and these devices make it so you'll never have to do so again. They're pretty affordable, most are made with sturdy materials and many are even multi-use.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that not all jump starters are created equal. If you have anything bigger than an SUV, you'll want to do a little extra research to make sure the jump starter you're looking at is powerful enough for your vehicle. Another thing to watch out for is the length of the cables that come with your device. Some of them provide only just enough slack to get the job done, which can be frustrating and in some cases even dangerous.
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