Best Portable Jump Starters Reviewed & Rated

What is in your car’s emergency kit?  Road flares, bottled water, blanket, snacks.  Those are all very good to have.  Jumper cables, portable jump starter…wait, no jump starter?  What are the cables for then?  Sure, if you’re in an urban area, you should be able to find somebody to help you out, but what about in the country, or in the bush?  I grew up in a very cold place.  Eight months of cold winter and there were a few times when we went outside to start the car, and it was dead.  We didn’t park in a garage, and the cold will do that to you.  My dad would just next door, and get a jump.  Great.  Then, one day in December, we decided that it would be a great idea if we went out and chopped down our own Christmas tree.  After we got it strapped to the roof, we jumped in the car, eager to warm up.  The car was dead.  No phone, no passing cars, nothing.  It was a scary moment, especially for an eleven-year-old kid who needed to get home to his video games.  That is just one of an endless possibility of scenarios that you don’t want to experience.

Featured Recommendations

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL
  • Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Packs a Punch
  • Price: See Here
DBPower 600A 18000 mAh Portable Jump Start
  • DBPower 600A 18000 mAh Portable Jump Start
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Compact & Powerful
  • Price: See Here
Rugged Geek RG1000 Safety 1000A
  • Rugged Geek RG1000 Safety 1000A
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Intelliboost
  • Price: See Here

Hopefully, you’re now thinking of picking up a portable jump starter.  That’s a great idea!  Which one though?  There are a few different sizes and styles, how do you make the best choice?  By reading on a bit while I run down what I feel is a solid selection of the best, most reliable.

 

20 Best Portable Jump Starters

 

1. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL

1. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL
Whether your vehicle is big or small, the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry gets the job done! Multiple reviews on Amazon claim, "This thing could jump-start a dead cow!" This is a powerful unit but is still compact enough to fit in your trunk without taking up to much storage space.
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Great For Cold Climates/Winter
This is an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) lead-acid battery driven unit. Not Lithium Ion (LION). A critical plus, as if left in a car and gets very cold, most LION powered batteries lose all power at around 20 degrees F. Lead acid batteries do not (though lose much of their capacity at 0 F). This makes a world of difference if being used in a temperate or northern climate where the heavy cold can seasonally be expected and the cold "kills" your battery.

Small, Lightweight, & User-Friendly
Weighing in at only 9 pounds, this jump-n-carry charger is nice and small. Don't let its size fool you though, it really packs a punch! Most people said they could start their car/truck/SUV within 10 seconds of being connected to it. The charger comes with a case for storage and a manual to teach you how to use it. This model even has a built-in flashlight!

Cost and value
This model might seem a little more pricey than other models its size, but just like everything else in sales; you get what you pay for. This model is extremely powerful. You can jump-start any size vehicles and boats; even if the battery is completely dead. The gauge is also really helpful to determine how much battery is left in it so you know when to charge it up.
Pros
  • Cables are 27 inches long
  • Lead Acid Battery
  • Has DC Outlet
  • Lightweight & Compact
  • Very Powerful Charger
Cons
  • Tips Over To Easily
  • Poor Warranty

 

2. DBPower 600A 18000 mAh Portable Jump Start

2. DBPower 600A 18000 mAh Portable Jump Start
Now, this is an interestingly built product. Unique looks aside, the DBPower 600A Portable Jump Start will get you going when you're stuck, bottom line. I don't mean just your car, either. With 2 USB ports, input/output, and even a flashlight, there is almost nothing it can't do to help you out. Keep one handy, you'll be glad you did.
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Powerful & Compact
You can jump-start your vehicle (up to 6.5L gas or 5.2L diesel engine) up to 20 times with 600 amps of peak current and heavy-duty clamps and cables. Equipped with on/off switch to save its charge when not being used. Best of all, this jump starter is small enough to fit in your glove box or even your purse.

Keeps on going
The new-added LCD screen can show the exact amount of remaining power so you will never again have to guess how much charge is left. The screens are also equipped with a compass that can help you find your way home when you get lost in the wild.

Cost and value
I'm not going to lie, thus jump starter is on the higher end of the scale. It's a solid, reliable starter that won't leave you stranded, and is small enough to take with you anywhere and save you from more then just car battery problems. Can you put a price on peace of mind?
Pros
  • LCD Screen shows level of charge
  • Included laptop adapters
  • Starts a dead battery fast
  • Compact & Powerful
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Lithium Battery Powered
  • Instructions aren't very clear

 

3. Rugged Geek RG1000 Safety 1000A

3. Rugged Geek RG1000 Safety 1000A
This is a jump starter. It jumps cars that are dead. That's all you need, it does its job, you're happy. Just in case, though, they decided to cram in a flashlight, power bank, and air compressor. I mean, that's alright, but what, no bottle opener? No propane bbq? I guess we can't have it all. Oh yeah, all the things it does do work incredibly well too. Seriously, how did they do it?!?
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In a class of its own
When you hear the phrase "class leading", you tend to pay attention. In this case it's the rugged exterior shell that houses the wealth of gadgets contain within. I guess if you're going to load ut up you should protect it.

All those ports
Most of the chargers and jump starters I`ve looked at recently have the capability to charge multiple devices at one time, but none that I`ve seen actually have dedicated ports for specific devices. I like that. It just feels like that`s a better way to do things.

Cost and value
For something relatively small and compact, the price will jump out at you just a little bit. Once you take into account the fact that what you're holding us a jump starter/power pack/flashlight/air compressor, you start to feel better about your purchase.
Pros
  • Class-leading construction
  • Dual charging ports
  • Dedicated laptop charging port
  • Soft shell case included
Cons
  • Doesn`t work on all models
  • Not the best battery clamps

 

4. Jump-N-Carry JNC 660 1700

4. Jump-N-Carry JNC 660 1700
I don't know what it is, but to me, this jump starter looks like a robot. It's probably not, but it is a handy high tech device. Given its larger size, it packs a tonne of power to get you wherever you need to go, and its built for maximum efficient performance, so you're not just carrying a jump starter with you. You're carrying peace of mind.
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Stretch!
Here's a novel idea, when making something as life saving as a portable jump starter, let's try to make sure you include jumper cables long enough reach in almost any circumstance, say 46"? Oh, you already did that. Good.

Tough as nails
For all the help the Jump-N-Carry JNC Jump Starter offers to the downtrodden and otherwise stranded motorist, it would be pretty futile if it wasn't housed in a tough sturdy shell. Luckily, they thought of that too.

Cost and value
In its class, this one of the better values. Why? The combination of a lower price point and high end functionality all packed into a sturdy housing. You'll buy a jump starter for insurance, you'll buy this one for everything you need.
Pros
  • Huge cable reach
  • Heavy duty case
  • Handy voltmeter
  • Great value
Cons

Very heavy

Doesn't hold a charge very long

 

5. Noco Genius G750 6V/12V .75A

5. Noco Genius G750 6V/12V .75A
Another NOCO Genius charger. They must make good stuff. They look like they can hold up to the job well. I know, judging something on looks alone is a terrible idea, and in the case of jump starters, looks should have no bearing at all. There is, however, something to be said about a product that gives a sense of competence with appearance alone.
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See what's happening
Most of the time, you have no idea what's happening with your chargers. You just have to blindly hope everything works out. Not this time. NOCO threw on a visual diagnostic tool so you can always be in the know.

Waste not want not
Not every situation requires full power, yet most jump starters just give juice indiscriminately, regardless of needs. The NOCO Genius UltraSafe Smart Battery Charger decided not to be wasteful, and will actually minimizes consumption when it makes sense.

Cost and value
It doesn't offer the greatest range of power and versatility, but boy oh boy is it incredibly well priced. It's a trusted product, it's cheap, so it's totally worth it to pick this one up and just throw in your car for emergencies.
Pros
  • Visual diagnostic tool
  • Intuitive charging
  • Controls energy consumption
  • Impact and water resistant
Cons
  • Overheats
  • Not the sturdiest

 

6. Gooloo 500A Peak

6. Gooloo 500A Peak
By all accounts, this is your basic, run-of-the-mill jump starter. It won't win any awards for innovation, and it won't revolutionize the industry. Since when is that a bad thing? It does the job you bought it to do and can be counted on for a long time. To me, that's everything.
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Brightens your day
This isn't the only jump starter to come with a flashlight, but that doesn't mean this isn't a handy feature. You try dealing with a dead battery in the dark, then let me know how unimportant it is.

Help!
Let's hope this feature gets used very seldomly. I can't imagine the situation required to make use of this feature, but on the off chance it is needed, you'll be forever thankful you had this versatile tool at your side.

Cost and value
For what you're getting when you purchase the GOOLOO 450A Peak Car Jump Starter, it's very reasonably priced. While it isn't necessarily the top of the line, it also won't put you out a bunch of money. Perfect for getting the job done without many bells and whistles.
Pros
  • Smart battery clamp
  • Built-in flashlight
  • S.O.S. function for emergencies
  • Good compact size
Cons
  • Takes awhile to fully charge
  • Flimsy shell

 

7. Noco GB40 1000 Amp 12V

7. Noco GB40 1000 Amp 12V
Now, this thing has got to be serious, because it looks like it doesn't mess around. Look at it! It's small but beefy like a scrappy underdog running back that nobody thought would get drafted. Well, surprise, it's here, and it is loaded with capacity and insane power. I suggest you take a chance on this one, it might shock you.
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There's no spark
When I was a kid, we had a very old car that often needed a jump, and would always spark. Scared the heck out of me. So imagine my surprise to learn that these clamps are spark proof. No more cowering for me!

Full power
A lot of jump starters claim high amperage performance, yet have a separate number in their ratings that represents the actual amount being used, and it's usually disappointing. Not so with this one. This kind of transparency is the mark of a quality product.

Cost and value
Wow. Everything about this otherwise miniscule NOCO offering is big. Power, functionality, reliability, everything. That includes the price tag, but if you need trustworthy power without messing around, count on this one.
Pros
  • Full power jump starting
  • Charges most any USB device
  • Ultra-bright flashlight
  • Spark proof clamp
Cons
  • No wall adapter included
  • Buttons are touchy

 

8. DbPower 500A Peak 12000mAh

8. DbPower 500A Peak 12000mAh
DBPower is a name that I’m starting to see more and more as time goes on. They are quickly cornering the market on reliable, portable power, and it’s all due to their high standards that go into each of their products. A jump starter isn’t a novelty, it needs to perform with little notice, and this one is going to do just that.
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Always in touch
Having an LCD display on your jump pack should almost be a no-brainer, yet so few actually have this feature. By adding it on their product, DBPower enables you to know exactly what's going on at all times.

Where are you?
This is a feature I never thought I’d see on a jump pack, yet there are a couple models that offer them. Breaking down is bad enough, add in an unfamiliar environment, and that’s scary. NOw you never have to worry about finding your way.

Cost and Value
Just based on looks alone, I would say that this charger is built to last. Luckily, it is, and it will hold up in any situation, making it absolutely worth the few dollars more that you will spend.
Pros
  • LCD screen keeps you informed
  • Intelligent protection clamps
  • Built-in compass
  • Comes with a protective case
Cons
  • The device has been known to catch fire at times
  • Charges slowly

 

9. Beatit 800A Peak

9. Beatit 800A Peak
This is essentially an update on the last BeatIt jump starter up above. It does the same things, only to a greater degree, what with having greatly increased power and everything. So why is it on this list? Three reasons. Quality for one, you can never say too much about that. Second, with the increase in power, this one can handle different needs. Finally, it's the same size as its less powerful cousin. To me that's crazy.
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What do you get? I'll charge it
That's not a cocky statement, but rather it's a sign of confidence. That confidence is warranted too, as this jump starter is meant to jump everything from cars and trucks, to boats and motorcycles. You've got a vehicle that needs charging? This is the charger for you.

Twice as fast
When I looked at the smaller version of this charger, I mentioned something about the power bank. Not only can you charge your phone or whatnot, but you'll be able to do it up to 2x faster than most other power banks. That's a neat little bonus.

Cost and value
This isn't expensive. The other one I reviewed isn't expensive. This company likes to make high-quality affordable products meant to help you out of a jam. How nice of them!
Pros
  • Recharges quickly
  • LED indicators
  • Smart protection clamps
  • LCD screen
Cons
  • Battery leads are short
  • A bit large for a compact model

 

10. Nekteck Multifunction Car Starter

10. Nekteck Multifunction Car Starter
Nektek wanted to build a convenient charge everything device when they thought this one up. Boy did they succeed. Another jack-of-all-trades that's way more than just a jump starter, the Nekteck Multi-function Car Jump Starter is perfect for the person who can never sit still, and just has to get out and keep busy.
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Built tough
It looks like it was well constructed and it feels nice and sturdy. This tells me that we've got a product on our hands that is going to last a very long time, providing power without fail.

Reverse polarity protection
I've seen that a lot while researching for this buying guide, and I've learned that it is absolutely critical for the safety of the charger, your car, and yourself. It helps prevent power surges, over-charging, and any number of potential hazards.

Cost and value
Nektek's product description for this starter emphasizes its ability to get you going in times of need. To compliment that dedication is a very reasonable cost, leaving little reason not to have one in your car.
Pros
  • Dual USB ports
  • Lots of power
  • Sleek design
  • Rugged construction
Cons
  • Can't start a dead battery
  • Weak battery clips

 

11. Schumacher SE-4022

11. Schumacher SE-4022
I’ll admit it, I’m cheating a bit here. How can something so big be classified as portable? Well, it does have wheels, and in the grand scheme of things, it is meant for more heavy duty vehicles, in which it will fit quite nicely. If you play with big trucks and heavy equipment a lot, or if you have an entire fleet to take care of, the Schumacher SE-4022 2/10/40/200 Amp Manual Wheeled Battery Charger is going to be the jump starter you need.
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Stay cool
Since this jump starter is designed for heavy-duty use, it only makes sense that they build a fan into it to keep things nice and cool in the heat of the moment. This will help not only with the life of the product, but it keeps performance high as well.

What's the trouble?
I haven’t seen this option before. It will read and analyze your battery to see what is going on with it? It is understandable, though, as this charger does need to be responsible for multiple vehicles, and knowing when a battery needs replacing can save time and money.

Cost and Value
This is easily one of the more expensive offerings here, but it’s justifiable since it is quite a bit larger and holds a greater charge and therefore can jump-start a larger range of vehicles. While it isn’t quite as portable as they others, it still gets around well and does a great job.
Pros
  • Cooling fan for longer life
  • Easy to read meters
  • Analyzes electrical problems
  • Wide range of charging rates
Cons
  • Not all necessary tools included
  • Gauges aren't very accurate

 

12. LifeBox Car & Truck 10000 mAh

12. LifeBox Car & Truck 10000 mAh
This isn't just a jump starter, this baby's a whole kit full of power. It has a really sleek design, paired with unequalled functionality, and a whole bunch of peripherals included to do whatever it is you need to get done. Life Box went for convenience when they made this, and that is a very key aspect when you're out in the cold trying to get going again.
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Time to sleep
When it's time for the LifeBox Car & Truck Jump Starter to get to work, it does so without question. When the job is done, but you haven't had a chance to unplug it, this charger will stop wasting power and go to sleep, prolonging the lifespan of the charge.

Use it over and over
You can count on the LifeBox Car & Truck Jump Starter to get your car or truck going over twenty times on a single charge. That's a great deal reliability for such a small box. Not having to worry if your charger has enough juice is a great relief.

Cost and value
It's got the power and features of one if the bigger charging units, and the price tag of the more compact ones. Size-wise it's a bit bigger than a compact one, but I think that's a very fair trade-off.
Pros
  • Two job specific USB ports
  • Sleep mode to conserve power
  • Many uses on a single charge
  • Long lasting high powered flashlight
Cons
  • Weak housing
  • Can overheat

 

13. Tenker 500A 10800mAh

13. Tenker 500A 10800mAh
Back when I first started compiling information for this list, I didn’t notice anything being offered from Tenker, so I almost didn’t include them at all. That would’ve been an injustice to the consumer, because what they have put together is a well-built, functional piece of equipment that should be in the glove box of your car at all times.
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Be safe
Charging your car can be scary at times. You’re dealing with live electricity, and a lot of it. Thinker wanted to take the fear out of the equation, so they incorporated a surge protection circuit ito the cables, letting you get to work without worrying.

Cold? No problem
The TENKER 500A 10800mAh Portable Car Jump Starter was designed to operate inn temperatures as low as -60 degrees. The only problem now is getting you out there in those conditions.

Cost and Value
This portable jump starter falls on the lower end side of the pricing spectrum compared to others in a similar range, but it still offers all the features of the pricier jump packs.
Pros
  • USB type-C ports
  • Clamps include built-in protection circuit
  • The flashlight has three modes
  • Very good capacity
  • Can operate well below 0 degrees
Cons
  • USB-C input requires an additional cable
  • No carrying case included

 

14. Suaoki P4 500A

14. Suaoki P4 500A
I really wanted to add at least one more Suaoki product in this list because I’m pretty impressed by what they have to offer. The world of portable jump starters is pretty full right now, yet they somehow manage to rise above the crowd and stand out, for all the right reasons. If you want a jump pack that you only have to buy once and never worry about again, look no further.
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Many options
More and more now, portable jump starters are beginning to include ways to charge all f your personal electronic devices, and Suaoki, not to be outdone, have added USB Type C capability to their jump pack, making it a one stop solution for all of your needs.

No sparking
Having a feature that prevents the clamps from sparking when you hook them up is a very good idea. I’ve talked previously about taking the fear out of charging your car, and eliminating the sparks will go a long way to that end.

Cost and Value
Suaoki managed to put together a high quality charger that delivers a strong charge for not all that much money. It has a sleek design, is light and portable, and gets the job done well.
Pros
  • Supports USB-C charging
  • Quick-charge capabilities
  • Features spark proof jumper cables
  • High levels of protection
Cons
  • Not meant for extreme climates
  • Doesn’t come with an adapter

 

15. Stanley Fatmax J7CS

15. Stanley Fatmax J7CS
This is one of the big boys, capable of charging a tank if you need. Not actually, but hopefully you get the exaggeration as a means to highlight the fact that this jump starter is here to work, no matter what the task. It's big, well built, and able to handle extreme temperatures and environments. My hat's off to this juggernaut.
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Triple outlet
Not only is this machine going to jump start your vehicle, but it’s also going to allow you to give power to your three favourite devices, at one time. As excessive and seemingly unnecessary as that is, you’ve got to think that there’s somebody out there who needs a feature like that, otherwise they wouldn’t have added it.

Loud noises!
If you’re out and you need to use this charger, it’s likely that you don’t have time to wait around staring at it while it works. The problem is, if you leave, something bad may happen, causing damage to your battery or vehicle. That’s why they put a loud as sin alarm on here, so you can go about your day.

Cost and value
This monster has the size and features built into it to appear to be a very expensive unit. It handles most workloads admirably without fail, yet it costs a fraction of what you’d expect, coming in under what a lot of smaller, more compact versions go for.
Pros
  • Multiple uses
  • Three outlets
  • Audible alarm
  • Jump starts a wide range of vehicles
Cons
  • Compressor not foolproof
  • Doesn’t hold a charge very well

 

16. InteliCharge X1 13600mAh

16. InteliCharge X1 13600mAh
This jump starter is your one-stop solution for your everyday charging needs. It comes equipped with adapters all over the place, allowing you to have all the power you'd want at your fingertips. To go along with all that versatility, it's a very well built, sturdy piece of equipment guaranteed to hold up under any circumstance.
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So much stuff!
Laptop adapter, car charger, mobile adapter, power adapter, jumper cables, and a case to store it all in. You'll be hard pressed finding enough devices to charge.

Give me air
When my son was younger, he was starting to get into sports. That's great until his basketball started deflating. It's crazy how you never think to have an air pump handy. We didn't, and it's still sitting there, flat and unused. With this jump starter, you'll never be left flat, thanks to its invaluable compressor.

Cost and value
Just based on included accessories alone, this is a great value. It comes with everything you could ever need, and each piece has a specific function you never thought you needed but will come in handy.
Pros
  • Lots of gadgets to play with
  • Built-in air compressor
  • Emergency light
  • Starts a dead battery
Cons
  • Can't hold a charge long
  • Not overly durable

 

17. Aickar 500A Peak 12000mAh

17. Aickar 500A Peak 12000mAh
I like this one. I mean okay, I like all of them, that's why they're here. I really like this one. For some reason, everything about it screams safe. If I'm stranded, I feel like I can trust this one to be my lifesaver. Of all the features possible in a portable jump starter, I think that is hands down the most crucial one.
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Take it with you.
Yes, it is compact and portable, most of them are. Most, however, don't come with a super handy case so you can keep everything all neat and tidy. This one does, and that is very welcome.

So powerful
Here's a neat trick this jump starter can do: it can easily jump start your car or truck engine, virtually regardless of the size, and not struggle while doing so. I don't know about you, but I think that's just neat.

Cost and value
Definitely on the higher end of pricing compared to similar sized devices. How many of those devices can charge almost all types of vehicle? Not many. This one can. That equals great value.
Pros
  • Powerful enough to start most cars
  • Also acts as a power bank
  • Very durable alligator clamps
  • Come with a case for convenience
Cons
  • Charge indicator is deceptive
  • Flimsy battery clip

 

18. BeatIt Tech 600A Peak 14000mAh

18. BeatIt Tech 600A Peak 14000mAh
BeatIt, as in beat it if you don’t think it matters which jump starter you buy. Beat it as in BeatIt Tech, a company that strives to bring excellence to the world of portable jump starters. As aesthetically appealing as it is functional, the designers put a lot of thought and attention to detail in order to ensure a quality product that you can be as proud of as they are.
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What should I charge first?
Versatile is a word that should jump out first whenever you log on to your computer to search out jump starters, yet so often, it seems to be overlooked. Not this time. Jump starter and power bank? Of course. Flashlight? Well yes, a few jump starters are including this handy feature. Compass? Sure, why--wait. Really? Yes. It will help you out of any emergency situation.

So tiny
Okay, I’ve already talked about all the neat things this jump starter is capable of. It seems almost too good to be true. So what’s the catch? Let me guess. Is it massive right? It would have to be in order to hold all that stuff. Well, no. It’s really quite compact.

Cost and Value
Again, it just does so much to help you out of a jam, what does it matter how much it costs? These days it matters more than ever, as consumers are finding themselves needing to go to any lengths to get a good deal. Or, you could just buy this jump starter and feel like you got a steal. Because you did.
Pros
  • 6 features in one
  • Very small footprint
  • Charge any device
  • Very easy to use
Cons
  • Gets hot
  • Cheaply built

 

19. iClever 800A Peak 18000mAh Portable Jump Starter

19. iClever 800A Peak 18000mAh Portable Jump Starter
It's crazy how much this jump starter is capable of achieving, especially given its compact size. You've got your car and your electronic devices covered for power, and on top of that, if you're in a jam in the dark, it's got a very bright flashlight so you can see what you're doing. What's even better is that it will do all those things for you, several times over.
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Packs a punch
I can't get over how powerful this is. Compact enough to fit in a small purse or to be kept in your glove box, but enough power to jump your car more than 30 times!

Features
[Dual USB Ports] This jump pack works as power bank with dual USB ports that allows you to charge two devices simultaneously, it can fully charge your laptops, smartphones, tablets, cameras, and more device
The LCD screen shows the exact amount of remaining power and now is also equipped with a compass to help you find your way home if you were to get lost in the wild. This model has a flashlight too!

Cost and value
Going back to what I was talking about above, for all the features crammed into this little device, you wouldn't be too suprised to see it cost over $100 right? What if I told you it cost much less than that! Unbelievable? It's true.
Pros
  • Great deal of power for tiny size
  • Dual USB Ports
  • On/Off Switch
  • LCD Screen Shows Battery Level
Cons
  • Lithium Battery Powered

 

20. Duracell Portable Emergency Jumpstarter with Compressor

20. Duracell Portable Emergency Jumpstarter with Compressor
This jump-starter isn't quite as small and compact as some of the others you have seen on this list, but what you will notice is this one has an air compressor! That will come in handy if your tire looks a little low, or if your camping and need to inflate an air mattress!
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Charging Ability
Just plug your smartphone or tablet into the jump starter's USB port for fast, full portable charging. Ideal for camping or remote locations! Jump-starter also includes one 12V auxiliary output port for additional charging options.

What Can We Jump-Start
JWith this jump starter, you can jump-start your car, truck and much more. Safely and easily starts all types of 12V lead-acid batteries, including trucks, cars, hybrid starter batteries, boats, motorcycles, and personal watercraft. You can jump-start up to 27 times on a single charge!

Extras
Integrated air compressor efficiently inflates tires, sporting equipment and more, right from the stand-alone Jump-Starter unit. This completely portable inflator does not need to be plugged in. Built-in flashlight provides bright illumination for easy jump-starting hookup and tire inflation on dark roadsides; can also be used to signal passing motorists or summon assistance.
Pros
  • Air Compressor
  • Lightweight & Portable
  • Simple/Easy To Use
  • USB & DC Ports
Cons
  • Cables Could Be Longers
  • Falls Over To Easily

There you have an extended look at the best portable jump starters on the market.  Hopefully, you also have more of an idea of how critical something like this can be, especially if you spend an extended period of time in more isolated areas.  So if you don’t already have one, I’d suggest hoping in your car and picking one up soon.  They’re portable, so in most cases, the only room they take up is in your glove box or console.  How ironic would it be, if when you go out to your car, finally determined to get one, stick the key in the ignition, and it won’t turn over.  You left your lights on overnight.  What now?  Well hopefully in that scenario you’re just at home, so you can just make a phone call or ask a neighbor, but what about next time?  I’d hate to say I told you so.  You’ll never need a portable jump starter more than when you don’t have it, and that can be a bad situation.

 

Criteria to Select the Best Portable Jump Starters

 

Size and portability

Most cars and trucks are pretty limited for space, so you need to be very discerning when planning what to store with you on the road.  Fortunately, most portable jump starters today offer a fairly large capacity while not taking up any more room than the palm of your hand.  Of course, this isn’t true of all chargers, since some vehicles require much larger amounts of power than a compact model can provide.  Even those, however, are able to easily fit into most car trunks or truck beds.

While in most cases, the output of jump packs relative to their size, there are exceptions.  Many of the pocket-sized versions offer outputs of between 500-1000 amps, enabling them to jump start and charge most makes of personal vehicle.  These ones are literally pocket-sized and can fit anywhere you may have a bit of extra room.

For larger autos, such as logging trucks or construction equipment, there are much larger and therefore more powerful portable jump starters out there.  These, like the Schumacher SE-4022 2/10/40/200 Amp Manual Wheeled Battery Charger on the list above, can provide enough charge to jump-start several large vehicles, making them ideal for fleet operations.  As such, they are larger than the rest and are usually mounted on wheels to make them easier to transport from place to place.

For more in-between needs, there is a variety of “backpack” sized jump starters, that aren’t meant for big trucks, but rather for anything that you might fancy having at home.  This includes your car or truck, obviously, but also extends to recreational vehicles such as boats, quads, or even small aircraft.  Since they are meant for the home, the backpack size offers the ideal level of portability.

Power output

Once again, size does equal power, but not always.  For the average commuter, all they need is reliable power at a moment’s notice, and enough of it to get through the day.  In that case, the small, pocket-sized chargers that can easily fit into a console or glove compartment are the ideal choice.  Most of them are versatile enough to fully charge practically any type of personal vehicle on the road today.  They can work with either gasoline or diesel engines and large capacity ones at that.  A lot of them can go up to 7.0L gas, or 5.5L diesel, which equates to most of the smaller to midsize trucks you’re likely to find.

Sometimes, that just isn’t enough power.  That’s where moving up in size will help you, but keep in mind that you are going to be sacrificing weight and portability.  However, if that’s not an issue, or if you have no other options and you need the power, the larger jump starters can start everything from large trucks to RV’s and boats, and even semi trucks for the largest models.

Price & Functionality

Price isn’t the biggest deciding factor in choosing a jump starter, since most of the options won’t tend to stray outside of their range.  The smaller models will generally only run you a few dollars, whereas the big boys can run into the hundreds.

Surprisingly, the amount of relative power doesn’t have as much to do with it as you’d think.  In reality, it’s all about what else they can do.  While power does affect the price with large output differences, the aspect that really ups the price is the extra stuff.

The vast majority of jump starters found on the market today do a lot more.  So much more, in fact, that often, the jump starting capabilities are secondary to some of the other, more exciting features. Many jump packs also act as charging stations for your personal electronic devices, ensuring that you will almost never be out of the loop.

Aside form the additional charging capabilities, which are a bit obvious given what they were originally intended to do, there are several other special features present in many of the newer chargers.  Much like the smartphone, jump starters are becoming multifunction hubs where all your needs are met in one place.

A lot of them come with flashlights now, and even those tend to serve more than one purpose.  Not content with just lighting your path, they also can function as emergency beacons, emitting either a strobe effect, or giving off a pattern resembling Morse code.

Not as common, and mainly found on larger models, is an air compressor.  This makes a lot of sense actually, as a lot of people carry these in their vehicles for many reasons.  The compressors found on jump packs often have a high PSI rate, allowing you to pump up a flat, or, for more recreational purposes, fill up a flotation device for the beach.

Beyond the add-ons that make life a bit easier, many jump starters include more superfluous bonuses, hoping to give consumers that much more bang for their buck.  The most practical of these extras, in my opinion, is the compass.  The worst thing that can happen is your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, on a back road or in the bush.  On top of the stress from having to attempt to restart your vehicle, not knowing where you are or at least where to go can be terrifying.  With the addition of a compass, though, you can at least make sense of your location.

There are so many added features with modern jump starters, that the decision of which one to go with depends on what the specific needs of the user are.  All the combinations available can either make that task easier, or more difficult than it ever needs to be.

Terminology

SOS: This is the international Morse code distress signal that many jump starters are now capable of transmitting through a built-in flashlight.

Jump start: The method of starting a vehicle that has a dead battery through the use of jumper cables connected to a power source, such as another vehicle or a jump pack.

Cranking amps: The number of amps a battery can deliver for thirty seconds while maintaining at least 1.2 volts per cell.  Essentially, how much power it is available to start a car.

Peak current: Peak current is the maximum value of power that a waveform can attain for a certain period of time.

Lithium-ion battery: A very popular type of battery used in electronics today because it is capable of a high charge.  It also doesn’t lose a lot of energy while idle, and is widely available and cheap to produce.

Joules:  Named after Physicist James Prescott Joule, it is a derived unit of energy equal to the amount of energy transferred to an object when a force of one newton acts on it in the direction of motion.  It is also the energy dissipated as heat when a current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm per second.

Ampere:  A unit of electric current equal to the flow of one coulomb per second.  Also known as an amp, it is used to measure electric current.

LED: Light Emitting Diode.  A two-lead semiconductor light source used as indicators on many electronic instruments.

Reverse polarity: Can occur when charging a battery that is completely drained, and can result in a shock, and will essentially ruin the battery.

Voltmeter: Also known as a voltage meter, it is an instrument used to measure the voltage between two points in an electrical circuit.  Voltmeters can be analog or digital.  The analog meters consort of a sensitive galvanometer in series with a high resistance. A digital voltmeter shows voltage directly as numbers on a digital display.

PSI: Pounds per Square Inch.  You may see this term come up occasionally because some jump starters come with air compressors.  This is usually only found on the larger portable models.

Power bank:  A power bank is comprised of a battery with a special circuit to control the flow of power.  Since a portable jump starter is basically just a specialized power bank, many jumper packs include the ability to charge and power many various electronics.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can portable jump starters jump every vehicle?

A: Portable jump starters aren’t universal in the sense that any charger will work on any vehicle.  While the smaller models will jump most of the personal vehicles available today, there are some larger or more specialized vehicles that require a more power, and therefore a specific type of jump starter.

Q: Do all jump starters have flashlights?

A: Not every jump starter is going to have a built-in flashlight, but most of them are, and it may only be a matter of time before they all do.  Not only do they make working in the dark a possibility, but they are finding added purpose as an SOS signal device.

Q: How do I charge my jump starter?

A: Most portable jump starters can be charged by plugging them into any basic wall outlet.  Many jump packs also offer the option of charging them with your vehicle’s AC outlet.  Less commonly, some even allow you to charge them via solar energy.

Q: Do the larger jump starters have more power?

A: Generally speaking, the larger jump starters will have a greater capacity than the smaller versions.  However, in recent times the smaller models have been able to cram much more power than they have in the past.   

Q: My battery dies a lot.  Should I get a jump starter?

A: While most of the time a jump starter will take care of the problem, if the battery dies frequently, even after recently being charged to full capacity, it may be time to look into a new battery. Some jump starters can actually analyze the battery while charging and will alert you when a replacement is then necessary.

Sources

  1. Lifewire.com – Choosing a Car Jump Starter
  2. Toolnerds.com – Everything You Need to Know About the Best Portable Jump Starters
  3. Carbatterychargerscentral.com – Jump Starter Battery: Key Functionality You Need To Know
  4. Itstillruns.com – The Jump Starter or Booster Pack
  5. Familyhandyman.com – How to Jumpstart a Car: Batteries in Cars Built After Year 2000
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