Best Jump Starter 2018 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
Looking for the best jump starter? Check our reviews and detailed buyers guide.
There was a time when you needed another car to jumpstart your own, but now there are a wide array of jump starters in the market. These are compact battery packs which you can put in a glovebox, but they pack enough power to start a car, and with the more powerful ones it can start a motorboat, pickup truck and other vehicles. But now you are asking yourself: what is the best jump starter available?
The only way to find the appropriate jump starter is to learn as much as you can about jump starters. They have come a long way from the old models and now capable of charging more than just vehicles as they can also power up electronic mobile devices. You can use the following information to get started.
Best Jump Starter - Our Top Picks
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Reviews of the Best Jump Starters
Stanley 500 AMP Jump Starter with Compressor J5C09
With a starting power of 500 amps and 1000 peak amps, the Stanley makes is easy to jump start your vehicle. You just have to attach the clamps onto your car’s battery, turn the switch on and your car will start. No need to worry about getting it wrong because there will be an alarm to indicate if the clamp was set improperly.
Like most jump starters the Stanley comes with a USB port so you can charge your mobile devices. But in addition to that, it comes with a compressor for your tires, and if you get a flat tire or your car stops in the middle of the night, no worries as it comes with a LED light so you can see clearly.
VicTsing 500A Peak 13600mAh Car Battery Jump Starter
The VicTsing is good enough for 3.5L / 4.0L/2.8T engines, and with 500 amps it’s good enough for charging cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles and other vehicles. A full charge takes no more than 30 minutes, and at 100% charge allows you to start your vehicle up to twenty times.
As a 13600mAh power bank it is also capable of charging mobile devices, and its USB port is compatible with most devices. With its 12V/16V/19V output you can also use this jump starter to charge a laptop. In addition the unit comes with alligator clamps to protect your vehicle and mobile devices from overloading.
GOOLOO 600A Peak Portable Car Jump Starter
The Gooloo may be marketed as a car jump starter, but you can use it to charge an RV, a boat, motorcycle or even a tractor, and there is sufficient power here to charge a 5.0L diesel vehicle up to thirty times. If you’ve got a pickup truck and drive long hours, this device will come in handy as it also charges mobile devices.
The Gooloo has safety clamps to prevent short circuiting and overloading. Charging takes around 30 minutes, and the inclusion of 2 USB ports and a flashlight makes it more convenient to use regardless of the time. The flashlight comes with three modes, SOS, strobe and lighting.
Schumacher XP2260 1200 Peak Amp Instant Portable Power Source and Jump Starter
The Schumacher XP2260 is built as an all-around device for powering up cars, SUVs, mobile devices, vans, motorboats and other vehicles. Designed for different vehicles the Schumacher XP2260 can be used in cold weather, and it charges engines and devices quickly.
The Schumacher XP2260 comes with LED battery indicators so you won’t have any trouble figuring out the progress even if it’s late at night. The design is compact enough to fit inside a vehicle trunk. Because of its power, the Schumacher XP2260 is ideal not just for car owners but dealers as well, and it’s versatile enough to be used on vintage cars.
Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter
The JNC660 isn’t just a simple jump starter as it is also a power bank and car battery. Equipped with a 12 volt for charging and lots of power, it has 1600 peak amps can start any vehicle up to 3L diesel or 6.5 L gas engines. This is not a multitasking jump starter, but it is packed with power.
Like any good jump starter the Aukey has safety precautions built in to prevent overcharging, overheating and excess current. With a peak of up to 1700 amps, the Aukey can easily charge most vehicles and devices, and it’s small enough to carry along.
NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter
The Genius Boost can deliver a maximum of 40 jump starts with just one charge thanks to its 2000 amp rating, and it has reverse polarity protection. It is also resistant to sparks and comes with 12 V power lights, tires and others. You also get a 400 lumen LED light with multiple modes.
The Genius can jump start 6 liter diesel engines / 8 liter gas engines, and it also works on smartphones, tablets and other electronic devise. Yom can even use it to charge a GPS device and its clamps have a safety feature built so nothing happens if the clamps are connected backwards.
[Ultra Compact] DBPower 300A Peak 8000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter
You can use the DBPower on any vehicle up to 2.5L gas engines, and it comes with a USB port so you can also charge your tablet and phone. It also has what DBPower calls Intelligent Clamps so you just need to hook the clamps onto the jump starter and join the black / red clip on your vehicle’s battery to give it a boost.
The ports on the unit are splash and dust proof, and there are built in protection from possible over / under voltage and other potential issues. LED lights let you know the battery consumption, and there’s even protection for over charging, over current and short circuiting.
GOOLOO 650A Portable Car Jump Starter
The Gooloo 650A is easy to use and has a simple but effective design. It comes in a handy storage bag so you can bring it with you anywhere, and there is enough power here to start any car or whatever vehicle you’re driving. It has a durable feel and the box contains the charging cables, jumper cables and jump box you need for cigarette light charging and home use.
A 3 way USB included for use with a mobile phone and there’s also a 12V vehicle adaptor for cigarette lighter chargers. With a peak current of up to 650 amps you’ll be able to jump start your car up to thirty times, and it is compatible with snowmobiles and motorboats.
Stanley J7CS 350 Amp Battery Jump Starter with Compressor
The Stanley 350 instant / 750 peak jump starter comes with enough power to start up RV, tractors, cars and trucks, and like other Stanley products it is easy to use. Just connect the clamps onto the battery and start it up. Aside from jump starting your vehicle, it also comes with a 120 psi air compressor for your tires.
A 12 volt and USB port allow you to charge two devices at the same time, and the LED makes it convenient to use the device even if it’s night. There is also an easy to read charge meter and it’s portable too.
Jump-N-Carry JNCAIR 1700-Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter
With 1700 peak amps and 425 cranking, the INCAIR is designed for power and extended cranking. It comes with an AC charger and its 12 volt power output can be used to charge a number of different accessories and devices. In addition there is protection for overload and short circuits.
The clamps are industrial grade and strong enough to get past battery terminal corrosion. It also has an air delivery system, and this air compressor can inflate a 15 inch flat tire in less than 7 minutes.
The Benefits of a Jump Starter
Jump starters have been around for a long time, but the newer generation models are smaller, more powerful and practical to use. If you have been driving around without one, consider the following benefits.
No Need for Assistance
The biggest benefit of a jump starter is you can now start your vehicle without any assistance from other motorists. You don’t need to use booster cables anymore, and a jump starter is more convenient. You can keep it in your glovebox and if your car stops, get the starter out, connect it on your vehicle and start it up.
Easier to Use Than Booster Cables
A booster cable requires your vehicle to be near enough for the booster cable to reach your battery. With a jump starter you don’t have to worry about this situation.
Jump Starters are Safer
Booster cables require you to make two connections, and this increases the possibility of errors and problems. Reverse connections can be tricky and if not done properly result in sparks and damage your car. Improper use of booster cables could also lead to damages to electric components in the vehicle. With a jump starter you work with a single connection set.
No Risk to the Host Vehicle
Anytime you use another vehicle to power up your car, there is always the risk of damaging the host vehicle. Even if you do connections right and get the starting procedure correct, you can never tell if the host car has enough power to power the car that won’t start.
If the components on the host car are not in 100% working condition, using it to jump start another car might cause severe damage. With a jump starter this won’t be an issue.
Other Risks of Using Booster Cables
There are other risks associated with using booster cables on today’s cars. For one thing, any noise from the host car could end up being transferred in your car. By noise we don’t just mean loud noises but voltage spikes that could damage the sensitive components in your vehicle.
A jump starter is like an extension of your car battery so it’s safer to use. Removing the booster cables after jump starting your vehicle could also lead to problems and compromise the vehicle’s electronics. Bottom line: it’s safer to use jump starters.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Jump Starter
Jump starters have are very useful when you’re at home or on the road, but only if it comes with the features you will find useful.
Jump Starter and Battery Charger
The trend among the new generation of jump starters is to combine the functions of a battery charger. The reason is simple: a traditional jump starter requires the services of another car, but the modern jump starter / charger doesn’t as it only needs electricity. Having a battery charger also means you can use the device to power up your smartphone, tablet and other electronic devices.
Ease of Use
A good jump starter doesn’t require you to be a car expert or a mechanic to use it. In many cases it’s just a matter of plugging in it in or clamping it to battery and flipping a switch. Many of these models also have LED light built-in, and it’s a good thing if there is one so you won’t have trouble seeing at night.
It would also be nice if the device has an indicator to let you know how much charge is left so you’ll know when to do a full charge. A growing number of models also have an alarm that signifies if you put the clamps down incorrectly. This and other features will come in handy if you’re not familiar with jump starters.
Today’s jump starters are portable and lightweight, and the better ones have a handle for convenient carrying. You can store them in a glovebox, the back seat or your backpack.
Wattage and Amps
These devices usually come with 12 V batteries, while the wattage varies per manufacturer. Some have 6 amps so you can charge a vehicle several times as long as it is fully charged. Battery chargers have greater amps indicating the charge is longer lasting.
The higher the amps the faster the charging time, but they are as more expensive. You should go for a powerful unit if your car is equipped with expensive and power-hungry speaker systems, for example. Competition is driving down the cost however so there’s really no reason not to get a charger / jump starter with high amps. The convenience of a faster charge will more than compensate for the additional cost.
Solar Battery Chargers
Some of these devices use solar power to charge your car. They are less expensive than your typical charger and works well when the sun is shining outside. The downside with solar power is you cannot use them at night and may take more time fully charge your car. Their wattage and amps are often lower than your typical car, so it’s best to have another charger.
There was a time when jump starters could only be used starting a car, but now that is no longer the case. Most of these devices are now capable of powering not just gadgets and vehicle batteries but also trucks and large vehicles. If you are looking for a charger / starter that can do it all, get one with as high an amp and wattage power as you can afford.
If you’re going to go camping and will bring your tablet and other devices, make sure the charger / jump starter has USB ports to accommodate them.
Other Extra Features That May Prove Useful
Aside from charging mobile devices, some of these units come with extra capabilities like an air compressor. An air compressor works like a manual tire pump. There are jump starter / air compressor combos available, and it could definitely be useful in many situations.
We already mentioned the importance of a USB port for charging electronic devices, but if the unit has a laptop charger that is even better. A DC voltage is necessary too for charging commonly used devices. A LED flashlight is also useful in case your car battery goes dead at night while you’re driving. A simple LED flashlight is nice, but multiple modes are more helpful, as SOS and strobe lighting will inform other motorists of your presence.
Jump Boxes and Plug-in Units
A jump box is basically a sealed battery with jumper cables, while the plug-in devices work like battery chargers that provide high amps capable of starting up your vehicle and get the engine going.
The biggest advantage of a plug in jump starter / battery charger is its charging. Today’s alternators are not meant to completely charge dead batteries, and making them do so could reduce its efficiency and longevity. With a charger you could save a significant amount on your repair bill.
If you want to buy a portable plug in charger / jump starter, there should be several charging modes and numerus amperage options as well as a float charge feature.
A jump box on the other hand, is a battery inside a box. A standard jump box has a maintenance free battery hooked up onto jumper cables. These jump boxes are portable and have enough power to start up a dead battery. As long as the battery is large and powerful enough it should meet your needs while you’re driving.
What is the Difference between Peak Amps and Cranking?
One of the things you need to look at when buying a jump starter is the amount of electric current your vehicle requires. However you need to know the difference between peak amps and cranks as some jump starters only mention one or the other.
The peak amps refer to the maximum current a jump starter can produce in a single burst as it cranks an engine. This is used to get the motor turning so the engine can begin to crank. This high current doesn’t last long however, and if your engine doesn’t start up, the current goes down to a level that the jump starter can deliver on a consistent basis.
This sustainable value is the cranking current, and is the value the jump starter will use if extended cranking is necessary. What the jump starter does is simulate the vehicle’s battery which has various cranking and peak current levels.
In short, the cranking current is a more precise measurement of a jump starter’s capabilities. With a powerful jump starter, the peak current may be enough to get the engine going. In other cases however it won’t suffice, so you should look for a device that can deliver a good cranking current.
How Much Power Does My Jump Starter Need to Have?
The answer depends on how you intend to use it. There is also the fact that it is hard to give definitive cranking current values because there are many types of engines and cylinders. The best way to approach this is to look at your vehicle’s specs and that of the jump starter you want to buy.
A rough guide for gas and petrol engines is as follows: 150 -200A for 4 cylinder petrol/gas engines, 200 – 250A for 6 cylinder and 250 – 300A for 8 cylinder engines.
Diesel engines need greater amounts of current than gas. Generally speaking, diesel engines need twice the amount of current that gas engines do even if they are of the same size. So what this means is a 4 cylinder diesel engine needs 300-400A, while a 6 cylinder engine needs 400-500A. An 8 cylinder engine requires 600-700A.
It is therefore important you consider the type of engine you have and the number of cylinders it has. This will decide what kind of jump starter you should buy, along with the other considerations I mentioned earlier.
What is the Lowest Temperature Jump Starters Can Work On?
Temperature plays a huge role in determining your battery’s lifespan and performance, and this applies to jump starters as well. Batteries that use lead acid could end up losing 50% of its output if the weather gets too cold, and the same thing can be said for jump starters that have lead acid batteries.
Lithium ion batteries will have a lower decrease in low cold climates, but you have to make sure they are not fully discharged as it could negatively affect performance. By cold climates we mean the temperature drops to 20 to 30 F (-5 to 0 C), as is the case during the winter.
Under this condition you should double the cranking specs mentioned earlier for gas and diesel engines. That might seem like overkill, but if you spend a lot of time driving in cold weather, the battery becomes more vulnerable to damage. For winter driving, it is better to have more power than you think you need.
A good jump starter provides information about its peak and cranking current capacities. Think twice about buying a jump starter that only offers information on the peak currents. The bottom line is you should get a jump starter with as much power as possible and meets the minimum guidelines mentioned earlier.
What are the Most Important Jump Starter Safety Features?
Portable jump starters are easy to use and safe, but just like with any electronic device there is the potential for risk. Today’s jump starters are equipped with a number of safety features, but the following should serve as a checklist. If the device has most or all of these safety features, the more confident you should feel about using it.
Short Circuit Protection: A short circuit can cause the battery to explode, and it could also damage the jump starter. Short circuits happen if the jump leads make contact, causing high currents to pass between the negative and positive terminals. This problem can be avoided if the jump starter has short circuit protection built in, and most of them do.
Over Current Safeguard: protection against over current prevents the jump starter from using more current than what the specs allow. With over current protection, you’re assured there won’t be any overcharging that could damage your vehicle.
Protection from Over Voltage: This feature prevents too much voltage from getting to the jump starter when you’re charging. Over voltage, like over current, usually happens when there is a surge with the mains power.
Protection from Overcharging: Some jump starters don’t automatically terminate the charging process even when it’s fully charged. With an overcharge protection, the circuits will stop the charge once it is full, preventing an overcharge.
How to Use a Jump Starter
The following are general guidelines for using a jump starter, but you should read the user guide that came with your purchase and follow the directions.
First, make sure the jump starter is not on before you attempt to connect it on your vehicle’s battery. The AC, radio, lights, etc. on your vehicle have to be turned off as well. The negative and positive clamps should not make contact with each other and don’t attempt the jump start near any flammable objects.
- Connect the jump cables to the jump starter with the device off. In some units the cables are already attached.
- Hook the red (positive) jumper clamp to your vehicle battery’s positive terminal. Connect the black (negative) jumper clamp onto the negative terminal or any stable area on your vehicle. Ensure the connections are firm.
Connecting on the negative terminal or any stable part of the vehicle is the same thing. But some drivers prefer to connect onto the chassis because connecting to both terminals could lead to an explosion or fire if the battery emits hydrogen gas. This is unlikely with today’s designs, but it’s a safety precaution.
- Turn the jump starter on.
- Turn the ignition on and start the vehicle. If most cases it should start, but if it doesn’t, allow 2 to 3 minutes to pass before you attempt another one so the battery can cool down and the voltage is able to recover.
The reason you should wait is jump starters need to use the maximum current to power up your vehicle, and this can be done only in short bursts. Forcing your jump starter to do longer and harder cranks could damage it, but with a couple of minutes’ rest, it will be able to crank the engine at maximum power.
- Once the engine starts, turn the jump starter off. Disconnect the negative jumper cable, and remove the positive cable as well.
Recharge the jump starter as soon as you’re done using it, so if you need to use it again the device is fully charged. Don’t recharge the starter right away: after using it to jump start your vehicle let it cool for 15 minutes then recharge. Do not let the jump starter discharge fully because it isn’t good for the batteries, and this is also true of mobile devices.
Have your jump starter checked every now and then in a battery center to ensure it’s running smoothly. These devices could get damaged if you let them discharge at very low levels.
Jump Starter / Battery Charger Terminology
If you decide to shop for one of these, you’re going to come across certain terms and words. Familiarize yourself with the following so you know exactly what you are getting.
The amount of power the device has, and the higher the amps, the quicker the charge. High amp jump starters also offer longer charges.
This is a type of battery charger that relies on low amps to charge a vehicle. This allows a vehicle to charge quickly and safely. There are a lot car jump starters that use trickle charges for vehicles and electronic gadgets.
surge protection ensures your car is shielded against high voltage. This is a standard feature in jump starters.
These are found on battery chargers that use solar energy to start cars and power devices.
A USB port allows the jump starter to charge electronics, tablets and phones.
If you spend a lot of time traveling, or you don’t like the idea of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery, a jump starter will be necessary. With old jump cables you need the presence of another car so it’s impractical, whereas a jump starter and charger don’t. With the products reviewed here and the buyers’ tips we have prepared, you can make a more informed decision what to buy.