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Published May. 18, 2021

If you’ve got a finicky car battery, or if you have vehicles that don’t get used regularly or started often, investing in a portable jump starter is a good idea. It can be a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment that will become a major time-saving addition to your garage. Many portable jump starters are so compact that you can easily integrate them into your emergency roadside assistance kit without sacrificing valuable storage space in your trunk.

As an added bonus, many car jump starters are also multifunctional. Some can charge smartphones and other electronics. Others can also be used to inflate car tires, thanks to built-in compressors. If you’re in the market for a car jump starter, deciding which one is right for you can be tough. Since there are so many different options available, from light-duty portable units to more heavy-duty, professional-grade jump starters, it can get confusing. A quick read through our product review and buying guide will have you making a confident and informed selection in no time.

For more than 25 years, Jump-N-Carry has been a go-to source for emergency power for tow truck drivers and auto mechanics. Clore Automotive’s Jump-N-Carry JNC660 battery jump starter provides reliable high output power for starting a car battery in difficult conditions. Designed for automotive applications with PROFORMER battery technology, the JNC660 promises a long service life and comes with 46-inch industrial grade copper insulated jumper cables that are strong enough to bust through corroded terminals. You get 425 cranking amps and 1,700 peak amps and a 12-volt accessory outlet with this model of jump starter.

The unit’s automatic built-in charger allows you to leave the unit plugged in whenever it’s not in use so it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. This unit is suitable for use on all passenger and light commercial vehicles, but you’ll need something stronger for larger tractors and industrial equipment.

Key Features
  • Lead-acid battery
  • 1700 Peak amps, 425 cranking amps
  • Built in voltmeter shows battery charge level
  • DC outlet to power 12 volt accessories
Specification
  • Brand Clore Automotive
  • Model JNC660
  • Weight 18 lbs
PROS

Reliable jump starter

Professional-grade construction and performance

Excellent battery technology

Very easy to use

CONS

A little bit heavy

Some concern about long-term durability

NOCO is a name that is synonymous with car battery jump starters. This NOCO Boost HD Battery Jump Starter is a 12-volt, 2,000-amp device designed to provide a jolt to dead batteries in seconds. It’s also capable of providing 40 jump starts on a single charge.

The jump starter is able to function with eight-liter gasoline engines and six-liter diesel ones. Plus, it’s way more than just a simple jump starter. The machine acts as an engine starter, a portable LED flashlight, and can even charge external devices like cell phones and tablets. It’s a versatile and efficient device all rolled into one.

As you may have seen, its price is on the more expensive side. But you get a highly beneficial tool. You may also have issues with the dust plugs, and the cords may not be the strongest or most durable.

Key Features
  • 2,000 amps
  • 40 jump starts on one charge
  • Built-in safety features such as short circuit, overload, overcharge, and overvoltage protections
  • Compact, lightweight, and portable
Specification
  • Brand NOCO
  • Model BG70
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Reliable jump starter

Professional-grade construction and performance

Excellent battery technology

Very easy to use

CONS

A little bit heavy

Some concern about long-term durability

Whether you want to jump start a gas or diesel engine or charge a smartphone or tablet, the Schumacher DSR ProSeries DSR115 can do the job. This 4400 peak amp jump starter comes equipped with all the bells and whistles, and a price tag to match. It features a 12-volt DC outlet, a 2.1-amp USB port, two-gauge cables, a digital display, and a reverse connection warning. It’s compatible with both 12 and 24-volt batteries and produces 750 cranking amps and 525 cold cranking amps.

The unit’s high-output AGM batteries make it stand out as does its durability and solid construction. The included 2-amp external automatic charger ensures that this jump starter is ready to go at all times. The case is also rust-proof for added convenience; however, it’s a little hefty. In addition, the battery clamps may be too large to fit into the battery compartment of some older vehicles.

Key Features
  • 4400 peak amps
  • High output AGM battery
  • 12 volt DC power outlet
  • Universal capability, can be used on all vehicles
Specification
  • Brand Schumacher
  • Model DSR115
  • Weight 13.25 pounds
PROS

Exceptional cranking power

Professional-grade performance and construction

Stable and sturdy base

High-output AGM battery technology

Automatic charging system for easier recharging

CONS

Heavier than most portable jump starters

Clamps may be too large for some vehicles

Pricey

Another well-equipped, yet affordable jump starter is the Stanley 1000/500 Amp Jump Starter w/120 PSI Compressor. More than just a jump starter, it’s a multi-functional power station that can handle almost any automotive power problem. This heavy-duty jump starter is equipped with industrial-grade, powder-coated metal clamps and a super tough, impact-resistant, injection-molded housing.

This unit is 12-volt compatible, but doesn’t offer 24-volt capabilities, so it’s not suitable for industrial or heavy-duty commercial applications. However, it’s an excellent choice for starting personal-use and light-duty commercial batteries that are up to V-8 powered. It gives you 500 amps of cold cranking power and 1,000 peak amps. It also comes equipped with a handy 120 PSI compressor, bright LED work light, 2-amp USB, and 12-volt charging receptacles. This is one of the bulkier units on our list, so it’s not the best option for carrying around in your car.

Key Features
  • 1,000A peak current
  • Built-in 120 PSI compressor
  • 12-volt and USB charging functionality
Specification
  • Brand STANLEY
  • Model J5C09
  • Weight 17.75 pounds
PROS

Comprehensive, multifunctional power source

Affordable

LED work light is great for dark conditions

Built in safety features

CONS

Bulkier and less portable than some models

Doesn’t include charging cord

So we all know that ArmorAll makes some great products for automotive detailing, but the ArmorAll Jump Starter PowerBank may come as a pleasant surprise to you. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the ideal solution. This jump starter is also a battery charger and a bright LED flashlight, making it a useful and compact piece of equipment to keep in your vehicle for emergencies. While it’s not nearly powerful enough to tackle larger jobs, its 600 peak amps are enough to start vehicles that have up to an 8 cylinder, 5-liter engine. Not too shabby.

At only two pounds, this little device can even be stored under your seat or in your glove compartment and used as a backup charger for your smartphone, tablet, and other USB-powered electronics. This unit features built-in overload protection, over-temperature protection, and a reverse polarity alarm as added safety measures. It also makes a great jump starter for ATVs, lawn tractors, dirt bikes, and more.

Key Features
  • 600 peak amps
  • bright LED flashlight
  • USB charging receptacles for small electronics
  • SOS strobe light function
Specification
  • Brand ArmorAll
  • Model AJS8-1002-ORG
  • Weight 1.92 pounds
PROS

Super compact and portable

Highly affordable

Capable of jump starting engines up to 8 cylinders, 5-liters

Multifunctional

CONS

Not strong enough for larger vehicles

Concern over long-term durability

Tacklife’s jump starter is strong, sturdy, and reliable. Just look at the casing, industrial-style clamps, and the included compass. It may be small, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with power. The device comes with 800 amps of peak current that works with 12V cars, SUVs, trucks, Jeeps, or any other vehicle 30 times over on a single charge. That’s 10 more times than other jump starters.

The Tacklife lithium battery jumpers can sit in storage for up to 12 months without burning any charge. It also comes with LED lights and an LCD screen that displays battery life. It even has alarms to let you know if you are using it incorrectly.

However, the instructions leave out important information, such as how to turn it on to get a proper charge. Plus, the clamps can be difficult to attach due to their design.

Key Features
  • Up to 30 jump starts on one charge
  • USB charging and LCD battery charge display
  • Compact enough to store in a glove box
  • Off feature to conserve battery
Specification
  • Brand Tacklife
  • Model T8
  • Weight 1.21 pounds
PROS

Compact and lightweight

Powerful jump starter

Easy-to-use and easy-to-read LCD screen

USB charging

Robust and sturdy

CONS

Instructions leave out important information

Clamp design can make them difficult to attach

Another solid option from a well-known manufacturer is the Caterpillar 3-in-1 Cat Professional Power Station. It’s a powerful jump starter that’s equipped with 500 amps of cold start power and 1,000 amps of peak power, making it a versatile starter. It also comes equipped with a 120 PSI compressor that’s ideal for inflating flat or low tires. The compressor nozzle also features a heavy-duty brass tip that can be used to inflate sporting equipment.

You can use this power source to power 120-volt AC, 12-volt DC, and USB devices, which makes it one of the most comprehensive power sources on our list. It plugs easily into any household 120-volt AC outlet for efficient recharging and readiness.

Key Features
  • 500 amps of cold start power
  • 1,000 amps of peak power
  • 120V AC, 12V DC, and USB power outlets
  • 120 PSI on-board air compressor
Specification
  • Brand Caterpillar
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 20 pounds
PROS

Multifunctional

Powerful enough for most personal and light duty commercial vehicles

Equipped with a bright LED light for darker conditions

Robust and sturdy

CONS

Complaints that the compressor is a bit underpowered

A little on the pricey side

When you need maximum, heavy-duty starting power, you need the Autogen 4000 Amp Lithium Car Jump Starter. With 4,000 amps of peak power, this is hands down, one of the strongest battery jump starters on our list. It’s capable of starting up to 10.0-liter gas and diesel engines, making it one of our only choices that are perfectly suited to more commercial uses. That said, it’s still underpowered for some larger industrial vehicles. Surprisingly, this beast of a jump starter is compact and lightweight enough to carry in your trunk at all times; it weighs only 4 pounds.

It’s equipped with sizable and strong all-metal clamps and 100 percent copper leads to safely and effectively deliver power in harsh conditions without sparking. It also features a 10-amp 12-volt DC outlet that you can connect to tire pumps, car vacuums, and more. A USB charging port and super bright LED light are nice added touches. It comes backed by a 12-month, 30-day money-back guarantee for added peace of mind.

Key Features
  • 4,000 peak amps
  • Able to jump start engines up to 10.0 liters
  • Heavy-duty, spark-free connector clamp
  • 100 percent copper leads
Specification
  • Brand AUTOGEN
  • Model MJS-P111B
  • Weight 4.15 pounds
PROS

Super powerful

Lightweight and very portable

Straightforward and easy to use

CONS

Not suited to large commercial or industrial equipment

Long cables can get tangled and are hard to manage

Safety is the name of the game for NOCO’s Genius Boost Plus GB40. The 1000 amps capacity NOCO Genius Boost is designed to be mistake proof, eliminating sparking to provide a safe start every time. Packing enough juice for its USB charge port to fill up four smartphones on a single charge, it is also capable of jump-starting gasoline engines up to 6 liters and diesel engines up to 3 liters. As an added safety feature, the NOCO Genius comes with a bright 100 lumen LED flashlight with 7 modes including SOS and emergency strobe.

Key Features
  • 1000 amps
  • Up to 20 jump starts on a single charge
  • Spark-proof design and polarity protection make connecting to any battery safe
  • 12v output, USB charging capability
Specification
  • Brand NOCO
  • Model BG40
  • Weight 2.4 pounds
PROS

Ingenious pocket size design

Multiple device applications

Secure electrical safety features

Great value for its price

CONS

Some units came defective out of the box

No manufacturer’s warranty

Another surprisingly powerful, yet uber budget-friendly jump starter is the BUTURE Portable Car Jump Starter Kit. It’s one of the least expensive options on our list, but packs enough of a punch to power up 8.0-liter gas or diesel engines with ease. It boasts an impressive 2,000 amps of peak power. You can get up to 30 jump starts on a single charge. At 2.88 pounds and only 8 inches long, it’s also surprisingly compact and lightweight, making it a great addition to your roadside emergency kit.

Like many others on our list, this unit comes equipped with a bright LED flashlight and USB charging capabilities. It plugs right into your 12-volt power supply and charges your battery enough to start the car within 20 minutes, all without ever needing to open your hood. A brightly lit digital LCD screen gives you minute-by-minute information. There is some concern that the battery on the unit drains down quickly and doesn’t hold its charge well.

Key Features
  • 2,000 peak amps
  • Can connect and charge through your vehicle’s cigarette lighter
  • Dual 5-volt, 2.1-amp USB ports
  • LED flashlight/strobe/SOS light
Specification
  • Brand BUTUR
  • Model BR200
  • Weight 2.88 pounds
PROS

Very lightweight and compact

Plenty of power considering its size

Highly affordable

Can charge your engine from inside the comfort of your car

CONS

Battery drains quickly

Customer service seems questionable

While not the most powerful jump starter on the list, the EverStart Maxx Jump Starter and Power Station gets a nod for being a durable and well-rounded option that’s offered at a very competitive price point. It delivers 1,200 amps of peak power via the substantially designed all-metal clamps. That’s enough to charge most V8-powered vehicles quickly and efficiently. It also comes equipped with a powerful 500-watt inverter and triple USB power ports and a 120-volt AC port for powering up all your favorite electronic devices.

Not only is this a great product to have on hand for emergencies, but it’s also great to use as a power source when camping, fishing, tailgating, and more. It’s even equipped with a 120 PSI compressor with auto-shutoff for inflating tires and sports equipment. We also like that the LED work light pivots to send light right where you need it. On the downside, it’s pretty bulky and heavy compared to other models on the list.

Key Features
  • 1,200 amps of peak power
  • 120 PSI air compressor
  • 500-watt inverter
  • Pivoting work light
  • USB and 120-volt AC power outlets on-board
Specification
  • Brand EverStart Maxx
  • Model J5CPDE
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Multifunctional jump starter and power supply

Good price point

Pivoting work light puts light where you need it

Large LCD screen is easy to read

CONS

Bulky and Heavy

Not powerful enough for larger engines or commercial use

DBPower’s jump starter comes with 800A peak power and 18,000mAh. Yes, it may not be the highest output we’ve seen, but it is effective enough to get your car started in a jiffy. It can jump a 7.2L gas-powered engine or a 5.5L diesel engine in seconds, so it’s suitable for cars, trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, RVs, and much more.

It measures only 7.28 x 3.46 x 1.38 inches and weighs just under 3 pounds. It comes equipped with extra ports to charge external components such as phones, tablets, and other electronic gear you may want to bring with you. It also includes a strong and bright LED flashlight and the easy-to-read LCD screen lets you know how it’s doing.

However, there are some things to note about this jump starter. One thing to note is that it isn’t the most powerful jump starter for a car as it only offers 800 amps of current. Another thing is the cables feel weak and flimsy, and if you leave it on the shelf for a few weeks, the battery will drain quickly.

Key Features
  • 800 amps of peak current
  • Smart charging and USB ports
  • LCD screen
  • LED flashlight
Specification
  • Brand DBPOWER
  • Model DJS
  • Weight 2.99 pounds
PROS

Sleek, ultra-modern, compact design

Powerful charging mechanism

Can charge other gadgets

Good overall electrical protection

CONS

Jumper cables look and feel cheap

Reliability issues in some units

Shelf life drains battery quickly

Best Jump Starter Buying Guide & FAQ

What is a Jump Starter?

A jump starter is essentially a large battery that takes the place of another running vehicle when your vehicle’s battery goes flat and needs to be restarted. When a vehicle is running normally, a small electrical generator mounted on the engine (known as an alternator) charges the car battery and provides electricity to run accessories like the lights, heating/cooling systems, and radio. It also provides the power for the spark plugs to fire which in turn ignites the fuel/air mixture within the cylinders and allows the engine to turn over. When a battery goes flat or runs out of electricity, none of these processes can take place and the car cannot start.

Before the advent of the portable car battery charge packs, restarting the vehicle would require electrical power from the battery of another running vehicle whose battery was not flat. The best portable jump start batteries remove the need for this other vehicle as they provide the necessary electricity to get the car battery started again and therefore generating electricity from the alternator.

cable jump starters

What to Look for When Buying a Jump Starter

When you’re looking for the best portable jump, it’s important to make sure that the pack you choose has the strength to get your truck or car battery started again. Bigger vehicles naturally require more power to turn over so it’s vital to ensure that the starter that you choose is up to the task of getting you moving again. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you buy a quality battery pack that will hold its charge for a long period of time. After all, it would be terrible to have one with you in a time of need only to have it fail to work because its battery has gone flat. Many also come with standard safety protections to make sure that you don’t inadvertently damage your vehicle when trying to get it going again. Automotive electronics can be delicate and damaging them can lead to a bigger problem than just having a flat battery.

Power Output

Something to consider when making your purchasing decision is the power output that the starter comes with. The power output of a jump pack comes down to the peak amperage, or current, delivered by the device and the watts.

The peak amperage of a jumper illustrates the maximum amount of power that a battery can discharge or give to a dead car battery. Many manufacturers put their peak amp ratings in their labels.

A higher peak amp rating is important because if the power output of the jump starter is not sufficient to initiate all of these mechanical processes, then you will not be able to jump your car.

The amp rating of the jump starter is an indicator of its true power output. You will also need to check its voltage so you’ll have an idea of its overall wattage. Given two 12V jump starters, for example, the jump starter with the 1000A rating will have more electrical power compared to the one with a 500A.

It is important to check your vehicle’s manual to know what amp rating is sufficient for your car.

Cranking Amp Rating

The cranking amp rating of a jump starter is a reflection of the amount of power that it can generate for about 30 seconds at a temperature of 32-degrees Fahrenheit or 0-degree Celsius while maintaining the minimum 1.2 volts per cell required on a standard 6-cell 12-volt battery. In layman’s terms, this is the amount of power that you will need to crank and start your car’s engine in almost any weather, except during the cold days of winter. For exceptionally hot climates, there are car batteries specifically designed for hot weather.

car jump starter

Now, if you live in an area where it’s like winter all year long you’ll need the ‘cold cranking amp’ rating. It’s like the ‘cranking amp’ except that it’s specifically rated for colder temperatures specifically at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -17.8 degrees Celsius. Again, it should be able to maintain the minimum 7.2 volts for a standard 6-cell 12-volt battery. There are cold-weather car batteries specifically designed for this.

Voltage

Voltage refers to the energy potential stored in an electrical system. This is what moves the electric current throughout the electrical circuit. When translated into a jump starter, it is what actually drives the electric current on the device towards the battery in your car.

Choosing the right voltage should be fairly easy since you only need to check your existing battery. Most light vehicles come with 12-volt batteries while heavy-duty ones like trucks, trailers, buses, and the like will usually have 24-volt batteries.

Cable Length

Most automotive experts recommend going for at least 12 feet when choosing jumper cables so that you have a bit of flexibility on reach.

Cable Gauge

As a rule, you should get a jump starter with jumper cables that are at least 8-gauge. If you can get a 6-gauge, better. Having 2-gauge is ideal although it can be a little more expensive. Generally speaking, the lower the number of the gauge, the wider is the diameter of the wire. The wider the diameter of the cable, the faster will you be able to start your car.

Price & Functionality

Good quality jumper cables alone can already set you back by as much as $60. There are, of course, newer and more portable jumper packs that are so compact they can easily slip into one’s pocket. Many of these can be had for about $50 or less. However, you need to ensure that they can deliver the right levels of power required by your car.

Professional-grade units can cost a few hundred dollars. Many of these come with high-capacitance jumper cables, batteries, and state-of-the-art power management modules complete with sophisticated electrical safety protections. These may not really be your idea of a compact and portable device as they can weigh up to 20 to 30 pounds. They do look like mini power generators.

You may also want to look at the functionality of the jump starter. Many portable devices today come with multipurpose functionality, fully capable of jumping a car while also serving as a mobile power bank. Some common features of the best portable jump kits include

  • Ability to power up a variety of USB-enabled devices
  • Inverters that will allow you to plug in your electronic appliance into an appropriate port in the device
  • Built-in air compressor unit
  • Included LED flashlight

Safety Tips When Using a Jump Starter

As with any piece of electrical equipment, caution needs to be exercised when using a jump starter. Be sure to thoroughly read through the instruction manual before using any unfamiliar jump starter. Also keep in mind these other standard safety tips:

  • Check that the battery terminals and the connection clamps on your jump starter are in good condition, free of dirt and contaminants
  • If possible, avoid jumping a car in the rain. As with any electronic equipment, keeping water away from your battery, wiring, and the jump starter itself is a good practice. Water conducts electricity and can make the jump process more dangerous than it needs to be.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing and dangling jewelry, and make sure that any long hair is tied up and away from the battery and jump starter clamps.
  • Always read your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • If you’re going to perform a donor-recipient jump start, always check the electrical power capacity or voltage capacity of the donor battery. It should match that of the recipient battery.
  • Always unplug any electrical car accessories like mobile phone chargers and the like as the jumping process will send a power surge which can shorten these gadgets or accessories.
  • Turn off everything in the car that runs on electricity such as the hazard lights, headlights, radios, and so on.
  • Always use safety goggles as well as rubber gloves whenever you attempt to jump start your car.
  • Always park both cars in either Neutral or Park. Also, engage both cars’ parking brakes. They should also be facing each other and as close as possible to each other to allow for the jumper cables to create the bridge. However, make sure that they don’t touch.

Jump Starter Terminology

In the previous section, we’ve been talking about a variety of technical stuff. And while we already did cover “amperes,” “cranking amps,” and “peak current” we’ll try to cover them again as well as a few other terms you might encounter in your quest for choosing the best jump starter for your car.

SOS

Most of the car jumper packs we have today come with built-in LED lights that have three different lighting modes. One of these modes is called the SOS mode. It sends out a steady stream of blinks or flashes to get the attention of anyone within visual range, in the case of an emergency. It’s like a lighthouse by the bay, guiding ships towards the shore on a stormy night. The difference, of course, is that the flashing SOS light is going to attract other motorists or emergency responders to your exact location.

Cranking Amps

Cranking amps is the amount of power discharged by the jump starter in 30 seconds at a temperature of 32-degrees Fahrenheit, enough to sustain a minimum of 7.2 volts in a standard 6-cell 12-volt battery or a minimum of 1.2 volts per cell. In layman’s terms, cranking amps is the power you need to start your car’s engine on any day except winter days.

car jump starters

If you live in places where the environmental temperature never falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should always check the cranking amps of the jump starter. If you live in areas where the temperatures are lower than 32 degrees, then the cold cranking amps rating should be considered.

Peak Current

As the term implies, this is the maximum amount of electrical energy present inside a battery system. Current is measured in terms of amperes. So if you have a jump starter that says it has 1000 peak amps, then you know that it can only deliver a maximum of 1000 amperes.

Lithium-ion Battery

Many of today’s home appliances are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries last longer and hold a charge for a much longer time than other batteries. A typical Li-ion battery can lose about 5% of its charge on a monthly basis while a Ni-MH battery can experience as much as a 20 percent monthly loss.

You also don’t need to completely discharge a lithium-ion battery before you can recharge it, allowing you faster recharging times. The battery is also capable of handling more charge-discharge cycles.

However, it does come with a number of disadvantages. They only last for two to three years and the rate of degradation increases with heat. Another important consideration is that if the battery fails, it could possibly explode.

Joules

Joule is a unit of work or energy that is needed to generate a single watt of power every second. As such, 1 joule is equivalent to 1 watt-second. Translated into simple terms, you will need 1 joule to light up a 1-watt LED bulb for about 1 second.

Ampere

Ampere or amp is the rate of energy flowing through an electrical system. More specifically, it is the electrical current present in your jump starter. It’s the rate of flow of current. Imagine water flowing through a closed-loop system. The rate of water flow is determined by how fast it moves. This is directly proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance. Increasing the voltage will also increase the current while increasing the resistance will decrease the current.

LED

LEDs are typically embedded into the design of jump starters for a variety of purposes. It can provide illumination for the LCD screen to make it more readable. It can also be used for indicator lights such as power, charge, and status lights. In some products, LEDs are also used in integrated flashlight systems. As long as there is a lighting mechanism in a jump starter you can expect it to be made of LED technology.

jump starters for car

How to Safely Jump Start Your Vehicle

Jump starting your car shouldn’t really be that difficult since you’re essentially connecting cables from one power source to another — one that doesn’t have any power at all. In this section, we’ll go over how to use portable jump starters and as well as how to use the old donor-recipient manner.

Using jump starters

Using a dedicated portable charger for a car battery is pretty straightforward, regardless of the manufacturer of the device.

  • If possible, park your vehicle on flat and stable ground. Engage the parking brakes and put the gear in the Neutral or Park position if driving an automatic. Turn off all electrical systems in your car.
  • Double check your jump starter that it is fully charged or that it has plenty of charge left to deliver power to your car. Now, turn it off.
  • Connect the red clamp to the positive end of your vehicle’s battery.
  • Take the black clamp and clamp it on the negative end or terminal of the car battery. This is crucial. Black always goes to the negative terminal. Red always goes to the positive terminal. Think of it this way. Red is blood, which means life. Black is death. You won’t miss it.
  • Check that the clamps are fully secure. Once done, you can turn on the jump starter and turn on the ignition of your car.
  • Your engine should start. If not, let it rest for about two to three minutes before attempting to crank it again.

It is important to be mindful of the length of time that you are cranking your engine. You should not crank it for more than five seconds. The cranking amp of the jump starter is actually delivering a large amount of energy into your car’s system. It’s specifically designed to do so in relatively short bursts. Cranking your engine for longer than five seconds may risk overheating.

Once your engine has turned over, immediately turn off the jump starter. Remove first the black clamp before the red clamp. Keep your engine running to allow its battery to recharge.

Donor-recipient system

The traditional method of jumping a vehicle entails another vehicle or a donor vehicle. The same principle applies, except that you will be dependent on the power supply coming from the battery of another vehicle.

jump starter for cars

Best Jump Starter FAQ:

Q: How many amps do you need to start a car?

This greatly depends on your vehicle’s engine size and how dead your battery is at the time of recharging. For most sedans, SUVs, light trucks, and minivans, you’ll probably need something in the neighborhood of 400-600 amps at the minimum. For larger trucks and commercial equipment, you’ll need much more.

Q:  Can I use a jump starter on any vehicle?

Theoretically, yes. You can use a jump starter on any battery-powered vehicle, provided the jump starter is rated to be powerful enough for the intended vehicle. Be sure to double check your vehicle’s requirements against the jump starter’s power rating before hooking it up, just to be safe.

Q:  How do I charge my jump starter?

The most common method for charging most jump starters is simply plugging them into a regular 120-volt AC household outlet. Some jump starters can also be recharged via your vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter, or even with solar power or a USB interface.

Q: Do larger jump starters have more power?

Oftentimes, larger jump starters do have more power, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. We’ve listed some very compact and portable jump starters with impressive power capabilities, as well as some larger, less powerful units in our list of product recommendations. So, always double check the label, and don’t judge a book by its cover if you’re looking for a certain amperage of peak power.

Q: How long should you jump a car for?

This depends on several factors, including the size of your engine, the power of your jump starter, how dead your battery is, and the temperature of the surrounding environment. Generally speaking, most batteries will need to be charged from 5-20 minutes in order to get enough juice to start from dead.

Q: Can my jump starter charge other devices?

Many of today’s jump starters are equipped with 12-volt DC, 120-volt AC, or USB charging ports that allow you to power a multitude of devices from personal electronics, air compressors, lamps, radios, and much more.

Q: Can you jump start a car in the rain?

A straightforward answer is yes, you can jump your car in the rain. If you don’t mind catching a cold or risk slipping and falling on the ground, then it is perfectly okay to jump start your vehicle even when there’s a downpour. If you’re worried about possible electrocution, your car’s electrical system only runs on 12 volts, unlike the electricity that we have in our homes that run on either 110 or 220 volts depending on which part of the world you live in. As long as you take the necessary precautions, you should be fine.

Q: Can jump starting damage my car?

Really the only ways that jump starting your car can cause damage are if you reverse the polarity of the jump starter and your car battery by hooking up the charging clamps in the wrong way, or if you use a jump starter that runs on a voltage system that’s not the same as your vehicle’s battery system.

guy charging a car battery with a jump starter cable

Our Top Pick

Now that you’re well-versed in the ways of the jump starter, you can imagine why we chose the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 as our top pick. Not only is it offered at a reasonable price point, but it’s equipped with an impressive 425 cold start amps and 1,700 peak power amps to quickly and efficiently start most V8 powered vehicles. It’s also ruggedly and durably constructed to withstand some serious wear and tear.

For a more budget friendly, but still powerful option, consider the BUTURE Portable Car Jump Starter Kit. It packs a punch with 2,000 amps of peak power but is compact and portable enough to fit in your glove compartment. Plus, it comes with a surprisingly low price tag.

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