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Portable jump starters can be vital in getting you home safely when car trouble hits, particularly if you can’t connect to another vehicle. Simply charge up your jump starter and feel safe in the knowledge that you have the ability to get your vehicle moving again if it has a battery that’s not working. In addition, car jump starters can be used to charge smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices as well as perform other incredibly useful tasks, such as signaling with lights and even inflating tires with built-in compressors. Here’s our guide to some of the best jump starters on the market, ranging from extremely compact and lightweight battery jump starters up to heavy-duty professional-grade products.
Clore Automotive’s 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 heavy-duty, copper-insulated jumper cables. Clore recommends that you charge the JNC660’s battery every 30 days to keep it in its best possible condition so that you can rely on it in times of need.
1700 Peak amps, 425 cranking amps
Built in voltmeter shows battery charge level
DC outlet to power 12 volt accessories
- BrandClore Automotive
- Weight18 lbs
Reliable jump starter
Professional-grade construction and performance
Excellent battery technology
Very easy to use
A little bit heavy
Some issues about 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.
40 jump starts on one charge
Built-in safety features such as short circuit, overload, overcharge, and overvoltage protections
Compact, lightweight, and portable
- Weight5 pounds
Lightweight and compact design
Capable of charging phones and other external devices
Includes an LED flashlight
Built-in safety features
Power may drain quickly
Cords aren’t the most durable
4400 peak amps
High output AGM battery
12 volt DC power outlet
Universal capability, can be used on all vehicles
- Weight13.25 pounds
Exceptional cranking power
Professional-grade performance and construction
Stable and sturdy base
High-output AGM battery technology
Automatic charging system for easier recharging
Heavier than most portable jump starters
Clamps may be too large for some vehicles
Don’t be fooled by Arteck’s small and portable car jump kit, as it packs quite a punch. Yes, it may only have 800 amps of peak current but that’s more than enough to provide a boost to your car’s engine. It’s capable of jumping vehicles up to 20 times when away from any power source. But with a power source, the jump will be more efficient and faster.
Another benefit of this little device is it can double as an external battery charger for your phone, tablet, and any other device you may have. It also has its own built-in LED light so you can see what you’re doing at night.
800A peak current
Built-in LED flashlight
Dual USB charging functionality
- Weight1.8 pounds
Lightweight, portable, and compact design
Dual functionality as a jump starter and USB power bank
Quick charging times
Built in safety features
800A peak current may not be enough power for some
Battery can drain quickly
If you don’t mind the cost, then you’d definitely want the Clore battery jump starter is one of the best jump pack options for your vehicle. Its heavy-duty construction is just one of its amazing highlights and comes with selectable voltage. One can easily deliver an electrical current of up to 3000 amperes to vehicles running on 12-volt batteries. And if you happen to have one of those rigs that run on 24-volt systems, the Clore can provide max amps at 1500.
The heavy-duty cables and industrial-grade jumper clamps are also noteworthy. Regardless of the environment your vehicle is in, whether it’s freezing cold or blistering hot, the Clore battery jump starter can get your wheels started in no time. At its core are two ES-Series batteries that are designed specifically for jump-starting heavy vehicles and equipment. The Clore truly is one of the best vehicle jump starters you can ever buy.
3000A peak current at 12V
1500A peak current at 24V
ES Series vehicle jump-starting batteries
60-inch 2-Gauge jumper cables
Hot jaw, industrial-grade clamps
Advanced Warning System
Automatic recharging mechanism
- BrandClore Automotive
- Weight40 pounds
Powerful jump-starting mechanism
Selectable voltage jump-starting system
Designed specifically for jump-starting any kind of vehicle
Heavy-duty and extra-safe cables and clamps
Stable and durable design
Exceptionally heavy at 40 pounds
Tenker’s 600A peak current and 14,000mAh capacity jump starter is on the small side but packs quite a lot of power. While it is one of the lowest power rated jump starters on our list, it is impressive in its own right. It can start a gas-powered vehicle (up to a 5.0L or a 3.5L diesel engine) up to 20 times on a single charge.
The device is also compact, measuring 6.65 x 3.35 x 1.42 inches. On top of its size, it is also quite light, weighing 2.74 pounds. It also comes with dual smart USB outputs so you can charge your tablet, phone, or other devices. Plus, it has many safety measures as well to prevent it from damaging itself or your batteries.
600 amps peak power
14,000 mAh capacity
Built-in short circuit, overload, overcharge, and overvoltage protections
Compact, lightweight, and portable
- Weight2.74 pounds
Lightweight and compact design
Delivers large amount of current in a slim package
Capable of charging other gadgets and devices
Features LED flashlight
Various electrical safety mechanisms
Drains power quickly
On the lowside of power
Needs charging when first delivered
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.
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
- Weight1.21 pounds
Compact and lightweight
Powerful jump starter
Easy-to-use and easy-to-read LCD screen
Robust and sturdy
Instructions leave out important information
Clamp design can make them difficult to attach
As a portable jump starter it also features USB ports to charge any phone, computer, or device you may have with you. It is powered by a lithium ion battery chip with QDSP technology. The Quick Discharge Start Power feature is designed to make it withstand higher and lower temperatures and makes it more efficient and sturdier.
It may not have the necessary power to jump start larger batteries designed for diesel engines. It may also not provide any power to dead batteries or, if it does, it may take a while to get them powered again.
Up to 30 jump starts on a single charge
Dual USB charging ports
Functions in extremely high and low temperatures
- Weight2 pounds
Portable and lightweight
Safe and easy to use
Can be used on a variety of devices
Power drains quickly
Not great for larger diesel batteries
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 six liters and diesel engines up to three liters. As an added safety feature, the NOCO Genius comes with a bright 100 lumen LED flashlight with seven modes including SOS and emergency strobe.
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
- Weight2.4 pounds
Ingenious pocket size design
Multiple device applications
Secure electrical safety features
Great value for its price
Some units came defective out of the box
No manufacturer’s warranty
Stanley’s FatMax J7CS battery jump starter takes the jump starter game to the next level by incorporating an onboard air compressor that allows you to inflate flat tires by the side of the road. In addition to its triple USB outlets, the J7CS comes equipped with a reverse polarity warning system featuring an LED indicator light and an audible alarm to advise you when your connections are round the wrong way. A built-in high-powered 270 degree pivoting flashlight means you’ll be able to see what you’re doing when jump-starting or inflating a tire at night.
350 instant/700 peak battery amps
120 psi onboard compressor with backlit pressure gauge
Triple 3.1 amp USB outlets
12v power outlet
- Weight10.6 pounds
Brand image dependability and trustworthiness
Powerful air compressor
Electrical safety features
Robust build quality
Lead acid batteries require maintenance
Peak current may not be sufficient for multiple uses
May easily tip over
Gooloo’s robust jumper comes with 2000 peak amps and 19,800 mAh, which makes it one of the best portable jump starters on our list. This tool is able to jump start a car up to 10.0L (gas) or 7.0L (diesel) up to 20 times before needing to recharge. It also has dual USB ports with Quick Charge and 5V of power. This will help make sure all your gadgets and gizmos are charged on the go as well.
Like most other jump starters, this too has safety options available to prevent it from faltering, short circuiting, reverse connecting, overheating, over charging, and more. It’s perfect for motorcycles, RVs, tractors, trucks, mowers, ATVs, cars, and just about anything with a battery.
2000 amps of peak current
Short-circuit protection, overload protection, overcharge and over voltage protection
Discharge temperature of -20 to 40 degrees Celsius
- Weight1.39 pounds
Compact and lightweight design
Safe to handle and operate
Can power other devices
Multiple electrical safety protections
Manual can be difficult to understand
Buttons may be too small to access with gloves
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 three 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.
800 amps of peak current
Smart charging and USB ports
- Weight2.99 pounds
Sleek, ultra-modern, compact design
Powerful charging mechanism
Can charge other gadgets
Good overall electrical protection
Jumper cables look and feel cheap
Reliability issues in some units
Shelf life drains battery quickly
Known for its excellence in heavy machinery one can always rely on the engineering ingenuity of CAT builders especially with the CJ3000 portable jump start. It’s not really light, coming in at about 23.5 pounds. But, its bulk more than underscores its ability to get your car re-started after stopping dead on the road.
Emergency lights also help augment your emergency roadside early warning device so oncoming motorists can also be forewarned of a stalled vehicle on the curb. Inside its tough shell is an AGM technology that delivers peak amperage of 2000, while guaranteeing instant amps of 1000; perfect when you need to bring your car’s battery back to life. At the very least, you’ll have that much current delivered into your car’s battery for an instant revival.
AGM internal battery
1000 instant amps; 2000 peak
Integrated power switch
12-volt accessory DC outlet
Reverse polarity alarm
- Weight23.5 pounds
Tough and rugged construction
High amperage rating
Easy to use with roadside safety features
A little bit on the heavier side
Issues with reliability
First things first, the Imazing car jumper packs are unique in the way they look. It’s much more futuristic than others on our list. Its design also makes it extremely portable and compact. However, don’t let its stature fool you into thinking it isn’t capable of starting your engine. It comes with 1500A peak power and 12,000mAh, which is enough to power an 8L gas engine or a 6L diesel engine.
The little block of power is also compact and easy to carry around or stow away in a glove compartment or the trunk. However, one of the best offerings is its six-in-one functionality. It has high-speed USB ports, an LED flashlight, and advanced safety technology to prevent it from overheating, overloading, or overcharging. Plus, it comes in a convenient carrying case.
1500A peak current
12000 mAh high-capacity battery
Smart charging and quick charging system
Electrical safety protection mechanisms
Emergency LED flashlight
- Weight2.74 pounds
Powerful jump starter
Compact and lightweight
Included carrying case
Advanced electrical safety features
Instructions can be confusing
Clamps may be considered too small
Can be difficult connecting clamps
First off, this jump pack looks great. It throws away the typical red and orange design and goes with a bright green so you won’t lose it in your workshop or vehicle. The next thing we noticed is its size. It measures 7.5 x 3.3 x 1.4 inches, making it extra compact yet effective, as it also comes with 1500A peak power. That’s enough to charge an 8L gasoline or 6.5L diesel engine more than a dozen times on a single charge.
It also has USB connectivity and five other advanced safety options to keep it in working order. It can also be stored in temperatures from -20 up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it works great in any weather condition so you can get your battery running in no time at all.
1500A peak current
Cold cranking amps: 750
Built-in LED flashlight
Five advanced safety features
Runs in temperatures of -20 up to 130 Fahrenheit
- BrandBolt Power
- Weight1.6 pounds
Lightweight, compact, and portable
Powerful jump starter
Functions in all types of weather
Carrying case may not properly hold cables
Reliability issues in some models
Short charging cable
This portable car battery charger is as useful in your home as it is in your vehicle. With a power inverter technology embedded into its design, the POTEK can easily power up your 115-volt home appliances while still giving enough energy to your 12-volt devices. And when your battery simply has given up on you, you can still bring it back to life with the POTEK’s instant current amperage of 750; although you can easily crank it up to 1500 amperes. The jumper cables and clamps are made of heavy-duty materials, giving you the most efficient jump for your car.
One of the things that folks love about the POTEK is its built-in air compressor that can deliver compressed air to your tires in the event that you’ve run flat. It can get noisy, though. The good news is that it can inflate your tires up to 150 PSI. Recharging the POTEK is also made simpler whether you decide to plug it into your electrical outlet or right through your car’s cigarette adaptor. The POTEK Portable Power Source is the kind of emergency solution that all car owners simply have to have inside their trunk.
750A instant current
1500A peak current
150 PSI air compressor
18AH lead acid battery
AC / DC charging capability
- Weight18.08 lbs
750A instant current
1500A peak current
150 PSI air compressor
18AH lead acid battery
AC / DC charging capability
Air pressure gauge may not be large enough for some people
Air compressor can be very noisy
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.
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.
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.
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-degree Fahrenheit or minus-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 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.
Most automotive experts recommend going for at least 12 feet when choosing jumper cables so that you have a bit of flexibility on reach.
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
Jump starter products will come with specific safety instructions based on the manufacturer and the model, so read them very carefully before doing anything else. Otherwise, here are some standard safety tips to keep in mind:
- 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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% 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Best Jump Starter FAQ:
Q: How many amps do you need to start a car?
A: Some of the online forums suggest that 400 amps should be fairly sufficient to jumpstart your car. However, what you really need to look for is the cranking amp requirements of your vehicle. If your car requires 600 amps to really initiate and get the engine running, then 400 amps simply won’t cut it.
Now, it’s an entirely different matter with voltage. If you have a 12-volt system you should always push the current using a similar 12-volt mechanism. Using a 24-volt can seriously damage your system.
Q: Can I use a jump starter on any vehicle?
A: As long as the jump starter meets the specifications required by the vehicle for jump starting, then you can use it on almost any other vehicle. Amperage and voltage are two of the most common factors that need to be considered when you’re deciding if you can choose a jump starter.
A more important consideration is the voltage of the jump starter. If your car’s electrical system is running on 12 volts, then use a jump starter that is specifically designed for such a system. If the jump starter comes with both 12- and 24- volt functionality, then it is imperative that you switch the system to the 12-volt mode before attempting to jump start your vehicle.
The higher the voltage, the more electrical current is pushed through the system. Using a 24-volt system to ‘push’ electric current to a 12-volt system can have catastrophic results.
Q: How do I charge my jump starter?
A: There are a number of ways in which a jump starter can be recharged, often depending on the brand of the device. These can include plugging in an electric outlet or your car’s AC adaptor or cigarette lighter socket. Some actually come with solar charging capabilities. Some really portable ones can also be charged using a USB interface. A critical point to remember here is to always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on specific charging modes and times.
Q: Do larger jump starters have more power?
A: **A:** Not necessarily. The power output of a jump starter is determined by a variety of factors, but mostly by amperage and voltage. Generally, a 24-volt system will be more powerful in pushing the electric current through your system. The actual physical size of jump starter is irrelevant to how powerful it is. Instead, it comes down to how much power it has by way of amps, volts, and watts.
Q: How long should you jump a car for?
A: Different jump starters have different jump times, depending on the amperes delivered. It also depends on whether you have a weak battery or a totally dead one. If it’s the former, then you may only need to jump the system for several seconds. If it’s the latter a longer time may be needed. You also have to factor in the environmental temperatures you’re working on. Too cold and you will definitely need a longer time to jump the car.
In portable jump starters, you can actually be up and running within a couple of minutes. You simply power on the device, connect the jumper clamps onto the appropriate battery terminals, connect the cable connector to the jump starter, and wait for the boost LED indicator light to tell you that it’s ready to use.
Q: Can my jump starter charge other devices?
A: Some portable jump starters are actually designed as power banks. Technically, if you can see a USB port on the jump starter there’s a great chance it can actually provide power to your other devices such as smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and other USB-enabled devices. There are also some jump starters that come with inverters allowing you to plug your ordinary home appliances running on 115 volts. Of course, everything depends on the power output and technical specifications of your jump starter. That’s why it pays to really read the technical specifications of a particular product before deciding to buy it.
Q: Can you jump start a car in the rain?
A: 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?
A: There are a variety of ways in which jump starting can damage a car
- placing the jumper cables the wrong way can damage the different electrical components of your car, such as the fuses and sensors
- Using a volt system that doesn’t match the volt system of your vehicle can be extremely damaging
To avoid any potential damage, it’s important to check both your vehicle’s user manual as well as the manual of the jump starter to ensure that they are a good fit for each other.
Our Top Pick
The JNC660 of Clore Automotive earns our top pick for car jump starters primarily because it has just the right level of cranking amps. As we have already explained in an earlier section of this post, the cranking amps are a much better indicator of a car jumper’s ability to get your engine running and to put the much-needed juice into your car battery. The 2-Gauge jumper cables plus a host of other technical specs clearly underscore the JNC660’s overall performance. And when you factor in its price tag, you know that you’ve got a real winner.