Written By
Published Sep. 27, 2021

After a long day at work, the last thing you want to face is a car with a flat battery. But if you have a jump starter, you’ll be on the road in a couple of minutes. These devices breathe life into your vehicle, even if its battery is completely dead. There are tons of models on the market, making it hard to know which one is right for you. We’ve put together a complete buying guide, so you can pick the jump starter that best suits your needs. You’ll also find a list of the top jump starters on the market ranked under a variety of categories.

Best Jump Starters Reviews & Recommendations

The Noco Boost Plus GB40 1,000 Amp is a durable jump starter that’s perfect for all but the most extreme situations. This model puts out 1,000 amps at peak current, which is enough power to start 6-liter gasoline and 3-liter diesel engines. A single charge gives this model enough juice for up to 20 jump starts. This starter features a fool-proof design combined with spark-proof technology and reverse-polarity protection. So you’ll be able to connect to your battery without worrying about safety issues.

It’s perfect in an emergency as it also acts as a portable power bank and has an in-built 100-lumen LED flashlight. One of this model’s stand-out features is its portability, measuring just 6.57 x 3.15 x 7.72-inches, and tips the scales at just 2.4 pounds, so you can easily keep it in your glovebox. The jump starter’s case is IP65 rated, meaning it’s water-resistant and suitable for use in any climate. However, we wouldn’t advise letting it get completely soaked.

Specs
  • Brand Noco
  • Model GB40
  • Weight 2.4 pounds
PROS

Lightweight and portable

IP65 rating

Reliable and durable

Performs up to 20 starts on a single charge

CONS

Limited to 6-liter gasoline and 3-liter diesel engines

Higher price point than models with similar outputs

If you’re working off a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with the Lotek Portable Car Battery Jump Starter. This model is exceptional value for money and still manages to offer (mostly) the same features as its premium-priced competitors. At its peak, this device’s current reaches 1,000 amps and according to the manufacturer, it’s powerful enough to start a 7-liter gasoline or 5.5-liter diesel engine. This model has the latest Quick Discharge Start Power (QDSP) technology, which enables it to start engines in temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use this jump starter as a power bank thanks to its 5V/2.1A output. It also has an LED torch with strobe and SOS functions. There are plenty of safety features to put your mind at ease including short-circuit, over-current, overload, and over-voltage protection. The only thing to be aware of is that this product might not hold a charge for as long as the higher-priced models do on this list. Also, its battery also might degrade faster than more premium jump starters.

Specs
  • Brand Loftek
  • Model Y29
  • Weight 1.7 pounds
PROS

1,000-amp output

Fantastic value for money

Works in extremely low temperatures

CONS

No IP rating

Not as durable or long-lasting as other models

The Noco Boost HD GB70 2000 Amp jump starter is the perfect blend of portability and power. At its peak current, it churns out 2,000 amps and is powerful enough to start gasoline engines up to eight liters and diesel engines up to six liters. So, unless you have an enormous engine, this model will have you covered. The lithium-ion battery can perform up to 40 jump starts on a single charge and takes just two hours to fully recharge this starter which you can do via your vehicle’s auxiliary port.

There’s a rubberized water-repellant over-molded casing, which gives this model an IP65 rating and makes it extremely durable and reliable. A mistake-proof design, along with spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection, means you can safely jump-start your engine every time. When you consider how much power is on offer, it’s hard to believe this model weighs just five pounds and that its dimensions are 6 x 2.5 x 8.6 inches. In an emergency, you’ll be thankful for the powerful 400-lumen LED flashlight with seven modes. The only issue with this jump starter is that it’s one of the priciest on the market.

Specs
  • Brand Noco
  • Model GB70
  • Weight 5 pounds
PROS

Durable and relatively lightweight

IP65 rating

Up to 40 starts on a single charge

Suitable for 8-liter gasoline and 6-liter diesel engines

CONS

At the high end of the price range

No fast-charging USB 3.0 port

Best Large Engine

When other jump starters just won’t cut it, you need the Avapow Car Jump Starter. This model provides up to 4,000 amps at peak current, so it can easily start all gasoline engines and diesel engines up to 10 liters. It’ll perform up to 40 jump starts on a single charge, thanks to its 27,800 mAh capacity battery. The downside to having all this power is that this is a relatively large unit, measuring 10.24 x 5.91 x 5.04 inches. Although it’s big, it’s still relatively light, tipping the scales at just 3.58 pounds.

It has eight advanced protection systems: reverse polarity, reverse connection, over-current, overload, over-voltage, overcharge, over-discharge, and short circuit. This starter has dual USB 3.0 ports, which allow it to charge devices up to 75 percent faster than other power banks. It has a built-in LED light with three modes: flashlight, SOS, and strobe. Since there’s a lot more power on offer when compared to most other models, this starter is sold at a relatively high price point.

Specs
  • Brand Avapow
  • Model A58
  • Weight 3.58
PROS

Great power to weight ratio

USB 3.0

Eight advanced protection systems

Can start practically any engine

CONS

No IP rating

Somewhat high price point

If portability is important for you, check out this Vidoka Portable Car Jump Starter 1000A. This unit measures just 5.7 x 3.4 x 1 inches, making it the smallest model on this list. Since it weighs a minuscule 1.54 pounds, you can easily bring it around in your backpack. At peak output, this device produces 1,000 amps. According to the manufacturer, it’s powerful enough to easily start gasoline engines up to seven liters as well as 5.5-liter diesel engines. The starter is powered by a 12,800 mAh battery and has two USB quick-charging outputs, which can decrease the time it takes to charge your devices by up to 50 percent.

There are built-in safety features including over-discharge, reverse polarity, reverse connection, over-temperature, short-circuit, and overcharge protection. Every time you connect to your engine’s battery, you can do so with confidence. It would be nice if this model had an IP rating, but you can forgive this when you consider its low price point.

Specs
  • Brand Vidoka
  • Model DJS70
  • Weight 1.54 pounds
PROS

Extremely lightweight

Two USB quick-charging ports

Similar size to a smartphone

CONS

Not suitable for all weather conditions as no IP rating

How We Selected The Products 

We considered dozens of jump starters before choosing our top contenders. Some brands are already well-established in this niche, and priority was given to their products, provided they had positive user feedback. Other lesser-known brands were also evaluated as long as there was a sufficient amount of owner testimonials. The main features taken into consideration were price, amperage, battery size, engine suitability, secondary features, portability, and durability. We avoided products that have battery degradation or safety issues.

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

There are tons of jump starters on the market and, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you can end up paying for things you don’t need. Below you’ll find the key features to look for, so you can decide what ones are important to you. You can also check out the benefits of a jump starter and some FAQs.

What to Consider When Buying Jump Starters

Power

We measure the power of a jump starter in amps. The figure you’ll usually see referenced is the starter’s peak power, but the important figure is the number of cranking amps. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t usually list the number of cranking amps. So just be aware that as peak power increases, so do the cranking amps (generally). And the larger your engine is, the more amps it’ll take to get it started. 

A jump starter will normally come with a reference guide relating to what engine size it’s suitable for. Diesel engines can require up to twice as much power to start when compared to their gasoline counterparts. So before you choose a jump starter, consider the size of the engine(s) you’ll be jumping.

Battery Size 

Portable jump starters like the ones on our list are powered by a rechargeable battery. Some starters will have larger batteries than others. Generally speaking, the larger the battery, the more times it can jump-start an engine on a single charge. So, if you don’t want the hassle of keeping the starter topped up or need to jump-start vehicles frequently, you should get one with a large battery.

Battery Quality

Batteries degrade over time; there’s no getting around it. How you treat your battery and the temperatures you use it in will largely determine how long it lasts. However, some low-quality batteries will have short lives. What to look out for here are user reports that highlight a jump starter’s battery not holding a charge while it’s still relatively new.

Safety Features

It goes without saying that safety is a top priority when dealing with high-voltage batteries. Try to get a jump starter that has safety features that protect you and the device itself. One of the most important features to look out for is short-circuit protection. A short circuit could potentially cause the device’s battery to explode or, at a minimum, damage the jump starter. You should also prioritize a jump starter with overcharge protection, as this feature will automatically stop charging the device’s battery once it’s full, which will extend the battery’s lifespan.

Secondary Features

Many portable jump starters come with secondary features that make them well-suited to emergency situations. They’ll often be able to function as a power bank. If this is important to you, look for models that have USB 3.0 inputs so you can charge your devices faster. You can also get jump starters with LED flashlights that have strobe and SOS modes. This could come in useful should you ever find yourself broken down in the middle of the night.

Durability

Some jump starters might be kept neatly tucked away in a cupboard, but most live a pretty rough and ready life. Get a durable model to make sure it’s ready to perform when you need it. Ideally, you should look for a unit with an IP rating. In this niche, the maximum rating you’re likely to find is IP65, so aim for that. Although this rating would make the device water-repellant and suitable for all-weather use, you should always avoid letting a jump starter get soaked.

Portability

Jump starters come in all shapes and sizes. It’s great to keep one in your home in case your car doesn’t start one day but, unfortunately, battery problems don’t always strike at home. So it’s much more beneficial for you to have a portable jump starter that you can keep in your trunk or, even better, your glovebox. Some starters are no bigger than a smartphone so, if portability is important to you, check the unit’s dimensions and weight before buying.

FAQs

Q: Are jump starters bad for your car?

In most situations, jump starters are perfectly safe. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and connect everything the right way and in the correct order. 

Q: Can a battery be too dead to jump?

In short, no. However, if your battery can’t hold a charge, then you probably won’t get very far after starting it.

Q: Do you hook up the red or black cable first?

Connect the red (positive) cable first, then connect the black (negative) cable. When disconnecting, unhook the black (negative) clamp first and then the red (positive).

Final Thoughts

The Noco Boost Plus GB40 1,000 Amp is our best overall jump starter. This model is portable, durable, dependable, and suitable for most engines. If you’re on a tight budget, however, check out the Loftek Portable Car Battery Jump Starter. This jump starter is fantastic value for the money and is a smart buy if you suspect your vehicle’s battery is deteriorating.

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