The Best Portable Battery Chargers for Cars: Get Back on the Road Quickly
|Best Overall||Jump-N-Carry JNC660||CHECK LATEST PRICE||
A professional-grade portable battery charger for cars paired with heavy-duty cables to provide plenty of power.
|Best Value||Stanley Portable Power Station||CHECK LATEST PRICE||
An affordable portable battery charger for cars that’s packed with features to offer extra convenience on the road.
|Best Durable||NOCO Boost Plus||CHECK LATEST PRICE||
Housed in a rugged case, this portable battery charger for cars is durable enough to survive even the most unexpected or rough environments and still deliver power.
Sure, you trust your car to get you where you need to go but we’ve all experienced a dead battery that strands us in a parking lot or even in our own driveway. While a dead battery is typically an easy fix, it isn’t so simple if you aren’t prepared. And though jumper cables and another car have long been the go-to way to get back on the road, a portable battery charger for your car is even better. With a portable battery charger, you’ll actually have enough power to start your battery right in one of these chargers, with no need to flag down a stranger. Wondering how to pick out the perfect portable battery charger for your car? We’ve rounded up some of the best.
Best Portable Battery Charger for Car Reviews & Recommendations
If you’ve ever had to rely on a roadside assistance service to jump a dead car battery, you’ve probably seen a Jump-N-Carry JNC660. This professional-grade portable car battery charger is rated at 1,700 peak amps, which is enough to start light commercial vehicles and all passenger vehicles. Heavy-duty, 46-inch cables make reaching your battery easy — which is helpful, considering this charger weighs 18 pounds. Strong, color-coded jaw clamps provide a firm grip on your battery terminals. An analog voltmeter lets you keep tabs on the onboard battery, so you can easily see when it needs to be recharged. A 12-volt outlet with overload protection can be used with adapters to safely charge other important things, like your phone. This is the most expensive option on our list, but if you want maximum charging power or have a large engine, it’s the one to have.
- 1,700-amp peak power
- 425 cranking amps
- Industrial-grade Hot Jaw clamps
- Analog voltmeter
Provides numerous jumps on a single charge
Provides the best possible connection for corroded terminals
Long, 46-inch cable can connect to all types of vehicles
No lights included
A bit on the heavy side
The Stanley Portable Power Station does more than simply deliver power to your car’s battery. This affordable, value-rich portable battery charger packs plenty of extra features and details that give you a whole lot for your money. With 1,000 peak amps and 500 instant starting amps, this charger delivers enough power to get you back on the road in no time. Plus, the included 120 PSI air compressor helps you inflate tires with low pressure. Other extras, like a high-powered LED light that rotates 270 degrees, a 12-volt DC outlet, a USB port, and LED battery level indicators all offer you even more convenience.
It’s easy to set up and use and a reverse polarity alarm will let you know if your connection isn’t correct, and it works even in cold weather. There are two potential drawbacks, however. You do need to charge this portable battery charger for your car every 30 days when it isn’t being used regularly; otherwise, you might find its own battery dead. And you’ll need your own standard extension cord to do this charging. You won’t find one inside the box with the battery charger itself.
- 1,000 peak amps
- 500 instant starting amps
- Includes 120 PSI air compressor
- Built-in 12-volt DC outlet and USB port
- Backed by a one-year warranty
Works quickly, even in cold weather
Includes an air compressor for inflating tires
Allows you to charge other items like phones and gadgets
Has to be charged every month if you aren’t using it
Doesn’t include the cord you’ll need to recharge the battery
Charging a dead car battery in remote or rugged locations calls for the NOCO Boost Plus. A compact design and durable, rubberized casing make this a perfect off-roading or overlanding companion. This battery charger’s 1,000-amp rating is strong enough to start gasoline engines up to 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to 3.0 liters in displacement. A single charge is enough to perform 20 jump starts. Spark-proof reverse polarity protection prevents harming yourself, your car, or the charger if you accidentally attach the cables to the wrong battery terminals. In addition to charging your car battery, this tool also features an LED flashlight and two charging ports for portable electronic devices. If you’re packing for the unknown, this one thing you’ll want to bring along.
- 1,000-amp rating
- High-discharge lithium technology
- 100-lumen LED flashlight included
- Flashlight features an emergency SOS light mode
- Backed with a one-year warranty
Functions both as a car charger and portable power bank
Compact and lightweight
Issues with poor packaging
Some units might come with defects straight from the box
Might not work well in extremely cold conditions
If you need to charge and maintain either automotive or marine batteries, the Schumacher Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger is a good option. It’s compatible with standard, AGM, gel, and deep-cycle batteries. It has a 15-amp rapid charge feature and a three-amp maintenance feature for your battery. The unit’s auto voltage detection also determines whether your battery is six or 12 volts.
The charger/maintainer features a digital display that shows the voltage and percentage of charge. It also has a start/stop interface, LED indicators, and push-button controls, which are simple to operate. If you accidentally reverse the clamps, built-in protections won’t permit the unit to operate. The device is DOE compliant and 800 CCA rated. Overall, it’s a great charger for the price, and it’s easy to use.
- Automotive and marine use
- 15-amp rapid charge
- Three-amp maintenance
- Works on standard, AGM, gel, and deep-cycle batteries
Automatically detects 6- or 12-volt batteries
Built-in safety features
Fan is a little loud
No jump-starting capability
LED screen goes into sleep mode, which can be inconvenient
If you’re looking for a lot of power, good versatility, and a portable car battery charger you can rely on, then the Hulkman Alpha85 Portable Car Battery Booster Pack is a great ally. This charger, which works on vehicles with up to 8.5-liter gas and 6-liter diesel engines, delivers an impressive 2,000 peak cranking amps and with a single charge, it’ll provide 60 jump starts. It offers nine different types of protection to ensure you operate it correctly, and you can see the battery status on the 3.3-inch smart screen.
This charger uses a 65-watt high-speed charge to take you from 0 to 100 percent charged in under 1.5 hours. And if your electronics need power too, this device doubles as a 20,000mAh battery bank for your different devices. With a rugged exterior housing, this portable battery charger for cars is also rain-resistant, dust-resistant, and drop-resistant. While some units may experience technical issues, the charger is backed by lifetime technical support, meaning you can easily get products replaced or fixed.
- 2,000 peak amps
- Delivers 60 jump starts on a single charge
- Doubles as a 20,000mAh battery bank to charge electronics
- Includes three-mode flashlight
Delivers more power than most portable battery chargers
Easy to monitor battery status via the smart screen
Doubles as a portable charger for electronic devices
Some chargers do experience electrical issues
You’ll likely need to use the lifetime technical support benefit
How We Selected The Products
In order to choose our picks for the best portable battery chargers for cars, we began by sorting through the many different devices available and comparing them based on their power and features. We first looked at the peak cranking amps and starting amps of each charger, as well as the engine sizes and types each was suitable for. Then, we took a look at additional features like safety protections, easy-to-use clamps and cables, durability of the housing, and if the charger could be used for more than just car battery charging.
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
As you start your search for the perfect portable battery charger for your car, there’s a lot to consider and compare. Where should you start? With so many different options, we’ve got your guide to sorting the best from the rest so you can find the right product for your vehicle.
What to Consider When Buying Portable Battery Charger for Car
Types of Portable Battery Chargers for Cars
The most common kind of portable battery charger available for cars? It’s simple and it’s a battery charger. These products may be called battery boosters, battery chargers, jump starters, or other similar names, but they’re straightforward. They can take your car’s battery from dead to full once again, jump starting it back to life and recharging its power levels. Basic battery chargers come in different amperages and sizes to suit every kind of vehicle.
You may find battery chargers that can also handle other tasks, like charging electronic devices or even maintaining batteries while they charge.
Battery Maintainer or Restorer
A battery maintainer or restorer is a bit different from the typical portable battery charger. These devices are designed to both charge your battery and keep it working smoothly throughout its lifespan. Unlike basic battery chargers, maintainers and restorers keep car batteries from fully discharging, and they can help your battery stay charged when it isn’t in use frequently.
However, these multi-use products aren’t necessarily the best for your average vehicle or vehicle owner. If you’re looking for a fast-working battery that can handle jump starters, a battery charger is your simplest solution.
Portable Battery Charger for Car Key Features
Peak Amperage (or Peak Cranking Amps)
One of the first features you’ll want to consider is the peak amperage, or the peak cranking amps, that a portable battery charger can deliver. The amperage is the amount of current that the charger can offer or the current that flows through it while you’re jumping or charging your car battery. Higher amperage means faster starts and faster charging, while the opposite is true of lower amperage products.
While the highest amperage might be best at first glance, it’s also important to think about your car’s battery. Often, the highest amperage chargers are made for bigger vehicles or larger engine sizes. Some chargers, however, are able to automatically detect the amperage and charging needs of your particular battery, which means you’ll always get just the right amount.
Safety Features and Protections
Whether you’re an experienced pro or charging (and jumping) your car’s battery for the first time, it’s always a good idea to have built-in safety features on the charger you choose. Safety features like reverse polarity protection, stopping once the battery is fully charged, and alerts if the clamps are improperly connected can help ensure you’re charging your battery safely with no harm to you or your vehicle. Take a close look at the clamp material and seek out spark-resistant chargers so you don’t have to worry about accidents small or significant.
Extra Outlets, Ports, and Features
Lastly, a portable battery charger for your car doesn’t have to solely charge your vehicle battery. Today, almost every battery charger offers even more functionality. Your car’s battery charger can also equip you with roadside safety tools like flashlights, air compressors to fill your tires, or LED indicator lights and display screens so you can easily monitor what’s happening with your charger and batter. Some even include additional DC power outlets and USB ports so you can use the portable charger’s power to recharge other gadgets and electronic devices.
Portable Battery Charger for Car Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and portable chargers for cars. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Charging time varies from charger to charger, battery to battery and usually takes a couple hours so don’t expect one jump start to completely revive a dead battery.
- Details like color-coded or labeled clamps can make charging and jump-starting your battery a whole lot easier, so it’s a good addition to have.
- Don’t forget to check the weight of each portable charger as you want a device that’s small and light enough to carry in your trunk, and you don’t want to struggle to lift the charger when it’s needed.
Q: How long does it take to charge a car battery with a portable charger?
It depends on your battery as well as your charger and its amperage. Some batteries just need two hours and they’re ready to go, while others may need 12 to 24 hours to reach a full charge. If you opt for a quick-charging charger, you’ll see faster results.
Q: Can you leave a portable car battery charger on overnight?
Most car batteries should be fine to charge overnight and like we’ve mentioned, it can take 12 to 24 hours to reach full on some batteries and with some chargers. However, to be completely safe and prevent accidental overcharging, it’s a good idea to disconnect before you head to bed and leave the garage for the night.
Q: How do I know my car battery is fully charged?
Most of today’s portable battery chargers for cars make it super simple to tell when your battery is full and when it isn’t. These devices typically have screens or indicator lights that tell you the battery status (and some even offer a charging estimate), so you’ll be able to see clearly that your battery can be disconnected from the charger.
When it comes to quality, reliability, and ease of use, the professional-quality Jump-N-Carry JNC660 makes for a fantastic portable battery charger, and it’s our top pick. However, you can also get good power and performance for a slightly lower price if you choose the Stanley Portable Power Station, which offers great value. Which charger is the best pick in your opinion?