A car jump starter can be a lifesaver if you end up with a dead battery in the middle of nowhere, and they are one of the smallest, most portable roadside assistance tools you can buy. Even if they don’t ever get used for your own car, you never know when you might need to help jump-start somebody else’s dead car battery, and even a small amount of extra battery power can be enough to get a car to a professional garage for more significant repair jobs. But how do you actually buy one, and which designs are best? There are hundreds of options to choose from, and they all have slightly different features on offer.
View the Best Jump Starter, Below.
- GOOLOO SuperSafe Car Jump Starter
- Clore Automotive JNC660 Jump-N-Carry Starter
- STANLEY FATMAX J7CS Portable Power Station Jump Starter
- NOCO Boost XL GB70 Jump Starter Pack
- TACKLIFE T8 Car Jump Starter
- DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
- BEATIT G18 12V Portable Jump Starter
- Schumacher SJ1332 1200 jump Starter and Air Compressor
- Audew Portable Car Jump Starter
- MOOCK 12V Portable Car Jump Starter
1. GOOLOO SuperSafe Car Jump Starter
This powerful and easy-to-use jump starter is strong enough to get large engines running again, handling 7L gas engines and 5.5L diesel engines in almost any vehicle. Not only can it work with more than just cars, but the quick-charging USB port makes it really easy to recharge when you are back home, gaining power faster than a standard USB connection. The jumper clamps are made for maximum protection against a range of different hazards, including overloading and high temperatures, and the unit also contains an LED flashlight that you can use to see in the dark. Even if the jump starter isn't working, it can double as an SOS or strobe light to attract help.
This large battery jump starter is the perfect tool to safely start your car without having to risk injury from overloads or overheating and can work well even in the middle of the night.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Clore Automotive JNC660 Jump-N-Carry Starter
This heavy duty jump starter can reach a peak amp level of up to 1,700 and can charge larger batteries much faster than smaller handheld models. The built-in 46-inch cable lets it reach around even the largest vehicles, and it uses special corrosion-penetrating jaws made with industrial-grade materials to ensure that it can always make a proper connection. Thanks to the built-in charger, it is easy to recharge between uses, and it even has a built-in voltmeter so that you can see the current status of the battery at any time. On top of that, the entire case is designed to withstand all kinds of damage without harming the battery inside.
This is great for dealing with any large car battery and offers a range of features to make even the trickiest situation a little bit easier.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. STANLEY FATMAX J7CS Portable Power Station Jump Starter
This reliable car battery jump starter has a built-in alert system to let you tell if you've made the connections in a dangerous or improper way and takes barely any effort to actually use. The jump starter body comes with a swiveling light that can turn up to 270 degrees for use in dark conditions, and the triple USB port means that the starter can also double as a mobile device charger in emergency situations. At 700 peak amps and 350 instant amps, it is powerful enough to perform a car battery jump start on a range of vehicles and even comes with a 120 PSI air compression system to help you re-inflate tires.
The range of useful features on this unit sets it apart from other jump starter tools, working as a multi-purpose emergency situation tool to help you stay safe and keep your car moving no matter what.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. NOCO Boost XL GB70 Jump Starter Pack
This incredibly powerful and lightweight jump starting tool comes with everything you need to get a dead battery working again, reaching a 2000-amp peak and providing up to 40 start attempts on one full charge. It is incredibly safe and comes with multiple extra tools such as USB ports and SOS lights, with the body of the unit itself being able to survive a huge amount of damage thanks to its water-resistant and rubberized surface. Weighing only 5 pounds, it is also extremely portable and convenient and can work well for both gas engines and diesel engines of varying sizes and styles.
This small and exceptionally powerful battery jump starter is perfect for getting a car's battery working again on short notice, and maybe one of the best portable jump starter models on the market.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. TACKLIFE T8 Car Jump Starter
This 800A peak amplifier is perfect for a simple car battery jump start, containing everything you might need to handle it safely and reliably. This includes safety features like the built-in OFF switch as well as other tools like the phone USB charging ports, all of which are part of the jump starter and its compact body. It also comes with a built-in LED that can be used as an emergency light, which can either be used to light dark areas or switched to a red mode for warning nearby traffic. Alongside that is a compass and a digital LCD display to give you an idea of the current battery status.
This car battery jump starter might not be the largest option, but it is one of the best if you are looking for a quick, portable option that comes with extra safety features.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
This portable jump starter can perform up to 20 jump starts at full capacity, working with a range of engine sizes and types by reaching peak amps of 800A. The protective body ensures that none of the important components are damaged, and each piece of the jump starter is built for maximum safety against overheating or shocks. You can use the built-in LCD screen to see how much power is left or use the compass to track the direction you are facing if you are lost. If that wasn't enough, you could also use it to charge mobile devices, laptops, and other equipment in emergency situations.
Having a portable car jump starter can be incredibly convenient, and this one can also be used as an emergency power source and compass if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. BEATIT G18 12V Portable Jump Starter
This portable car jump starting tool can work in both gasoline and diesel engines up to 8L in size, offering a fast jump start and a large number of safety features to make sure that you don't harm yourself while using it. Not only is it secure against overloads and high temperatures, but you can also use the quick-charge USB port and wireless charging system to keep your devices running in emergencies. An LCD screen helps you tell when you have a dead battery or what the current charge level is, and the design of the jump starter as a whole allows it to survive all kinds of bad conditions without breaking or suffering major functional issues.
Having a portable car jump starter can be incredibly convenient, and this one can also be used as an emergency power source and compass if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Schumacher SJ1332 1200 jump Starter and Air Compressor
This multi-purpose jump starter offers 1200 peak amps to help you quickly jump start your vehicle engine, as well as a built-in air compressor that can provide up to 150 PSI for inflating tires in an emergency. Alongside this are two AC outlets and a separate USB port to ensure that you can keep handheld devices or emergency equipment working. All of this is contained inside the durable jump starter body, protecting it all from physical damage or bad weather while still being reasonably light. Thanks to the digital displays, you can also get an idea of your current charge level and voltage at a glance.
Although it may not be the best portable jump starter, this car jump starting gear offers multiple useful features that can help you in a serious emergency situation or vehicle breakdown.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Audew Portable Car Jump Starter
Like many portable jump starters, this design minimizes weight without removing any of the useful extra features. It has reverse polarity detection, the ability to survive high heats, and can even handle overcharging well, allowing for up to 20 battery jump attempts from a full charge. The design has USB and Type-C input and output capabilities for charging other gear, as well as intelligent current control, to make sure that it doesn't damage your devices when they are plugged in. Thanks to the LED flashlight, you can light up areas or send out automatic SOS signals, making it easier to fix your car or draw over another vehicle in dark conditions.
This portable jump starter uses a great design and some excellent extra features to help you jump start your car in a wide range of scenarios, even dark and freezing cold winter nights.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. MOOCK 12V Portable Car Jump Starter
This powerful but portable jump starter makes use of a 2000 amp peak to start larger engines without issue, weighing less than 3 pounds for easy transport and movement from place to place. The LED flashlight, air compressor, and car vacuum give you multiple major tools to work within one body, and the design also includes multiple safety mechanisms to make sure that you don't hurt yourself while trying to jump start your car. Not only that, but it is heavy duty enough to handle bad weather, and you can use it to power other devices if you need a mobile phone or laptop to get help. It also makes a nice power bank during regular road trips and holidays.
Of all the portable jump starters on the market, this may be one of the best simply due to its low weight combined with all of the great features it offers.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Jump Starter Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best jump starter for your car isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, even if you are already quite experienced with using tools and equipment like jumper cables or other jump starters. There are thousands of unique designs available on the internet, and each has its own spin on the idea of basic jump starting tools, and you could spend hours looking through a single type of jump starter without getting any closer to finding something that fits your niche needs or personal preferences. The easiest way to simplify your search is to understand what specific features, equipment types, and extra options you might want to focus on during your search.
This buyer’s guide will go over all of the common features that you can find on jump starters, as well as some extras that may or may not be useful to you depending on the situation and the kind of equipment you need.
How to use car jump starters
If you are not familiar with how jump starters are supposed to work, then you should familiarise yourself with the process: especially since there are various different types that might all work in specific ways or have particular changes in how they are supposed to be used.
Your average lithium jump starter will have jumper cables, like the kind that you would occasionally use as a standalone tool to transfer car battery power from one car to another car’s battery. Lithium jump starter models will have batteries of varying power levels that the cables connect to. In essence, these batteries transfer the power from the jump starters to the car’s battery, with the intention being to revive the dead car battery: jump starter tools are, in a way, a method of kicking the battery back to life and getting the engine to run again since most car engines require a car battery charge to actually activate. Without this first charge, the car’s battery and the engine will still be completely dead.
To use a lithium jump starter, you will want to know that its batteries are fully charged first. The more power a jump starter has, the more likely it is to successfully work as a car jump starter. Even the smallest car battery jump can take more power than you are expecting, so it is good to make sure that you’ve got at least a mostly-charged jump starter.
In most cases, you need to get the car jump starter out, take out the jumper cables and work out which one is positive (POS or +) and which one is negative (NEG or -), then connect them to the relevant pieces of the car battery. Once they are in place correctly, you turn on the jump starter and try to activate the car: the majority of jump starters will do their best to kick-start the car battery, in turn starting the car engine.
This process can vary depending on the design of the car battery, jump starters, and other equipment you have to use, so it is a good idea to test out your car battery jump starter before you actually have to use it in a major situation. Most car jump starters are similar, but some will have differences in their design that make them slightly harder to use or change how particular features are organized.
Portability and Weight
A portable jump starter can seem like a very appealing idea, but that doesn’t mean that they are always the superior choice. In fact, many people prefer to go with heavier and bulkier models specifically because they are more likely to have certain design elements or features, and every individual jump starter can have a slightly different take on what a “portable” jump starter would actually be in practice. There are also multiple levels of each: some jump starters are barely more than jumper cables that fit into a glove box, while others are just as big as the car’s battery that they will be trying to jump.
Portable jump starters are usually smaller, lighter and easier to move around than their larger partners, generally weighing less than six pounds and often taking on a small, block-like shape to make them easier to store. This isn’t always the case, but the majority of companies will make their portable jump starters in this style for convenience reasons. The best portable jump starters are ones that use this low weight to their advantage, acting as emergency jump start kits that can be used to get your car’s dead battery running again on short notice. Since they are so small, you can easily keep them in your car without adding too much weight, which makes them perfect for people who want to avoid overloading their vehicle (especially during holidays or other trips that might involve loading up the car with a lot of items).
One of the problems with many portable jump starters is that they are smaller and less powerful due to their reduced size. While some are still able to keep up with larger designs, the majority are going to be weaker on a single charge basis. Alternatively, they might have strong charges, but a much more limited amount of them. This can make them less effective when you try to jump start large cars or other vehicles that use bigger engines and need more power. Alongside this, they can lack certain useful extra features that you might have wanted, and the manufacturers will generally only include necessary safety features to keep the weight and size of the unit low.
A larger portable jump starter, on the other hand, is more or less the complete opposite. They are bigger and usually more powerful but at the cost of having heavier battery designs and being harder to move around. This not only puts more strain on your vehicle but also means that it can take more effort to physically move the jump starter. This makes them great at trying to jump start a car battery for a larger vehicle, but makes it a bit less convenient to have to drag it out of the car and get it set up to actually use it. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it can make it take longer to start your car, especially if you are not that physically strong, and the jump starter weighs over 20 pounds.
The benefit of a larger jump starter is that there is more room for other features. Extra features can sometimes be the part that either makes or breaks a jump starter design for certain people, so it is a good idea to understand what they are actually for.
Most jump starters work with both diesel and gas engines, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to handle them in the same way. Gas and diesel engines are functionally different and have specific changes between them, so it is common to find jump starters that work with 5.5L gas engines but only 4L diesel engines. Others are only supposed to be used on engines below a certain size or with a certain number of cylinders and going above these limits can change how they interact with the car battery they are being used on. When buying a jump starter, it is important to compare these limits to your own car and see if you will have the power necessary to get the best jump start effectiveness possible.
Don’t worry about the cables: in almost all cases, the cables used by these devices are compatible with both types of engine, since most cars will use a similar battery that is more or less the same as every other car battery. The designs might change, but it is very rare that you will encounter a car battery that the cables won’t work on. Most battery types will work with the usual “claw” connections since these are a near-universal way of making a battery connect to power cables.
Note that battery power can play a role in this, too. If a battery literally cannot support an engine of a certain size, it is unlikely that the jump-start attempts will go well: this is usually because the battery is so small that it can’t generate the sparks needed to make the engine work. In many cases, a smaller battery will still work (it will just take more power), but if it is not working at all, then the batter is either too weak or not charged enough. As a battery gets less charged, it becomes weaker, so sometimes it is just a matter of charging the battery up slightly more to boost its power output.
There are many designs with particular features that either make a certain action easier or let you use the jump starter as multiple tools at once. Some of these common features include:
An Air Compressor
Having an air compressor might seem like an odd addition, but they can be incredibly useful for a range of different tasks. Since they are mostly meant to handle air, they don’t actually weigh that much, meaning that they are present on a lot of lightweight and mid-weight jump starter designs as well as many of the larger ones. They can fill a variety of niches, but the most obvious is the fact that you can use them to refill tires with air if they’ve deflated or started to leak. Combine this with a decent repair kit (to patch up holes), and you won’t need to worry about your tires getting too soft to drive properly, something that can take a lot longer to fix with a manual pump.
Being able to use compressed air can also help you inflate mattresses or bedding, which are helpful if you will need to wait somewhere overnight. For example, if your car breaks down during a camping trip, you can quickly inflate the bedding to let you stay comfortable for longer. There are also smaller purposes they can be used for, and having a jump starter with a compressor built into it means that you don’t need to buy a separate compressor, saving you a bit of money and storage space.
An LED Flashlight
Having a built-in LED flashlight can make portable jump starters extremely useful, giving you a way to light up dark areas or signal for help with the press of a button. A decent LED flashlight will offer not only a good light level, but also allow you to turn on a strobe or SOS mode so that you can draw attention to yourself – things that many car lights can also do, but not with a dead car battery. There isn’t that much else to say about having an LED flashlight: they are simply a good source of light that doubles as a signaling method, with the added bonus of being built into the jump starter so that it doesn’t get lost easily.
Reverse Polarity Warnings
Reversing the polarity on your jumper cables can be incredibly dangerous not only to you but also to the vehicle you are trying to jump start. Connecting the jumper cables to a car battery the wrong way round can cause all kind of problems, and might even result in heavy-duty models breaking or starting to fail if they are not handled well. It might even get bad enough that you break the car battery entirely and have to get one from another vehicle or buy a fresh battery instead.
These warnings can come in many forms, but they will often be lights or messages on digital displays that activates when the jump starter detects that it’s been set up incorrectly. Different companies have their own approaches to this kind of idea, so it is worth looking to see how their warning system actually works.
USB ports are often overlooked, but it is easy to forget that they can play a large role in many different situations. Having even just one or two USB ports can help you use your jump starters as a power bank for mobile devices: a power bank that is also a great emergency tool. Each of the USB ports on your jump starter can be used to power a phone for emergency calls, a portable LED flashlight (if the jump starter doesn’t already have one), a laptop for keeping up to date on vital information or various other tools.
It doesn’t always have to be just USB ports, either: many jump starters also have ports for other cable types, meaning that you can use a range of different devices all at the same time. The only limitation is that, as a power bank, you will be draining power you could use for the jumper cables: once the power bank is empty, you won’t be able to use it until it is either partially or fully charged again
How Amps Are Calculated
There are various sub-types of jump starter that each have their own method of handling power, and some are more convenient than others. Understanding how they function is important if you want to be able to use the jump starter or jumper cables correctly, especially in emergency situations.
Cranking Amps is a measurement of how much power your portable jump starter battery can discharge over a 30-second period at an average temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is meant to be a representation of the average amount of power you can expect to get from the jumper batteries, which you can use to figure out how much power those batteries feed into the regular car batteries in a single charge. Remember that these readings are taken at a set temperature, so higher or lower temperatures can alter how effective the jump starting will actually be on the batteries.
Cold Cranking Amps
Your starter will also have Cold Cranking Amps, often referred to as CCA. These Cold Cranking Amps are calculated in the same ways a regular Cranking Amps but represent the amount of power (in amps) that can be produced by the jump starting battery in a single charge at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Since it is harder for an engine to start at such a low temperature even without a battery jump, this is meant to tell you the kind of results you can expect in less-than-ideal weather conditions. They are also based on a single 30-second charge, so the results can vary based on how long you attempt to jump start the car battery, too.
Peak Amps is simply a reading of the maximum amount of power that jump starters can produce with their technical specs. This isn’t as straightforward and doesn’t always feel like a necessary reading to check, but it can still give you a good idea of the relative power differences from one jump starter to another. Two car jump starters that have equal specs can still have different peaks, which might tell you which of them is stronger at a basic level (or is at least capable of producing more power).
Amp calculations can seem very confusing, but they are quite easy to understand once you can get your head around what they are meant to represent. Every car’s battery can also have a CA and CCA rating, but this doesn’t mean that you have to use jump starters with the same ratings to charge it up. Instead, the car’s battery could be jump-started with a jump starter that had a 500 CCA rating: they are only meant to represent the relative differences in power. It might use more power than a single charge would normally need, but the result will still be a charged battery (at least hopefully).
It is important to keep in mind that CCA ratings are basically a “worst-case scenario” reading, where the car’s battery is empty, and you are having to use the jump starters at a temperature below freezing. This means that jump starters with a higher CCA are much more likely to completely revive an engine and car battery since they are more powerful under these circumstances and have a greater chance of getting the car battery to function in the way it should.
Also, note that a lot of jump starters will only use as much power as you need to kick the car battery back to life. Buying a jump starter with a higher CCA and peak amp level will give you a larger power bank to work with, but it doesn’t mean that you will be filling a 600 CCA battery with 1000 CCA power: even if it did, most jump starters are built to protect you from problems like that, so it wouldn’t be a significant risk to your safety. When you are buying a jump starter, it is a good idea to make sure that you know what you are getting and how effective it will be at a car battery jump start.
Buyers Guide Questions
What is the Best Portable Car Jump Starter?
While there are no objective “best” portable jump starters to choose from, it is still a good idea to know what to look for when buying a jump starter. Portable models often need to be small, limiting the number of other features they can have as well as their battery size, but this also means that they need less effort to move and space to store them. Combine this with the fact that many car battery models don’t actually need much power to start, and you might find that portable jump starters are more effective than larger ones in some situations.
Every jumper you buy is going to have unique design elements and statistics, and a big factor is weight compared to the overall power output. Some jumper batteries are built to minimize weight, but lose out on some power in the process and become much less effective in general. Others might strike a balance between weight and power, giving you all the power you need to start a car battery without forcing you to handle a heavyweight that won’t be as easy to move. Others can go for a full focus on power, trading on all other features to make room for the biggest possible battery – these devices aren’t very versatile, but offer the best balance between power and a portable design at the cost of literally any other useful attachments or alternate equipment.
Because of this, the “best” option comes down to your personal needs above all else. Do you want something that can fit into the glove box, regardless of how much power it actually gives you? Then go for the smallest and most portable option. Do you want something that won’t fit in the glove box, but is still fairly easy to carry around? A mid-sized option will do. Have you found yourself in need of maximum power, but don’t want a full-sized battery that will get in your way? Then a jumper based entirely around its battery and the maximum battery capacity might be your best bet.
You can always turn to certain brands for particular features, too. The Noco Genius Boost battery styles are known for being safe, which makes people come looking for them as a good starter buying option, but they can also lack features like air compressors or higher starting power compared to other brands. This makes most Noco Genius Boost battery jump-starters a niche product in one way or another, even if that niche is simply due to the battery size.
What is the most Powerful Jump Starter?
Personal preference is also key when it comes to the best jump starters for maximum power regardless of weight. If you need as much power as possible to keep your large vehicle running, or just want to have the biggest available battery in case of emergencies, then you will have to look at a similar variety of options. For example, how much are you willing to sacrifice other features for the battery? You could get a starter that is little more than a pair of cables and a large industrial battery, but that is all you’d have: perfect for certain situations, but not very versatile.
Instead, you might find that you need a mixture of battery power and other features besides the cables. These won’t have the biggest batteries available, but they trade in some battery size for extra versatility, giving you some more equipment to work with but reducing your overall battery power and capacity. Finally, you might actually want a large jump starter that has the smallest of the large-sized batteries, giving you a more portable option that isn’t as weak as the actual handheld battery styles. All of these have a niche that they work well in, so it is important to look at more than just the batteries and the cables: you want to look at the device as a whole and the balance of features or statistics it offers.
Are lithium-ion Jump Starters any good?
Lithium-ion jump starters are generally seen as the most basic kind of jump starter, but they are actually almost always used as portable options. This is because the batteries are smaller and, therefore, weaker than larger models: many of them are designed to give cars just enough power to function without reaching the levels of larger designs. That is not to say that there aren’t large and heavy-duty lithium-ion cables and batteries, but they are rarer and harder to find.
Because of the smaller battery sizes (and cables to match), you will generally see lithium-ion jump starters come as portable devices that are meant to minimize weight while still offering a decent level of battery power. Other than that, they are no different from other kinds of portable batteries: they have their uses, but they are also not the best choice for every possible situation.
Hopefully, these reviews and this buyer’s guide have given you an idea of what to look for when trying to buy a car jump starter battery, especially if you weren’t familiar with them before. Whether you are focused on battery life, battery power, overall effectiveness, or a balance of all key stats, it is a good idea to start your search by figuring out what you need most. For example, if you are desperate for high battery power, then you know you can ignore any designs with a weak battery – that is almost one-third of all possible results that you can rule out entirely, if not more.
No matter what you are looking for, you will hopefully find it soon! If not, keep looking: there are so many different designs out there that it is only a matter of time before you stumble across the perfect option for you and your car!
Make sure that you charge your jump starters even if you haven’t used them in a while. Most battery designs can still “leak” power, which can lead to them ending up empty if you leave them in a garage for months on end.
Did You Know?
If your car uses an electronic ignition system or special fuels beyond the “normal” types, it is possible that you can damage the engine if you use jumper cables incorrectly.