Picking out a jump starter can be a bit daunting. You need to make sure to buy a jump starter that will work in an emergency as no one ever knows where they will be when their battery dies. The best jump starters will get you going when it’s late and you’re stuck in an empty parking lot. Otherwise, if you haven’t considered all the options in your jump starter, you’ll be stuck waiting for a tow truck in the dark.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Jump Starter
Portability & Power
The portability of car chargers is important in making sure you transport the jump starter easily to the dead vehicle. However, ease of portability is nothing if the battery doesn’t have the power you need. Jump starters have two amp measurements – overall and cranking. Overall is great for comparing the power of the jump starters and the second measurement tells you what amps the starter will put our when it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celcius which is its Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) figure. So, if you battery has a CCA of 200 amps and your jump starter provide 225 amps, it will work for your battery.
A portable jump starter can come with all sorts of features these days including tire inflators, flashlights and USB port. Make sure the jump starter can do its basic job for you first then consider the fun extras.
Ease of Use & Performance
There are a couple of ways to consider how easy a jump starter will be including looking at the gauge of the cables. The larger the cable the more power it can deliver at a quicker rate. The cables sizes are listed by a number with a lower the number indicating a bigger cable.
Ultraportable 12V Jump Starter with Light
The Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL is a very reliable car charger featuring 225 amps. It’s very portable, weighing only 9 pounds, and comes equipped with a handle for easy transport. The Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL is a 23 volt battery with a 900 amp peak. Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL doesn’t have a lot of extra features outside of a not very powerful flashlight but it does have a charge indicator as well as a 2 volt DC outlet.
The Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL jump starter has cables that are 27 inches long, or #4 cables, with large, sturdy clamps that have no problem working through corrosion on battery terminals. The 27 inch cables wrap up easily around the battery with side clamps to keep everything organized. The Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL is great for average sized vehicles but will have a hard time starting a V8 battery. The Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL is an affordable jump starter that is also lightweight but tough and powerful for average vehicles.
The Stanley J509 jump starter has a 12 volt battery with a CCA rating of 500. It’s also lightweight with a handle so it is easy to carry and includes built in storage for the cables. Some owners have found the cable’s built in storage tiresome and prefer to let the cable fall loose. The Stanley J509 also has a built in flashlight, a charge indicator and a 12 volt DC power outlet plus a USB charging port.
The Stanley J509 has only 12 inch long cables, or #6 cables, that are too short for some owners. This is a great jump starter for motorcycles and small cars but it has a hard time with V6’s and V8’s. The Stanley J509 is a little more expensive than the Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL and has a slightly greater power output but the shorter cables are difficult for some owners to use.
Red/Black Portable Power Bank and Car Jump Starter
The PowerAll PBJS12000R jump starter doesn’t include the normal peak and CCA measurements but the manufacturer say it produces 400 “Jump Start Amps.” This jump starter is only one pound and can fit into a glove box. It comes with several cables and connectors but does not include a carrying case. It has several features including a flashlight with three settings, car charger port, two USB ports and both AC and DC charging outlets. Other features include a compress to inflate tires, a work light, charge indicator and a battery status LED display.
The PowerAll PBJS12000R has small and short cables and is great in emergencies but once the battery is started you have to disconnect the jump starter otherwise it will get damager. It’s also has a hard time charging a V6 or V8 engine. The PowerAll PBJS12000R has a ton of great features and is a great in an emergency as a jump starter for cars.
Peak Amp Instant Portable Power Source
The Schumacher XP2260 has a 12 volt battery with CCA’s of 185. Owners have commented that it actually delivers higher CCA when used. It is the heaviest jump starter in our reviews coming in at 24 pounds which can be bulky when transporting and its cable storage is also tricky.
The Schumacher XP2260 has 22 inchcables, or #4 cables, and clamps that can clutch horizontally and vertically. It features two AC outlets and two DC outlets as well as a compressor to inflate tires but some owners were that impressed with any of the extra features. The Schumacher XP2260 works well on average sized engines as well as V6’s and V8’s. Owners felt it was a good charger but didn’t think the extra features were worth the extra cost.
1,700 Peak Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter
The Clore JNC660 is also a 12 volt battery with 1,700 amps and CCA’s of 425. It has a neat cable and clip storage feature and is a little lighter than the Schumacher XP2260 so it’s also a little bulkier to carry. The Clore JNC660 has few features besides a charge meter and a DC accessory outlet.
The cables are 46 inches long, or #2 cables, so it has a great reach and includes heavy duty clamps. It’s very powerful and can charge small and large engines. It does not have an on and off switch or warnings on correctly attaching your cables so it’s good for those that know how to jump a battery already. It’s a little more expensive with fewer features than the other jump starters in the review but it’s a great jump starter for trucks and cars and is a consistent performer.