This guide looks into TOP-5 best portable jump starters, the main features you should look for when buying a product. Take a look at a comparative chart that will help you choose the right device. Learn how these units work and what safety precautions need to be taken. What benefits they offer and what kind of technologies they use.

A device is intended to mitigate worry and afford quick relief in the event of a dead battery, drained smart device, or deflated tire emergency. Its primary purpose is to take the place of a second vehicle you would normally call to jump-start your dead battery.

They are generally less expensive and more readily available when you need help than emergency roadside services tend to be. And as is often the case, your smartphone does not get a signal, or you have jumper cables but no second vehicle, in the place where you’re broken down! Have a device as backup gets you on the road again. They are also very useful to keep your devices charged during power outages.

Portable jump starters add peace of mind as well as general convenience. It is important to purchase the size (cranking and peak amp output) and features that best-suit your anticipated need(s) and types of vehicles, devices, inflated items, etc. it will service.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

How Do Portable Jump Starters Work?

To revive your dead battery, you must make a connection between it and a charging source. When no second vehicle and/or charging cables are handy, it is convenient that a portable jump starter is! Using a portable jump starter is easy to do.

  1. Attach the alligator clamps to your battery terminals the same as you would charging cables.
  2. Turn on the jump starter (some jump starters turn on automatically).
  3. Check to ensure the charging wires and jump starter unit are not near any moving engine parts.
  4. Start your vehicle and disconnect the jump starter. The jump starter only provides a peak charge to start your vehicle. It does not charge your battery. 

Advantages

The obvious advantage of having a portable jump starter is the convenience and ability to start your vehicle’s dead battery without needing a second vehicle or traditional jumper cables.

Portable jump starters do not require clear and easy access to the vehicle and engine compartment to connect and jump the battery (i.e.: a second vehicle must have room to park close to your vehicle to connect the cables, which are typically not terribly long).

They also provide peace of mind that loved ones won’t be stranded and put in a danger situation in addition to having a dead car battery.

Technologies

Technology is quickly making jumper cables a thing of the past. The first major advancement is a lead-acid battery that allows portable jump starters to be portable. The drawback is, it tends to be heavy and can make the jump starter more cumbersome than desired. Portable lithium-ion (handheld) battery-powered jump boxes are lightweight and have an energy density that boosts 12V. engines and USB ports like lead-acid battery models. Ensuring you have the correct terminal polarity is still required. Portable jump starters offer reverse polarity protection and many have built-in warning alarms.

Price and Functionalities

Many portable jump starters are multi-functional and can include 12V. charging, a built-in air compressor, and USB component charging port(s). Prices vary, but the price is not necessarily an indication of the jump starter’s overall performance. In general, the more expensive the portable jump starter is, the greater is its peak charging capacity is and the more functions it includes. For example, handheld/pocket-sized jump boxes are less expensive but you must make sure they have the capacity to charge your intended type and size of the vehicle.

Types and Their Differences

There are lightweight, compact, handheld portable lithium-ion-powered jump boxes and heavier lead-acid battery portable jump starter units. Capacity varies, but both types of portable jump starter capably start most 12V cars/trucks, motorcycles, and boats. They typically include reverse terminal polarity protection, flashlight/hazard lights, and USB port(s). Heavier lead-acid battery units offer compressor and other features.

What To Look For When Buying A Product?

Size/Power Output

Size matters when choosing a portable jump starter. Compact lithium-ion jump boxes are 80% lighter than lead-acid battery starters. Choose one that provides your needed capacity and functions, as well as one that is easy to use.

A jump starter’s size is also measured by its amp rating, which is designated as its “cranking amps” and “peak amps”. Diesel vehicles need more power than gas-powered vehicles and require more cranking amps.

For example, 6-cylinder gas-powered vehicles need 200 - 250 cranking amps and 8-cylinder gas-powered vehicles need 250 - 300 cranking amps. Larger portable jump starters are required to successfully start diesel engines that require more power. Six-cylinder diesel engines need 400 - 500 cranking amps and 8-cylinder diesel engines need 600 - 700 cranking amps.

Cranking Amps & Peak Amps

The “cranking amp” rating stated on the portable jump starter indicates the initial charge the unit sends to your dead battery. It is lower (less power) than the peak amp rating.

The “peak amp” rating refers to the amount of quick-boost power the unit provides when you turn your engine over. One-thousand to 2000 peak amps start most engine sizes. The peak amp declines as your vehicle’s battery takes overcharging.

It is important to know how much of each type of power the unit provides. If your engine fails to start (on the first or second try) the only power you have going to your battery is the cranking amp power.

TOP-5 Best Portable Jump Starters

Below, you will find a review of the products within the price range from $70 to $140. Some products provide 1000 amps of peak current and are capable to hold a charge up to a year. The most expensive product provides as much as 1,700 peak amps and ensures an extra-long service life. There are more lightweight and portable options while being powerful enough to charge cars and boats.

1700 Peak Amp Jump Starter | Clore Automotive

1700 Peak Amp Jump Starter - Clore Automotive: photo

The Clore portable jump starter is a durable, high-powered, 18-lb. unit with an extended cranking capability. It provides 425 cranking amps and 1,700 peak amps. The powerful performer battery technology ensures an extra-long service life.

This jump starter features 46-in. long, heavy-duty, industrial-grade, #2AWG copper-insulated alligator clamps that make contact over corroded terminals. Its DC outlet powers 12V. accessories. The DC input recharges the unit’s internal battery. It has a dual-light LED charge indicator and a voltmeter that indicates the onboard battery’s charge status. The built-in automatic charger allows you to leave the unit plugged in.

Recommendations:

The Clore portable jump starter’s battery technology is designed to charge all passenger and light commercial vehicles. Recharge the unit every 30 days for best performance. It also includes a 1-yr. warranty.

Clore Automotive: Check the current price

Power Station Jump Starter | Stanley

Power Station Jump Starter from Stanley: photo

The ETL-listed Stanley FatMax J7CS portable jump starter is a durable, high-powered unit that is ideal to keep for everyday roadside emergencies. It has the power to jump-start cars, trucks, RVs, motorcycles, and boats. This Stanley model provides 350 cranking amps and 700 peak amps. To ensure the best performance, the unit should be recharged approximately every 30 days (cord sold separately).

This jump starter features all-metal, powder-coated alligator clamps as well as accessory outlets (three 3.1A USB ports and a 12V. outlet), reverse polarity protection alarm, and safety switch. The LED light rotates 270 deg. for wider visibility. It also has a backlit 120 PSI air compressor w/brass-tipped Sure Fit nozzle for tires, toys, sports equipment, and more.

Recommendations:

The Stanley FatMax J7CS jump starter is designed to charge passenger vehicles, boats, motorcycles, tractors, and more. It offers a 90-day Satisfaction Guarantee (refund) and includes a 1-yr. warranty.

Stanley: Check the current price

600A 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter | DBPOWER

600A 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter: photo

The DBPOWER 600A portable jump starter is a powerful, compact, handheld battery booster that starts both gas (up to 6.5L.) and diesel (up to 5.2L.) vehicles. It has an18000mAh capacity and provides 600 amps of peak current. It may be used 20 times without recharging, but may not successfully start your vehicle if it has less than a 30% charge.

This jump starter features heavy-duty cables and intelligent clamps with overload, over-current, short-circuit, over-charge, and over-voltage protection. It has an LED light with high, strobe, and SOS emergency settings. A Smart USB port (w/8-in-1 adapters included), 12V. car and wall chargers, a compass, and an LCD screen that indicates the starter’s charge status are also featured.

Recommendations:

This compact DBPOWER portable jump starter is small enough to carry in your glove box. It charges cars, boats, motorcycles/scooters, and more. It also includes a 3-yr. warranty.

DBPOWER: Check the current price

1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter | NOCO

UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter NOCO: photo

The NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 12V. portable jump starter is a popular, compact, lithium-ion battery that starts gas (up to 6.0L.) and diesel (up to 4.5L.) engines. It provides 1000 amps of peak current and holds a charge up to one year. It may be used 20 times without recharging.

This jump starter features heavy-duty battery clamps, spark proof technology, and reverse polarity protection. It has dual LED lights with low/med./high, strobe, flashing, and SOS emergency light modes. Its USB port powers up your smart devices.

Recommendations:

This lightweight NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 comes with its own microfiber storage bag and fits in your glove box. It is powerful enough to charge cars, boats, lawnmowers, and more. It comes with a USB charging cable and USB car charger. A 1-yr. “Hassle-Free” limited warranty and free lifetime customer support are also included.

NOCO: Check the current price

600A Peak 16500mAh Car Jump Starter | TACKLIFE

600A Peak 16500mAh Car Jump Starter: photo

The UL-certified multifunctional TACKLIFE T6 jump starter is a compact, lightweight 16500mAh lithium-ion battery that boosts gas engines (up to 6.2L.) and diesel engines (up to 5.0L.). It provides 300 cranking amps and 600 peak amps and may be used as much as 30 times without needing to be recharged. It also has an operating temperature range between – 4F. deg. and 140F. deg. which is protected by an updated over-temperature protection feature.

This jump starter features heavy-duty smart jumper cables and eight updated protections including reverse charge and reverse polarity, overload, over-current, short-circuit, over-charge, over-voltage, and over-temperature protection. Its dual LED lights are equipped with emergency strobe and SOS modes. Its dual USB ports charge your smart devices and its 12V. 10A DC adapter allows you to use the air compressor features to inflate tires, toys, sports equipment, and more.

Recommendations:

This lightweight, 2.5lb. TACKLIFE T6 jump starter comes with its own storage case, charges smart devices, and starts cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, and more. It conveniently stores in your console or glove box. Wall and car chargers, USB cable, cigarette lighter adapter, User Manual, and a 2-yr. warranty is also included.

TACKLIFE: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Jump Starter Effectiveness

Products Features

Clore Automotive

  • Jumps Engines: All Passenger Vehicles; Light Commercial 
  • Cranking Amps: 425
  • Peak Amps: 1,700
  • USB Port: None

Effectiveness: 10

Stanley

  • Jumps Engines: Gas: up to 6 L.; 6 Cyl., 8 Cyl. Vehicles 
  • Cranking Amps: 350
  • Peak Amps: 700
  • USB Port: Three 3.1A (plus 12V. Outlet)

Effectiveness: 8

DBPOWER

  • Jumps Engines: Gas: up to 6.5 L.; Diesel up to 5.2 L.
  • Cranking Amps: Not listed
  • Peak Amps: 600
  • USB Port: One 2.1A USB Port; One 2.4A Smart USB Port

Effectiveness: 8

NOCO

  • Jumps Engines: Gas: up to 6 L.; Diesel up to 4.5 L.
  • Cranking Amps: Not listed
  • Peak Amps: 1,000
  • USB Port: One In; One Out

Effectiveness: 9

TACKLIFE

  • Jumps Engines: Gas: up to 6.2 L.; Diesel up to 5 L.
  • Cranking Amps: 300
  • Peak Amps: 600
  • USB Port: Dual Charging

Effectiveness: 8

FAQ 

Which portable jump starter is the best?
The “best” jump starter is the one that fits your engine size.

Does the product come charged?
Charge the new jump starter prior to initial use until the charge light activates.

How much mAh does it take to jumpstart a car?
The mAh needed depends on the type (gas or diesel) and size engine. Read the owner’s manual.

How can I test the device?
Units have a series of charging lights or voltmeter to indicate how much capacity the jump starter has left before it needs to be recharged.

What size do I need?
Size your jump starter according to the type and size engine and jump starter’s cranking amp capability.

Safety Precautions

  • Before using the portable jump starter, read the instruction manual and employ safety precautions to ensure your vehicle, battery, and equipment and moving parts are protected. (Wear safety goggles if any are available).
  • Turn off your vehicle and the jump starter before jumping your battery.
  • Park your vehicle in “Neutral” or “Park” and remove your keys from the ignition.
  • To avoid surges, unplug electrical car accessories (i.e.: mobile phone chargers)
  • Connect the negative (black) cable to the engine block or other ground away from the battery. Do not connect the positive (red) and negative (black) clamps to each other or through an electrical conductor.
  • Remove flammables and liquids that may be within proximity of the jump starting process.
  • Disconnect the cables after the vehicle is running.

Pros & Cons of Using

Portable jump starters are convenient. Many also have additional features such as emergency LED flash/SOS lights, USB ports, 12-volt capabilities, and compressor functions. Additionally, portable jump starters:

  • are affordable,
  • are generally safer than high-amp battery chargers or traditional jumper cables that have two sets of alligator clamps (to both vehicles) that need to be connected,
  • have built-in safety features (i.e.: reverse polarity alarms),
  • do not risk damaging your vehicle or the host vehicle that may have mechanically borderline components or from cable voltage spikes, and
  • they provide multiple jump starts before the unit needs to be recharged.

The primary drawback of portable jump starters is that they start your vehicle but do not charge your battery. Battery capacity may also be a drawback. Smaller units may not be able to start all types (gas or diesel) or sizes (6-8+ cylinder) of vehicles. And, the greater the capacity, the more expensive the unit will be. Portability and storage also depend on the size and weight of the unit. Not all types neatly fit into vehicle glove/storage boxes for travel access.

Conclusion

Portable jump starters are used to jump-start your dead battery without the need for a host vehicle. They may be lightweight, compact lithium-ion battery jump boxes or heavier lead-acid battery units. The size and type of engine determine what cranking/peak amp will successfully jump-start your dead battery.

Many devices are multi-functional. They have a built-in air compressor, flashlight w/emergency SOS, and USB component charging port(s). Prices vary. Portable jump boxes are less expensive and can capably charge gas or diesel engines (cars, trucks, boats, etc.) like the larger jump starter units.