There are few things as depressing as getting to your car after a long day of work and finding out that your battery is dead. This can be from any number of causes from leaving your lights on to an old, dead battery. This is even worse if you work somewhere remote or work late and there is no one to give you a jump, but luckily there are options out there for you. This is a classic case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Improvements in Battery Technology
Back in the 90s when I was a kid I remember a few times where my mom’s Saturn, which I cannot remember the model name for my life, died on us. Back then jump starters were big, expensive, and didn’t last long if you didn’t take care of them. This is not the case anymore, however, since almost all of them now use lithium-ion batteries which will hold a charge longer and do not suffer from charge memory. Charge memory, for those who are not familiar, is the slight loss in charging capacity that you lose each time the battery is improperly charged or discharged. Modern lithium-ion batteries can be charged from any level and it will not damage the battery. They also hold a charge better than older types. If you’re looking for a good car battery as well, check out our best car battery guide, or if you still got an older car battery you want to keep using, check out our best car battery chargers review.
|Jump Starter||Category||Main benefits|
|Jump-N-Carry 1700||Most powerful jump starter||• Lots of starting power|
• Long jumper cables
• Automatic charge cutoff
|Brightech Scorpion||Best mini jump starter||• Small size|
• USB charging
• Flashlight and emergency signal
|Stanley J5C09||Most versatile jump starter||• Air Compressor|
• 12V power and USB power
• 1000 amp peak powerful
|DBPOWER Ultra Compact||Best budget jump starter||• Can be used as a power bank|
• Contains a flashlight
What Are We Looking For?
This is a vast market, so for a particular jump starter to stand out above the rest. We are going to take a look at a few different options to make sure that you choose the right one for you and your situation. Some of these are more functional than others, more on that later, and others are much more portable. I am going to try to cover a wide range of bases here, so you are sure to find the right one for you.
Most Powerful Jump Starter – Jump-N-Carry 1700
OK, let’s go ahead and start this list off right. This is one of the best jump starters you will find, period. It has 1700 peak amps of power and 425 cranking amps. This thing is going to start just about anything you can throw at it. Considering most car batteries only have around 400 cold cranking amps on average, this means that this jump starter should be able to jump start even a large truck with a completely dead battery.
The cables on this unit are 68 inches long. Depending on where you choose to store it you may not even have to pull it out to use it. Of course, this will also depend on your car., If you drive something like an old Beetle then obviously you won’t have to since the battery is mounted under the rear seat, but if you drive a large truck then you will unless you want to store it in the engine bay. While I wouldn’t recommend this (I don’t want someone trying it and getting mad at me if it melts) if you choose to then you can just leave it in place.
One of my favorite features of this jump starter is that the unit is able to manage its charge level automatically. That means that you can just leave it plugged up and not have to worry about it overcharging and damaging the battery. This also means that you don’t have to risk it being dead at the same time that your battery is. That would really suck, go to jump your car only to realize your backup is dead too. This way you can just leave it plugged in and not worry about it. Plus, if you can jump your car without removing it from wherever you have it stored then you don’t even have to worry about plugging it back in when you are done. I really can’t say enough good things about this jumper.
If you are looking for the best car jump starter around and don’t mind the large size then this is the one for you.
Jump-N-Carry 1700 key specs
- Lots of starting power
- Long jumper cables
- Automatic charge cutoff
Best Mini Jump Starter – Brightech Scorpion
So, the first one I talked about was the best of the best, but what if you have a small car with limited storage space, or you want to be able to take it with you on a motorcycle trip as well. Since this is a handheld jump starter you can take it wherever you want and even keep it in your pocket or backpack.
Looking at the size of the Scorpion you may think that it can’t handle a car engine, but you would be wrong in that assumption. It is capable of starting up to a 3.0L gasoline engine or a 2.5L diesel. While it won’t jump a large truck or SUV, that is not who this unit is made for. It is made for bikers and people with small cars who want to save space, but also have a backup plan in case their battery dies.
Another cool feature with this unit is that it has built in USB ports for charging your phone or tablet. That’s right, this thing is basically a power bank that can jump start your car. Not a bad little device to have in my opinion. It also has a flashlight and SOS signal built in as well.
The battery is a 37 watt lithium-ion battery that is capable of delivering up to 400 peak amps. It also has what Brightech calls their “SmartJump” technology. Basically this is a preventative measure to keep you from accidentally destroying it by hooking the leads up to the wrong terminals. This would otherwise melt your cables and probably destroy the jump starter if not your car’s electronics as well. This will also prevent damage if there is a short in the battery or your car.
If you are looking for a small jump starter or a power bank to carry around with you then this is the one to get. It offers all of the functionality of a power bank while at the same time it has a flashlight and can jump start your car when you need it to.
Brightech Scorpion key specs
- SmartJump technology
- Small size
- USB charging
- Flashlight and emergency signal
Most Versatile Car Jump Starter – Stanley J5C09
This is another large jumper. It is not as powerful as the Jump-N-Start, with 1000 peak amps. Don’t get me wrong, this one is still more than capable of starting just about anything on the road, but the factor that makes this jump starter stand out is the air compressor that is built into it. That makes this one more versatile than any other on this list since it can be used if you have a flat tire as well.
On top of having a compressor the Stanley also has a flashlight for working at night and USB charging, just like the smaller ones. It also has a 12V outlet, so you can even run an inverter off of it if you need to. On top of all of this, the Stanley also has a reverse polarity alarm to warn you if you have the leads connected wrong. Again, this will prevent massive damage to both the unit and your car, so it is a feature that is definitely worth mentioning.
If you need a jump starter that will provide auxiliary power and be able to pump up your tires if you get a flat then the Stanley is really the only way to go. It offers everything that you could need in an emergency situation that they could pack into it.
Stanley J5C09 key specs
- Air Compressor
- 12V power and USB power
- 1000 amp peak powerful
Best Budget Jump Starter – DBPOWER Ultra Compact
We have talked about the best overall, best mini jump starter, and most versatile, but one thing that we have not addressed so far is the best budget jump starter. On the surface the Ultra Compact may seem like little more than a power bank, it is a mini jump starter after all, but it provides up to 300 amps peak power. This will allow you to start a gas engine up to 2.5L. This may not seem like much, but consider that most passenger vehicles now have engines at or below the 2.0L mark and you can see that this should be sufficient for most uses.
Like the Scorpion, the Ultra Compact is capable of being used as a power bank and charging over USB. Since this unit is on par with most decent power banks on the market that makes this a smart buy if you are looking for either a jump starter or power bank. The overall capacity is 8000mAh, so it will charge most phones from 0% to 100% twice, some even more than that. It can also jump your car up to 20 times on one charge. Not bad for something that you can put in your pocket that costs less than a tank of gas in many areas.
If you just need a simple, cheap jump starter or power bank then this is the way to go. It will start most cars that have come out in the last decade no problem. It will not start a large truck or SUV, but this is to be expected anyway. Overall this is a great value
DBPOWER Ultra Compact key specs
- Can be used as a power bank
- Contains a flashlight
I have tried to find a car jump starter for just about any possible situation. Between the four listed here, you should have a good starting point for choosing your jump starter. I recommend getting this one now, rather than later. If you wait until you need it then it will not do you any good. Save yourself the trouble and pick up a jump starter before you need it.