If you are not into cars, it is highly probable that you don't know the difference between a jump starter and a battery maintainer. If you drive a car then it could be quite helpful for you to learn about both devices and how they can help you out. Apart from that, it will also enable you to make a more informed decision when you have to buy one. You don't need to delve into the technical details to understand both devices and what they do.
Running out of battery juice is a common occurrence when driving a car. But still, many drivers don't prepare for the worst-case scenario and have to deal with a dead battery. An issue as trivial as an empty battery shouldn't put you in a bad spot, especially because there are a number of practical methods to prevent or manage the situation. When your car battery has died or weakened, you can either use a battery maintainer or jump starter to re-energize the battery. That being said, both devices aren't the same.
What is a Battery Maintainer?
In order to develop an understanding of a battery maintainer, you need to think about the chargers you often use for your other electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. For instance, when your laptop is low on battery, you plug in the charger to juice it up. The same is true for car batteries. Battery maintainers are basically chargers that can convert AC electricity into 12V DC and charge up the car battery.
The speed of charging relies on the overall output of the battery maintainer. The higher the output, the faster the charging. Having said that, when you increase the output power of a battery maintainer, you also have to pay more for the extra amps and quicker recharge cycles. You can find multiple types of battery maintainers on the market. The most popular ones are often automatic i.e. they shut down automatically when the recharge cycle is complete.
What is a Car Jump Starter?
Car jump starters provide an instant power surge that attempts to kick-start the car battery. As compared to battery maintainers, car jump starters have a higher power output but they are not as consistent. That's why the terminology of 'peak' is often used by jump starter manufacturers which refers to the highest possible power output the jump starter can deliver in terms of amperage. That doesn't necessarily mean the jump starter provides the maximum output.
Jump starters don't need an external power source as they have dedicated built-in batteries which can be recharged at your convenience. The quality of the battery defines the price of the jump starter. Keep in mind that, unlike battery maintainers, car jump starters can be used for charging a multitude of devices apart from the car battery including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
Key Differences between Jump Starter and Battery Maintainer
When it comes to portability, the jump starter is far more portable as compared to battery maintainers. While this may not be a deal-breaker for some, many people like the ability to take their jump starter anywhere they can. Jump starters are often compact and light enough to be carried easily. You have to bear in mind that the most powerful jump starters are still quite heavy and may not be as portable. You basically have to choose the right balance of form and function according to your needs.
This is an area where jump starters once again beat battery maintainers as they are quite affordable compared to maintainers. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on car battery management, it is a better decision to invest in a car jump starter that can help you out during emergencies. Moreover, car jump starters now come with additional features like an LED flashlight which can come in quite handy during a nighttime emergency. That’s why car jump starters offer a better value as compared to battery maintainers.
While car jump starters provide an instant power surge to kick-start the battery, they can be unreliable and inconsistent. On the other hand, battery maintainers ensure that your car battery is fully charged and you have enough juice left to start your car at least a few times before the battery cycle runs out. That's why battery maintainers are a better choice if your vehicle alternator is faulty as it can keep your battery charged all the time without you having to worry about the car battery.
Recharge Cycle Time
If you are looking to start your car right away, jump starters make for a better choice as they have the capability to jump-start the battery. As compared to jump starters, battery maintainers take 8 to 12 hours to complete the recharge cycle. That's why car jump starters are better suited for emergency situations where you need to start your vehicle.
Another area where car jump starters beat battery maintainers handily as they are versatile gadgets that can fit in your pocket and charge anything you want. They have USB-A, USB-C, and mini-USB outlets to facilitate the charging of different types of devices including consumer electronics like laptops and smartphones. On the other hand, battery maintainers are a single-purpose device which can only be used for recharging car batteries.
Which One Should I Choose - Battery Maintainer or Car Jumper?
It depends on your requirements and expectations. If you are looking to keep your battery charged at all times, then a battery maintainer or charger is better suited for the job. However, if you are looking for a versatile, portable, and affordable way to deal with emergencies while still having the capability to charge other devices, then portable car jumpers make for a better investment.
The choice is yours.
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