If you've ever had the misfortune of being stuck with a car that won't start on a cold morning, you know how important it is to be able to get a quick jump.
While that used to mean relying on the kindness of neighbors or strangers, nowadays an easier option is available: the portable jump starter.
These portable batteries do what they were originally intended to do: boost the dead battery to make a car start. All battery boosters come with jumper clamps that attach to the auto battery terminals and nearly all include reverse polarity protection. Some of these vehicle battery jump starters come with easily installed, semi-permanent attachments that allow you to quickly connect them to your car's starting electrics without the booster clamps. Most have some sort of flash or area light and at least one USB port to charge electronics like phones and tablets. Those features are only the start when it comes to jump starter pack options.
5 things to know before you buy a portable car battery
1. Its primary purpose: What are you using it for? Most car battery jump starters and battery chargers offer some flexibility, but some portable car jump starter options are more limited in what you can do with them. If you're not worried about running a small television when the power fails, you probably shouldn't worry about getting a portable car battery with a built-in AC inverter, so make sure the battery pack features have enough power and are right for your needs.
2. Starting amps: This is particularly important if you plan to use your portable battery primarily for its original purpose: jump starting engines. A big V8 engine -- particularly a diesel engine -- could require upwards of 500 ampere current to turnover on a cold day. If that's what you need to do, you'll have a harder time doing it with a battery jump starter intended for a four-cylinder. Most manufacturers rate their portable car starters and motorcycle jump starter batteries for types of engines, so read the fine print for your jump starter battery. Look for starting or cranking amps, and don't worry much about the peak amp figures.
3. Total storage capacity: Usually measured in amp hours or milliamp hours (1,000 mAh equals 1 Ah), this matters more if you plan to use your portable jump starter battery and portable car battery charger as a backup or mobile power source. A higher number means more electrical storage capacity. Typical portable batteries are rated from five to 22 amp hours.
4. Chemistry: Portable car batteries still run the gamut, from sealed lead acid battery options to absorbent glass mat to lithium jump battery starter and recently, ultracapacitors. The chemistry matters less for ultimate utility and more for weight, size and, to a lesser extent, cost. If you want something you can keep in your glove box, it's probably not going to be a sealed lead-acid battery booster.
5. Features: All of the possible options are useful, but again, the issue is size and weight. Add all of the features in one unit and the jump starter gets much bulkier, with weight exceeding 30 pounds. For some purposes -- camping trips for example -- that may not matter much. On the other hand, you may not want to be carrying one of the bigger portable car batteries around in your Mazda Miata. Some manufacturers, including the highly rated Antigravity brand, are starting to offer separate accessories like a small, powerful air compressor that work with their paperback-size lithium-polymer jump starter batteries, but this approach tends to add to the cost.
Here, in alphabetical order, are our highly rated favorites for best portable jump starter options. We'll be updating this list periodically as we review new options. If you think you want a portable car battery jump starter and battery charger, check the pro tips on safety and proper care that follow.
The Top 6 Portable Jump Starters 2021
1. NOCO Boost Plus GB40
For most car owners, this portable jump starter from NOCO will be exactly what they need to get their dead battery going again. Compact, yet powerful, this jump starter is rated at 1000 amps and offers up to 20 jump starts on a single charge. You can safely use this jump starter on vehicles with gasoline engines up to 6 liters and diesel engines up to 3 liters.
Safety is extremely important when it comes to jump starting your vehicle, and this device has you covered. It features a mistake-proof design with spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection, so things won’t go awry even if you accidentally hook it up incorrectly to your battery. In addition, you can use this jump starter on a daily basis as a portable battery bank, charging your USB devices with ease. An integrated 100-lumen LED flashlight with seven modes may not see frequent use, but it’s nice to have in the case of an emergency.
As our Editor’s Pick, durability is another important factor to take into account. This charger checks all the right boxes in that department as well. It’s safe to use in any climate, thanks to high-discharge lithium technology, while the rugged, water-resistant enclosure is rated at IP65. On the outside is a rubberized over-molded casing that helps prevent scratching or marring of surfaces.
This company has a diverse lineup of portable jump starters, so if you need something more powerful, make sure to take a look at its other offerings.
Pros / Rated at 1000 amps, offers up to 20 jump starts, supports gasoline engines up to 6L and diesel engines up to 3L, spark-proof technology, reverse polarity protection, integrated LED light, can be used as a portable battery bank, rugged and durable design
Cons / Clamp design may not fit certain car batteries, no USB-C support
2. Versatile and Powerful: Audew 200A Portable Jump Starter
Pros / 20000mAh battery capacity, 2000A peak current, USB-C support, 12V cigarette lighter adapter, jump starts gasoline engines of any size, diesel engines up to 8.5 liters
Cons / Dim display in broad daylight, short jumper cables
3. Premium Features: TACKLIFE T8 Pro 1200A Car Jump Starter
Pros / 1200A, 18000mAh capacity, IP65 rated, durable construction, two-year warranty
Cons / Cables are a bit on the shorter side, flashlight could be brighter
The Lokithor JA301 is a jump starter with air inflator,this portable jump starter can be used on gasoline engines up to 8 liters and diesel engines up to 6.0 liters.as a inflator with 150PSI pressure，it can inflate your car tires, bicycle tires, balls really quickly.
Along with being able to jump start your car and charge your various other devices, the JA301 has a built-in 300 LUMENS LED light that can be used as a strobe, SOS, or constant light.
And it come with compact size, weight only around 1.7kg.
5. DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
This recommendation from DBPOWER boasts 800 amps of peak current, making it capable of jump starting vehicles with gasoline engines up to 7.2 liters in size and up to 5.5-liter diesel engines. With a built-in 18000mAh battery, it’s possible to get up to 20 jump starts on a single charge, assuming you don’t use it to charge your portable devices. It’s more likely that you will however, since you likely won’t be needing to jump start your car every single day.
This portable jump starter can charge your USB devices and DBPOWER also includes an eight-in-one laptop adapter so that you can charge some laptops. The heavy duty clamps and cables feature overcurrent protection, short circuit protection, overload protection, over-voltage protection, and overcharge protection. An LCD screen is on the side of the device, displaying how much remaining battery life it has left. There’s also a compass and LED flashlight, just in case you ever need it.
The company provides a three-year warranty and great customer service.
Pros / 800 amps of peak current, 18000mAh internal battery, includes adapters to charge laptops, LCD screen, built-in compass and LED light
Cons / Some quality issues with faulty units, poorly written instructions, short cables