Portable jump starters should be part of your vehicle’s emergency kit. Car batteries (no matter how good or expensive) eventually lose the ability to bring your engine to life. Having a portable jump starter is cheap insurance against getting stranded in the biting cold or scorching heat.
A portable jump starter, sometimes called a power pack, is typically a sealed maintenance-free battery itself with jumper cables coming out of one side. Portable jump starters need to be charged every so often to deliver maximum power, but their small size makes them easy to transport.
Below is an overview of the five best jump starters you can purchase today. For this list, we looked at the available features for each unit, along with the price and overall customer review score on Amazon. The first three are good “all-around” portable jump starters, followed by a heavy-duty and budget option. For the average person, we would recommend one of the first three.
#1: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660
The Jump-N-Carry JNC660 from Clore Automotive offers plenty of cranking power, exceptional cranking duration, and multiple starts from a single full charge. It has 46-inch cables with industrial-grade clamps, making it easy to reach the battery of any car, truck, or SUV.
The JNC660 has replaceable 22Ah “Proformer” batteries made by Clore Automotive. These batteries have a long service life and offer exceptional cranking power. Other helpful features include a heavy-duty case, a voltmeter, and a 12V power output to juice up your accessories.
As of this writing, the JNC660 from Clore Automotive retails on Amazon for about $150. The unit currently has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The JNC660 from Clore Automotive is enclosed in a rugged case resistant to water and other fluids. The unit tends to be popular among mechanics, tow truck drivers, car dealerships, and first responders.
The JNC660 comes with a one-year warranty from Clore Automotive.
The Noco Boost Plus GB40 is a high-discharge lithium-ion battery inside a rugged and waterproof enclosure. It has a 1,000-amp peak power output with spark and reverse polarity protection. Tipping the scales at only 2.4 lbs., the Noco Boost Plus GB40 is easy to pack and transport. Noco claims up to 20 jump starts on a gasoline or diesel engine on a single full charge, not bad for such a small package.
What’s more, the Noco Boost Plus GB40 is a multifunction jump starter. It has USB ports to recharge your devices, and a 100-lumen LED flashlight with seven lighting modes, including emergency SOS and strobe light settings. The Noco Boost Plus comes highly recommended for jump-starting gas engines up to six liters of displacement and diesel engines up to three liters.
In addition to vehicles, the Noco GB40 can be used for boats, ATVs, lawnmowers, and motorcycles. The unit’s rubberized casing helps prevent scratching during periods of heavy use, while the 100-lumen LED flashlight is ideal when jumping a battery late at night.
The GB40 comes with a one-year warranty and lifetime customer support.
We tested the 1200A Shell unit last fall and believe it’s one of the best jump starters available right now. It has enough power to accommodate gas engines up to seven liters of displacement and diesel engines up to three liters. Although the jumper cables are a tad short for our liking, the clamps offer a reassuring bite and have a solid, heavy-duty feel.
Like the Noco Boost Plus, this Shell unit can function as a charging bank for your electronic gadgets with its three USB ports. It also has a built-in flashlight with four settings, including a red strobe light and an SOS flash. In addition, the 1200A Shell has 10 built-in safety features offering multi-level protection against sparks, reverse polarity, overheating, over-current, and over-voltage. You can also safely use it for boats, ATVs, and lawnmowers.
As of this writing, the 1200A Shell Portable Jump Starter retails for $130 on Amazon. The unit currently has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Despite its portly size and hefty price tag, the Schumacher DSR ProSeries is one of the best jump starters on the market. The DSR ProSeries is a professional-grade, heavy-duty jump starter offering up to 4400 peak amps to start larger gasoline and diesel engines. It can accomodate four, six, eight, and even ten-cylinder motors, including semi-trucks or Class 8 vehicles.
The Schumacher DSR ProSeries uses two high-output AGM batteries to jump-start 12V and 24V vehicles with minimal effort. It also has an easy-to-read digital display that shows the battery level, voltage, and alternator performance. Additionally, it has a rust-proof case and 60-inch AWG heavy-duty cables with durable clamps.
Added features include a 2.1-amp USB port to recharge other devices and a reverse connection warning for added safety. If you have a big diesel or gasoline rig, look no further than the Schumacher DSR ProSeries.
As of this writing, the 4400 Peak Amp Schumacher DSR ProSeries retails for $373 on Amazon. The unit currently has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Unlike the other portable jump starters on this list, the Schumacher DSR ProSeries is built to handle larger-displacement gasoline and diesel engines. The extra capacity also means the Schumacher DSR ProSeries is much heavier and more expensive than the average portable charger.
Schumacher provides a one-year warranty for the unit.
Like the Shell and Noco, the LOFTEK 1000A Portable Jump Starter is a multifunction unit with a built-in LED flashlight and a USB charging port to juice up your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The unit can jump a car up to 10 times for every five hours of recharging and will work in freezing environments as low as negative four.
The LOFTEK matches the Shell in terms of what it can handle for gasoline engines, but it does top the Shell in diesel capacity, as it can handle diesel engines up to 5.5-liters. Although it offers over-voltage, short-circuit, over-current, and overload protection, the LOFTEK 1000A Portable Jump Starter does not have a waterproof case.
As of this writing, the LOFTEK retails for $65.00 on Amazon. The LOFTEK currently has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, making it one of the best jump starters for the price.
The LOFTEK portable jump starter is a good option if you want something small and inexpensive. Like the higher-priced units on this list, the LOFTEK will charge laptops, smartphones, and other accessories via an integrated power bank.
Portable jump starters are good in a jam but will not solve the problem long-term if you have a stubborn battery. If you find yourself using a portable jump starter each time, then it’s best to start looking for a new battery. There is also the possibility that your alternator or your vehicle’s electrical system is to blame. The best advice is to use a portable jump starter for convenience when your battery dies, then have your car inspected by a trusted mechanic.
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