The Best Portable Jump Starters of 2024

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The Best Portable Jump Starters of 2024

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Be your own lifeline if your car battery dies with these tested picks

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If you need a jump starter, our experts say you should buy the NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A Jump Starter.

One of the biggest problems with needing a jump start using cables is needing someone else (and their car) there with you. That's not always possible, so a portable jump starter puts you (back) in the driver's seat.

The NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A is a small (but not glove-compartment small) jump starter that comes in two sizes. The 3000A (see our review) is for more oversized vehicles, but most folks will find the 2000A meets their needs.

There is a USB port on the charger for items like your phone, but our reviewer found it charged a phone slowly. There’s also a built-in light to help you find something inside your car, but it won’t illuminate the side of the road. While this jump starter is more expensive, we still think it’s the one most people should get.

Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 6x2.5x8.6 inches | Weight: 5 lbs.

LED light you can aim

High peak and starting amps

At a bulky 18 pounds, you might ask yourself, "What kind of utility am I getting out of this?" You're in luck if you want a portable jump starter and a built-in swivel light.

The STANLEY J5C09 1000 is heavy because it's also an air compressor, so if you find your tires are low on air, you can fill them right back up. Our testing revealed that the jumper cables are short (they aren't long enough to set the jump starter on the ground), and the air compressor hose is likewise short, but the unit did jump the test car each time we tried it.

Like the NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150, this jump starter is a bit costly, but the price is reasonable if you need both a jump starter and a compressor and don't mind the extra bulk.

Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11.25x8x3.5  inches | Weight: 17.2 lbs.

This jump starter is about as small as they come, so why not toss one into a portable emergency pack? It won't be able to jump-start your car dozens of times before it needs to be recharged, but if all goes well, you should need it only to get the car going just this one time, right?

Included are a couple of USB ports for charging devices and a flashlight.

Peak Amps: 700 | Dimensions: 9.8x6.9x3.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 lbs.

Recharge with AC or DC

We liked this one because it’s a jack of all trades. Like the STANLEY J5C09 1000 above, this one will jump-start the car, fill up deflated tires, charge up portable devices, and let you see what you are doing with its built-in light.

Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11x11x7 inches | Weight: 10 lbs.

There are a few factors to consider when picking a jump starter. Do you have a big truck or a smaller car? Do you have a fleet of vehicles to maintain? Do you have storage in the car or your garage? Where will you most likely need the jump starter: At your home base or on the road? How much space do you have to dedicate to a device you hopefully will never need?

Jump starters come in both portable and plug-in varieties:

We generally recommend buying a portable jump starter over a plug-in one. The portability outweighs the downside of having to keep the device charged up.

Unlike a jump starter, a charger recharges your car's battery, which is handy in some situations. Battery chargers take at least a few hours to recharge a car battery, which is not ideal for those needing to get on the road quickly. They also have to plug into a power outlet, which is less portable. Plus, they can come to the rescue if you have a faulty alternator, as they can allow you to get your car up and running without having to worry about your alternator recharging your battery.

Our recommendation? Having both a jump starter and a battery charger can be helpful. A battery charger is better if you have access to a power outlet and have enough time to charge the battery, while a jump starter is better in a pinch for those who need to get on the road right away.

Jumper cables are a vital part of any jump starter. You might think that jumper cables are all the same, and to an extent, that’s true—they’re copper wires that deliver power. Some cables, however, are better than others.

Generally, the cables range from 10 to 35 feet, but 15 feet will suffice for most people. Another differentiator is a cable's wire gauge, which refers to the thickness of the wire inside. Thicker wire is better at delivering more power, which can be vital if you're trying to jump-start a vehicle with a bigger battery. A cable with at least an eight gauge will be fine for most cars, though larger batteries might need a 6- or 4-gauge cable.

Being stuck on the side of the road at night is never a preferable situation. With low visibility and distracted drivers, you could easily find yourself in a dangerous spot. That’s where emergency lights can come in. When a jump starter has emergency lights, you can place it near your car to alert other drivers that you’re there.

We recommend buying a jump starter with emergency lights of some kind, mainly because they could end up saving your life.

Some jump starters have built-in emergency radios, which will help you keep up-to-date with local events in case of an emergency or a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane. This feature might be beneficial if you live in an area prone to these events.

When your car's battery is dead, a jump starter gives it a jolt of power so you can turn your car on. From there, start driving, and your car's alternator will charge the battery as you go along.

First, connect the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the battery and the negative cable to the engine block. Then, place the jump box in a secure, out-of-the-way location and try to start your car. Once your vehicle is running, disconnect both cables and secure them to the jump box.

Prices for jump starters range depending on their features, but it should be possible to find a decent option for $50 or $60. If you want a more sophisticated model, expect to pay about $150 or more.

A jump starter does not recharge your car’s battery itself. Instead, it gives the battery enough kick to turn the car on—you’ll need to drive your vehicle to power it back up again. On the other hand, most car alternators aren’t built to recharge a car’s battery fully from zero, and forcing one to do so can shorten its lifespan. In other words, it might be the way to go in a pinch, but if you can avoid jump-starting your car, it’s probably best to do so.

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The Best Portable Jump Starters of 2024

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