12 Best Car Jump Starters in 2018
Jumper cables have been a mainstay in vehicles around the globe for longer than most of us can remember. They have started millions of batteries over the years, but times have changed, and we now live in the world of the jumper box.
Car jump starters are not as bulky as they used to be, and you don’t have to lift weight to carry one around anymore. Many units can fit in your glove box or door pocket while even the larger models have slimmed down considerably to easily ride in the trunk. No matter which size is right for you, all of the picks on our best car jump starter list will fire up your weak battery in seconds.
Sizes aside, there are plenty of things to consider when looking for a good jumper box for your vehicle. You will want to consider the size of the battery you are trying to boost as some diesels and larger batteries for work trucks are going to be tougher than the battery in a civic. Some of our picks offer up a little bit more than others as well and can take care of your laptop or smartphone along with your battery or help you air up a tire in a pinch.
Top 12 Car Jump Starters Comparison Table
The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Jump Starter
Jump start your buying decision with these quick tips.
- Charger Size – Unless you have an SUV or Van, there is a good chance you care about how much space is in your vehicle. Trunks can get full rather quickly, and we have all seen jumper cables get snagged on random objects rattling around in the trunk. Well, when it comes to jump starters size still needs to factor into your buying decision as some are considerably larger than others.
The types of jump starters on our list fall into one of two categories.
- Glove Box – One size we’ve deemed glove box friendly as they are small enough to go under a seat or in the glove box of many vehicles. These usually use lithium ion batteries, and while diminutive, they will still fire up a weak battery in an instant when fully charged up.
- Trunk – Jump starters that have to go in the trunk are quite a bit larger, but still far from what most would consider huge. They will fire up any battery you put in its path and usually have charging capabilities as well. You will need to consider having some extra space in the trunk however unless you plan on keeping it in the back floorboard.
Cold Cranking Amps vs. Peak Amps
When looking for the best car jump starter, you may come across terms that could cause a bit of customer confusion. Two of those would be cold cranking amps and peak amps.
- Peak Amps – Peak amps are important, but more of a “buzz” word as the peak amperage is exactly that. It’s the highest the charger will allow in one short burst to get your starter turning and the battery charging in a hurry.
- Cold Cranking Amps – On the other hand, CCA or cold cranking amps are far more important. If your battery doesn’t “hit” on the first go at peak amperage, the jump starter will adjust to CCA’s which is the current put out on a consistent basis when you need to go for multiple attempts. If you have ever had trouble starting a car from a jumper pack, you know that you need a solid CCA rating.
Unfortunately, the CCA rating doesn’t always apply to lithium-based jump starter solutions, but you will always be able to find it on true booster boxes. If their size doesn’t give them away, those sturdy cables and alligator clamps will.
Cable Length & Clamps
We’ll make this one simple. There is absolutely nothing worse than trying to charge or jump start a battery with short cables. You won’t have to worry about that on larger models, but the smaller booster boxes can have thin cables that don’t carry current well and put you in precarious positions. Considering how easily it shorts out (or pops) some batteries, you don’t want a jumper box that dangles off the hood due to short cables. The same goes for the clamps, you want a model with solid alligator clips for a better connection.
Top 5 Best Car Jump Starter Reviews
The first entry into our best car jump starter list comes from DBPOWER, a company that has several gadgets available to power up a dead battery. Our choice was the DBPower 600A Portable Jump Starter as it’s small enough to fit in a glove box but still powerful enough to provide a spark to a dry battery. It accomplishes this by using a rechargeable 18000mAh battery, which also acts a booster for several other devices.
The DBPOWER 600A is rated to jump off 6.5L gas vehicles and 5.2L diesel engines up to 30 times but can also charge your smartphone, tablet or any other gadget with the proper output. There is a “smart” charging port to handle that which means you won’t have to worry about blowing up your expensive handset. Throw in overload protection, over-charge protection, and a handy LED light with SOS mode, and you’ve got a battery booster that can do more than most.
Another cool perk of this model is the fact it has a LED screen on the front; this shows you how much juice is left before you need to charge it back up, but also features a compass and gives you read out on the output voltage as well.
Rockford’s car jump starter is actually a kit that is small and portable but extremely powerful. At 12,000mAh it’s a bit smaller than our top choice but holds the equivalent of around four smartphone batteries. The cold cranking amps are listed at 200A while the peak clocks in at 400A. Recharge times are fair as well at around 4 hours if you want to go from zero to a hundred percent.
This mini jump starter can get the job done for most vehicles, and the clamps and wires are solid as well. They are included in the case along with nine different tips and a variety of micro-USB adapters that should cover any device you own. There’s also a car charger included in case you want to charge up the portable jump starter while you are on the road. This one isn’t ideal for larger vehicles like one-ton work trucks which may have larger batteries, but it is a great all-purpose jumper for most motorized vehicles.
The Brightech SCOPRION is another mini with plenty of accessories and enough juice to power up most dead batteries. It can handle a 2.5L diesel with ease along with any 3L or lower gas-powered engines and V6 motors. The 10,000mAh lithium battery can definitely help you get home when those cells go dry with 400 Amps of peak power.
Like other car jump starters in this class, the SCORPION has a couple of USB ports to let you power up other gadgets. The case includes adapters for Apple 30-pin connections, Lighting cables and almost anything else you could think of. There is also a 19v 1A output for laptops, something you won’t find on many other models. Worried about crossing up those battery cables? Don’t be as the jumper can detect which pole is positive or negative thanks to “SmartJump” tech.
The SCORPION is available in two different colors with high visibility Red and Blue. If you aren’t concerned with the additional connections, there is another model available dubbed the SPIDER that offers up a similar set of features sans the extras.
Now we are going to turn our attention to something old-school and considerably larger. The Booster PAC ES5000 won’t fit in your glove box, but it will fire up any vehicle on the road with ease. The standard 12V charger has long 43-inch cables as well, and they are 4-gauge which is far heavier than what you will find on glove box models.
The PAC ES5000 has a built-in automatic charging feature and a row of status lights across to give you updates on its charging levels. Like heavy duty clamps? You will appreciate these considering they are industrial grade which means they will clamp on and stay put. While minor, the rotating holsters for said clamps are quite handy as well.
We opted for the 1500 Peak Amp for our pick as has 400 cold cranking amps and is still reasonably sized. If you want something larger or a bit smaller, the company also has models that range from 1100 Amps up to a 3000 Amp 12V/24V jump starter.
The Kensun Portable Power Bank & Jump Starter rounds out our Top 5 and is small enough to fit almost anywhere sans the case. If you want to keep things simple, you can just use the mini clamp adapter to give your car a boost. As for the charging capabilities, it has a 12,000mAh battery that’s said to provide enough juice to restart your car up to 20 times.
When it comes to accessories, this one is up there with the Rockford model. It has eight plug adapters for devices like the PSP, Nokias and older phones It also has plugs for smartphones from Android, iOS, and various mobile gadgets. An SOS light, short circuit protection, and car charger round things out for this one. The Kensun jump starter comes in three sizes with 12,000mAh, 9000mAh, and 2,600mAh models and three different colors with Red, Blue, and Green.