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6 Best Jump Starters in 2019 – Full Size and Pocket-Size Options

Do you ever have those mornings when nothing is going to get you moving before you drink that first cup of coffee? Or an afternoon at work when you know it’s going to take some serious chocolate –  or another coffee –  to get you through the rest of the day?

At times like these, you need a little boost to get up and running. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

Your car might occasionally need a shot of energy to get started. Maybe you’ve got an older car or a suspect battery? Perhaps you left the lights on all night? Or maybe it’s just really damn cold?

Time for a jump starter!

Male gloved hand connecting a jump starter cable to the positive anode of a batteryThere are heaps of different jump starters on the market. So how can you tell the good from the bad?

This article will explain what a jump starter is, and go over the many features available.

We’ll help you make an informed decision on choosing the best jump starter for you and your needs, and then we roundup and review some of the top models in the market.

Let’s get this thing turned over!

Quick Links to Our Top 6 Picks for Best Jump Starter in 2019

Clicking the links above take you to further information, customer reviews and current prices on Amazon.

What Is A Jump Starter?

A jump starter won’t charge your battery – you need a dedicated car battery charger for that – but it will help you start your vehicle if your battery isn’t up to the task.

In a sense, it’s like carrying a spare battery only you use it to get your car started by connecting it to your dead battery, rather than swapping them out.

Think of it as a battery with jumper cables attached. (If you’re looking to learn more about it, we put together a piece here that talks about how you can use it).

Jump Starter Vs. Car Battery Charger – Which do you Need?

A battery charger won’t jump start your vehicle, and a jump starter won’t charge your battery. So, which to choose?

Having a battery charger in the garage is an excellent idea for maintaining a battery during extended storage, and extending its life by desulfating the plates. A jump starter is your best friend in a crisis when your car won’t start, and you need to get on the move.

Ideally, you’d have both, and then you’d be prepared for anything. (Like a good Boy Scout!) If you can only pick one, though, base your decision on your personal needs.

If you own numerous vehicles (think cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, tractors, etc.), a charger is a great purchase, especially if some of those vehicles sometimes go a long time between uses.

If you’re more of a one- or two-car person (or family), a jump starter could be the ticket. Just toss it (actually, place it carefully) in the back when you’re heading out, and you’ll have total peace of mind, knowing you will be able to start your vehicle.

Types of Jump Starter Available

Oh great, there are different types to choose from? No worries, we’ve got this!

You can break jump starters down into as many categories as you like based on features. We’re going with 5 (keeping in mind that some units may fall into more than one category). These are:

1. Heavy Duty Jump Starters

Most of us will never need one of these beasts, some of which weight as much as 40 pounds. Frequently, they house two onboard batteries and may deliver 3000 peak amps or more. Leave these for semis and other commercial vehicles.

2. Full-size Portable Jump Starters

These are the jump starters most of us are familiar with. They may still weigh as much as 20 pounds, but with a built-in handle, they’re meant to be taken where they’re needed.

They come in a range of sizes (as in number of amps), but most are suitable for standard personal vehicles from compact cars to pickups.

3. Pocket-size Jump Starters

Employing lithium batteries to get your vehicle started, they are very small, usually 3 pounds or less. They don’t always deliver as much power as the larger units, but they can be stowed just about anywhere.

4. Multi-purpose Jump Starters

Not only can these handy devices get your vehicle started, but they can also charge and/or power other devices, such as laptops, phones, and gaming devices.

USB ports and multi-tip adaptors draw off the significant power waiting in the onboard battery.

Jump starters like these are great for keeping a phone going in an emergency, or for use as a portable power source when you’re camping, tailgating, or if you’re out on the water.

5. Jump Starters with An Air Compressor

Some manufacturers have tapped into the power of the big battery to offer an air compressor feature. Most are just enough to top up the air in a soft tire or blow up an inflatable raft, though some can actually power tools.

Being able to inflate a tire in a pinch could indeed be handy, and anyone who has blown up an air mattress with lung power will appreciate this feature.

How Do You Use A Jump Starter?

Here’s how it’s done, broken down into 11 easy steps:

  1. Open the hood and find your battery.
  2. Uncap the posts to expose the metal terminals.
  3. Ensure the jump starter is off.
  4. Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal. (+)
  5. Connect the black clamp to any exposed metal surface on the car as far from the battery as possible.
  6. Make sure the jump starter is not in danger of falling and isn’t touching any parts that move when the engine is running.
  7. Face away from the battery and turn on the jump starter. (Anything you can do to reduce the chance of a battery blowing up in your face is a good idea.)
  8. Try starting your vehicle.
  9. If the car starts, turn off the jump starter.
  10. Disconnect the black clamp.
  11. Disconnect the red clamp.

If the vehicle fails to start, let the jump starter cool down for a few minutes before you try again.

Inspect your battery terminals for anything that may have been preventing a good connection, such as corrosion. Remove any offending matter before giving it another go.

How Many Amps Do You Need To Start A Car?

There is no single answer to this question. It all depends on the size of the engine, and the battery, you’re trying to get running. The weather conditions will also play a role; it’s much harder to start a car in the depths of winter, which is why you see Cold Cranking Amps listed on many batteries.

A good rule of thumb is to look under the hood and check the amps rating marked on your battery and choose a jump starter that covers it. Of course, you can often get away with less.

If you can’t find your CCAs, here are some guidelines for cranking amps to engine size ratios. Remember, these numbers are only approximations.

Gas engines:

  • 4-cylinder: 150 – 200 amps
  • 6-cylinder: 200 – 250 amps
  • 8-cylinder: 250 – 300 amps

Diesel engines:

  • 4-cylinder: 250 – 400 amps
  • 6-cylinder: 400 – 500 amps
  • 8-cylinder: 500 – 700 amps

Why We Recommend Owning a Jump Starter

Even if you have a roadside assistance membership, there are times and places when it’s not convenient to wait.

If it’s -20 outside and your car won’t turn over, chances are you’re not alone, and you’ll be waiting a long time for your turn. Same thing if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. With a jump starter at your side, you’ll be on your way far more quickly.

Those of you living in the north and driving winter beaters should definitely pick one up, as should anyone with an older car. Even if you buy one to use primarily as a portable power source, with the ability to jumpstart as a bonus, you’ll likely appreciate the return on your investment.

How to Choose the Best Jump Starter for Your Needs

Here are some basic factors and jump starter features to consider when choosing the right one for you.

Power

First and foremost, you need a jump starter that can deliver enough juice to get your vehicle started.

If you drive a sub-compact, obviously you need less power to turn over than someone who drives a large SUV or pickup.

Consider your environment, too; if you expect to be jump-starting in freezing cold temperatures, you’ll want some extra amps.

If you own multiple vehicles of different sizes, choose a jump starter powerful enough for your largest vehicle. You can’t hurt your smaller car with a high amp starter.

Safety

Any jump starter worth considering should come with a multiplicity of built-in safety features. Why?

Because, although jump-starting a battery is a routine operation, there is still potential for catastrophic failure (sorry, but I’m not going to sugarcoat the effects of a sulfuric acid bomb with metal and heavy-duty plastic shrapnel going off in your garage) if proper care isn’t taken.

Features to look for include:

Overcharge protection

This feature keeps the onboard battery from accepting too much charge. Once it’s at 100%, it goes into “float mode” to stay full without taking in full voltage from the charging source. That means you can leave your jump starter plugged in all the time and be sure it’s ready when you need it.

Short circuit protection

Just in case you happen to touch the two clamps together when the starter is on, this feature stops the current from flowing. Without this, you could fry the battery, and cause dangerous sparks.

Overload protection

The manufacturer knows how much current the onboard battery needs to charge. With overload protection, the battery is protected from surges that exceed its peak limit.

Over-current protection

Your jump starter has a peak limit to current it can deliver, too. With this feature, the battery cannot be damaged by a “request” for more current from the vehicle.

Overvoltage protection

With this, your jump starter is protected from taking more volts than it’s built for while charging. For example, if you hook your 12V jump starter to a 24V charger, with overvoltage protection, nothing will happen. Without it, it may explode.

Extra Features

Many manufacturers recognize that with a portable power source, there’s a lot you can do.

For the sake of convenience, some jump starters have add-on features like flashlights for working in dark spaces, air compressors for filling soft tires, or USB outlets for charging personal electronics.

Some sort of cable management system may also be built into the unit.

What’s good for one isn’t necessarily good for all; if you don’t think you’ll ever need to charge up or power a phone, tablet, or laptop, then you needn’t worry about choosing a jump starter with all the extras.

They’re certainly a nice-to-have for most people, but the most important thing is it be able to get your vehicle started, not your phone.

Reliability

There’s no sense owning a jump starter, something that’s supposed to help you out in a pinch, that isn’t there for you when you need it!

Choose a reliable unit that has proven its worth to others. A recognizable brand name is a good place to start. Reading reviews from owners, and watching YouTube videos can also help you make a decision.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is just read our reviews in this article. We won’t recommend anything we don’t trust.

Portability

It would be great if our vehicles only failed us when they were in our own driveway or garage. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. For that reason, a good, non-commercial jump starter needs to be portable, either for carrying along with you or for bringing with you to help someone out of a jam.

Most full-size chargers have a single onboard battery and weigh between 15-20 pounds. Not exactly what you’d think of as portable car jump starter. But, with a handle on top, and somewhere to wind the cables, most people can manage to get one in their vehicle.

If carrying around an extra load like this doesn’t appeal, or you simply can’t lift that much weight, there are portable jump starters.

Portables use rechargeable lithium batteries to deliver a boost to your vehicle. They generally weigh 3 pounds or less and are easy to tote around. While they don’t always boast the same power as a full-size jump starter, for many motorists, they’re sufficient for the job.

Best Jump Starter Recommendations and Mini-Reviews

We’ve broken down our six choices into two categories: Full-size, and portable. Let’s start with the big boys.

Top 3 Best Full-Size Portable Jump Starters

Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter

Overall Impressions

Operation certainly appears simple, what with only one button on the front. Actually, everything you need is on the front: the charging indicators, voltmeter, 12V outlet, and AC plug for recharging.

The cords wrap nicely around the unit, with each clamp resting neatly in place. For those who like a tidy garage, this will appeal to even the most OCD among you.

Sticking with the cords a minute, they appear suitably robust and ready to do the job, and long enough to do it from the most convenient position. And while it looks like a big lump of plastic, it also looks difficult to damage.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit
  • 12V male-to-male charging cable
  • Owner’s manual

Features

  • Industrial-grade clamps
  • 12V DC outlet for powering accessories
  • Voltmeter showing onboard battery charge level
  • Charging status indicator lights (for onboard battery)
  • Automatic recharger
  • Fluid-resistant housing

Specs

  • Weight: 18lbs
  • Dimensions: 16.3” x 14.1” x 5.1”
  • Peak Amps: 1700
  • Cranking Amps: 425
  • Cable Length: 46”
  • Cable Gauge: 2

What We Like

We appreciate the accessibility of any device that has simple controls and displays – you won’t need to be a full-time mechanic to figure out how to use the Jump-N-Carry JNC660. All the safety features will further boost your confidence when you use this product.

Having good-quality cables that are long enough to do the job from any position is so essential to a successful jumpstart, and this guy delivers both. All that, and it’s thoughtfully designed to allow convenient storage and easy recharging. You can even replace the battery if you wear it out.

A nice touch on the clamps is the + and – symbols molded right into the plastic. Between that and the color-coding, it would be tough to reverse the polarity.

Lastly, we like all the amps this unit provides. It’s difficult to imagine a situation involving anything less than a commercial truck that the JNC600 can’t handle.

What We Don’t Like

It’s kind of heavy, but there’s not much that can be done about that, most of the weight being the onboard battery. You need to make sure to charge it if it’s out of use for 30 days; of course, you can just leave it plugged in all the time, so it’s always ready.

Unlike some other models, this one doesn’t have handy accessory ports, like USB, for recharging portable electronics. It’s meant for jumpstarting cars, and it does a damn fine job of it.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

To be frank, just about anyone will find this unit useful, regardless of vehicle size.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You only drive small vehicles (this might be overkill for a compact car)
  • The weight might be a problem

Final Thoughts

The Jump-N-Start JNC660 is meant to do one thing – jumpstart your vehicle. If you don’t want a lot of bells and whistles, but you do want a reliable starter, this one is well worth checking out.

Wanna take a peek? Click the link for more pics and price:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

STANLEY J5C09 12V Jump Starter

STANLEY J5C09 Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps, 120 PSI Air Compressor, Battery Clamps

Overall Impressions

Stanley? Ok, that’s a name we know! Anyone who has ever owned a tool should know this brand. Thanks to the good name behind it, we have total faith in its reliability.

It’s a sharp looking unit, nicely done in silver and black, but with just enough yellow to let you know it’s “professional grade.” (OK, there may have been some sarcasm there, but there’s definitely some psychology behind the paint job.)

It looks easy enough to use but still conveys the sense that it’s a serious piece of equipment.

Useful features seem to be plentiful, and we have high hopes for a good experience with this jump starter.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit, including cables and clamps
  • Adaptor nozzles for the air pump

Features

  • USB charging port
  • 12V DC outlet
  • 12V male-to-male charging cable
  • 120V AC charger
  • LED emergency light
  • Air compressor (for inflating tires)
  • Reverse polarity indicator
  • Battery status LED indicators
  • Powder coated all-metal clamps

Specs

  • Weight: 18lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.5” x 11.25” x 8”
  • Peak Amps: 1000
  • Cranking Amps: 500

What We Like

This is a versatile unit, no matter whether you’re a contractor or a casual motorist. There are more than enough amps to get most vehicles started, and you can’t not like the convenience of being able to charge up all sorts of other devices via USB, 12V DC and 120V AC.

Of course, most modern vehicles come with all that stuff included already, but, if you own an older car, these are nice bonuses to have. We like the air pump, too, not just for tires, but for inflating rafts and kids floaties at the beach, as well. It can replace a dedicated air pump for tires, saving money and space for extra equipment.

Recharging is simple; plug it in overnight at any available standard wall outlet. The reverse polarity indicator is essential, of course. It’s easy than you might think to get your wires crossed.

What We Don’t Like

At 18lbs, it’s not the easiest thing to lug around. If you think you’re going to toss one in the trunk, don’t forget about it; Stanley recommends recharging it every 30 days if it hasn’t been used.

Rubber grips on the handles would have been preferable to a powder coat for a better grip and durability, but it’s perfectly safe, of course, and we don’t consider this to be a deal-breaker.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

Owners of older vehicles with problematic batteries, or vehicles lacking the mod-cons of high-end cars and SUVs, will be glad for the versatility of the Stanley J5C09 jump starter.

With all those cranking amps, it’s also ideal for cold weather starts.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You can’t lift 18 pounds
  • You don’t need all the extras

Final Thoughts

Carrying your own boost for emergency use, and the convenience of a portable air compressor and charging outlets, make this a worthwhile investment.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Schumacher PSJ-1812 DSR ProSeries

Schumacher PSJ-1812 DSR ProSeries 1800 Peak Amps Jump Starter and Portable Power Unit

Overall Impressions

Well, it’s undoubtedly very grey. I suppose that means it fits with any garage décor?

In case you weren’t sure, it says “PRO” in big letters on the front, so you know it’s not messing around. The plastic housing seems pretty heavy duty, and we think it’ll stand up to the rigors of the workshop and the trunk.

Despite the heft, it packs up neatly for easy storage or stowage. There don’t seem to be a lot of “extras” for powering or charging things other than a car battery, but sometimes basic is ok.

Speaking of basic, the front displays are simple and easily understood. Operation should be a breeze.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit
  • 12V male-to-male accessory cable

Features

  • 18Ah AGM on-board battery
  • 12V DC outlet
  • LED charge indicators
  • LED battery status indicator
  • Automatic recharger
  • Plastic clamp handles

Specs

  • Weight: 17.5lbs
  • Dimensions: 17.7” x 12.9” x 11”
  • Peak Amps: 1800
  • Cranking Amps: 280
  • Cold Cranking Amps: 225
  • Cable Length: 28”
  • Cable Gauge: 4

What We Like

For safety, we like the plastic clamp grips – no concerns about a shock here.

The 12V outlet may prove useful for powering any device for which you have an adaptor. The cable wraps and clamp storage are nicely designed, including + and – indicators, so you never get your poles mixed up.

There’s just one button and 5 LEDs on the front display (2 for charging status, and 3 for charge level), making it very easy to read. While the weight is about the same as most single lead-acid battery jump starters, the dimensions are smaller than average, so it’ll take up just a little less room in the back of your car than some other options on the market.

What We Don’t Like

While we like and trust Schumacher products in general, we’re a little disappointed with the skimpy 90-day warranty on the internal battery. We do wish it had a USB outlet for emergency charging of portable electronics, though you do have the option of purchasing an inverter to let you power devices up to 140W. (Check out our guide here for the best car power inverters.)

The biggest issue we have with this unit is with the cables; at 28” long, they’re shorter than optimal, meaning you’ll have to position the jump starter carefully. The peak amps are high on the Schumacher PSJ-1812, but the cranking amps are not, and this will limit its effectiveness.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

With the cranking amps leaning towards the low side, we’re recommending this jump starter for people who own mid-size or smaller vehicles. It’s also suitable for boats and ATVs. The cold cranking amps aren’t bad, so you northerners should be covered on a freezing day.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You drive a large truck or SUV
  • You’d like something that charges portable electronics right out of the box

Final Thoughts

If you don’t need frills, but you do need reliable power, you should be happy with this jump starter. It does one job, and it does it with competence.

You can give it the once over, and have one sent your way, all at this link:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Top 3 Best Pocket-size Jump Starters

Antigravity XP-10 Microstart

Antigravity XP-10-HD Heavy Duty Micro start Jump Starter Power 300 Amps / 650A Peak DIESELS up to 7.3L with Hi-Power LED Flashlight with DiscountCentralOnline WB12 Bluetooth Speakers

Overall Impressions

Now that’s portable! I’m pretty sure my first Sony Walkman was larger than this jump starter. It’s hard to believe this tiny thing will actually allow a full-size internal combustion engine to even turn over, let alone start.

In fact, everything about this unit looks dinky, from the box itself to the tiny clamps. Still, that’s what you want in a portable jump starter.

It has a lot of ports on it, so we know it’s going to be useful for more than just a dead car battery. It doesn’t seem as robust as other entries in this category, so we feel a bit like we ought to take extra good care of it. Good thing there’s a carrying case included.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit
  • Mini jumper clamps
  • 12V DC cable
  • 8 laptop charging tips
  • 4-in-1 USB cable (mini, micro, Apple 8-pin, Apple 30-pin)
  • 12V charging cable
  • AC charging cable
  • Leatherette carrying case
  • Owner’s manual

Features

  • 4 ports: 19V, 12V, 2x5V USB
  • 110 Lumen LED flashlight
  • Overcharge, over-discharge protection
  • Capacity indicator
  • Rechargeable lithium battery

Specs

  • Peak Amps: 600
  • Cranking Amps: 300
  • Capacity: 18,000 mAh
  • Weight: 18oz.
  • Dimensions: 9” x 3.2” x 1.2”
  • Good for gas and diesel engines up to 7.3L

What We Like

Because it’s such a small unit, it’s super easy to take with you anywhere. Even if you’re on a motorcycle trip, or you’re ATVing deep into the wilderness, you’ll have no trouble finding a place to pack this little guy.

The ability to charge and power a variety of portable devices makes this a road-trip essential, especially if you don’t have a USB port in your vehicle. With so many tips and plugs included, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to power up even if you left your cord at home.

It’s a complete kit, including the multi-plug and a variety of laptop charging tips, plus the carrying case, and we appreciate the inclusion of these extras.

What We Don’t Like

For very large vehicles or severely depleted batteries, 600A may not be enough. We also have our doubts about firing up in the dead of winter with just 300 cranking amps. If you’re lucky enough to live where the temperatures don’t drop too low, this won’t be a problem.

The cables seem pretty short, so some batteries may be tough to get at. Fortunately, the jump starter is so small you can usually get it close to where you need it.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

Anyone who travels a lot and wants the security of carrying a jump starter, but hasn’t got space for a bigger unit might want this in their gear.

Vehicle owners in warmer climates should find this to be a reliable unit in a pinch, and I’d say it’s practically a must-have for motorcyclists and backcountry explorers.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You drive a very large vehicle
  • You live somewhere that gets very cold
  • You’re prone to losing small things

Final Thoughts

It is seriously amazing that a tiny battery pack like the Micro-Start XP-10 can bring a big engine roaring to life. That’s like hooking up Frankenstein’s monster to a pair of AAs and screaming, “It’s alive!” There is a lot to like about this jump starter, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Inspect it for yourself, and if you think this belongs in your trunk, trailer, or saddlebag, just click to order:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40

Overall Impressions

It’s a bit on the small side, but that’s ok; it’s a portable, after all.

Despite the small size, it still looks and feels fairly sturdy. It also has the same NOCO Genius look as other models in the series, including the G4 battery charger we reviewed in our article on the 5 Best Car Battery Chargers.

If you’re already got that, you might like this one to make a matching set.

Operation seems like it’s straightforward, with clear, easy to read labels, and a light-up charge level indicator.

The clamps are certainly scaled to the size of the unit, but look like they should provide a decent grip on post terminals. Including a flashlight (dual beams) is a nice bonus, though it’s difficult to imagine ever seriously using the SOS signal.

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit
  • Clamps and cables
  • Micro USB cable
  • User manual
  • Microfiber storage bag

Features

  • 24wH internal lithium-ion battery
  • 100 Lumens flashlight
  • Silicone wire insulation flexible to -40F/C
  • USB out for charging portable electronics

Specs

  • Peak Amps: 1000
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6.6” x 3.2” x 1.7”
  • Cable length: 23” from clamps tip to clamp tip
  • Good for gas engines up to 6.0L and diesel engines up to 3.0L

What We Like

We like the fact that it’s small but still rugged. Anything you’re going to toss in your trunk or glove box needs to have some durability. The swanky carrying case will also help extend its life. The whole thing is simple and easy to use, as a portable jump starter should be.

The flashlight feature can be a real lifesaver, especially if your vehicle craps out on you in the dark.

Less essential, but still useful, is the ability to recharge your portable electronics. Whether you need to power your phone in an emergency, or your kids are running out of juice on the iPad (also a crisis!), the NOCO GB40 has you covered.

Simple indicators let you know your charge level, and if you’ve hooked up the connectors to the wrong polarity. You really don’t need to be a mechanic to figure this thing out. Oh, and unlike most larger jumpstart units, this won’t require recharging every month – NOCO claims it will hold its charge for up to a year.

What We Don’t Like

Even with 1000 peak amps, NOCO doesn’t feel this unit can jump a diesel over 3 liters.

The cable length is quite short, which could leave you in some awkward situations, depending on where your battery is situated.

Although it can charge all manner of small electronics, you’d better have your charging cable with you, because this unit doesn’t come with any to help you out.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

Most general motorists with medium or smaller vehicles will find this useful. It’s great for people with boats, personal watercraft, and ATVs at the cottage because it’s so easy to pack and take with you.

At 1000 peak amps, you should be good in the cold, too. Anyone with a load of portable electronics will love it, also, especially if you don’t have a 12V adaptor for charging on the road.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You own a very large vehicle, especially a diesel engine truck
  • You aren’t good at remembering to bring your phone charger on road trips
  • Your battery is tough to get at (because of the short cables)

Final Thoughts

With so many amps on tap in such a small unit, this is a great investment for anyone who feels they don’t need the heft of a full-size jump starter weighing them down. It’s a genuine stow-and-go product that you won’t have to think much about, but you’ll be glad for when you need it.

Want to look like a genius with a Genius? Check out the NOCO GB40 right here:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

PowerAll PBJS12000R

Overall Impressions

There’s certainly nothing intimidating about this bit of gear, no matter how out of place you might feel under the hood of a car.

The design is simple but functional. It comes with a fair bit of extra gear for hooking up to a variety of devices, and it all packs up nicely in a carrying case.

It looks plenty small enough to stash in a glove box or center console storage area. At less than 2 pounds, you could even put it in a backpack, or motorcycle travel trailer without sacrificing valuable storage space. Definitely portable, but can it do the job?

What’s In the Box?

  • Main unit
  • Jumper cables
  • USB charging cable with 8 interchangeable tips
  • AC charger
  • DC charger
  • Carrying case

Features

  • Internal lithium-ion battery
  • 2x5V USB outputs, 1 x 12V output
  • 86 lumens LED flashlight
  • Good from -20F to 140F
  • Overload protection
  • Over-current protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Over-voltage protection
  • Over-charge protection

Specs

  • Peak Amps: 400
  • Cranking Amps: 200
  • Capacity: 12,000 mAh
  • Weight: 1.85lbs
  • Dimensions: 6.5” x 2.9” x 1.2”
  • Good for engines up to 6.4L

What We Like

The flashlight is dimmer than on the other portable units we reviewed, but at least it’s right in the front; you could use this as a regular flashlight, and it doesn’t feel like an add-on.

The extra inclusions are nice, especially the reasonably rugged carrying case. All the adaptor tips are cool, too – but only if they actually work on something you own.

Because it’s so small and light, you can travel with this easily, making it a perfect road trip companion.

With all the built-in safety features, you really can’t make a mess of things, no matter your level of experience. It’s also great that you can (apparently) complete 20 jump-starts on a single charge – excellent for those of us prone to forgetting to plug stuff in.

What We Don’t Like

It really doesn’t have the amps to jumpstart a vehicle larger than a small car, and it may not start anything in freeze-your-snot weather.

The cables for the clamps are very short, so you need to position it optimally under the hood. Of course, this is made easier by the tiny dimensions of the main unit.

Who is This Model Best Suited To?

Owners of small cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and personal watercraft should get good use out of the PowerAll PBJS12000. Actually, anyone who thinks they might need a light or a charge at some inconvenient time would do well to have one of these around.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You own a mid- to large-size vehicle
  • You live where it gets very, very cold

Final Thoughts

As long as you accept the fact this is almost certainly not going to start your big truck or sedan, it’s a great thing to have for your smaller vehicles and outdoor toys. Not a bad idea for a stocking stuffer for your kids or spouse, actually.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Jumping to Conclusions

All of these products are good choices, but, unlike parents, we do play favorites around here.

If we had to choose just one of these as our best jump starter for 2019, it would be the Stanley J5C09 12V Jump Starter. The combination of handy features and plenty of amps all backed by a name we trust makes this the clear winner.

Of course, all of these starters are good choices, and based on our overview of what features to look for, it’s possible another unit might be better for you.

We hope you learned enough about jump starters to see why every driver should have one in the garage, trunk, or boot. It’s a good insurance policy, and if the time comes to use it, you’ll be more than glad you made the investment.

Know someone who might be interested in this article? Share it on social, or email, and help them avoid buying a crummy jump starter. You can even send it as a hint to anyone you’ve ever given a boost. Or, just send them a jump starter as a gift.

Thanks for hanging out with us today, and we’ll see you the next time you’re looking for the best in automotive information.

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

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Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars. Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned. Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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