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Having a car comes with certain responsibilities, and well, possible unfortunate scenarios. One of these ugly possibilities is having a dead battery. Boy, is that a mood killer? Milliseconds later, your head rolls out two options to get past the hurdle—call AAA or use jumper cables that requires you to flag down another driver.
No doubt, both are good, feasible solutions, but there is one universal factor that can be a bummer—Murphy’s law. In case this is the first time you’re hearing of the law, well, it basically means “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” So, you think having a nice pair of jumper cables will get you off the fix? Possibly: But no one is immune to Murphy’s law and so your battery can decide to take a break at the worst possible time. Yea, and such times are a dime a dozen, like when you are lost with civilization out of sight or in the middle of the night.
With that said, what then could give your dead battery the needed push even if there is no one around to help you? A portable jump starter, that’s what. Portable jump starters are a new class of jump starters taking the industry by storm. The major appeal is the compactness they tout and the convenience of using them. These are huge features because the standard jump starter can easily be a lot of work. Their weight and size are over the top for easy storage in most cars. In addition, you have to bandy them every few months for charging at a wall outlet.
Ultra portable jump starters do not give you all that hassle. You can easily carry a portable jump starter in your pocket and certainly can stash it in your car easily. Lithium ion batteries power them, and you could charge other electronic with models that feature USB ports.
To see some of the most popular gadgets for your vehicle just click here.
Why You Should Buy A Portable Jump Starter
For the exact same reason that you have spare keys, carry cell phones, and always have security devices in close proximity. It’s difficult to predict when things can go wrong, so it pays to be proactive.
Of course, somewhere in the hallmark of our minds, we do know that your car could breakdown for any number of reasons at just about anywhere you can get the car to. However, most of us wouldn’t put the car battery on the top of their list of possible causes when the worst happens. Even if in the spirit of being prepared for most eventualities, we make provisions for solutions to a dead battery problem, we often only stick with carrying jumper cables. In addition, we feel reassured about how the AAA can swing in as a Knight to save the day.
It’s great if you are lucky enough to have AAA. Even then, there are many cases where jump-starting your car with the help of the AAA can take hours. If you do not have AAA, then you would be counting on another driver to help. That is an unreliable expectation because firstly no one may be nearby to help you. Secondly, even if someone is around, there is a valid possibility of him or her not having jumper cables.
Thirdly, even if there are cars rolling past you and the drivers have jumper cables, there’s no guarantee that any of the strangers would want to help you, because jump starting with jumper cables between two cars carry potent risks if done improperly.
For example, if the process is done improperly, the electrical system can be screwed, computer fried, or some other damage can occur.
In light of these, it is convenient and reliable to have a portable battery jump starter, also called portable car battery charger or portable battery booster. With a portable battery jump starter, there is no waiting, no soliciting for third-party help, and low possibility of being stranded. All you need to hook up and jump start your car is within the pocket-sized device. Best part is that thanks to the device you can go from “Oh, no!” to “Yea, that’s it!” within minutes.
What Is A Jump Starter?
Functionally a battery booster or jump starter acts like the battery of another vehicle. Therefore, how it works is similar to how jump-starting using the battery of another vehicle works. Going forward, a battery booster features its own alligator clamps to attach to your car’s battery. Consequently, there is no need for another vehicle nor do you have to put up with messy jumper cables.
When your battery is unable to get the engine started, you simply have to connect the jump starter to the battery. The jump starter then lends enough peak amps to “boost” your battery and start your engine.
The quality and prices of jumper packs differ. However, a reliable rule of thumb is “Higher price tag translates to better performance.” Currently, many jump starter models come with accessories like a portable air compressor or flashlight. It is pertinent to note that usage of any of these accessories depletes the charge in your booster pack.
The typical charge from a jump starter varies in mAh and amps. However, you should note that a battery booster does not charge car batteries. It only gives a boost. Thus, if your battery is completely flat or possesses very low cold cranking amps, your jump starter may not be effective.
How To Use A Jump Starter
- Match the respective colored alligator clamps of the battery booster to the appropriate terminals of the battery. Red indicates positive, while black indicates negative.
- After firm connection of the clamps to the battery, turn the jump starter on, if such control is available. Certain models do not have a power on/off button or switch because they automatically put out peak amps.
When you have clamped the jump starter to the terminals of the battery, and you have turned the starter on (if a control button/switch is available), the jump starter performs its task by transferring its peak amperage to your car battery. This transfer “boosts” the cranking amps of your battery, necessary to start your car.
Make certain that the jump starter unit and connecting wires are nowhere near any moving parts before you attempt to start your car. The jump starter will not charge your battery if you keep it plugged for an extended length of time.
Since, this is because the jump starter only puts out a base peak amperage, you usually have one shot of jump-starting your battery to get your car started. The best jump starter models give you more shots. Nevertheless, corroded or dirty battery terminals may mess up the connection, such that transfer of optimum peak amps from the jump starter to the battery becomes difficult.
Thus, it is very important to take good care of your battery and battery terminals.
Maintenance of A Jump Starter
When not in use, store your jump starter in a cool dry place. Leaving your battery booster in your car especially in extreme cold conditions can drain your starter and negatively affect the plastic clamp wire covers. Thus, you should endeavor not to leave it in your car.
Always ensure that your jump starter is fully charged, else it will disappoint you when you need it most.
1. Rugged Geek RG600 Review
The dimension of the Rugged Geek RG600 is impressive at 6.5” in length, 2.9” in width, and only 1.2” in thickness. Coupled with a just as impressive 1-pound weight, the Rugged Geek features a lightweight build, making it very easy to fit in just about any portable enclosure like your pocket or glove compartment of your car.
The delivery package comes complete with the jump starter, an AC adapter for your charging with your regular wall outlet, a 12-volt DC adapter for charging with your car or other DC power source, and a set of clamps to connect the Rugged Geek to your battery. The Rugged Geek features a lithium ion battery with a mammoth 12,000 mAh hold and cranks out 200 to 400 amps.
To see the current price for this model just click here.
- 2 USB ports; with which you can use to charge your devices like your smartphone
We used a BMW Z3 Coupe to test the performance of the jump starter. The car is 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine. Following the basic instruction of attaching the jump starter to the battery terminals, the ignition key was turned on, and the engine roared to action, as though it had a full charge.
According to various sources, this model may also work with big displacement V-8s, which places it as a suitable jump starter for most vehicles.
Remove the battery clamps immediately after starting your car. You can use the jump starter for up to 20 jump starts. It can work effectively for more than 500 charge cycles. Endeavor to plug it in at least once every three months to preserve the battery.
- High-end performance
- Useful accessories
- Up to 20 jump starts
2. Beatit BT-G18 Review
Weighing in at only 278g, the Beatit BT-G18 is deemed ultraportable. The unit itself is covered in a durable rubbery material, and could easily fit in a pocket or purse. This car jump starter has its own power source – the battery has a capacity of 9000mAh and reaches a full charge in around 3 hours.
This unit has a peak current of 450A. At these power levels, this unit would probably be best for cars with smaller batteries though we had no problems jump-starting our 2005 Chevy Cobalt or 2014 Toyota Tacoma during our tests. Typically, higher amperage is better for larger vehicles, especially if you will be jump-starting multiple vehicles back-to-back.
For the typical consumer who needs a portable and easy-to-use option in those emergency situations, the Beatit BT-G18 is your best bet.
In addition to jump-starting vehicles, this device can be used as a portable battery, with USB input for simple charging of phones or other portable devices, on-the-go. The LED has three lighting modes, intended for lighting, bling, or SOS situations. The screen lights up nicely and informs you of how much charge is currently held in the battery.
For those in need of a portable car jump starter with some added features at a very reasonable price, the Beatit BT-G18 is a great choice. No need to carry around cables and worry about finding an extra car to help jump-start your dead battery – this is a self-sufficient alternative to a common and annoying problem that every car owner faces at one time or another – a car that won’t start.
3. Juno Jumpr Review
If you thought the 1 pound weight of the Rugged Geek was impressive, you’ll be astounded by the 7-ounce Juno Jumpr (less than 0.5 lb) with full dimensions of 5.5” in length, 3” in width, and 0.6” in thickness. In comparison, the Jumpr is about as portable as an iPhone 6S (weight—6.77 ounces; dimensions—6.23” in length, 3.09” in width, 0.29” in thickness).
It features a lithium polymer battery with a capacity of 6,000mAh, which should give you an inkling of why it weighs less than the PowerAll. Also, it has only one USB outlet. Nonetheless, it can crank out 300 amps for jump-starting purposes. It is compatible with most four- and six-cylinder cars.
- Very lightweight, less than half a pound
- Decent performance
- Very affordable
4. Clore Automotive JNC660 Review
From the stable of premium brand Clore Automotive, the JNC660 Jump-N-Carry battery booster is a top performer. Although it is not a featherweight, as it weighs 18 pounds as against the 0.44 pounds of the Juno Jumpr. Still, it is convenient to carry about and certainly easy to use.
As a top performer, the JNC660 is suitable for both personal and professional use. It is a 12-volt jump starter with 1700 peak amps and 425 cranking amperes: Thus, making it highly effective in kicking life into a completely discharged battery.The clamps on this model are industrial grade and can function effectively regardless of the condition of the terminals of the battery.
The battery on the inside of the JNC660 is a proprietary “Proformer” battery. It is easy to charge the device, as all you have to do is plug the cord into an AC outlet. The model has built-in protection that enables it to stay plugged into a power source even after been fully charged, without damaging the internals of the unit. Thanks to its portability and high-end performance, the Jump-N-Carry JNC660 Jump Starter can be used in various capacities—in the garage, on the road, and at auto repair and mechanic workshops.
- Top performer suitable for both personal and professional use
- Industrial-grade clamps, which can be used effectively with corroded battery terminals
- Proprietary “Proformer” battery
You can see the current pricing for this option by clicking here.
5. Jump-N-Carry JNCAIR Review
The Jump-N-Carry JNCAIR Jump Starter is similar to the Jump-N-Carry JNC660 in that it is a 12-volt jump starter with 1700 peak amps, 425 crank amps, and having a proprietary “Proformer” battery. However, where it builds a unique identity is in its offering of an industrial-grade air compressor system, impact-resistant case, and built-in AC charger with automatic recharging capability.
Together, these additional features result in the JNCAIR weighing 25 pounds (7 pounds more than the JNC660).
The air compressor system on this model has an extensive 12-foot air hose and an in-built pressure gauge for effective usage. While the built-in AC charger helps keep the jump charger in top operating condition at all times. Like the JNC660, it is also able to protect itself from overcharging. The JNCAIR Jump-N-Carry Jump Starter is suitable for both personal and professional use. It is one of the best performing models available and its air compressor addition does offer it more versatility than most units in the market.
- Top performer
- Industrial-grade clamps
- Industrial-grade air compressor inclusion with built-in pressure gauge
The current reviews for this model can be found by clicking here.
6. Black & Decker Jumpstarter Review
Weighing just 1 pound in weight, this is among the lightest portable jump starters available. Coupled with its low profile design, you can store the JUS500IB easily within the vehicle or in your garage. The Black & Decker JUS500IB boasts of 1000 peak amps and 500 amps crank amps. It also features a compressor with 120 PSI, perfect for emergency inflation of vehicle tires and other inflatables; and an ultra-bright light.
A very important feature on the Black & Decker JUS500IB that doesn’t get as much talk-time is its visual and audible reverse polarity alarm. The alarm is a security feature beeps when you connect the jump starter to the batter incorrectly, which protects your battery from damage.
- High-end performance
- Very useful reverse polarity alarm
- 120 PSI inflator