In this article: We'll review 4 of our best pick portable jump starters to bring with you in your car or boat to prevent you from being stranded. We'll walk through the products with quick reviews, photos and price comparisons to help you save on the jump starter you want!
- Best Portable Car Battery Jump Starter List
- Best Jump Starters: What to Look For
- How to Jumpstart Your Car Using a Battery Jump Starter or Jumper Cables
A portable jump starter is a great device to always have handy You’re almost guaranteed to experience a dead battery at one point, right?
Save yourself from the trouble of flagging someone down for a jump or hooking up long and tangled jumper cables to a friend’s car. Pick up one of our recommended best battery jumpers on the market to keep handy for a rainy day, literally.
Over the past decade, jump starters have come a long way. They were once heavy, bulky and difficult to use. Today, they are incredibly compact, light, easy to use and have a ton of great features. There really isn’t a reason not to carry one in your car, truck, boat, or any other vehicle that you might find yourself stuck with a dead battery.
We’ve assembled a list of top-rated car battery jump starters to help you find a trustworthy starter for your vehicle. And we take our ‘best lists’ very seriously. Our top pick jump starters that are compiled on this list are based on extensive research, our own experience and testing products and of course our knowledge in the industry. The recommendations here are guidelines, based on what we think are quality jump starters that will work well, last long and are built by manufacturers you can trust. And our lists originate here – they are not copied from other sources and thrown together without purpose. We’re constantly updating these lists as well so the next time you’re looking for a jump starter, you’ll always find the latest and greatest here.
What Is a Jump Starter?
For those who might be wondering if a jump start is the device for you, here’s a quick overview.
A jump starter is a device that’s used to connect to a vehicle’s dead battery to give it enough charge to start the engine. Although there are many jumpers that also offer charging capabilities, a jump starter’s sole purpose is not to charge or maintain your battery. It’s simply to give it a burst of power so that you can start your vehicle without charging it.
A jump starter takes the place of jumper cables and eliminates the need to have another vehicle or car battery to jump a dead battery.
A jump starter isn’t usually the best choice when you have a severely discharged battery that has fallen below 10 volts though. This level of discharge may require that the battery be taken to a shop or auto parts store and charged on a machine. It’s also worth pointing out that different sizes and types of engines require more or less power to start it. For example, larger diesel engines will require significantly more powerful jump starters than, let’s say, a Honda Civic. So be diligent, and make sure that the product you chose will in fact start your engine!
Looking for more battery and power products for your car? Check out these lists!
Best Portable Car Battery Jump Starter List
Best Overall Car Jump Starter: NOCO Genius GB40
- 1,000 amp 12v portable jump starter
- Built-in anti-spark technology
- Rapid recharge using USB-C
- Starts cars and trucks with up to 6.0l gasoline or 3.0l diesel engines
- 100 lumen LED light
- USB-A charging and USB-C recharge or charging ports
- Weighs 2.4 lbs
NOCO Genius GB40 Review
The NOCO Genius GB40 is our top pick for a couple reasons. This is a super-portable and compact battery jump starter that packs enough power to get the job done repeatedly. Not only does it work great, but it also includes a bunch of built-in safety features to prevent some of the most common problems from happening.
NOCO has built a brand around durability, longevity and quality and the Genius GB40 is a good example of that.
Power Handling Capabilities
While there are tons of portable jump starters on the market that will start a wide range of cars, we like that this design incorporates enough power to start most cars without being such an overkill that you are paying for power you’ll never use. It features a 1,000 amp capacity that will jump a regular car battery as many as 20 times.
The NOCO GB40 is rated to start gasoline engines up to 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to 3.0 liters. In our experience, this covers most cars and trucks on the road, however it might not be powerful enough if you are planning to use it on a large diesel truck, a tractor, or a full-size truck with a large V8 or V10 engine. NOCO offers larger capacity devices that will handle these types of vehicles though like the GB70 or GB150.
A key bit of safety that is built-in to this portable battery booster is the anti-spark technology that prevents accidental reverse polarization when the positive and negative cables touch or the clamps are put on the incorrect terminals. The unit also has a 100 lumen LED light that is great for emergency use, like when you realize your battery is dead late at night, or when replacing a flat tire on the side of the road.
One of the things we also like the most about NOCO jump starters is its ease of use. All the models have easy-to-understand buttons to control features and clear indicator lights that let you know what the unit is doing. On top of that, these jump starters also include dual USB ports. One of the ports is a USB-A port that is for charging cell phone batteries, while the other is a USB-C port that will charge a cell phone or recharge the unit.
- The best solution we’ve found for handling dead batteries
- Ideal portable jump starter that is easy to store, charges fast, and always works
- Not powerful enough for large diesel or gasoline engines
- Doesn’t include carry case
Most Universal Jump Starter: Antigravity Batteries MicroStart XP-10
- 300a/ 600a peak
- 18,000 mAh Lithium-ion battery
- Built-in safety features
- Starts gasoline or diesel vehicles up to 7.0l
- 110 lumen LED light
- Four USB charging ports
- Includes adapters for charging wide array of devices
- Weighs 1.12 lbs
Antigravity Batteries MicroStart XP-10 Review
When it comes to a top-of-the-line battery jump starter that is portable, the XP-10 from Antigravity Batteries is one of the best around. What we really like about this package is that it does so much more than just jump start your car battery. This all-in-one package is affordable, portable, and highly versatile.
The XP-10 is rated to provide 300 amps of power with a peak of 600 amps and allows for a maximum of 18,000 mAh that ensures the XP-10 will start almost anything you need. While the power rating is lower than that of our top pick, buyers have said that this portable battery jump starter works beyond its compact size and power rating.
Antigravity Batteries says that it will start all gasoline engines and diesel engines up to 7.0 liters. In fact, the XP-10 is tested in the most difficult conditions. It packs a punch way above its diminutive size, too. One of our favorite things about this design is that it is more versatile than most other designs because it provides options for charging several types of batteries quickly and efficiently.
The XP-10 provides protection from over and under-charging and has an automatic shutoff when temperatures get too high. It also features a protection circuit to prevent accidentally switching the polarity when hooking it up to a battery.
The XP-10 is more than just a car battery jump starter- in fact, it is intended to power almost any battery-operated device. The kit includes a variety of plugs and adapters so you can use the jump starter to power your cell phone, laptop, or recharge a drone battery. It’s even compatible with 16v Apple devices and 19v USB devices.
- Compact and portable solution to most charging and starting issues
- Included connectors for charging virtually all devices you use every day
- Numerous knock-off products are reported on the market. The real XP-10 should have a matte finish and a soft touch exterior, not glossy, slick, and hard
- 2,000a, 20,000 mAh provides up to 60 jump starts
- Built-in safety features
- Four USB ports for charging devices, includes QC and PD ports
- Starts gasoline engines up to 8.5l and diesel engines up to 6.0l
- 400 lumen flashlight/ warning beacon
- Easy to use design
- 24-month warranty
- Weighs 2 lbs
Hulkman Alpha 85S Review
This is the latest version of the Hulkman Alpha 85, and it brings all the reliability and durability of the previous model with several new unique features that set it apart from other portable jump starters on the market. One of the things we particularly like about this jump starter is the ability to operate in the world's most extreme conditions.
Of the battery jump starters on our list, this is the most capable compact design, even if it doesn’t have the reputation of some of the others on our list. This little sucker packs an advertised 20,000 mAh of power and can crank out up to 2,000 watts at once. Hulkman tested it on more than 500 models by over 30 brands.
The great thing about this design is that it’ll start just about anything you’ve got. Hulkman attested it on engines up to massive 500+ cubic inch big block gasoline and 6.0l diesel engines and it had no trouble handling the task. This battery jump starter will get your car, truck, or tractor back on the road with ease.
The 85S has the standard overheat and overcharge protections along with reverse polarity protections to prevent sparks and damage if the leads get crossed. These safety protections ensure that you won’t damage the unit or your expensive car battery and charging system when something goes wrong.
One of the most unique things about this charger is the ability to preheat a battery to prevent cold startup that can lead to significant drain and the failure of the vehicle to start. The 85S will work in temperatures as low as minus-40 degrees F, ensuring that you get where you are going no matter what the weather. It features four USB ports, including a USB-A QC3.0 port and a high-speed USB-A PD port. It recharges at 65 watts, but due to the large size, it will take longer than most other boosters.
Best Jump Starter for Pros: Schumacher DSR115 ProSeries
- Up to 750 cranking amps
- Starts Class 8+ vehicles including semi-trucks and tractors
- Built-in safety features including reverse polarity protection
- USB-A 2.1a output
- Heavy-duty jumper cables with all-metal clamps
- Jumps 12v & 24v batteries
- Includes 2a external charger for recharging booster
- Weighs 42 lbs
Schumacher DSR115 ProSeries Review
This one is a little different than the others on our list. All of the top products will fit in your glove box or center console, but this one is a bit bigger. When you need serious power, this is the device you need, though. It’ll handle anything you’ve got, from industrial equipment to military generators, to stubborn old classic cars and trucks. While it isn’t as portable as some options, when you need the ultimate jump starting power, this is the go-to for you.
Think of this as the equivalent of another car battery, only better. It offers up to 750 cranking amps and 525 cold cranking amps, numbers typically seen with a brand-new battery. With a peak of 4,400 amps on hand, this professional-grade jump starter is the perfect tool for your garage, shop, or fleet office.
How big do you need? This portable battery jump starter can probably handle it. Rated for up to Class 8+ use, this jump starter will have no trouble getting a semi-truck, backhoe, or bucket loader fired up in a matter of minutes. Worried that you will get stuck in your company truck? Bring this guy along and never have a concern about a discharged battery again. It’ll start big diesel engines repeatedly without breaking a sweat. It’ll even jump 24v power systems like on commercial and military vehicles.
The DSR115 has a full suite of built-in safety protocols that ensure the charger isn’t damaged and sensitive batteries survive the jump-starting ordeal. Unlike earlier designs, this one uses a separate 2a automatic charger to recharge using 110v wall power, making it both quick to charge and convenient. It has overcharge protections and a reverse polarity lockout to prevent sparks and damage.
The remote 2a charger is intended as a safety and convenience feature that ensures the device is rapidly charged without trouble. It connects to the main body using a specialty plug so that you can’t get confused. Some people like it, others don’t.
You’ll get a single USB-A output that provides a standard 2.1a charge to handle charging devices like cell phones and laptop batteries. This is a true professional-quality battery jump starter and it won’t let you down.
- Professional-grade battery jump starter
- Will work for virtually any vehicle on the planet including semi-trucks
- Ideal for fleet and shop use
- Bulky and heavy compared to other options
- External 2A charger is sometimes annoying
Best Jump Starters: What to Look For
Just like most car components, jump starters can be a little confusing when you’re looking to buy. Different manufacturers have different features, ratings, and there’s very little consistency between them. So, what’s the difference between them? What makes one better than the other?
Here’s a quick list of common terms and definitions that’ll help you understand the differences between car jumpers, and ultimately find the ideal unit for your application. Remember, even though the lists we provide might be a great list, the best jumper for your car is the one that meets YOUR needs.
Cranking Amps (CA) – Can be defined as the number of amperes a lead acid battery at 32 deg F (0 deg C) can deliver for 30 seconds. It’s basically the amount of power that you require to start your car in almost any climate.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) – Is a term that’s used in the battery industry to rate a battery and its ability to start an engine in cold climates. Like Cranking Amps, it’s the number of amps a 12-v battery can deliver at 0 deg F for 30 seconds while maintaining at least 7.2 volts.
mAh – A milliamp Hour (mAH) is a unit for measuring electric power over time. It’s mostly used to describe the total amount of energy a battery can store at a time and is a common metric that’s used to determine the strength or capacity of a battery.
Peak Amps – Like most cases, peak ratings are near pointless and are used as marketing material to impress buyers. It’s a self-explanatory metric but it’s not something that you want to use to determine if a car jumper is for you. Refer to cranking amps, cold cranking amps and mAH.
If you're looking to maintain and charge your battery, check our list of Best Car Battery Chargers.
How to Jumpstart Your Car Using a Battery Jump Starter or Jumper Cables
The devices on our list above make jump starting a dead battery as simple as it can be. Follow the steps below to use a battery jump starter to get your car going in no time at all.
- Locate the battery and ensure that the car is in park with the key turned off. For safety, remove it from the ignition.
- Attach the red (+) cable on the battery jump starter to the positive (+) battery terminal. This is usually indicated with a red plastic cover, a red cable, and a Positive sign on the battery. Don’t guess.
- Next, attach the black (-) cable on the battery jump starter to the negative (-) terminal on the battery. This is usually a black cable with a Negative mark on the battery. You can also tell because the negative cable will bolt to a metal part on the car and nothing else.
- Turn on the battery jump starter and set the device according to the manufacturer recommendations.
- Put the key back into the ignition and crank the engine. Crank for 30 seconds or until the engine starts. Do not turn off the engine.
- Remove the negative battery jumper cable first, then the positive cable. Drive the vehicle for about 30-minutes to allow the alternator to charge the battery.
Your battery is dead, and you don't know what to do! It might seem like a difficult task, but jump starting your car, boat or vehicle is quite simple. Follow the steps below to use jumper cables and jump start your car with ease and confidence!
- Get the running vehicle as close to the dead car battery as possible. You must get close enough so that the jumper cables reach.
- Place your car in park if it is an automatic. If it is a manual, place it into neutral. Apply the parking brake and turn your engine(s) off.
- Grab your jumper cables. Note the color of the clamps – one red and one black. Red is for positive (+) and black is for negative (-)
- Open your car hood(s) and locate the battery(ies) and where the battery terminals are. Identify which terminal is positive (+) and negative (-). In most cases, the positive terminal will have a red plastic cover. Both should be labeled with a (+) and (-) to help you identify which is which. If in doubt, follow the cable that bolts to a metal part of the car. This one is negative. The battery should also be labeled.
- Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery first. Now, clamp the other end of the red cable to the charged battery in the other vehicle (+) making sure that the negative clamps aren’t touching each other or metal parts of the car.
- Now you will connect the black negative cable to a metal, unpainted area of the car with the dead battery. This is important. You can do this by finding an exposed bolt or nut on the engine block, or on the vehicle's chassis. While it is common to use the negative battery terminal, doing so may cause problems with some sensitive electronics. Do the same with the other negative battery cable.
- Start the vehicle with the charged battery and wait a minute or two before trying to start the vehicle with the dead battery. In some cases, you can rev the vehicle with the charged battery to help give your dead battery some extra juice.
- To disconnect, start with the black cable clamps. Then move to the red, ensuring they do not touch any part of the other cable or the car.
And that's it! You're an expert at jumping your car safely now. Good luck!