In this article: I'll unbox a TOPDON JS3000 and give you a first hand look at the jump starter. I'll review all of its key features and show you how to hook it up and use it to jump start your own vehicle.
I have found out the hard way, multiple times, that a dead battery can strike at any unexpected time. And it's typically the worst time – like in the middle of July after purchasing some frozen food at the local grocery store, or mid-winter after a nice dinner downtown. And it's not just my car that I worry about either – it's my wife's who happens to be driving around a toddler at the time of this review.
In today's world I think that jumper cables are an outdated tool and that instead, all cars should be equipped with a jump starter instead. I have one in every vehicle I own, including my boat.
Jump starters are the modern jumper cable, but don't require you to flag down a random person on the road down to jump your car. They're easy enough to use for even the least car savvy person, including your children and wives, and will give peace at mind to anyone who has a battery older than 3-5 years.
I was recently in need of a new jump starter for my 2021 F-150. For audio enthusiasts like me who may have installed a custom stereo in my F-150 and have a couple thousand watts of power behind the back seats, it's not out of the norm that a dead battery strikes. TOPDON was gracious enough to provide their latest JS3000 jump starter and in this article, I'll unbox it, review it's features and show you how to jumpstart your vehicle with the unit.
TOPDON JS3000 Unbox & Overview
TOPDON's JS series jump starters, or JumpSurge, come in a variety of sizes and amperages. The JS3000 has the highest ratings of the bunch, featuring 3,000 peak amps for jump starting even some of the largest liter engines. Probably overkill for my F-150's 3.5L Ecoboost, but definitely useful for your Ram, Chevrolet or Ford 2500 or 250 owners who might have a 6.4 gas or 6.7L Diesel.
TOPDON's JS3000 comes neatly boxed. When you open the packaging the unit itself is tucked nicely in a zip-up carrying case that's nicely padded and well protected. No assembly required.
Immediately after opening, the first thing worth noting is the size of the unit. It's one of the larger jump starters, which makes sense because it's also one of the more powerful units. It measures about 10.5″ wide by 5″ tall and 2.5″ deep. It might not fit in your glove box but it'll definitely tuck nicely under a seat or in your trunk. The carrying case appeared to be good quality and the unit fit well inside along with the accessories.
What I liked about this unit was the battery terminal clamps were heavy duty with a strong grip. I've tested a few budget-friendly units with low quality clamps, but I didn't get that feeling. The only thing I would prefer is that the cord length was a bit longer. The clamp cord only measured about 8 inches. For inconveniently located batteries, this might pose a challenge trying to set the jump starter in a good location while reaching the battery. I've always appreciated longer battery terminal connectors to provide more room for setting the jumper in a secure place instead of on top of the motor on on the battery. The plug from the clamps into the unit felt solid and secure.
What's in the Box
- TOPDON JS3000 Battery Jumper
- Positive and Negative Battery Terminal Clamps
- AC USB Wall Charger
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Zip up Carrying Case
- User Manual
Key Features of the JS3000
Originally, jump starters didn't do much more than start your car. They were incredibly bulky and only had enough juice to start your car a couple times. Over time, manufacturers started adding a ton of convenient features like USB ports, stands, lights and more. And with battery technology today they're smaller and more powerful than ever. Let's talk about some of the key features of the JS3000 and what I liked and disliked.
Jump Starting Features & Capacity
First off, the JS3000 is one of the higher capacity units on the market. With a 3000 peak amp rating and 24000 mAh capacity, it'll be able to jump start virtually every conventional car, truck or SUV on the market. TOPDON claims that it can be used on gas engines up to 9L and diesel engines up to 7L.
I liked the simple button and indicator design on the front of the JS3000. Easy to read and very easy to use. You really don't need the manual. One feature to call out that can be helpful in a pinch is the Boost button. In certain scenarios, your battery might be so dead that your jump starter doesn't register the battery. If you left your interior light on long enough that you don't even hear a ‘click' when you try to start the car, chances are you'll need this feature.
By holding the ‘Boost' button on the front for three seconds after connecting the jump starter, it'll override the sensor and force an output to start your car. But use it with caution, by using the Boost, you're essentially disabling the safety features that prevent current from running through the unit if it's not attached to a battery.
Ports & Outputs
What happens if your car's battery is dead AND your phone? Calling AAA could be impossible. Most manufacturers thought about that and incorporate a variety of charging ports directly on their jump starters. TOPDON's JS3000 is not exception to that standard and includes multiple charging ports on the unit, including:
- 1 USB Quick Charge 3.0 5V/3A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A port
- 1 USB 5V/2A port
- 1 bidirectional USB-C charging port. This port is used to also charge the JS3000 but serves as a charging port for devices that use USB-C as well.
- 1 10A, 16.8V max DC output port
- 1 clamp socket for battery clamps
I think the combination of USB and USB-C ports is ideal and will give you the power you need in a pinch to charge any device if your car's battery is dead. Or you could also bring it along with you for a camping trip, for example, to keep your devices charged all weekend.
Safety is huge for jump starters. They put out a solid amount of power and can create sparks, overheat, damage your equipment and can even be harmful to users without the appropriate features. The safety features on the JS3000 make the unit pretty ‘dumb' proof, as they should. This includes things like:
- Reverse polarity detection to prevent damage to the unit or your vehicle if you accidentally put the wrong clamps on the wrong battery terminal
- Short circuit detection
- Over currents to prevent an overcharge or overcurrent when attached
- Reverse charge prevention to prevent your car's battery from charging the jump starter
- Over discharges to extend the life of the life of the JS3000 but prevent overly discharging it as well
- Low temperature
I think the most notable safety features that could prevent serious damage to your vehicle or even harm the user are the reverse polarity detection and short circuit detection. These two features are very important and have become pretty standard across car battery chargers, tenders and jump starters.
Long gone are the Home Alone 2 days where you could short circuit a sink or other metal surface and shock yourself like Marv with a battery charger. It's features like this that have become standard to prevent such events.
Safety features and outputs aside, the TOPDON JS3000 has a couple of added convenience features to help simplify the process of jump starting your car that I thought were important and worth noting as not all jump starters have them.
Most notably, the unit comes with:
- A flexible stand that allows the unit to sit upright on a flat surface.
- Extendable hook that allows you to hang the unit while you jump start your vehicle. For example from your hood.
- Carrying handle for easy handling.
- LED light so that you can see what you're looking at under your hood at night time. The LED light has three modes – constant, strobe and SOS
How to Jump Start Your Car with the TOPDON JS3000
Time needed: 3 minutes
Jump starting your vehicle with a unit like the JS3000 has never been easier. To jumpstart your car or truck with this product, follow the simple steps below. You can also look at our how to jump start your vehicle article for more detailed information.
- Turn off your vehicle's headlights, interior lights, stereo and AC/heater
Before you attach your jump starter, be sure to turn off anything in your vehicle that might draw unnecessary power while starting up the car.
- Locate your car's battery and place the jump starter in a convenient location
Find your car's battery. Typically they're in the engine bay under your hood but could also be located under the passenger seat or in the trunk on some vehicles. Place your jump starter within 6-8 inches of the battery terminals so that the jump starter's clamps will reach the battery.
- Connect your jump starter's clamps to the battery
Place the red clamp on the positive (+) battery terminal and the black clamp on the negative (-) battery terminal.
- Ensure your jump starter recognizes your battery
At this point, the jump starter should register your car's battery and the indicator lights should turn on.
**Note that if your battery is too dead for the JS3000 to register, use the “Boost” button to override the detection safety feature and enable you to jump your battery regardless.
- Start your vehicle
With the jump starter connected, you can now get in your vehicle and start it up!