Getting into your car and finding out the battery’s dead can really throw a wrench in your day. If you believe jumper cables are the only solution to that problem, think again. Portable jump starters will get your car going without needing another vehicle for a jump, making them a lot more convenient to use than jumper cables. These devices are compact enough to fit inside your glove box and give you a solution to jump start your vehicle in the case of an emergency.
Portable jump starters have become more popular in recent years, and many of them can also serve as a battery bank for your devices. That means it can serve as a portable charger to keep your phone or tablet fully charged on the go. In other words, they aren’t just there to jump start your car, they can serve another purpose.
There are plenty of options out there, and some of their specifications may look like a mix of random numbers and letters to you. We’re here to give you all the details you need to know about the best portable jump starters, so you can add this valuable tool to your car emergency kit.
For more information on the best portable car jump starters, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- Editor's Pick: NOCO Boost Plus GB40
- Versatile and Powerful: Audew 200A Portable Jump Starter
- Premium Features: DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
- Best for Large Vehicles: STANLEY Jump Starter (J5C09)
- HULKMAN Alpha85 Jump Starter
- Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry Jump Starter (JNC660)
- POTEK Jump Starter with Tire Inflator/Air Compressor
1. Editor's Pick: NOCO Boost Plus GB40
For most car owners, this portable jump starter from NOCO will be exactly what they need to get their dead battery going again. Compact, yet powerful, this jump starter is rated at 1000 amps and offers up to 20 jump starts on a single charge. You can safely use this jump starter on vehicles with gasoline engines up to 6 liters and diesel engines up to 3 liters.
Safety is extremely important when it comes to jump starting your vehicle, and this device has you covered. It features a mistake-proof design with spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection, so things won’t go awry even if you accidentally hook it up incorrectly to your battery. In addition, you can use this jump starter on a daily basis as a portable battery bank, charging your USB devices with ease. An integrated 100-lumen LED flashlight with seven modes may not see frequent use, but it’s nice to have in the case of an emergency.
As our Editor’s Pick, durability is another important factor to take into account. This charger checks all the right boxes in that department as well. It’s safe to use in any climate, thanks to high-discharge lithium technology, while the rugged, water-resistant enclosure is rated at IP65. On the outside is a rubberized over-molded casing that helps prevent scratching or marring of surfaces.
This company has a diverse lineup of portable jump starters, so if you need something more powerful, make sure to take a look at its other offerings.
- Pros/Rated at 1000 amps, offers up to 20 jump starts, supports gasoline engines up to 6L and diesel engines up to 3L, spark-proof technology, reverse polarity protection, integrated LED light, can be used as a portable battery bank, rugged and durable design
- Cons/Clamp design may not fit certain car batteries, no USB-C support
2. Versatile and Powerful: Audew 200A Portable Jump Starter
We recently got our hands on the Audew 2000A Portable Jump Starter, and you can read our complete review here. This recommendation offers 2000A peak current and has a 20000mAh battery capacity with USB-C support and we came away impressed with the results. It’s capable of jump starting gasoline engines of any size and diesel engines up to 8.5 liters, making it one of the most versatile offerings out there.
Sporting a sleek design, this portable jump starter even comes with a cigarette lighter adapter, allowing you to power 12V accessories straight from the unit itself. It comes with a durable, hard carrying case and several accessories including a pair of USB cables and a wall adapter for charging the jump starter. A built-in LED flashlight is a common feature on many of these devices, and Audew’s particular offering has three modes: normal, strobe, and SOS.
The top of the unit features a large acrylic lens that protects an LCD screen, which shows remaining battery life on the jump starter and whether or not it’s hooked up to another device. If we had any complaints, the display is a bit dim in broad daylight and the jumper cables are on the shorter side—but that’s by design to ensure jump starting capabilities, according to Audew.
- Pros/20000mAh battery capacity, 2000A peak current, USB-C support, 12V cigarette lighter adapter, jump starts gasoline engines of any size, diesel engines up to 8.5 liters
- Cons/Dim display in broad daylight, short jumper cables
3. Premium Features: DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
This recommendation from DBPOWER boasts 800 amps of peak current, making it capable of jump starting vehicles with gasoline engines up to 7.2 liters in size and up to 5.5-liter diesel engines. With a built-in 18000mAh battery, it’s possible to get up to 20 jump starts on a single charge, assuming you don’t use it to charge your portable devices. It’s more likely that you will however, since you likely won’t be needing to jump start your car every single day.
This portable jump starter can charge your USB devices and DBPOWER also includes an eight-in-one laptop adapter so that you can charge some laptops. The heavy duty clamps and cables feature overcurrent protection, short circuit protection, overload protection, over-voltage protection, and overcharge protection. An LCD screen is on the side of the device, displaying how much remaining battery life it has left. There’s also a compass and LED flashlight, just in case you ever need it.
The company provides a three-year warranty and great customer service.
- Pros/800 amps of peak current, 18000mAh internal battery, includes adapters to charge laptops, LCD screen, built-in compass and LED light
- Cons/Some quality issues with faulty units, poorly written instructions, short cables
4. Best for Large Vehicles: STANLEY Jump Starter (J5C09)
While it’s not as portable as the other jump starters we’ve look at so far on the list, the STANLEY Power Station Jump Starter offers 1000 peak, 500 instant amps along with a built-in 120 PSI air compressor. This is more of a heavy-duty jump starter geared towards truck owners with larger engines under the hood. What it does share in common with the other portable jump starters is that it features a USB output and a 12-volt DC outlet so you can charge other devices with it. There is also a built-in LED light that swivels 270 degrees, allowing you to adjust it accordingly.
It can also serve as an emergency air compressor with a brass-tipped SureFit nozzle for secure connections. For additional safety, this jumper has a reverse-polarity alarm that will alert the user if there’s an improper connection. It’s extremely easy to use—simply attach the clamps to the battery, turn on the switch, and start your vehicle.
Just keep in mind this is a larger jump starter, tipping the scale at nearly 18 pounds while measuring 11.2″ by 8″ by 13.5″.
- Pros/Multi-purpose and easy-to-use device, bright LED light, built-in USB port, reverse polarity alarm, can also be used as an air compressor
- Cons/Complaints about battery’s longevity, warranty, and unreliable compressor performance
5. HULKMAN Alpha85 Jump Starter
If you plan on using your portable jump starter as a battery charger for your mobile devices, you’ll want a device that recharges quickly. This way, it’s always ready to jump start your vehicle as well as keeping your smartphone topped off. For this, we turn our attention to HULKMAN’s Alpha85 Jump Starter that features the company’s patented 65W Speed Charge, which can fully charge the jump starter from zero percent to 100 percent in under 1.5 hours. The company says just over 20 percent of power is enough to start your car if necessary.
The starter itself offers 2000 peak cranking amps, allowing it to jump start vehicles with up to an 8.5-liter gasoline engine or a 6.0-liter diesel engine. HULKMAN claims this option can jump start 60 times on a single charge! Internally, it’s a 20000mAh battery bank and you get the added bonus of a 12-volt port to power any of your DC devices, like a portable tire inflator. There’s also a built-in flashlight with three modes and a 3.3-inch screen that displays status information.
All of this is housed in a rugged enclosure that boasts IP65 resistance, which makes it resistant to rain, dust, and drops. HULKMAN also includes a 24-month warranty and lifetime technical support.
- Pros/2000A, 20000mah internal battery, IP65, fast charging, 3.3″ screen, built-in flashlight and 12V port
- Cons/Doesn’t come with a carrying case/storage bag, may not work in extremely cold temperatures
6. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry Jump Starter (JNC660)
Another more traditional portable jumper is the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry Starter. Offering 425 cranking amps and 1,700 peak amps, this portable starter features PROFORMER battery technology, which is designed to provide extremely high power output, extended cranking power, and a long service life. Included with this charger are 46-inch, heavy-duty #2 AWG copper insulated cables with industrial grade Hot Jaw clamps.
While it’s not as modern as other jump starters on this list with no USB outlets, this product does have a 12-volt power output to power a variety of accessories. There is also a voltmeter on the front so you can check the status of the battery inside the starter.
This jump starter is ideal for vehicle owners who need something more durable. It’s housed in a heavy duty case that is impervious to shop fluids and is designed to withstand the rigors of everyday professional use. There is also a nice handle, making it easy to carry around.
- Pros/One of the best-designed jump starters, replaceable battery, carrying handle, reliable
- Cons/Extremely limited warranty, battery wears quickly with extensive use
7. POTEK Jump Starter with Tire Inflator/Air Compressor
This recommendation from POTEK delivers 900 peak amps and includes a 150 PSI air compressor, capable of inflating a regular car tire to 30 PSI in six to eight minutes. It’s equipped with a 9AH sealed lead acid battery and features a DC outlet socket and a 5V 2.4A USB port to charge other devices. An onboard storage compartment comes in handy, allowing you to store charging cables and other accessories, like the included nozzles for the inflator.
Safety features on this jump starter include an integrated LED light on the front, and a reverse polarity LED indicator, which warns you if the polarity is reversed. POTEK offers more powerful variants, with one charger featuring 1000 peak amps and a 12AH battery, while the range-topping variant has an 18AH battery and churns out 1500 peak amps. Grab one of the more powerful options if you have a larger engine under the hood of your car.
- Pros/Built-in tire compressor, available in several variants, sealed lead acid battery, DC outlet socket, 2.4A USB port, onboard storage compartment, LED light, reverse polarity indicator
- Cons/LED light isn’t extremely bright, tire compressor is loud
How many amps do I need to jump start my car?
As you can tell, portable jump starters have a variety of specifications that could make it tricky to determine the right one for your vehicle. What you need to know is that jump starter power is typically noted in cold cranking amps (CCA) or peak amps (PA). To measure CCA, a fully charged battery is put in a cold environment—0°F—and determining how many amps it discharges for 30 seconds. This value explains what to expect from a battery in the worst starting conditions.
It’s true that the more amps a jump starter offers, the more powerful it is. But does that mean you should just purchase the most powerful product? Not necessarily.
What’s important is determining just how much power you need for your vehicle. Compact cars or even small sedans can be jump started with as little as 150 CCA, while full-size trucks and SUVs need around 450 CCA. But there are other things to consider, such as engine size and how old the vehicle is. Larger engines and older vehicles will require more amps to jump start, which is why you will typically see powerful jump starters advertised as being capable of starting engines as large as 8.0L. Generally however, 400-500 CCA is adequate to start most vehicles.
Keep in mind there may be times you have to help jump start someone else’s vehicle. Most of the products on this list will cover any passenger vehicle on the road today, but it never hurts to have something more powerful at your disposal, if you’re willing to spend the extra money.
How to Use a Portable Jump Starter to Restart Your Car
Every person should know how to jump-start a dead car battery — it’s just a useful life skill to have. Knowing how to jump a car will save you time and money so you don’t have to call a tow truck. While most people will wave down a passerby or call a friend to help with the jump, drivers can save even more time and do it themselves if they have a portable jump starter in their trunk at all times.
But if that’s not an option, here is a step-by-step illustrated and easy-to-follow guide on safely jump starting your car the traditional way. Bookmark this page on your phone so you have it handy in case of an emergency.
How to Tell If the Car Battery is Dead
Before you equip yourself with jump-starting skills, it’s critical to establish that the battery is the actual reason the automobile won’t start. If you turn on the ignition and the engine makes a cranking noise, a dead battery is not the problem and jump-starting it will be a futile exercise. Conversely, if the car is totally dead upon turning the key and there’s no noise, then it’s highly likely that you have a dead battery in your vehicle and jump-starting it is perhaps the only option.