Initial Impressions: Ryobi 18V ONE+ Jump Starter Is CPR For Your Dead Battery

Jumper cables served us well for years, but modern jumper boxes are safer for you and your car.

byMichael Febbo|
Ryobi 18V ONE+ Jump Starter
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Unless you’re brand new to car ownership, you’ve dealt with at least a few dead batteries. It's just another consumable that will eventually require replacement. When it does, it usually leaves you with a car that won’t start. Yes, this is the point where manual transmission owners can gloat.

Having a jump starter is easier and safer than jumper cables, not to mention that you don’t need another car. There are countless jump starters on the market, but like your car battery, most of them use a battery that will eventually fail. Unlike your car, they aren’t replaceable. 

But why not use a jump starter like this Ryobi 18V unit that not only uses a rechargeable battery pack, but one that can be put to use in other tools when it isn’t reviving your dead car? Ryobi actually sent this 18V ONE+ Jump Starter Kit to me for review, so let’s see if it’ll live up to the rest of the brand’s lineup.

How Is This One Different From The Rest?

I carry a jump starter in my trunk at all times. I use it several times a year, too, either on my own cars, my family’s cars or even complete strangers’ cars. Mine is small, I would say about the size of a Walkman. But, only people my age and Radwood cosplayers will know what that means. 

Most jumpstarters are about the size of a 10-piece McNuggets box, yeah? OK, this Ryobi unit is bigger, not as huge as the ones that had sealed motorcycle batteries in them but think more like the size of the bag your McNugget Meal comes in. My first thought is that this probably isn’t something I would carry with me all the time. Not just because of the size, but because this uses the same Ryobi 18V batteries as my Ryobi tools. So, I’m probably not going to want to have that sitting in my trunk doing nothing when it could be running a cordless ratchet, drill, vacuum, Bluetooth speaker, or chainsaw—so far there isn’t a blender or t-shirt cannon, but I’m sure those are coming.

My small portable jumper is good for maybe two uses before needing to be recharged. This Ryobi unit claims to be able to start a car 20 times on one fully-charged 2ah battery—presumably 20 cars or five airplanes with four car engines. The biggest engine I’ve started with my small jumper is a 3.6 liter V6. Ryboi claims its green box won’t flinch at a 6.0 liter V8. Between this initial impression and the full review, I am hoping to find a Bugatti with a dead battery to give this thing a real test.

This tool strikes me as being for a person who has a regular need to jump a project or an occasionally driven car. Or, it could be for the professional who works in a shop where they may be jumping multiple cars per day. Obviously, this is also for the person who is committed to Ryobi tools or plans to be in the future. The brand-specific batteries are how they lock you in.

Thoughts On Quality And Value

This jump starter is made from the same materials and with the same level of manufacturing techniques as other Ryobi tools. I know that a bias against this brand definitely exists, but as someone who has worked with all different brands of tools professionally in the past and now reviews all different brands, sometimes head to head, I don’t understand it. This feels like a well-built durable tool, like other Ryobi products I’ve used in the past.

The controls on the outside feel rugged and I’m sure it will handle being pushed around inside your tool cabinet or on a shelf until it’s needed. Grab it, slap a battery in, and away you go. The wires have thick insulation and the alligator clamps feel pretty tough as well. There are operating instructions printed on the outside, this is a small but hugely important feature on things like this which don’t get used often and is something from every other jumper box I've used.

Ryobi claims this will put out 1600 amps to crank over your engine. If you’re wondering, the largest Interstate MTZ or Commercial battery is rated at 1000 amps. Ryobi wants to make sure none of those amps go through you so the jump starter is equipped with anti-spark and reverse polarity protection. There’s even a light built into the body to help you see what you're doing as well as keeping you more visible to other drivers.

A tool like this 18V ONE+ Jump Starter Kit isn’t the easiest thing to test. I’m not hoping one of my neighbors will have a dead battery in the near future, but it would make my life easier – just throwin’ it out there to the Universe. If not, I will find a way to test the performance of this jump starter between now and then.

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