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These Are the Jump Starters That’ll Get You out of a Pickle

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BY/ LAST UPDATED ON January 26, 2022

A jump starter doesn't replace a battery charger. It also doesn't remove the need to replace your car battery from time to time. It is an incredibly handy tool, however, that may save you from calling roadside services or depending on the kindness of strangers. The first time you add one of these to your collection, you're going to feel almost like you've entered a cheat code due to the amount of time and frustration it'll save you. That is as long as you pick the right model. Jump starters are nothing new, and there are equally as many duds as there are home runs out there. The good news is, you've come to the right place for a little insight on which are worth their salt and when you'd want to consider a particular model over another.

Best Overall

Noco Boost Plus GB40

Summary

A rugged, fully automatic portable jump starter with consistent performance and built-in safety measures that get the job done.

Pros
  • Works consistently 
  • Perfect for most car owners 
  • Heavy-duty jumper cables are better than most
Cons
  • Poorly made storage bag
  • Fewer additional power ports than most
Best Value

Tacklife T8

Summary

Full of features, this portable jump starter and battery pack is the right combination of quality, versatility, performance, and cost.

Pros
  • Affordable 
  • More than enough power for the average motorist
  • Plentiful additional ports/functions
Cons
  • Clumsy safety protection box
  • Poorly placed flashlight
Honorable Mention

Audew Portable Jump Starter

Summary
This affordable unit is a solid contender for best value. Despite the low price, it's powerful enough for most applications and comes packed with features. 


Pros
  • Affordable 
  • Surprising performance for price 
  • Plenty of additional ports/functions
Cons
  • Relatively low durability 
  • Bulky protection box on cables
These Are the Jump Starters That’ll Get You out of a Pickle

Our Methodology

Quite a few factors influence the selection of jump starters on our list. However, one thing that's been left off the table is commercial demand. While hunting for jump starters, it was clear that most people aren't after something you might find in a professional shop. That's why there aren't heavy-duty options on the list or or ones that jump multiple vehicles. Most of there are designed to keep in the vehicle with you for emergencies. 

Research comes from a few different places. Some of these chargers were subjected to hands-on testing or are models our team has personal experience with. Otherwise, I made sure to stick to our usual research routine to ensure anything on this list is worthy of your time and money. 

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Best Portable Jump Starter Reviews & Recommendations 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Noco 

Model Number: Boost Plus GB40

Starting Amps: 1,000

Pros:

  • Highly consistent 
  • Perfect for most car owners 
  • Heavy-duty jumper cables are better than most

Cons:

  • Poorly made storage bag
  • Fewer additional power ports than most

The Noco GB40 is both a model that exists in our personal collections and is one that was subjected to hands-on testing. It's proven to be a reliable, consistent unit that's not soon to let you down when things get tough. That said, it's equipped with long, sturdy battery cables, it's easy to use, features reverse-polarity protection, and doubles as a power bank for your smart device. This model is rated to jump start up to six-liter gas engines and three-liter diesel engines, making it the perfect match for most car owners. I have even seen this jump a 440 cubic-inch V-8 countless times, and it's still trucking. 


As for the drawbacks, there are few to talk about. The storage bag it comes with isn't quite the right size for the unit and lacks in quality. It also lacks in the number of additional ports and features in comparison to many other models. 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Tacklife 

Model Number: T8

Starting Amps: 800 

Pros:

  • Affordable price point 
  • More than enough power for the average motorist
  • Plentiful additional ports/functions

Cons:

  • Clumsy safety protection box
  • Poorly placed flashlight

The Tacklife 800A T8 is difficult to ignore. The low price is the first thing to capture your attention, but that shouldn't lead you to believe it's a slouch. My testing revealed this to be a true contender. Aside from being reliable, it packs quite the punch with the ability to jump start up to seven-liter gas engines and five-liter diesel engines. Still a little small for HD truck owners but more than enough for the average motorist. It also comes equipped with plenty of bells and whistles for charging up laptops, smart devices, and anything else with USB ports.


The primary issue with this unit is the bulky safety protection box at the base of the clamp leads. Its function isn't an issue. It's just clumsy in relation to other models. Also, the location of the light renders the flashlight somewhat useless when connecting the cables to your battery. 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Audew 

Model Number: AUDEW

Starting Amps: 1,000

Pros:

  • Affordable price point 
  • Surprising performance for price 
  • Plenty of additional ports/functions

Cons:

  • Relatively low durability 
  • Bulky protection box on cables

The Audew portable jump starter just misses our pick for Best Value, and its overall performance claims make it a solid contender. Obviously, the price is lower than most will expect to pay for a jump starter, making its ability to jump up to an eight-liter gas engine or six-liter diesel utterly shocking. While it's safe to assume those numbers may be generous, my testing did prove it to be more than capable of servicing the average motor vehicle. It's also worth pointing out that this model also features two USB ports, meaning you and a passenger can charge up your phones in an emergency situation. 


While it will do just fine under normal circumstances, this may not be the most durable unit. We suspect it's strong enough to endure most anything you'll encounter on the road. That said, the bulky protection box at the base of the cables isn't exactly our cup of tea.  

Specs:

Manufacturer: Antigravity Batteries 

Model Number: ‎AG-XP-MS-3

Starting Amps: 200

Pros:

  • Compact size 
  • Impressive power output for the size 
  • Plentiful additional features 

Cons:

  • Relatively high price 
  • Reviews indicate quality control issues may be present

If space is tight, then the XP-3 is what you're looking for. This model measures just one inch thick and is small enough to keep in your pocket. It's probably better to keep it in a backpack, though. Really, we'd suggest this to powersports enthusiasts and motorcycle owners, but its ability to jump startup to a five-liter gas engine makes it a good choice for most people. It also does feature two USB charging ports, which can prove handy for many situations. 


While this is a great option, there are some things we dislike about it. The price is a little high considering the relatively low power output and lack of features. There are several complaints about defective units, leading us to believe that there is a quality control issue. 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Gooloo

Model Number: GP2000

Starting Amps: 2,000 

Pros:

  • Enough power for most vehicles 
  • Plenty of charging ports for devices
  • Can be used to power other automotive tools 

Cons:

  • Bulky protection box on cables
  • Poorly placed flashlight

The Gooloo GP2000 is certainly a heavy hitter. It has the juice to jump start up to nine-liter gas engines and seven-liter diesel engines, making it a solid contender for pretty much any vehicle owner. It features a total of three ports for charging: two USB, one type C. On top of that, it comes with a 5-volt/10-amp DC Output to power additional tools such as tire inflators and vacuums. These features easily make it one of the most well-equipped compact starters on our list. 


Unfortunately, this is yet another model stricken with a bulky protection box and poorly placed flashlight. These aren't serious problems for many, but better designs are to be expected for the money it brings in. 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Schumacher 

Model Number: SC1281

Starting Amps: 100


Pros:

  • Can charge battery and run diagnostics 
  • Long cables 
  • Relatively low price 

Cons:

  • Quality control issues are common 
  • Not portable 

This Schumacher has a place in any DIYer's shop. It's more than just a jumper, as it can perform diagnostic tests to help you determine what killed the battery in the first place. Not only that, but it can also charge AGM, gel, and standard batteries. This model also has exceptionally long leads, which is perfect considering the size of the unit and that many battery chargers are stricken with frustratingly short cables. It also sits at a surprisingly low price point. 


This unit is great for the garage, but it does rely on 120-volt power and is not portable. Furthermore, there are a concerning number of complaints about faulty units reaching customers. 

Specs:

Manufacturer: Stanley 

Model Number: J5C09

Staring Amps: 1,000 


Pros:

  • Built-in compressor 
  • Can charge/power many devices 
  • Affordable price point 

Cons:

  • Takes up a lot of space 
  • Relatively short battery cables

We've all seen something like this Stanley before. It's the kind of emergency roadside tool many were gifted as teenagers. It does have the power to jump-start a vehicle, but the built-in compressor makes it easy to air up the tires enough to get off the side of the road. It's priced perfectly for the average consumer, which isn't much of a surprise coming from Stanley. Also, the USB charging port and 12-volt DC port make it easy to power up or charge devices you'll want to keep handy in an emergency. 


This is a great unit, but it is large. Saving space is a big deal in modern vehicles. The cables are also relatively short, which can make it awkward for some car owners to use. 

Best High-Powered Portable
Noco Boost Pro GB150
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Specs:

Manufacturer: Noco

Model Number: GB150

Starting Amps: 3,000


Pros:

  • Superior performance 
  • Can jump virtually any passenger car 
  • Well-though cable design

Cons:

  • Limited additional features 
  • Premium price point 

This isn't a carbon copy of the GB40. In fact, you can call this its big, bad, hairy-knuckled brother. The GB150 has enough juice to crank dead nine-liter gas engines and seven-liter diesel engines to life. While it's not the only one on this list to do so, the consistency certainly is better than most. As to be expected, it's exceptionally easy to use, features protection from reverse polarity, and the cables are integrated into the body for simple storage. 


Let's not sugarcoat the price, though. This is about three times as much as many want to spend on a jump starter. Despite that, it only features one USB port, meaning it's relatively limited when it comes to additional features. 

Our Verdict 

Again, the Noco Boost Plus GB40 is hard to beat for most car owners. It's priced just right and can easily jump-start common applications. However, the Tacklife T8 is a great way to go if you want to save money. That's just my take, though. Be sure to reach out and let us know what you think the best jump starters are. 

Jump Start Buying Guide

Before you hit Buy It Now, get schooled in everything you need to know about jump starters. 

Types of Jump Starters 

Portable

Every jump starter on the list above is a portable unit. They feature an internal battery so there is no need to depend on external power sources. They are generally sized with vehicle storage in mind.

To say that portable models don't have flaws is untrue, though. The primary drawback is that they aren't doing you any favors if they aren't fully charged. It's common for the same kind of cold weather that kills your car battery to suck the life out of one of these units. Keep an eye on battery levels periodically to ensure you won't wind up with a dead jump pack.

Wheeled Units 

There are no wheeled units on our list, but that they are excellent tools. These models take up a considerable space in the shop, but they do many things that their portable counterparts generally cannot. It's also not out of the ordinary for these models to be far more powerful. 

Many wheeled units can charge batteries and run diagnostic tests as well as jump a dead battery. These are the tools you'd usually find in a commercial setting. However, they can be a worthwhile investment for someone who is more actively involved in DIY automotive repair. 

Key Features 

Peak vs. Cranking Amperage

For the most part, you want to ignore peak amperage claims, especially when they're outlandishly high. It's hard to determine where exactly many manufacturers get their ratings from, but marketers are likely responsible. Instead, you'll want to pay attention to battery capacity and cranking amperage. Sustained cranking amperage helps a dead car battery turn over the starter motor and start the engine. 

Charging Ports and Adapters

If charging up or powering multiple devices and accessories is required, look for a jump starter with lots of output ports and adapters. Some have various options, but many come with nothing but a standard micro USB charging cord and single output port. All of our test units quickly charged up a couple of phones, and 12V adapters can recharge the jump starter’s battery pack while you drive.

Lights on

A flashlight is a vital part of any onboard vehicle tool kit, and all of the jump starters had one or more built-in LED lights. Since most of these units are flat and rectangular, the jump starters with lights on the ends or corners worked out better than the others. Just set the battery pack on a fender or under the hood and turn the light towards the battery terminals. Some jump starter lights featured built-in warning and SOS emergency modes.

Tips and Tricks

  • Safety first. Car batteries are full of corrosive acid and create flammable hydrogen gas while charging. Battery explosions are relatively rare, but they can and do happen. Inspect the battery case for swelling and leakage. Do not attempt to jump-start a damaged battery. 
  • Clean contact. Corroded or loose battery terminals might be why the battery died in the first place. Clean the battery terminals as much as possible and give each terminal a downward twist to make sure they’re tight on the battery posts before connecting the jump-starter clamps. 
  • Practice and patience. Practice connecting the jumper cables before stowing the jump starter. During an actual emergency, give the jump starter a minute or two before turning the key. 
  • Take charge before you jump. Topping off your phone battery won’t draw too much juice, and you might need the phone to call a tow truck anyway.
  • Charge after jumping. Don’t assume that the alternator will restore the battery on your commute home. Once you get where you’re going, hook up a battery charger to make sure you’re in good shape. 

FAQ

You've got questions. The Drive has answers. 

Q: Can I overcharge a portable jump starter? 

Unless the unit is damaged or defective, no. Built-in circuitry should turn off charging automatically once the battery is fully charged. 

Q: Which battery cable clamp goes where?

The red clamp goes on the positive battery terminal first (positive battery posts often have a red plastic cover), and the black clamp goes on the negative battery terminal next. Remove the cables in reverse order and don’t let the cable clamps contact any metal parts or each other. 

Q: Will a jump starter charge my battery?

No, a jump starter only supplies additional juice needed to fire the engine. It will not charge the battery in the process. Once the car is running, the alternator then provides power necessary to keep the vehicle running and can slightly recharge the battery. Some commercial-grade units can also function as a charger, but the process takes much longer than a single jump. 

Q: Why does my jump starter keep clicking?

It means that the jump starter is working to create the charge necessary to start the vehicle. The clicking is a power-cycling safety measure that prevents the car battery from drawing too much current too quickly and sending the lithium battery into thermal runaway. (If you’ve watched flaming hoverboard videos, you’ve seen thermal runaway. Not good.)

Q: What size jump starter do I need for my engine?

It depends on the engine you're working with. Thankfully, most jump starters provide you with details outlining what size engines they're good for. That said, it's never a bad idea to buy one that's more powerful than you need so long as there's room in the budget. 

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