best jump starter

Jump Starter

Best Jump Starter – How to Choose and Use

Every car owner understands the need for having a set of jumper cables in the trunk of their car. At one time or another we’ve all left a door slightly open or interior lights on and burned out a car battery. But that’s not the only device you should have ready for emergency situations.

You probably know the feeling of getting up one morning to rush off to work, turning the key in the ignition of your car, and nothing happens. The engine doesn’t roar to life, it just sits silently.

If there’s another car around it’s easy to pull out the cables and jump start the car.

However, what if no one else is around? It’s early in the morning and you’re home alone.

Or maybe you’re the last one to leave work and the parking lot is empty.

Perhaps you’re surrounded by people but they’re all strangers and no one wants to do a good deed and give you a jump. They may be worried you’ll cause harm to their car or they may simply be in hurry and not want to bother helping you.

For those situations it’s a good idea to a keep a portable jump starter in the trunk of your car. These can be purchased for around $50 to $200 and they are well worth the investment.

How to Use a Jump Starter

Note: You’ll want to read the directions that come with your jump starter to be sure you’re using it correctly.

In general, most jumper starters work as follows:

Car should be turned off including interior lights.

Next, the most important factor is connecting the cables correctly.

Start with the positive cable and connect it to the positive post on your battery. This is red (+) to red (+).

Make sure the clamp is securely connected.

Then connect the negative cable to an unpainted part of the engine block. This provides a ground.

Connecting the cables incorrectly can result in damage and possibly an explosion of the battery so always double check to make sure you’ve connected correctly.

Then turn the jump start pack to the ON position. Only leave on for 5 or 6 second bursts, or as the directions instruct.

Remember, when you’re doing a burst start you are not charging the battery, you’re just giving it a quick burst of power to allow the car to start.

Once your car starts turn the jump starter off.

Remove the cables in reverse order. Negative first and then positive.

Charge the jump starter as soon as possible so it will be ready to go the next time.

What to Look for in a Jump Starter

Here are a few of the things you should consider when deciding which jump starter to purchase.

Amps: Chargers come with different levels of power, anywhere from 400 to 4,000 amps. You need to be sure the one you purchase has enough amps to jump start your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual and the information regarding your particular battery and engine. A large truck with a V8 engine will require more amps than a small 4 cylinder car.

Battery type: The majority of car batteries are 12 volt. But if you’re buying a charger for another piece of equipment, such as a lawn mower, you might need a 6 volt.

Cables: Cables are available in varies gauge sizes with the smallest being the heaviest. You want one at least four feet long.

Clamps: Cheaper made starters use clamps that are coated with cooper instead of made of cooper. When the cooper starts to peel off it will be harder to get a good connection. The clamps should also have teeth and fit snugly. Clamps should also be well insulated to help prevent possible shocks.

Radio: You might not want to rock and roll while you’re charging your battery, but you might want to listen to the weather report if you’re using the charger thanks to a weather induced power outage.

Size: This can vary greatly from an extremely small portable charger to a larger unit. Be sure you have enough room to store the unit in your trunk. You can also purchase smaller units that will slide under the seat of your car.

Safety Features: Some jump starters include an alarm that will sound if you accidently place the cables incorrectly. Others will refuse to charge if polarity is not correct. These are important features that can prevent damage to your battery and harm to the user. If you’re purchasing for a teenager or someone unfamiliar with charging a battery safety features can be especially important.

Air compressor: A few jump starters come with an air compressor so you can inflate a flat tire. It won’t help much if the tire is badly damaged but it might be able to inflate a tire with a leak enough to get you to a service station.

Accessories: Some jump starters come with built-in flashlights when can come in handy when you need to charge on a dark night. Power outlets are another popular addition. This allows you to charge other portable devices such as laptops. Some also have USB outlets.

Cost: Your budget made dictate the type of charger you can purchase. While you want the best quality charger you can buy, you don’t want to pay extra for accessories you don’t need.

Warranty: Manufacturer warranties very greatly from a 30 day warranty to a lifetime warranty. Make sure you know in advance which one you’re getting. Some require you to register your warranty within the first 30 days so be sure to read and return the proper paperwork or register online.

Remember: Most battery jump starters are consider Hazmat which means they will have to be returned directly to the company that manufactured them, not to a third party seller.

Jump Starter Reviews – Top Five Suggestions

You want to invest in a battery charger that has the power you need and won’t have to be replaced quickly. Spend some time considering your options.

Schumacher PSJ-2212 DSR ProSeries 2200 Peak Amps Jump Starter and Portable Power Unit

 

This unit cost around $150 and packs 2200 peak amps.

Clamps are made of heavy duty cooper and are replaceable.

This unit weighs 22.3 pounds.

There are no accessories included such as an air compressor or radio.

It is manufactured in China and has a limited 90 day warranty.

Some customers complained about a quirk in the L.E.D. readout not being accurate.

Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter by Clore Automotive

 

You can purchase this jump starter for around $125.

The peak amps for this unit is 1700.

Cables are 46 inches long and are thick, heavy duty material.

Total weight of the unit is 18 pounds.

Includes a cigarette lighter outlet for charging other items but not a USB outlet.

This is a battery jumper only, no added accessories.

It is manufactured in China and has a limited 30 day warranty.

Some buyers complained because the unit does not have an on/off switch.

NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70

This NOCO jump starter is one of the more expensive units we’re reviewing. It retails for around $200.

However, it does have several features that might make it worth the extra money.

It can recharge in as little as three hours.

A big safety feature of this unit is its reverse polarity protection which means the unit won’t work if you’ve placed the cables on your battery incorrectly. Plus, it is spark proof.

This unit claims up to 40 jump starts before you need to recharge the unit.

You can use this for all your electronic devices including cell phones, laptops, and IPads and it includes a USB outlet.

It’s extremely portable and weighs only 2.9 pounds. With its compact size it can be stored under a car seat.

It will charge both gas and diesel motors.

Has a built in flashlight and comes with a storage bag.

Includes a one year limited warranty.

Some buyers have commented it was not powerful enough for larger engines such as trucks.

Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Built in Compressor

 

This is the least expensive unit on our list and can be purchased for around $70.

Safety features include a reverse polarity alarm in case you attach cables incorrectly.

It includes a built in compressor which will come in handy if you have a flat tire.

This unit weight 18 pounds and includes an L.E.D. light that rotates 270 degrees in case you need to charge after dark.

Cables are 6 gauge and the clamps are heavy duty.

This product has a one year limited warranty.

Does not include any type of storage container.

Antigravity Batteries AG-XP-10 Multi-Function Power Supply and Jump Starter

 

This is the smallest unit on our list and weighs a compact 2 pounds and only 10 inches long. It’s small enough you can carry in your backpack or laptop case.

In July of 2015 it was rated the best Jump Starter by Consumer Reports.

This unit will cost you around $160.

Despite its small size it has 600 peak amps which is enough power to start most cars.

It also includes two USB ports, a 12V, and a 19V outlet so it can be used to charge cell phones, laptops and tablets.

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Note: Whatever charger you buy, spend some time reading the directions and familiarizing yourself with how it works. That way you won’t have to try and figure it out in the dark in the middle of an emergency situation.

If you purchase one of these for your spouse or teenager take the time to do a quick training with them so they’ll know how to use it correctly.
Whichever jump start unit you purchase you can rest assured knowing that it will be there when you need a quick boost. The cost of the unit will be offset by the peace of mind you’ll have knowing you won’t be trapped somewhere with a dead car battery.

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