The 9 Best Portable Jump Starters of 2021

Be your own lifeline when your car battery dies

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The Rundown
If you find yourself on the side of a road, or even in a parking lot with a dead battery, this is a great device to have in your trunk.
Best for Large Cars:
STANLEY J5C09 1000 at Amazon
The Stanley J5C09 not only has a jump starter, but also integrates an air compressor into one, admittedly bulky unit.
Best Power Bank:
Tacklife T8 at EBay
If you're going to have a unit designed to charge your car, it only makes sense that it would charge your devices as well.
With a peak output of 700 amps it's more than capable of starting your car even from a dead battery.
If the internal battery starts to wear down from use, you can order a new one for a fraction of the cost.
This jump starter can start a truck, a boat, a big rig, or basically anything smaller than a jet.
Best Versatility:
Audew 2000A at Walmart
If you want a jump starter that checks a lot of boxes, the Audew 2000A jump starter does exactly that.
It's basically your one-stop shopping destination for roadside emergencies.
It's nice to see such a powerful device in such a small form factor, with so many handy features.

The best portable jump starters are a lifeline when you need them most. If your car battery dies, and you're out in the middle of nowhere, you typically have to call a friend or rely on the kindness of strangers to get you out of a jam. A portable jump starter changes all of that, putting you in the literal driver's seat for your emergency. Nobody is going to be having a good day when they find their car battery is dead, but a portable jump starter can make a bad situation quite manageable.

Some things to consider when shopping for a portable jump starter include things like how heavy duty do you need your jump starter to be? Do you have a big truck or a smaller vehicle? Do you have a fleet of vehicles to maintain? What else do you want your jump starter to do? How much trunk/storage space do you have to dedicate to what is an admittedly niche device?

Whatever your needs, our experts have rounded up a collection of jump starters to consider. Read on to find the best one for you!

Best Overall: NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A Jump Starter

NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A
What We Like
  • Quick jump start

  • Wide angle flashlight

  • Charges both USB and DC

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • USB charging is weak

The NOCO Boost HD GB70 is an easy top pick for us. It's a compact and portable unit that easily jump starts your vehicle up to 40 times of a single charge. It's extremely strong in that area. Our reviewer looked at the 3000A unit, but we're confident that this 2000A unit performs just as well. The most important trait is the ability to quickly jump-start your vehicle. Even when our reviewer's car got down to only 10 volts the car started right up. That's pretty huge. 

The jump starter also comes with USB and DC charging, but the USB charging is weak. Our reviewer only got 450mAh of current which will take a while to top off your phone, let alone other devices. But the part that we really like is on the front of the unit. It's an ultra-wide flashlight that covers almost 160 degrees. That's important because it allows you to see clearly at night when you're trying to attach cables, or even pinpoint a problem that cropped up. At 100 lumens, it's also fairly bright. The unit is expensive, but if you find yourself on the side of the road, especially at night, you'll be happy you have this in your trunk.

Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 6x2.5x8.6 inches | Weight: 5 lbs.

"The jump starter allowed for the car to start more readily than with any other model that we recently tested." Tony Mitera, Product Tester

NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150

Lifewire / Tony Mitera

Best for Large Cars: STANLEY J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter

The Stanley J5C09 JUMPiT Portable Power Station will jumpstart your car.
What We Like
  • Rotating LED light

  • Air compressor

  • 1000 Peak amps, and 500 starting amps

What We Don't Like
  • Needs frequent recharges

  • Compressor switch can be tricky

  • Compressor hose not long enough

A portable jump starter is great, but a single device that can handle all sorts of emergencies is even better. The Stanley J5C09 not only has a jump starter but also integrates an air compressor into one, admittedly bulky unit. The jump starter provides 500 starting amps and up to 1000 peak amps which is enough even for larger vehicles. But it also weighs around 18 pounds, so it will not be the smallest thing you keep in your trunk. The built-in flashlight swivels up to 270 degrees so you can point it at basically anything you need.

Our reviewer, Tony said, "The unit was able to provide a reliable jump start every time it was tried, but not without some caveats." One of those caveats is the slipperiness of the bottom of the starter. So much so that when the car ultimately starts, the device has a tendency to slip and slide a bit which is not ideal. Also, the switch for the compressor has a tendency to turn on easily when bumped. That can be disturbing when the loud compressor kicks on while driving. Speaking of the air compressor, the built-in hose isn't very long, so make sure the valves for your tires are near the ground before trying to use it.

Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11.25x8x3.5  inches | Weight: 17.2 lbs.

"The unit was able to provide a reliable jump start every time it was tried, but not without some caveats."Tony Mitera, Product Tester

STANLEY J5C09

Lifewire / Tony Mitera

Best Power Bank: Tacklife T8

Tacklife Portable Jump Starter
What We Like
  • Digital display

  • Built-in compass

  • Dual USB charging ports

What We Don't Like
  • No USB Type-C port

If you're going to have a unit designed to charge your car, it only makes sense that it would charge your devices as well. The Tacklife T8 is a great choice for that. There are two USB-A ports that charge at 2.5V and a DC port that supports 5V/9V12V. We'd like to see a USB-C port on here since it's 2021, but we can't complain too much. There's a digital readout so you always know how much power is left in the device. That's important because you should not attempt to jump-start your vehicle with less than a 50% charge.

The power pack also has a built-in power switch. That allows you to power the device off, so it can retain its charge longer. Specifically, it can last up to one year on a charge, which is among the longest we've seen in this category, and much better than the 6-month charge cycle which is more typical. There's even a built-in compass and flashlight, both of which can be useful in an emergency. Overall, this is a slim charger that fits into your glove compartment that you can use to charge your devices and your car if it becomes necessary.

Peak Amps: 800 | Dimensions: 9.45x4.53x3.94 inches | Weight: 1.21 lbs.

Most Compact: Scosche PowerUp 700 Portable Jump Starter

Scosche - Portable Car Jump Starter
What We Like
  • Compact

  • USB Charging

  • 1 year standby

What We Don't Like
  • Jumper cables are short

Not all chargers are as big as bowling balls. Some, like the Scosche Portable jump starter, are just a little bit larger than your smartphone. With a peak output of 700 amps, it's more than capable of starting your car even from a dead battery. Plus, it easily slips into your glove compartment or backpack. It's slightly larger than similarly powered jump starters, but it comes with a carrying case that holds the jumper cable attachments which is convenient. 

Those cables are a little on the short side, which is not awesome when you're dealing with larger batteries. There are two USB-A ports for charging devices. Missing here is a USB-C port, but what this battery has is 15,000 mAh of power for your devices and a flashlight. This jump starter also has a year-long standby life between charges, which is very good in this industry.

Peak Amps: 700 | Dimensions: 9.8x6.9x3.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 lbs.

Best Design: Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter

Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter
What We Like
  • Charging plug built in

  • Battery is replaceable

  • Cables are long

What We Don't Like
  • No extras

As with any product, a good jump starter needs to have a good design. The Jump-n-Carry JNC660 very much lives up to its name with a built-in handle to carry the device to the vehicle you need to jump-start. One rarely seen attribute this jump starter has is a replaceable battery. If the internal battery starts to wear down from use, you can order a new one (View on Amazon) for a fraction of the cost. That makes this a great long-term investment, especially if you anticipate a lot of use. If you're maintaining a fleet of vehicles, you may need to recharge frequently which will put a lot of wear and tear on the battery.

When it comes to recharging, the plug is built right into the unit for convenience. Speaking of convenience, you can easily attach the jumper cables with one hand if you need to. Unfortunately, there aren't any extras built into this device. Typically we'll see a flashlight or a USB port for charging smaller devices. None of that here, but what you do get is an easy-to-carry jump starter capable of 425 cranking amps and 1,700 peak amps which is more than enough to start any car or truck.

Peak Amps: 1700 | Dimensions: 16.3x14.1x5.1inches | Weight: 18 lbs.

Best Heavy Duty: Schumacher DSR115 ProSeries

Schumacher DSR ProSeries DSR115 4400
What We Like
  • Starts anything

  • 12v and 24v

  • Long, 60-inch jumper cables

What We Don't Like
  • Very heavy

If you have a larger vehicle, you'll want to take a look at the Schumacher DSR ProSeries jump starter. When they say ProSeries, they mean it.  This jump starter can start a truck, a boat, a big rig, or basically anything smaller than a jet. You can choose between starting 12v and 24v vehicles. Plus, the device reports on battery and alternator performance so you'll know if there's maintenance needed. The jumper cables are five feet long, which is great for working on larger vehicles. 

Of course, all that comes at a heavy price tag and a heavy body. The jump starter weighs over forty pounds. It's not the kind you carry in your trunk; it's the kind you have at the shop to jump-start large trucks, or smaller cars frequently. You won't be tossing this thing into the trunk of your Toyota Camry, but you can keep it on the truck that tows around your Camry.

Peak Amps: 4400 | Dimensions: 14x10x8 inches | Weight: 41.2 lbs.

Best Versatility: Audew 2000A Upgraded Car Jump Starter

Audew Car Jump Starter
What We Like
  • Charges devices including USB-C

  • Dual USB-A ports

  • 20,000 mAh battery

  • Flashlight

What We Don't Like
  • Requires frequent recharges

If you want a jump starter that checks a lot of boxes, The Audew 2000A jump starter does exactly that. It's small, so it easily slips into a pocket, backpack, or glove compartment. It doubles as a battery pack for your mobile devices and even has a built-in flashlight. We especially like the USB-C port built into there along with the dual USB-A ports. When it comes to your car, the power pack provides up to 2000A of peak power, which will easily handle a car or even an SUV. 

Some reviewers noted that the power pack discharges quickly, requiring a recharge about once per month, which is not awesome. But if you use it regularly, you should be able to work this device into your routine and keep it topped off every 30 days. It has all the usual safety features like reverse polarity detection and overcharging protection. This is a perfect device if you want to have a battery for your devices that can also jump-start a car, rather than the other way around.

Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 8.7x3.5x1.1 inches | Weight: 1.3 lbs.

Best Combo: Wagan EL7552 Jumpboost V8 Air Jump Starter with Air Compressor

The Wagan EL7552 Jumpboost V8 can jump start your car and inflate your tires
What We Like
  • Air compressor

  • 200 lumen light

  • AC and DC rechargeable

What We Don't Like
  • Build quality issues

  • DC cable not included

One of the most comprehensive jump starters you can pick up is the Wagan EL7552 jump starter which has an air compressor, 200 lumen light, and even a USB-A charging port for phones and tablets. It's basically your one-stop shopping destination for roadside emergencies. The air compressor goes up to 260 PSI, which works even for larger tires. It has 300 cranking amps and 1000 peak amps, and 120 cold-cranking amps, so it's great for colder environments as well. 

There are some reports of air hose issues. Specifically, it seems the tire pressure gauge may have some accuracy trouble. While that's important from a topping-off perspective, in the case of a roadside emergency, even an inaccurate pressure gauge will fall within a margin of error for inflating a tire from scratch. Once you get the tire professionally serviced, it can be inflated properly.

You can charge the power pack with either AC power from your home or DC power in your car, but the jump starter doesn't come with the cable you need to charge it via DC. That and the air pressure gauge seem like oversights, but with all this jump starter offers, there's a lot to like here.

Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11x11x7 inches | Weight: 10 lbs.

Best Features: GOOLOO Upgraded Car Jump Starter

The GOOLOO 2000A Peak SuperSafe will jump start your car.
What We Like
  • USB-A and USB-C ports

  • 6 month standby time

What We Don't Like
  • Short jumper cables

  • Not for larger vehicles.

Devices that have more than one use-case are why we get up in the morning. In the case of the Gooloo SuperSafe car jump starter, you get a flashlight, one USB-C port, two USB-A ports, and of course the jump starter with 2000 peak amps. The cables on the jump starter a bit on the short side, so keep that in mind. The jump starter isn't really intended for larger vehicles, so maybe that's ok.

This is a slim charger that easily slips into the glove compartment or bag, and it has a six-month standby time so you can put it in your trunk and forget about it. You can get about 20 jump starts from a single charge, so this might work well if you're maintaining a fleet of cars. Overall, it's nice to see such a powerful device in such a small form factor, with so many handy features.

Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 16.3x14.1x5.1 inches | Weight: 1.39 lbs.

Final Verdict

Our favorite pick overall is the Noco Boost HD GB70 charger. It's small and has a flashlight that we love and it charges your devices. When it comes to value for the dollar, this is a great pick.


If you have a bigger vehicle, or you need to maintain a fleet of cars, the Schumacher DSR 115 ProSeries (View at Amazon) is for you. You can jump-start 12 and 24-volt vehicles with this charger, and it gives you a whopping 4,400 peak amps to charge up whatever vehicle you need to charge.  Bottom line, if you ride in it with less than 10 other people, this device can charge it.

About Our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has over three years of experience writing about games and consumer technology. Taylor has also previously worked with MTD Products, where she assembled and repaired robotic, riding, and push lawn mowers.

Tony Mitera has a passion for helping people make informed decisions with his knowledge of how things work. Tony is both an IT and auto mechanics nerd, and enjoys tinkering with both computers and cars. When not writing, Tony is a Membership Director of the SCCA Nebraska Region, participating in autocross events.

FAQs

What does a jump starter do?

When your car's battery is dead, a jump starter gives it a jolt of power so you can turn your car on. From there, start driving, and your car's alternator will charge the battery as you go along.

How do you use a jump starter?

First, connect the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the battery and connect the negative cable to the engine block. Then, place the jump box in a secure, out-of-the-way location, and try to start your car. Once your car is running, disconnect both cables and secure them to the jump box.

STANLEY J5C09

Lifewire / Tony Mitera 

How much does a jump starter cost?

Prices for jump starters range depending on what features they have, but it should be possible to find a decent option for $50 or $60. If you decide you do want a more sophisticated model, expect to pay about $150 or more.

What to Look For in a Portable Jump Starter

There aren’t many worse feelings than the one you have after walking out to your car in the morning, turning the key, and realizing that it’s out of battery. Thankfully, if this does happen, there are ways to give your car the kick it needs to get going again.

While you could simply rely on jumper cables, that assumes that you’re going to be able to find someone else to help you out—which may not always be the case. Alternatively, you could keep a jump starter in your car, which allows you to jump-start your car easily without losing more than a few minutes of your day.

As you might expect, there are a bunch of factors to consider when shopping for a jump starter. First, think about the type of jump starter you want to buy—whether it be a portable jump starter, a plug-in jump starter, or a battery charger. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. After that, there are dozens of other things to keep in mind when it comes to features.

Read on for everything you should consider when buying a jump starter.

Types of Jump Starter

Before thinking about what features you want, consider the type of jump starter you need. Not all models are the same, and the type you choose can have a significant impact on how much it'll help in certain situations.

STANLEY J5C09

Lifewire / Tony Mitera 

Jump Starter

A jump starter does exactly what it sounds like: it gives your car a jump, allowing it to turn on. After the jump, your car's alternator should take over, charging your car’s battery as you drive. It’s important to clear up a few common misconceptions, though. A jump starter does not recharge your car’s battery itself. Instead, it gives the battery enough kick to turn the car on—you’ll need to drive your car to power it back up again.

Jump starters come in both portable and plug-in varieties. Portable jump starters have a built-in battery, meaning they can be used on the go whenever you need them. The only downside is that after they’re used, they have to be charged, which can take a number of hours. Plug-in chargers, on the other hand, are much less portable. Instead of having a decent-sized battery built-in, you have to connect them to a power outlet—meaning that if you’re in a parking lot with a dead battery, you’re largely out of luck. We generally recommend buying a portable jump starter over a plug-in one. The portability outweighs the downside of having to keep the device charged up.

There are a few advantages to jump starters, generally. They allow you to get on the road almost instantly and, in many cases, can also be used to supply power to other devices in a pinch. For example, you could use one to recharge your phone if you need it in an emergency. On the other hand, most car alternators aren’t built to recharge a car’s battery fully from zero, and forcing one to do so can shorten its lifespan. In other words, it might be the way to go in a pinch, but if you can avoid jump starting your car, it’s probably best to do so.

However, if you do need to jump-start your car, here's a step-by-step guide to how to jump-start your car safely.

Battery Charger

Unlike a jump starter, a battery charger actually recharges your car’s battery—which comes in handy in a different set of situations. Battery chargers take at least a few hours to recharge a car battery, meaning they’re not ideal for those who might need to get on the road quickly. They also have to plug into a power outlet, meaning they're not as portable. Plus, they can come to the rescue if you have a faulty alternator, as they can allow you to get your car up and running without having to worry about your alternator recharging your battery.

Our recommendation? Having both a jump starter and a battery charger can be helpful. A battery charger is better if you have access to a power outlet and have enough time to charge the battery, while a jump starter is better in a pinch for those who need to get on the road right away.

Other Features and Considerations

Once you've decided what type of jump starter you want, there are dozens of other features to consider. Here’s what you should be thinking about.

Cables

Jumper cables are an important part of any jump starter. You might think that jumper cables are all the same, and to an extent that’s true—they’re copper wires that deliver power. Some cables, however, are better than others.

STANLEY J5C09

Lifewire / Tony Mitera

For instance, cables can have different lengths. Generally, they range from around 10 to 35 feet. Don't think you need to go for extra-long cables, though— for most people, 15 feet will be perfectly fine. Another differentiator is a cable’s wire gauge, which refers to the thickness of the wire inside. Thicker wire is better at delivering more power, which can be important if you’re trying to jump-start a vehicle with a bigger battery. For smaller vehicles, like most cars, a cable with at least an 8 gauge will be fine, though larger batteries might need a 6 or 4 gauge cable.

Air Compressor

An air compressor is what you’d use to pump up a car’s flat tire if it's been deflated. A built-in compressor may not matter when you’re jump-starting your car, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come in handy.

Like many other features on this list, the air compressor does need to be powered—so if you have a battery-powered device, it will take up some of that capacity when in use. Still, the likelihood of needing to pump up a tire and having to jump-start your car before you have a chance to recharge your jump starter is pretty low.

If you’re strapped for cash, a built-in compressor is something you can avoid, but if you have the money to spend on a device with an air compressor, we recommend doing so.

Emergency Lights

Being stuck on the side of the road at night is never a preferable situation. With low visibility and distracted drivers, you could easily find yourself in a dangerous spot. That’s where emergency lights can come in. When a jump starter has emergency lights, you’ll be able to place it near your car to alert other drivers to the fact that you’re there.

Many jump starters have other types of emergency lights, too. For example, some that allow you to see where you’re placing the jumper cables, which is handy for those who haven’t done a whole lot of jump-starting before. Last but not least, others have lights designed to be used as simple flashlights—perfect for almost any other situation where light is required.

We definitely recommend buying a jump starter with emergency lights of some kind, especially considering the fact that they could end up saving your life.

Radios

Some jump starters have built-in emergency radios, which will help you keep up-to-date with local events in case of an emergency or a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane. If you live in an area that's prone to these types of events, this feature might be incredibly helpful.

Inverter

A power inverter turns the DC current from the jump starter’s battery into an AC current that you can use to power other devices like smartphones and tablets. Often, jump starters with an inverter will also have a built-in power outlet. Of course, considering the fact that some jump starters are battery-powered, you won’t want to run anything too power-hungry, as it’ll eat up that battery much faster than you might want. Still, an inverter is perfect for those who want a little power when they’re camping or on the road.

Charging Modes

Charging modes apply more to battery chargers than to jump starters, but if you’ve chosen to buy a battery charger, charging modes might be worth considering. Car battery chargers usually offer a few different modes.

Automatic charging is perhaps the most common. When in automatic charging mode, the battery will charge its remaining capacity and switch to maintain mode when it's fully charged. Maintain mode keeps your car’s battery topped up by delivering a small current whenever necessary; this mode is also known as float charge. Lastly, in manual charging mode, a car battery charger won’t cycle down, even when the car’s battery is full. In other words, you’ll need to disconnect the charger to stop it from charging—and if you don’t, it could do damage to your car’s battery.

Those who want a little more control over their car battery charger might want to find a device with at least a few charging modes, but most people will be perfectly fine with a device that only offers automatic charging.

Amperage

Amperage also relates more to car battery chargers than to jump starters, so you can safely move on if you’ve decided on buying a jump starter.

The amperage of a car battery charger determines how quickly it can charge a flat battery. For example, a battery charger with a charge of 2 amps can charge a standard 48 amp car battery in 24 hours. Thankfully, car battery chargers range higher than 2 amps—in fact, some go as high as 10 amps, which will help charge your car battery much faster.

In other words, if you want to charge your car’s battery quickly, select a battery charger with a higher amperage.

NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150

 Lifewire / Tony Mitera

Brands to Consider

There are a number of companies that make reliable, high-quality jump starters and battery chargers. Generally, it's worth buying something from an established brand instead of a newer company without a track record—not only because the product will likely work better, but also because the company may offer a better warranty in case the device doesn’t work as expected.

When it comes to jump starters, known brands include the likes of Noco, Stanley, Beatit, and Jump-n-Carry, all of which offer slightly different takes on the jump starter. The Jump-n-Carry JNC660, for example, offers a reliable output power for jump-starting engines thanks to the included PROFORMER battery technology and the heavy duty cables. The Beatit 800A Peak Jump Starter, on the other hand, is a little more portable, yet still offers enough power to jump start up to a 7L engine.

Some of the same brands also make car battery chargers, but there are also a few others to consider in that area, too. For example, both Black & Decker and Schumacher are both known for their car battery chargers.

Price

How much you spend on a car jump starter or battery charger largely depends on the features you’re looking for. If you want a jump starter that's completely decked out with an inverter, emergency lights, a radio, and so on, you’re going to pay more than you would for a basic jump starter.

If you’re buying a jump starter, you should be able to get a decent one starting at around $50 or $60—though devices in that price range won’t deliver huge amounts of power and will be limited on features. On the other hand, if you decide you want a more sophisticated, feature-rich model, you can expect to pay up to $150 or more.

When it comes to battery chargers, prices start a little lower, though again, only for lower-capacity devices that may or may not meet your needs. You can get a cheap battery charger for around $30, though if you want a larger device with a bit more oomph, expect to pay $50 or $60.

Conclusion

These are many things to keep in mind when buying a jump starter. Hopefully, after reading this guide, you know a little more about what you want. The good news? There are hundreds of options on the market, so no matter what you’re looking for, you should be able to find one that suits your needs and budget.

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