11 Best Jump Starters: Your Easy Buying Guide

best jump starters

If you live in a cold area of the country or otherwise frequently find yourself with a dead car battery, the time has come to invest in a jump starter. Having one of these super handy, portable units on hand will save you frustration and the cost of a tow call, and can even provide portable power for fun adventures. Read on to learn about the best jump starters.

What is the best jump starter for my car?

NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150 4000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compact design considering the power output
  • Spark-proof with reverse polarity protection
  • 4,000 peak amps
Price: $299.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Schumacher SJ1332 1200 Peak Amp Jump Starter and Air Compressor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 150 PSI air compressor built-in
  • Five device power outlets
  • 1,200 peak amps
Price: $139.38 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC770R 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to use PowerJaw clamps and digital voltmeter
  • 68 inch heavy duty cables
  • 1,700 peak amps/425 cranking amps
Price: $159.42 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super compact
  • Holds a charge up to a year
  • 2,100 peak amps/600 cranking amps
Price: $170.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Potek JS88 Jump Starter and Air Compressor Amazon Customer Reviews
  • More powerful than close rivals
  • Relatively light and compact
  • 1,500 peak amps/700 cranking amps
Price: $134.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Rugged Geek RG1000 INTELLIBOOST 1000A Portable Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • IP66 dust and waterproof
  • Very compact
  • 1,000 peak amps
Price: $79.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
DBPOWER 600A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full LCD readout and multifunction light
  • Three year warranty
  • 600 max amps - up to 6.2L gas or 5.2L diesel
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Stanley J5C09 Power Station Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • 120 PSI air compressor built-in
  • 1,000 peak amps/500 cranking amps
Price: $93.30 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Battery Tender 1000A Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 10W wireless device charger
  • Very compact
  • 1,000 peak amps
Price: $89.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
CarAIDE 3X Multi-Tool 12V/1000A Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Useful multi-tool with jump starter
  • Unique flashlight form factor
  • 1,000 peak amps
Price: $99.01 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Clore Automotive Truck PAC ES6000 3000 Peak Amp Jump Starter Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Power enough for just about any application
  • Automatic recharging
  • 3,000 peak amps/800 cranking amps
Price: $322.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150 4000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Compact design considering the power output
    • Spark-proof with reverse polarity protection
    • 4,000 peak amps
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • At nearly 17 inches long, fitting it in a glovebox will be a challenge
    • Lithium batteries occasionally fail

    If you want to harness real power in this compact size, you want this offering from Noco. On the whole, this is probably the best relatively compact jump starter on the market, offering 4,000 peak amps for up to 10 liter vehicles and can perform 40 jumps on a single charge.

    Recharging takes about six hours, though you can accessorize with the NOCO XGC4 56W XGC Power Adapter, which will speed up charging by about five times. Using the USB port, you can charge items like wireless headphones over 30 times, phones seven times, and tablets twice.

    There’s a seven-function, 500-lumen light and the entire unit is IP65-rated water resistant and covered in rubberized casing. You can extend this when not in use with a protection case, as well.

    They also have models for 400, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000 amps if you don’t quite need this much power and don’t want to spend the money. If you need much more power, go for the Boost Max GB500 with 20,000 peak amps. Noco also offers automatic battery chargers.

  2. 2. Schumacher SJ1332 1200 Peak Amp Jump Starter and Air Compressor

    Pros:
    • 150 PSI air compressor built-in
    • Five device power outlets
    • 1,200 peak amps
    Cons:
    • Somewhat heavy
    • Recharging takes awhile
    • No digital readout of compressor PSI - analog gauge on back

    This option from Schumacher is a strict upgrade from the Stanley unit, with a price that reflects that. Here you get 1,200 peak amps, as well as a 150 PSI air compressor.

    The digital display works for showing the battery charge level and the voltage when jumping, though the PSI readout is achieved with an analogue gauge on the back. That said, the unit comes with two types of air hose, one for vehicles and one for other items, such as inflatable mattresses.

    It’s a well-rounded power station, too, with a total of five outlets, including two 120V AC household style plugs, two 12V outlets, and a USB port. A handy work light on the top completes the package. If you plug a car vacuum cleaner into it, you’ll have a robust car care system in two portable units.

    This should be enough power for just about all passenger vehicles and most pickups, but you’ll want to look at bigger units for light commercial and up. The FR01337 is an alternative to this, which swaps one each of the 120V AC and 12V outlets to include four USB ports instead. If it’s pure power you need, go for the DSR115 ProSeries, which offers 4,400 peak amps and 750 cranking amps.

  3. 3. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC770 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Easy to use PowerJaw clamps and digital voltmeter
    • 68 inch heavy duty cables
    • 1,700 peak amps/425 cranking amps
    Cons:
    • Manufacturer recommends charging after every jump
    • Some reports of faulty units
    • No reverse polarity warning

    The 770 is the current generation Jump-N-Carry that straddles the line between everyday passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles. It extends its usefulness with two 5V USB ports for charging devices, as well as a typical 12V outlet and a 3-LED worklight.

    The 1,700 peak amps and 425 cranking amps should be enough for up to 1-ton trucks with eight cylinder engines, delivered via generous 68 inch cables. The clamps are easy to use and among the most robust of the jump starters on this list.

    While the manufacturer recommends recharging the unit between each jump, the manual states that it’s possible to get between 10 and 30 jumps on a charge, depending on the vehicle being jumped and the conditions. Additionally, you can buy a replacement battery for it down the road.

    With this model, you have your choice of red, orange, blue, or green, with the letter designation at the end of the model name indicating the color.

    If you can live without the worklight, USB ports and the digital voltmeter, you can save some money by opting for the Jump-N-Carry 660, which offers the same power performance. If you need more power, you want the JNC950, which has 2,000/700 amps or the JNC1224 with 3,400 amps and optional 24V operation.

  4. 4. Weego JS18 18000mAh Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Super compact
    • Holds a charge up to a year
    • 2,100 peak amps/600 cranking amps
    Cons:
    • No voltmeter or charge level readout
    • Somewhat limited life at 1000 charge cycles
    • Five hour charge time on the high side

    This Weego unit is among the smallest available jump starters, measuring about four inches by nine inches. It nevertheless provides 2,100 peak amps and 600 cranking amps for an excellent power-to-size ratio, good enough for gas engines up to 9.6 liters and diesel engines up to 4.8 liters.

    This charger only loses 2 percent of its charge each month, which means you can charge it and leave it in your glove box for over a year between charges. On a full charge, the unit will give you five hours of power via two USB ports, one 12V and one 19V outlet, and also has a built-in LED flashlight.

    The unit comes with an 18-month warranty, eight laptop adaptors and a carry bag. If you have a wide range of engine sizes that may need jumping but still want the unit to fit in a glove box, this is probably the one for you.

  5. 5. Potek JS88 Jump Starter and Air Compressor

    Pros:
    • More powerful than close rivals
    • Relatively light and compact
    • 1,500 peak amps/700 cranking amps
    Cons:
    • Not much in the way of brand recognition
    • LEDs on the front are virtually useless
    • No voltmeter

    Big power at a little price. If you can live with the relatively unknown branding, this jump starter beats both the Stanley and the Schumacher for power at 1,500 peak amps and 700 cranking amps, while still delivering a 150 PSI air compressor, as well.

    In addition, at 18 pounds, it’s about five pounds lighter than the Schumacher. You give up some other niceties like a voltmeter and a digital battery charge readout, but that’s compensated for somewhat by the storage on either side and the ability to charge the unit via AC or DC power.

    There’s a USB port and two 300 watt 110V household plugs on the back, as well as a 12V output on the side. All in all, it’s not quite as nice as the Schumacher, but if you need the power bump, this might be the way to go.

    Potek also offers the JS86 with 900 peak amps and the JS87 with 1,000 peak amps.

  6. 6. Rugged Geek RG1000 INTELLIBOOST 1000A Portable Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • IP66 dust and waterproof
    • Very compact
    • 1,000 peak amps
    Cons:
    • Not quite as powerful as some similarly priced units
    • Only comes with a soft carrying bag
    • 12V lighter adapter sold separately

    This model combines a super compact size – only six inches by three inches – with IP66 dust and waterproofing. This is the sport version of the standard RG1000, but at the time of this writing, they’re the same price, so opt for the one with the extra durability.

    The LCD readout will display both charge and output levels and there’s a three-function LED flashlight, laptop power port, and two USB ports, one of which is Type C. It has an automatic shut off to save charge when it isn’t being used.

    In lieu of a reverse polarity alarm, this unit will not function until it’s hooked up correctly, which makes it safer for those who are uncomfortable with car maintenance in general. The 1,000 peak amps is rated for gas engines up to 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to 3.0 liters.

  7. 7. DBPower 600A Peak 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Full LCD readout and multifunction light
    • Three year warranty
    • 600 max amps - up to 6.2L gas or 5.2L diesel
    Cons:
    • Instruction guide is lacking
    • Clamps could be better
    • For a compact jump starter, it could be smaller

    If you need device charging as often as you need jump starting capability, this all-arounder from DBPower might be the best choice for you. This is revised from the previous model, adding 200 peak amps for a total of 600 and 6000 mAh for a total of 18,000.

    The LCD screen gives you a full readout of function and battery life. A full charge will give you about 20 jumps for gas engines up to 6.5 liters or diesel engines up to 5.2 liters, though it should be noted that under 30 percent power, you may want to stick to charging devices until you can recharge the unit.

    Interestingly, in order to achieve the max 600 amps, find the little black button on the attachment for the clamps. If your car doesn’t crank over the first time, press this and try again. This is likely how they can advertise 20 jumps per charge, but the power is certainly there.

    Otherwise, you get two 5V USB ports and a 12V power output with eight laptop adapters, a flashing safety light, a flashlight, and a compass. You can choose from this yellow or a red version.

    If you need more power, step up to the DBPower 2,500 amp version, which works on gas engines up to 8.0 liters and diesel engines up to 6.5 liters.

  8. 8. Stanley J5C09 Power Station Jump Starter and Air Compressor

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • 120 PSI air compressor built-in
    • 1,000 peak amps/500 cranking amps
    Cons:
    • Somewhat underpowered for the size of the unit
    • No household outlets
    • Needs to be recharged every 30 days - must provide your own extension cord

    If you want a combo unit that will help out of a jam, this option from Stanley fits the bill and is a decent all-rounder that’s inexpensive. In addition to the 1,000 peak amps and 500 cranking amps, there’s a 120 PSI compressor built in.

    This is handy for a variety of reasons, but the main one is that when cold weather hits, vehicle tires can lose pressure spontaneously. Having a small, portable compressor on hand is better than having to go to the gas station to fill up, and having it built into a rechargeable device like this is better than the cigarette lighter compressors out there.

    The amperage should make this good for gas engines up to about 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to about 3.0 liters. There’s a rotating LED worklight, a USB port and a 12V port to round it all out.

    If you have a smaller vehicle, you might be able to get by just fine with the 700 amp version, which still has the compressor, or the 600 amp version, which doesn’t. If you’re only need that amount of power, though, you’re better off looking at the compact devices instead.

  9. 9. Battery Tender 1000A Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • 10W wireless device charger
    • Very compact
    • 1,000 peak amps
    Cons:
    • 8,000 mAh is a bit limited
    • Short cables
    • Wireless charging is neat, but may defeat the usefulness as a jump starter

    Battery Tender make excellent battery chargers, so it makes sense that they would offer a jump starter, as well. This particular offering combines something not seen in other jump starters: wireless device charging.

    Devices with Qi charging – which includes iPhones 8 and later, a variety of Samsung Galaxy devices, and others – can make use of this handy little device. We recommend using it only in a pinch, since 8,000 mAh is exactly a huge power bank. Still, it’s nice to have on hand if you plan to have this charged up in your glovebox, anyway.

    Otherwise, it’s a pretty reliable, yet standard, 1,000 peak amp jump starter. There’s a screen readout for battery level, a built-in LED flashlight, and reverse polarity protection. This can acheive up to 30 jump starts on a charge.

    Of course, Battery Tender also make a standard jump starter, if you prefer, as well as a version of this compact one without wireless device charging.

  10. 10. CarAIDE 3X Multi-Tool 12V/1000A Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Useful multi-tool with jump starter
    • Unique flashlight form factor
    • 1,000 peak amps
    Cons:
    • Not for use with diesel engines
    • Relatively limited, topping out at 4.0 liter gas engines
    • Jack-of-all-trades, master of none

    If you’re looking for an interesting approach to a jump starter with a lot of other benefits, this is the option for you. In addition to a 1,000 peak amp jump starter, there are a number of emergency tools included with this device that make it especially good for living in your glovebox.

    These include a compass, thermometer, a hook, paracord rope, emergency alarm, window breaker, seatbelt cutter, and a magnet. It also takes the form of a flashlight with a 260 lumen output and multiple modes. In addition, it’s water, dirt, and shock resistant.

    It must be said that it’s not amazing at any of these. Since they’re intended to be used in an emergency situation, they’ll likely get you out of a jam, but certainly if you bought each of these functions separately, you could get better options of each. Still, in a world where you can buy a jump starter that does nothing else, this is a decent glovebox-friendly option that of course doubles as a USB powerbank, too.

  11. 11. Clore Automotive Truck PAC ES6000 3000 Peak Amp Jump Starter

    Pros:
    • Power enough for just about any application
    • Automatic recharging - leave it plugged in all the time
    • 3,000 peak amps/800 cranking amps
    Cons:
    • No USB or AC outlets
    • Expensive
    • Very heavy - 44 pounds

    If all you need is enough power to jump start just about anything, you’ll want this option, which features 3,000 peak amps and 800 cranking amps. That should be enough for almost any application, including some heavy duty ones in commercial settings.

    This is a no-frills unit with only one 12V accessory outlet for alternative power options. The industrial grade clamps are among the most robust in the industry, and are attached to 60 inch #2 grade cables.

    You can choose between 12V operation with the 3,000 peak amps or 24V operation with 1,500 peak amps. Unlike some of the other optoins on this list, you can leave this plugged in and let the automatic recharging take care of everything so it’s always ready when you need it.

The winter months, particularly in northern states, are hard on car batteries. At colder temperatures, batteries can lose up to 60 percent of their strength, while cold engines can require twice as much current to get started. When the temperature drops, roadside assistance calls rise, many of which are requests for jump starts.

In order to avoid having to make that call, you can purchase a rechargeable, portable car jump starter. These units will generally offer at least ten jump starts per charge, and are conveniently sized to fit in the trunk or even the glovebox. Some are multi-functional, while others are focused on providing superior jump start capability.

The ones we’ve chosen are all 12-volt units primarily made for modern passenger cars and trucks. If you have something larger than a 1-ton pickup truck, a tractor, or an older vehicle, verify that it’s using a 12-volt system if you plan to purchase any of these units.

Compact Jump Starters vs. Portable Jump Starters

For the most part, unless you're talking about wall-powered battery chargers, virtually all jump starters are portable. Generally speaking, they weigh under 30 pounds and have a convenient carrying handle.

Units referred to as portable generally offer ample peak power - usually above 1,000 amps - in addition to being portable. Many of them are multifunction, including built-in air compressors, charging outlets, and lights.

By comparison, compact jump starters are small enough to fit in a glove compartment, similar to USB power banks, which most of them double as. These are a better choice for the average driver, offering enough power for most cars, but not taking up a lot of extra space. Ultraportable units tend to hover in the 600 to 1,000 amp range, which is definitely enough for most people, though some can be higher.

Peak Amps vs. Cranking Amps

When shopping for a jump starter, you'll see a lot of different power ratings thrown around. Most commonly, manufacturers display the peak amps that their starter is capable of. Much like in the world of amplifiers, peak power is only truly ever achieved in very short bursts.

As such, a jump starter's peak amps is what it can push out over the course of a few seconds in ideal conditions. This gives you a rough idea of the overall capacity of the device, which can help you approximate what engine size a jump starter is appropriate for.

Cranking amps is the sustained power over the course of 30 seconds in temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit without dropping below 7.2 volts. For models that list this power (and not all do, since peak amps is more impressive-looking), this will give you the truest indication of what your jump starter can acheive.

There's also cold cranking amps, which is the power a jump starter can produce over the course of 30 seconds in temperatures below freezing. Given that jump starters are most often used in the winter when the weather saps car battery life, this is the most relevant of all and the least often available on the features list.

Ultimately, if you drive the vast majority of passenger cars and SUVs, and even most pickups, you should be fine in the 1,000 to 1,500 peak amp range. Larger trucks and commercial applications will want to go for more, and our list features options all along the power band. Read more at Tool Nerds about how to decide.

How many amps to jumpstart a truck?

The quick answer is: probably about 700 amps max. An eight cylinder diesel engine generally has a cold cranking power of 600 to 700 amps. That means, for all but the largest, heavy duty pickup trucks, pretty much everything on our list will work for you.

There are certainly applications where you might need more, and we've included options for those, as well. But for the average driver, right around 1,000 peak amps is likely to have you covered. The rest of your buying decision can be left up to what other features you may need.

Please note: Many jump starters use hazardous materials and cannot be returned. Be sure you’re getting the one you want before you buy.

See Also:

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