You rely on your car to get you where you need to go; however, as all drivers know, things can happen with a car that can be a real inconvenience. Perhaps one of the biggest inconveniences a driver can experience is a dead battery. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to start your car, only to find that the battery is dead. Whether it’s because the lights were left on, or because the car has been sitting too long, a dead car battery is a major inconvenience. In order to get the battery charged back up and avoid a major headache, having a jump starter in your trunk is definitely a wise idea.
While a jump starter is certainly beneficial, it can be difficult to decide which one is the right one for your needs. There are so many different options available, which can make it hard to determine which one will be the best for you. In order to help you on your quest for finding the best jump starter, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will find a wealth of information that will help you choose the best jump starter for your needs. This guide highlights the different types of jump starters, the factors to consider when choosing a jump starter, the different features they can offer, and the best jump starter brands.
Types of Jump Starters
The biggest benefit of a jump starter is that you do not need another vehicle to get them running. In other words, they are self reliant, which means that if your car battery dies in the middle of nowhere, you can get it up and running without any trouble. There are two main types of jump starters, which include:
- The plug in jump starter
- The jump box jump starter
In order to choose the best jump starter for your needs, it is important to understand the difference between these two options. Here’s a summary of these two types of jump starters.
The Plug In Jump Starter
The plug in jump starter, also known as a trickle charger, will charge your dead battery. It usually provides between three and 10 amps of power and many also have multiple settings. Charging the battery with lower amperage is actually better for the battery than charging it fast. On the downside, because it charges slowly, you may be waiting a while for it to charge up, which could be inconvenient if you are in a rush. It should be noted that there are plug in jump starters that do offer a higher amperage, which will allow you to charge your battery quicker; however, those that offer more amperage are more expensive.
The main benefit of this type of jump starter is the charging system. The plug in jump starter does not rely on your car’s alternator to operate, which will extend the life of the alternator. This type of jump starter is also small, which makes it very portable.
The Jump Box
The jump box has a sealed lead acid or gel battery back, which is permanently connected to alligator clamp jumper cables. Because the battery is sealed, there is minimal chance of it spilling or leaking. The battery is also usually sealed inside a plastic housing, which further isolates it. The jump box tends to be more powerful than the plug in jump starter; however, it does rely on your car’s alternator to operate, which is a definite downside. Jump boxes can also offer a number of other features, such as an air compressor, which you can use to inflate your tires.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Jump Starter
There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration when choosing a jump starter. By taking these factors into consideration you will be able to choose the best jump starter for your specific needs. Key factors to consider include the amperage, the ease of use and the price, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when choosing a jump starter, please keep on reading.
Your Vehicle’s Battery Type
One of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a jump starter is the type of battery your vehicle has. Most vehicles have a 12 volt battery; however, some vehicles have a 6 volt battery, such as classic cars. It is important to make sure that they jump starter you choose matches the battery type of your vehicle.
The Jump Starter Battery Power
Another important factor to take into consideration is the battery power of the jump starter. The battery inside the unit needs to have enough peak and cranking amps to start your car in an emergency situation. The higher the peak amps, the more power the jump starter battery can feed in a hurry to your low battery to boost it for starting. For most applications, look for approximately 900 or more Peak Amps and 225 or more cranking amps. Pay attention to what type of battery is in your car and make sure you match the cranking amps accordingly.
Ease to Recharge
In order to ensure your jump starter is powered up and ready to use when you need it, you need to make sure that it is charged up. Most jump starters have a built in AC cord, which can be used to recharge the device. It is important to make sure that the jump starter you are considering purchasing comes equipped with an onboard charging method so that you can easily recharge the battery.
The Durability of the Jump Starter
Users have reported that jump starters that are highly durable are the best and easiest to use. The reason: These devices are often stored in trunks or garages, or other areas where they are exposed to cold temperatures. To ensure the device remains powerful and ready to use, look for one that is durable and can stand up to cold temperatures.
The Length of the Cables
The length of the cables directly affects how much flexibility you will have in placing the jump starter battery while you are jump starting your car. A minimum cable length of three feet is recommended; though longer cables will give you more flexibility.
The Weight of the Jump Starter
The weight of the jump starter will impact its portability and ease of use. The weight of the device will be determined by the size of the battery and its capacity. The weight of the device is also impacted by the number of features it offers. If jump starting is something that you won’t be doing often, consider a unit that is smaller in size and weight and offers fewer features.
Heavy Duty Clamps
You also want to look for a jump starter that offers heavy duty insulate clamps. The more heavy duty the clamps are, the easier it will be for them to make good contact with the battery posts, despite how covered in dirt and muck they may be. Also, insulated clamps will ensure your safety.
Jump starters vary widely in price. Lower end models can cost around $50, but higher end models can have a price tag that exceeds $150. Generally, the more powerful the jump starter is and the more features it offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to make sure that you know how much you want to spend before you start shopping so you don’t exceed your budget.
Features Jump Starters Can Offer
There are a number of features that jump starters can offer. These features are intended to make the device easier to use and to make it more versatile. As mentioned above, the more features a jump starter offers, the more expensive it will be, and the heavier it will be. It is important to understand the intended purpose of these features so that you can determine whether or not you want or need them, and if you want to spend the additional money on them.
Here is a look at some of the most common and handiest features that a jump starter can offer.
Because it is a portable device, a jump starter is a great tool to have in your car; and not just for starting the battery if it dies. A jump starter can also be used as a temporary power source, if it is equipped with power outlets. With power outlets, you can recharge your electronic devices, such as your cell phone. Power outlets on a jump starter can include AC outlets for video players and laptops, in addition to DC outlets, such as a USB, which can be used to charge a mobile phone or an MP3 player. Power outlets are a very handy feature to have on a jump starter.
If your vehicle doesn’t have a light under the hood, jump starting it can be difficult, particularly in the dark. Some jump starter units come equipped with built in lights, which will help you see when you have to jump start your car in the dark. The lights can also help to illuminate any situation that may occur when you need some extra lights.
If you plan on using your jump starter as a temporary emergency power source during a weather related power outage, for example, a built in radio is a very handy feature to have. This feature will allow you to stay connected with what is going on in the outside world so that you can keep current with weather conditions and so that you can obtain other important information.
An Air Compressor
Another very handy feature on a jump starter is an air compressor. The air compressor will allow you to use your jump starter to do more than charge a dead battery; you will also be able to use it to inflate a tire, which can be extremely helpful.
A Charge Meter
A jump starter that features a charge meter makes the device much easier to use, and makes it much easier to charge a dead battery. A charge meter will allow you to know how much power the car battery has, which will let you know when you are powered back up.
The best jump starters come equipped with a warranty, which will protect your investment. Should anything happen to the jump starter during the span of time the warranty covers, you could have it repaired or replaced, or you could have your money reimbursed. It is important that you make sure to read all of the details of your jump starter’s warranty so that you know exactly what it covers.
The Best Jump Starter Brands
There are several manufacturers that make jump starters, which can make it difficult to determine which manufacturer to by a jump starter from. To help you find the best brand, we have weeded through all of the available options and have read user reviews and tested them out ourselves. Our findings have concluded that the following jump starters are the best of the best.
It comes as no surprise that Duracell jump starters are rated among the best of the best. This company is one of the leading manufacturers of alkaline batteries, and their line of jump starters are just as effective and power as their batteries. Their jump starters provide high energy and are extremely reliable. They also offer a number of available features. Duracell jump starters are also highly portable, which makes them a great safety device to have in your car.
Power All is a company that specializes in making Jump Starters. They are also the top producer of lithium battery powered jump starters. Power All jump starters are highly powerful, offer a range of features and are very portable.
Another top brand in jump starters is Clore. This company’s jump starters are professional grade, and they can also be used for everyday use. They are durable, reliable and are manufactured with the latest technologies.