Jump Starters: A Guide to Portable Power for Your Vehicle


What’s on your list of essentials for your vehicle? If you’re like many drivers, you think about things like air filters, oil, R134A freon, or perhaps even jumper cables. But how can you ensure that you’ve got enough power to get moving if your battery goes dead? A portable jump starter provides the charging you need without relying on anyone else. This brief guide explains what you should know before you buy your first jump starter model.

Features and Accessories

When selecting a portable jump starter, it is important to consider its features and accessories. As you review information for each model, you’ll want to consider a few key specs:

  • Battery capacity determines how many times the jump starter can supply power before it requires recharging. Higher-capacity models are excellent for drivers who need frequent charging.
  • Peak amperage indicates how fast the unit delivers power to the vehicle’s battery. Faster charging means shorter wait times before you can get back on the road.
  • Weight is a vital consideration, as a lighter jump starter is easier to carry. Lower weight makes it more portable for emergencies.
  • Size dictates ease of storage. Storing a smaller jump starter in a glove box or console is more convenient than a heavy one that’s left behind in a garage.

You’ll probably notice that many models include USB ports. These offer convenient charging capabilities for smartphones, tablets, e-book readers, and other mobile devices. In fact, they can power up any gear that uses USB charging ports. Depending on the specific model, they typically include USB 2.4 ports. Some, such as the Duralast DL-2000LI 1200-Amp Jump Starter, come with USB 2.0, 2.4, and 3.0 ports.

Safety Considerations

Safety features on portable jump starters usually include reverse polarity and surge protection. With reverse polarity protection, you can’t accidentally mix up the cables when connecting them to the battery. This helps avert sparks or fires. Surge protection safeguards against power spikes by regulating current levels from the unit to the battery. Some models integrate LED lights for use in low-light conditions.

Nearly all jump starter models come with these and other safety measures. For instance, the NOCO Boost HD GB70 incorporates reverse polarity protection along with spark-proof technology, minimizing the risk of producing sparks that could start fires. Other models with safety features include the Schumacher 800-Amp Jump Starter, equipped with smart cables to avert problems such as overcurrent, short circuits, overloading, overvoltage, and overcharging. Duralast models such as its 800-amp jump starters incorporate similar protections.

Smart, Powerful Preparation

Along with an emergency kit, a spare tire, and basic tools, a portable jump starter ensures you’re prepared for any problem on the road. Besides having power at the ready for your battery, you can also charge accessories and mobile devices. If you’re new to automotive care, you may have common questions such as “What is ceramic spray wax?”. Your preferred auto parts and accessories retailer supplies the gear you need and can answer basic, intermediate, and complex questions about your vehicle.