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When making a basic emergency preparedness kit for a car, one of the most important is a jump starter. An engine that you can’t start can entirely derail your trip and leave you stranded, but having a way to re-start your car battery can get you going in no time. One of the most cost-effective ways to jump your car is with jumper cables. But the usefulness of jumper cables is entirely dependent upon your ability to flag down another car and a good samaritan willing to give you a boost. Without another car, jumper cables are basically glorified jump ropes.
For most people who travel along well-trafficked city roads and freeways, this won’t be a huge problem. But if you live somewhere where another motorist might not pass by for a few hours, or if you like to travel to remote locations, then you need a better alternative. The best jump starters let you be fully self-reliant while on the road.
They’re basically like a giant portable charger, except they can power much more than your phone (though many of them have USB ports, so they can do that, too). That means you can jump your car without anyone else’s help. Or, if you like to play the good samaritan yourself, these car starter kits make it easier to help other motorists stranded on the roadside.
Owners of diesel cars are probably well aware of the special considerations that go into a diesel engine, like the higher cranking current required to start it. Fortunately, many portable jump starters have enough power to jump a diesel engine. We’ve rounded up a few powerful and compact portable jump starters for both gas and diesel cars. Many of the options on this list are small enough to fit in your glove compartment, so you won’t have to think about them until you need to use them.
These are the best car jump starters to order today, whether you have a gas or diesel engine. After all, you never know when you’ll need a reliable jump starter kit.
1. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry
This jump starter from Clore Automotive is a dependable, heavy-duty option that provides 1,700 Amps of peak power. The thick 2 AWG cables are an extra-long 68″ to ensure that they reach the battery. The unit also displays the DC volt output so you can monitor performance. In addition to the heavy-duty jump starter, an air compressor is included, giving you the ability to easily inflate your car tires. The built-in AC charger makes it easy to recharge the jumper when it’s not in use.
Pros: Heavy-duty jump starter with an included air compressor. 12V charger for powering other accessories.
Cons: More expensive than models that only provide emergency jump start assistance.
2. Booster PAC 12V Jump Starter
This powerful option delivers 1,500 Amps of peak power, and has heavy-duty 4 gauge cables. The cables are 43″, giving them ample reach for any car’s battery. Plus, the unit has a 12V port, meaning that if you have a cigarette port adapter, you can power your phone to call for help (or just play games while you wait for the pickup truck). Plus, the automatic charging feature prevents overcharging the jump starter’s battery.
Pros: Powerful and dependable, trusted by professionals. 12V port for charging your phone. 1,500 peak Amps.
Cons: Somewhat expensive.
3. NOCO Boost Plus Car Battery Jump Starter
This 1000-Amp option from NOCO can power a 6L gas engine or a 3L diesel engine, making it somewhat less powerful than some of the other options on this list. However, you can also choose a more powerful option from this same listing, including a 4000-Amp version that can power up to 10L engines. Extras include a USB-charging port and bright dual flashlights with strobe and SOS settings. There’s also a graph display on the side to indicate how much power the unit has left. It can jump a car up to 20 times on a single charge.
Pros: This ruggedized option is water-resistant, making it great for those in wet climates. It has bright dual-flashlights, including strobe and SOS settings.
Cons: Not as powerful as some of the other options.
4. TACKLIFE Car Jump Starter
This option from TackLife has a handful of helpful features to assist you in the event that you’re stranded. In addition to the 18000mAh jumper cables that can power a 7.0L gas engine and a 5.5L diesel engine, there’s a 12V DC output and two USB ports. There’s also a compass and an LED light with multiple settings including strobe and SOS. The side of the unit has a screen display that shows the percentage of power that is left in the unit. Smart features include short-circuit protection, overcharge protection, and reverse-polarity protection.
Pros: Affordable jump starter with a zippered carrying case and helpful features like USB ports, a flashlight with a strobe and SOS setting, and an LCD to indicate how much power is left.
Cons: It is not recommended to jump a car with less than 50% battery in the unit, whereas some options set the bottom threshold lower. That means you’ll have to ensure that you keep it charged.
5. TOPVISION Portable Car Power Pack
This option from TOPVISION is suited for charging larger engines — it can charge up to a 7L gas engine or a 6.5L diesel engine. There are also DC outputs and inputs, as well as two USB ports — including USB 3.0 — for quickly recharging your phone. Like all the other options, an LED flashlight can be used to help you see what you’re doing or to flag down other motorists with the SOS and strobe features. There’s also an LED display that estimates the percentage of power left in the unit. Smart features help prevent over-current protection, short-circuit protection, and over-load protection.
Pros: Can handle larger engines, including up to 7L gas engines and 6.5L diesel engines. Zippered carrying case for convenient storage. USB 3.0 port for recharging your phone.
Cons: Included instructions are limited.
6. HALO Bolt Car Jump Starter
This portable charger has USB ports and an A/C outlet that makes it a great option for using as a phone and laptop charger on the go. The sleek design means it wouldn’t look out of place on a desk. But unlike most laptop chargers, you can also use it as a jump starter with the short, detachable jumper cables, which are included. Plus, the unit has an LED light if you’re working on your car in the dark.
Pros: Sleek design with detachable jumper cables for using as either a battery jumper or as a laptop charger.
Cons: Battery life isn’t that long.
7. Audew Car Jump Starter
This ultra-compact option can fit in most glove compartments, making it a convenient and easy option to keep in your car and have in case of emergencies. It can power 6.0L gas engines or 4.5L diesel engines. In addition to jumping your car, you can also power your phone and other USB-devices while on the go using either of the USB ports. Plus, the built-in LED flashlight can be used in SOS mode to signal for help.
Pros: Compact, but can power a 6.0L gas engine or 4.5 diesel engine. Comes with USB ports for powering your smartphone and other electronics. Built-in flashlight.
Cons: Doesn’t come with wall charger.