Person jumping car with portable battery

The Best Portable Jump Starters of 2021

By Austin Meadows AccessoriesNo Comments

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We all know the feeling, and it’s not a good one. You try to start your vehicle, only to be greeted with silence instead of the purr of the engine. The battery is dead, and now you have to flag down some random stranger to give you a jump, or call for assistance. Or do you?

As it turns out, you can solve your own problem with the use of a portable jump starter. These little devices can be as small as a paperback book, yet pack enough juice to start a standard vehicle several times. Heavy-duty models can even jumpstart trucks and boats.

These devices connect to your vehicle’s battery in the same way that traditional jump cables do. The difference, of course, is that the other end is occupied by an indifferent, judgement-free electronic device, rather than a stranger in the grocery store parking lot.

The best portable jump starters also hold their charge for a long time (up to 18 months or more,) meaning you can keep them in your vehicle until they’re needed. Just be sure to check the battery level every once in a while: most have an onboard battery level display to make this easier.

There are dozens of solid models available, but certain types are better for particular purposes or types of vehicle. Below, find our recommendations for the best portable car jump starters on the market today.

Sale
Best Portable Jump Starter: HULKMAN Alpha85 Jump Starter
  • Peak amps: 2000
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 4.1 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 2.0 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, USB C, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Best High-End Portable Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660
  • Peak amps: 1700
  • Dimensions: 16.3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Ports: 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Sale
Best Portable Jump Starter and Air Compressor: STANLEY J5C09
  • Peak amps: 1000
  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.0 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 17.2 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight, air compressor

Best Heavy Duty Portable Jump Starter: Schumacher DSR ProSeries
  • Peak amps: 4400
  • Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 41.2 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v, 24v
  • Other features: None

Sale
Best Compact Jump Starter: SCOSCHE PBJ700-1 PowerUp 700
  • Peak amps: 700
  • Dimensions: 7.0 x 3.3 x 1.0 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Best Portable Jump Starter: HULKMAN Alpha85

HULKMAN Alpha85 Jump Starter 2000 Amp 20000mAh Car Starter for up to 8.5L Gas and 6L Diesel Engines with LED Display 12V Lithium Portable Car Battery Booster Pack (Space Gray)

The HULKMAN Alpha85 is a powerful yet portable jump starter that’s capable of jump starting most standard passenger vehicles. Its 2000 peak amp rating is suitable for gas engines of up to 8.5l, and diesel engines of up to 6l. 

In plain English, this means the Alpha85 can start almost every passenger vehicle and pickup truck (even heavy-duty trucks), but it’s not suitable for semi trucks or boats. 

The Alpha85 hits all the right notes, and it’s our pick as the best portable jump starter overall. It’s compact (9.1 x 4.1 x 1.8 inches), lightweight (two pounds), safe, and simple to use. It also has a built-in LED flashlight with three modes of operation: flashlight, strobe, and SOS.

With a capacity of 20,000mAh, this model can theoretically jump start a small vehicle up to 60 times on a single charge. It also doubles as a power bank, with ports to charge devices via USB-A, USB C, and 12V DC. 

The battery is designed to hold its charge for up to 18 months. And in case you ever find it dead, the quick-charge feature gives it a full charge in around 90 minutes, or enough for a single jump in about five minutes.

Pros
  • Long standby time
  • Fast charging: enough power to jump a car after five minutes
  • Doubles as a power bank with multiple port types
  • 2000 peak amps
Cons
  • Can be difficult to contact HULKMAN support
Buy on Amazon

Best High-End Portable Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter , Blue

The Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 is our runner-up pick for best car jump starter. It’s an extremely reliable, versatile, and durable product that has become the favorite of tow truck drivers and rescue vehicles, due to its unmatched reliability. 

First off, the bad news: This is a big boy, weighing in at 18lbs and measuring 16.3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches. The capacity and peak output is around the same as our much smaller and lighter pick above, so what gives? 

The main difference is that the Jump-N-Carry uses a bulky lead-acid battery that is specifically designed for jump starting. While heavy, this battery delivers exceptional cranking power and an unmatched service life. Plus, if it ever does wear out, the internal battery is replaceable (you can buy the replacement battery on Amazon). 

This model is also substantially more rugged and durable than our top pick, with a heavy-duty case protecting the internal components from wear and tear. Extra-long 46” cables make it easy to hook up to batteries in any vehicle, with industrial-grade clamps on the end designed to penetrate corrosion on battery connectors. 

The Jump-N-Carry JNC660 can power accessories via its built-in 12V port, although it lacks USB ports for mobile device charging. The battery itself charges via a built-in cable, which pulls out when needed. It’s also designed to be left plugged in if desired, so it will always be fully charged when it’s needed. 

Long story short, if you’re looking for a rugged, professional-grade jump starter, go for the Jump-N-Carry. Prefer a more compact, consumer-grade option with extra features? Grab the HULKMAN above.

Pros
  • Built-in charging plug
  • Internal battery is replaceable at a low cost
  • Long, heavy-duty cables
  • 1,700 peak amps
Cons
  • No USB charging ports
  • Bulky
Buy on Amazon

Best Portable Jump Starter and Air Compressor: STANLEY J5C09

STANLEY J5C09 Portable Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps- 120 PSI Air Compressor- USB Port- Battery Clamps

Ever had a dead battery and a flat tire at the same time? No? Well, for those unfortunate souls out there who have, the Stanley J5C09 is their savior. 

This jump starter includes a built-in air compressor, offering 120PSI (adequate to refill vehicle tires), as well as a 1000 peak amp jump starter. There’s also a rotating LED light that makes it easier to jump a vehicle at night, and the JC509 also doubles as a power bank to charge electronics via the USB-A port.

This multi-function device can’t yet drive your vehicle on autopilot, nor can it change your oil, but we’ll see what Stanley comes up with in next year’s model. 

The Stanley J5C09 is a versatile option for different kinds of vehicle maintenance. The main downside is that it’s bulky, at 17.2 pounds and 11.3 x 8.0 x 3.5 inches. Additionally, the air compressor cable is quite short, making it awkward to use in some situations.

Pros
  • Built-in air compressor
  • Jump start car, refill tires, and recharge devices
  • 1000 peak amps
  • Improper connection alarm
  • Rotating LED light
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Air compressor hose too short for comfortable use
Buy on Amazon

Best Heavy Duty Portable Jump Starter: Schumacher DSR ProSeries

Schumacher DSR ProSeries Rechargeable Pro Jump Starter - 12V - Works with Semis Class 8 Vehicles - Includes DC/USB Power for Charging Phones and Tablets

Need to jump start a semi truck or large boat? Look no further than the Schumacher DSR ProSeries. This bad boy can put out up to 4400 peak amps, more than twice the rating of our other top picks. This is more than enough juice for even the largest vehicles, including class 8 vehicles such as commercial semi trucks, garbage trucks, and even fire engines if you happen to have one of those in your backyard. 

This is definitely the best portable jump starter for trucks, as it packs enough power for just about any non-military vehicle out there. It also has 60-inch jumper cables, which are helpful for reaching into the deep engine bays of commercial vehicles, and supports jumping of both 12v and 24v vehicle batteries. 

As you would expect, the downsides are bulkiness (41.2lbs, 14 x 10 x 8 inches) and an above-average price tag. For those who need the heavy-duty power punch of a 4400 amp jump starter, though, this is an excellent choice.

Pros
  • 4400 peak amps
  • Powerful enough for semi trucks, boats, etc.
  • Compatible with 12v and 24v vehicle batteries
  • 60-inch jumper cables
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Best Compact Jump Starter: SCOSCHE PBJ700-1 PowerUp 700

SCOSCHE PBJ700-1 PowerUp 700 Portable Car Jump Starter, Battery Booster for Automobiles

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the 41lb pick above, you have the SCOSCHE PBJ700-1. This little guy weighs just 2.5lbs, and measures 7.0 x 3.3 x 1.0 inches. It’s nearly pocket-size, and certainly small enough to throw in your glove box or under your vehicle seat. 

Despite its small size, this starter packs a punch. The 700 peak amps can jump start vehicles with up to 8-cylinder engines (note: if you have a smaller vehicle, the 6-cylinder version is a good, cheaper option). The PBJ700-1 also has two USB-A ports for charging mobile devices, along with a flashlight to help see what you’re doing in a dark engine bay. The light also has an SOS mode in case of a genuine emergency.

As you’d expect with a compact device, the jumper cables on this unit are quite short. The manufacturer also doesn’t include a wall charger in the package, and it needs at least a 2A (10W) model to charge properly.

Pros
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Powerful enough for 8-cylinder vehicles
  • Two USB-A ports for charging devices
  • Small enough to double as a power bank
Cons
  • Very short jumper cables
  • Wall charger not included
Buy on Amazon

Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin is a digital nomad with a passion for exploring alternative lifestyles and testing the latest technological innovations. Rarely under the same roof for long, when he's not sampling wine and cheese in Bulgaria or downloading the latest travel app, you can find him running, gaming, or cooking up something delicious.

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