The 7 Best Portable Jump Starters of 2023
Taylor Clemons is a tech writer who has written for IndieHangover, GameSkinny, and Steam Shovelers. Taylor specializes in PC components, operating systems, and gaming console hardware.
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If you need a basic jump starter, our experts say you should buy the NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A Jump Starter.
NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A Jump Starter
The NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 2000A is a small (but not glove-compartment small) jump starter that actually comes in two sizes. The 3000A (see our review) is for bigger vehicles, but most folks will find the 2000A meets their needs.
There is a USB port on the charger for items like your phone, but our reviewer found it charged a phone slowly. There’s also a built-in light to help you find something inside your car, but it won’t illuminate the side of the road, for instance. While this jump starter is on the more expensive side, we still think it’s the one most people should get.
Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 6×2.5×8.6 inches | Weight: 5 lbs.
I tested the NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150 on a 2011 Hyundai Elantra with a discharged battery. It’s a hefty device with large clamps, which makes connecting it to a car battery a bit difficult. But, once everything was set up, the NOCO jumped the car immediately, even with the car’s battery drained down to 10 volts. The gray and black case contains the device’s buttons and displays the charge level and voltage. You can charge it via the 12V power plug or USB, although the latter method can take anywhere from two to 11 hours depending on the wall charger you use. Weight and USB charging issues aside, this is one of the best jump starters on the market. — Tony Mitera, Product Tester
Best for Large Cars
Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter
At a bulky 18 pounds, you might ask yourself, “What kind of utility am I getting out of this?” If you want a portable jump starter and a built-in swivel light you’re in luck.
The STANLEY J5C09 1000 is heavy because it’s also an air compressor, so if you find your tires are low on air, you can fill them right back up. Now, our testing did reveal the jumper cables are kind of short (they aren’t long enough to set the jump starter on the ground) and the air compressor hose is likewise short, but the unit did jump the test car each time we tried it. Cables aside, it wasn’t short on performance.
Like the NOCO Genius Boost Pro GB150, this jump starter is a bit costly, but the price is reasonable if you need both a jump starter and a compressor and don’t mind the extra bulk.
Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11.25x8x3.5 inches | Weight: 17.2 lbs.
The STANLEY J5C09 1000 provided a reliable jump every time I tried it. The terminal clamps were easy to place onto the battery, even in relatively tight spaces. The air compressor is a useful feature, but the pressure gauge is small and hard to read, and it’s nearly illegible in the dark. An included USB port provides a snappy charge rate, although it’s a little hard to plug a cable into it. Meanwhile, an included flashlight attaches to the case on a ball joint and lets you illuminate your work area, but it also has some flaws. The joint isn’t incredibly flexible but has just enough freedom of movement to make it a useful feature. Overall, if you think you’ll need the STANLEY J5C09 1000’s extras and you have the space in your vehicle for it, it’s a reasonable buy. — Tony Mitera, Product Tester
Scosche PowerUp 700 Portable Jump Starter
This jump starter is about as small as they come, so why not toss one into a portable emergency pack? It won’t be able to jump-start your car dozens of times before it needs to be recharged, but if all goes well, you should need it only to get the car going just this one time, right?
Included are a couple of USB ports for charging kid-quieting devices and a flashlight to see who, exactly, is touching who.
Peak Amps: 700 | Dimensions: 9.8×6.9×3.6 inches | Weight: 2.5 lbs.
Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter
The Jump-N-Carry JNC660 really earns its name by being a compact jump starter with places to store everything and a nice design. The built-in handle and holders for the cables keep this jump starter neat and organized in your garage or trunk. There’s a meter on the front to show how much power you’re working with, and even a built-in plug for charging the battery with an AC cable.
This is the only jump starter on the list that allows you to replace the battery when it starts to wear down. And if you’re in charge of a fleet of vehicles, you may have to replace the battery somewhat frequently. When you need to recharge, the plug is built right in.
But what’s missing is the extras we typically see in a jump starter. There’s no flashlight, no USB ports for your phone, and no air pump. Jump starters are great, but we really like versatile devices here, so the lack of extras is disappointing.
Peak Amps: 1700 | Dimensions: 16.3×14.1×5.1inches | Weight: 18 lbs.
Best Heavy Duty
Schumacher DSR115 ProSeries
When it comes to jump starters, you get various shapes and sizes. The Schumacher DSR ProSeries is another jump starter that earns its name. The Pro series can jump-start a car, truck, boat, big rig, and basically anything else that doesn’t have wings.
The device reports on the battery and alternator performance and informs you if maintenance is needed. The cables themselves are over 5 feet long, so they can go anywhere on any size vehicle.
All of that is great, but it comes at the cost of being exceptionally heavy at over 40 pounds. That’s not unusual considering the power of this jump starter. As much as we don’t want to see additional weight put onto this body, wheels would have been a nice addition. This is not the kind of starter you put in the trunk of your Toyota Camry. This is the kind of starter you use to jump-start the truck that will tow your Camry.
Peak Amps: 4400 | Dimensions: 14x10x8 inches | Weight: 41.2 lbs.
Audew 2000A Upgraded Car Jump Starter
The versatility of the Audew 2000A Upgraded Car Jump Starter comes at a big cost. You might find that cost to be worth it since it’s a handy device for charging your everyday devices as well as jump-starting your car, and it’s small enough to fit into your. bag, or glove box.
The cost we’re talking about is needing to recharge your jump starter every 30 days. And if you forget just one time, you might be stuck in a parking lot. At least if it can’t start your car, it’ll keep you company (and your phone charged) while you wait for help. See? Versatile.
Peak Amps: 2000 | Dimensions: 8.7×3.5×1.1 inches | Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Wagan EL7552 Jumpboost V8 Air Jump Starter with Air Compressor
We liked this one because it’s a jack of all trades. Like the STANLEY J5C09 1000 above, this one will jump-start the car, fill up tires that are low on air, charge up portable devices, and let you see what you are doing with its built-in light. Neither device will do your taxes and, while we won’t take points off, we don’t feel it’s too much to ask.
Peak Amps: 1000 | Dimensions: 11x11x7 inches | Weight: 10 lbs.
When your car’s battery is dead, a jump starter gives it a jolt of power so you can turn your car on. From there, start driving, and your car’s alternator will charge the battery as you go along.
First, connect the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the battery and connect the negative cable to the engine block. Then, place the jump box in a secure, out-of-the-way location, and try to start your car. Once your car is running, disconnect both cables and secure them to the jump box.
for jump starters range depending on what features they have, but it should be possible to find a decent option for 50 or 60. If you decide you do want a more sophisticated model, expect to pay about 150 or more.
There aren’t many worse feelings than the one you have after walking out to your car in the morning, turning the key, and realizing that it’s out of battery. While you could simply rely on jumper cables, you could keep a jump starter in your car, which allows you to jump-start your car easily without losing more than a few minutes of your day.
A jump starter does not recharge your car’s battery itself. Instead, it gives the battery enough kick to turn the car on—you’ll need to drive your car to power it back up again. On the other hand, most car alternators aren’t built to recharge a car’s battery fully from zero, and forcing one to do so can shorten its lifespan. In other words, it might be the way to go in a pinch, but if you can avoid jump starting your car, it’s probably best to do so.
Unlike a jump starter, a battery charger actually recharges your car’s battery—which comes in handy in a different set of situations. Battery chargers take at least a few hours to recharge a car battery, meaning they’re not ideal for those who might need to get on the road quickly. They also have to plug into a power outlet, meaning they’re not as portable. Plus, they can come to the rescue if you have a faulty alternator, as they can allow you to get your car up and running without having to worry about your alternator recharging your battery. Our recommendation? Having both a jump starter and a battery charger can be helpful. A battery charger is better if you have access to a power outlet and have enough time to charge the battery, while a jump starter is better in a pinch for those who need to get on the road right away.
What to Look For in a Portable Jump Starter
There are a few factors to think about when it comes to picking the right jump starter for you. Do you have a big truck or a smaller car? Do you have a fleet of vehicles to maintain? Do you have storage in the vehicle or in your garage? Where are you most likely to need the jump starter: At your home base or on the road? How much space do you have to dedicate to a device you hopefully will never need? Whatever your circumstances our experts have found a jump starter for you.
Jump starters come in both portable and plug-in varieties. Portable jump starters have a built-in battery, meaning they can be used on the go whenever you need them. The only downside is that after they’re used, they have to be charged, which can take a number of hours. Plug-in chargers, on the other hand, are much less portable. Instead of having a decent-sized battery built-in, you have to connect them to a power outlet—meaning that if you’re in a parking lot with a dead battery, you’re largely out of luck. We generally recommend buying a portable jump starter over a plug-in one. The portability outweighs the downside of having to keep the device charged up.
Jumper cables are an important part of any jump starter. You might think that jumper cables are all the same, and to an extent that’s true—they’re copper wires that deliver power. Some cables, however, are better than others.
For instance, cables can have different lengths. Generally, they range from around 10 to 35 feet. Don’t think you need to go for extra-long cables, though— for most people, 15 feet will be perfectly fine. Another differentiator is a cable’s wire gauge, which refers to the thickness of the wire inside. Thicker wire is better at delivering more power, which can be important if you’re trying to jump-start a vehicle with a bigger battery. For smaller vehicles, like most cars, a cable with at least an 8 gauge will be fine, though larger batteries might need a 6 or 4 gauge cable.
An air compressor is what you’d use to pump up a car’s flat tire if it’s been deflated. A built-in compressor may not matter when you’re jump-starting your car, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come in handy.
If you’re strapped for cash, a built-in compressor is something you can avoid, but if you have the money to spend on a device with an air compressor, we recommend doing so.
Being stuck on the side of the road at night is never a preferable situation. With low visibility and distracted drivers, you could easily find yourself in a dangerous spot. That’s where emergency lights can come in. When a jump starter has emergency lights, you’ll be able to place it near your car to alert other drivers to the fact that you’re there.
We definitely recommend buying a jump starter with emergency lights of some kind, especially considering the fact that they could end up saving your life.
Some jump starters have built-in emergency radios, which will help you keep up-to-date with local events in case of an emergency or a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane. If you live in an area that’s prone to these types of events, this feature might be incredibly helpful.
Brands to Consider
Generally, it’s worth buying something from an established brand instead of a newer company without a track record—not only because the product will likely work better, but also because the company may offer a better warranty in case the device doesn’t work as expected.
When it comes to jump starters, known brands include the likes of Noco, Stanley, Beatit, and Jump-n-Carry, all of which offer slightly different takes on the jump starter.
NOCO GB40 Review: Small Portable Jump Starter With Big Value
Portable jump starters like the NOCO GB40 provide the convenience of on-demand power when your battery dies. Instead of waiting on a friend with jumper cables or for roadside assistance, you pop the hood, hook the unit to your battery, and fire up your vehicle. Portable jump starters, like the NOCO GB40, are also great for winter emergency kits and extended road trips.
Officially called the NOCO Boost Plus GB40, the 1,000-amp unit accommodates nearly all lead-acid car batteries, most gasoline engines, and smaller diesel powertrains. It’s easy to store as the entire unit with clamps and accessories is under 2.5 lbs. An integrated 100-lumen flashlight, built-in charging bank, and helpful safety features make the GB40 a good value for its 100 price tag.
Here we will cover the main features of the NOCO GB40 if you are in the market for a portable jump starter.
NOCO GB40 In-Depth: What It Offers
The GB40 comes with detachable heavy-use clamps, a 40-inch micro USB cable for charging, a 12V 2.1-amp USB car charger, an owner’s manual, and a microfiber storage bag. The GB40 is only partially charged out of the box, so NOCO recommends fully charging it before use. Using the included micro USB cable and a USB wall charger, our GB40 took about three hours to charge fully. According to NOCO, the GB40 can provide up to 20 jump starts on a full charge in ideal conditions.
The GB40 has a 24-watt-hour lithium-ion internal battery with natural convection cooling. Meanwhile, the rubber housing covers for the 12V and USB outlets have an IP65 rating to protect against dust and water. NOCO engineered the GB40 to withstand temps as low as.4°F (-20°C) and as high as 122°F (50°C).
Battery Vehicle Compatibility
The NOCO GB40 will jump various lead-acid batteries, including wet cell, gel, maintenance-free, enhanced flooded, and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. Given the wide range of lead-acid battery compatibility, the GB40 is suitable for a vast majority of vehicles on the road today, whether brand new or gently used. The GB40 will handle gas engines up to six liters, which covers a wide swath of half-ton trucks and every small to midsize SUV. Likewise, the GB40 will bring a smaller diesel mill (up to three liters) to life on a cold day.
It’s also handy around the garage or shed to jump any dead lawn and garden batteries. If you go camping or hit the trails, the GB40 can be used for almost any RV, marine, four-wheeler, or snowmobile battery too.
Precision Clamps Jumper Cables
One of the GB40’s top features is the detachable heavy-duty clamps (listed as “precision clamps” on the spec sheet). The shark-style, spark-proof design allows the clamp to bite down on batteries and terminals of different shapes and sizes. The only potential downside is the relatively short length of the cables, which might be inconvenient depending on where your battery is located under the hood (although the shorter cables make for easier storage).
On the GB40’s right bank is a 100-lumen flashlight (the bulbs are nestled on each side of the 12V outlet for the jumper cables). Hit the lightbulb button on the unit to access seven different modes, including an SOS beacon and emergency strobe. The constant-on modes have three different brightness settings, from higher to lower.
While the convenience and safety aspects of the flashlight are probably apparent, we did have occasion here at the office to use it during an afternoon snowstorm. Right around the time we received our GB40, the Detroit metro was hit with a storm that produced ice and heavy winds, knocking down trees and powerlines. We used the flashlight to walk down the stairs before heading out.
That night, after we got home, the GB40’s USB charging port came in handy. On the unit’s left side are two 5V, 2.1A ports: USB In for charging the GB40 and USB Out for charging devices like tablets and phones. The built-in charging bank makes the NOCO GB40 more versatile and opens up other potential uses for the unit beyond jumping batteries.
Battery Management System
The GB40 is built on a proprietary software platform known internally at NOCO as the Battery Management System, or BMS. As described by NOCO, the BMS is responsible for key safety features and creating a “mistake-proof” product for customers. With the BMS, the GB40 only outputs when it recognizes its cables are correctly attached to a battery. For example, if you accidentally connect to the wrong terminal (reverse polarity), the GB40 will not activate. Similarly, if the polarity is correct, but one of the clamps is loose, the BMS prevents the GB40 from delivering power.
With a proper connection, the white 12V LED light will illuminate on top of the unit. The GB40 will make an audible click, indicating that jumping the battery is safe.
Rather than hitting everything it connects to at full blast, the NOCO GB40 only delivers the juice required by the battery needing a jump. Essentially, it can tell the difference between a lawnmower battery and a truck battery and adjust its power delivery accordingly.