Best portable jump starters to get your car running again – Chicago Tribune

2023-01-30 20:42:26 By : Mr. Frank Zhang

Remember to charge up your jump starter once a month to make sure it’s ready when car trouble hits. (BestReviews)

Turning your car over and not hearing the expected sounds from the engine is enough to send waves of frustration over your body. Generally, this shouldn’t be a problem if you have jump starters, but not everybody thinks about it. Vacuum Cleaner For Home

Best portable jump starters to get your car running again – Chicago Tribune

Of course, you could call someone to help you, but that can delay you even more if you have to wait for them to arrive. At least, if you have your own pair of jump starters, you can ask someone nearby to pull their vehicle in close for a few minutes. But whatever the case, you must always have emergency equipment in your car, including a great set of jumpers.

Portable jump starters can prove vital in getting you home safely — or to work on time in the dead of winter. Not needing another vehicle to juice up a battery saves you a lot of anxiety and time.

There’s never been a better time to protect yourself or your loved ones from a common form of car trouble. Models range from compact and lightweight to heavy-duty professional grade. They’re simple and safe to use.

Besides giving you the emergency cranking power you need, many portable jump starters offer much more at an affordable price. Typical add-ons include the following.

With so many models available, it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. There are sleek, ultra-compact models that weigh less than a pound that are slim enough to fit in a glovebox or under a seat. And there are super-powerful units loaded with features that can charge just about any vehicle.

The best way to decide which jump starter is right for you is to consult the owner's manual of your vehicle. On those pages, you will find the specifications for jump-starting cranking power and other important information about your battery. (Some modern vehicles with fully automatic ignition systems cannot be jump-started.)

The bigger the engine on your vehicle, the more cranking power — usually noted by manufacturers as “peak amperage” — you’ll need. Jump starters generally offer between 400 amps (good enough for most sedans) and 4,000 amps (capable of starting large trucks). Remember that if you live in a region with harsh winters, you’ll need extra power.

Once you’ve decided how much power you need, the next major consideration is the quality of the clamps and cables you’ll be using to connect the portable starter to your battery. Both should be heavy-duty for durability and safety.

The gauge of the wire inside the cables is important. The wider the wire, the more current it can handle. Simply put, thicker cables mean faster jump-starting. Look for cables with at least eight- or six-gauge wire (the lower the number, the better). Ten-gauge is too thin and flimsy; it’s not recommended. Also take note of the length of the cables. They should be long enough to allow the jump starter to be placed securely on the ground.

Most top-quality jump starters have excellent safety features that guard against sparking, overcharging, and reverse charging that could damage your vehicle. Some have an audible alarm that advises you when your connections are wrong.

Take basic precautions when charging a battery. To reduce the risk of shock, wear thick rubber gloves and remove any dangling jewelry or loose clothing. Safety goggles should be worn to avoid eye injury in the event of sparking. And, as always, read the operating manual carefully before use.

Excellent jump starters sell for as little as $50 and are capable of handling most cars. Heavy-duty jump starters can cost a few hundred dollars but sacrifice convenience with added weight and bulk.

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700: available at Amazon

Our take: Extremely powerful and versatile, this jump starter can do it all.

What we like: Rugged and reliable, it generates enough power to handle all cars and small trucks. It features heavy-duty cables with two-gauge wire and can charge other devices.

What we dislike: It's relatively expensive, and all that power may be overkill.

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL: available at Amazon

Our take: Simple to use and inexpensive, this lightweight jump starter is good for most vehicles.

What we like: It offers heavy-duty clamps and cables and includes a detachable emergency flashlight. It can charge other devices.

What we dislike: Its cables are only 27 inches long.

DBPOWER 600A Peak Portable Jump Starter: available at Amazon

Our take: This affordable, compact jump starter is packed with extra adapters for your added convenience.

What we like: The LCD screen indicates the power status. It includes three levels of LED lighting as well as a red emergency light.

What we dislike: Although there are extra adapters for charging devices, you cannot charge a MacBook with this jump starter.

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William Miller is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Best portable jump starters to get your car running again – Chicago Tribune

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