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How to Choose a Portable Jump Starter

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A lot of people have issues with their car batteries. Instead of buying a new one as soon as the old starts underperforming, you should think about buying a quality jump starter.

The following factors make a jump starter worth buying –

  • Sufficient cranking and peak power
  • Additional features
  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Durability
  • Affordable price

The power


One of the most important things to look for when choosing the right jump starter is the amount of peak and cranking power.

Cranking power

Cranking power refers to the amount of amps that can be delivered by the unit if additional cranking is needed. The modern jump starters usually have around 400 amps of cranking power.

Peak power

Peak power represents the maximum amount of power a jump starter can deliver. The most common value is somewhere around 1000 amps, but there are a lot of models with less and more peak power. There is no “best power value,” it all depends on your needs and the car’s battery type.

Additional features


Modern technology had a massive influence on jump starters. Consequently, more and more models started coming out with different auxiliary features. Some of the best ones are –

  • USB ports
  • Air compressor
  • Flashlight
  • Radio

USB ports

If you have a smartphone, tablet or a laptop, USB ports can come in handy, especially in low-battery situations. You can use the jump starter as a temporary charger wherever you go, as long as you have the 12V lighter port in your vehicle.

Air compressor

Some of the more versatile units have a built-in air compressor to help you in urgent situations. Although it’s usually not the same compressor that you see and use at a gas station, it offers more than enough power to inflate your tires until the next stop.

Flashlight

People don’t usually think about jumpstarting their batteries in the dark. However, if you think about it, most people go to work at the crack of dawn when the conditions are pretty dim. Therefore, having a flashlight integrated into the unit allows you to use your jump starter regardless if it’s day or night.

Radio

The radio comes in handy if you’re in a waiting situation. For example, if you’re waiting for the tow service on a highway, it’s better that you turn on the built-in radio and save the car battery. Many people make a common mistake and turn on the radio in their vehicle which draws the battery dead in no time.

Safety


Safety is paramount when it comes to these devices. Although you’re not managing high voltages, the high amperage can still have devastating and sometimes even fatal consequences. Therefore, you need to pay special attention to the safety measures. The things you should look for are –

  • Overvoltage protection
  • Short circuit protection
  • Over-current protection
  • Overload protection
  • Overcharge protection

These five elements are mandatory if you want to be completely safe while operating a jump starter. In fact, don’t buy a model if it doesn’t feature these five protective mechanisms.

Reliability


The only way to tell if something is reliable is to check what other people have to say about it. Also, the brand’s reputation is one of the major elements to look for. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy a reliable jump starter, look for reputable brands and models with positive reviews.

Durability


The design is the biggest tell-sign of durability. For example, if it’s made of cheap plastic, you can’t expect a great level of durability, it’s just common sense. On the other hand, metal units can weigh a lot. So, try finding the golden middle. The key is to find a lightweight unit with a sturdy design.

Affordability


The price is one of the last things you should think about. People with a tight budget don’t have a choice as broad as the ones with an unlimited budget. However, buying the most expensive one you can find is not a solution, to say the least. The thing you should strive for is the low price – high-quality ratio. If you manage to find a model with a reasonable price, good set of features, and a satisfactory design – you’ve hit the lottery. Don’t hesitate to invest money; it’s worth it.

How to Choose a Portable Jump Starter – Buyer’s Guide

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 5 min
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