Three Keys to Selecting a Portable Jump Starter

A rechargeable, transportable battery starter doesn’t seem like something you’d need, until you really need it.

You went to a fun event that was out in the middle of nowhere and, as chance should have it, you’re the last person to leave. You go to start your car and find that the battery has died. It’s getting dark, you have no phone reception, and it’s supposed to be well below freezing tonight. Thankfully, you have a portable jump starter. These devices take up very little trunk space, and they could literally save your life. Here are a few features to look for when choosing one.

Power Output

This 12-volt, 1000 amp jump starter should start just about any standard, consumer vehicle up to 20 times on a single charge. NOCO

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These things have one critical function, and that’s starting your car. If you can do that, then there’s really no reason to get it. Different engines will have different power requirements to turn over. Generally, look at the amps on these things. Anything over 600 amps should be good for starting a standard car or truck but check with your vehicle’s manufacturer to make sure.


Coming in at 18,000mAh, this can jump a car up to 30 times on a single charge, and it has accessories for charging laptops, and more. DBP

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We’re talking about how much energy these things can store and release when you need them. 18,000mAh is a very solid number. It should get you a bunch of jumps and have enough left over to charge your phone and even your laptop.

Extra Features

This portable jumper packs in the extras, with a bright flashlight, red light, and strobe, a USB charging port, and even a built-in compass. TACKLIFE

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These things can be like Swiss Army knives. Yeah, they jump your car, but they can do a lot more. Look for ones that have built-in flashlights, so you can see what you’re doing. USB ports are always good, too, so you can keep your phone and other small devices charged. Some even come with a variety of laptop charging cables.