We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

There When You Need It Most: The Best Battery Jump Starters to Restart Your Car

No matter what, it's always an inconvenience to be in a situation where your car won't start. One of the most common causes of this problem is a flat battery which can’t provide enough power to crank the engine. The usual solution to this is to ask someone to help out and hope they have jumper cables. Alternatively, you can spend a little money and solve a big problem by having around a portable jump starter. A battery jump starter can range from a basic model with the sole purpose of jump starting your cars battery to being more of a multi-purpose emergency power source.

This list of the best battery jump starters in 2021 is focused on the best budget-friendly jump starters that don't sacrifice stable starting performance that is, the ability to reliably start a vehicle with a dead battery. The focus on affordability means sometimes having to sacrifice extra features such as built-in air compressor, but all of the following picks will usually be sufficient for those who want the security and convenience of a battery jump starter, without having to pay a lot of money.

Here are the best battery jump starters of 2021

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Battery Jump Starter - Best Battery Jump Starter Overall

We've already reviewed the Black & Decker JUS500B and the JUS500IB is essentially the same unit, with an added 120 psi compressor for extra convenience and versatility. A low-profile design and on-board clamp and cable storage make the JUS500IB easy to store, whether in a kept garage or in a car/truck. Plenty of features enhance usability and safety, including an on/off switch, reverse polarity alarm, a bright built-in light for using the jump-starter in dark environments.

A rating of 500 cranking amps delivers plenty of power, and the battery can be charged using the built-in AC charger and a standard extension cord. The Black & Decker JUS500IB is easy and safe to use, while also being easy to store and portable. If the included compressor is worth the slight extra cost over the JUS500B, this is an excellent choice.

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Battery Jump Starter - Runner Up

The Black & Decker brand is very well-known for their tools being of good quality and design. Their JUS300B jump starter keeps up this reputation, with a low-profile and portable design yet still offering enough power to get most passenger cars and trucks started. Although the 300 cranking amps might not always be enough for much larger vehicles, this jump starter is good for those occasional times when you or someone else needs a jump start.

The JUS300B leaves out features such as an outlet or compressor, but includes several safety features such as a built-in area light, an on/off switch, and reverse polarity alarms. Charging the battery is accomplished with the built-in AC charger using a standard household extension cord. The JUS300B is easy to use, convenient, and affordable.

Stanley J309 (300 amp) Battery Jump Starter - Honorable Mention

While many of the more budget-friendly units forgo features that can be important for both safety and utility, the Stanley J309 offers a good blend of portability, features, and affordable pricing. This lightweight jump starter is compact and portable, while being rated at a peak of 600 amps and 300 cranking amps. Although this might not be ideal for jump starting the completely dead batteries of much larger vehicles, it should have no trouble getting most standard cars/trucks started.

The J309 includes a reverse polarity alarm, on/off switch, and bright built-in light - all contributing to better safety. It also includes some unique connectivity, with a USB outlet as well as the more standard cigarette lighter-style outlet for charging and power accessories. Its versatility and ease-of-use make the Stanley J309 a solid choice.

SOLAR Portable Battery Jump Starter - Consider

Although the Clore JNC300XL might not include a lot of features, such as a built-in compressor, it does pack a lot of power into a compact, portable, and easy-to-use design. This convenient jump starter is rated at 900 peak amps, with 225 amps of cranking power; enough juice to get most passenger cars/trucks going. The lack of an on/off switch or reverse polarity detection might be off-putting for some, but using a jump starter does ideally require a certain amount of knowledge regardless.

A built-in area light is included, as is a battery status indicator light, a 12-volt DC power outlet, and the JNC300XL can be charged using a wall outlet. As a convenient, portable, and affordable jump starter, the Clore JNC300XL does a good job.

Buyer's Guide

The last thing you want during a road trip is for your car’s battery to suddenly run out of juice. And while you can technically call for help from someone on the road to jump-start it back up, not everybody’s got that kind of a soul, unfortunately. And receiving help from roadside assistance like AAA can take hours. So, what then?

Fortunately, in this day and age, you can take even jump-starting matters into your own hands. With a battery jump starter, you won’t need another car to get your vehicle back on the road. Here’s what you need to look for when getting this special device.

What is a battery jump starter?

A battery jump starter is a device that allows a user to jump-start their own vehicle when their car’s battery has little to no power left. Normally, a driver would have to rely on another vehicle for power if they were stranded on the highway, but battery jump starters give you the ability to do everything yourself without the need of a willing fellow driver.

Why do you need a battery jump starter?

Battery jump starters are quite useful for a few different reasons. Here are a few of them:

It lets you do everything yourself

A common way to jump-start your car’s battery is by finding someone with a car, asking them to park it close to yours, and plugging in both batteries together so that your batteries get charged by theirs. While this is a guaranteed solution, it requires another party for success, which can be difficult to find in the middle of nowhere or during nighttime.

With a battery jump starter, none of that is necessary. Everything you need to get your battery back up and running is inside the kit, and you don’t need to look for anyone else for help. Battery jump starters are perfect for DIY-minded individuals and those who are on the road often.

It can potentially save your life

If you went, say, camping with your vehicle, and wake up only to find your car out of juice, having a battery jump starter can potentially be a lifesaver. When in rural and secluded areas, it can be difficult to find help, so the guarantee of a battery jump starter can prevent you from getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Battery jump starters are especially helpful if your car is older and you know it has battery issues, saving you from worrying about the worst-case scenario.

Things to consider when buying a battery jump starter

If you want a battery jump starter for your car, keep these tips in mind.

Performance

The key to choosing the best battery jump starter is by choosing one with the best performance. Now, there are many different ways to measure performance, and depending on how you look at it, some starters may perform better than others, but there’s one metric you must remember to consider— effectiveness in low temperatures.

If you live or travel anywhere with a cold climate, then you’ll definitely need a battery jump starter that works in low temperatures. Battery jump starters may work in 90-degree weather, but things start to become problematic once they hit sub-zero temperatures. Some battery jump starters just won’t work in these conditions, rendering your life-saving tool useless in a time when you need it most. Unfortunately, not all car jump starters mention their performance in extreme temperature conditions. You’ll often have to consult review guides for those.

Battery life


A battery jump starter kit will need its own battery if it’s able to supply any sort of power to your car’s battery. As such, you’ll need to find one with long battery life to ensure that there’s juice left in the tank any day of the week.

A side note: be sure to charge the battery every now and then just to be on the safe side. The last thing you’d want is for you to run out of battery power on your car, and only to find out that your battery jump starter’s out of juice, too.

Make sure you have the proper tools, like extension cords and plugs, to charge the jump starter. Most starters should explain what they require for charging if it’s not included in the purchase.

Battery jump starter price range

Battery jump starters are not the most inexpensive tool. They can probably cost as little as $50 per set. This usually already comes with jumper cables and a plug to let you charge through your house. Not all sets will include jumper cables nor will they have the same charging capacity. A higher capacity and additional features will cost you closer to $100. While these are not the cheapest items, they will help you get moving when you need help ASAP.

How do we choose the best battery jump starters?

We choose the best battery jump starters according to their brand history, performance, and customer reviews. We look at how efficient they are, how easy they are to use, their cost, additional features, and durability. Customer reviews, brand, and more are also considered so we can get the full picture of each product so we’re sure to recommend only the best ones.

FAQs

Q: Will battery jump starters start a dead battery?
A: Even dead batteries can start working again with a strong enough battery jump starter. This will save you time and get you back on the road to your destination faster than if you had to wait for a good samaritan or other assistance to help you out.

Q: Can a battery be too dead to be jump-started?
A: No. Any battery can be jump-started, no matter how “dead” you may think it is. If jumping the battery doesn't work, there is likely another issue that is preventing the battery from restarting.

Find Great Deals On Batteries When You Shop Online At Advance Auto Parts!

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
RELATED CONTENT
Go to top