Person jumping car with portable battery

The Best Portable Jump Starters of 2023

By Austin Meadows AccessoriesNo Comments

We all know the feeling, and it’s not a good one: you try to start your vehicle, only to be greeted with silence instead of the purr of the engine. The battery is dead, and now you have to flag down a random stranger to give you a jump, or call for assistance. Or do you?

As it turns out, you can solve your own problem with the use of a portable jump starter. These little devices can be as small as a paperback book, yet pack enough power to start a standard vehicle several times. Heavy-duty models can even jumpstart trucks and boats.

These gadgets connect to your vehicle’s battery in the same way that traditional jump cables do. The difference, of course, is that the other end is occupied by an judgement-free electronic device, rather than a stranger in the grocery store parking lot.

Many of the jump starters we looked at bundled in a few extra features. Most have a flashlight of some sort, plus one or more USB ports for charging mobile devices. 12v sockets were also quite common, air compressors and inverters sometimes made an appearance, and there’s at least one with inbuilt speakers.

Having these extras might seem like a gimmick, and in some cases, they probably are. You typically aren’t adding much if any extra weight or cost to get them, though, and chances are you’ll use some of them more than you expect.

A lack of additional features like these wasn’t a deal-breaker for us, but when choosing between two otherwise similar jump starters, we went for the one with useful extras.

You typically charge a portable jump starter the same way you’d charge a power bank: from a wall outlet, car accessory port, or USB socket. Better ones hold their charge for a long time (18+ months), so you can keep them in your vehicle until they’re needed.

It’s worth being careful with this, however: like anything with a battery in it, exposing them to extreme heat isn’t a great idea. Keep your portable jump starter in the trunk if possible, or the glove compartment if not, rather than leaving it on a seat or in a footwell.

Remember to check the battery level every once in a while as well, so you know you’ll have a full charge when you have to rely on it. Most of the jump starters we recommend have an onboard display to make this easier.

While they can hold their charge a long time, it’s still worth using your portable charger regularly to keep the battery in good shape. Assuming it has a USB port, you don’t need to do much more than plug your phone into it for an while, once every two or three months, then stick it back on the charger. Easy.

With all of that out the way, let’s get into it. These are our recommendations for the best portable jump starters on the market in 2023.

Sale
Best Basic Portable Jump Starter: NOCO Boost Plus GB40
  • Peak amps: 1000
  • Dimensions: 7.7 x 3.2 x 1.7 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Best High-End Portable Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660
  • Peak amps: 1700
  • Cranking amps: 425
  • Dimensions: 16.3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches
  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Ports: 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Sale
Best Portable Jump Starter and Air Compressor: STANLEY J5C09
  • Peak amps: 1000
  • Cranking amps: 500
  • Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.0 x 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 17.2 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight, air compressor

Sale
Best Heavy Duty Portable Jump Starter: Schumacher DSR ProSeries
  • Peak amps: 4400
  • Cranking amps: 750
  • Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 41.2 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, 12v
  • Output voltage: 12v, 24v
  • Other features: None

Sale
Best Lightweight Jump Starter: Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300
  • Peak amps: 300
  • Dimensions: ‎10.1 x 5.3 x 2.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight

Sale
Best All-in-One Portable Jump Starter: Michelin Power Source XR1
  • Peak amps: 1000
  • Cranking amps: 300
  • Dimensions: ‎13.7 x 11.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Ports: AC, 12v, USB-A
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight, radio, Bluetooth, air compressor, inverter

Best Basic Portable Jump Starter: NOCO Boost Plus GB40

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box, Car Battery Booster Pack, Portable Power Bank Charger, and Jumper Cables for up to 6-Liter Gasoline and 3-Liter Diesel Engines

When buying any portable jump starter, you need to consider how often you’re likely to use it. If it’s only for emergencies and you probably won’t use it more than once or twice a year, there’s no need to buy the same thing you’d get for an auto shop. Extra features and value for money become more important.

If that sounds like you, the NOCO Boost Plus GB40 is the way to go. Sensibly priced, with enough power to turn over most standard passenger vehicles, it’s the ideal jump starter to leave in your trunk or glovebox for when the worst happens.

Capable of putting out up to 1000 peak amps, the company rates it as appropriate for anything up to a 6L gas vehicle or three-liter diesel. If you’re close to that limit I’d suggest going for something a little more heavy duty, but pretty much any domestic use is fine.

Lightweight by the standards of these things, the GB40 tips the scales at a mere 2.4 pounds. It’s pretty small as well: at 7.7 x 3.2 inches, and well under two inches thick, it’ll fit easily in your bag or glovebox.

As with many (but not all) small portable jump starters like this, you get a few useful extra features thrown in. There’s a 100-lumen flashlight that’s fine for signaling in an emergency or attaching the jump cables at night, and a 12W USB-A port for charging your phone or other small mobile devices.

You won’t want to plug your phone in too often, though, at least not if you want to leave enough juice to jump your vehicle afterward. With a battery capacity of just 24Wh, I’d suggest keeping it fully charged most of the time.

It comes with a basic microfiber bag that will prevent scratches and keep the (fairly short) cables from getting lost, but that’s about it: we’d have liked to see a hard case in the box. That said, you can buy one at a reasonable price, and if you’re going to leave the GB40 in your vehicle, we’d suggest doing so for extra protection.

All in all, this is a good basic portable jump starter that’s small, light, and does what it promises for most domestic vehicles. If you’re simply looking for peace of mind when it comes to being able to start your car anywhere, any time, the GB40 is really all you need.

Pros
  • Reasonably priced
  • Small and light
  • Doubles as a power bank
  • Flashlight
  • 1000 peak amps
Cons
  • Low battery capacity
  • Doesn’t come with a hard case
  • Relatively short jumper cables
Buy on Amazon

Best High-End Portable Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter , Blue

The Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 is our runner-up pick for the best car jump starter. It’s an extremely reliable, versatile, and durable product that has become the favorite of tow truck drivers and rescue vehicles, due to its unmatched reliability. 

First off, the bad news: This is a big boy, weighing in at 18lbs and measuring 16.3 x 14.1 x 5.1 inches. That’s down to the use of a bulky lead-acid battery specifically designed for jump starting, rather than the lithium-ion version used in most smaller models.

While heavy, lead-acid batteries deliver strong sustained cranking power and an unmatched service life. Plus, if it ever does wear out, the internal battery is replaceable (you can buy the replacement battery on Amazon). 

The JNC660 is much more rugged and durable than the smaller versions, with a heavy-duty casing protecting internal components from wear and tear. Extra-long 46” cables make it easy to hook up to batteries in any vehicle, with industrial-grade clamps on the end to penetrate corrosion on battery connectors. 

The Jump-N-Carry JNC660 can power accessories via its built-in 12V port, although it lacks USB ports for mobile device charging. The battery itself charges via a built-in cable, which pulls out when needed. It’s also designed to be left plugged in if desired, so it will always be fully charged when it’s needed. 

Long story short, if you’re looking for a rugged, professional-grade jump starter, go for the Jump-N-Carry.

Pros
  • Built-in charging plug
  • Internal battery is replaceable at a low cost
  • Long, heavy-duty cables
Cons
  • No USB charging ports
  • Bulky
Buy on Amazon

Best Portable Jump Starter and Air Compressor: STANLEY J5C09

STANLEY J5C09 Portable Power Station Jump Starter: 1000 Peak/500 Instant Amps- 120 PSI Air Compressor- USB Port- Battery Clamps

Ever had a dead battery and a flat tire at the same time? No? Well, for those unfortunate souls out there who have, the Stanley J5C09 is their savior. 

This jump starter includes a built-in air compressor, offering 120PSI (adequate to refill vehicle tires), as well as a 1000 peak amp jump starter. There’s also a rotating LED light that makes it easier to jump a vehicle at night, and the JC509 also doubles as a power bank to charge electronics via the USB-A port.

This multi-function device can’t yet drive your vehicle on autopilot or change your oil, but we’ll see what Stanley comes up with in next year’s model. 

The J5C09 is a versatile option for different kinds of vehicle maintenance. The main downside is that it’s bulky, at 17.2 pounds and 11.3 x 8.0 x 3.5 inches. Additionally, the air compressor cable is quite short, making it awkward to use in some situations.

Pros
  • Built-in air compressor
  • Jump start car, refill tires, and recharge devices
  • Improper connection alarm
  • Rotating LED light
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Air compressor hose too short for comfortable use
Buy on Amazon

Best Heavy Duty Portable Jump Starter: Schumacher DSR ProSeries

Schumacher DSR115 DSR ProSeries Rechargeable Pro Jump Starter - 12V - Works with Semis Class 8 Vehicles - Includes DC/USB Power for Charging Phones and Tablets

Need to jump start a semi truck or large boat? Look no further than the Schumacher DSR ProSeries. This bad boy can put out up to 4400 peak amps, more than twice the rating of our other top picks.

This is more than enough juice for even the largest vehicles, including class 8 vehicles such as commercial semi trucks, garbage trucks, and even fire engines if you happen to have one of those in your backyard. 

This is definitely the best portable jump starter for trucks, as it packs enough power for just about any non-military vehicle out there. It also has 60-inch jumper cables, which are helpful for reaching into the deep engine bays of commercial vehicles, and supports jumping of both 12v and 24v vehicle batteries. 

As you would expect, the downsides are bulkiness (41.2lbs, 14 x 10 x 8 inches) and an above-average price tag. For those who need the heavy-duty power punch of a 4400 amp jump starter, though, this is an excellent choice.

Pros
  • Powerful enough for semi trucks, boats, etc.
  • Compatible with 12v and 24v vehicle batteries
  • 60-inch jumper cables
Cons
  • Bulky
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Best Lightweight Jump Starter: Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300

Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300 Amp Portable Car Jump Starter, Battery Booster for Vehicles with Dual USB Charging Ports, Battery Indicator & Flashlight

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the 41lb pick above, you have the Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300. This little guy weighs just 1.4lbs, and measures 10.1 x 5.3 x 2.9 inches. It’s nearly pocket-size, and certainly small enough to throw in a bag or your glove box. 

Aimed at smaller vehicles, the 300 peak amps is enough to jumpstart four and six cylinder engines up to 3.5 liters. If you have something larger, the company also makes a 600 amp version, although I’d probably look at some of the other models on this list at that point.

The PBJ300-1 has a USB-A port for charging mobile devices, along with a flashlight to help see what you’re doing in a dark engine bay. The light also has an SOS mode in case of a genuine emergency.

As you’d expect with a compact device like this, the jumper cables on this unit are quite short. The manufacturer doesn’t include a wall charger in the package, but there is a travel case, 12v car adapter, and a USB-A to USB C cable in the box.

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight
  • USB-A port for charging devices
  • Small enough to double as a power bank
  • Case, car charger, and cable included
Cons
  • Very short jumper cables
  • Not suitable for larger vehicles
  • Wall charger not included
Buy on Amazon

Best All-in-One Portable Jump Starter: Michelin Power Source XR1

MICHELIN ML0728 Power Source XR1 Portable 1000 Amps Jump Starter with Air Compressor and 400 Watt Peak Surge Power Inverter and Bluetooth

Michelin is one of the best-known names in automotive accessories, so it’s hardly surprising that the company has come out with a portable jump starter. What is surprising, however, is just how much more the company’s Power Source XR1 can do beyond just firing up your vehicle.

Michelin has really gone for gold with the extras here. As well as two 12v DC ports and a USB-A socket, there’s an inverter with a pair of 110v wall outlets as well. Don’t expect to run your hair dryer off them — maximum sustained output is only 200 watts — but they’d be fine for small appliances like a fan or laptop.

The fun doesn’t stop there, though. There’s a 260psi air compressor tucked away behind a flap on one side, and an AM/FM radio and a pair of stereo speakers built in. If you’d rather listen to podcasts or stream your own music, you can do that via an aux cable or Bluetooth instead.

Turning to the actual jump-starting capabilities, the cables are usefully long (a relative rarity in this space), and the 1000 amp peak output is enough to start pretty much any domestic vehicle. It’s not the smallest or lightest portable jump starter out there, but given everything it can do, it’ll easily justify the space in your trunk.

Pros
  • Has an air compressor, radio, inverter, and more
  • Made by a trusted automotive brand
  • Reasonably priced for what it offers
Cons
  • Only one USB port
  • Inverter can only handle small appliances
Buy on Amazon

Main image via Viktollio/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin is a digital nomad with a passion for exploring alternative lifestyles and testing the latest technological innovations. Rarely under the same roof for long, when he's not sampling wine and cheese in Bulgaria or downloading the latest travel app, you can find him running, gaming, or cooking up something delicious.

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