Lokithor J401 portable jump starter with leads connected to car battery. 13.3v measurement visible on display.
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5 Portable Jump Starters That Will Save Your Day

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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.

I’ve used several of them over the years, and they’re all a bit different. Most bundle extra features like a flashlight of some sort, one or more USB ports for charging mobile devices, and a 12v socket. I’ve used versions with air compressors and inverters, and there’s even one with inbuilt speakers.

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

I’ve used the air compressor on my one several times, for instance, for everything from inflating a flat tire to blowing up a beach ball.

A lack of additional features like these wasn’t a deal-breaker when I was considering which models to include, but when choosing between two otherwise similar jump starters, I went for the one with useful extras at a reasonable price.

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 and the risk of being thrown around the vehicle isn’t a great idea. Keep your portable jump starter in the trunk or glove compartment, 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 I 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 my recommendations for the best portable jump starters on the market right now.

Basic Jump Starter: Lokithor J401

  • Peak amps: 2500
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A, USB C
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight, 100W USB C charging

Lead-Acid 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

Jump Starter With Air Compressor: Lokithor JA301

  • Peak amps: 2000
  • Cranking amps: 1000
  • Dimensions: 10.0 x 5.6 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Ports: USB-A
  • Output voltage: 12v
  • Other features: Flashlight, air compressor

Heavy Duty 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

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

Basic Jump Starter: Lokithor J401

LOKITHOR J401 Jump Starter 2500A 12V Car Starter, Jump Box, Jumper Cables and Portable Lithium Battery Booster Pack for Upto 8.5L Gas and 6.5L Diesel Engines, 100W Fast Charging, Smart Digital Screen

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. Things like size and value for money become more important.

If that sounds like you, the Lokithor J401 is the way to go. Sensibly priced, with enough power to turn over standard passenger and light commercial 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 2500 peak amps, the company rates it as appropriate for anything up to an 8.5L gas vehicle or 6.5-liter diesel. I haven’t pushed those limits personally, but can confirm it had no issue turning over a 2.5L sedan when my friend returned to a dead battery after an international trip.

Lightweight by the standards of these things, the J401 tips the scales at a mere 2.4 pounds. It’s pretty small as well, and fits easily in the glove compartment of my small-ish hatchback.

Lokithor J401 portable jump starter with leads connected to car battery. 16.5v measurement visible on display.

As with many (but not all) small portable jump starters like this, you get a few useful extra features thrown in. There’s a 300-lumen flashlight that’s fine for signaling in an emergency or seeing into your engine bay at night, and more interestingly, a 100W USB C port and 18W USB-A port for charging other devices.

That’s enough to fast-charge a tablet or even a laptop, and still leave enough juice to jump start your car a couple of dozen times. A dead phone can be as big a problem as a dead car battery at times, so this is a particularly useful feature.

The only real downside, and it’s common to many smaller jump starters like this, is the jumper cables are relatively short. It wasn’t an issue on a smaller car like mine, but if your vehicle is particularly large, you might end up balancing the device somewhere a bit odd while you’re using it!

All in all, this is a good basic portable jump starter that’s small, light, and does what it promises, with a couple of useful extras built in as well. If you’re simply looking for a little peace of mind when it comes to being able to start your car, this is the way to go.

Want to know more? You can read my full review of Lokithor’s J401 here.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Relatively small and light
  • Doubles as a power bank
  • Flashlight
  • Can fast-charge laptops, phones, and tablets


  • Relatively short jumper cables
Buy on Amazon

Lead-Acid Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660

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

If you’re going to need to do more than the occasional jump start, the Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC660 is my top pick. It’s an extremely reliable, versatile, and durable product that’s a firm favorite of tow truck drivers and rescue vehicles.

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 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, but there are no 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. If you only need something for personal emergency use, go for one of the Lokithor models I mention elsewhere.


  • Built-in charging plug
  • Reliable internal battery that’s cheap to replace
  • Long, heavy-duty cables


  • No USB charging ports
  • Bulky
Buy on Amazon

Jump Starter With Air Compressor: Lokithor JA301

LOKITHOR JA301 Jump Starter with Air Compressor, 2000Amp 12V Portable Car Battery Booster Pack for Upto 8.0L Gas or 6.0L Diesel, 150 PSI Tire Inflator with Digital Screen, 30 Months Ultra-Long Standby

Ever had a dead battery and a flat tire at the same time? No? Well, for those unfortunate souls out there who have, the Lokithor JA301 is their savior. 

This compact jump starter includes a built-in 150PSI air compressor, plus extra connectors that let you inflate anything from a football to an air mattress. There’s also a 2000 peak amp jump starter, a flashlight with strobe and SOS modes, and a USB-A port for charging your mobile devices.

You can also check both your battery voltage and tire pressure before trying to jump or inflate them, making the JA301 a useful maintenance tool as well. This multi-function device can’t yet drive your vehicle on autopilot or change your oil, but we’ll see what Lokithor comes up with in next year’s model.

Lokithor JA301 attached to car battery

The JA301 impressed me when I reviewed it: it’s lightweight by the standards of this kind of device, and squeezes into a glovebox or fits easily under a seat. All of the various functions worked well, and while I’d have liked to see longer cables included (a common complaint), they were just lengthy enough to do the job in my testing.

With up to 30 months of standby time, it’s the kind of vehicle “first aid kit” you can just leave in the car and largely forget about until it’s called into action. Reasonably-priced and easy to use, it’s an easy device to recommend.


  • Built-in air compressor
  • Flashlight with emergency modes
  • Doubles as as power bank


  • Battery cables and air compressor hose could both do with being a bit longer
Buy on Amazon

Heavy Duty Jump Starter: Schumacher DSR ProSeries

Schumacher DSR115 - Rechargeable Jump Starter - 12V 4400 Peak Amps Portable Car Jump Starter for Semis + Class 8 Vehicles - Jumper Cables with Battery Pack - 750 cranking amps, 525 Cold cranking amps

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, much more than most other portable models.

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. 

It’s 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 unlike most smaller models, supports jumping of both 12v and 24v vehicle batteries. 

As you’d 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.


  • Powerful enough for semi trucks, boats, etc
  • Compatible with 12v and 24v vehicle batteries
  • 60-inch jumper cables


  • Bulky
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

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Lightweight Jump Starter: Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300

Scosche PBJ300-1 PowerUp 300 Portable Car Jump Starter, Battery Booster for Automobiles

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the 41-pound giant 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.


  • Compact and lightweight
  • USB-A port for charging devices
  • Small enough to double as a power bank
  • Case, car charger, and cable included


  • Very short jumper cables
  • Not suitable for larger vehicles
  • Wall charger not included
Buy on Amazon

Images of JA301 and J401 connected to car battery via author, other product images via Amazon

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