Battery jump starters are an important tool to help you stay prepared for roadside emergencies. Jump starters are mobile battery packs that are used to “jump start” your vehicle in case your battery is dead. Many devices on the market, including two of the product’s we’ve rated, include special features such as USB charging ports and flash lights. One model is even available with an air compressor.
Sometimes, car batteries are drained because of our own mistakes. Many of us have accidently left the headlights on after turning off the engine and leaving the car. With a jump starter, you will be back on the road in no time. No tow-truck hassle, and no more time wasted. These devices are also a welcome relief to drivers who find themselves stranded with a dead car battery in extreme weather conditions. A jump starter can make the difference between freezing inside a dead car during a blizzard,or staying warm with a running engine and heater. No matter what your predicament, keeping a jump starter in your vehicle ensures you will be prepared to deal with unanticipated problems down the road.
It is worth noting that these products are generally shipped as hazmat items, and they may be difficult to ship internationally.
- Product descriptions
- What about amps?
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- How big is it?
- Overall Ranking
The Jump-N-Carry JNC 660 is a relatively basic but powerful and reliable jump starter that comes with premium-grade, extra-long cables. It has an amperage display gauge and charging status indicator LED lights. It recharges automatically when connected to a power source.
Noco’s Genius Boost is available in “Sport,” “+ [plus],” and “HD” [heavy duty]. It has a sleek looking LED display on the face, with indicator lights for the device’s battery %.
The Stanley J5C09 is a versatile jump starter that is packed with accessories. It is available in several different variants, so you can choose what combination of peak amperage and special options is the best option for you.
What about amps?
Amperage capacities are the most important factor for you to consider when buying a jump starter. There are two initials aspects to look at: Peak Amps and Cold Cranking, or initial starting amps. Peak Amps describe what the battery can do in a quick power boost. Cold cranking amps (CCA,) are the more important measure. This tells you how much power you have to start your car in most climate conditions. In technical terms, CCA can be defined as the number of amps a battery can deliver at freezing temperature without going underneath 7.2 volts. Higher-amperage jump starter batteries are heavier and more expensive than lower-output models. However, their charges last longer, and they can charge a wider variety of vehicles, faster. Before you buy a jump starter, consult your vehicle’s manual for information on the amperage required to cold-crank start a dead battery, and make sure you get a model with at least that capacity.
#1) The Stanley Jump Starter has 5 total options to choose from: the greatest variety. The 600 peak amp (also called cranking amps) model has 300 amps of instant starting (or cold cranking) power. The 700 peak amp version has 350 cold-cranking amps, and all three 1000 peak amp models have 500 cold-cranking amps The 1000 amp “power station” model is quite large and can be used as a portable household power source.
#2) The NOCO Genius Boost Plus. This product is available in 400, 1000, and 2000 peak amp (or cranking amp)capacities. Noco claims that one full charge on it's 1000 peak amp model can yield 20 jumpstarts on gas engines up to 6 liters and 3 liter diesel engines (or four smart phone recharges). The 2000 peak amp version will last for 40 jump starts or 8 phone recharges. It can also recharge in 3 hours and will work with gasoline engines up to 8 liters or diesel engines up to 6 liters. Unfortunately, NOCO does not publish information on cold-cranking amps, but the reviews suggest the 1000 cranking amp model has a cold cranking amp capacity of 700 amps.
#3) Clore Automotive’s Jump-N-Carry is only available in one model variety. However, it can deliver an amperage of up to 1700 peak and 425 cold cranking amps. One reviewer even argues that the Jump-N-Carry, “can bring a dead cow back to life.” Despite the lack of options to choose from, this high power capacity means the Jump-N-Carry can jumpstart a variety of large vehicles. These include diesel-engine trucks and V-10 gasoline engines. However, it does not comply with the most recent (2015) California and Oregon state energy compliance standards.
Reverse Polarity Protection
Reversed polarity happens when the positive and negative wires are connected the wrong way to your car battery. This creates a shock hazard. Two of the three models reviewed here have reverse polarity protection in the form of audio and visual alarms. When the cables are connected incorrectly and the unit is turned on, bright, flashing LED lights and a piercing shrill alerts you to the problem. For an experienced roadside assistance professional, this may seem like silly feature. However, for those of us overcome by waves of uncertainty when we pop the hoods on our cars, this is a very reassuring component.
|NOCO Genius (all models)||Stanley J-line (all models)||Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry|
How big is it?
Sometimes, size matters. While the dimensions of these units do not have an effect on their performances, you may prefer a jump starter that is small and light if you are buying a unit to keep in the trunk of the family sedan. On the other hand, if you own a garage or a tow-truck with cavernous storage capacity, you might opt for a larger but more powerful product.
While the amperage output is a critical measurement, what really makes these products stand out from others are their array of special features. Manufacturers have included a plethora of useful tools that are incorporated into their jump starters. Perhaps the most intriguing is a small air compressor. Other features include bright, flexible LED lights and charging ports for various electronic devices. Accessories should not be of “make or break” importance to you when you make your buying decision. Nonetheless, accessories can be extremely helpful and make jump starters more like multi-use auto tools. If your car breaks down at night, for example, you will be happy if you have purchased a jump starter with a long-lasting LED flashlight.
Hands-down, the Stanley J5C09 is packed with the most special features. The 700 peak amp, 1000 peak amp, and 1000 peak amp “power station” models include a built-in 120 PSI air compressor for inflating tires. The power station variant uses a digital, piston-driven compressor. All variants include a super-bright LED light that can rotate 270 degrees and an audible and visual reverse polarity alarm. A great safety feature. Finally, like the Noco, The J5C09 can charge portable electronic devices. All variants of the JC509 include an audio reverse polarity alarm to warn you if you have incorrectly connected the cables to the battery. It has one USB port and one 12-volt DC outlet.
The Noco Genius Boost can charge electronic devices and has an LED light with 7 strobe patterns, including an SOS pattern. The light has a brightness of 100-400 lumens, depending on the variant (higher peak amp models = greater features). The Genius Boost can recharge in 3 hours, has spark-proof technology, and comes with a storage bag. It has 2.1A USB ports and a 12 volt outet.
The Jump N Carry is not loaded with features. Nonetheless, it can remain plugged into an AC power source indefinitely, has long, heavy duty cables, and a 12 volt outlet.
After you have decided what capabilities you need in your jump starter, you can settle on a product model with a price that is right for you. Prices increase with higher amperage capacities, but these more-expensive models are usually loaded with special features, as well. The Stanley jump starters offer the greatest value, by far.
The Stanley Jump Starter is the cheapest jump starter, priced on amazon at Currently Not Available* for the 600 peak amp model, Currently Not Available* for the 700 peak amp model (which has an air compressor), Currently Not Available* for the 1000 peak amp model, Currently Not Available* for the 1000 peak amp ‘power station’ model, and Currently Not Available* for the more-portable 1000 amp model (both 1000 peak amp models are equipped with an air compressor). More importantly, it offers the best value because you can get a tool with a lot of power and outstanding accessories for well under $100.
The NOCO Genius Boost Plus Jump Starter: The basic, 400 peak amp Genius Boost is Currently Not Available*. The 1000 and 2000 peak amp models are Currently Not Available*, and Currently Not Available*, respectively.
Jump-N-Carry JNC660 Jump Starter: This jump starter generally costs Currently Not Available*. The price may differ slightly across different retailers.
We take all of the factors into account and determine which Jump starter products are the best buys. We consider which jump starters can start the biggest vehicles and look to balance its power output with portability. If the jump starter has good marks in both categories, then you can look at special features to help weigh your decision.
#1) The Stanley J5C09 is the the top choice jump starter. Its array of power options and special features, as well as its portability, give it superior value over its competitors. Having an air compressor as part of a jump starter is very practical, and makes the JC509 a multipurpose and even-more valuable tool. The 1000 peak amp model (including an air compressor, flashlight, charging ports, and LED flashlight) is a great value for Currently Not Available*. It is worth noting that the ‘Power Station’ model is a good fit for commercial use and fleet service.
#2) The Genius Boost comes in at number two because it lacks some features of the Stanley jumpstarter (namely an air compressor). However, it has a great balance of portability and power. The Genius Boost has several nice features, including a flashlight, charging ports, a 12-volt socket, and a defined LED display on it’s face. However, it is priced at Currently Not Available* for a 1000 amp model, which does not compare well to the Stanley jump starter–which offers more features for the price. Still, the Currently Not Available*-2000 peak amp model is extremely powerful for it’s size.
#3) The Jump-N-Carry simply not have the features offered by its competitors, yet it costs more than many of them. Despite coming in third, the Jump-N-Carry is still a great tool. The Jump-N-Carry can remain connected to an AC power outlet indefinitely; with no risk of damage to the product. It is heavy-duty,known to be reliable and is geared towards commercial use. It wouldn’t be surprising to see one on a tow truck. However, it’s price, Currently Not Available*, makes it a poor value relative to the lower price and greater number of features that Jump starter products of competitor offer.