Table of Contents
- What Is a Jump Starter?
- How Does a Portable Jump Starter Work?
- How to Use a Jump Starter Safely
- Portable Jump Starter Power Station Buying Guide
- Review of the 5 Best Portable Jump Starter Power Stations
Almost every automobile owner has had to suffer through a dead battery at least once. A tell-tale sign of a dead battery is that the engine simply refuses to turn on despite your repeating attempts at turning the ignition. A quick way to give a new life to a dead car battery is by using a jump starter.
Jump starters for cars are an alternate power source that can be attached to your car’s battery by using the cable with alligator clamps on it. The flow of power from the jump starter power station to the dead battery helps revive it in a matter of seconds.
What Is a Jump Starter?
Jump starters are rather simple devices that are programmed to deliver lots of power in a matter of seconds. It sends a very strong impulse through the alligator clamps to revive a dead car battery.
One of the biggest advantages of this device is that it eliminates the need for tangled jumper cables, another automobile, along all the difficulties that you have to encounter with the car-to-car jumpstart method. In addition to this, since you won’t need another car any longer to help you start your own, jump starter power stations are ideal for those traveling to far-flung places with virtually non-existent traffic.
Another advantage of jump starter stations is that they are relatively compact and are therefore easy to carry around. On top of this, they are quite straightforward to operate, which makes them suitable even for people who haven’t used them ever before, or those who don’t want to be bothered with the technical details. However, do make sure that you carefully read the user guide before operating the gadget so that you’re able to cover as many probable outcomes as possible.
How Does a Portable Jump Starter Work?
When you are stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead car battery, the last thing you need is to figure out how to use confusing gadgets and devices to fix your car. This is why portable jump starters are an ideal solution in such scenarios. All you have to do is match the colored alligator clamps to the battery terminals and turn the unit. The power source will then instantly deliver its peak amperage. After that, just make sure that no moving mechanical parts are surrounding the unit and start the car. Also, keep in mind that the more attempts you make to start your car’s engine, the less peak amperage the jump starter will deliver.
If there are any auxiliary features on the starter, they must be turned off as well. For instance, a majority of people forget to turn off the portable air compressor, the little LED light, etc. Even though these features are of utmost importance in a moment of need, they should not be used when you are trying to kick-start an automobile. The reason for this is quite simple; they draw a lot of power, thus lowering the peak output amperage of the jump starter.
More often than not, depending upon the quality of your device, you will have only one or two chances to kick-start your vehicle. Because after that, most units tend to lose their peak amperage and are simply not left with enough of a kick to get things started.
Advantages of a Jump Starter
The main selling point of jump starters for cars is convenience. They completely eliminate the need for another vehicle in order to jump-start your own. This is extremely helpful if you are pressed for time and can’t wait for another car to stop and help you or if you are in the middle of nowhere.
Another huge advantage is that jump starters require very little maintenance. Just store it in a cool, dry space when it is not in use. Avoid leaving it in your vehicle, especially if you live in a place with a particularly hot and humid climate. Sudden temperature changes can cause potential damage to the unit and affect its function.
Disadvantages of a Jump Starter
There aren’t very many disadvantages of jump starters. They are simple devices that are designed specifically for one task- to revive a dead car battery.
However, some models might be a bit too bulky for some people, or not have any additional features. At the end of the day, however, jump starters are an excellent step up from the traditional jump cables and can be a lifesaver in some situations.
How to Use a Jump Starter Safely
Although the process is quite straightforward, in some cases, jump-starting your car can prove dangerous, and it is extremely important to follow instructions and safety protocol to the letter in order to avoid damage to yourself or your vehicle.
Listed below are some of the things you should keep in mind before attempting to jump-start your car.
- Thoroughly go through the gadget’s user manual.
- Turn the ignition off and set the parking brake.
- Place the manual cars in ‘Neutral’ and automatic cars in ‘Park’.
- Wear safety gloves and goggles while using the portable jump starter.
- Locate the battery and go through the manual again if required.
- Prevent the black and red ends of the cables from touching each other.
- In order to expose the battery posts, you may need to remove a plastic covering. Perform this step with utmost care and caution.
- Identify the negative and positive terminals of your vehicle’s battery.
- Make sure that the battery terminals are clean of grime or dirt. Clean gently if necessary.
- Before making any connections, make sure that the power bank jump starter is off.
- Also, make sure that your vehicle is off before you connect it to the jump starter.
Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Use a Jump Starter for Car
- Connect the positive (red) clamp of the jump starter to the positive terminal of the battery
- Connect the negative (black) clamp of the gadget to the metal part of the engine block, away from the fuel lines, battery, and the carburetor
- Once the cable clamps are in place, turn the power of the portable jump starter device on
- Now try turning your vehicle on
- If it starts, great!
- If the vehicle fails to start right away, don’t crank it for longer than 5 seconds. Give it around 2-3 minutes before you try again.
- If it still won’t start, then it means that your car’s battery might be completely dead and that you need a new battery. You can even get your battery tested at well-reputed automotive stores for free.
- Turn the portable power bank jump starter off.
- The cable clamps should be removed in reverse order; first remove the black, negative clamp, and then remove the red, positive one.
- Make sure that the clamps do not touch each other.
- Store your power bank in a cool, dry place.
- Drive your vehicle for around 20-30 minutes to allow the battery to recharge.
- Make sure that you recharge your portable jump starter device when you get back home.
Portable Jump Starter Power Station Buying Guide
Jump-Starting Newer Vehicles
If your car is a 2000 or newer model, it is very likely to have a variety of electronic components in it, such as computers, that can make jump-starting a vehicle the old-fashioned way a huge risk. It is quite possible that when you use booster cables on the two vehicles, you end up causing damage to either one or sometimes both of the vehicle’s computer systems. This is why you must always go through your car’s user manual before you attempt to jump-start it.
This is where the new portable jump starter device comes in handy. They have been specifically formulated to help protect your vehicle’s electronic systems as they provide the power necessary to jump-start your car’s battery. It is still advisable, however, that you go through the device’s user guide along with that of your vehicle before jump-starting your car.
Can a Vehicle’s Battery be Too Dead to Jump Start?
The simple answer is no; a vehicle’s battery can’t be too dead that it cannot be jump-started. A battery is a chemical element, so it won’t stop working without showing any symptoms beforehand. Chemical reactions can’t be immediately interrupted by themselves all of a sudden. Such an instant battery failure usually points towards a much bigger problem. You should immediately get your car inspected before it leads to a bigger problem.
How Long Does It Take to Jump Start a Dead Battery?
Can a dead battery be quickly jump-started? Well, that depends entirely on the conditions it is facing. According to most manuals, even the best of all jump starter devices can take from 2 to 10 minutes. However, if the battery is completely dry, then it might take longer.
You can kick-start almost every vehicle from any external power source. Big semi-tractors can successfully give a kick to a worn-out machine, that too, in a matter of seconds. The only exception is in the case of extremely thick jumper cables having large copper wires. The number of recharging cycles is of no significance at all. If the car battery isn’t completely dead, then you can always ignite it.
Why Can Jump Starting Your Car Prove Dangerous
Although jump-starting your car is generally a safe option, there can be some cases where it can prove to be dangerous too. This is why, if possible, it is advisable to have a professional do it for you. The reason being that a damaged battery has the potential to ignite a fire when jumper cables are connected with it.
Car batteries contain sulphuric acid that can turn into vapors, which can leak from the vents. These vapors are highly flammable. Since jumper cables are known to cause sparks, they can ignite these vapors, which can, in turn, cause a fire or even worse, an explosion. If not done correctly, jump-starting your car can cause serious injuries to you, your car, and those around you.
Jumpstarting your car in the rain can also pose danger as water is an excellent conductor of electricity. While it may not cause you injury, there is an increased likelihood of irreparable damage to your vehicle.
Cars nowadays are built with more electronic components inside of them than ever before. Jump-starting your car incorrectly can damage these components. Moreover, connecting the clamps with the wrong battery terminals can easily short circuit and even damage your vehicle beyond repair. This can turn out to be a rather expensive mistake to fix.
Here are some of the things you should keep in mind while jump-starting your car:
- Before attempting to jump-start your car, make sure nobody nearby is smoking.
- Make sure that the vehicle is in park mode.
- Don’t let the charging cables dangle from the car.
- Avoid using poor and low-quality cables.
- Refer to your vehicle’s manual for instructions.
- Always keep a wire brush with you for proper cable to terminal connection in case the battery terminals require cleaning.
- While attempting to jump-start, it is best to remove any metallic jewelry or accessories that you might be wearing.
- Remove any dangling clothing such as ties or scarves that can accidentally touch the battery during the process.
- Wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles.
Review of the 5 Best Portable Jump Starter Power Stations
There are hundreds of models of portable jump starter power stations commercially available today. Naturally, it can be very hard for an average car owner to choose the one best suited to their needs. This is why knowing what to look for in a jump starter power station is highly important when making this decision. Listed below are the 5 best portable power station jump starters we could find in the market, along with their prominent features.
Fencia Mobile Power Station is a portable and compact device. It has a 266Wh/72000mAh capacity that is ideal for use as an emergency or alternate power supply for outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, etc. The portable power station comes equipped with multiple output ports (AC, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, Type-c PD 45W, and 12V DC) that are well capable of meeting almost all your charging demands, including phones, laptops, tablets, mini coolers, drones, cameras, projectors, LED lights, vacuum cleaner, etc. With its 12V car jump starter, you can easily kick start your car’s engine in case of an emergency.
Fencia’s 226Wh Portable Power Station is formulated with the most comprehensive product protection features in the market, which include:
- Overheating protection
- Over-current protection
- Low voltage protection
- Overload protection
- Output short circuit protection
In addition to this, the Fencia portable power supply is equipped with LED lighting and a high-definition LCD screen, that is visible even in bright sunlight.
It can be recharged through supported solar panels (to be bought separately), carports, as well as AC wall outlets. In addition, this jump starter runs virtually without any sound.
Upon purchase, you will receive a Fencia portable generator (266Wh Portable Power Supply), car charger cable, power adapter, and a user guide, along with a 2-year warranty and 24-hour friendly customer service.
Aligoo’s 266Wh/72000mAh Power station is a powerful and portable battery pack with a 12V car jump starter. If your battery is weak or dead and would not start your engine, connect the power station with your vehicle’s battery terminals and it will bring your engine back to life almost instantly. It can be used to jump-start your vehicle dozens of times even with 10% of the battery.
The power station comes equipped with multiple output ports (USB 2.0 5V2A/USB 3.0 5V3A/PD 45W/12V) that are more than sufficient for charging all of your devices and gadgets simultaneously. It is compact and lightweight as well.
As compared to the cheaper products in the market which use an LED screen, the Aligoo 300w power station comes equipped with a 3″ LCD screen. The HD display enables you to read the data clearly even under bright sunlight.
The device supports 3-way charge methods; you can recharge it through the AC power adapter, a solar panel, as well as carports. You can use the power station even when it’s recharging.
The device comes with 6 protection modules for maximum safety:
- Overvoltage protection
- Low Voltage protection
- Over-temperature protection
- Over-current protection
- Overload protection
- Output Short Circuit protection
The BLACK+DECKER PPRH5B jump starter and power station deliver jump-starting power with 600 peak amps and 300 instant starting amps. That is sufficient to jump-start your truck, car, SUV, boat, motorcycle, boat, RV, or tractor; all without needing another vehicle for help. All you have to do is connect the clamps with the battery terminals, turn on the switch, and start your vehicle. It comes with a reverse polarity alarm that alerts you in case there is an incorrect connection.
The built-in USB port helps charge your electronic devices and smartphones with ease; high powered LED light allows you to work in the dark. This jump starter power station is equipped with a 120 PSI air compressor to help inflate sports equipment, tires, along with other items with low air pressure.
It also features an integrated charging cube (a 120V charging adapter) that enables the BLACK+DECKER PPRH5B jump starter to be charged using a standard extension cord. This eliminates the need to keep track of a separate charging cable.
The STANLEY PPRH7DS professional grade jump starter and power station, with a low-profile housing design, delivers an output jump-starting power with 1400 peak amps and 700 instant starting amps. That is sufficient to jump-start your truck, car, SUV, boat, motorcycle, boat, RV, or tractor; all without needing another vehicle for help. All you have to do is connect the clamps with the battery terminals, turn on the switch, and start your vehicle. It comes with a reverse polarity alarm that alerts you in case there is an incorrect connection.
An LCD screen and a high-powered LED light allow you to work in the dark and the built-in USB port helps charge your electronic devices and smartphones for up to 10 hours. This device comes equipped with a 500W inverter and a digital 120 PSI air compressor with a SureFit nozzle and Autostop functionality to help inflate sports gear and tires with low air pressure.
It also features an integrated charging cube (a 120V charging adapter) that enables the STANLEY FATMAX PPRH7DS jump starter to be charged using a standard extension cord. This eliminates the need to keep track of a separate charging cable.
SIHANM power station comes equipped with a 293 watt-hour (14.8V 19.8Ah) lithium-ion battery pack, which features 1* AC outlets (110V Rated 300W – Peak 600W), 1* PD 45W port, 1* QC 3.0 port, 1* QC 2.0 port, 2* DC ports and 1* DC car socket. This device provides 7 power output ports to charge various devices at the same time, such as smartphones, drones, laptops, fridges, vehicles, cameras, etc.
The device weighs just 7.3 lbs. and has a sturdy handle which makes it easy to carry. It comes with a bright emergency flashlight on the back, which can project a powerful beam of up to 500 meters. This makes it suitable for large-area lighting and perfect for disaster prevention and outdoor camping. It also offers 3 lighting modes you can easily switch between; SOS, normal lighting, strobe.
SIHANM power station is equipped with the Excellent Battery Management System (BMS) and protects devices through overvoltage protection, overcurrent protection, temperature control, and short circuit protection modules. It is also able to detect short circuits and overloads in case an incorrect operation is performed.
A straight-line ventilator prevents the device from overheating. Pure Sine Wave AC output ensures that 99% of electrical devices can use this gadget without any potential harm.
There is no fixed answer to this. Power stations with a higher voltage can kick start cars with bigger and more power-intensive engines too. However, they do come with a higher price point and can usually be a bit bulkier. So, it is advisable to look for a jump starter with enough voltage to power your car.
Store your jump starter power station in a cool and dry place. Make sure to eliminate moisture and humidity as much as possible and avoid sudden temperature fluctuations. Due to all these factors, it is better to store your jump starter in your garage or at home, instead of in your car.
The cables on a jump starter are color-coded. The red wire needs to be connected to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal.
Many portable jump starters now come packed with extra features such as multiple power outlets, flashlights, LED screens, etc. While these features add a nice touch, the focus should be on the power capacity of the jump starter and whether or not it can revive your car’s battery in case of an emergency. The auxiliary features are just an additional bonus.
Sparking usually occurs when the clamps on the two clamps touch or are attached incorrectly. Sparking could also occur due to any short-circuiting or voltage or power surge in the jump starter. It is recommended to have a professional take a look at both your car’s battery and the jump starter to further diagnose the issue.