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Portable Jump Starters Buyer’s Guide

When a vehicle’s battery dies, it’s typically a surprise. At times, it happens in your driveway. Other times, it’s someplace else, like the parking lot at work or at the supermarket. Finding out that your battery decided to quit on you in those places can be a pain, but it’s not unmanageable. Calling the auto club or asking a neighborly passerby for a jump can usually remedy the situation.

Now imagine you’ve traveled fifteen miles deep into a mountain trail. You pull over to take a break and have lunch, but when you resume your trek—bam! The truck’s ignition won’t turn over. The best you can do is wait for someone to roll by or call for help, which will probably take a fair share of time considering your location.

If you’re as prepared as you should be, then you’ll know the quickest way to get yourself back on the trail is to grab your portable jump starter and give your truck the boost that it needs to get back on track. Thanks to advanced battery technology, we’ve come a long way from those early battery jump starters that popped up a decade ago. In those days, jump packs could easily weigh 15 to 20 pounds and weren’t as efficient or feature-packed as many of the portable models that we can purchase today.

Unlike older models, modern portable jump starters truly are portable. Many of them weigh less than a pound or two and can perform multiple tasks in addition to jumping a battery. Portable power packs can double as USB-tethered battery chargers capable of charging your electronic devices many times over. Others can even act as flashlights and emergency signaling beacons, as well.

When choosing a power pack, keep in mind your needs and how you intend to use it. Some power packs are rated to jump diesel-engine equipped vehicles in addition to gasoline engines, while some are only recommended for gas engines. Others have enough power storage capacity to power devices such as laptop computers while others are limited to charging smaller devices, such as smart phones. In this guide, we take a look at some of the latest and best portable jump starters on the market and point out their major features and functions.

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