Jump starter

Being stranded in a lonely parking lot or a dark road during late hours, because of a dead car battery can not only be an inconvenience but dangerous as well. Who knows how long you would need to wait for tow services or a mechanic? That is why you need jump starters to bail you out of these situations.

What are jump starters?

To put it in a nutshell, these are essentially portable battery devices to power dead batteries back to life. The name is derived from the fact that your vehicle starts again with a slight “jump”. They are just like jumper cables in terms of primary function, but you don’t have to depend on another vehicle to supply the power for the dead car battery. These are available in various sizes from portable, pocket-sized ones to large versions usually meant to be stored in garages and used for heavy-duty vehicles. Needless to say, portable ones are the best bet as they are easy to carry.

Who is it for?

These jump starters can be required by just about anyone who owns or operates a vehicle. For instance, a cabin light left on all night, a radio running when you sneak out to your car for a lunch-break nap, or freezing temperatures in the middle of winter can drain a battery’s charge in many vehicles. Even newer batteries can be run down and due to the ignition systems in today’s cars, you usually don’t get a warning before it happens. As mentioned, jumper cables get the job done, but you need to depend on someone else to their car nearby and give your vehicle a jump. Waiting for hours for help to arrive isn’t feasible either, which is why a jump starter is a
must-have.

Earlier models were bulky and cumbersome with lead-acid batteries, but now the smaller versions with lithium-ion batteries are mode in demand. Jump starters are equipped with their own batteries, so just connect the two cable clamps to the appropriate battery terminals, flip a switch, crank the engine, and the job is done. Several models ensure you can charge car batteries quite a few times before you have to recharge the unit.

What are the specs of a good jump starter?

Starting power

It is the power delivered by the jump starter to your engine. Like a car battery, it is usually rated by cold cranking amps (CCA) or sometimes peak amps (PA). However, the amount of battery required depends upon the size of the engine. Jump starters made for the smaller engines in sedans and compact cars can be rated as low as 150 CCA, while models designed for larger SUVs and trucks can claim up to 450 CCA.

Safety Features

In-built circuitry prevents sending more current or voltage than they can handle and reverse-polarity protection if the connections are wrong. Even if you connect the wrong components, it sounds a warning so you can try again without harming yourself due to electrical surges or the battery getting damaged.

Build Quality

A solid set of clamps should definitely accompany the jump starter as they are vital for making a robust connection on any size battery post, without any twisting or bending. Clamps are often secured to cables via crimp fitting, but advanced versions are soldered or screwed down to add extra durability. The cables are fixed to each other, so you have to plug them into the battery pack while using them. Because the connection port for the jumper cables is generally larger than other power ports, it is almost always covered to guard against dust and moisture.

Capacity

Capacity is listed in mAh (milliamp hours) – it indicates how many times the device can perform a start. Reliable models are capable of performing several starts simultaneously before requiring a full recharge.

Accessories

Jump starters are versatile gadgets meant to recharge personal items such as phones, tablets, portable music players, and laptops. That is why; quite a few cables and tips are included as accessories. The battery pack, clamps, and included wall and car chargers all fit in a handy plastic case that you can easily stow under your seat or in your trunk until you need it.

Warranty

You never know when a high-output battery pack can give out, so while buying please ensure it has at least a year long warranty. The company should also have a good reputation as they will vouch for their products and provide round-the-clock customer support.

While buying a jump starter, please keep the parameters mentioned, in mind before arriving at a decision.