There is no feeling quite like having your car battery die in the middle of nowhere. Unless you're lucky enough to find a stranger with jumper cables or have AAA on speed dial, your options may be limited for getting yourself out of the bind. With the proper tools, however, this kind of problem is actually easy to solve. A good jump starter is designed to zap your battery back to life in no time. With plenty of options out there to choose from, you only have to figure out which one fits your... needs.
All starters have the same basic function: jump start your engine if the battery runs out. All of the starters on this list also include a built in air compressor to fix flats and inflate other tires on bikes or garage equipment. Your personal needs and preferences will help you decide between different power, capacity and additional feature options.
To help you make that decision, check out these top eight jump starters to keep your car running when the juice runs out.
First and foremost, a good jump starter needs to actually have the power to get your engine running when necessary. The 1700 amp Jump-N-Carry JNCAIR 1700 has the juice to jump a car many times before having to be re-charged. The built in automatic charger also makes it easy to keep the battery primed and ready if the time comes to jump your car without the assistance of someone else.
Jump-N-Carry’s Profromer battery technology is designed to keep the battery running at peak efficiency during the jumper’s long service life. High power output can wear down a battery over time, so this addition will extend the life. This jumper is also perfect when you need range. Extra long 68’ power cables and a 12’ coiled air hose for the compressor will extend far out if you find yourself needing the extra distance.
Jump starters with a smaller power output often extend the life of the starter’s battery while still providing enough juice for most cars. Stanley's J5C09 delivers up to 1,000 amps which will take care of small cars, ATVs, trucks, RVs and tractors. The lower power output also means a small battery and frame. Use less trunk space for your emergency kit while having peace of mind if a problem ever comes up.
Beyond the included 120 PSI air compressor, this jumper also does double duty charging with 12-volt and USB outlets to re-charge other personal electronics such as tablets and smartphones. This will give you extra power for emergencies that don’t necessarily threaten your car’s ability to startup.
For a highly reliable budget option, the Suaoki 600A has a lot to offer. The 18000 mAh battery is capable of starting a typical 6L engine 22 times on a single charge. In addition to being a jump starter and air compressor, this device also works as an emergency light and power bank for your personal electronics. Unlike similar devices with USB outlets for small re-charging, this one acts smarter with the ability to automatically detect the type of device you plug in. This allows it to adapt to the specific re-charge rate of the device to charge it more efficiently.
If you are worried about the starter getting dinged along the way, the portable EVA case should ease your fears. The molded exterior is large enough to carry the starter without taking up a lot of room in the car or trunk.
Another good budget option that will save you in a pinch is the JF.EGWO. This one is particularly suitable if you want a little bit more from the air compressor. The integrated air station is powerful enough to inflate a standard car tire in just seven minutes. Better still, the compressor comes with three different needles to fill other items such as sports equipment, balloons and even inflatable watercraft (kayaks or paddleboards).
In addition to jump starting your engine and re-charging your personal electronics, the EGWO also comes equipped with an eye on safety. A jump cable smart chip can automatically detect when the unit is about to short circuit, overheat, discharge or otherwise damage the battery or the car.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
Sometimes, it is nice to have something that does it all. While high capacity jump starters are on the high end in terms of price, they usually come with a plethora of features that make the investment worth it. The DeWalt DXAEPS2 Professional Power Station is no exception. It’s 2800 watt output is well suited for larger engines and jumping tasks. This one also includes a 1000 watt power inverter to provide a constant supply of power to the dual 3.1 USB outlets or other devices you hook up directly to the battery.
This starter doesn’t skimp on the air compressor, either. The 120 PSI air compressor can handle larger objects to inflate such as heavy duty tires, air mattresses and large sports equipment. Combined with a multipurpose LCD screen, you can monitor and control both the power and air compressor settings in real time.
Midrange jump starters are perfect for compact cars, jet skis, motorcycles and other smaller vehicles where space is at a premium. The Bolt Power G06C is smaller in size and features a compact, slim profile, so you can easily slip it into any nook or cranny you may have available. The 80 PSI compressor continues this small presence with enough power to inflate four tires on a compact vehicle.
For smaller device charging, the 16,500 power bank has enough capacity to re-charge a number of small devices before needing re-charging. There is a built-in key switch to control the amount of voltage you are using from the 12V/16V/19V DC outlet. Not sure what kind of devices you can charge if you don’t have a USB outlet? The included 7-in-1 laptop adapter will work with a variety of popular brands, so you don’t have to struggle with carrying extra cords.
Small is still powerful. The Stanley PPRH5 Professional Power Station comes with a 1,000 amp battery for jump starting most standard and compact cars, but that’s not all. Beyond the standard jumper and 120 PSI air compressor, this power station makes for a great personal device charger to take with you on the road.
While most of the options on this list include a couple of USB outlets to power most tablets and smartphones, the PPRH5 will give you more outlets for more charging options. In addition to the standard USB port, the starter also features both DC and AC charging outlets. The typical 12V DC outlet is compatible with most non-USB personal devices. The 120V AC outlet will offer you the same power output as a wall outlet from home for a couple of hours. Essentially, this is the charger to choose when you need to be sure you are within reach of power.
There is only one type of jump starter that will continue to run even when the battery has gone dry: the trusty old hand crank. A hand operated starter like the Rally Portable 8-in-1 Power Source will ensure you can jump start a standard 12-volt battery anytime, anywhere you need. The starter can be re-charged with the standard 12V DC adapter or the on-board pull handle generator.
Along with the hand-operated starter, this one also includes one of the most powerful air compressors on this list. At 260 PSI, you will be able to store more air under higher pressure for larger tires or extended uses. The air compressor runs off of the same battery as the starter, so you can use the on-board pull handle to provide consistent power when the battery runs out.
At The Spruce, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.