Portable jump starters can be saviors in a one-pound package. These lithium-battery powered devices store enough power to start your vehicle if your battery drains, or if it can’t hold a strong enough charge anymore. There’s no need to jockey another vehicle nearby so you can extend jumper cables from one vehicle to the other. You simply attach the alligator clips to your vehicle’s battery terminal clamps, turn it on, and start your car. Such self-sufficiency is the main reason people purchase portable jump starters—but there are more.

Top Pick

This option can provide power to two smartphones at once. Audew

If you’ve experienced a power outage for a couple of days, you realize how much you rely on your cell phone and computer or tablet. You can charge those devices in your vehicle, but that takes gasoline—which may not be available. And if your vehicle battery dies, you’re out of options.

Budget Friendly

This model has the ability to glow red as a traffic hazard warning to others in an emergency. TACKLIFE

If you’ve ever left your vehicle at the side of a dirt road to hunt, fish, hike, or camp for a week, you’ve probably crossed your fingers upon returning, hoping the vehicle will start. If it doesn’t—and if your cell phone’s battery is drained, which may well be the case, or if you’re far from cell service, and there are no other vehicles around from which you could get a jump—the only option is to walk to help, and that may take a very long time. Then there’s the expense of getting roadside assistance all the way back to your vehicle. A portable charger will save you that cost, along with time, effort, discomfort, and possibly worse.

Great Value

A built-in voltmeter lets you know the status of a battery before restarting your vehicle. Clore

Beach, boat, deer camp—portable car chargers are incredibly convenient for staying literally plugged in. You may have a vehicle with you, but it’s annoying to have to start it up and run it, and wasteful. Not only will you be able to keep your phone charged, you’ll be able to keep your kids’ devices running the entire time. And that last advantage is priceless.