Three Things to Consider Before Buying an Electric Jump Starter
How to make sure your vehicle starts when you’re off the grid and all alone.
It’s one thing to love the outdoors, but it’s another to be stuck out there because you left the back door open and ran your vehicle battery out of juice. Jumper cables are great, but not so great when you’re all alone in the dark scary woods. An electric jump starter is easy to store and easy to use, so you can get cranking no matter how long the lights have been on. The advantage to a jump starter over cables is that you don’t have to have another vehicle, so no matter how deep you are in the dark scary woods, you’ll have what it needs to bring a dead battery back to life and get home before anyone knows that you left that cab light on all day long. There are lots of great models available, and some even have useful features like USB outlets and more. So, shop wisely, stash one of these portable power packs in your console or toolbox and get off-road with confidence.
Often, portable jump starters are branded with two different sets of numbers to describe the power of a jump starter, but they relate to two different tasks. The number of amps relates to the amount of peak starting power in a jump starter battery. 800 amps is the lowest you’ll want to go for trucks, and if you have a V8 or diesel engine, you’ll want more. Another number you’ll see is something like 18,000mHa. That relates to a battery’s storage capacity. The higher the number, the greater the capacity.
Most jump starters come with various built-in overcharge safety functions. One thing to look for is a jump starter with reverse polarity protection, which sounds an alarm when you get the red and black terminal connections reversed and protects your vehicle battery and engine from damage.
Some jump starters do more than jump a dead battery. Units outfitted with powerful lights can help with changing a flat tire or other roadside emergencies, and some come with USB ports so you can charge electronics. There are even jump starters with 12V charger plugs. Look around and you might get more for your dollar than a ride home.