Best for Multi-Potek Portable Power Source
Best Budget Friendly
- Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC 660. This is a powerful basic battery booster pack.
- MOOCK 1500A Car Jump Starter. Powerful and compact.
- GOOLOO 4000A Jump Starter for Trucks and SUV’s. Small and Very Powerful jump starter for trucks and SUV’s. Read more below.
NOCO GB 40
Probably the most well-known battery jump starter on the list the NOCO GB 40 is perfectly suited for most cars and small SUVs. For its size the NOCO GB 40 boasts a strong 1000 amp current which is more than enough for a typical sedan. The GB40 claim to be able to boost cars with up to 6.0-liter gas engine. That s a fairly large V8 motor.
What makes the GB40 most enticing though is it’s safety features. It has reverse polarity protection, as well as, spark-proof cables. One of the most intimidating things about jump-starting a car is the fear that you are going to make sparks. With that threat eliminated, you can jump-start your car without fear.
Another feature that makes this unit so appealing is the fact that it has so many other features. You can charge your phone, your tablet, or most anything that takes a USB charge. Just make sure you don’t run the battery down in case you need it.
Like all things electronic though, there are drawbacks. Some people claimed that the NOCO GB40 didn’t work, it didn’t jump-start their car. That’s a problem. Unfortunately, there is really no good way to test this unless you purposely kill your battery. A second complaint people had was that the unit didn’t hold a charge.
Despite its drawbacks, a majority of people were happy with the NOCO GB40 battery booster pack. This small size, big punch, multi-feature rich unit packs a lot in for a reasonable price.
How to Charge the NOCO GB40
NOCO was kind enough to provide a brief video on how to charge their unit:
POTEK Portable Power Source
I like this battery booster pack. The POTEK Portable Power Source has a powerful 1500 amp output along with many other useful emergency features. Unlike the NOCO GB40 this has many more uses than simply jump starting your car.
This jump starter is more powerful than the NOCO GB 40, so it will have no issues jump starting most vehicles. What makes this unit so awesome is it’s versatility. The 150 PSI air compressor can pump anything from your car tires to a pool inflatable. One warning that came from the manufacturer is not to let the compressor operate for more than ten minutes continuously; this could burn the motor out.
Another useful feature is the 300-watt power inverter. So not only does it jump-start your car, but it can also power your small appliances. POTEK claims this unit can power a small mini-fridge. No one has reported doing this, but it would be pretty cool (no pun intended).
Now, there are downsides. People have had problems with the air compressor and problems with the unit holding a charge. To be fair after looking at some more expensive models of battery booster pack; the same complaints were made.
Also, it’s quire large. At 18 pounds it’s not going to fit in your glove box like some battery booster packs.
Overwhelmingly, people have had a good experience with this battery booster pack. And in the cases of those that didn’t; customer service was said to be top-notch. This appears to be a solid unit for a good price.
DBPOWER 800A Portable Car Jump Starter
This unit is second in popularity only to the NOCO GB 40. It is small and compact like the GB 40, but it boasts a much higher amperage output at 1800. The manufacturer claims it can jump start a large 7.2 liter gasoline engine or a 5.5 liter diesel engine. That is a powerful little unit.
One outstanding report came from a reviewer who jump-started their 6.8 liter Ford F-350 with a temperature of 10F. If you are ever going to need a jump-start it is in extreme conditions and this unit certainly delivered.
The battery storage hold is something of concern. Some people have reported being able to store it for as long as a year with little drain on the battery. However, others have had stored for a few weeks and have seen a substantial decrease in power.
The manufacturer suggests a full discharge and recharge every few months to maintain battery integrity. Most units like this also require an initial full charge before use; this could impact battery life.
For the price, this is a powerful little unit that can serve a multitude of functions. Primarily used to jump-start your car, you can also charge your laptop, tablet, or cell phone. A versatile tool for a budget price.
What is a Battery Booster Pack?
A battery booster pack is essentially a smaller more portable battery in a contained unit that is able to give your dead car battery enough juice to get your engine started again. The battery booster pack removes the need for you to have jumper cables and a good samaritan there to help you get going again.
Basically, the battery is stored in a portable case; the case has positive and negative jumper cables that allow you to jump-start your car. (Yes, I realize that this is an overly simplistic description of a battery booster pack). Depending on which model you get there could LED indicator lights, power outlets, and even an air compressor. On some models of battery booster packs, there is complicated circuitry that keeps your car safe. But at its core it’s a battery in a box with some jump-starting cables.
Battery booster packs are often safer than jumper-cables because they prevent your car from any voltage spikes. Jumper cables have their place, but more times than not, a booster pack is easier and safer.
Why Choose a Battery Booster Pack?
Yes, a battery booster pack may be a little expensive, but it is well worth the peace of mind to have one. If your battery happens to die while you are traveling, the battery booster pack may give you just enough to get home without having to call a tow truck. I know I mentioned this story somewhere else, but…
I was driving from Florida up to New Jersey, about halfway driving up my battery dies. I was able to keep driving because the alternator keeps the car’s electrical system running, but every time I stopped to fuel up my truck wouldn’t start. However, with my fully charged battery booster pack, I was able to get my truck started each time until I could get a replacement battery.
You never know when your battery may give out. It’s nice having the ability to get yourself going again without being dependant on someone else.
Can a Car Battery Be To Dead to Jump?
The short answer is ‘YES’; a car battery can be too dead to jump. As was mentioned over here, a car battery has a shelf life of three to five years. When an older battery dies it may not be able to be jumped anymore.
Usually, an old and tired battery is the culprit when it won’t take a jump anymore. However, there are other factors that could come into play. Has your car been sitting for a while?
A car left sitting, without any maintenance is not a good thing. There are chemicals in the battery that make it work. If left sitting for several weeks or months those chemicals begin to break down and the battery will no longer take a jump.
In addition to this extremely hot or cold weather will have a negative effect on a battery. If left exposed and unused in extreme weather, the battery will die and fail to take a jump. The battery will reach a state of discharge that it will not be able to recover from.
If you are having trouble jump-starting your battery you can always take it down to Autozone or something similar and have a load test. This will be able to tell you if your battery can hold a charge. Which leads to our next question…
Can a Completely Dead Battery be Jumped?
Again, the short answer is ‘YES’, a completely dead battery can be jumped. I will refer you to my story above. My battery was completely dead, but I could jump it each time and it got me up to NJ.
Now the real question is; can a completely dead battery HOLD a charge? The answer to that is maybe. It really depends on the condition of your battery. My battery, mentioned above, was old and could no longer hold it’s a charge. A newer battery could possibly hold it’s charge after it has died and then been jumped.
So, let’s say your battery has died and you know it’s fairly new and can take a jump start. How long does it take to jump-start a car?
How Long Does it Take To Jump a Dead Car Battery?
Well, this really depends on what state of discharge your battery is in and the condition of the battery. All in all, it should take no longer than ten minutes to jump-start your car battery. Or another way to gauge this; if you try to start the car three or four times unsuccessfully.
If after ten minutes and multiple attempts to start your car are unsuccessful, your car battery is probably not going to take a jump. It’s time to go to ‘plan B’.
Does Boosting Damage Your Battery?
Well, the answer to this is; if jump-starting a car INCORRECTLY then ‘YES’ you can damage your battery. However, the chances of this happening with a battery booster pack are much lower than jump-starting a car with a set of jumper cables.
Battery booster packs often come with surge protection and/ or reverse polarity protection. So if you connect the booster pack incorrectly, there should be protections put in place.
Many jumper-cables do not have the same safeguards and you could potentially damage your battery if the cables are reversed. Jumper-cables are still a legitimate way to jump-start your car, but you just need to exercise a bit more caution when using them.
How Does a Battery Booster Pack Work?
As mentioned above a battery booster pack is basically another battery with its own set of jumper cables and alligator clips. A battery booster pack acts as a substitute for your car battery should your car battery die. When you attach the alligator clamps to your dead car battery, it sends its stored energy into the car and allows your car to start.
Battery booster packs come in various sizes, with various power outputs, so you want to make sure that you have the correct size battery booster pack. Bigger engines and vehicles will require more amps to get your engine turned over.
What is an ampere? An ampere is a measure of electrical charge. In relation to a car battery, it is the amount of electrical storage a battery can hold.
Just to reiterate and say the same thing a different way. A battery booster pack acts as a substitute battery for your car until the alternator can take over and charge your car battery back up.
How To Use A Battery Booster Pack.
One of the great advantages of a battery booster pack over jumper cables is their ease of use. You don’t need to position two cars just right, you don’t need another person there, and you reduce the risk of doing something wrong.
So how do you use a battery booster pack or jump starter? I will outline some general steps to follow for most jump starters. I recommend that you read the manufacturers instructions for your particular booster, each one may have its own little tweak you need to be aware of. just follow these steps:
- Find a safe place to park your car.-Any time you break down on the side of the road this should be your first thought. Set out your flares, triangles, or whatever else you have to make yourself visible. This includes turning your hazard lights on.
- Turn everything off in your car.- Make sure the key is in the off position. Turn the radio, air conditioning, defrosters, and detach any external devices that you may have pulling power. There is going to be enough strain put on the booster pack, you don’t need to add any more.
- Pop the hood.– This should be self-explanatory. Make sure the hood is properly secured so it doesn’t fall on you.
- Locate the car battery.- Again, self-explanatory.
- Identify the positive and negative terminals.– Okay, so you are looking for the ‘+’ or ‘-’ on the car battery. The positive terminal will usually be identified as a red plus sign and the negative a black minus sign.
- Clean off the battery terminals.- This is an important step because you need to have good contact between the booster pack cables and the battery. Or else the jump may not work. In a pinch, a rag will do to wipe off any loose dirt. If you have access to a wire brush or a terminal cleaner that would be better.
- Connect the clamps. – Okay, here we go. Attach the black clamp to the negative terminal and the red clamp to the positive terminal. Make sure not to cross the wires, this could damage the battery and the booster pack. Many battery booster packs have protections against this, but just be careful. If you need to turn your unit on, do it now. Make sure your connection is good so that the power can move freely from the booster pack to the battery. I usually like to wiggle my clamps a little on the terminal to make sure they are making a solid connection.
- Wait.- Give the booster at least three or four minutes to get enough charge into the battery. The amount of time you wait here really depends on the condition of your battery. A new battery won’t take long at all to get a charge; an older battery will take a bit longer.
- Try to start your car.- After the allotted time has passed, try starting your car. If the jump was successful, your car should start immediately. If your car sounds like it is almost ready to start, shut the key off and wait a few more minutes and try again.
That’s it. It is not a difficult process. If your car fails to start after several attempts you may need to call a tow truck.
Does a Battery Booster or Jump Starter Charge a Car Battery?
The answer to that is ‘NO’. A battery booster pack is simply that; it gives your car battery a brief burst of power to get the car started again. A battery charger actually restores the charge to a car battery and is a completely different piece of equipment,
I write much further on this topic over here in ‘Does a Jump-Starter Charge a Car Battery?’. (That’s a catchy title!) The article goes into more detail on how your car battery is recharged after a jump-start.
How Do I Charge my Battery Booster Pack?
There are various ways to recharge your battery booster pack. The manufacturer should have detailed instructions on how to charge your particular unit.
I have a general overall guide over here that covers the basics on how to charge your battery booster pack.
In addition to that, sometimes you may have charging issues with your battery booster pack, that link takes you to a complete guide as to what may be wrong with your battery booster pack.
All things considered, a battery booster pack is a relatively low investment for peace of mind. They are easy to use, portable, and relatively inexpensive. They serve a practical purpose for an everyday commute or a road trip.
And in these days of social distancing do you really want to share a tow truck cab with a driver you don’t know? Hopefully, you found this guide helpful, stay safe.