The Best Portable Batteries for Your Roadside Emergency Kit
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For decades, if you were unfortunate enough to get a dead battery and be stranded on the side of the road, you had two options: wait for a roadside assistance service (if you were able to call them), or hope a good samaritan would give you a jump. Now, the power can be in your hands, literally. The best portable jump start batteries can be carried around in and out of your vehicle, ready to recharge everything from your ride to everyday mobile devices. Here’s what to look for in a portable jumpstart battery.
What Are the Best Portable Jump Start Batteries?
Meters: This tells you stats like voltage, and can be digital or analog. Some also add an extra alert to tell you when the connection isn’t right, and how much power remains inside. While holding a charge for up to a year is entirely possible, other units need to be recharged monthly, so if that’s going to be a pain to deal with it, stay clear of them.
Cables: If you’ll be strictly using this for a vehicle, make sure it has long enough cables, as some cars have batteries that are far back and hard to reach. Quality of cables matters too, like welding, and having angled jaws on the clamps can be helpful, which can make it way easier to hook up.
Voltage: The average is about 1,150-2,000 peak amps of output, which gets you around 20-40 jumpstarts. You’ll find some are above and some below, but it depends on what you’ll be using it for. With vehicles, one size doesn’t fit all — heavy-duty trucks will need more power than a typical car, and the type of engine also matters. There are also often 12-volt ports for plugging in devices, but not all models have this, so if it’s something you’ll need, make sure it’s included.
Weight: These vary significantly with weight, so be absolutely certain that you can lift it in an emergency. Built-in, spark-proof handles make it easier to use, but a bulky 30-pound all-in-one battery is pretty useless if the stranded driver can’t pick it up.
Durability: A hardshell casing is always good to have for inevitable drops and damage, but also a water-resistant unit that can handle extreme weather conditions and overheating is a must for any battery that’ll be sitting in a car all year. A built-in flashlight can also be a major help when you’re stranded in the darkness.
Ports: AC/DC outlets mean you can charge up pretty much any household device that needs it, but having USB ports is extra convenient that’s nice to have, too. Newer units have started building in USB-C ports, and some even include a wireless charging pad on top.
The Best Portable Jump Starters
Here are our picks for the best portable jump start batteries to stock up on before your next road trip.
1. Michelin ML0728 XR1 Portable Power Source
There’s a lot going on in Michelin’s multi-purpose beast of a battery. A jump starter and clamps are the most basic features, and it’s still plenty powerful, with 1000 peak amps juicing up your vehicle when you need it most. But the unit also contains a tire inflator up to 260 PSI, USB and two AC outlets, an LED light, Bluetooth connectivity and an AM/FM radio.
The unit’s casing is made of a rubber tire tread, standing up to damage and drops. It weighs 16.5 pounds, meaning this isn’t going to fit in your glovebox, and is better suited for the trunk.
2. Hulkman Alpha85 Jump Starter 2000 Amp 20000mAh
This 20000mAh battery is rated IP65 rain-resistant, and can handle rough treatment while automatically detecting connection to a car battery and safely letting you know when it’s ready. The built-in 3.3-inch LED screen gives a clear reading of the battery’s status, and there’s a bright 400lm flashlight with three light modes.
Charging it up is fast: All it takes is about 1.5 hours to go from zero to a full battery. However you won’t even need a full charge to jump your vehicle, as this can get the job done with as low as 20 percent, and a full charge can get you around 60 jumpstarts over 18 months.
3. DieHard 71688 1150 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter Battery
DieHard’s been a known battery brand for over half a century, and this one features 1,150 peak amps for a reliable jump. It’s protected against things like overcharging, and LED indicator lights make it simple to monitor its status. The air compressor works well on tires that spring a slow leak, showing you the exact PSI readout.
The 400 watts of AC power can fuel up smaller items or even a laptop, and a USB port is perfect for phones and tablets. Color-coded clamps and a carry handle make this model less intimidating for someone unfamiliar with cars to use when they need it most.
4. Noco Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter
This 12-volt/1000-amp portable battery is powerful enough to jump gas and diesel engines, and it can pack 20 jumpstarts into a single charge.
Reverse-polarity protection helps make it safe and easy to use for those unfamiliar with the jumpstart process, and their spark-proof tech takes the fear out of clamping it onto a car battery.
A 100lm flashlight comes with it, with seven different light modes, including an SOS for emergencies. This one’s also IP65 water-resistant, with a rubber enclosure to further protect it, and can handle being left in the extreme heat and cold.
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