We’ve all been there; you mistakenly leave your car’s lights on overnight and the battery is dead when you need to get to work in the morning. Without a World’s Strongest Man competitor to hand, and no kind neighbour reaching for the jump leads, you’ll need to get yourself a jump starter.
Not too long ago, car jump starters were huge, heavy and expensive items that took up a sizeable amount of space on your boot. But these days, thanks to the compact power of lithium batteries, they can be around the same size as a large smartphone power bank.
Speaking of which, some car jump starters can even double as a portable battery pack, complete with USB ports for charging up your gadgets when it isn’t needed for jump-starting the car. Many also come with integrated lights – helpful if you’re trying to locate the bonnet catch and attach the power leads and don't have a torch or head torch handy.
How to choose the best jump starter
We’ve rounded up ten of the best jump starters, including the Ring 13000, Noco Boost Plus GB40, and Arteck 600A, all of which are a solid combination of decent build quality, compact design and performance.
The most important factor to consider is the size of your car’s engine, as this will dictate the power of jump starter you require. The product information of most jump starters clearly states the maximum engine size they can shock back into life, and you’ll find the maximum engine size will be smaller for diesels than for petrol vehicles.
Once you have found a jump starter suitable for your vehicle, you’ll want to consider the size, price and extra features. A large battery capacity will be able to jump start an engine more times before it needs charging, but larger of course means heavier and, generally speaking, more expensive.
You will also want to look out for a jump starter which is easy and safe to use, with features like spark-proof connections which won’t crackle into life when they touch your car’s battery, reverse polarity and short-circuit protection to prevent you causing any damage, and sturdy cables.
Added extras include USB ports for charging your smartphone and other devices, a torch, and a digital display for showing how much charge is left in the battery.
Most jump starters are sold on their portability, but if you fancy something a little more old school - and with a host of extra features - then something like Halford’s 6-in-1 will be for you. As well as jump-starting your car, it has an air compressor for filling the tyres, and a 100 watt inverter with a three-pin wall outlet-style socket.
As with anything that involves electricity, we recommend you read the instructions carefully before using these products.
The 10 best jump starters you can buy today
The Halfords Advanced Lithium Jump Starter is small size but high in power. This mini jump starter can start a 12V vehicle up to 2L easily and safely. It is a fraction of the size of a traditional lead-acid power pack, but doesn't compromise on power.
It comes with Safe Connect clamps, for extra safety assurance, which protects you if the clamps are connected to the wrong poles. It also has a USB port, so you can charge a phone or tablet, and LED torch, ideal for emergencies. Comes with a USB charging cable, so it can be easily recharged in the car or at home.
This compact but powerful jump-starter boasts a huge 18,000mAh capacity and can jump-start your vehicle up to 20 times on a charge. Peak current is 600 amps and the Attech can be used on petrol engines up to 7.0 litres and diesels up to 6.5 litres - so pretty much everything.
A pair of USB ports means you can also use the jump starter to charge your smartphone, tablet or any other USB device. There’s also a bright LED flashlight which can last for up to 120 hours and can be used to strobe or send an SOS signal if needed.
You can easily check the level of the battery, thanks to the simple illuminated display. Safety features include protection from surging and short circuits. The battery will recharge from a mains outlet or car 12V socket in four hours.
This compact option from Noco is less than seven inches long and just three inches wide, yet packs enough power to jump-start your vehicles up to 20 times per charge. There is also a 5V USB output for topping up the battery of your smartphone or tablet, too.
The device works with petrol engines up to six litres in capacity, and diesel engines up to three litres. An integrated 100 lumen LED light means the device can double up as a handy torch with multiple modes, including the ability to flash an SOS signal in Morse code.
Noco claims the battery will only lose between one and two percent of charge per month when not being used, so you can leave it your car all year round, safe in the knowledge that it’ll have the power when you need it.
Not to be confused with the smart doorbell company, this jump starter by Ring has a large 13,000mAh capacity, yet weighs well under 1kg and is compact enough to store in most gloveboxes. This jump starter works on petrol engines up to 3.0 litres and diesels up to 2.5 litres, plus there are two USB ports for charging your devices, and an LED flashlight.
There’s unfortunately no display to show how much charge the jump starter has remaining, but instead of four LED lights give a rough indication of the status of the battery. Ring says the unit can be fully charged from a wall outlet in just three hours.
This 12,000mAh option from GooLoo is also pocket-sized, yet offers enough power to start vehicles with up to 5.0-litre petrol engines or 4.5-litre diesels.
There are two 5V USB ports (one 1A and one 2A), so you can charge the batteries of two devices like smartphones, tablets, cameras and Bluetooth headphones at once. Safety features include over-current, overload, over-voltage and over-charge protection, plus protection against high temperature.
An integrated LED flashlight can be used as a regular torch, or set to strobe or deliver an SOS signal in an emergency. The jump starter comes with a car charger, mains plug, battery clamps, carry bag, and a micro-USB cable. The only downside is how the GooLoo uses five glowing status lights to show its battery status, instead of a display showing an exact percentage.
The Sealey has everything you need from a jump starter. It’s got staying power thanks to the 8,000mAh capacity, which means it’ll be able to handle any kind of recharging scenario.
Meanwhile, the design is both compact and simple to use thanks to a digital display. Plus, it weighs in at just 1.61Kg and boasts dimensions of 11 x 9 x 20 cm, so there’s no fuss keeping it in the car.
The dual 42cm leads look like they’ll last the test of time and a pair of USB connectors add value, especially as one delivers a higher 2.1A charge for phones and tablets. As with most products, the jump starter marketplace is a competitive one, so this is priced accordingly, which makes it all the more appealing.
The small-but-perfectly-formed Silverline is a muscular power bank and jump starter combination that is one of the lowest priced models out there. However, it still delivers a respectable 400A/6000mAh capacity, although there’s only one USB 2.1A connector. The Silverline can’t be used via a 12v car socket either, so it’s mains or USB for charging.
Nevertheless, it’s a cool option thanks to its ease of use, generous 41cm leads and a set of crystal clear blue power LEDs that advise you on available capacity. The unit weighs a mere 231grams too, so it’s a featherlight and hugely portable option if you want to keep it in a car that’s very short on space.
The Draper Expert Lithium Jump Starter 15066 might be thin on style, looks a bit plasticy and doesn’t even have a digital display to help you along. However, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the stars of the show thanks to a light 1.02kg construction and very simple to use design.
Four LEDs show you how progress is going and the unit packs a more than capable 400A peak charge. It’ll work from the mains or you can plug it into a 12v socket, so it’s handy for the boot of your car. A brace of USBs add further connectivity while we like the generous length of the cables too.
The Energizer Lithium Polymer Car Jump Starter 50810 is an import from across the pond and is slightly rough around the edges when it comes to looks and usability. Neverthless, it’s got all the power capacity you’re likely to need, with a 500A peak offering. Charging can be done in-car or via the mains and the leads give you plenty of reach in even the largest of engine bays.
There’s a solo 2.4A USB port for charging smartphones and tablets too, plus we like the included funky case that will protect your purchase over the years. A weight of just 399grams also means it’s one of the lightest models you can get your hands on.
Not everyone is happy or confident using a jump starter so we love the safe and easy design of the NOCO GB70 Boost HD Jump Starter, especially the rubber covered sockets. The chunky unit is straightforward to hook up while the bright LEDs give you a crisp and clear visible indication of progress.
There’s a 12v power port plus a super bright built-in LED flashlight for good measure, although only one 2.1A USB connector. This is one of the more expensive jump starters you can buy and it’s got performance to match, although the downside is that it weighs a sizeable 2.5kg. However, there are other model variants based around this, depending on your jump-starting requirements.
A bit of an old-school approach to jump-starting, this 6-in-1 option from Halfords can start your car, then top up the air in your tyres and even power domestic devices via the 12V DC socket. With a 100 watt inverter, you get mains power on the move, suitable for powering products with the three-pin socket.
There’s an integrated LED flashlight, but given the shape of the jump starter, this is more for illuminating a dimly lit garage or campsite, rather than for poking into your engine bay.
As well as a three-pin socket, there’s a USB port for charging smaller devices like smartphones and tablets.
A downside to this product is that it is only capable of jump-starting vehicles with engines no larger than 2.0 litres, which is rather limiting when compared to other options in this article. But, if it fits your needs and you’d rather have a multi-purpose product, then this is a solid option to consider.
Unlike some of the earlier options, a car jump-starter doesn't need to be a huge, bulky item taking up space in your boot or garage. This compact option from Clarke is small enough to fit in your glovebox, yet has enough juice to start a car up to 20 times on a single charge.
The JSM300 also has an integrated LED torch and a pair of 5W USB ports, plus a four-in-one cable for connecting various phones and other devices. It can also be used to power larger items like laptops.
Starting current for this jump-starter is 300A and peak current is 500A. Power comes from a 12Ah lithium ion battery pack.
Instead of using a conventional battery, this jump starter uses a super capacitor, which amplifies what little energy is left in your car battery, then uses that to get it started again. The benefit here is that it isn't susceptible to overheating or rupturing, as with batteries. Another benefit is how it can operate in extreme conditions that lithium batteries can struggle with, and is said to work from minus 40 to plus 70 centigrade.
Its makers say the jump starter needs just three minutes to charge up its super capacitor from the car battery, then it's ready to restart engines up to 7.0 litres (petrol) and 4.0 litres (diesel).
Finally, if you are on a larger budget and need an incredibly powerful jump starter, the Noco Boost HD GB150 is for you. Still relatively compact, this jump-starter has a 3,000-amp output, works with engines up to 10 litres in capacity, and can work up to 40 times on a single charge.
Like many other jump-starters, it also has an integrated LED flashlight with strobe and SOS modes, and USB ports for acting as a portable power bank. This jump-starter has a tough design and an IP65 water resistance rating. It can be charged in two hours from your car's 12V socket, or in six hours using a regular 2.1-amp USB port.