Having one of the best car jump starter packs is essential for any motorist in the UK. These compact power packs are crucial for those unexpected moments when your car battery decides to take an untimely break.
Gone are the days of being stranded waiting for a kind stranger with jumper cables; the portable car battery jump starters have revolutionised how we tackle dead batteries. From sleek, mini jump starters that can easily fit in your glove compartment to larger high-powered jump starters, there are plenty of options to choose from.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of car jump starter packs, spotlighting the best models available and guiding you through their features.
How do Car Jump Starter Packs Work?
Car jump starter packs, often referred to as portable boosters or automatic jump starters, are essentially portable batteries designed to jump-start your car when its own battery is dead.
Jump starter packs are really just high-capacity batteries. This battery stores electrical energy that can be used to jump-start a car when its battery is dead. The power output of these batteries is measured in amps, with higher amp ratings capable of jump-starting bigger engines.
When your car battery is flat, you connect the jump starter pack to your car’s battery using the provided cables. These packs typically come with clamps that attach to the positive and negative terminals of your car battery. Once connected, the jump starter delivers a surge of power to the battery, giving it the boost needed to start the engine.
Modern jump starter packs are equipped with various safety features. These include reverse polarity protection (to protect against incorrect connection), overcharge protection, and safety switches that ensure the device is safe to use even for those unfamiliar with car mechanics.
The defining feature of these devices is their portability. Ranging from mini jump starters that are no bigger than a smartphone, to slightly larger models that can fit easily in the boot of your car, these devices are designed for convenience. Their compact size makes them an easy addition to your EV granny charger or other emergency motoring equipment.
The Best Car Jump Starter Packs UK 2024
In our guide to the best car jump starter packs available in 2024, we’ve shortlisted our jump starter brands based on a set of criteria that matter to UK motorists. Our selection process involved an in-depth comparison across the power output and battery capacity of each jump starter, ensuring they’re capable of handling a range of vehicle types and engine sizes. Portability was another critical factor, as a compact and lightweight design is essential for ease of storage and convenience.
Safety features were scrutinised, as we believe in the paramount importance of user safety. Products with advanced safety technologies like over-current protection, short-circuit protection, and reverse polarity alerts were given priority. Additionally, we looked at the versatility of each model, favouring those that offer additional functionalities such as USB charging ports, air compressors, and LED lights.
Brand reputation and customer reviews played a role in our evaluation. We sought products from brands known for their reliability and quality, and we reviewed customer feedback to understand real-world experiences and satisfaction levels. With these comparison points in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best car jump starter packs available in the UK in 2024:
|Best Car Jump Starter Packs
BEST VALUE JUMP STARTER
BEST POWER OUTPUT
How to Compare Car Jump Starter Packs
When it comes to selecting the best car jump starter pack, a thorough review of the following product features will help you compare car jump starter packs:
- Power Output and Battery Capacity
The most crucial aspect is the power output, typically measured in amps. The higher the amperage, the more powerful the jump starter, capable of starting larger engines. Additionally, consider the battery capacity, a higher capacity means the jump starter can retain charge longer and potentially jump-start more times on a single charge.
- Portability and Size
The size of the jump starter is important, especially if you have limited storage space in your vehicle. Portable jump starters come in various sizes, from compact, lightweight designs to larger, more robust units. Consider how much space you’re willing to dedicate to storing the jump starter in your vehicle.
- Safety Features
Look for jump starters with built-in safety features like over-current protection, short-circuit protection, overcharge protection, and reverse polarity protection. These features help prevent damage to your vehicle’s battery and ensure safe operation.
- Additional Features
Many jump starters come with extra features such as USB ports for charging electronic devices, LED flashlights for nighttime use, or even air compressors for inflating tires. While these features might not be essential, they are great features to look out for.
- Build Quality
The build quality is important, especially if you plan to use the jump starter frequently or in various weather conditions. Look for durable materials and solid construction. A weather-resistant design is an added advantage.
- Brand Reputation and Reviews
Research the brand’s reputation and read customer reviews. Reviews can provide real-world insight into the reliability and performance of the jump starter.
How to Use a Jump Starter Pack Safely
Safety is paramount when using a jump starter pack. Always refer to the user manual of your specific model for detailed instructions. Here’s a general guide on how to use a jump starter pack correctly, following these steps carefully will ensure a safe and successful jump-start:
- Prepare Your Vehicle
Before you begin, make sure your car is turned off. Remove the keys from the ignition to ensure there’s no power running through the car. This step is critical for preventing any electrical surges or accidents while you set up the jump starter.
- Connect the Red Positive Cable
Take the red lead from your jump starter pack, which is the positive cable, and securely attach it to the positive terminal of your car’s battery. The positive terminal is usually marked with a plus (+) sign. Ensure the connection is solid to allow for a good flow of electricity.
- Attach the Black Negative Cable
Next, take the black lead, which is the negative cable, and connect it not to the negative terminal of the battery but to a grounded metal part of your car. This could be a clean, unpainted metal surface on the engine block or a solid metal part of the car’s frame. Connecting to a grounded point away from the battery helps avoid sparks and potential battery explosions.
- Activate the Jump Starter
With the cable clamps properly in place, turn on your portable jump starter. At this point, do not start your car yet. It’s important to allow some time for the jump starter to transfer power to your car’s battery.
- Start Your Engine
After waiting a few minutes, and allowing the jump starter to charge your car’s battery, you can now attempt to start your car’s engine. If your car doesn’t start right away, wait a few more minutes before trying again, as sometimes it takes a bit longer for the battery to accumulate enough charge.
What If My Car Won’t Start with a Jump Pack?
If you find yourself in a situation where your car won’t start even with the use of a jump pack, it’s understandable to feel a bit of frustration. However, there are a few steps you can follow to troubleshoot the problem.
Firstly, double-check the connections of your jump pack. Make sure that the red positive clamp is securely attached to your car battery’s positive terminal and the black negative clamp is connected to a grounded metal part of the car.
Next, consider the power level of your jump starter pack. If the jump starter itself is low on power, it may not have enough charge to start your car. Most jump starters come with indicators that display their battery level, so make sure it’s sufficiently charged before use.
After connecting the jump pack, wait a few minutes to allow some power to transfer to your car’s battery. If the car doesn’t start on the first attempt, give it a little more time and try again.
The condition of your car’s battery is another factor to consider. If the battery is old or damaged, it might not hold the charge needed to start the engine, even with assistance from a jump pack.
There could also be other issues at play that aren’t related to the battery. Problems with the starter motor, alternator, fuel system, or ignition system can prevent a car from starting.
If after these considerations your car still refuses to start, it might be time to call in professional help. A qualified mechanic can provide a more thorough diagnosis and address issues that might be worse than a simple dead battery.
Will a Portable Jump Starter Start a Completely Dead Battery?
Yes, a portable jump starter can start a completely dead battery, portable jump starters are designed to provide the necessary surge of power to kick-start the battery so that the vehicle’s engine will start.
Will a Portable Jump Starter Restart an EV Battery?
No, a portable jump starter cannot jump-start an EV battery. The reason lies in the fundamental difference between the batteries used in petrol engine vehicles and those in electric vehicles.
In a conventional car, the battery’s primary role is to start the engine, and a jump starter can provide the necessary boost for this task. However, in an EV, the battery is not just for starting the engine; it is the main power source for the entire vehicle, including the drive train. A portable jump starter simply does not have the capacity or the correct technology to recharge or restart a depleted EV battery.
For EV drivers, a more appropriate solution would be an emergency EV battery power bank. These devices are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of electric vehicles. They can provide a direct and substantial power supply to an EV, enabling it to drive additional miles even when the main battery is dead.
Can I Drive My Car with a Portable Jump Starter Attached?
It is not a good idea to drive your car with a portable jump starter still attached. Once your vehicle has started, you should immediately disconnect the jump starter. Driving with the jump starter connected can pose safety risks. The vibration and movement of the car can cause the jump starter clamps to loosen or disconnect, potentially leading to sparking or short circuits.
Keeping the jump starter connected while the engine is running could potentially damage the jump starter, your car’s electrical system, or both. Once the car is running, its alternator will begin charging the car battery. So the charge from the jump starter is not needed!
DPortable jump starters are designed for temporary connection just to start the car, they are not meant to be a permanent fixture connected to the battery.
How Long Should You Leave a Jump Starter On?
Once the jump starter is connected and turned on, you don’t need to leave it connected for a long time. As a general rule, you shouldn’t need to leave the jump starter connected for more than a few minutes. You don’t want to keep it connected for long because it could potentially cause damage if the jump starter or vehicle isn’t designed for extended use.
Can a Jump Starter Damage a Battery?
Yes, a jump starter can potentially damage a battery if not used correctly. If a jump starter is left connected to a battery for too long, especially after the car has started, it can lead to overcharging. This can reduce the battery’s lifespan and potentially damage its internal components.
Connecting the jump starter clamps to the incorrect terminals (i.e., reversing the positive and negative connections) can cause a short circuit, leading to significant damage to both the battery and the vehicle’s electrical system.
Is a Battery Jump Starter Worth It?
A battery jump starter is well worth it for most car owners because of the convenience, safety, and peace of mind it provides, especially in emergency situations.
One of the primary benefits of having a jump starter is being prepared for emergencies. If your car battery dies, a jump starter allows you to get your car running again without the need for a breakdown cover provider or another vehicle to give you a jump-start.
Many modern jump starters come with extra features such as USB ports for charging mobile devices, LED flashlights for use in the dark, and even air compressors. These additional features enhance their utility, making them multipurpose tools.
The Final Word on The Best Car Jump Starter Packs
Understanding the product features of car jump starter packs is crucial for any car owner. A reliable jump starter is an essential part of your car’s emergency kit. It offers peace of mind, knowing that you’re prepared for those unexpected flat batteries when you leave the radio on or the kids switch on your internal lights!
With the added versatility of the best jump starters – such as USB charging ports and LED lights – they offer more than just emergency starts.
As we have seen, there are plenty of jump starter packs available in the UK, each with unique features and specifications. Whether you opt for a basic model or a more advanced one with extra functionalities, getting one is a good idea for peace of mind.
Remember, try and keep the jump starter charged every 6 months, or else it’s as much use as a brick in the boot of your car if you do run out of battery!
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John is the Editor and Spokesperson for Electric Car Guide.
With over 20 years of writing experience, he has written for titles such as City AM, FE News and NerdWallet.com, covering various automotive and personal finance topics.
John’s market commentary has been covered by the likes of The Express, The Independent, Yahoo Finance and The Evening Standard.