Best Jump Starter of 2021
Securing our coveted top honors, the NOCO Boost HD GB70 was the favorite model in our test lineup. This top-shelf jump starter power-pack combination unit performed exceedingly well in every category of review and was also one of the most compact and easy-to-use. Designed and engineered in the US, this portable contender has been around longer than nearly every other model we tested. NOCO has more than 100 years of experience making consumer electronics, and as evidenced by our testing, this model showcases a remarkable degree of craftsmanship and performance.
Rated at 2000 peak amps and utilizing a 56Wh battery, this jumper packs plenty of capacity and peak amperage to kick-over an eight-liter gasoline engine (and six-liter diesel). Our testing proved it capable of cold starting an 8L engine up to ten times before needing a charge, though the spec sheet from NOCO claims up to 40 jump starts per charge. Aside from being able to cold crank 2000 amp batteries, it has a 2.1A USB outlet for charging accessories, a ridiculously bright tactical LED light, and several built-in safety features, including protection against reverse polarity, spark-proof technology, over-charging, and over-heating. Our only substantial gripes were the lack of an additional USB port and that there was no USB to AC power outlet adapter. The USB charge cord is included, but you will have to provide your own USB wall outlet brick. Overall, the NOCO GB70 is a high-performing and reliable option for motorists who need power when it counts.
Don't let the compact size of the GOOLOO GP37-Plus fool you. A small but mighty contender in the lineup, this unit delivers 1,200 peak amps while weighing in at just over one pound. It also happened to be one of the most affordable jump starters we tested. Beyond jump-starting, the GP37 also features two USB charging ports, a DC power outlet with a lighter adapter, and a small LED flashlight with several modes. The USB charge ports are 5V and a Smart charging port that will bump to 9V for rapid charging on compatible devices. The 66.6Wh lithium-ion battery can provide numerous boosts to a deep-cycle SLA or up to three iPhone charges before becoming fully depleted. In our testing, this unit was capable of jumping a 6.5-liter diesel engine, exceeding the manufacturer's suggested limit.
Though it isn't the flashiest option out there, we found that this jump starter was just as capable as many of the high-end models. It lacks some of the build quality of pricier brands, but it delivered on performance. The clamps and cables were a little small and not the burliest build, but we did appreciate that overall, the kit took up minimal space in our vehicle. The provided case won't stand up to the rigors of life in an auto shop but keeps the cables and battery neat and tidy in your car. Because of its reliable performance across-the-board at a fraction of the cost of other models, we believe this is an excellent option for those seeking an affordable model that still has some oomph.
For an all-in-one home shop power station, the Dewalt DXAEJ14 delivers a range of features that do more than just jumpstart dead batteries. Need to air up your tires? Check your alternator? Charge your cell phone? We appreciated that the Dewalt proved useful even when we weren't testing jump start capability. The 120 PSI air compressor was a particularly nice feature. The LCD screen allowed us to set the desired PSI and fill our tires to our preferred specification. In addition to supplying 1400 peak amps of potential current, it can also power accessories via its dual USB ports and 12V DC charging port. Though it isn't light and portable like some of the lithium-ion models, this unit can provide a boost to larger engines more effectively with enough power left to then charge your devices or inflate a tire.
It could be considered a nuisance that compared to the lithium-ion models, which can provide multiple jumps on one charge, you must recharge this unit after every jump. It's also important with the sealed lead-acid batteries like the Dewalt that you charge it regularly. Dewalt recommends plugging it in to top off at least once a month. However, compared to other SLA models, the Dewalt DXAEJ14 out-performs the competition with a large-capacity 21 amp-hour battery. That power performance, coupled with its versatility (and its 35 pound weight), has earned it an award for the best for use at home or in a shop.
Performing respectably across all categories and for a great price, the TackLife T8 Pro 1200A is an outstanding value for day-to-day automobile use. We were impressed by the attention to detail and overall build quality of the TackLife Pro; from the carrying case to the cables to the unit, everything was well designed and manufactured. A digital readout gave battery percentage levels, and three output ports (two USB and one 12V DC) added versatility. A small compass on top of the unit suggests the "rugged" nature of the TackLife audience. Dust and water-resistant construction make this a great off-roading companion. The displays and controls are user-friendly, and the included "intelligent" cables include a boost feature.
Although we found the T8 performed above its class, it may not be enough juice for the largest engines out there. We found that the battery was moderately depleted after jumping batteries in excess of 800 cranking amps. The T8 Pro will hold its charge for many months at a time (up to a year according to the manufacturer), making it an excellent choice for the emergency "get it and forget it" item in your car trunk.
If a robust portable power bank is your number one priority and jump starts are few and far between, the GOOLOO GP2000 will impress with its high capacity lithium-ion battery and abundance of charge ports. This model comes with a 73Wh lithium-ion battery that is capable of delivering up to 2000 peak amps when jumping a car. It wasn't as powerful for boosting larger batteries on bigger trucks but had plenty of juice to handle eight consecutive boosts on a 2.5-liter engine before needing another charge. Where this model really excelled though, was in charging electronics via its USB ports. In testing, we found that when using the 5V USB port, we could fully charge an iPhone up to 15 times without needing to plug in the power pack. A USB-C port for input/output was a nice feature that added to the charging versatility of this unit.
While it's great for powering accessories on-the-go, we were a little underwhelmed by how it performed as a booster pack. It is fully capable of bringing mid-size batteries back to life but doesn't quite have the gusto to manage larger engines and higher cranking amps. However, due to the storage potential of its 73Wh battery, this contender will hold a charge for quite a while, allowing you to charge your electronics wherever you go. Because of this, we nominated the GOOLOO GP2000 as the best option for powering accessories.
Similar in design to other models, the Stanley J5C09 JumpiT Portable Power Station is a well-built contender that boasts similar performance at a lower cost. Rated at 1000 peak amps, it's stout enough to boost batteries powering five-liter diesel engines. Additionally, it comes equipped with an air compressor and pressure gauge that allows you to accurately fill tires to the correct PSI. There is also a LED flashlight and USB charging port to power accessories.
Known for making quality tools and power equipment, it is no surprise that a model from Stanley would include durable features like heavy gauge cables and metal clamps. However, both the power cables and air compressor cable were the shortest among SLA starters. Additionally, this unit is only capable of charging via an extension cord. If those aren't dealbreakers, then we'd recommend taking a look at the Stanley J5C09.
Another option utilizing a sealed lead acid battery is the Schumacher SJ1330 1000A. This jump starter offers many functions of the other "home" use units in a smaller package and for a lower price. A built-in air compressor boasts an inflation capability of up to 150 PSI and has a built-in gauge to check your pressure. The jumper cables are sturdy and with long enough cables to reach into your battery bay. The Schumacher is lighter than other SLA units and will be easier for some people to lift and maneuver into place.
The benefits of the Schumacher's smaller size are also what holds it back in performance. While it will jump V6 engines, the Schumacher isn't rated for V8s. The display panel is very basic, with only three stages of battery level indication. It also took longer to charge than other models despite its small size. While other models with air compressors offered programmable PSI settings, the Schumacher has a small analog gauge that you have to watch during use. For a low price point SLA jump starter with a few extra (albeit clunky) features, the SJ1330 does just fine.
The Tacklife T6 800A 18,000mAh delivers on its specs for a lower cost than some other options. Although it has lesser amperage compared to some models, we found it to be extremely useful for mid-size cars and even marine batteries with over 1000 cold-cranking amps. Equipped with dual USB ports and a 12v 10A DC port, this model is also a very functional power bank capable of charging an iPhone up to six times. The controls are simple and basic, and the included "intelligent" cables include a boost feature like other Tacklife models.
However, this model may not be the best option for larger vehicles. Though it claims to boost gas engines up to seven liters, we found that the battery was considerably depleted after jumping batteries in excess of 800 cranking amps. But for the average motorist, it is a competent contender that should hold a charge for months and provide more than a dozen boosts when fully juiced. When you consider both performance and price point, the Tacklife T6 is tough to beat for consumer value.
Often, the most straightforward designs are the most reliable. And while it may not be the most standout option in the lineup, we found the simplicity of the Clore Automotive JNC660 to be one of its best attributes. Other than a straightforward charge indicator and a 12V DC outlet to power accessories, this model has virtually no fancy add-ons to speak of. With 46-inch #2 AWG welding cable leads and a very robust design, it seems capable of withstanding a great deal of use. Despite the lack of features, it was extremely user-friendly and well-powered for even larger vehicles. Simply put, it works.
While it won't win any awards for streamlined design or additional features, the Clore Automotive JNC660 is a proven workhorse that should provide enough power for even heavy machinery. Although it doesn't have an air compressor or USB ports like the other SLA jump starters, it seems as though it would last longer simply because there are fewer onboard electronics that could potentially fail.
Utilizing many of the same design features found on higher-end lithium-ion models, the Topvision Power Pack offers a good range of functionality for a lower price point. Although it may not seem very high-quality at first glance, it has several handy features, including an LCD voltmeter that is attached to the cables. With 2000 cranking amps and 1000 starting amps, this model had some of the most impressive tech specs out-of-the-box. However, we found that in certain applications, it was slightly underpowered when compared to similar models.
Though it comes with a 12V cigarette lighter adapter, its output is only rated to six amps, which is not enough juice for most DC accessories. Equipped with Quick-Discharge technology, this jump starter has enough power to boost gasoline engines as large as seven liters. But because it lacks intuitive controls and certain features like a 120V AC adapter to charge, the Topvision Power Pack didn't score as highly as some competitors.
Why You Should Trust Us
With an eclectic experience of operating machinery and various engine types, our primary tester, Rob Woodworth, has a nuanced understanding of 12V systems and the batteries that power them. He is a Coast Guard Certified Captain that is routinely maintaining deep-cycle marine batteries and other sealed lead-acid batteries used to start heavy equipment. His practical knowledge of battery performance is fortified by his experience in off-grid solar power systems, which require more frequent and diligent maintenance. As such, his background in 12V applications is deeper than that of your average commuter.
After researching more than 50 different jump starters, we narrowed our selection down to the models found in this review. We chose to include units that were capable of delivering anywhere from 1000 to 2000 peak amps, though several brands offer a higher output in other models. To be comprehensive, we examined models that had both lithium-ion and sealed lead-acid battery types. They were each subjected to the same testing metrics and were scored accordingly.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased the best models available on the market for a head-to-head analysis of performance in the field. We chose to examine products that utilized both sealed lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries to gain a comprehensive understanding of the functional capabilities of each type. Not only did we test how quickly each contender could revive a dead battery, but we also examined the various features of each model, including USB power ports, AC adapters, and air compressors.
To fully test each jump starter, we ran all the models through a series of tests designed to identify the limits of their performance. They were subjected to boosting a variety of battery sizes from a fleet of different vehicles, ranging from a 650cc motorcycle to a 6.7L V8 diesel to a 454 horsepower inboard boat engine. We monitored voltage and current during boosts and, when possible, would bypass the battery altogether to see how many cold-starts we could get out of each power pack.
Sealed Lead Acid vs. Lithium-Ion Batteries
Both sealed lead-acid (SLA) and lithium-ion (LI) batteries have distinct strengths, though you may prefer one type over the other depending on your needs. The most obvious distinction between the two is their weight; SLA's are much heavier and considerably larger than LI's. Additionally, LI batteries generally offer greater power per ounce and can hold more watt-hours of potential energy. SLA's are cheap, long-lasting, and reliable, but only if properly maintained. They will require a charge after each jump, whereas LI jump starters can provide consecutive jumps without a recharge. SLA batteries will also drain over time, whereas LI packs will hold their power longer.
In this metric, we considered the energy output of each model when used to boost a 12V battery. Electrical current is measured using amperes or amps, usually distinguished by a "peak amps" rating for each unit. However, a jump starter that is rated to 1000 peak amps won't necessarily perform at 1000 amps under various loads. Thusly, we sought to test how well each contender held up to a number of different boosting scenarios.
The NOCO Boost HD GB70, GOOLOO GP37-Plus, and TopVision Power Pack were among the highest-rated lithium-ion units in this category. All three of these devices have peak amp ratings over 1000A, giving them enough current to boost engines as large as seven liters. Time and time again, these jump starters could deliver adequate power to a range of 12V batteries with differing cranking amps. By design, lithium-ion jump starters exceed at delivering quick pulses of energy rather than sustained current.
By contrast, the Dewalt DXAEJ14, Clore Automotive JNC660, and Stanley J5C09 deliver a constant current when hooked up to your battery terminals. At a full charge, they can deliver perhaps three boosts, although the manufacturers recommend charging after each use. This is because these models utilize SLA batteries, which discharge more rapidly than lithium-ion batteries. However, this does not mean they deliver an inferior boost; in fact, we found them fully capable of reviving even larger diesel and deep-cycle marine batteries. Among the SLA types, we were less fond of the Stanley J5C09 as it delivered slightly less current under load in our tests.
The storage potential for batteries is usually rated using watt-hours (Wh). Occasionally, manufacturers will list milliamps-hour (mAh) or amps hour (Ah), but this is an inaccurate measurement unless you factor in the voltage that you are requiring. So we designed our tests to examine watt-hours, not amp-hours, to reflect battery storage potential across a variety of voltages.
Through repeated use and testing, we found that the GOOLOO GP2000 had the best battery storage, clocking in an impressive 80Wh. Runners-up included the TopVision Power Pack and the TackLife T8, each producing more than 70Wh, enough to charge most cell phones eight to ten times. Similar to the GP2000, the GOOLOO GP37-Plus was capable of holding an impressive charge—though it wasn't capable of reviving large engines repeatedly. When comparing boost ability, the NOCO Boost HD GB70 provided as many or more jumps when compared to competitors. However, it comes with a slightly lower 54Wh when compared to other lithium-ion battery packs.
SLA jump starters like the Clore Automotive JNC660 have much lower watt-hour ratings than the LI models. Simply put, sealed batteries are designed to provide larger currents for short periods and don't excel at long-term wattage draw. But they do have enough juice to power 12V accessories for a few hours, the Dewalt DXAEJ14 and Stanley J5C09 even have USB ports to get a couple of charges on mobile devices.
Durability & Craftsmanship
To us, longevity is a necessary component of functional performance. We carefully examined each unit to determine how the various pieces would fare against long-term use and potential abuse. The NOCO Boost HD GB70 was without-a-doubt the most well-built unit in the lineup. With hard-wearing materials, heavy gauge cables, and extremely secure port covers, it is clear that every little detail was considered with durability in mind. The TackLife T8 Pro was another high-quality power pack, using durable materials and a very secure carrying case that is also fire and water resistant.
Though it isn't the fanciest, the Clore Automotive JNC660 was arguably the most indestructible SLA-type jump starter with welders grade cable and no extra bits to get broken. Whereas the Dewalt and Stanley models had more working components that could potentially fail and extra pieces that will quickly get lost if not stored somewhere. Among the lowest-scoring models were the TopVision Power Pack and the GOOLOO GP2000. These models used thin plastic and cables, featured poor coverage on their power ports, and overall gave us the impression that they were off-brand bargain alternatives to more reputable units. Though, if you're looking for a bargain brand option that is still well-built, we were impressed with the craftsmanship of the GOOLOO GP37-Plus.
Ease of Use
When rating ease of use, we chose to award points for features that improved the user experience. Similarly, points were deducted if we found the interface to be confusing or inefficient. Without question, the Clore Automotive JNC660 was the most simple and easy-to-use model in our test. Simply connect to your battery, and you're good to go. Other models like the NOCO Boost HD GB70 and the TackLife T8 Pro were straightforward in application but come standard with certain safety features that may have a learning curve.
The Dewalt DXAEJ14 and TopVision Power Pack were less intuitive and required that we consult the manuals for proper use. Furthermore, both models had a propensity to drain the battery if we neglected to power them down, lacking the auto-off feature that other models came equipped with.
Sometimes, all you need is a jump. But in case you're looking for the Swiss Army knife of jump starters, we chose to score the contenders on their relative versatility, examining how effectively they can manage a variety of tasks. The Dewalt DXAEJ14 had an impressive list of features, including a 120 PSI air compressor with pressure gauge, multiple power ports, working lights, and even an alternator tester, making it a great option for those who need a do-it-all power pack at home or on the job site.
For most users, models like the TackLife T8 Pro or Stanley J5C09 will provide more than enough versatility, allowing you to charge a variety of devices in addition to boosting a vehicle and providing more than one way to recharge the unit when depleted. The least versatile workhorse in our test was the Clore Automotive JNC660, which has no USB ports and can only be charged via extension cord.
We hope that this review has brought light to your search for the perfect jump starter. In a market flooded with consumer electronics, we value the opportunity to help you narrow the options in picking a model that will work best for your needs. A dead car battery can happen to anyone, and we hope that our testing can help you remain assured that you'll never be stuck without power on the side of the road, out in the woods, or wherever adventure may find you.
— Rob Woodworth