At some point in your life, you are probably going to have to jump start your vehicle. Even though cars are more advanced than ever, they still run on batteries and (mostly) gasoline engines. These batteries do run down or fail from time to time and often, jump starting a vehicle is the key to getting back on the road. So, what kind of jump starter do you want? With all of the options out there it can be difficult to choose, particularly if you are just learning about jump starters. That’s exactly where this guide comes in: to help you look at the key factors for buying a jump starter.
The Type of Jump Starter You Want
The first thing to decide upon is what type of jump starter you want. There are three basic types of equipment for jump starters. The first is a set of jumper cables, the second is a battery charger and the third is a portable jump starter. The third is what we will be focusing on in this guide, because they are the most convenient, safest and affordable. But from there you have to choose which portable jump starter you want and that is where things can get a little complicated.
The Amount You Want to Spend
Probably the first thing that you want to decide is how much you want to spend on a portable jump starter. The budget that you have will determine quite a few things about the jump starter that you are getting – the size, the features and the general quality. You shouldn’t spend extra money on your jump starter unless you are actually getting value out of it, but don’t get the cheapest thing that you can find either. Make a careful, informed decision that gives you the best value for your money.
The Size of the Jump Starter
The size of the jump starter that you choose is going to be important. Portable jump starters come in several different sizes and you want to make sure that it is small enough so that you can keep it in your glove box, under the seat or wherever you plan on storing it while you aren’t using it. That’s why the size is not the only important factor – the shape needs to be taken into consideration as well. The size will also affect the price, so you need to look at both of them at the same time.
The Charging Specifications
You also need to look at the charging specifications, but this is relatively simple. You basically want to make sure that the jump starter that you select has enough amps to be able to effectively jump start your vehicle. Some people are concerned that their jump starter has a great deal more maximum amps than is necessary to jump start the battery, but you don’t have to be concerned about that. Just make sure that there is enough. Your car will automatically pull just the right amount from your jump starter and no more. Check out my article on the best compact jump starter if you would like to get an idea of how many amps your car might need to turn the engine over.
The Safeguards Included
You also want to make sure that you look at the safeguards that are included with your jump starter. For example, some jump starters will actually sound an alarm or turn off the power if you have connected the cables incorrectly. This can be very useful and ultimately safer for whoever is using the jump starter.
The Additional Features
You also want to look at the additional features of the jump starter that you are considering. There are many different useful features, and some of them may be more useful to you personally than others. Check out a variety of starters when you are buying and figure out what makes the most sense to you. Features like LED lighting, charge indicators and USB plugs that allow you to charge your phone, tablet or other devices are all extremely useful. Some chargers also have air compressors that you can use to inflate your vehicle tires as well.
There are also the safety features mentioned in the previous paragraph. Both of these types of features – safety and convenience – should be taken into consideration when choosing a jump starter.
Another factor is the warranty. Most jump starters will come with some kind of warranty, but you want to carefully read the fine print before you buy. Make sure that you are going to be able to return your jump starter or have it replaced if it fails during the first few years you have it. Most jump starters come with a fair warranty, but there are a few products that are poorly made and as a result have a very short warranty period or major restrictions.
The Customer Reviews
Finally, you want to look at the customer reviews. Customer reviews can tell you so much about a product. They can tell you what works and what doesn’t and bring to your attention any problems that isn’t mentioned in the manufacturer’s description. Always check the reviews online for any product that you buy – especially a jump starter – and make sure that you look at both sides, reading several of the positive and negative reviews. The question-and-answer section of Amazon and other retailers are often useful as well because they may bring up questions that you didn’t even think to ask.
The bottom line here is that there is a lot of things to look at when buying a jump starter and just like with anything else, you need to be vigilant and carefully research the product before you buy. Luckily, the internet has made this very easy, and allows you to quickly compare two or more jump starters. Your decision will come down to how much you value each of the sections discussed here and what you are looking for in a jump starter. There are good ones out on the market so make sure you choose one of them.