At some point in your life, you have probably seen (or experienced) a car jump start. Generally, this is done with jumper cables, which many drivers carry around with them, using one vehicle with a healthy battery to jump start another vehicle with a dead battery. But today, there are more modern ways of jump starting and some new technology that makes it safer than using jumper cables or even a battery charger. But there is a downside too. Let’s get into the pros and cons of using mini jump starters on your vehicle battery.
Types of Jump Starters
Before getting into the pros and cons, let’s discuss the types of jump starters that are out there, so that you can understand exactly what a mini jump starter is. The most basic type of jump starter is the standard set of jumper cables. Jumper cables use another vehicle’s battery to provide a charge to jump start a car with a drained battery. There are also the electric battery chargers, which often need to be connected for a period of time to jump start – especially if the battery is completely drained. Finally, there are the units that are currently under consideration – the mini jump starters.
Pros of Mini Jump Starters
- Mini jump starters are safer than jumper cables and battery chargers, because they are generally designed specifically to start a vehicle battery that is dead. A battery charger may have many more amps and therefore be potentially more dangerous. In addition, mini jump starters often have built in safety features like reverse polarity alarms that tell you when you have the cables hooked up wrong and some of them don’t even connect to your battery, but instead plug into your vehicle’s 12 volt connection.
- Mini jump starters are also affordably priced. You can generally find a variety of styles and features, which in turn offer a variety of prices. Most of them are very affordable, especially considering the benefits that they offer to stranded drivers. Considering how much a road side assistance could end up costing, not to mention the premium increase in your car insurance, investing in a mini jump starter is actually a great idea. Some mini jump starters actually are just as affordable as battery chargers and jumper cables, but many people are not aware of this fact. You can find mini jump starters starting at about $30. And you can find out what those are together with an entire host of other excellent jump starters right on our home page where we review the top 10 best jump starters on the market today.
- There are also the features to consider. This is a major advantage of mini jump starters that battery chargers and jumper cables just don’t usually have. One of the things that quite a few jump starters come with is an LED light that allows you to hook up the jump starter to your battery in the dark without compromising your safety. In addition, many of the mini jump starters on the market have USB plugs and some extra battery life so that in an emergency – or even when it’s not an emergency – you can use them to charge your smartphone, tablet or even your laptop if needs be. Some jump starters will charge your smartphone multiple times while still holding enough juice to start your car in an emergency, and you can always recharge the device next time you are at home or even from the 12 volt outlet in your car while you are driving.
- One of the biggest advantages that mini jump starters have over other devices is that they provide you with multiple jump starts on a single charge. It is still recommended that you check your unit after it has been sitting for a few months, but the major benefit here is that it will probably still work – multiple times – even if you have let it sit in your car for months or years. This makes a mini jump starter one of the most useful tools to have.
Cons of Mini Jump Starters
- Of course, there are some disadvantages to having a mini jump starter as well. One of them is that they might have a lower battery capacity than some of the larger units, and you won’t be able to use anyone of them on all types of vehicles. Some of the mini jump starters on the market have only about 600 Amps of peak power, or even less. That is barely enough to start a mid-sized car or a really tiny SUV. Others go as high as 2000 Amps and have huge 25000 mAh so they can start even the largest diesel engines on trucks. Be sure to check out our page on the best compact jump starters to get an idea of what sized jump starter you should get for your car.
- The obvious problem with needing bigger, stronger mini jump starter to jump start a truck or large SUV is that the price tends to increase with the power output. The actual physical size does not really increase that much, but the power output and the technology that is being cranked in that small case is really worth the extra cash, provided you can afford it.
- There is also the corollary of them being small enough to fit into a glove box or purse – they are easy to lose. They are also rather fragile if they happen to end up on the floorboards of your vehicle and you step on them. But still, the advantages of mini jump starters far outweighs the disadvantages.
- There is one final small objection to consider which is that most cars already have charging ports of smartphone and tablets. That tends to make the USB ports on these mini jump starters quite superfluous unless you are the type of hiking, outdoorsy person that will leave the car somewhere up in the mountains and continue on foot for days.
The Decision to Buy a Mini Jump Starter
So, you have to make the decision as to whether or not to get a mini jump starter. There are some really solid reasons to have one. When an emergency happens you will have something that will enable you to jump start your car without waiting for road side assistance or someone to come along with a pair of jumper cables, but you’ll also have the ability to charge up your smartphone or other device, which can also be useful in an emergency. There are a couple of disadvantages to having a mini jump starter but they are outweighed considerably by the good things. Ultimately, you will have to decide if the investment in a mini jump starter is worth the peace of mind you will have on the road.