Best mini jump starter packs 2018
4 Jan, 2018 2:15pmDave Pollard
The market offers plenty of small jump starters for every purpose, but which packs the most punch? Here’s our verdict
Progress in lithium battery technology means every driver can now keep a jump starter in the car. These power packs deliver punch beyond their sub-paperback size, and they can easily be slipped into a glovebox.
This means you’ll still be able to start your car even when its battery is completely flat, which can save both time and money by avoiding costly callouts.
How we tested them
They’re handy for charging electronic devices, too, because the best come with USB outlets. We took these into account, but starting a car was our priority. We made five five-second attempts and checked how much charge had been used. We also looked at leads, and safety features too.
We also rated each product for weight, the clarity of instructions, cable length and clamp size, a case/cover and number/amperage of auxiliary sockets. Clamps that were live before connecting to the battery lost points. Our final factor was price from online sources and manufacturers.
The lightweight Sealey ticked all the boxes in our test and led home Draper’s entry. Behind our winning pair, Energizer’s efforts aren’t far behind, and the rest of the results were very close, with the Micro-Start just snatching at the top three’s heels.
- 1. Sealey Jump Starter Power Pack SL65S
- 2. Draper Expert Lithium Jump Starter 15066
- 3. Energizer Lithium Polymer Car Jump Starter 50810
Sealey Jump Starter Power Pack SL65S
Price: Around £87
Remarkably, this compact Sealey still showed 100 per cent charge on its easy-to-read digital display after our five start attempts. The 8,000mAh power pack has some serious grunt, which would be good for several smartphone recharges. We also liked the long 42cm leads, as these give more scope to place the unit safely under the bonnet, plus there were two USB sockets – one capable of charging at a higher 2.1A rate. In addition there’s an LED torch for night-time breakdowns. A winning combination of power and features at a competitive price seals the win.
Draper Expert Lithium Jump Starter 15066
Price: Around £110
Draper’s mini jump starter lacked a digital display, instead using four LEDs to indicate the state of the battery. But all the lights were still on after our five start attempts. Like the Sealey it delivered a peak 400A charge, and it can be revived from the mains or a 12V socket. It had two USBs which can be used with the supplied four-into-one charging lead that covers most common connectors. It also had long leads, but the green LED indicator could be easier to see.
Energizer Lithium Polymer Car Jump Starter 50810
Price: Around £130
There was a lot to like about this US import, not least its 12,000mAh rating and 500A peak charge. It aced the five start attempts and still had 90 per cent power left. Like the Draper it can be charged in the car or via the mains, and it had long leads with strong clamps. Less good was the single USB port, and positioning under the bonnet is tricky because the module is attached directly to the main case.
Micro-Start XP-3 Jump Starter
Price: Around £130
A recent redesign saw a second USB outlet added to this compact charger. Its light weight makes it good for travelling, and like the Draper it comes with a four-way lead for charging electronic kit. It can also be charged from the mains or a 12V socket. In the car, the module plugs into the case, making it a bit cumbersome, but it had no problem with our five starts. Three of the four LEDs were still illuminated afterwards.
Silverline 12v Lithium Power Bank & Jump Starter 423352
Price: Around £55
The Li-Co polymer battery was rated at 6000mAh, which gives way to the likes of the 2000mAh Sealey, but it was 67g lighter than the champion. Charging from mains (or USB with a suitable cable), it only had one USB socket rated at the more useful 2.1A, and 41cm cables. The bright LED was impressive, even in the sun, and its functions were usefully repeated on the attractive black module. The connection instructions would keep the user safe.
It sailed through our five test starts by which time it was showing only three of the five blue LEDs, with 60 per cent being the listed lower limit for starting. Sure enough, it wouldn’t turn a sixth time. Still, a great performer, very well priced and with a three-year warranty.
NOCO GB70 Boost HD Jump Starter
Price: Around £180
This US heavyweight was the most expensive unit on test and, at 1.8kg, the heaviest by more than half a kilo. But it had huge turning power, spinning the motor effortlessly. It had a safe design, with the large clamps live only when selected. The bright, clear LEDs read full when we’d finished and rubber flaps protected all sockets. We’d niggle at the single USB and thin nylon pouch, but if you have a big diesel or just need serious power then look no further.
Cobra JumPack XL CPP12000
Price: Around £125
Charging from both 12v cigar lighter and mains – you get three adaptors – the Cobra featured good instructions and a reasonable textured nylon case with net pockets. It worked well turning the engine over and still showed three of four LEDs charge when finished. There was only one USB socket, albeit a 3A. The 31cm cables were the shortest on test, but the clamps were live only when connected. This good performer lost out on price against the competition.
Price: Around £90
Our tougher test saw the Nightsearcher lose a star over its previous test win. Still, the folding magnetic handle worked well with the torch and floodlights, and despite its modest size and weight (581g), it provided a max of 192A on one of the five starts. Plus, it was the only starter to give warning beeps indicating incorrect polarity. But the module created an awkward shape when attached, made worse by the short 36cm cables, which remained live.
Ring Compact Jump Starter RPP950
Price: Around £120
With its single 2.1A USB socket, the 1,148g Ring was the second heaviest on test. The instructions were a bit brief and the clamps were left live. Despite Ring’s claims of three starts per charge, the unit easily did our five tests. It spun the motor as rapidly as the NOCO, suggesting that it was working harder than most, something backed up by its final battery state showing just one of three LEDs. If you can live with this, its price isn’t too bad either.
Best mini jump starter packs
- Sealey Jump Starter Power Pack SL65S
- Silverline 12v Lithium Power Bank & Jump Starter 423352
- Draper Expert Lithium Jump Starter 15066
- Energizer Lithium Polymer Car Jump Starter 50810
- Micro-Start XP-3 Jump Starter
- NOCO GB70 Boost HD Jump Starter
- Cobra JumPack XL CPP12000
- Nightsearcher StarBooster
- Ring Compact Jump Starter RPP950