Best mini jump starters to buy 2022
Stuck with a flat car battery? We’ve put eight of the best jump starter packs to the test
Your car can experience all sorts of problems if you have a faulty battery, so it’s a good idea to have a jump starter (also known as a jump pack or jump box) stashed away in your glovebox. Battery jump packs can get your car running again in a matter of minutes if something does go wrong, so it’s definitely worth it.
Battery charger boosters with the biggest capacities (typically measured in Ah (amp hours)) not only tend to be the most effective at jump starting a car, but also have more reserve power to charge other devices, such as smartphones or accessories. The downside is that they are also more expensive and heavy, which can affect their portability. If you need a battery booster pack to hand for emergencies, a mini starter pack is the ideal choice.
We’ve tested a variety of jump packs, including the more budget-friendly Halfords jump starter, and more expensive units such as Noco jump starters, focusing on their starting abilities and also awarding points for other useful features to determine which ones are the best value for money.
How we tested them
In our test, we connected each device to the ailing battery of a 1.6-litre petrol engine. We turned each of them over five times for five seconds, with a two-minute break between attempts.
At the end of each test, we logged the battery state and ranked each starter pack for their practical features: cable length, clamp size, tech spec and weight. We also rated each starter for the clarity of their instructions, their safety and number of sockets. Like always, their price is also a deciding factor.
1. MSC Overland Waterproof Car Jumper & Power Bank
2. Clarke JSM300 Micro Jump Start and Power Pack
3. Clarke JSM400 2100mAH Jumpstarter
MSC Overland Waterproof Car Jumper & Power Bank
Price: Around £80 Rating: 5/5
This charger pack from MSC is the lightest product we tested - it weighs just 481g - and managed five perfect engine starts. At the end of each of them, the battery was 100% charged. This device is water-resistant to the IP54 standard, and it can be charged via mains, car or USB - it even has solar charging. The MSC Overland has two USB sockets rated at 3A combined and its leads were lengthened to 36cm in a recent design overhaul. The pack’s 8.7Ah offers enough charge to both start a car and have some power left for charging gadgets. The price and covered sockets were enough to ensure this was the winning product on test.
Clarke JSM300 Micro Jump Start and Power Pack
Price: Around £85 Rating: 4.5/5
In second place is this mid-range device from Clarke, which strikes the right balance between functionality and price. Offering a strong 12Ah, it matched the MSC Overland in terms of starting and battery state results. Its two USB sockets offered 4A together but unfortunately they and the power outlets were uncovered. Outputs of 5V, 12V and 19V were available (the last of which is for laptops) and eight adaptors are included. We particularly like the zip-up case that kept everything together with elasticated straps and included both mains and car chargers. All its strengths meant the JSM300 came a very close second.
Clarke JSM400 2100mAH Jumpstarter
Price: Around £108 Rating: 4.5/5
The Clarke JSM400 has a colossal Ah rating and is the heaviest product in our top three. It comes with a hard, zip-up case which contains mains and car charging plugs, eight adapters for the DC 19V outputs and a four-way connector for your phone. In all five of our tests, it managed to power our discharged battery from 3V to turning over rapidly, and all five LEDs were still bright at the end. This is the jump starter to go for if you have a diesel or a larger engine, and it was useful for powering many devices, proving it was clearly designed for daily practicality and not just for emergencies.
Launch ESP-150 Car Jump Starter
Price: Around £120 Rating: 4.5/5
This Launch li-polymer battery jump starter is rated at 15Ah and should be able to cope in any eventuality. However, it’s not as portable as some of its rivals because it weighs in at 731g. It has twin USB sockets (1A and 2A) for charging portable devices, and includes mains and car-charging plugs. Unfortunately the multi-USB lead had nothing compatible for use with Apple devices. Battery state is shown on the digital display and it has a booster button which essentially serves as an on/off button for the 32cm jump-start cables. Despite its high spec, however, the Launch ESP-150 Car Jump Starter is a bit pricey and we gave it 4.5 stars.
Draper Expert Lithium Jump Starter 150667
Price: Around £110 Rating: 4/5
We found there was much to like about this charging pack from Draper, such as the 12Ah rating, strong hard case and USB and car charging connections. Like the MSC Plus, it boasts eight laptop adaptors, as well as a four-in-one multipurpose charging lead, which includes various Apple and USB fitments. It performed well in our tests, although afterwards the battery had lost an LED and a few percentage points. But we liked the lengthy 42cm leads and the option to charge at 12V, 16V or 19V. A great product – if only it had an extra USB socket.
MSC Overland Plus Power Bank & Jump Starter
Price: Around £110 Rating: 4/5
Offering an impressive 18Ah, the Plus edition of the winning product performed flawlessly in our starting tests, finishing each time with its battery still at 100%. It comes in a hard, zipped case, is dust and waterproof to the IP65 standard, and has charging options for mains, USB and car. Furthermore, it has eight adaptors for laptop charging - one certainly worked well with ours. The one sole USB socket is underwhelming but there’s also a helpful multiway cable. This is a hugely capable device but at 919g, it’s a bit bulky.
Energizer Lithium-Polymer Car Jump Starter 50805
Price: Around £75 Rating: 3.5/5
Despite the low battery size of 7.2Ah, this Energizer pack passed all tests, albeit not as well as others and the only three of its four LEDs lit at the end. It’s the only charger on this list which doesn’t have a touch, and nor does it have a protective case or bag, either. Charging is only possible via USB, though it does include a car charger. The 44cm leads were a good feature but sadly only the jump start socket is covered - the rest, including the single 2.4A USB, are exposed.
Halfords Advanced Lithium Jump Starter
Price: Around £60 Rating: 3.5/5
The Halfords jump starter is a neatly made product, but it just comes with the Smart Connect and USB charging leads. It came without a case, so the charging and USB sockets are left exposed without a cover. The Smart socket comes with a rubber exterior cover and a sliding plastic version inside which was handy, albeit a little fiddly to plug in.
It has a torch which is fitted in the end of the jump start, pointing directly at the clamps, but doesn’t come with any flashing modes like the MSC unit does. It was able to turn the engine over four out of five times during testing, but they were a little slower than when using the Overland because of a lower, 6Ah capacity. It failed on the fifth attempt and there was just 60 per cent charge left. It wasn’t a terrible performance, but we wouldn’t count on it working so well if there were any other engine troubles.
Laser 7405 Jump Starter Multi-Function
Price: Around £120 Rating: 3.5/5
This jump starter from Laser performed well in our starting tests, completing all five with all four of its battery-state LEDs still glowing at the end. This is surprising, given the battery is rated as having a lower charge. Highlights include unique features like the clear, red LCD screen, which shows the starting state of power. The Laser has two USB sockets; one is a QuickCharge 3.0 and the other is a USB-C socket for input or output, which is technically impressive. Charging happens via a micro USB port; mains and car charging options aren’t included. We liked how light it was at 559g but we’d like to see the price drop over time.
NOCO GB40 Genius Boost Plus 1000A Jump Starter
Price: Around £90 Rating: 3.5/5
The GB40 boasts a high-quality build and durable casing - which is fortunate since it only has a fibre bag for protection. The smaller of the two packs by NOCO we tested, we were fans of the clear layout, large buttons and the straightforward LED setup that is well and truly idiot-proof. The device’s heavy-duty croc clips are connectable via a large plug/sort that managed to turn the engine over effectively. That said, it lost one of its LED lights by the end, and is a tad cumbersome at 905g. Also, it only has one USB socket, and ultimately isn’t quite worth the price.
Ring RPPL250 Wireless Jump Starter
Price: Around £80 Rating: 3.5/5
The Ring RPPL250 includes 5V and 9V USB sockets and a built-in QI wireless charging pad. It had to be used on the battery at 11V, and although it managed to turn the engine over, it did so slower than its competitors. By the end of testing, just three out of four LEDs were lit – we’d say it’s more of a power bank with some emergency features.
NOCO GB50 Boost XL 1500A Jump Starter
Price: Around £125 Rating: 3/5
As you would probably imagine from both name and price, the GB50 Boost XL is intended as an upgrade to its sibling the GB40 and is more expensive. It’s a larger pack in terms of power and size, but is also missing the hard case and the second or third USB socket we were hoping to see. At 1.1.kg, it’s not just the priciest device on test, but the heaviest too. Like the GB40, it has good, clear instructions, and is designed to kickstart batteries down to 2V. Once again, the twin seven-mode LEDs shone at the croc clips productively, pointing towards the connection. It turned the engine over swiftly, and for all five tests was left with three of the four LEDs lit.
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