Dealing with a dead car battery can be a real inconvenience. Your battery can die of something simple, like leaving the lights on for too long with the ignition off. (The reason you hear in the mall, “Licence plate LUVMYCR, your car lights are on.” Mall staff are trying to help your car battery!) In these cases, a quick jumpstart with the help of jumper cables or a booster pack should get you on your way again.
You have one of these options in your trunk, right?
Then let us help. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the differences between jumper cables and booster packs and help you decide which one is best for you.
Jumper cables, also known as booster cables, are the most common piece of equipment used to boost a car battery. By connecting a dead battery to a working one with the cables, you can put your car back in action. However, for this method to work, you need access to a second battery.
As the default jumpstart method, jumper cables are quite affordable, especially compared to booster packs. They’re also super lightweight, and don’t require charging. In short, you’ll never notice them in your trunk until you need them.
Although they’re pretty straightforward to use, jumper cables can be quite dangerous. Storing cables incorrectly or trying to boost a frozen battery can be a serious safety hazard. If you choose to use jumper cables to boost your battery, don’t make any of these mistakes.
And if you’d like to know how use jumper cables so you can make an informed decision, you’ll find those instructions here.
Starting at 9.99 $
A booster pack, jump starter, or jump box is another common piece of equipment used to jumpstart car batteries. Unlike jumper cables, a booster pack doesn’t need a second battery to work. This eliminates your need to wait for a Good Samaritan to pass by and offer their vehicle to connect to your jumper cables. A booster pack can bring your battery back to life all on its own.
Booster packs can also determine if the polarity of their cables is incorrect. If this happens, the pack won’t deliver any power until the connections are corrected. Jumper cables can’t do this, and you can do a lot of damage to your vehicle if you attempt to jumpstart it when the connections are crossed.
Most booster packs don’t weigh more than 10 kg, but they’re powerful enough to start a V8 engine. They’re incredibly compact, with some being small enough to fit in your pocket.
Booster packs can be used for more than just car batteries. Many come with power sockets, USB charging ports, air compressors, or emergency lighting, making them a multi-purpose tool.
The main disadvantage to a booster pack is you need to manually charge it. If you forget to recharge the pack between uses, it may be dead the next time you need it. Charge the pack at least every two or three months. If your car has a 12 V socket, you can hook up your booster pack to it and charge it while you drive.
Check out this article for more tips on how to get the most out of your booster pack, and this one for how to use one.
12 Volt Jump Starter - Booster Pac
Carlyle Jump Starter 12V
What’s Better? Jumper Cables or a Booster Pack?
That’s for you to decide, but we’ll try to make the decision easier for you. Based on what we’ve covered so far, we’ll summarize the main differences between jumper cables and booster packs:
- Jumper cables require a second battery—and therefore usually another person with a working vehicle—to work. Booster packs don’t.
- Jumper cables are only used to jumpstart a battery. Booster packs are usually more versatile.
- Jumper cables do not require regular charging. Booster packs usually require charging after a single use or every two to three months.
- Jumper cables are much cheaper than booster packs.
Many people feel that booster packs are the superior choice, but there’s nothing wrong with using jumper cables if that’s what you’re more comfortable with. Whichever way you decide to boost your battery, make sure you follow the instructions carefully to avoid putting yourself or your vehicle at risk.
Both methods are fairly simple, but using a booster pack requires fewer steps.
Caring for Your Battery
If you care for your battery properly, you hopefully won’t need to use jumpstarting tools often, but it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected when on the road. (After all, in your attempt to get indoors quickly, you might forget to turn off your lights before running into the mall.) To keep your battery running for as long as possible, keep up a regular maintenance routine.
For more advice on picking your method of battery boosting, visit your local NAPA Auto Parts store to speak with an expert.
10 Must-Have Car Service Tools
How Long Does a Car Battery Last
Routine Car Battery Maintenance
Sandra Roberts says:(Video) Never Use This Jump Starter on Your Car
January 19, 2020 at 3:06 pm
I know this is stupid but I have to ask:
Is there a device that can be left attached under the hood that would ensure a reliable start in cold weather every time?
Is there a reliable block heater I can have installed in my 2005 Nissan Xtrail that will actually do a better than average job?
As you can guess my older vehicle is just not starting properly with the -38°Celsius weather, even though it is always plugged in wham it is -15°Celsius or colder. This past week I cannot start it at all and I have a newer 5 year battery in it since last winter which was installed by AMA road assistance. Last year only boosting it could get it started, but at least it worked. I finally decided to get a new battery then… The fix last year is not working this year though, even with the newer battery.
My vehicle is never ever EVER(!) warm enough to feel comfortable while driving but up until this latest cold snap I have always been able to start it without any issues. I need help and advice. Thanks to anyone who can assist.
NAPA Canada says:
January 20, 2020 at 3:36 pm
I suggest you to read this article about block heaters: https://blog.napacanada.com/en/how-to-use-a-block-heater-to-survive-the-winter/
Hope it’ll answer your question!
Eloïse Dussault | NAPA Canada
February 4, 2020 at 7:29 am
When you say it occurred last year as well, was that during the colder weather as well? It MAY be a starter if it occurs fairly consistently. Possibly loose battery connection? Possible corrosion on battery terminal/clamps and/or inside battery cables?
If it only occurs in colder temperatures, try switching to full synthetic engine oil first to see if that makes any difference. Also ensure your block heater is working. Having your block heater on for 3 hours prior to starting in cold weather should be sufficient. The block heater itself may be defective, the extension cord, the electrical receptacle or the breaker for that receptacle may be tripped. Last year I had to re-wire my electrical receptacle I use for my block heater so it was on it’s own circuit as it kept tripping the breaker due to the pad of the block heater. Weird though that that breaker had never tripped the previous 18 years I used it for the block heater.
February 4, 2020 at 7:31 am(Video) Booster Pac ES5000 Portable Car Battery Jump Starter
I forgot to add. I do not think there is anything you can leave attached under the hood to ensure a more reliable cold start other than perhaps a battery blanket to cover your battery, assuming the battery is the issue here. A battery blanket sure wouldn’t hurt though either way.
James R says:
February 15, 2020 at 1:52 pm
Yes, there is. NAPA sells a charger, part number MBC 90300A, that is designed to be mounted under hood, where there’s room, and can be plugged in at the same time as your block heater. I have used one for years, and it is far better than a block heater alone.
Myrtie Bobbit says:
October 10, 2022 at 11:07 am
I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.
zoritoler imol says:
June 22, 2023 at 1:38 pm
I like this blog so much, saved to bookmarks.
Leave a comment
Unlike jumper cables, jump starters do not require additional electricity. They're more convenient since you can take and use them everywhere, even in the vehicle. Standard jump starters include protective features, safety features, and multiple charging ports.Is a jump box better than jumper cables? ›
Unlike jumper cables, jump starters do not require additional electricity. They're more convenient since you can take and use them everywhere, even in the vehicle. Standard jump starters include protective features, safety features, and multiple charging ports.What is the difference between a booster pack and a jump starter? ›
Jumper cables are only used to jumpstart a battery. Booster packs are usually more versatile. Jumper cables do not require regular charging. Booster packs usually require charging after a single use or every two to three months.Are portable jump starters worth it? ›
Every motorist can benefit from having a jump starter. In colder weather for example, keeping a portable starter in the garage on the charger is a great way to help a sluggish battery on a cold morning.Do jump start battery packs work? ›
They work by transferring power directly from the portable battery to a vehicle's discharged battery. Jump starters don't charge your battery, but instead provide the necessary power to crank the engine and start the vehicle. Once the engine is on, the alternator will charge the battery.Why not to use jumper cables? ›
Jumper cables are known to cause sparks and can ignite these vapors, causing fires or even possibly an explosion. If not done correctly, you can cause some serious injuries to yourself and others. A car that is jumped in the rain can also pose harmful results.What is a better alternative to jumper wires? ›
Generally speaking, staples have a thin layer of glue that's used to hold them together, so to use staples in place of jumper cables, you first have to soak them in acetone. When you're done soaking them, you have an incredibly cheap alternative to jumper cables.Will a booster pack charge a dead battery? ›
A booster pack can jump start a car with a weak battery, but can't recharge it.Which brand jump starter is best? ›
- Best Portable Jump Starter. Clore Automotive JNC325. $141 at Amazon. ...
- Best Power Station. Stanley J5C09D Power Station. ...
- Most Compact. NOCO Boost Plus GB40. ...
- Best For Shops. Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC770R. ...
- DeWalt DXAEJ14 Power Station. $114 at Amazon. ...
- AvaPow A28. $69 at Amazon. ...
- Nexpow G17. $80 at Amazon.
Like most electronics, a power surge can cause damage to the electronic systems of a modern car. A seemingly well-meaning jumpstart can cause said power surge and impact the effectiveness of onboard computers, safety systems, damage the engine and be the result of expensive repairs.
Jump starting a car can damage your battery too, as the alternator is pumping in current at a higher rate than the battery can handle. This causes the battery to heat up, bending the battery plates, leading to the shedding of active material (lead dioxide) and causing a build up of debris in the bottom of the battery.How long should you leave a jump starter on? ›
If it does not start right away, do not crank it for a period longer than 5 seconds. Give it 2-3 minutes before trying again. If it still will not start then your battery may be completely dead, and you may simply need a new battery.How long do jump packs last? ›
1) Typically, a modern lithium battery's lifespan is 2–3 years, which is about 300 to 500 fully charge cycles as rated by manufacturers. 2) This doesn't mean that your jump starter will die or won't work after 2–3 years.Can you leave portable jump starter in car? ›
Storing a jump starter in the car is perfectly fine, especially with the newer lithium-ion batteries that are much more compact than the older, bigger lead-acid jump starters. There's no safety risk, although extremely cold temperatures may weaken the battery, so make sure that you check your jump starter regularly.How long does it take to jump a car with a portable jump starter? ›
Once you've got the cables connected, jumpstarting your car should only take a few minutes. Like five minutes tops in normal cases and 30 minutes in extreme conditions. To fully recharge the battery, you must drive for at least 15 minutes after starting the vehicle.What is the advantage of a jumpbox? ›
Pros of Using Jump Box Servers
By their nature, jump box servers separate internal workstations from the private servers they work on so that device-related breaches can remain isolated from the entire system.
The purpose of the jump boxes is to provide administrators with a low-risk proxy for managing sensitive assets, since administrators' everyday workstations can't be trusted. To be really low risk, jump boxes need proactive, careful configuration management.Can you jump a dead battery with a jump box? ›
When you use a jump box, the basic method of connecting it to the dead battery is the same as when you use jumper cables: Connect the positive jump box cable to the positive terminal on the battery. Connect the negative jump box cable to the engine block or another good ground location.How long does a battery last in a jump box? ›
1) Typically, a modern lithium battery's lifespan is 2–3 years, which is about 300 to 500 fully charge cycles as rated by manufacturers. 2) This doesn't mean that your jump starter will die or won't work after 2–3 years.