Best jump starters 2023

| 11 Dec 2022
Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters

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A flat battery is a risk in any car, especially if it’s left standing for longer periods of time. Here, we look at which jump starters are best for you and your classic.

You’ll find both lithium- and lead-based batteries in modern jump-starter packs, so we’ve been sure to test both varieties to see what the pros and cons are. 

We’ve also factored in the other features the units offer, such as a USB, 12V or even a three-pin charging socket, which is particularly useful for camping or classic car shows, when portable charging power is invaluable – and a flat battery is more likely, too.

Naturally, we’ve also considered how powerful our starters are, as well as the safety features that they offer, such as warnings against wrongful connection or dead shorts.

There’s also the issue of how often the jump starter itself needs to be charged – which can be as often as every two months with lead batteries, while some of the lithium-based cells can be left for up to six months before needing a maintenance charge.  

Jump starters

10. Clarke Jump Start 4000

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Clarke

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 6.0 litres, diesel up to 4.0 litres

At 17kg, the Clarke Jump Start is a seriously heavy piece of kit, but the pay-off is that there are very few engines that the 40Ah battery won’t bring back to life.

The problem is that the weight makes it generally inconvenient and, other than a single 12V cigarette lighter socket, there are none of the useful charging ports you expect these days. 

More importantly, there are none of the usual safety features that you’d expect, which makes this starter almost impossible to recommend, even before you consider the high price.

Classic & Sports Car says 2 stars

9. Halfords Essentials 4 in 1 Jump Starter

Classic & Sports Car – Best jump starters - Halfords Essentials 4 in 1 Jump Starter

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol and diesel up to 2.0 litres

The Halfords Essentials unit is great value, and well worth considering if purchase price is a priority. 

It’s a good example of why lead/acid battery jump starters are still out there, because the engine cranking power is only a fraction behind our two award winners, and its reserve capacity is better than both – and it is significantly cheaper. It’s also noticeably smaller than the Clarke and Draper leviathans, with a 6kg weight that’s chunky, but still manageable.  

Our biggest issue is that safety aids like low-battery, incorrect-correction or dead-short warnings are omitted. You also need to top-up charge bi-monthly.

Classic & Sports Car says 3 stars

8. Sealey Schumacher SL65S

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Sealey

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 2.0 litres, diesel up to 1.6 litres

This is the first jump starter that is genuinely small enough to fit in your glovebox, and is so small that you can even use it to replace an everyday portable device charger.

At 13.5x8.5x2.5cm, it’s impressively dinky, and it also has two USB outputs (1A and 2.1A) and will make light work of charging your phone or tablet.

However, the compact form means that the Sealey doesn’t have the muscle to jump start bigger engines, and it’s recommended that this device is charged every month, which is too frequently for our liking, and makes it quite likely that it won’t have the necessary charge at that precise moment when you need it most.

Classic & Sports Car says 3 stars

7. Silverline 684786

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Silverline

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 2.5 litres, diesel up to 2.0 litres

The Silverline 684786 is a great, compact jump starter that has the full raft of safety features and surprisingly hefty starting performance. 

However, at 6Ah the internal battery has less stamina than many here, which could be a problem if you need to attempt multiple starts in between charging the device.

Mind you, with a bright LED torch, two USB sockets (1A and 2.1A) and leads that cater for Micro USB, USB-C and Apple’s Lightning ports, this jump starter has got all of your device-charging needs covered.

Classic & Sports Car says 3 stars

6. Sealey E/Start800

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Sealey E/Start800

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 3.0 litres, diesel up to 2.0 litres

Sealey’s E/Start has no battery at all, and instead recommends using your car’s dead battery to energise the unit.

Stranger still, this seemingly illogical approach works well, because a flat battery often has plenty of reserve power, even if its voltage has dropped low enough that it won’t support automotive components.

The E/Start 800 feeds off this power reserve, or can also be charged from another battery or USB source for a couple of minutes if your battery really is totally drained, so maintenance charging is never needed.

The pay-off for having no battery is that there are no additional features such as a torch or device charging.

Classic & Sports Car says 3 stars

5. Draper 70554

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Draper

Manufacturer’s recommendation Not stated

This 13.5kg unit is seriously hefty, but with up to 1200A on hand (3000A peak) there are few engines the Draper 70554 cannot rouse. Even lightweight commercial vehicles are fair game, because the Draper offers switchable 12V or 24V output.

It’s also brilliant for charging your devices, because the two internal batteries supply a huge 40Ah of capacity, offering a massive reserve for the 2.1A USB socket and twin 12V sockets.

There’s even an inverter-driven mains socket (300W maximum) that lets you power anything with a normal three-pin plug.

Classic & Sports Car says 3 stars

4. Laser 7405

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Laser

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 4.5 litres, diesel up to 3.5 litres

If the Laser 7405 was a fraction smaller it would be good enough to carry around routinely as an everyday USB charger, and the fact that it can revive your classic car’s battery as well would be the secondary benefit.

There are three USB outputs, with two full-sized sockets kicking out 2.1A, and a third USB-C port offering a whopping 3A. Even more impressive, then, is that it’s got enough power to revive large-capacity engines.

However, top-up charging is required every two to three months, and the booster leads are a touch short, which cost the Laser a higher position in our test.

Classic & Sports Car says 4 stars

3. Clarke JSM350

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Clark

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 6.0 litres, diesel up to 3.0 litres

With two USB sockets, Lightning and 28-pin plugs (the latter two for Apple users specifically), as well as Mini and Micro USB plugs, and a lead with various jack-plug ends to power countless 12V accessories and most laptops, the Clarke is a device-charging delight.

More than that, the 18Ah internal battery delivers excellent starting performance, even for large-capacity engines.

It’s a shame that you have to top-up the internal battery every three months or so, which can’t be done via USB – you have to plug it into the mains or a 12V socket.

Classic & Sports Car says 4 stars

2. Ring RPPL300

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Ring RPPL300

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol and diesel, up to 3.0 litres

The Ring jump starter and our overall winner are notably better for perceived quality than any other units here, but the Ring RPPL300 misses out on the top spot because it’s not quite as intuitive to use as the Noco device.

Don’t get us wrong, it is far from complex, but the polarity, low battery and other warnings are indicated by a few very small LEDs on the cable connector and can be hard to decipher.

A single button controls all the functions, though, and hefty starting power will revive most larger-capacity engines, too. Two USB outputs offer 2.4A charging for rapid device battery top-ups.

The Ring is a touch chunky to sit in a pocket, so the Laser or other very compact jump starter will suit better if you want a unit that will double as an everyday portable USB charger.

Classic & Sports Car says 4 stars

1. Noco Boost Sport GB20

Classic & Sports Car - Best jump starters - Noco Boost Sport GB20

Manufacturer’s recommendation Petrol up to 4.0 litres, diesel – not stated

Noco's jump-starter packs are becoming really popular in the UK, with the brand having already proved itself over in the USA.

With a winning combination of solid performance, safety and foolproof ease of use, it’s easy to see why. Important warnings for incorrect cable connection, electrical shorts and the vehicle’s battery being excessively low on charge are clearly flagged up on the unit itself.

A super-bright 100-lumen LED torch with emergency flashing modes as well as a USB charging port are neat features, too, while the rubberised unit itself feels super-durable. You can also top-up the Noco’s battery via a USB input.

Finally, at nearly a foot long, the jump-starter cables are longer than on most rivals, which is really useful.

Overall, this unit is a brilliant all-rounder.

Classic & Sports Car says 5 stars

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