- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 9/24/2021
For years now, jumper cables have been the standard method of jump starting a dead vehicle. Jumper cables work fine, but they have one major disadvantage; they require the use of another vehicle, which can be hard to come by, especially if you're stranded in a remote location. That's where a portable jump pack comes in handy. Jump packs offer a safer, easier and faster alternative to old school jumper cables.
A jump starter, also known as a power pack or jump pack, is basically just a portable car battery with a pair of clamps attached. It allows you to jump start your car without the need for another vehicle. There are two different types of jump packs, lead acid and lithium ion.
Lead acid jump packs are the older and bulkier of the two types. They're heavier than lithium ion options and have a high self discharge rate, which means they need to be recharged frequently. They're also prone to sulfating, resulting in a permanent loss of battery capacity when left in a discharged state.
Lithium ion packs are far more efficient. They have a much higher energy density, which allows them to provide the same level of power at a fraction of the size and weight. They also won't suffer any permanent loss of battery capacity if left in a discharged state. If you're thinking of investing in a jump pack, lithium ion is the way to go. Batteries Plus carries a number of lithium ion jump packs from NOCO.
Obviously, the chief asset of a jump pack is that you don't need a second vehicle, but there are other advantages too. Most jump packs contain protection against reverse polarity and short circuits, making them much safer than using jumper cables. The performance of a jump pack is also far more dependable. With jumper cables, you are completely at the mercy of the second vehicle's battery, which may not be healthy enough to deliver the optimal current needed to recharge the dead battery. Additionally, most jump packs are multi-functional and can be used to recharge phones, tablets and other USB devices. Some models even come equipped with an LED flashlight.
So now that we've sold you on the idea of getting a jump pack, how do they actually work? Follow these steps to recharge your dead battery.
An important thing to keep in mind is that the jump pack itself will need to be charged before it can be used, so be sure to do that before placing it in your car or truck. Depending on its amperage, your model jump pack will provide somewhere between 20 and 80 jump starts before it needs to be recharged.
As the jump pack is used, it will need to be recharged again at some point. Fortunately, NOCO brand jump packs make it easy to gauge how much juice you have left via an LED charge indicator located on the side.
If you want to learn more about maintaining your vehicle, we have several useful blog articles available, including "How Do You Keep a Car Battery from Dying when Not in Use?" and "What Should Be In My Vehicle Emergency Kit?"