A booster pack – also known as a jump starter -- is like a portable battery for do-it-yourself boosting.
How much power do you need?
In booster packs, power is usually measured in amps. More power is always better.
Most booster packs are quite versatile and have enough power to boost cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and ATVs, with gas or diesel engines.
To ensure the booster pack has enough power to boost your battery, check the packaging for recommended engine sizes.
Jumpstarting your vehicle in especially cold weather -- or jumpstarting a completely dead battery rather than one that is merely discharged -- will require a more powerful booster pack.
Jumpstarting your vehicle in especially cold weather -- or from a completely dead battery -- will require a more powerful booster pack.
Lead-acid booster packs
Lead-acid booster packs use a sealed lead-acid battery like your car battery -- just smaller. They have a long and proven history of performance and reliability. Not only can they provide instant power for cranking an engine, they can also supply continuous power -- for running an air compressor or small appliances, for example.
These types of booster packs do require some maintenance.
Lead-acid batteries self-discharge relatively quickly. To ensure your booster pack is ready when you need it, remember to charge it at least every three months.
Lithium-ion booster packs use a lithium-ion battery as their power source, similar to the one in your cellphone. They are generally smaller and lighter than lead-acid booster packs.
But don’t be fooled by their compact size. Lithium-ion booster packs can give you as much cranking power as lead-acid booster packs. What they can’t do, at least not yet, is provide continuous power for items such as air compressors.
The big advantage to lithium-ion boosters is that they can hold their charge for a long time, which means you don’t have to worry about recharging them often.