With the incredibly inclement weather seen this winter, it has been common to see TV news articles addressing ways vehicle owners can be prepared and survive the cold and snow. Inevitably, one of the items they talk about is booster cables and the jump starting process. Occasionally, they mention a jump starter, but usually stick to booster cables. As the maker of Booster PAC and Jump-N-Carry jump starters, we of course are biased, but the way we see it, a jump starter trumps a set of booster cables every time. Here are the top 5 reasons why.

#1. You don’t need to ask for help when you have a jump starter.

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The most obvious advantage of a jump starter is the fact that it eliminates the need to find someone to loan their car to be used as a host vehicle, which is required when using booster cables. This advantage isn’t just about the hassle of having to find someone willing to help you. It is also a safety consideration. If you have your jump starter in your trunk, you can pull it out, connect it and get your vehicle started immediately, which is great when stranded at night or in an unfamiliar area.

#2. There’s no concern how the disabled vehicle is parked.

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You really don’t have to worry about the position in which your disabled vehicle is parked when using a jump starter. Not so with booster cables, where a major consideration is whether the host vehicle will be able to get close enough for the booster cables to reach the disabled vehicle’s battery. We’ve even had a Clore Story submitted by a customer in which this exact problem surfaced, as it was impossible to get another vehicle close to the disabled vehicle. A jump starter, in this case the JNC660, solved their problem.

#3. Twice the connections means twice the chance for issues.

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With booster cables, you have to make two sets of connections, which is twice the chance for issues. Reversed connections are very dangerous to the operator and the vehicles involved. They can create sparks, which could result in an explosion if battery gases are present. They also can cause damage to expensive electronic components on one or both of the vehicles involved, depending on when in the connection sequence the reverse connection takes place. With a jump starter, there is just one set of connections to make, simplifying what can be a confusing process.

#4. Concerns of damage to the host vehicle.

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Even when care is taken to ensure a proper connection sequence and starting procedure, there remains the concern of whether the host vehicle is up to the task of providing the additional power needed by the disabled vehicle. If any components of the host vehicle’s electrical system are marginal or suspect, the additional requirements of the jump starting process may push those components over the edge. We remember how we once brought a friend’s car’s electrical system to its knees while borrowing it to use for a jump. We were young, the car was old and it was on the scrap heap within days. This is an extreme example, but there are always risks to the host vehicle when jump starting.

#5. Today’s Vehicles Make Booster Cables Inherently Risky

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There are several reasons why using booster cables on today’s sophisticated vehicles brings inherent risks not present when using a jump starter. The first is that noise from the host vehicle can be transferred to the disabled vehicle. This noise can include voltage spikes and other anomalies that could damage sensitive electrical and electronic components on the disabled vehicle. As a jump starter is essentially an extension of the vehicle battery, short of a reverse connection, this concern does not exist.

In addition, the process of removing booster cables after the jump can have a similar damaging effect on vehicle electronics, as warned by Pat Goss on a recent edition of Motor Week and as summarized by Gary Witzenburg on the Green AutoBlog:

 “As long as the cables are connected,” Goss continued, “the two batteries act as buffers to contain maximum voltage rise. But as soon as the first cable end is removed, the systems go nuts. When the first cable is removed, the voltage reference is gone. It instantly changes from the level of two batteries and two alternators to one battery and one alternator.

“During this period of adjustment, the voltage regulator allows the alternator to climb to a very high voltage level. The alternators of both cars are unregulated for a few milliseconds, and during that brief time, the alternator can produce several hundred volts of low-amperage electricity. This high-voltage spike shoots through the electrical systems of both cars.”

The effect is like a voltage surge running through a computer. It rarely destroys anything instantly but can weaken components of both vehicles, including engine control computers, alternators, sound systems or any of the dozens of electronic modules in modern cars, and there are usually no immediate symptoms because these parts are merely weakened.
For Witzenburg’s full blog post, click here.

Goss recommends using either a jump starter or “smart” booster cables to avoid this dilemma. While smart booster cables will help to avoid this specific problem, they cannot resolve issues 1-3 above, which is why we believe a jump starter is the best answer.

Jump Starter Dilemma #1 – Keeping it Charged

As we stated above, we know we’re biased on this one. Of course we think jump starters are the best answer. We’re the jump starter people and we’d always think a jump starter is the right answer. But, many would counter, the big issue with a jump starter is keeping it charged and remembering to charge.

It is true that a depleted jump starter is of no use when your vehicle’s battery is dead, but that’s an easy problem to solve. We offer free recharge alerts for your jump starter so you can be sure it is ready when you need it the most. Just click the link below to sign up for quarterly alerts. It’s quick, easy and will help you avoid the number one dilemma people mention when it comes to jump starters.

Sign up for free Recharge Alerts

16 thoughts on “Five Reasons Why a Jump Starter Beats Booster Cables [Every Time]”

  1. I am on a slow ride to death due to having Stage 4 lung cancer on might lung. But they say I will be one of the few who will last some time. Here’s what happened to me not to long age. I own a nice little 2000 Dodge Dakota SLT but my wife or Son don’t like driving it to keep it charged for me. Because of my meds I can’t drive on the roads so you see what I need to do to try to keep it charged. So one really cold day I tried to start it and I knew I had a problem as I walked out and tried to unlock my doors. Nope. Called AAA and WHEN they got here almost an hour later I found the most awesome tool in my starting section. Before AAA was done I had the info I needed to order mine. I swear that the ES2500 was used a few time already and saved me a lot of wait time. Thank you so much for this awesome tool.

    1. Mr. Chamberland – We are sorry to hear the news and wish you the longest amount of time possible. We are glad your ES2500 has served you well and saved you time and effort and hope it continues to do so. Best wishes, the Clore team.

  2. best thing i ve bought in 50 years

    no more car to car jumping in sub zero weather

    in one car in another car cables bad connecting

    this clore does it in 2 seconds

    great gift—–ps first review have ever done not a shill for clore

  3. Another consideration to add to this discussion is the extreme cost of purchase and frequent replacement of a booster type starter. The batteries in a booster usually have only about a 1 year lifetime. the batteries in a booster also normally are not replaceable making one buy a complete new booster unit all too frequently. Booster manufacturers, are you listening?

    1. John3347 – You are right. The longevity of the jump starter has to be taken into consideration when comparing the options. And, they are typically expensive to repair, that is true. Most of our jump starters will last longer than 1 year in most usage situations, and often last considerably longer. Did yours last just one year?

  4. Keeping the jumper charged is virtually no problem. I kept my JNC660
    in the car trunk all of Feb and when I brought in for charging it did not require charging. The owners manual seemed to indicate that it had to be
    “babied”. It said to keep it stored at room temperature and recharge it if sat out in the cold for a day. This was all overkill and was very
    misleading to me at first until I realized otherwise.

    Vincent Archetti
    Bayside, NY

    1. Mr. Archetti – Thanks for posting. We are glad you have had such a good experience. The manual is written based on general rules of thumb for all unit owners. We probably are a little overprotective, but want to err on the side of caution to ensure a good user experience. We really appreciate your feedback.

  5. Hi I own the jnc 660 and the jnc 950 .These are not toys they are the real deal . So for your readers buy the best leave the rest . Buy 1 of these or 6 of those . No brainier . Mechanic 45 yrs.

  6. Great Article. Keep them coming. I think I damaged the Siren on my Car Alarm System in my 1991 Honda when I used it to start my 1966 Oldsmobile BEFOPRE I bought my Clore Jump Starter. Until now, I didn’t know why my Honda Car Alarm Siren stopped working.

    1. Mr. Avila – Thanks for your comments. It definitely could have been the result of a car-to-car connection. I know I have run into similar issues. Glad your jump starter has resolved the issue.

  7. I was given a jump starter as a gift. I had been planning on keeping it in the trunk of my car for an emergency, but the manual states to store at room temperature. Living in the NE we have frigid winters and hot summers. Now I’m wondering what the point is if it has to sit in the basement or garage and not be available when I may need it.

    1. Paul, Thanks for your comment. The manual is trying to identify the ideal storage temperature of the unit is 70˚F. We are not intending to scare users on that issue, though, so I apologize for causing you alarm. We realize people don’t live in an ideal world. The unit’s cranking amp rating is based on its performance at 32˚F and it can perform down to 0˚F and below. What we recommend, if you live in a cold winter climate is that, during extreme winters like last year, you charge the unit monthly (as opposed to every 90 days) and that, on the worst nights (-10˚F or colder lows), you bring it indoors overnight. These basic steps will allow you to get the most out of your jump starter. Please be assured that our units perform in extreme temperature situations. The Clore Stories section of cloreautomotive.com/blog should provide peace of mind that this is the case, based on actual user’s experiences with our units in places like the Rockies, Alaska and Canada. Thank you, Jim from Clore Automotive

    1. Johnny – Thanks for your note. It is not recommended to try to use a jump starter in this fashion. When the jump starter is plugged in (charging the internal battery), it should not be connected to the vehicle. Thanks, Jim from Clore Automotive

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