What Is The Difference Between Plug-in And Portable Jump Starters?

What Is The Difference Between Plug-in And Portable Jump Starters? jump starter

When the battery of your vehicle dies, the jump starters are used to start the engine from an external powering battery. There are of two kinds of jump starters available.

Jump boxes

The unit has maintenance free batteries, which are sealed and have jumper cables attached.

Plug-in units

Battery chargers capable of delivering huge amperage burst power to your starter motor, which in turn pushes the engine to start.

Let’s understand both types in detail to choose the best jump starter to suit your needs.

Plug-in jump starter/charger

For homeowners, a combo of plug-in jump starter/charger is a good option.


Well, few trickle chargers offer amperage around 2 to 10, which is good for starting a battery. However, to wait for the 2 amp trickle ampere to perform its job is not convenient, at times. Alternatively, there are other chargers, which have ‘start’ setting that delivers higher amperage.

The benefits you get from purchasing plug-in jump starter or charger is that the charging portion of the equation. The instant-start that you get with the ‘start’ configuration of jump starter unit is good, but for a charging system, it is not great.

What Is The Difference Between Plug-in And Portable Jump Starters? Car Jump Pack

Modern alternators are not designed to charge the totally dead battery, and forcing one can effectively decrease its lifespan. If you have a charger, then wait for it to perform the charging job. It will help to save the costly alternator repair bill, later.

The main disadvantage is the unit needs to be plugged-in. Fortunately, there are some pretty small and portable plug-in starter/charger units. However, if you can’t find an outlet to plug them, then they will not work.

Portable jump boxes

Jump box is generally a battery sealed in a box, which is attached permanently to a couple of jumper cables [heavy duty]. This whole contraption is contained in a convenient package [blow molded plastic].

Jump boxes cannot charge a dead battery but they are portable, but are capable enough to offer the required amperage to start a car engine with a totally dead battery. It is a good option for those who need to jump start their vehicle in remote areas. It can be carried in the trunk, and you will not have to be concerned about getting stranded with a dead battery.

Drawback of jump box is that driving with a dead battery is not such a great alternative. If you don’t use it that often, the alternator lifespan will dramatically decrease. Modern alternators need 12V input from battery for proper functioning, and the dead battery cannot supply this. Moreover, it takes more work to charge a dead battery in comparison to maintaining a charge. Alternators are basically designed for charge maintenance.

What Is The Difference Between Plug-in And Portable Jump Starters? jump box

Good jump box is a real life saver, because it is wise to drive as little as you can with a dead battery. This will help to decrease the potential damage to the alternator. If there is a home battery charger, then use it instantly. If not, consider visiting your mechanic to get your battery charged. It will also help to check the electrical and charging system to find out why the battery went dead all of a sudden.

Which jump starter is good – Plug-in or portable? Each one has its pros and cons. You can consider getting both, but if the budget is tight then choose the portable unit.

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