A jump starter with air compressor is one of the most helpful emergency preparedness tools you can keep in your car. It can help you get back on the road when your battery dies or you get a flat tire so you’ll never be stranded again.
In this review and buying guide, we’ll look at the 3 best jump starters with air compressors you can get in 2020. Whether you have a large, powerful vehicle like a 4X4 truck or are looking for the most budget-friendly model, one of the jump starters below will fit your needs.
Before we jump into the reviews, though, let’s talk about what specs and features you should look at when you’re buying the best jump starter with an air compressor. You might be surprised to learn the most powerful model might not be the right one. It’s all about finding the jump starter that best matches your engine’s needs—and we’ll explain how!
- 1 Comparison Table
- 2 The Buying Guide
- 2.1 New to Jump Starters? Let’s Review the Basics
- 2.2 Why is It Better for Your Jump Starter to Have an Air Compressor?
- 2.3 Do You Need the Best Performance? Amps and Engine Size
- 2.4 Other Key Features of Jump Starters with Air Compressors
- 2.5 Performance and Maintenance: What to Expect Out of Your Jump Starter
- 3 Product Reviews
- 4 FAQs
- 4.1 Will a jump starter jump a 100% dead battery?
- 4.2 Can these jump starters be used on marine batteries?
- 4.3 Is it safe to keep a jump starter in your car in the summer?
- 4.4 How long does it take to recharge a jump starter?
- 4.5 What does the “boost” button on a jump starter do?
- 4.6 Do jump starters arrive already full, or do I need to charge it first?
- 4.7 How do I check the battery level of a jump starter?
- 4.8 How do I charge a jump starter?
Here is a table that compares the 3 best jump starters with air compressor on the market:
TACKLIFE T6 Car Jump Starter
POTEK JS88 Jump Starter
STANLEY J5C09 Jump Starter
|Weight||1.16 pounds||18.08 pounds||1 pounds|
|Dimensions||6.3 x 3 x 1.6 inches||12 x 8.6 x 9.4 inches||11.2 x 8 x 13.5 inches|
|Warranty||2 years||1.5 years||1 year|
The Buying Guide
New to Jump Starters? Let’s Review the Basics
A portable jump starter is basically a small, powerful battery that you can keep in your glovebox or trunk. They typically come with a set of alligator clamps, similar to what you’ll find on the ends of jumper cables.
If your battery dies, you can connect the jump starter to your battery terminals and bring it back to life, without waiting for someone to come along and give you a jump. Many portable jump starters also have USB plugs or standard three-pronged outlets for plugging in and charging devices, like cell phones.
Although jump starters are easy to use safely, they can cause damage to your battery if you connect the clamps to the wrong terminals. Some jump starters come with reverse polarity protection that disables the jump starter or sounds an alarm when it detects this is the case. This can be a very helpful for beginners, especially, preventing you from making a dangerous mistake.
While most car batteries use lead-acid or AGM batteries, the best battery chemistry for a jump starter is often lithium-ion. Lithium-ion batteries can store more power per inch than other styles, putting enough power to start your car in a device that fits in your glove box. They also have a low self-discharge rate and will hold their charge longer between uses.
The main advantage of a lead-acid battery in a portable jump starter is that they’re often cheaper for the power. If you have space for a larger unit in your car, a lead-acid jump starter can be a budget-friendly option.
Why is It Better for Your Jump Starter to Have an Air Compressor?
Jump starters are great for fixing battery problems but they won’t solve everything on their own. Flat tires are one of the most common roadside emergencies. With an air compressor, you can at least inflate the tire enough to drive safely to a gas station or repair shop.
Air compressors can be useful for non-emergency purposes, too. You can use them to inflate tires of other vehicles, like bicycles and motorcycles, or to inflate toys like pool rafts and soccer balls.
The power of an air compressor is determined by how much air pressure it can produce. You’ll see this measured in PSI, or pounds of force per square inch. Most car tires need between 32 and 35 PSI of pressure to be considered fully inflated. If you’re not sure how much pressure your tires need, you can find this information listed in your user manual.
One thing to keep in mind is that the air compressor uses the jump starter’s battery for power. It doesn’t use as much of the battery’s charge as starting a car, but it’s still a good idea to check the remaining charge in the jump starter after you use the air compressor.
Do You Need the Best Performance? Amps and Engine Size
For the majority of car engines, somewhere around 400-600 amps is plenty to jump start them. Compact vehicles can sometimes be jumped using as little as 150 amps. While commercial vehicles with 24-volt batteries can require as much as 1,500 to 2,000 amps to jump, most vehicle owners won’t need a super-powered jump starter.
When you’re first looking at jump starters you might be confused to see they have two amp ratings, one that’s the CA (cranking amps) and another for the peak amps. The peak amps indicates how much power can be discharged in a short burst, while the cranking amps is the amount that can be sustained for 30 seconds or more.
Similarly, you’ll see two measurements on your car battery, cranking amps and CCA, or cold-cranking amps. The cold-cranking amps is how much power a battery needs to start during cold weather.
You’ll need at least the number of cranking amps listed on your battery to jump start it. You won’t damage the battery if you use more, but you won’t necessarily get any benefit out of it, either.
Other Key Features of Jump Starters with Air Compressors
The main function of a jump starter is to be there for you when you need it if your car battery dies. That’s not all these impressive little devices can do, though. Some other common features you’ll find on jump starters include:
- Flashlight. A built-in LED flashlight can be a big help when you need to jump your car at night, making it a lot easier to see what you’re doing safely. Many jump starters come with multi-mode flashlights that can produce a strobe or SOS pulse for emergencies, in addition to a steady light to work by.
- USB Charging. The battery inside a jump starter can be used for more than car batteries. You can also use it to charge small devices, including phones or even laptops, if it comes with a USB charging port. Being able to charge your phone to call for help can be just as useful if you’re stranded as the jump starter itself.
- Recharging options. While you mostly think of a jump starter for charging other things, the battery inside the charger will need to be charged, as well. Most are designed to recharge through a wall outlet. Some models also come with adapters that let you charge them from your car battery through the cigarette lighter adapter on your dash.
Performance and Maintenance: What to Expect Out of Your Jump Starter
Monitoring the charge remaining in your jump starter is the best way to make sure it’s ready when you need it. Even batteries with a low self-discharge rate will lose some of their power over time. If you use the jump starter to charge a phone or jump your car, its battery will be depleted more quickly.
If you use your jump starter to jump your car you should plug it in to recharge it as soon as you can. Depending on the size of your car and the capacity of the jump starter, you may be able to get multiple jumps out of it. That said, there’s no reason to take the risk.
Keeping your battery charged will also improve it’s long-term performance. Deeply draining the battery reduces its ability to hold a charge. Making sure the battery is always close to full prevents this damage and keeps the jump starter usable for longer.
This is the main reason you want to check your jump starter’s charge every few months between uses. Most jump starters can go for about 6 months without a charge if they’re not used, but you don’t want to let it go that long. A monthly top-off to keep it at full charge will ultimately extend its overall lifespan.
Tacklife T6 Car Jump Starter
If you’re looking for a versatile and cleverly thought out jump starter this Tacklife T6 is worth a second look. As well as being a brilliant and reliable jump starter it is packed with lots of other features.
Although it may be small, it is extremely powerful, and can jump start even vehicles with large engines.
- 16500mAh Power
- 6.3x3x1.6 inches
- 2.5 lb weight.
- Peak amps: 600A
- Works with 12V batteries.
- Emergency LED flashlight.
- 2 Year warranty.
All in all, this deserves its place on our list as one of the best jump starters and air compressors for its reliability and clever design.
All of its functions are fantastic, and even though the peak amps are only 600 this is enough for most of us. After all, it is the portable aspect that draws us in.
The manufacturers have also considered the battery and the fact we need to charge other things. Devices can be charged via the TACKLIFE T6 jump starter, and one full charge gives enough power to use 30 times without having to recharge.
On top of these benefits, it is also an extremely compact item which can even fit in some glove compartments. Therefore, it doesn’t take up valuable space in your trunk.
- Can be used as a flashlight in the dark
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Fits in a glovebox in included carrying case
- Can charge from multiple sources, including car cigarette lighter
- Can be used 30 times without having to recharge
- Using extra features drains power over time
- Some users report receiving defective units
- Relatively low peak amps
Potek JS88 Jump Starter
If you need a jump starter with a serious amount of power, the Potek JS88 may be the one for you. Though it is slightly larger, this has a 1500 peak and can even jump start a truck.
It is a lot larger than some other models, this is understandable due to the extra power. For rugged construction and a very powerful compressor, this model is well worth considering. It can also charge other AC electronic products so you could even use it for a heater or a fridge if you needed to.
- Peak amp: 1500A
- 18AH lead-acid battery.
- 12 x 8.6 x 9.4 inches.
- 18.08 lb weight.
- LED battery charge indicator.
- Charges from mains or in your car.
- Can charge 115 AC electronic products.
- Works with 12V batteries.
- Three nozzle air compressor.
- Air compressor with 150 PSI capacity.
If you need something to suit a large vehicle and spend a lot of time on the road then the Potek JS88 is a great option. However, there is also a smaller product, the JS87 also in the range, if you don’t need quite as much power.
- LED lights indicate charging status
- Has enough power to start large trucks
- Inflates even high-pressure tires
- Can be used to charge other devices (phones, laptops, etc.)
- Takes up a lot of space in your vehicle
- Maybe too powerful for what you need for smaller vehicles
Stanley JSC09 Jump Starter
Third on the list is a versatile jump starter from a big name manufacturer. If you’re looking for a product from an internationally renowned brand then the J5C09 from Stanley is worth checking out.
Similarly to the other products listed this has both plenty of power and the ability to be used as a charger for other items, too.
- Peak amps: 1000A
- USB output.
- On / Off Safety Switch.
- Reverse polarity alarm.
- 120 PSI Compressor.
- LED light rotates 270 degrees.
- 11.25 x 8 x 13.5 inches.
- 18 lb weight.
- Can charge up to 120 PSI.
- Other options in the range including 600A and 700A models.
The STANLEY J5C09 Jump Starter has all you will need to get most cars back on the road again and plenty of top features, even though it is quite a large jump starter.
There is a USB output to charge other devices. The Stanley also offers a safety switch and reverse polarity alarm, so the risks of doing something wrong are minimal.
- Can charge other devices via USB
- Clever, powerful LED light rotates 270 degrees
- Alarm system tells you if battery isn’t charging properly
- Simple controls make it easy to use
- On/off safety switch
- Compressor generates up to 120 PSI of pressure
- Some users report the air compressor nozzle breaking
- Fairly large for the amps it produces
- Requires recharging every 30 days even if you don’t use it
The Bottom Line
For large engines, the Potek JS88 Jump Starter has the high amp power you need to start your car—but it’s also going to take up the most space in your trunk. If you have a smaller vehicle, a jump starter like the Tacklife T6 will give you all the power you need in a more compact package, and at a lower price.
We hope this buying guide has helped shed some light on what to look for in a jump starter with an air compressor! All three of the models above are durable and reliable options to keep you safe in any roadside emergency.
Will a jump starter jump a 100% dead battery?
In most cases, yes. Batteries that register as dead aren’t completely out of energy. With the added charge from a jump starter, even batteries that have only half their charge remaining can be brought back to life.
Keep in mind, however, that just because a battery starts from a jump doesn’t mean it’s still good to go. Allow the vehicle to run for at least 30 minutes before shutting it off, then try starting it again to see if the battery held its charge. If it requires another jump, you either need to restore the battery or buy a new one.
Can these jump starters be used on marine batteries?
Yes, they can. Keep in mind these units aren’t waterproof so you’ll want to use caution when jump starting marine equipment that you keep it clear from moisture. As long as you take that precaution, however, you can safely use these jump starters with batteries installed in boats.
Is it safe to keep a jump starter in your car in the summer?
It is, although you should take extra precautions to protect the health of the jump starter in hot weather. Lithium-ion batteries have a maximum storage temperature of around 140°F, while lead-acid batteries should be kept below 120°F. The interior of a car can reach temperatures upwards of 175°F on a hot day, especially in direct sunlight.
Even in these conditions, your jump starter probably won’t explode or catch on fire. However, high heat accelerates the degradation of the battery’s cells. A battery stored in a hot area has a higher self-discharge rate and a shorter maximum lifespan than one that’s kept cool.
The good news is, you don’t have to remove your jump starter from the car every time you park as long as you take some precautions. First, keep it in the passenger area rather than the trunk, in a dark place out of direct sunlight. If it won’t fit in the glovebox, try storing it underneath one of the seats. Avoid parking in direct sunlight and consider cracking a window or putting a cover over your windshield.
How long does it take to recharge a jump starter?
That depends on the capacity of the jump starter and how much it’s been depleted. After using it to jump a car, charging it for 3-5 hours is often enough to the Tacklife T6. For a larger charger like the Stanley J5C09, it could take up to 40 hours to fully charge.
Jump starters can’t be overcharged when charging them via AC power, so you at least don’t need to watch it the entire time it’s charging. It’s safe to plug it in overnight then check on it in the morning.
You’ll find a boost feature on many modern jump starters. When pressed, it increases the amps the jump starter sends to the battery. This can be helpful for jumping larger engines or batteries that are deeply depleted or completely dead.
Do jump starters arrive already full, or do I need to charge it first?
You should always at least check the battery level before you put it in your trunk. Most jump starters are shipped partially-charged rather than fully-charged, so while it won’t need a fully charging session it’s a good idea to top it off before trying to use it.
How do I check the battery level of a jump starter?
Some jump starters have a display or indicator light that tells you the status. Check your user manual to see if this is an option on your model.
If your jump starter doesn’t have this, you’re not out of luck. You can check the remaining charge using a standard battery tester, voltmeter, or multimeter. The jump starter should read between 13.5 and 14.5 volts when it’s completely full. Anything below 12 volts and it should definitely be charged.
How do I charge a jump starter?
All three of these jump starters come with a power pack that plugs into an outlet. Follow the instructions in the manual for connecting the power pack to the jump starter, then plug the outlet in.
Some jump starters also have the option to charge through your car’s lighter adapter. This will give you a slower charge, so if you have the choice the wall outlet is the better option. You should also only use this method if you have a healthy battery. If the jump starter needs to be charged because you just jumped the car, wait until you get home to recharge it.