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Portable jumpstarter suggestions?


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After three incidents in about two weeks (the third being totally my fault), and having three company cars that I'm vaguely responsible for keeping on the road, I've decided I need to put jump-packs in them.


In the past, I've never really looked much at them - I carry jumper cables and I'm not afraid to flag down strangers, and I have AAA as a backup. Last night however, I managed to leave the lights on through dinner and a movie, and had a car that wouldn't start parked in a neighborhood street at 2am. I would much rather have taken care of it myself with a jump pack than waiting there 30 minutes for AAA.


I've done a quick look around and here are two I'm thinking of:


Duracell "System"


I want something that's powerful enough to do the job (largest engine is a 3L V6), won't take up too much space, won't cost too much, and will work for at least a couple of years. A DC outlet would be nice, but not necessary, and a charge indicator would be a big help because there's no way I'll convince my partners to regularly charge the units in their cars (I plan to charge the one in my car and swap with theirs on a regular rotation).


Any issues with the above? Any unit you love that isn't too much more $$?






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My parents got me one (a black and decker model) for christmas a few years ago, since I do a lot of skiing. I was skeptical. The battery in my pickup is h-u-g-e. This jumper widget weighed like 5lbs. What could it do, really? Well, turns out it didn't do much of anything.


I think they're really marketing those things toward people who might have an older, weak battery, and they just need a little (very little) extra juice. The problem as I see it, is that thing floats around in your trunk for 8 months, and really ought to be charged up by the time you need it.


For my money, #1 don't leave the lights on #2 buy a new battery when it's time #3 get the heaviest gauge jumper cables available.


btw - I had AAA for a while. My insurance company has a similar towing service that's about $8 per vehicle, per year. I could get a new battery every year for the money I've saved.


Edit - sorry for the memory lapse. I did use one once, and it worked. I needed a new battery in my R100/7, and it was just a little too weak one day. I used one that they had at the ferry dock. My bike fired right up.

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I bought a Schumacher Instant Power 950 a couple of years ago and it's worked well on a few occasions. I can't claim to have done a lot of research, but it seems to hold a respectable charge when I plug it in every couple of months.


This model has been discontinued, but there other comparable models still manufactured by Schumacher.

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