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Jump Boxes for Your Car or Truck

A handy accessory to keep in your trunk is a jump box, a portable unit can jumpstart a car with a weak or dead battery. Jump boxes are easier to use than using ordinary jumper cables, and you can jump your own car battery without a second car.

Prices and features

Jump boxes run $50 and up and are largely priced by their battery capacity. They all are based on lead-acid batteries in a plastic enclosure, and when charged remain potent for a long time. Cables extend a foot or two from the jump box in order to connect to the dead car battery.

Features to look for include:

  • longer cables made from heavier wire to make it easier to connect to the dead battery
  • an on/off switch that does not energize the leads until you are ready to jump
  • a built-in light (in case you donít have a flashlight)
  • a remaining capacity indicator
  • DC and AC recharging
  • a 12VDC cigarette lighter adapter so you can run portable radios, etc. at the beach or picnic


Jump box capacities start at about 400 amps, sufficient for jumping a small car or a battery that isn't completely dead. If you have a heavy-duty vehicle, or want the capacity to jump a truck, RV or other large vehicle, look for a jump box with a higher capacity, such as 600 Ė 900 amps. Lower capacity units might deliver one or two jumpstarts before they need to be recharged. Higher capacity units can go longer between recharges. It takes overnight to charge a jump box back to its full capacity.

Jump boxes make a nice graduation or birthday gift, and one that could be immensely helpful as well as provide peace of mind for the driver of an older car.

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