Auto Battery Jumper: Jumper Cables vs Lithium Jump Starters
You’ve probably heard of the new lithium auto battery jumper devices, but you’re wondering if you should buy one of those or stick with the tried and true jumper cables you are familiar with. Two years ago, there would have been some question, because most of the new lithium auto battery jumper boxes were from China. They had questionable warranties and support with little available information about their reliability or longevity.
Looking for some of the best lithium jump starters? Be sure and see our articles that look at some you should definitely consider:
Those days are gone. Even the top battery charger brands have jumped on the bandwagon and are each offering at least one model of lithium auto battery jumper. Lithium models are already more popular than lead-acid car battery boosters for the average car owner and are rapidly taking over as the emergency equipment of choice over jump cables.
Interested in buying new jumper cables? See our articles about some of the best:
There are so many reasons why lithium jumpers are such great choice over jumper cables or lead-acid automotive battery jump starters. Let’s look at a comparisons among lithium jump starters, lead-acid jump starters, and jumper cables.
Lead-Acid Auto Battery Jumper Comparison
Lead-Acid Auto Battery Jumper Size and Weight
Lead-acid jump starters contain a lead-acid battery. Although it’s smaller and lighter than the lead-acid battery in your car, it still is very bulky and heavy. The new lithium jump starters are so much lighter and more compact than lead-acid models that there is really no comparison in those areas. Some lithium models that can start the average sedan are literally pocket-sized and weigh less than a 1 lb.
This is important, not only for finding a place to store the battery jump starter in your vehicle, but also for its use to jump start your vehicle. Imagine trying to balance a heavy, bulky, and unwieldy jump starter in your vehicle’s engine compartment while you start your vehicle. If you don’t find a safe, stable place to leave it, the jump starter could topple over and create a very unsafe situation. Lithium jumpers on the other hand are lightweight and compact and so it’s much easier to find a safe location for the jump starter while you start the vehicle.
Smart and Safe Jump Starting
That’s not the only advantage of lithium over lead-acid in jump starters. Along with lithium battery technology these new jump starters also have a built-in microprocessor that provides in addition to the ability to use a single port for charging multiple electronic devices, multiple safety features that lead-acid jump starters can’t match.
Lithium jump starters truly pack a powerful punch for their size and have enough power to either perform multiple jump starts without recharging or charge portable electronic devices multiple times. Lead-acid boosters can’t compare to lithium models some of which can jump start a vehicle up to 10 times or more before needing to be recharged.
Portable Electronic Device Charging
Speaking of electronic devices, virtually all of the new lithium jumpers have the capability to charge mobile phones and other mobile devices. Some lead-acid jump starters come with a USB port capable of recharging portable electronic devices, but by far most don’t.
Lithium Jump Starter vs Jumper Cables
Jumper Cable Comparison
Good Samaritan and Donor Vehicle
You need two very important pieces when attempting to put together a successful jump start puzzle. First, you need a Good Samaritan willing to donate the battery in their vehicle to the project of jump starting your vehicle, and you need a good-working donor vehicle with a good battery.
These days, finding a Good Samaritan willing to take the time and risk their vehicle to help you start your car is getting more and more difficult. It’s easy to understand their reluctance. First, they may not know you and trusting you is a risk in itself. Second, using jumper cables always presents some risk to the donor vehicle. If the jump start is performed improperly, their vehicle’s electrical system including their vehicle’s computer could be damaged. This is even more true now with the newer vehicles than ever before.
Beyond that, not every donor vehicle is capable of jump starting your vehicle. If you have a truck and your Good Samaritan has a compact car, the jump attempt may not be successful. Further, if the donor vehicle’s battery is not in good working order, it may not be able to provide enough power to jump start your vehicle.
You don’t have to worry about any of this with a lithium car jump starter. A lithium portable jump starter makes you completely self-reliant. You don’t need a Good Samaritan or a donor vehicle. You simply need the lithium battery booster.
Safer Jump Starting
Comparing the safety of jumper cables to a lithium jump starter, most lithium jump starters are much safer to operate than jumper cables. This is because jumper cables are dangerous if connected improperly. All auto batteries have the potential to emit flammable gasses that can be ignited with a spark. If you connect jumper cables improperly by reversing the connections or cause a spark some other way, there is the potential for the gasses to ignite and cause an explosion.
In fact, when you connect jumper cables, you aren’t even supposed to connect the ground cable to the battery because of the risk of a spark and possible explosion. Instead, it’s recommended that you connect that ground cable to a good ground on the vehicle frame or engine.
Most lithium boosters have built-in safety features including reverse polarity protection and spark-proof connections. That means that the car battery jump starter will warn you if you accidentally reverse the connections and will not cause a spark.
Most also have a built-in flashlight with multiple modes including an SOS mode. The built-in light really comes in handy under the hood during a dark or stormy night emergency.
No More Long Unwieldy Cables
Battery jumper cables need to be long enough to reach from the donor vehicle’s battery to your vehicle’s battery. They also need to be a heavy enough gauge to carry the right amount of power from the donor vehicle’s battery to your battery. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a Good Samaritan with the right donor vehicle only to realize that the cables are too short for the position of your vehicle relative to the donor vehicle. That’s why we always recommend longer cables to prevent that situation. With longer cables you do run the risk of not passing enough power through the cables to support the jump start especially if you have cheap, thin-gauge cables.
The cables on a lithium jump starter don’t need to be long or heavy-gauge to support jumping a car. Without the worry of sparking, you can connect both cables directly to the battery. Also, shorter cables can provide more power from the jumper to your battery.
We haven’t talked about price. Lithium jump starters are not the only ones to improve over the past couple of years. Jumper cables have improved in quality, materials, and design as well. Prices on boosters have come down to the point now where you should be able to buy a new lithium jump starter for between $50 and $75. If you buy a good quality set of jumper cable long enough to handle just about any emergency, you will pay close to $50. When you think about what you get for the price, including peace-of-mind, you could easily justify buying a lithium jumper for $75 or more.
Help More People
It may sound silly, but I like to help people if I can. I have always carried jumper cables and I have always been willing to be the Good Samaritan when somebody needed a jump start. Now that I carry a portable lithium jump starter, I feel even more comfortable helping stranded motorists. No more jumper cables to hook up. No more jockeying the car to just the right angle so that I can hook up the cables. No more worries about whether I’m going to hurt my car’s electrical system. Helping someone who needs a jump start has never been easier or faster. Plus, I can help somebody in need, or even three somebodies in need, and know that I can still use the jump starter to start my car when I need to. It’s probably the best Good Samaritan tool invented yet!
There you have it. The new class of compact lithium jump starters may just have it all over jumper cables or lead-acid jump starters. Ultimately, you need to be the judge, but the comparison is compelling.
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As always, thanks for reading our CarBatteryChargersCentral.com post! We sincerely hope that it has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose between an auto battery jumper and jumper cables!