Anker Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger review

The road ahead can be unpredictable, so here’s a backup plan to keep you moving

The days of clunky jumper cables are gone, and the Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger is the best way forward.
The days of clunky jumper cables are gone, and the Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger is the best way forward.
The days of clunky jumper cables are gone, and the Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger is the best way forward.

Highs

  • Portability and compact size
  • Included storage case
  • Versatility of jumper and USB charger

Lows

  • Cannot jump start larger engines

The morning commute through our Nation’s clogged highways often seems like navigating a field of battle. Where I live in Los Angeles you need to be ready for mechanical failure, unbearable highway construction, and cutthroat drivers. After all, you never know when the road can fight back and leave you stranded. A dead car battery and no way to call for help is the quickest way to put a damper on anyone’s travel plans. However, the folks at Anker have released the Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger to try and calm your fears.

Will you be battered by the hazards of the road, or is this the solution to keep you charging ahead?

Components

The Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger is priced around $80 and comes in a nice carrying case to help organize and store the various pieces included with the kit. In the case you will find the main battery pack unit, micro USB cable, jumper cable attachment, and both a 12 volt and wall charger to charge the battery pack via the input on the side.

Anker Jump Starter box open full

Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

The main battery pack stores 10,000mAh, which is enough to charge most tablets from 0 to 100 percent and bring the average smartphone back to life 3 to 5 times over. The pack has a nice plastic casing that has portions of soft plastic that help to grip the unit. The side features a blue LED meter to show the power level in 25 percent increments. One end has a power button, and a bright light lives on the edge nearest it. A rubber flap that reads “Engine Start” covers the plug where the jumper cable hookups connect with the battery pack.

Results

Hold the power button down for one second to turn on the flashlight. Pressing the button once again alternates the LED to blink off and on or send an SOS distress signal. That should come in handy when the delivery guy has to find you in traffic — or any other desperate situation you may find yourself in.

A dead car battery and no way to call for help is the quickest way to put a damper on anyone’s travel plans.

The battery pack features two USB ports that are now both rated up to 5V/2.1A – an older version of the product had one 5V/2.1A and one low power 5V/1A USB port. In testing, the unit was able to charge a Samsung tablet and a Moto X (2014) rather quickly. From our results the unit’s charging output to a single device stayed around 1,600mAh. At this rate it charged my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (which has a big, 6,800mAh battery) at around 24 percent per hour and the Moto X (2,300mAh) closer to 65 percent in one hour. The charging slowed closer to 1,000mAh when both devices were charging at the same time and would occasionally favor sending more power to one device over the other.

In addition to keeping your phones and tablets charged and ready, this pack can also ensure that a dead car battery doesn’t leave you stranded. The 11-inch jumper cables included with the Anker Compact Car Jump Starter plug directly into the side and feature an inline green and red LED to tell you when it is ready. Operation is simple: Connect the cables to the positive and negative terminals on the battery and wait 5 seconds for the green LED to signal that it’s okay to start your car. A red LED and several beeps will indicate that it is time to disconnect the cables after about 30 seconds.

The power from the jumper pack is unfortunately only recommended to jump engine sizes up to 3.0L for gasoline cars and 2.5L for diesel engines. Your experience may vary depending on the car, but those numbers seem fairly accurate based on our research. We tested the unit on a 2.0L Nissan Sentra and a 2.4L Honda Element without any issues starting the cars on the Jump Starter alone. Operation was easy and the system will be familiar to anyone who has used ordinary jumper cables.

Over time the charge pack can suffer from degradation like any other battery and lose power — especially in severe temperatures. Anker recommends that you charge up the Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger every three months to ensure power is there when you need it. This is important to remember, because In order to jump start a car the battery level has to be over 25 percent. You’d hate to be stranded on the side of the road because your kids used half the reserve power charging the tablet.

Conclusion

Flat tires and dead batteries are some of the most common reasons for automotive breakdowns, and also among drivers’ biggest fears. Most cars happen to be fitted with a method to get you moving again after a flat tire, but all lack a good way to handle a dead battery. Thankfully the days of the clunky jumper cables are gone, and the Anker Compact Car Jump Starter and Portable Charger is the way forward.

It has enough juice to keep your car on the road, with enough portability to keep your important devices running when you’re out of the car.

Highs

  • Portability and compact size
  • Included storage case
  • Versatility of jumper and USB charger

Lows

  • Cannot jump start larger engines
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Deals

Here are 19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Emerging Tech

A.I. finds non-infringing ways to copy drugs pharma spends billions developing

Researchers have demonstrated an artificial intelligence which can find new methods for producing existing pharmaceuticals in a way that doesn’t infringe on existing patents. Here's how.
Outdoors

The best battery packs and power stations for use in the outdoors

If you want to keep your smartphones, tablets, and other devices charged while camping int he backcountry these battery packs and portable power stations are rugged enough to survive while providing plenty of power too.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Cars

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.