Jump Starter vs. Battery Charger: Understanding The Difference

During the winter, a discharged or dead battery is among the most common problems because your battery uses extra power to keep your lights and wiper on constantly.

Therefore, to overcome the problem, your car might need some extra help, hence the battery charger vs. jump starter debate.

The article below will discuss the distinction between the two to give you a clearer picture of what will work best for you.

Understanding Battery Chargers 

Car battery chargers function similarly to a laptop or phone charger, except that it works for car batteries.

The device plugs one end into an outlet, and the other end is connected to the car battery terminal using cables similar to booster/jumper cables.

Jumper Cable

Jumper Cable

Like any charger, a battery charger gives a constant power flow to the battery to charge it or maintain its charge if it’s fully charged or running low on power. 

An important factor to remember is that a car battery isn’t compatible with ordinary outlets regarding the current type and voltage ratings.

Also, car batteries aren’t equipped with your typical charging port.

Unlike ordinary chargers that are designed to be compatible with ordinary household outlets, car battery chargers require a 12V DC-current type to charge. In contrast, ordinary outlets provide a 120V AC- current type.

Furthermore, car chargers have specially designed cables that attach to the battery since it doesn’t have a designated port.  

Various Types of Battery Chargers (Voltage and Amps Rating)

Battery chargers have different Ah ratings determining their power and how fast they charge the battery.

Your average car battery has an Ah rating of 48 Ah, while with smaller vehicles such as jet skis, snowmobiles, and motorcycles, the Ah rating is lower than 20 Ah.

Therefore, if a charger is classified as 12, 6, or 2 amps, it typically takes 4, 8, or 12 hours to charge a battery to full percentage. 

Also, battery chargers vary according to voltage because car batteries may vary according to voltage, normally ranging between 6 to 24 volts. The majority of vehicles have a 12-volt battery.

Failure to match your car battery and battery charger according to voltage could damage your battery to the extent of causing it to explode. 

Where To Use a Battery Charger

It’s best to use a battery charger for a car kept away or with a poor battery.

However, if your battery is constantly discharged and failing, it’s high time you replace it.

Battery chargers typically take a couple of hours to charge the battery fully; therefore, they’re not the best choice for emergencies or emergencies.

Your battery might fail you because of the cold or forgetting to turn off certain functions in the car resulting in the battery getting drained overnight. 

In an emergency, your best bet is with roadside assistance or a jump starter to help jump-start your battery without having to charge it by sending a huge surge of power to your battery.

When the car turns on, the alternator kicks in and begins to charge the battery. 

How To Use a Battery Charger

Below are the highlighted steps on how to use a battery charger.

  1. Remove the car battery and ensure you have the right type of charger.
  2. Attach the charger’s positive and negative cables to their respective terminals.
  3. Set the charger to its lowest charge rate.
  4. Power on the charger and set the timer.
  5. Once fully charged, turn off the charger and remove the battery.
Car Battery Charger Charging a Battery

Car Battery Charger Charging a Battery

Pros and Cons

Below are the pros and cons of car battery chargers.


  1. They are convenient in always ensuring your car’s battery is fully charged.


  1. They are more expensive compared to jump starters.
  2. They are not easily portable, especially if you’re always on the move.
  3. They take too long to charge a battery fully; therefore, they aren’t ideal for time-sensitive situations and emergencies.

Portable (Pocket) Jump Starters Understanding 

Jump starters are portable battery packs to jumpstart a vehicle without a power source or another vehicle.

Jump starters have a 12V DC output that jumper cables can attach to, which then are connected to the battery terminals and directly draw power from your jump starter battery.

Unlike battery chargers which charge the battery, jump starters send a quick surge of power to the battery, kickstarting it without having to charge it.

When the car starts running, the alternator begins to charge the battery.

Portable Jump Starter

Portable Jump Starter

Different Types of Portable Jump Starters (Voltage Rating)

The two types of portable jump starters include:

  • 12V Jump Starter
  • 24V Jump Starter/Heavy Duty Jump Starters

Where To Use a Battery Jump Starter

If you suffer from a dead battery while on the road, especially during an emergency or time-sensitive situation, a jump starter is a perfect device to get you back up and running.

Its lightweight and compact design keeps it in the glove compartment, trunk, or under your seat.

Jump starters are multifunctional for a variety of purposes.

For instance, you can charge electronics with a jump starter thanks to its USB ports or to provide extra lighting thanks to its strong LED flashlights.

How To Use a Portable Jump Starter/Power Bank

To use a portable jump starter, follow the steps below.

  1. First, turn off the ignition and set the parking brake. Ensure to set the standard and automatic transmissions to neutral and park, respectively.
  2. Ensure the black and red ends of the cable don’t make any contact.
  3. Locate the battery, then remove the casing to expose the battery posts. Also, remember to clean off any grime or dirt gently.
  4. Ensure the car and jump starter are off before making any connections.
  5. Connect the red (positive) clamp to the positive (+) battery post.
  6. Next, connect the black (negative) clamp to the unpainted metal part color of the engine block away from the carburetor, battery, and fuel lines.
  7. Once the clamps are in place, turn on the jump starter.
  8. Turn on your car. If the car doesn’t start, don’t crank it for five seconds. Allow it two to three minutes before trying again. However, if this still doesn’t work, it could be that your battery is completely dead, and you’ll have to buy a new one.
  9. Turn off the jump starter and remove the clamps beginning with the black one first. Remember to ensure the red and black clamps don’t contact each other.
  10. Finally, drive the car for roughly 20 minutes to give it time to recharge, and don’t forget to recharge the jump starter.
A car being Jump Started

A car being Jump Started

Pros and Cons

Below are the pros and cons of a jump starter.


  1. It has a compact design meaning you can easily store it in your car to travel anywhere.
  2. It’s convenient because its high output makes the battery usable immediately.


  1. Although compact, they aren’t light which can prove a burden, especially if you’re always on the move.

Battery Charger vs. Jump Starter: Differences

DifferencesBattery ChargerJump Starter
PurposeCharging BatteryJump Starting Battery
Best ForMaintenanceEmergencies
Charge Time24 to 48 hoursInstant 
Jump Start BatteryNoYes
Recharges/Charges BatteryYesNo
Overcharge RiskYesNo
Requires an Electric OutletYesNo
Where To UseHomeAnywhere
Key FunctionsRecharge BatteryKick-start Battery, Flashlight, USB Charging
WeightMedium to HeavyLight to Medium
Key Shopping FactorsVoltage and AmpsBattery Capacity, Peak Current, Cranking Amps

Jump Starter vs. Battery Charger: Similarities

Although these devices have several differences, they share one similarity: breathing new life into the car battery.

Their high charging voltage of 24V means they can generate enough power to awaken deeply discharged batteries.

After saving the battery, you can continue to use the power source. 


Having discussed the different aspects of car battery chargers and jump starters, you can now make a decision that will better serve your needs.

But please remember that proper battery care (frequent charging and proper discharging) can increase your battery’s lifespan.

For all your jump starter and car battery charger needs, contact Cloom Tech.