Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila
Vehicle breakdowns happen. Whether it’s because someone left a light on or a random item punctured a tire, these mishaps are all part of owning a vehicle. With the best jump starter with air compressor—and a bit of preparation—you can save the day on your own. I put some of the best jump starters with air compressors to the test to help drivers prepare for the worst.
Calling for roadside assistance or a tow truck to bail you out can be expensive. One service call can cost more than $150, and that’s before the vehicle is even repaired. Plus, who knows how long it’ll take for the repair truck to reach you!
These devices bring enough voltage and amperage right to the vehicle to bring a dead battery back to life. They can also fill a low tire or pump up a leaky one until you can make it to a service station for repairs. These dual functions can also be quite handy for less emergent needs around the house. This guide will share the most important factors to consider when choosing the best jump starter with air compressor for your needs, and then explore some of the top-rated jump starters that I put head-to-head in hands-on testing.
- BEST OVERALL: Schumacher SJ1332 1200A Portable Power Station
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Utrai 1800A Jump Starter With Air Compressor Jstar 6
- UPGRADE PICK: DieHard 71687 950 Peak Amp 12V Jump Starter
- BEST DIGITAL: JF.Egwo 3000A Car Jump Starter With Air Compressor
- BEST COMPRESSOR: Stanley J5C09 1000A Jump Starter With Compressor
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila
How We Tested the Best Jump Starters With Air Compressors
When a battery goes dead and a car is stuck in a parking lot or across town (or maybe even the side of the road), there’s a lot on the line. I know that, so I wanted to make sure that every product I suggested had the power to get you back on the road quickly and safely. I called on all of my knowledge and training in automotive repair and DIY projects to pick out the features I thought were most important for these products.
Once I chose all the features (including power, weight, air pressure, and extras), I performed hours of extensive product research to come up with a selection of jump starts that I felt could make the grade. I tested each product by jumping my old 8-cylinder Land Rover’s very dead battery.
The plan was to test these jump starters over the course of 6 days. But, after the truck started the first time and kicked up a nest of yellow jackets, I began testing them at night. This was actually a better test, helping me to ensure whether they also were easy to use in the dark.
I also drained some of the air from other vehicles’ tires to put the compressors to the test. Those products that passed the tests were given awards based on their strengths, while those that failed were removed from the list completely.
Our Top Picks
There might be a lot to know about these versatile devices, but shopping for the best jump starter with air compressor doesn’t have to be complicated. To help make the process even easier, these top-rated products are an excellent starting point. I performed hands-on testing with every model listed below to ensure they can meet the grade.
Folks who value versatility will want to consider the Schumacher SJ1332 rechargeable power station. This device features 1,200 amps (A) of cranking power, allowing it to start a massive 8-liter gas engine or a 6-liter diesel engine. It also features a 150 pounds per square inch (psi) air compressor with an analog gauge for pumping flat tires and a high-volume air port for filling air mattresses and pool floats.
The Schumacher features two 12-volt (V) charging ports, two standard 120V outlets, and a USB port for charging mobile devices. This allows it to charge several devices or act as an emergency power station if the power goes out in the home. Its cables wrap around the unit and clip onto the base for storage, and the compressor hose stores in a small compartment in the back.
The Schumacher was relatively easy to use to jump the Land Rover. The light was helpful and allowed me to identify the cables easily at night, and the buttons and controls were fairly intuitive. I wasn’t a big fan of the tire pressure gauge, which was not lit and wasn’t very accurate (a difference of around 8 psi), and it’s in a weird spot (on the back of the jump pack and obscured by the clamp). But otherwise, it had plenty of power to jump the car and it was easy. I liked the 120V outlets; no other jump pack in the test had them.
- Battery power: 1,200A
- Air pressure: 150 psi
- Additional features: 1 USB port, LED light, two 12V DC outlets, two 120V AC outlets
- It’s easy to use, even in the dark when it’s hard to see buttons and switches
- Features multiple charging ports, including two 120V outlets for standard cords
- It has enough cranking power to turn over an 8-liter gas engine
- The analog gauge wasn’t accurate during testing, and it’s in a difficult location
Get the Schumacher jump starter with air compressor at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., Walmart, Northern Tool + Equipment, Blain’s Farm & Fleet, or Grainger.
When it comes to dialing in a tire’s pressure to a precise reading or checking on a battery’s charge level, nothing beats a digital gauge. Utrai’s portable jump starter features two of these digital gauges: one for the 120 psi air compressor and another for the 24,000 milliampere hours (mAh) lithium-ion battery, and that’s all at an affordable price point.
Beyond the digital gauges, this jump starter features 1,800A of cranking power, allowing it to start 7-liter gasoline engines or 6-liter diesel engines easily. There are also two USB ports and a bright LED emergency light for working in the dark.
I didn’t expect to really like the model since it’s inexpensive, small, and didn’t appear to be powerful enough to get the job done. However, I found that it has tons of power from both the jump function and the air compressor. The clamps were easy to use; the cables just plugged into the port on the device. The cables have color-coded LEDs inside that help with determining if the jump pack is ready to use, if it doesn’t have enough of a charge, or if something trips inside the unit.
The device will also alert you if you touch the clamps together or put them on the wrong terminals (which I did in the dark). It had the power to crank over my old engine easily, and it had no problem filling truck tires (though the hose did get rather hot). My complaint would be that it’s hard to see the buttons in the dark, even with the light on.
- Battery power: 1,800A
- Air pressure: 120 psi
- Additional features: LED light, 2 USB ports, 12V DC output
- It packs a lot of punch in terms of jump-starting and filling tires despite being so small
- It comes with a carry case to help keep all the small parts organized
- LED inside the cables indicates if the jump pack is ready to use
- The power, light, and tire pressure buttons can be hard to see and use at night
Get the Utrai jump starter with air compressor at Amazon or Utrai.
Jump starters with air compressors can be incredibly versatile, and this model from DieHard definitely fits the bill. The lead-acid jump starter offers 950 peak amps for cranking over large diesel engines as well as reverse hookup protection to avoid damaging the expensive electrical components that are sometimes vulnerable during jumping. It also features two 12V ports and a USB port for charging devices.
The compressor produces up to 150 psi of pressure and includes a digital gauge for presetting the pressure and checking the battery’s charge level. A built-in work light makes working on the side of the road in low light a bit less difficult as well. This DieHard model also includes three air nozzle adapters for filling sports equipment, pool floats, and other items.
The DieHard jump starter was more than capable of firing up my old Land Rover. It was easier to attach than other models as the cables were slightly longer than the compact versions. And just a flip of the switch turned the unit on for the jumping function. I found that the air compressor worked well, pumping up the tire faster than the other full-size models (about 5 minutes faster from 20 psi to 36 psi), though the gauge is in a strange place—it’s right behind the positive clamp. Also, the battery gauge on the front of the unit isn’t all that detailed; it provides broad ranges: 70 to 100 percent, 30 to 70 percent, and under 30 percent.
- Battery power: 950A
- Air pressure: 150 psi
- Additional features: 1 USB port, 2 power ports
- Long cables make it easier to attach to the battery than with compact models
- Comes with multiple power ports, including two 12V and 1 USB for charging devices
- Compact and portable design is easy to carry around and then store away
- The battery gauge isn’t nearly as detailed as one would expect
- Compressor gauge is in a weird spot—hidden behind the positive clamp
Get the DieHard jump starter with air compressor at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Fingerhut.
For those looking for the most from a lithium-ion jump starter, this model from JF.Egwo is worth checking out. The jump starter features 3,000A of power, allowing it to crank over gas engines up to 9 liters and diesel engines up to 8.5 liters. It also boasts a 24,000 mAh battery, giving this device the capacity to start up to 55 vehicles before recharging. With the included smart cables, there’s no risk to the electrical system.
The built-in air compressor produces up to 150 psi, filling a flat tire in less than 15 minutes. The compressor includes two USB ports; two LED flashlights; an extension hose; and four air compressor nozzles for filling tires, sports equipment, air mattresses, and more.
The jump starter has an easy-to-read digital display that you can program to your desired tire pressure. Once this JF.Egwo model reaches that preset pressure, the compressor will shut off to avoid over-pressurizing the tire. The display also shows charge status and even the status of the unit’s battery.
This is a very compact jump pack, but I quite liked the design. First, the biggest drawback: The hose gets extremely hot while filling tires, and the brass fitting gets too hot to touch. I found I had to wait a few minutes to let the hose and fitting cool. Otherwise, I liked that this model has two digital gauges that are easy to read and understand, as well as the programmable gauge to shut off once it hits the set pressure.
I also liked that it came with a carrying case that holds everything inside it, including the jump pack. However, the cables are a little short and don’t feature any LEDs like other compact models.
- Battery power: 3,000A
- Air pressure: 150 psi
- Additional features: 2 USB ports, 2 LED flashlights
- Portable, compact unit; can easily be tucked away without taking up too much space
- Digital gauges are easy to read and the compressor can be programmed to shut off
- Features 3,000A to help it turn over large engines easily
- The cables are thin and don’t feature an LED indicator like other models
- Compressor hose and fittings get very hot during use
Get the JF.Egwo jump starter with air compressor at Amazon, Newegg, or JF.Egwo.
For an additional well-rounded jump starter, Stanley’s J5C09 portable power station could fit the bill. This jump starter features a lead-acid battery with up to 10,000A of cranking power for turning over large engines in gasoline and diesel vehicles alike. It also includes a 120 psi compressor that can fill nearly any tire, with an illuminated analog gauge for monitoring the pressure in real time.
This unit provides some additional built-in features worth noting. It offers a USB port for charging devices, a standard 12V port, a reverse polarity alarm to indicate improperly installed clamps, and a positionable work light for shedding light on the repair area.
During the test, the one feature that stood out the most was the air compressor. It was able to fill a tire in much less time than the other models (about 4 minutes), and the analog display was very accurate. It’s also easy to set up and use in the dark, plus it features extra-long cables to make reaching battery terminals easier. It also had plenty of power to kick the vehicle’s engine over. The positionable light is a nice touch as it allowed me to position the jump pack carefully without losing my light source. The light is a bit weak, however.
- Battery power: 1,000A
- Air pressure: 120 psi
- Additional features: 1 USB port, 1 power port, flashlight
- Powerful compressor fills tires faster than the other models tested
- Control panel is intuitive and easy to use, even in the dark
- Includes a 12V port and USB port for flexible device charging
- Positionable light allows you to set the device up safely without losing light
- The light output is a bit weak compared to some of the other models tested
Get the Stanley jump starter with air compressor at Amazon, Staples, MSC, or Walmart.
I tested the Potek 1,000A jump starter and it just didn’t meet my expectations. First, the light bars used for power level were pushed in on my unit, almost like they weren’t installed correctly. This made them hard to see. Also, the analog gauge for the compressor wasn’t accurate at all (about a 10 psi discrepancy). It was able to start the truck, but for the price, there are better options out there.
What to Consider When Choosing a Jump Starter With Air Compressor
With the best jump starter with air compressor, you’ll be able to handle emergencies and repairs without calling for help. And who doesn’t enjoy a little self-reliance? These devices offer built-in jumper cables to clamp onto the positive and negative terminals of a dead battery. It sounds straightforward, but shopping for one of these devices requires a bit of background and know-how. The following sections will break down the most important considerations to keep in mind while shopping for a jump starter with air compressor.
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila
Lithium-Ion vs. Lead-Acid
Jump starters equipped with air compressors include one of two battery types: lithium-ion and lead-acid.
- Lithium-ion jump starters are small, compact, and lightweight, but they pack plenty of power. They’re excellent for storing in small cars or for those with limited garage space. These devices are also ideal for anyone who struggles to carry a heavier battery pack.
- Lead-acid jump starters are constructed with older technology, and they’re bulky and heavy. However, many of these units include 110V outlets for running or charging small electronics, as well as USB ports for added versatility. They can easily weigh 50 pounds, so keep that in mind.
The best jump starter with air compressor—or all portable jump starters, for that matter—have an onboard battery that provides ample power to start a vehicle or operate the compressor. In most cases, the battery size of these portable chargers is described in mAh or amp hours (Ah)—1,000mAh equals 1Ah.
The higher the mAh or Ah rating, the more power the battery can store, the more tires it can inflate, and the more batteries it can charge. Generally speaking, most portable jump starters use batteries between 10,000 and 35,000mAh. Remember that the more storage a battery offers, the heavier it will be.
Size and Type of Engine
The purpose of a jump starter is to provide a vehicle with enough power to turn over and fire up the engine, then allow the vehicle’s alternator to continue charging the battery. The amount of power a jump starter needs to accomplish this task is determined by the engine.
Small gasoline engines, such as four-cylinder engines found in most cars (and progressively larger vehicles), don’t require much power. But larger eight-cylinder engines require a bit more. And, because of the extremely high compression ratios of diesel engines, large models found in heavy-duty pickups, RVs, and power equipment require even more power. In general, 1,000A or more will do the trick.
Many manufacturers today don’t explicitly list the amount of power provided by their chargers. Instead, they discuss the types of engines their chargers can handle. This is only a concern if you own a diesel vehicle, as any jump starter will handle most gasoline engines.
While it might seem that jumper cables are all created equal, modern jump starters offer additional safety features. Today’s models protect a vehicle’s electrical system and the person using the cables from sparking or reverse polarity, which happens when you install the clamps on the wrong terminals—something that’s very easy to do in the dark. Reverse polarity can wreak havoc on the sensitive electronics in today’s vehicles, so this is a crucial feature.
These units will detect the reverse polarity or contact between the clamps and prevent the unit from expelling stored energy through them. Often, a small light or audible alarm will alert you so you can understand what’s occurring and why the jump starter isn’t charging the vehicle.
When choosing the best jump starter with air compressor, you might notice some variance in the amount of psi offered by these models. Most models produce around 100 psi—more than enough for any road vehicle’s tires. Most vehicle tires require just 30 to 40 psi.
Some models offer 150 psi or more, which is as much pressure as a traditional home air compressor. Are they necessary for typical vehicle repairs? No. But it might take these compressors less time to boost up a tire on the side of the road, so they could be worth the consideration and splurge.
Several additional features might make a particular jump starter with an air compressor a bit more attractive to consumers.
- Many models include built-in flashlights or work lights. These lights don’t significantly drain the battery, so they’re a very convenient feature.
- Digital screens are becoming more common, and they display the battery level, compressor psi, and other important information.
- Some of the more advanced models feature additional charging ports for USB-powered devices and 110V outlets for standard charging.
- Bluetooth functionality allows you to connect to your mobile devices and stream audio while also charging your smartphone.
- Jump starters with air compressors don’t have tanks like a traditional portable air compressor, which keeps them lightweight and compact.
Even with all of this background on choosing the best jump starter with air compressor, you might have questions. The following section is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about jump starters with air compressors, so be sure to check for an answer to your question below.
Q. How many amps do I need to jump-start my car?
This depends on the vehicle, with smaller engines requiring just a few hundred amps and larger engines requiring 1,000 or more amps. Consider erring on the side of caution and choosing a jump starter from this guide, as they all boast at least 1,000A.
Q. What cable do I need to recharge a jump starter with an air compressor?
Many units include their own AC adapters for charging via an outlet in your home or garage. Others might have plugs to attach a standard extension cord for charging. Some also feature 12V ports for charging in a vehicle.
Q. How often do I need to recharge my jump starter with an air compressor?
Most manufacturers suggest charging a jump starter with air compressor every 30 days to ensure it’s in good working order.
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Meet the Tester
Tom Scalisi is a full-time DIY and construction writer for many of the largest websites in the industry, including BobVila.com, This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes. He also owns and operates a pest control blog, RiddaBugs.com. He’s a lifelong car guy who has had his fair share of dead batteries to deal with.