Reviews Tech & Electronics

Does The Schumacher Portable Power Station Do More Than Jump a Dead Battery?

From its impressive power to its portability, there are plenty of good reasons to get charged up about this portable jump starter.
Tom Scalisi Avatar
The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter set up and ready to use on a work table

Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

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When there’s a car on the side of the road with a dead battery or a flat tire, all we can focus on is a solution. We need to charge that battery or pump up that tire as soon as possible, and with a tool we know we can trust. After all, these events always seem to happen at the worst possible times, right?

So which tool can you rely on to bail you out in these situations? I think it’s the Schumacher SJ1332 portable power station and jump starter. This high-quality tool has the power to turn over large diesel engines as well as pump up tires of just about any size. It also has some bonus features that make it stand out from the crowd. Learn what those bonus features are and why I believe the Schumacher portable power station is the best jump starter with an air compressor on the market.

Schumacher SJ1332 Portable Power Station Jump Starter: At a Glance

The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter set up and ready to use on a work table
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.2/10

SPECS

  • Peak amperage: 1,200
  • Air pressure: 150 psi (pounds per square inch)
  • Additional features: One USB port, LED work light, two 12V outlets, two 120V outlets

PROS

  • It’s easy to use and the buttons are intuitive, even at night in the dark
  • Features multiple charging ports to allow it to run many different types of devices
  • Can crank over large diesel engines, so small 4- and 6-cylinder engines are easy

CONS

  • The analog pressure gauge is in an odd spot and isn’t very accurate

Get the Schumacher portable power station at:

What is the Schumacher portable power station and jump starter?

The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter is just what it sounds like: a portable power source that can start vehicles or run electronic devices. It also has a 150 psi tire inflator built into the device, a digital display for the unit’s power level, and an analog display on the back for the air pressure.

The Schumacher’s jumping function features a positive and negative cable that each wrap around the unit, lying in a groove for simple storage. The clamps then bite down on two stand-offs on the back of the device for easy storage. The air compressor hose fits in a hole in the rear of the unit for safekeeping.

On top of the roadside rescue functions, the Schumacher has power ports for charging and running devices. It has one USB port, two 12-volt (V) DC ports, and two 120V standard outlets. Users can plug in small electronic devices, allowing them to charge or even run items such as a blender on game day or a fan or radio at a campsite. All of these functions are part of a relatively compact device that’s easy to store and operate.

Is the Schumacher portable power station easy to set up?

The Schumacher portable power station is easy to set up. All the user has to do to get it ready is give it a charge.

This power station has a standard two-prong male electrical connection in the rear of the device. To charge it, the user simply flips the prongs down and plugs them into a standard extension cord, then plugs the other end of the cord into the wall. The wall power will then charge the device, and users can check the digital display to determine how much charging it requires.

There is an issue here, though. The Schumacher, for its relatively large price tag, doesn’t come with an extension cord or adapter for charging, so users will have to use their own extension cords. While that’s not a big deal, it does seem like including a cord with the device would’ve been a simple solution.

Is the Schumacher portable power station easy to use?

Overall, the answer is yes, the Schumacher is easy to use. However, with so many functions, each requires some separate detail.

As a jump pack, the Schumacher is easy to attach and operate. I tested this device at night, using the unit’s own work light as my only guide. I was able to uncoil the cables, attach them to the battery, flip the switch to activate the jump pack, and operate the unit easily. Cranking didn’t drain it.

The tire inflator is also easy to use. The hose is long enough to reach most standard truck tires’ tire valves, even when they’re on the top of the wheel. It also has a screw-on connection to ensure it doesn’t fall or blow off while inflating. The pressure gauge is in an odd spot (it’s on the back of the unit but obscured by one of the cable clamps), making it hard to read. But otherwise, it worked well.

The compressor also has a high-volume air setting that will pump up pool floats and other inflatables. This feature isn’t great, I’ll admit, as the hose is flimsy and difficult to attach.

Using the power station is as easy as using an outlet at home: simply plug in the device and enjoy. It won’t be able to run an air conditioner or refrigerator for long, but it would be a great addition to a tailgate party.

The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter on the ground next to a car tire that's being inflated
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Is the Schumacher power station and jump starter well designed?

It’s my opinion that the Schumacher is well designed in many aspects. The work light has a simple switch to flip rather than a small button that can be hard to find in the dark. Also, the digital gauge clearly displays how much life the internal battery has, helping users determine whether it needs charging. There is also just one rotary switch that the user has to turn to activate the jumping function, and it’s large enough to find in the dark.

Turning on the 120V outlets is also easy, as the user just has to flip a switch and they’re ready to use. The digital display will indicate that they’re on as well. The inverter’s fan is a little loud, but that’s somewhat to be expected from a small power station. The only drawback in this regard is that the power gauge no longer works when the outlets are in operation. To check the battery life, the user would have to shut off the outlets, check the gauge, and then turn them back on.

Here is where the biggest design issue lies: the tire inflator. The switch, gauge, and hose are all on the back of the device. The switch and hose are fine, but the gauge sits directly behind the positive cable clamp, making it impossible to see the gauge without removing the cable. Also, the gauge isn’t terribly accurate, which is my biggest issue with the Schumacher.

How does the Schumacher portable power station and jump starter perform?

The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter with an air compressor performed very well during testing. I compared it against five other jump starters to test its capability. It was able to jump-start a dead vehicle battery as well as any of the models tested (they all provided sufficient power to jump the test vehicle, an old Land Rover 8-cylinder).

It wasn’t the most powerful tire inflator in the group, but it was right in the middle of the pack. What it did well was stay cool enough to touch, unlike some of the other tested models. However, it doesn’t have a programmable gauge that automatically shuts off the compressor when the tire reaches pressure, so it was necessary to watch it closely.

There wasn’t a significant difference among devices when it came to the power ports, except that the Schumacher was the only one with 120V ports. This is a great feature, and it certainly helped it outperform some of the other jump starters.

Is the Schumacher power station worth the price?

Honest answer: It depends on where you get it. The Schumacher is available at prices between about $150 and $300, depending on the retailer. This is a huge price range (inexplicably), and at one price, it’s a steal. On the other end of the price scale, it’s a bit much.

At the lower end of the price range, the Schumacher is a good deal. It can start dead vehicle batteries, pump up tires, and run devices from its power ports. It’s reliable, powerful, and easy to use. I believe that it’s an excellent value under $200.

At the other end of that price range, there are better options for much less money. While most won’t offer 120V power outlets, they’ll jump a vehicle quickly, pump up a tire, and charge up a USB-connected device at a third of the price. Anyone who doesn’t need to run a blender at a tailgate or power up some lights in the backyard can get away with paying much less for a jump starter that will do the trick.

The Schumacher portable power station and jump starter sitting on a car engine while charging the car's battery
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

Should you buy a Schumacher portable power station and jump starter?

With a bit of smart shopping, most folks will find the Schumacher to be a great choice for many purposes. It can start a wide range of vehicles, including those with small 4-cylinder engines and those with large diesel engines. It can also pump up tires on either of these vehicle types, including small car tires and big truck tires. Its flexibility makes it a great choice for many homeowners, DIYers, and vehicle owners, and that’s before considering the power outlets.

However, the Schumacher might be more than some folks need. Anyone who isn’t impressed with the power outlets and who would rather save some money has another choice to consider. The Ultrai jump starter and air compressor is powerful, compact, and affordable. It stores in a carrying bag, includes several tire inflator adapters, and is very easy to use (though the cables are slightly short for my taste).

However, if you like the idea of having a power station that you can take anywhere with the convenience of a built-in jump pack and tire inflator, the Schumacher is a great choice—especially when purchased at a lower price point. It will have no problem meeting most shoppers’ needs on the side of the road, at the tailgate, in the backyard, or anywhere else portable power is necessary.

Where to Buy the Schumacher Portable Power Station and Jump Starter

Get the Schumacher portable power station at:

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 as well as his own pest control blog. He’s a lifelong car guy who has had his fair share of dead batteries to deal with.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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