When your car won’t start or breaks down while driving, what is the most likely cause? While even the simplest vehicle is incredibly complex, there are really just a handful of basic issues that contribute to non-starters and breakdowns. And the most common is easily battery problems.

When it comes to addressing battery problems when broken down, you have two options: the traditional jumper cables and car jump starters. But which is better when broken down? This depends on a variety of factors. Let’s take a look.

Your Average Jump Starter Cannot Handle Everything

Jump starters are great options for cars that are not electrically demanding. The more parts of the car that run off of electricity, the harder it is for the average jump starter to handle them. Because of this, a small, fully electric or hybrid car may be too much for a typical jump starter, while a larger vehicle that runs mostly off gas will be fine. Can heavily electric cars use jump starters? Yes, but they might require larger ones.

Even Small Jump Starters Require More Space than Jumper Cables

Jumper cables, even those that offer longer range, can easily be rolled up and stored underneath a seat. Jump starters have a larger footprint and will need to be stored in the trunk. For most cars, this is not a problem, but for smaller cars with limited trunk space, this can be a deal-breaker.

Jump Starters Require Charging and Don’t Last Long

You don’t need to charge them as often as you do a phone, but you do need to charge them a few times a year. This can be problematic as if you forget, you will be out of luck when broken down. Even when you take good care of your jump starter, it is likely only to last about three or four years. However, quality jumper cables can last a lifetime, and will certainly outlast the lifespan of your car. Not to mention, they are much cheaper.

Jump Starters Are Affected by Temperature

Breaking down in dangerously low temperatures is scary, and if you are relying on a jump starter, it can be even scarier. Average jump starters perform worse in cold weather, and as the temperatures drop, that performance further deteriorates. Jumper cables will work no matter the temperature.

So, Is There an Advantage to a Jump Starter?

Yes, and it is a big one: you don’t need the help of another vehicle to get your vehicle back on the road again. If you live in a city and drive well-traveled roads, or you have reliable roadside assistance, this might not be a huge concern for you. But for those who live or travel in less populated areas where help or roadside assistance may take hours to come by, a jump starter can be a literal lifesaver.

How to Choose a Jump Starter

Be sure that the jump starter you purchase can handle the electric demand of your car. Speak with your auto supply store to select the correct one for you. When selecting your jump starter, do not focus on value; you are safer paying more for a top-quality jump starter than saving on an average one.

If you are not certain what your car needs, stop in at Hub Auto Supply. We can help you figure out the best jump starter for you needs, keeping you safe no matter where you are.