The Differences Between a Battery Jump Starter & a Battery Charger

by Jane Gateway
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A failing or depleted battery renders functions relying on batteries---headlights, air-conditioning, dashboards lights and starter, for example---powerless. More importantly, a depleted battery prevents the car from starting. Both a battery jump starter and a battery charger can help drivers who experience battery depletion, although the two devices work in slightly different ways.

Battery Repowering Time

Unlike a battery charger, a jump starter can give instantaneous charge and power to the car battery, providing about 10 to 15 minutes of power to the batteries, which, in normal cases, would be enough time to drive to a mechanic shop. A charger requires a longer time to charge before the battery can have enough power to start the car and enable other electronic functions. Additionally, chargers can give longer-lasting power since they can fully recharge the batteries.


One of the major differences between a battery charger and a jump starter lies in the power each device produces, measured in amperes. Battery jumpers produce a high-powered output that may range from 700 to 3,000 amperes. This high power output makes dead car batteries usable in seconds. Chargers take time to make the battery usable again because they only output about 2 to 10 amperes. The fast chargers may produce up to 50 amperes. Those that can produce up to 100 amperes can cause dangerous internal heat to batteries and should only be used by professional technicians. In general, battery jumpers can produce up to 15 times the power of a battery charger.


When a battery is already weak, you must charge it to avoid depletion of power. Car battery chargers are bulky and may take up a lot of space in the car compartment. In contrast, a battery jump starter is smaller than a battery charger. Charging the battery normally occurs at home or in the garage because the chargers depend on electrical energy to recharge the depleted battery. A fully charged jump starter included in the emergency car kit can provide a major help in times of battery failure.

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