A vehicle that fails to start due to a drained battery can be an inconvenient, even distressing situation, especially if you need to go somewhere urgently. This is where portable jump starters come into play. These devices help to solve this problem. But not all motorists (and particularly beginners) know the capabilities of these devices. And that’s why the question is often asked: “How long do portable jump starters hold a charge?” On average, a fully charged portable jump starter with a typical lithium-ion battery can retain its charge for several months if not in use. But I want to go into more detail on this topic for you, and that’s why let’s discuss all the factors that influence how long a charge is maintained in this article.
Factors that affect a jump starter’s ability to hold a charge
Relying on my experience, I will share factors that can significantly influence a portable jump starter’s ability to hold a charge:
- Battery type
There are primarily two types of batteries used in jump starters: Lithium-ion and Lead-acid batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries are prevalent in modern portable jump starters. They typically retain charge better and longer than the increasingly obsolete lead-acid batteries.
- Lead-acid batteries, while becoming less common, are still used in some portable jump starters. They generally have a shorter lifespan and less efficient charge retention than lithium-ion batteries.
- Charge cycles
Lithium-ion batteries usually have a set number of charge cycles they can go through before experiencing capacity degradation. A charge cycle is defined as using all of the battery’s capacity, be it from 100% to 0% or from 50% to 0% twice. Comparatively, lead-acid batteries typically have a lower number of charge cycles, resulting in a shorter lifespan and decreased efficiency over time.
- Battery capacity
The higher the battery capacity, the more energy it can store, hence, the longer it can hold a charge. Battery capacity is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh).
When discussing usage, it’s important to consider whether you continuously leave a portable jump starter on. If the jump starter is used intensively or frequently left on, it may undergo higher wear and tear, negatively affecting its overall lifespan and ability to hold a charge.
- Battery age
As lithium-ion batteries age, their ability to hold a charge decreases, affecting their operation duration. For instance, a battery that could initially hold a charge for several months might only manage a few weeks after a couple of years.
- Battery management system (BMS)
Some modern jump starters are equipped with a complex BMS that helps manage the battery’s operation and protect it from overcharging and other issues, improving charge retention.
- Storage conditions
Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can adversely affect the battery’s ability to hold a charge. Proper storage in a dry and cool room is a vital condition for maintaining battery health.
Regular maintenance, including understanding how often you have to charge a portable jump starter, which is typically every few months when not in use, will help prolong the battery’s life and improve its ability to hold a charge.