Many fuel-injected bikes come without a kickstart (more about that later). If your battery dies on a long ride, you could be stranded.
The solution? A portable jump starter.
Portable and Lightweight
The HiQ PM400 jump starter is our top pick because of its slim, lightweight and durable design.
It can’t be used for other vehicles, but if you’re purely after something for your bike that can also be used as a power bank – this is ideal.
Best Motorcycle Jump Starter Reviews
Here are our top picks.
Hi-Q PM400 Jump Starter
This fully motorcycle-specific jump starter is slim, rugged and lightweight. It only outputs 12 V at 400 amps, so no cars or other vehicles, but if you’re after something exclusively for your bike, this is a great pick.
The 24 W lithium-ion battery gives this decent capacity, and there’s a 4 increment capacity LED display. Battery connection leads are tough and easy to fit on a motorcycle. Including a cigarette lighter adapter are a nice touch and another clear nod to the motorcycle market.
This is the smallest device on our list and probably the one we’d recommend if easy storage is a priority. It doesn’t have all the features of some of the larger options, but it works perfectly for motorcycles, is tiny and has a rugged, lightweight shell.
- Slim, portable and light
- Limited options
This starter uses a 24W lithium-ion battery with 400 amp output and is one of the smaller and lighter solutions available.
Though small, it’s ideally suited for cars up to 4 L and will jump-start any motorcycle. The marketing for this one mentions up to 20 starts from a single charge.
Even if that’s a slight exaggeration, there’s still a lot of charge in this unit.
USB in and out ports are located on the side, a micro USB cable is included, and four LEDs give battery readout in 25% increments.
Everything here is miniaturised, and this feels almost like motorcycle-specific equipment. The needle nose connectors are particularly suited to attaching to a motorcycle battery, and an LED torch is included for emergencies.
Overcharge protection, reverse polarity protection and spark-proof connectors are all featured, making the unit safe.
- Small and rugged
- Decent capacity
- Not as many charging options as others
Gooloo Portable Jump Starter
This unit has an 18,000 mAh capacity and can deliver up to 1200 amps to jump-start your vehicle. The marketing says it can jump-start up to thirty times off a single charge – and they’re accounting for an average-sized car.
All this is much more than we necessarily need for motorcycling, but the unit is as compact as some of the lower-capacity starters on our list.
For adventure/touring riders, having a large capacity to charge laptops, phones, and cameras can be important. To this end, a USB port and 8-in-1 laptop/Macbook charging adapter are included.
Protection against human and mechanical error is as comprehensive as any starter on our list. Crucially, reverse polarity protection, overcharge protection, and spark-proof connectors are used.
Of the 8 safety features a jump-start unit can have, this one features all 8. If you’ve connected it incorrectly, the unit won’t send current.
A flashlight is mounted on the unit – a valuable addition for touring riders.
- High capacity
- Can charge almost any domestic vehicle (7.2L petrol engine – 5.5L diesel engine)
- Could be overkill for some riders
This is a pretty big factor for most of us. Motorcycling riding means hard limits on the gear we can carry, so if a jump starter needs its own backpack, it’s not practical for our purposes.
The starters on our list are all designed to fit inside a glove compartment. Though, in some cases, there would be little room for anything else!
Many portable jump-start solutions also market themselves as portable charging stations for your electronic devices for activities like camping and hiking. This also demands a smaller form factor.
Motorcycles almost universally use 12v batteries, so we need something that can output this voltage at least. Many devices are sold as suitable for charging a variety of larger vehicles and, therefore, will be able to charge your smaller motorcycle battery safely.
Likewise, a jump starter capable of powering your 12v motorcycle battery will be able to charge smaller devices like laptops, phones and tablets (if the connections are present).
The larger the capacity of your jump starter means more jump-starts and charges for your electronic devices. How quickly a battery depletes when stored varies from product to product and according to the conditions it’s stored in.
Battery packs are best kept away from sunlight and localised heat if possible.
The jump starters on our list use spark-proof connectors and reverse polarity protection to mitigate any risk involved with jump-starting your vehicle. Without these two features, connecting the wrong clamp to the wrong battery post could create problems.
Some of the units on our list go as far as to include compasses on their surface, and others feature hazard lights for nighttime use in an emergency. Honestly, neither of these two features are necessary, nor are they utterly pointless.
All the jump starters on our list feature at least a USB-C connector. Higher-end jump starters include a wider variety of ports; some even have a 6-in-1 power supply designed to fit most laptops, tablets and cameras.
What type of battery charger do I need for a motorcycle?
A “float charger” is the most common solution and preferred because these chargers can switch themselves off once your battery is full.
Smart chargers go one step further by varying the charge rate to minimise damage to your battery.
Can I use a car battery charger to charge my motorcycle battery?
Yes, but be careful! Firstly, make sure your bike uses a 12v battery. Older and smaller bikes will occasionally use a 6v. The other thing to watch out for is overcharging. Your bike probably has a sealed battery (if it’s newish). These batteries do not respond well to being overcharged, so monitor while charging and stop when it’s full.
Can a completely dead motorcycle battery be recharged?
Yes, but in an emergency, your best bet is to use a jump starter from our list. Once you’re home, a smart charger is your best bet, but will take a long time and success isn’t guaranteed.
Can you overcharge a motorcycle battery?
Yes. Even using a trickle charger can destroy your battery and possibly cause an explosion. Use a smart charger and monitor progress.
Having one of these under your seat or in a pannier makes sense.
They’re inexpensive, whereas a single call to a recovery service could cost you quite a bit.
The smallest ones on our list will work if you try to keep it as minimalist as possible. And if space isn’t a huge concern, consider a larger unit that can work for cars and other vehicles.
Note: If you get caught without the right tool, try these 4 ways to jump-start a motorcycle.