The Best Gear for Your Road Trip - Reviews by Wirecutter

The Best Gear for Your Road Trip - Reviews by Wirecutter

Wirecutter has been updating their essentials for Road Trips over the past couple of years. One item that has remained - our Weego Jump Starter.

From the Wirecutter: A portable jump starter is essentially a lightweight battery attached to two jumper cables that you use to jump-start your car. It’s easier, safer, and less intimidating than old-fashioned jumper cables that you attach to another car—and it’s something that you can use if you’re alone, instead of waiting for roadside service/a kind stranger/a friend/a relative to show up and bail you out.

Wirecutter has recommended Weego gear since we first published our guide to portable jump starters in 2017. Guide writer Mark Smirniotis researched 40 lithium-ion jump starters and tested 12. Two Weego portable jump starters (both of which are now discontinued) became picks: the Weego 22s (the top pick; about $60) and the Weego 44 (the upgrade pick; about $150). Though we no longer maintain that full guide, many of us at Wirecutter still keep a Weego jump starter in our cars. But now, in many cases, it’s an updated version, namely the affordable Weego 44s, which hovers around the same price as the 22s model, its less powerful predecessor.

Measuring 5.62 by 3.44 by 1.04 inches (LWD), the Weego 44s jump starter is about the same size as a cell phone in length and width. It also weighs less than a pound (around 12 ounces, according to my kitchen scale) and has safety features that help prevent you from hurting your car or yourself: If you incorrectly attach the jump starter to your battery (which can potentially damage the battery or your car’s electrical system), the unit’s reverse-polarity protection feature activates, issuing a red light and an alarm alerting you not to proceed.

The Weego 44s is rated to work with a wide range of vehicles, including gas engines up to 7 liters and diesel engines up to 3.5 liters. It can jump-start pretty much any gas- or diesel-powered passenger-vehicle engine—anything from a Mini Cooper (2 liters or less) to a Dodge Ram (as much as 6.7 liters)—and it fits that power into a package that’s small enough for most glove boxes.

The Weego 44s comes partially charged out of the box and takes about 2.5 hours to charge from zero. A USB-A–to–Micro-USB charging cord is included, but it doesn’t come with a charging cube, so you need to plug the USB-A end into your own USB phone charger that works in regular household outlets or use an outlet with a USB-A port. According to the company, the unit can stay charged for more than a year in storage, though you should make sure to top it off every three to six months. With regular use, it’s rated to last for about three to five years or up to 1,000 recharge cycles. Plus, it can provide multiple jumps before it needs a recharge itself (five lights on the side of the unit indicate its remaining battery life).

The Weego 44s has checks and balances to ensure that you safely jump-start a car, but its lithium-ion polymer battery comes with certain caveats. Though the manufacturer indicates that the unit will operate in temps of -4 °F to 140 °F, leaving it in a car in extremely hot or cold conditions is not a great idea. “Most devices that contain a lithium-ion battery, whether it’s your smartphone or a portable jump starter, should not spend long periods of time in extreme temperatures since it can cause permanent damage to the battery,” says Wirecutter senior staff writer and battery expert Sarah Witman. “You should also keep in mind that car engines need more power to get started in freezing temperatures, so it’s especially important to keep your jump starter fully charged when driving in cold climates.”

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