Jump Starters are typically not considered as “high-tech” gadgetry. Still, over the years, I bought a few because they are handy when you don’t drive your secondary car for extended periods and are left with a dead battery. I’ve also helped friends, family, and neighbors on occasions, which beats waiting for a roadside assistance service.
Compared to smartphones’ portable battery packs, the average Jump Starter is technologically backward and is often a single-purpose device dedicated to only jumpstarting cars. Usually, it can’t even charge your phone or laptop. Most require a proprietary power supply, which is an annoyance if misplaced or out-of-order.
Portable jump starters are battery packs and should at least be able to charge phones (and more), and that’s what a device like the Shell SH916WC Portable Jump Starter brings to the table. The unit we’re looking at has a 16,000 mAh ($129.99) capacity, but the 12,000 ($89.99) and 24,000 ($169.99) options also exist.
The Shell SH916WC has dual USB-C + micro-USB charging options. The USB-C connector is also used to output power at up to 18W, so you can fast-charge phones or slow-charge certain laptops. If you have old USB chargers, you can use them to charge this device.
The charging speed does not seem to be very fast, but it’s hard to measure accurately without a precise charge indicator (in %). I’d say it’s about ~2 hrs to go from 0% to 50% which is slow.
Two USB-A ports are present and can each output at up to 2.4A / 5V, which is equivalent to a 10W phone charger. You can use all the charging ports simultaneously to charge up to 3 devices at once. Finally, there’s also a wireless charging option that could be very handy for phones, smartwatches, and more.
Ports: 1x USB C input/output, 2x USB output , 1x micro-USB, Wireless charging pad, 12V jumpstarter
What’s in the box: Jump Starter, jump starter cable, USB car charger, micro USB and USB-C cables, EVA case, user guide.
As a jump starter, this device works with “up to” 7.0L gasoline engines, and 3.0L diesel engines, so that’s a pretty wide range of cars, bikes, vans, and small boats that can be catered to. The specs show that it maxes out at 1200 Amps (12 Volts).
Beginners don’t need to worry as there are several safety protections like reverse polarity or over-current, which makes it safer than connecting directly to another car’s battery.
You might use its integrated flashlight during a blackout in addition to charging your phones while camping or hiking during your trip. The flashlight has four operation modes, including flashlight, floodlight, SOS, and Red Alert.
With dimensions of 9.17 x 3.46 x 1.42 (3.1 Lbs), it’s not a small object, and you could conceptually find a more compact 12,000 mAh battery pack for your phone. However, most phones battery chargers won’t jumpstart your car.
That said, the $129.99 price for the 16,000 mAh version can make it more expensive than dumb jump starters that are not charge-friendly with mobile devices or have a USB-C charging option.
If you want to spend even more, something like the Mophie Powerstation Go AC (189.85 MSRP) has a 65W AC outlet, which the Shell SH916WC does not have. Unfortunately, this Mophie jump starter requires charging with a proprietary power supply (14V/0.85A).
Still, the Shell SH916WC Portable Lithium Jump Starter is very straightforward to use and seems rugged enough to stay in the trunk of your car safely. It’s one of the easiest to charge, thanks to the dual USB inputs. It includes charging while driving (car USB adapter included).
In my opinion, all small devices should be rechargeable via USB, and I made that switch a long time ago. My electric toothbrushes, hair clippers, lights, and flashlights: all are USB-compatible.
This Jump Starter (on Amazon | Affiliate link) is a neat gadget that is way better and more practical than older jump starter designs which are single-function devices you might never use at all. For all the details, check the user manual.