Wherever We Go, We Bring the Weego 44s Portable Jump Starter | Reviews by Wirecutter

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Wherever We Go, We Bring the Weego 44s Portable Jump Starter | Reviews by Wirecutter

I was already running late to bring my kid to Girl Scouts, and the car wouldn’t start because said kid left the interior light on all night and killed the battery. There was also the day that I had to get some friends to the airport and our 10-year-old sedan refused to turn over. On another occasion, a cold snap KO’d the last juice on my first-generation Honda Fit, a hardworking rust bucket of a jalopy if ever there was one. The thing that quickly, efficiently, and expertly got me out of all of those jams (and many more): a portable jump starter.

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.

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 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. The 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 the 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: the affordable Weego 44s, which hovers around the same price as the 22s model, its less powerful predecessor.

The Weego 44s jump starter is about the same size as a cell phone in length and width (5.62 by 3.44 by 1.04 inches; LWD), 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. Namely, if you incorrectly attach the jump starter to your battery (which can potentially damage the battery or your car’s electrical system), it activates the unit’s reverse-polarity protection feature—a red light and 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) in a package that’s small enough to fit in most glove boxes. This is good news, as some Wirecutter staff members have had experiences where the 22s model didn’t have enough power for their cars (a 2010 Mercury Milan and a 2015 Honda Fit among them).

One really nice feature of the Weego 44s to make sure the car actually turns over is what the company calls Advanced Voltage Detection. I’m going to let Weego explain it:

According to Weego’s website, “The number one issue with most failed jump start attempts is that a lithium jump starter cannot detect a low voltage lead-acid battery. With our advanced voltage detection, the 44s can recognize a lead-acid battery as low as 0.5 volts and will provide voltage support (known as pre-conditioning) to raise and maintain the voltage of your vehicle’s battery to a level safe for jump starting. If your lead-acid battery is completely dead (between 0 – 0.5 volts), and Weego 44s cannot detect your battery, you can use the bypass button to complete the jump start.”

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 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 indicator lights on the side of the unit indicate its remaining battery life).

Both a laminated booklet and the unit itself have clear instructions with visuals, which make it far less intimidating than googling how to attach jumper cables while standing in the middle of a parking lot. Here’s how to jump-start your car with the Weego 44s:

The one hiccup I’ve found with the Weego 44s—as opposed to traditional jumper cables or larger portable jump starters containing a lead-acid battery—is that the Smarty Clamps are so small that it can take me a couple of attempts to connect them, as they slip off the car’s battery terminals. But that’s a minor inconvenience and only takes a couple of seconds to correct.

The Weego 44s has checks and balances to ensure 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 -4 °F to 140 °F temps,  it’s not a great idea to leave it in a car in extremely hot or cold temperatures. “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 battery expert and senior staff writer 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.”

This unobtrusive, practical staff favorite is the ultimate road-trip buddy, gets you out of a jam quickly and efficiently, and is perfect for housewarmings, graduations, or you-just-got-your-license birthdays. “This has been our go-to gift for family members, and its recipients have used a Weego jump starter to jump everything from a midsize crossover to my father-in-law’s very old water ski boat. How cool is that?” says senior editor Erica Ogg.

This article was edited by Sarah Witman, Erica Ogg, and Christine Ryan.

Annemarie Conte is a deputy editor at Wirecutter. She has written and edited for multiple outlets throughout her career, including Woman’s Day, Seventeen, The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, and Jane magazine. You can follow her on Instagram.

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Wherever We Go, We Bring the Weego 44s Portable Jump Starter | Reviews by Wirecutter

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