We’ve owned a number of portable jump start units, but we were really impressed with Husky’s new offering — which not only serves as an effective starter, but also adds a 400W inverter, an air compressor, and a 12V power outlet. If you’ve been thinking about buying one of these, read on for our hands-on impressions and lots of photos — this unit impressed us, and it’s quite affordable.
The Jumpstarter System ships in a good ‘ole standard foam-packed cardboard box. Our particular unit seemed to arrive safely with no marring or other damage. Once you’ve got it out of the packaging, a few features really stand out.
The most noticeable is the lack of an external power “brick.” The ‘System’s 110V charger is integrated internally in the unit, and only outward indication of the charging system is a deployable male three-prong plug on the back. To charge it, you rotate the jack out to un-stow it, then plug in an extension cord. We have an older multi-function-jumpstarter around the shop, but we long ago lost the charger brick; Husky’s arrangement seems much more sensable.
We’re also impressed with the arrangement of the ‘System’s jumpstart leads. Rather than storing them in a separate bag — or allowing them to lay loose or wrapped around the handle — Husky added open-topped square boxes on the back of the unit to hold the wires in place while the leads themselves clamp onto nearby studs designed to keep them in place. As you can see in the photos, this arrangement leads to a clean, easy-to-use layout that keeps the leads from catching on things when you load the unit into a trunk.
A door on the back opens to reveal a compartment perfect for stowing the remaining power cable and the air compressor’s air hose.
A three-digit LED display on the front panel indicates the current battery voltage (when you press the appropriate button) to indicuate the charge state of the internal sealed lead acid (SLA) battery. A rotary switch to the left of the LED enables jump start power. A switch below the LED activates a three-white-LED flashlight mounted nearby.
A pressure gauge for the unit’s air compressor is located to the right of the LED, and the switch to activate the air compressor is right below the gauge.
A door below the main front panel allows access to a 110V – 120V plug — powered by the unit’s 400W inverter — and a 12V DC outlet (cigarette lighter style). A switch activates the inverter.
On the whole, the ‘System seems quite durable. Door hinges and latches seem quite solid, and the handle itself is integrated into a small “roll-cage” design that further protects against impact damage. The handle’s grip is comfortable, which is important since the unit’s quite heavy due to its internal battery.
A rubberized mat around the bottom of the unit makes it “stick” to smooth surfaces (and carpet) a bit, which keeps it from sliding around in the trunk.
Read on to page 2 for our experiences using the Power System.