Portable Jump Starter Review: GB40 Vs. GB50 – Which best selling NOCO charger is for you?
I am a big advocate of being prepared. I have often found that preparing for potential situations (that may never happen) correlates to better safety, more success, and more enjoyment.
There are lots of ways to prepare for overlanding – having recovery gear, spare gas, knowing what route to take, having a form of communication that is reliable, etc. Sometimes, the things you need to prepare for the most are the simplest, the basics.
There are probably three main “breakdowns” that occur with any vehicle, whether on-road or off-road:
- Flat tire
- Running out of gas
- Dead battery
As such, most people have a spare tire or carry a tire repair kit, carry extra fuel tanks, and a substantial amount of people have jumper cables for the potential of a dead battery.
Although jumper cables are a tried and trued method to “jump-start” a car, there are some drawbacks.
The Negatives of Jumper Cables
While jumper cables aren’t too big, they can take up a good amount of space.
If you cross wires, you could be in for an extremely dangerous situation. Whether you are the one who needs a jump start or someone else, it can be easy to let your guard down and touch jumper cables…and this can be very bad.
You Need Another Car
If you are out on a remote location with a dead battery, jumper cables aren’t going to do much good. You need another vehicle to utilize jumper cables.
As you can see, jumper cables have quite a few drawbacks.
Is there a better solution though? I think the answer is yes.
Portable Jump Starters & the Truth Behind Them
I have owned quite a few portable jump starters over the past years, and honestly, my opinion of them hasn’t been super high… until recently. I’ll tell you why.
Something that infomercials and ads don’t always advertise is not all jump starters are the same. I know this sounds like common knowledge, but how do you know that a certain jump starter will work on your vehicle?
You see a small portable jump starter and think it would work better for you because of the compact size…wrong! Each vehicle will require a different number of amps to start, and this can greatly impact the size of a jump starter. You see a small, compact jump starter and think that it would work – but it all depends on how much starting current you need.
For 4Runners, you really need a minimum of 700 – 800 amps, but optimally 1,000 amps.
Typically, the more displacement and or more horsepower a vehicle has, the more amps that are required to start it. A lot of people (including myself) have purchased undersized portable jump starters. You have to buy a jump starter that works for your vehicle, as not all jump starters are alike.
Due to this, I have owned a few jump starters prior to the one I own now, and most of them didn’t work great. This was really my fault though because I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I needed to be in selecting the right portable jump starter.
Now, I have researched several different options and come up with a great portable jump starter for all 4Runners out on the market.
What Jump Starter I Chose
There are several different companies that make good portable jump starters, but I was most impressed with NOCO.
NOCO makes several high-quality products, including portable jump starters.
I ultimately narrowed down my selection to the recently reviewed and popular GB40 along with the GB50. While there are quite a few differences between the two models, the most notable is the starting current. The GB40 is rated at 1,000 amps while the GB50 is rated at 1,500 amps. According to NOCO, the GB50 can start 7.0-liter gasoline engines and 4.5-liter diesel engines – pretty impressive! Once again, these engine sizes are all an estimate, as compression ratios, starters, etc. all come into play.
So, which did I choose?
NOCO Jump Starter
While the GB40 would probably be more than adequate for my 4Runner, I ultimately went with the GB50. It can start larger engines (such as a truck I have with a 6.2-liter gas engine and quite a bit of horsepower). The GB50 also has a much larger battery, at 35 Watt-Hours in comparison to the GB40’s 24 Watt-Hour battery.
The differences don’t end here, but ultimately, I was most concerned with the starting current and battery capacity, of which the GB50 triumphs over the GB40.
Yes, you can go to a jump starter that is even more powerful, such as the NOCO GB70, or GB150, and GB500. I thought these were a little too overkill though and would be a substantial cost increase for features/power I didn’t need. These options also have a much larger footprint.
So, let’s run through the GB50 and what all it can do.
The NOCO GB50
As previously mentioned, the GB50 has some pretty impressive specifications. Here is a quick rundown:
NOCO GB50 Specs
|Starting Current:||1,500 Amps (Peak)|
|Battery Types:||12 Volt Lead-Acid Batteries|
|Internal Battery:||35 Watt-Hour Lithium-Ion|
|USB Input:||2.1 Amps|
|USB Output:||2.1 Amps|
|Gas Engine Rating:||7.0 Liters|
|Diesel Engine Rating:||4.5 Liters|
|LED Flashlight:||200 Lumens|
Of all these specifications, the most important is the starting current and internal battery.
The starting current determines if the jump starter has enough power to “jump” your car, which the GB50 has plenty at 1,500 amps.
The internal battery is the next most important item, as this determines how many / how much you can charge items with the GB50. With a 35 Watt-Hour Lithium-Ion battery, the GB50 has plenty of storage to charge your electronics.
Overall, the GB50 is a very well-rounded piece of equipment that will benefit anyone.
So how do you use the primary function of the GB50? Let’s see!
Using the GB50 to jump start a car is very straightforward.
Step 1. Attach Battery Clamps to GB50
Take the HD Precision Boost battery clamps and attach them to the GB50’s 12V output connection.
Step 2. Connect (+) and (-) Clamps To Battery Terminal
Connect the positive (red) battery clamp to the positive battery terminal.
Connect the negative (black) battery clamp to the negative battery terminal.
Step 3. Power On GB50 + Start Vehicle
Press the power button on the GB50.
If the clamps are properly connected to the battery, the White Boost LED will illuminate. If for some reason you connect the battery clamps wrong, a red error LED will illuminate.
Then, try to start your vehicle. Depending on some vehicles, you may have to let the GB50 be connected to the battery for about 30 seconds for optimal success.
Lastly, turn the GB50 off and remove both battery clamps.
After starting your vehicle (or someone else’s) turn the GB50 off and remove the battery clamps.
This is all there is to it, very simple.
There are a few notable features of the GB50 outside of jump-starting that are worth mentioning.
2.1 AMP USB out
A lot of people purchase portable power packs to charge electronics such as phones, cameras, etc.
The GB50 will work great for this purpose as it has a 35 Watt-Hour battery with a 2.1 amp USB out port. You can simply connect a USB to the port and you are ready to charge up whatever devices you need.
This is pretty common knowledge, but something to remember is that this portable jump starter only has so much capacity…so the number of times the GB50 can recharge your phone will differ from the number of times your DSLR camera can be recharged.
Ultimately, the GB50 has a much higher capacity battery than the GB40, which is one of the main reasons I purchased the GB50. If you wanted even more capacity you could go to the GB70…but this will cost more.
I don’t think you can ever have enough lighting. I typically use Coast for my flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns, but the GB50 helps you out with an integrated 200 lumen LED flashlight. Not only this, but the light has seven (7) different light modes, including strobe and SOS.
This light helps if you need to work on your car, warn oncoming traffic, or simply an application that needs some lighting.
The GB50 is extremely easy to charge.
There is a 2.1 amp micro USB in that can be used to charge up. You can connect the charging cable to your car, a DC outlet adapter (included with purchase), or nearly any USB out.
Depending on the current of the source that is charging the GB50, charging times can range from 4.5 Hours to 18 Hours.
Charging at 2 amps is optimal, as you will reach fully charged in about 4.5 hours.
The GB50 is a nifty piece of equipment to have.
No matter if you are a weekend warrior, hardcore off-roader, or you never even see a dirt road, the GB50 or the GB40 is something I’d recommend for mostly everyone.
The GB50 has a built-in safety feature if you happen to cross wires, you don’t need another vehicle, and ultimately you should be able to get your vehicle running much faster than needing assistance from someone else like you would with traditional jumper cables. The safety that the GB50 provides a user with is awesome.
The one recommendation I would make is to purchase the carrying case for the GB50. It is an additional cost, but I think it is well worth the extra money. It is a sleek, well thought out carrying case that can house the GB50, battery clamps, charging cable, and DC charging adapter – everything you need in a small, compact carrying case.
To me, everyone should carry a portable jump starter around with their vehicle.
Whether the GB50 is the right one for you is dependent on what all you are wanting. You might be able to use the GB40, or you may want to upgrade to a GB70…or larger. The decision is yours.
Overall, the NOCO GB50 is a very well-made piece of equipment and has a lot to offer – jump-starting, portable power source, and a built-in flashlight. This is a great gift item and as well worth purchasing yourself.
If you are in the market for a portable jump starter or looking to get a gift for a college student, son, daughter, mom, dad, or just about anyone, I’d recommend taking a look at the NOCO GB50, it is an impressive piece of equipment!