PROS / This car battery charger has a built-in air compressor, which adds to its versatility for road emergencies.
CONS / You can't use it as a trickle charger.
VERDICT / The Black & Decker JUS500IB is neither heavy nor light and not particularly flashy, but it has just about everything you need in a roadside emergency.
The Black & Decker JUS500IB shines as a car battery charger. It can jump-start your battery in most conditions and has several other features to help in a roadside emergency. Though it doesn't function as a trickle charger, this is still one of the best car battery chargers and our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner.
Even in cold temperatures, when it's more difficult to jump-start a vehicle, the Black & Decker JUS500IB won't struggle much. Its cold cranking amps (CCA) rating of 500 ensures that. With 1,000 peak amps, this car battery charger has enough juice to turn most engines over, which is the main point of having a tool like this. However, you can't use the JUS500IB as a trickle charger to maintain or top off batteries.
When you're trying to jump-start your car, you don't want to be hindered by cable length. The JUS500IB comes with jumper cables that are 2.5 feet long. While that's a little shorter than the best car battery charger's cables, it's enough length to give you some freedom of movement.
For the sake of portability and convenience, Black & Decker built storage space for jumper cables into the JUS500IB. This means that you don't have to have a separate set of cables lying around and taking up space. It also means that the JUS500IB's cables can be nicely tucked away and aren't a hassle when you move the charger around.
Some battery chargers can be pretty heavy, so it's nice that the JUS500IB has a handle. That makes its 16.5-pound bulk significantly easier to move around. While not the heaviest portable car battery charger on our lineup, it's certainly not light.
When the JUS500IB needs to be charged, all you have to do is plug it into a wall outlet in your home. Because it has overcharge protection, you don't need to worry about leaving it plugged in for too long. Older car battery chargers, and some new ones, don't have overcharge protection. With those, you need to be careful, because they don't stop pulling electricity from the outlet when they're fully charged. This can lead to exploding batteries – all of that energy needs to go somewhere.
Emergency Tools & Features
You get a host of useful emergency tools and features with the JUS500IB. If your phone dies while you're stranded, you can use the USB port on the JUS500IB to get it running again. There's also a DC power outlet like the one in your car that can power many other electronic devices.
When you need some light, you can use the JUS500IB's built-in LED flashlight to illuminate the way. It can be really hard to see what's going on under the hood when you're stranded at night. Having a flashlight handy is always a good idea.
The JUS500IB doesn't have a battery tester to show you how close your battery is to dying, but you do get an air compressor and a digital display. The air compressor is great for inflating tires in an emergency or blowing up tubes for a trip down the river. The digital display makes it easy to see how much juice the charger has left.
Warranty & Support
When you buy the Black & Decker JUS500IB, you get a two-year warranty. That's a good amount of time for you to notice any manufacturer defects or faults. The best car battery chargers in this category have warranties of up to five years. Still, a warranty of two years means that Black & Decker is confident that the JUS500IB won't have any problems for a long time.
While the Black & Decker JUS500IB isn't the very best car battery charger on our lineup, it comes close. Strong jump-starting capability and a host of emergency tools make this an enticing option. While the JUS500IB has some drawbacks, like the lack of a battery tester and trickle charging, it is an excellent battery charger.