Getting my license at age 16 was a breath of fresh air. It was me, my used 2007 Mazda6, and the open road. As anyone who knew me at the time will say, though, I was a misfortune magnet as a teenager and this extended to my car. There was even a running joke among my peers that I was on a first-name basis with the local tow truck drivers because AAA had to dispatch them on a regular basis — a dead battery being one of the more common mishaps.
Whether the battery died so often because I left a light on, the weather was frighteningly cold, or I waited too long to replace the battery, doesn’t really matter. However, my mom eventually saw fit to save me both time and money by gifting me the Halo Bolt Portable Car Jump Starter so I would always have a way to give my little car a boost when I needed it most. Neither of us knew how often I would actually use it.
The Halo Bolt can be attached to the battery using the short jumper cables. Photo by Kaitlin Hatton / The Verge
As my car aged and I put thousands of miles on it driving across Ohio and back to attend college, it needed more and more attention. On average, I would use my Halo Bolt charger at least once every few months, and it always worked.
The device comes with its own set of short jumper cables which store easily in its carrier bag. The Bolt’s manufacturer says it can jump-start a standard car’s battery up to 217 times. (Luckily, I didn’t have to test it quite that often.) Additionally, the company claims that one of these chargers can jump a car, boat, lawn mower, or motorcycle. In between uses, simply plug it into a wall socket for a few hours before returning the charger to the car. It fits snugly under my driver’s seat and retains its charge for long periods of time without needing to be topped up.
The real value for me, however, comes from the ability to plug other electronic devices into it through its two 2.4A USB ports and three-prong AC outlet. Of my Mazda’s two power sockets, only one worked, and more often than not, I found myself in need of multiple outlets. Using the Halo Bolt’s two USB ports, I could quickly and easily charge my phone, my iPod Touch, and even the occasional laptop. When not actively jumping a car, it can charge multiple devices at once.
The Bolt includes two USB ports and an AC outlet for portable charging. Photo by Kaitlin Hatton / The Verge
Coincidentally, when I said goodbye to my first car, I seemed to have shed the bad luck that haunted me. I have yet to use my Halo Bolt to jump-start my newest vehicle, but I still find uses for the portable charger. It comes in handy when a storm has knocked out my apartment’s power supply. I’ve been able to keep my phone charged, which gives me peace of mind knowing I can contact loved ones or ask for help in case of an emergency. The product listing claims the Halo Bolt offers enough charge to allow for dozens of hours of talk time, depending on your phone.
Finally, the Bolt has an LED floodlight, which I’ve used in tandem with a manual flashlight to see my way around my apartment.
The Halo Bolt weighs less than three pounds and comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including paisley, floral, graphite, chevron, camouflage, and more. The Halo Bolt 58830 model runs about $80, which is well worth the peace of mind that comes with having a power source to jump my car’s battery or to see me through a power outage.
Halo Bolt Charger 58830
$80 $100 21% off
Prices taken at time of publishing.
Portable car jump-starter with two USB ports and an AC outlet.
$80 at Amazon