Product Review: Black and Decker Simple Start

Black and Decker Simple Start. Photos by Adam Wright 2011

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Real World Testing

What do the Star Ratings Mean?

I got this in the marked down section of Wal-Mart and thought it might be a really cool product. It is small enough to fit in the glove compartment and if it could replace bulky jumper cables it could really be an innovation. It's designed to charge a dead battery through the 12V receptacle, or the cigarette lighter. Basically you plug one side labeled "To Dead Car" into the car with the dead battery and the other side plug labeled "To Working Car" into the car that is operable, simple enough, right?

As luck would have it a few days after I bought it one of my cars had a dead battery, a perfect opportunity to try out the Black and Decker Simple Start. Black and Decker advertises the Simple Start as "no jumper cable required" so I left those in the trunk when I went to use this product. Quickly I learned one fatal flaw in the design and the death knell for the product ever replacing jumper cables. The key must be in the 1st position of the ignition, turning the car on, for this product to work. This is great except most new cars have electronic keys that won't turn if the battery is dead. My car has an electronic key, so this product was useless. Luckily I was in my own garage and not on the side of the road without jumper cables. When you hook jumper cables to the car it provides power so you can turn the key. With the Black and Decker Simple Start you have to already have power to the car so this product would only work if your battery was somewhat drained, but not if your battery was dead.

I declare this product useless and a little mis-leading.

Pros: The pros are that it was cheap.

Cons: The cons far outweigh the pros because the product only works under certain conditions and not when you need it most, when your battery is dead.

Buy It Now, Buy It Later?
I would not buy it at all.

Bang for the Buck
The Simple Start was marked down to $15, so it's not a total waste of money, but doesn't work when you might need it to.

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