Tool Review: Associated Equipment KwikStart Industrial Jump Starter

April 14, 2017
The reviewer appreciated the longer 84” length of the leads included with this jump starter.

The Associated Equipment KwikStart Industrial Jump Starter, No. KS401, includes light diagnostics displaying voltage output of the vehicle battery, voltage output of the vehicle alternator and 7' long DC cables. The heavy duty portable power unit can be set on the ground and easily reaches the battery in most 4x4 pickups, sport utility and other high profile vehicles. An ergonomic, impact-resistant case with rubberized base protects the unit. The 12V 22Ah sealed AGM battery delivers 1,700 peak amps and 360 CCA of cold crank power. The KS401 features a digital LED display with internal battery state of charge readings as well as a 12V power port and USB power port.

The review

Especially in colder weather, technicians need a reliable booster or jump starter to jump start dead vehicles. Eric Moore, owner of DeMary Truck in Columbus, Ohio, found that the Associated Equipment KwikStart Industrial Jump Starter, No. KS401, worked well and was easy to use.

“The KS401 was great for saving technicians the trouble of having to roll out jumper cables and line up an additional vehicle to jump start a dead vehicle,” Moore says.

Moore appreciated the almost 84” long charger leads. He also liked that the charger had a USB port for charging personal electronics: something he has noticed is increasingly common for newer boosters on the market. He says the the clamps have good spring tension, and that the enclosed charger allowed technicians to plug the extension cord right in, instead of having to keep track of an adapter or inverter.

When the temperatures dropped just before this past winter, Moore and his technicians used the KS401 to start numerous vehicles, cars, light trucks, snow throwers, a lawn tractor, gasoline-powered medium duty trucks and some smaller diesel trucks. On bigger trucks, Moore says that the KS401, “seemed to start strong but faded fast, and didn’t end up starting all of the bigger vehicles.”

The KS401 was shipped in a simple box without any accessories. It did include an easy-to-follow manual that was printed in multiple languages. The only setup involved was ensuring that the KS401 was fully charged before use.

Moore did notice that since the digital voltage display was also a message center, it was sometimes a bit confusing for technicians because of the scrolling text. He ended up printing out an index for the information and taping it to the unit so his technicians could decipher it more quickly. As an improvement, Moore suggests making the information display easier to read or adding an analog gauge so technicians can tell the amount of charge at a glance.

“We had good feedback for the KS401," Moore says. "With the only drawback being that the information display can be hard to understand.”

Overall, Moore emphasized how much the longer leads were appreciated by tech’s in the shop, in addition to the unit’s ease of use. 

“The Associated Equipment KS401 jump starter is very easy to use," he says. "There is a large red 'on/off' switch for 12V power, as well as a status button to push for an update on overall charge of the unit.”

About the Author

Stefanie Von Rueden | Assistant Editor - Vehicle Repair Group

Stefanie Von Rueden is assistant editor for the Vehicle Repair Group.

Von Rueden’s background includes professional writing and publishing. Previously, she worked in the Continuing Education department at UW-Whitewater. She has covered the vehicle maintenance and automotive aftermarket since 2016.

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