TESTED: TESTED: ANTIGRAVITY BATTERIES MICRO-START XP-1 GEN 2 AND XP-20 HD
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
Dead batteries never happen at a convenient time. You’re always trying to get somewhere in your vehicle or set off on a ride when you go to engage the starter and the only thing that follows is the resounding silence of nothing happening. Depending on the vehicle you’re trying to start, where you are, and whether or not you’re alone – a dead battery can be a single serving of Murphy’s law, or a multi-course force fed meal of misery and/or cause of a survival situation. Yet with an Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start in your kit, jump-starting said dead vehicle takes just a couple of minutes.
A Micro-Start is a portable jump-starting battery and personal power supply that is capable of providing enough power to jump start a dead vehicle and/or keep all sorts of devices charged up when you’re in the field. The fancy lithium battery in a Micro-Start can provide hundreds of amps of current to start a bike or a truck, and various USB ports on the device allow you to use the Micro-Start to charge all sorts of other devices whenever you need.
Antigravity Batteries was the first company to bring a lithium-powered jump starting battery to market with their original Micro-Start XP-1 in 2012. Over the last decade, they’ve expanded and revised their line of Micro-Starts to match the needs of different users and different use cases. Two of their latest and greatest Micro-Starts are the XP-20-HD, which is the most powerful and largest capacity offering, and the XP-1 Gen 2, which is the next generation version of the very portable XP-1.
The XP-1 Gen 2 isn’t much larger than a pint can of your favorite beer, yet this little box that fits in the palm of your hand is capable of starting big V8-powered trucks with 400 amps of starting current. With a rated capacity of 12,000 milliamp hours, the XP-1 Gen 2 is capable of completely fast-charging a current gen smartphone twice via its 30 watt USB-PD port. This USB-PD port is also how the unit is charged, making it easy to charge the Micro-Start from any USB type C source you have access to. A USB type-A port supports Quick Charge 3.0, so charging all sorts of devices that use proprietary cables can be done with the XP-1 Gen 2 as well. Rounding out the features on the unit is a flashlight that can be set to On, Strobe, or SOS Flash mode.
The XP-20-HD is the most powerful and largest capacity Micro-Start, and as such it’s a larger device, measuring two 12-ounce cans tall. Yet the trade-off for this increased footprint is a seriously impressive power reserve. Starting power on the XP-20-HD is rated at 930 amps, which is more current than is provided by the starting battery in many vehicles. Total battery capacity is 24,000 milliamp hours, which is more than enough power to completely charge a modern smartphone four times. A USB-PD port is good for 100 watts in (charging the Micro-Start) or out, which enables the XP-20-HD to charge all sorts of devices including laptops. Two USB Type A ports allow you to charge multiple devices at once, and a DC output allows you plug in a 12 V cigarette-style adapter for devices with a cigarette plug. The flashlight on the XP-20-HD has constant On, Strobe, and SOS modes.
Using a Micro-Start to jump start a vehicle is an easy process. Expose the battery that needs to be jumped, and identify the positive and negative terminals. CORRECTLY Connect the Micro-Start clamps to the battery, and then to the Micro-Start ensuring that the clamp connector fully seats in the Micro-Start’s port. Turn on the Micro-Start. If you’ve connected everything correctly, the Micro-Start will indicate as such, and you can attempt to start the vehicle. If you’ve connected something incorrectly, the Micro-Start will make it very obvious that it’s saving you with its built-in protections – a feature you don’t get with jumper cables.
In the real world, the XP-1 Gen 2 has started every dead vehicle I’ve come across with ease. From a HEMI-swapped JK with a known bad battery, to a 289 in a sixty-six Mustang that wasn’t left plugged in, a couple of minutes with the XP-1 was all it took to bring these rigs back to life. Given that 5.7 liter V8s are no sweat for the XP-1, starting a motorcycle is no factor.
The XP-1 comes in a zippered case that measures approximately 9x8x2 inches, but for ultimate portability, the hot ticket is to put the XP-1, the clamps, and any cables you need in something like a large Upshift Dmada pouch to cut down on packed volume. Minimizing packed volume is where I found my one complaint with the XP-1 Gen 2, and that is the massive plastic housing for the protection circuitry on the clamps. Given that the XP-1 Gen 2 clamps look identical to the clamps on my old XP-10, and that the XP-20-HD clamps don’t have this massive plastic chingus, it feels like Antigravity left an opportunity to make the XP-1 more packable on the table by not giving the XP-1 Gen 2 the same style clamps as the XP-20-HD, where the protection circuitry is in the Micro-Start. That being said, the XP-1 Gen 2 is still very packable, and absolutely worth the space it takes in your pack when you need it.
If the XP-1 Gen 2 can start anything I’ve hooked it to with ease, the XP-20-HD feels like bringing a gun to a knife fight. This is the one jump starter to rule them all. The XP-20-HD more than pays for its increase in size over the XP-1 with the sheer versatility that it offers. It has enough battery capacity to charge your phone several times, meaning that at one good charge a day, a XP-20-HD can play power bank for the better part of a week of camping without recharging. Its USB-PD port makes for fast charges, at 100 W it can give even top shelf laptops a boost in power. The move with the XP-20-HD while moto camping is to charge all of your devices in camp, and charge the Micro-Start from your bike while riding as needed. Unlike a standalone power bank, the Micro-Start can also jump a dead battery, and multi-use kit is always a win when space matters.
Antigravity Batteries Micro-Starts are indispensable for anyone whose plans can get derailed by a dead battery. Over the last few years, my old XP-10, and now these new XP-1 and XP-20-Micro-Starts have proven their worth time and time again in keeping dead batteries from ruining plans. With a Micro-Start in your vehicle, it takes 2 minutes of your time to practice random acts of kindness and help someone out who would otherwise be stranded by jumping their vehicle. With a Micro-Start in your pack or your luggage, you have a highly effective backup plan for jumping your bike or just keeping your other electronic gear powered up as you journey into the remote places of the world. The choice of which Micro-Start to get comes down to what you need to start and how much power you need on hand, but know that either way you can’t go wrong with an Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start.