The best roadside emergency car kits you can buy

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When I, as a teenager, bought my first car, my parents gave me a roadside emergency kit for Christmas. For years, that kit sat in the back of my car, unused - until one day it didn't. When my car broke down on the side of the road, during torrential rain, I was so glad to have that kit. It had everything I needed, including a poncho, reflective triangle, and roadside flares. It also contained jumper cables that I now use numerous times to help friends jump-start their cars' dead batteries.

Don't think of roadside emergency kits as "just in case" purchases; if you are ever in a situation where you'd need them, they're invaluable. You can purchase everything from the most basic kit to a deluxe package with more supplies than you could ever possibly use, but finding the right kit takes some time. Some more affordable kits include low-quality supplies, and when you're in a pinch you don't want to depend on a product that won't work. Other kits have some essential items, but they don't include some important basics you'll almost certainly need.

We've identified the best roadside emergency kits to help make your decision easier. Our selections are based on a number of factors, and we've assessed the items contained in the kits, any valuable items that may be missing, the overall quality of the products, the kits' price points, and how satisfied buyers are with their purchases. Many of these kits include items that the National Safety Council, Ready, and American Automobile Association recommend in a roadside emergency kit, but not all, like a can opener, batteries, hand-crank radio, etc.

Keeping a kit in each vehicle you drive can give you peace of mind that you're prepared in the case of a breakdown or an accident. These kits also make excellent gifts for new drivers, or for anyone who has a vehicle but doesn't yet have a kit of their own.

Here are the best roadside emergency kits you can buy in 2019:

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

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The best roadside emergency kit overall

The best roadside emergency kit overall
Why you'll love it: The INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit is full of useful and practical items, all at an excellent price.

The INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit is our top pick based on its overall value, a reasonable price, and the variety of useful items that it includes. This kit has a little bit of everything in it: jumper cables, warning triangles, screwdriver, socket set, tow strap, and glow sticks. It includes what you'll need to stay safe and visible roadside, as well as a few tools that may be able to help you get back on the road again.

One of my favorite items this kit contains is an auto window glass hammer and seatbelt cutter — one convenient tool that could potentially save your life in an emergency. Placed in your glove box, you can use this tool to cut a seat-belt or break a car window in an emergency. Considering that this tool is notoriously hard to find and sells for around $10 on its own, it's evidence of the overall value that this kit offers.

All 112 pieces of this kit fit conveniently into a carrying case that fits under a seat or inside a trunk, taking up minimal space. Hopefully you'll never need to use this kit, but it's filled with helpful items, including a first aid kit, that all drivers should have with them. With its relatively low price, this kit is an excellent investment in your own safety and peace of mind, but it also makes a great gift for new drivers too.

The INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit has a 4.9 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 24 customer reviews. Amazonguy was impressed that it has a towing strap for getting out of mud, while Loren Rush was highly pleased with "the most complete kit I have seen."

Pros: Comprehensive 112-piece kit, includes glass breaker/seat-belt cutter tool, fits into compact storage bag

Cons: First aid kit is a bit basic

Buy the INEX Life Car Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit on Amazon for $57.41

The best budget roadside emergency kit

The best budget roadside emergency kit
Why you'll love it: At approximately $30, the STDY Auto Emergency Kit is full of 57 items, making it a great starter roadside kit on a budget.

The STDY Auto Emergency Kit isn't as comprehensive as some other kits, but it provides surprising value for its lower price point. This kit has all of the essentials including a reflective warning triangle, a tire repair kit, an emergency blanket, a tow rope, jumper cables, and a safety hammer. The hammer itself is reason enough to buy this kit since it allows you to break the glass and cut a seat-belt in an emergency.

There's also a first aid kit with scissors, cotton swabs, tweezers, and other helpful items – but no bandages or ointment is included. Essentials like jumper cables and a tow rope can help you to get back on the road. This kit also includes a whistle, an important safety feature that many other kits overlook.

The STDY Auto Emergency Kit has a 4.6 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 29 customer reviews.

Pros: Affordably priced, contains the essentials, includes items like an emergency blanket and tweezers that other kits overlook

Cons: Missing some important items like bandages and flares

Buy the STDY Auto Emergency Kit on Amazon for $28.99

The best premium roadside emergency kit

The best premium roadside emergency kit
Why you'll love it: The AutoClubHero Premium Car Emergency Survival Kit is a 185-piece kit that prepares you for just about any emergency you could encounter while on the road.

If you'd like to be super-prepared for just about any situation you could encounter while on the road, then the AutoClubHero Premium Car Emergency Survival Kit is for you. This comprehensive 185-piece kit contains practical supplies that you're likely to put to use, like a tow strap, an ice scraper, and jumper cables. It also includes some items that hopefully you'll never have to use, such as food rations, water, and a survival guide.

The 85-piece first aid kit is one of the most well-stocked kits I've seen, and it includes an assortment of bandages, medical tape, gauze, ointments, alcohol pads, a cold compress, and more. It contains everything you need to treat minor injuries.

When it comes to getting yourself back on the road, this kit has the items you'll need for minor car repairs. Whereas many kits contain a tire repair kit, they often don't include an air compressor — this one does. Other helpful items include an LED headlamp, screwdrivers, electrical tape, fuses, and needle-nose pliers. Other safety essentials, like a reflector triangle and help sign, are also included.

The AutoClubHero Premium Car Emergency Survival Kit has a 4.5 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 50 customer reviews. Alison R. Benton wrote, "It is a little pricey compared to some other kits, but well worth it!" Marie C. Stauber said, "These guys anticipated every need you might have and I sincerely hope I never need to use it, but if I do, I'm prepared now!"

Pros: 185 pieces to handle nearly any emergency, 85-piece first aid kit, items to get you back on the road

Cons: Kit is too large to fit under a seat

Buy the AutoClubHero Premium Car Emergency Survival Kit on Amazon for $129.95

The best winter roadside emergency kit

The best winter roadside emergency kit
Why you'll love it: With warming supplies to help keep you comfortable during a winter weather breakdown, the Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit is a must for cold-weather travel.

A breakdown in winter weather requires particular supplies, and the Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit is designed just for that circumstance. Warmth will become a real concern in the event that you can't turn your vehicle on or have limited gas, and this kit includes warmth accessories such as tea candles; a fleece set of gloves, scarf, and hat; an emergency blanket; and hand-warmer packets.

Additional supplies include a folding shovel, LED flashlight, batteries, emergency whistle, and ice scraper. This kit also includes a 45-piece first aid kit. Everything is stored neatly in a compact bag that can fit underneath a seat.

The value of this kit is really in its warming items, which aren't offered by many other kits. If you live in an area that receives harsh winter weather, this kit would be well worth the investment. Pair this kit with some visibility essentials, like road flares, and you'll have a well-rounded emergency supply collection for winter weather.

The Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit has a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 67 customer reviews. Ocanada wrote, "I researched a lot of car kits to give to my husband and this was perfect. We live in Colorado, so a good 'severe weather' kit was essential ... It doesn't take up too much room in his truck and I will be ordering one for my vehicle as well."

Pros: Warming supplies, 45-piece first aid kit

Cons: Battery-powered flashlight would be better if replaced by a light with a hand crank, kit would benefit from some emergency visibility supplies

Buy the Lifeline AAA Severe Weather Road Safety Kit on Amazon for $54.10

The best high-visibility roadside emergency kit

The best high-visibility roadside emergency kit
Why you'll love it: The Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit contains high-visibility supplies to help keep you safe if you're ever stranded roadside.

Whereas many emergency kits fall short on quality high-visibility products, the Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit focuses entirely on making you visible to other drivers. These items are essential for keeping you safe if your car broke down on the side of the road, and increased visibility can potentially keep other drivers from hitting you or your car.

This kit contains everything you need to maximize your safety during a breakdown. Two reflective triangles fold up for compact storage and can be set out to draw attention to your vehicle. One flashing LED emergency light and one neon safety vest also help to keep you safe and visible.

All of these items fit neatly inside a storage bag that can be tucked underneath a seat or placed in your trunk. Because it doesn't contain other essential items, it's best paired with another roadside emergency kit.

The Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit has a 4.2 out of 5-star Amazon rating based on 44 customer reviews.

Pros: Higher quality, heavy-duty visibility items, easy to use, compact storage fits under a seat

Cons: Should be paired with another kit for a more complete supply of emergency items

Buy the Always Prepared Reflective Car Emergency Roadside Kit on Amazon for $28.99
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