12 Best Jumper Cables in 2017
Many of us don’t even give the jumper cables a second thought when it comes to stocking up the car with safety items.
Jumper cables come in many different gauges and lengths, and the last thing you want is a cable that isn’t capable of bringing a charge to your battery when it is dead.
If you’ve decided to dedicate a little extra time and research into finding the best jumper cables out there, our guide is exactly what you need.
Here, we highlight the top 12 cables, provide you with useful information and buying tips to help you understand how to choose them and then close the guide with reviews of the top five products.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Jumper Cables Comparison
- Understand Wire Gauge
- Don’t Forget About Cable Length
- Check out the Clamps
- Other Important Details
- Top 5 Best Jumper Cables Reviews
Top 12 Jumper Cables Comparison
Understand Wire Gauge
As you noticed in our table, we listed the wire gauge of the cables (some brands offer their products in different gauges) to help you find the right one for your needs.
The gauge refers to the thickness of the wire, and the smaller the number, the thicker the wire is.
- Gauge Numbers Explained – The best jumper cables for most car owners are made with 4-gauge or 6-gauge wire.
- 1-gauge or 2-gauge – These are industrial strength cables so, the average car owner won’t need them. If you have a truck, SUV or van, then you should purchase something like number 4 in our table the Unique Imports 800A Professional Booster Cable). Standard cars do best with the next option.
- 4-gauge, 6-gauge – For most vehicles, the 4-gauge or 6-gauge wire is just fine. They are much more dependable than 8-gauge and 10-gauge cables, which we will discuss next.
- 8-gauge, 10-gauge – Well, we’ll be honest: we wouldn’t purchase 10-guage cables even though there are some on our list. They just aren’t reliable enough for jumping a car battery, so unless you only need cables for an ATV or golf car, then we would suggest you stay between the 4-6 range.
We would only recommend them if you’re on a tight budget.
Don’t Forget About Cable Length
Narrow down the choices even further by choosing the right length; this is something you should do after determining the right gauge and not beforehand.
In most situations, longer cables are better. You never know who might need to jumpstart your car and at what angles they will be parked: in an ideal situation, they will park in front of you, their hood facing yours. If that’s not possible, then longer cables will help you reach the other vehicle’s battery regardless of the distance between you.
25 feet is plenty; 12 feet won’t provide you with any guarantees, and as you’ll notice in the table, usually the lower-quality cables made of 8-gauge or 10-gauge wire are shorter.
Check out the Clamps
The quality of the clamps also makes a big difference in the overall performance of the cables.
We like these:
As you can see, the protective insulation coats the entire handle and goes up to the teeth to keep you protected.
These clamps from the AAA cables, on the other hand, are just plain flimsy and the teeth probably couldn’t take a bite out of a pear.
Unfortunately, the AAA Medium-Duty Booster Cables do not win our vote for best jumper cables but rather as the “last resort” jumper cables if you’re in a bind.
Another thing you should look at when shopping for jumper cables is whether or not the clamps will fit on top post batteries or both top and side post batteries. It’s always better to have more choices, so we would lean toward cables that can fit both post types.
Other Important Details
It pays to understand the following details as you shop, as well, to ensure that you are truly purchasing the right jumper cables.
- 100% Copper or Aluminum Coated Copper? – Pure copper is the best choice since it has such a high electrical conductivity.While aluminum-coated copper is fine, too, it won’t perform to nearly the same level as pure copper.
- Temperature – Check to see what the manufacturer says about the cables’ performance regarding Will they still be able to handle a jump in extreme cold or extreme heat?If you experience either of these in your area, be sure that the cables you choose are designed to perform well in both!
- Understand the Amps – We see so many car owners who want to know how many amps their jumper cables should have, and the best place to look is in the owner’s manual. If you don’t find any useful info there, then hit the net.Try plugging the make and model of your car into a search engine and see what the internet says. Chances are you’ll find the answer to your question.We’re not electrical engineers, but we do know a lot about research and where the good resources are!
Top 5 Best Jumper Cables Reviews
These cables from Cartman are by far the most popular choice on our list.
They meet the needs of many vehicle owners (they’re great for mid-sized trucks, full-size cars and vans) and met our standards when it came to gauge, length and clamp durability.
These cables will fit both top and side post batteries, and the coating on the clamps is reliable (it won’t slide off like that on the AAA clamps). We like that they offer you a length chart to help you visualize a potential jump setup and the length required in the event of that situation.
The kit includes cables, gloves and carrying case all for a very reasonable price.
We highly recommend them!
As a battery expert already, it makes sense that Energizer also creates jumper cables to help get you out of a bind when your battery dies.
If you have a super-sized rig that requires some serious jumping power, then their 1-gauge or 2-gauge cables are just what you need.
We loved the clamps: strong, sturdy and provide you with a solid connection to the battery posts. You can use them on either side-post or top-post batteries.
The 1-gauge cables do cost a bit more than some of the other options, but they’re dependable and quite long (which is just what you need when you’re jumping larger vehicles.
We’ve been stuck in enough dead battery situations to tell you that spending a bit more on a reliable set of cables like this is worth it. You’ll see for yourself when you actually need to use them!
Keep in mind that a carrying case will need to be purchased separately because these cables don’t come with one.
While the top choice on our list had many features that we liked, this set is slightly more affordable, and they’re made just as well: a great alternative! You can use these for motorcycles, cars, trucks, SUVs and vans, which means they are an all-around versatile set of cables that most vehicle owners choose.
The teeth are great, and they provide a secure grip on the posts and with 20 feet of cable, you can reach pretty much anywhere.
Some weren’t too thrilled with the fact that the cables weren’t made with 100% copper (but rather copper-coated aluminum), but you shouldn’t expect them to be in this price range.
They also come with gloves and a carrying case; just two more items that you don’t need to spend money on!
We mentioned these heavy-duty cables earlier, so if you didn’t find that the Energizer cables met your needs, give these a try.
You will notice the solid layer of protective coating that they have from tip to tip, something that renders them temperature resistant and safe to use in both extreme cold and extreme heat.
We noticed that the teeth aren’t as rough and jagged as some of the other clamps we looked at, but the connection is still secure (they seemed to have chosen more teeth/smaller teeth as opposed to fewer teeth/larger teeth and it works).
They’re long, rust-resistant and dependable cables in the event of an emergency: if you have a large pickup, SUV or cargo vehicle, then make sure you have a set of these in the emergency box!
OxGord offers a little something for everyone, so whether you’re looking for a short 4-gauge wire cable or a long 10-gauge cable, they have those and everything in between.
These are entry-level cables with a lower price tag, which is to be expected since they’re made of aluminum coated copper as opposed to 100% copper.
Unfortunately, the coating only reaches as far up as the clamp handles rather than up to the teeth, but the teeth do provide a secure grip around the battery posts once attached.
If you live in an area with temperatures that dip down below 0°F, we wouldn’t recommend them since they’re not going to be very reliable in the cold, but for average car owners on a budget, these are actually pretty good!