Even cars need the occasional jump-start. You wouldn’t want to be caught dead by the curb without the best jumper cables to hook on to and restart!
Go for that 16-foot, well-insulated, tangle-free cable. Check for well-toothed alligator clamps bundled with a nice carry-case and you will have lesser worries besides flagging someone down for a jump-start.
Jumper Cables Reviews
Energizer 25-foot 800A
The jumper cable set from Energizer is 25ft long and can charge side terminal batteries. They features professional-quality clamps that prevent them from slipping from the terminals during charging.
Iron Forge Tools 20-Foot 400 Amp
These 2-gauge jumper cables from Iron Forge Tools are 20ft long and can be used in a variety of weather conditions and work with many vehicle types, including motorcycles.
Red Hound Auto 500Amp
These commercial-grade 2-gauge jumper cables from Red Hound are 25ft long and feature a thick insulation that keeps it flexible under all weather conditions, making them ideal for field use.
Big Ant 500 Amp Booster Cable Kit
These Big Ant 20ft 4-gauge jumper cables are made with higher-quality TPR material. They also have low temperature resistance, staying flexible up to -18 F.
TruPoint 400 Amp
These 20ft 4-gauge jumper cables from TruPoint can recharge dead batteries in just a few minutes. They also have ergonomically designed handles to ensure a no-slip grip.
Coleman Cable 500 Amp 08666
These 4-gauge 16ft jumper cables from Coleman Cable feature Polar-Glo polarity labels on the clamps, making them safer to use under night or low light conditions.
Performance Tool 600 Amp W1673
These 4-gauge 20ft jumper cables from Performance Tool are designed for heavy vehicles such as SUVs and trucks. They boast of heavy-duty copper clamps and rubber-coated cables.
Unique Imports 800 Amp
These 1-gauge industrial strength jumper cables from Unique Imports are designed to work safely in extreme weather conditions. They are 25ft long and have rust-resistant clamps.
ALEKO 600 Amp CH-NA008
These 2-gauge jumper cables from ALEKO are 20-feet long and work with side-terminal batteries. They also remain flexible up to -40 F.
Cal-Hawk 600 Amp CBC25
These 2-gauge jumper cables from Cal-Hawk are made with heavyweight materials that hold up well to repeated use. They are 25ft long and work in cold and hot weather.
How Jumper Cables Work
Jumper cables refer to a set of 2 thick, heavy-duty wires with gauges or alligator clips at both ends. You can use these tools to jumpstart vehicles with drained or dead batteries.
Jumpstarting a vehicle requires a second battery, typically from another vehicle to give its dead battery enough power to start the engine. This gets the alternator to work.
The alternator is attached to the car’s engine and uses its rotating function to generate electricity. The voltage produced is then used to boost or recharge the dead battery.
Jumper cables always come in two sets – a black cable set for the negative terminal and a red cable set for the positive terminal. Make sure the cables are connecting like sides of the batteries (i.e. positive to positive, negative to negative); otherwise accidents may occur.
In general, jumper cables only differ by their thickness. The thicker they are, the more power they can conduct and transfer from vehicle to vehicle.
They also vary in length and clamp quality. By choosing jumper cables correctly, you can give your dead car a quick boost without any disastrous consequences.
How to Select Jumper Cables
Jumper cables may all look the same, but they actually vary in some qualities. When buying, be sure to get those with the recommended specs and keep in mind the following considerations.
Gauge – In terms of gauge, you will want to get a lower number. The lower the gauge number, the more energy passes through and the quicker the battery will charge.
Width – Just because it looks thick and is labeled “heavy duty” doesn’t always mean it is. Look at the gauge amount of the cables instead.
Clamp – Get jumper cables with a sturdy clamp with teeth. The teeth are an assurance that the battery terminals are held secure and won’t slip off.
Length – Buy jumper cables that are at least 12-foot long. The longer, the better, and the faster you can connect the batteries from two cars.
Handle – Make sure the jumper cables you’re getting have thick, rubber-coated handles to reduce the risk of shock. Skip the ones with shrink-wrap insulation style and choose those with solid insulation on their handles.
How to Use Jumper Cables to Jumpstart A Vehicle
Park your vehicle next to or facing the vehicle giving you the power boost. Lift both hoods and keep them open. Make sure both vehicles are off.
Grab the red cable on one end and clamp it to the positive battery terminal of the “dead” vehicle. Grab the red cable on the other end and clamp it to the positive battery terminal of the vehicle giving the boost.
Grab the black cable on one end and clamp it to the negative battery terminal of the vehicle giving the boost. Clamp the other end to the unpainted knob or metal screw located near the dead car’s battery.
The connection should now be grounded. Do not let the black cable touch the vehicle’s engine. Now, start the “boost” vehicle and leave it on for a few minutes.
Start the vehicle with the dead battery and leave it on for some minutes as well. This keeps the power juices flowing. After which, the dead vehicle should already have the power boost it needs.
When all is done, remove the cables in reverse order. Pack and store them away neatly. If the battery still dies often or this procedure does not work at all, you may need to buy a new car battery already.
Advantages of Having Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables
When shopping for jumper cables, always choose the heavy-duty type. They transmit more energy in less time and lessen the chances of you getting a shock. Following are the other advantages of thicker cables over smaller ones.
Bigger Clips – Heavy-duty jumper cables have bigger, sturdier alligator clips that allow for better connection between two batteries. You will no longer need to agitate the clips too much to get good connection.
Better Current Flow – If a high level of electrical current runs through a small conducting material, that material may heat up and eventually be destroyed. Heavy-duty cables have more conducting material, making them more capable of conducting higher levels of current.
Jumper cables need to transmit the required amount of energy to jumpstart a vehicle. If they are not thick and sturdy enough, they won’t transmit enough current between batteries.
Spark Protection – Since heavy-duty cables have larger alligator clips, you can hold them further back as you attach the clips to the terminals of the batteries.
This means you can keep your hands as far away from the spot where the cables make a connection, and where big sparks are likely to occur.