No, not a dead battery! Have you ever had this happen? You finish your breakfast and head outside, ready to take on the day, only to find your battery has plum lost its juice. If you have experienced it, you likely know that having a set of the best jumper cables is a must. If you’ve never had the pleasure, then you don’t what you’re in for – because the fact is, you probably will experience it at one time or another in your car-driving life. It’s nearly inevitable that your battery will leave you stranded sometime, and it’s always at the most inopportune moment. For most of us, we don’t have a spare new car battery laying around, but we can always have jumper cables. Of course, there’s never an opportune time to be stranded on the road, now, is there? And isn’t that the point?
There are so many things that can drain your car’s battery, and not all of them have to do with human error. Sometimes, no matter how well you maintain your car, your battery’s power can still be depleted, and it can happen literally overnight. Electrical problems that lead to excessive parasitic drain, defective alternator, corroded battery cables, extreme temps – these and more can kill your battery darn quick, putting you and your family in a serious bind. That’s why you need, yes, need jumper cables. Here are 10 top-rated jumper cables that have the power your battery needs to get you back on the road in a flash.
10 Best Jumper Cables – Review Guide
Naturally, not all jumper cables are created equal. Which ones you purchase will depend on what type of vehicle you drive as well as your capability level. The best thing any consumer can do these days to determine products are best for their particular situation is to learn product details and read reviews. All of the following jumper cables available on the market today are consumer top-rated products.
These heavy duty, 1-gauge jumper cables from EPAuto are super long at 25 feet. They comes with a carrying bag for convenient transport and storage. Also included are a pair of safety gloves that aid in your work. These cables get the job done quickly.
Pros: Heavy duty cables can be used for cars, trucks, and even other heavy equipment such as tractors. Reviewers comment that the jaws are strong, and the cables are of quality size and strength to get the job done. Super-long cables make it easy to transfer power from one car to another, since cars don’t have to be close due to short cables. Additionally, considering how high the price of a good pair of jumper cables can go, these are of a solid low-to-mid price point.
Cons: Some reviewers comment that the bag is too small to get the cables back into it after use.
These easy-to-use jumper cables by Iron Forge are versatile because they can be used on cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and even motorcycles. Iron Forge touts them as being ‘tangle free,’ and they work in all climates, which makes them super convenient for use in winter. Plus, Iron Forge offers a lifetime replacement warranty. The company states, “Iron Forge Tools stands behind all of its products 100%. If anything ever goes wrong with this, we will replace it with a new item.” These cables work in all climates, too, which makes them convenient for use in winter.
Pros: Low price fits any budget. Made with heavy copper wire, which is better for electrical conductivity. Well-made, sturdy clamps.
Cons: Length of the cables (20 feet) can be an issue; may need 25 feet sometimes. Also, a few reviewers comment that the handles aren’t insulated.
Not to sound unoriginal, but if you don’t know the name, ‘Energizer,’ you really must be living under a rock. From Energizer comes these super-long, heavy duty jumper cables that allow stranded motorists to boost their battery’s juice from behind the vehicle. With thick vinyl coating and tangle-free cables, these are safe, and they’re simple for just about anyone to use.
Pros: Includes travel/storage bag. Copper clad aluminum remains flexible at extreme temps. Brand name folks trust. Plus, the extra length here gives these added convenience for motorists.
Cons: A few reviews comment that the teeth on the cables are too far back. Additionally, storage bag isn’t big enough to get the cables back into it after use.
These cables from TOPDC are copper coated aluminum for easy electrical conductivity, which means solid power transfer. The cables are heavy duty and durable. The strong clamps are designed for side and top post. Additionally, these can be used for multiple applications, including cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, and motorcycles.
Pros: Extra length means donor car doesn’t have to park directly behind the car with the dead battery. Excellent price fits nearly every budget.
Cons: Cable insulator has been known to stiffen in extreme cold weather.
These boosters cables by Kodiak are all copper, and this means superior electrical flow from donor car to donee car. Vehicles start up quickly with these heavy duty cables.
Pros: The length allows users to perform long-distance jump starts. Good for use on all vehicle types, including cars, vans, trucks, and even heavy equipment such as tractors. The ‘safe clamp-and-cable design’ makes it easy for solid connection to occur on both side- and top-mounted battery terminals. Add-on of magnetic LED flashlight gives extra protection to motorists stranded in the dark.
Cons: Carrying case is small, difficult to get cables back into the bag.
These heavy-duty jumper cables from Cartman are ideal for larger vehicles, including full-size pickups, freight hauling vehicles, and large recreational vehicles. Cartman states the design on these is a patented inside-tongue innovation for double connection with battery terminal.
Pros: Extra heavy duty makes these great for extra-large vehicles. Fits top and side post batteries. Free add-ons include carry/storage bag, wire brush for keeping parts corrosion-free, and safety gloves. Cables are long enough to reach from donor to donee cars. Price point works for most budgets.
Cons: Can be difficult to get cables back into small storage bag.
These durable, 1-gauge jumper cables are great for many types of vehicles, including cars, mid-size pickups, and freight hauling vehicles. The cables are easy to connect with a step guide label.
Pros: Strong clamps are designed for side and top post. Spring holds clamp with no falling off. Pure copper jaw on both sides makes for easy electrical flow. Long cable makes for easy connection between vehicles.
Cons: Not ideal for extra-large vehicles.
Voilamart Auto Commercial-Grade Automotive Booster Cables 1-Gauge 1200-Amp 20-Feet w/Carry Bag, Instruction Slip by Voilamart
Voilamart offers these heavy-duty, 1-gauge cables with PVC insulation have all-insulated handles over the clamps for extra safety. The tangle-free design allows for easy connectivity between donor and donee cars, and the cables work well even in extreme winter temps.
Pros: Great not just for cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks, but also for large agricultural commercial vehicles. Low price point fits most budgets. Includes simple instructions for beginners.
Cons: Difficult to get cables back into free add-on carry bag.
Bastex 12-Foot Power Booster Jumper Cables 10-Gauge with Insulated Handle on Copper Clips and Storage Bag by Bastex
These booster cables from Bastex are designed to give a quick and efficient charge. Design works for a variety of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and tractors. Good for all weather conditions.
Pros: Excellent price point suitable for all budgets, so there’s no excuse to not have jumper cables on hand. Free storage bag makes for added convenience.
Cons: Not as heavy duty as some other jumper cables on this guide.
Here’s another set of top-rated jumper cables that are so reasonably priced that motorists no longer need be without boosters. These 12-foot, 6-gauge, 300-amp cables fit top and side post battery terminals. They also come with a free travel bag for easy storage and transport.
Pros: Excellent price point. Added storage bag great for carrying and keeping cables untangled.
Cons: Shorter length can be an issue. Small carrying bag makes it difficult to get cables back inside.
How do I know which cables are best for my situation?
If you’ve never purchased jumper cables before, the first thing you need to do is learn about the different features. When buying jumper cables, think about these three things: gauge, clamps, and cable length.
Gauge: Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire. When it comes to jumper cables, higher isn’t necessarily better. In fact, the higher you go, the thinner the wire. The lower the gauge number, the more power and the quicker the start. For most motorists’ purposes, 6-gauge works fine. If you have a larger vehicle, you may need a 4- or 2-gauge.
Clamps: Strong clamps with solidly constructed teeth are vital for correct hold. You don’t want those clamps to slip off the battery terminals. Additionally, it’s important to find cables whose clamps have rubber-coated handles that will keep you safe from electrical shock.
Cable length: Minimally, cables should be 12 feet. But sometimes this is not long enough, depending on where your vehicle has gotten you stranded. Choosing 20- or 25-foot cables gives added convenience when donor cars are parked a little further away, such as in a parking lot.
Additional tips about jumper cables and jump-starting your car
It’s important to note that the higher the number of gauge in jumper cables, the thinner the wire, the less power, and the longer it will take to start your vehicle. However, this does not mean you should always choose jumper cables with the lowest number gauge! In fact, some vehicles do not need such power. For most vehicles, standard is best. Standard jumper cables tend to be around 6-gauge. But 8- or even 10-gauge may be sufficient to provide enough power for a lot of the more compact cars that are on the market today.
If you’ve never used jumper cables before and you’re just purchasing, always make sure your jumper cables come with instructions. If you don’t know how to use them properly, bad things can happen.
When it comes to anything electrical, safety is vital. Never attempt to use jumper cables without first reading the instructions and knowing just what you’re doing.
Before jump-starting your vehicle, you should do the following:
- FIRST, do not allow the prongs of the black and red cables to come into contact.
- Naturally, since your battery is dead, you won’t be able to start it in order to reposition it. Nonetheless, you will have to move it if it’s not where it needs to be. Get your car in a position so that it’s facing the front end of the donor car.
- Put on the emergency brake on both vehicles.
- Connect the cables following the instructions given in the jumper cables you purchased.
- If you don’t have any instructions, find the positive and negative sides of each battery, and attach one end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Then attach the other end of the red cable to the positive side of the powered battery.
- Next, connect one end of the black cable to the negative terminal of the powered battery, and then connect the other end of the black cable to any metal part underneath the hood of the car with the dead battery. Best practice is to find a section near the engine that has no paint.
- After you’re certain the connections are secure, run the car for about three minutes.
- Start the vehicle with the dead battery. You may have to turn it over a few times.
- Finally, once the dead battery is charged up, disconnect all cables, starting with the black ones, then the red ones.
- AGAIN, do not allow the prongs of the black and red cables to come into contact.
There’s only one thing your car truly needs that you didn’t drive it off the lot with – jumper cables. Having a means of jump-starting your battery if it dies isn’t a luxury or a suggestion or even a cautionary tale; it’s a necessity. Jumper cables can be a lifeline you toss yourself in an emergency situation on the road. You can even pay it forward by helping a fellow driver whose car battery has given out, and there’s really no better feeling than being a good Samaritan for someone else. Either way, when it comes to jumper cables, there’s only one regret you’ll ever have – not buying them.