Best Jumper Cables – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
Best Jumper Cables – Introduction
You hop into your car after a long day at work. Check yourself in the mirror before popping the keys into the ignition. Go to crank it up and NOTHING. The dreaded dead battery has struck again. Maybe you left your headlights on, or maybe you forgot to unplug your device from the cigarette lighter. What ever the case, you’re stuck and all of your coworkers are already gone.
Luckily, you’re prepared for this situation and can just pop the trunk, grab your set of jumper cables and ask a nearby Samaritan for assistance with jumping your battery. A few short minutes and you’re off, car running as smoothly as ever. This wouldn’t have been possible without a quality set of jumper cables. Another scenario is that you get to be the good Samaritan and help a driver in need.
In some cases, the Jumper Cables alone may be enough to get a car up and running again. You may want to also consider a Roadside Emergency Kit that contains everything you might need.
Jumper Cables, sometimes referred to as Booster Cables, allow you to connect your car’s charging system to another car’s charging system which can provide enough power to get your engine running again. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not actually jumping or fully charging your car’s battery, you’re just temporarily stealing enough power to get your engine started. This allows your car’s charging system to do it’s job which is to keep your engine running and charge the battery.
A high quality set of Jumper Cables is important to ensure safety and optimal electricity flow between the cars. Let’s take a look at what we’re looking for:
What to Look For in a High Quality Jumper Cable Set
Length isn’t the most important quality of a cable in terms of it’s quality. But length of the cables does make a huge difference in usability. The ability to connect two cars that have batteries on opposite sides of the engine bay or in the event that you aren’t able to pull the cars directly adjacent to one another. We recommend a length greater than 20ft for the best Jumper Cable usability. Beware that length can affect the current capacity of the wires so Jumper Cables that are too long will not provide adequate capacity.
The Gauge of a cable refers to the diameter of the cable and directly determines the amount of electric current that a wire can safely carry as well as its electrical resistance and weight. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) standard is the most commonly used standard which ranges from 40-0000(4/0). This scale actually goes in reverse – 40 being the thinnest and 0000 (4/0) being the thickest diameter with the greatest current capacity. We recommend at least a 4 gauge set to ensure optimal current flow across the longer cables.
Cable Material is refers to the actual conductor that is being used to transfer the electricity. Lower quality cables might use a copper coated wire while higher quality cables use pure copper wires. Copper is the recommended conductor or wire material for ensuring you get the best booster cables. Pure copper wire is very expensive so the majority of Jumper Cable kits will be Copper-Clad Aluminum meaning aluminum wires with a copper coating.
Current Load Rating
Current Load Rating is an estimated maximum current capacity for a cable. It is based upon a combination of the cable material, length, and gauge. A minimum of 500A of current capacity is recommended to ensure proper flow of electricity between the charging systems.
Top 5 Best Jumper Cables Comparison
OxGord is a popular brand in the manufacturing and distribution of Automotive Parts. The fact that they own the manufacturing and distribution means that you’re buying direct and therefore will save on costs. OxGord products always come very reasonably priced and generally have great reviews amongst consumers and professionals.
This Jumper Cable set features 4-Gauge copper coated aluminum wires that are rated up to 500A. They are 25 feet long so if you’re concerned with range being a limiting factor, these are the longest set we have on the list. The cable coating is TPR and designed for temperature resistance down to -40 degrees C. The Connectors are dual construction with extra strong grip copper teeth to ensure great conductivity between the battery and the cables. These will work on both top and side post batteries.
An average of 4.5 stars across hundreds of reviews plus a price tag under $20 makes this an appealing set. Especially due to the extra length that you get relative to the other sets on our list. Take a look at this set if you are looking for the most length for your dollar while still maintaining good quality.
EPAuto is a popular up and coming brand in the online automotive parts and accessories arena. They’ve already grown into a pretty large brand and the vast majority of their products come backed with great customer reviews and prices. This set is actually the cheapest on the list yet comes just as highly rated as the other sets.
The EPAuto set features heavy-duty 4 AWG copper clad aluminum cable that is rated for up to 500A capacity. The heavy duty copper plated clamps ensure that you get a secure attachment for both top and side post batteries. 20 feet of length is the optimal amount for balancing flexibility with current capacity. This kit even includes a set of safety working gloves and a travel bag for stowing when not in use.
With over five hundred reviews, a 4.8 star average consumer rating, and a price tag under $20, it is easy to see why this is our recommendation for the best Jumper Cable set from a value perspective. Definitely take a look at these if you’re budget conscious and don’t need anything beyond the basics.
XINCOL is known for its 15+ years of Car Roadside Assistance. After that much experience working with all shapes and sizes of jumper cables, they created this Professional grade Jumper Cable. It is designed with higher quality materials to greatly exceed any current capacity and withstand withstand harsh temperature changes.
The 1 AWG 100% Copper Wires ensure the best possible conductivity and temperature resistance. It also features an electrical current capacity of up to 2500A. The TPR material on the outside of the cable can withstand temperatures down to -60 degrees C while remaining flexible and strong. The connectors are dual construction, extra strong grip copper coated jaw clamps that are designed to work with both top and side post batteries.
While this set is a lot more expensive than the others on the list, it is clearly the top choice for best Booster Cables from a Performance perspective. The 1 AWG 100% Copper wiring and the extra high capacity ensure that you’ll never be limited by these cables. XINCOL even includes a 10-year Warranty that backs the product and protects your vehicle’s battery.
Energizer is a very popular brand of batteries and electronics. Backed by such a large brand, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best quality and performance. However, the big name brands always come with a higher price tag so you’ll have to determine if it is worth the additional cost.
This set features 2-Gauge cables that are rated for up to 800A of current capacity. They are 20 feet in length which provides plenty of distance for tight situations. The wire material is copper clad aluminum which provides enough current while keeping the price reasonable. They are also designed to be used with both top post and side post batteries with cables that are rated to remain flexible down to -40 degrees C.
As stated before these come with a bit higher price tag than some of the others. The are, however, very highly rated and come with a bit more capacity than the other cheaper options. This is the best jumper cables set for people looking for the backing of a big name brand like Energizer.
Number one on our list is the Cartman 4-Gauge 500A Booster Cable set. The Cartman brand is one of the more popular online brands of Automotive Parts and Accessories and is always accompanied by very high ratings and positive reviews. This particular set of Jumper Cables fits right in with the rest of the high quality Cartman products. It is also one of the top sellers on many popular automotive sites and comes highly recommended from many of them.
It features a patented design on the inside tongue for double connection with the battery terminal and is designed to fit top and side post batteries. They also are designed with twice grip for better conductivity and tension with shielded surfaces to prevent short circuits or accidental contact. UL Listed and Stamped which means that the cables met or exceeded the SAE Standards for Safety. The material cable is also designed to remain flexible down to -13 degrees F and is 20 feet long. All is packed into a luxurious carrying bag that fits nicely into your trunk.
This set has thousands of reviews and averages 4.8 stars which speaks volumes to the quality and performance. This set is just a few dollars more than the cheapest set on the list. With a very reasonable price as well it is easy to see why this is our #1 rated Best Jumper Cables set.
How to Use Jumper Cables / How to Jump a Car
Clear the area around the cars in case of an accident. When hooked up to a battery, jumper cables are carrying enough current to incapacitate a person. You must ensure that the ends of cables never touch. Seriously, any shop will tell you horror stories of wrenches that became welded to the battery when it accidentally slipped and made contact with both the negative and positive terminal of a battery.
A common mistake that people make when jump starting a car is connecting the two batteries’ posts directly to one another. Ensure that you find a clean, unpainted metal part of your car that is readily accessible for connecting the negative cable on the dead car.
Setting up the Jumper Cables
Park the cars facing one another if possible. If not, just get the engines as close together as possible. Set parking brakes on both vehicles and ensure they are both off with keys removed. Lay out the jumper cables on the ground with plenty of space between the connectors. Open both cars’ hoods and locate the batteries and their respective terminals. Go ahead and locate an unpainted, bare metal spot in the engine bay of the dead battery car that you can connect the negative cable to.
Attaching the Jumper Cables
Start with the positive side on the dead battery. As shown in the photo above, connect positive to positive (red wire) and then connect. Once that is done, connect the negative side of the functioning vehicle on that vehicles negative terminal. lastly connect the negative cable of the dead battery side to the unpainted bare metal spot you located previously on the dead battery car.
How Long to Charge a Dead Battery
Now that the cables are connected, go ahead and start up the functioning car. Give it a minute or so to generate some charge in the dead battery. After a minute or so, try starting the dead battery vehicle. If it still fails to start, wait another minute or two before trying again. If it fails, your battery may be faulty and will need to be replaced.
Disconnecting Jumper Cables
Now that the dead battery car is running, you may disconnect the jumper cables starting with the negative clamps. Again, be cautious not to accidentally touch the connectors to anything while the cables are still connected to the vehicle.
Now that you’ve got a good understanding of what to look for in a good quality set of Jumper Cables, and you know how to properly use them, all that’s left to do is check out some of our recommendations. Don’t get caught stranded in the parking lot or your driveway because you didn’t take the time to properly prepare yourself and your family for the all-to-common dead battery headache. You never know, your preparedness may bail someone else out as well.
Best Jumper Cables – Overall: Cartman 4-Gauge 500A Booster Cable
Best Jumper Cables – Performance: XINCOL 1-Gauge 2500A Booster Jumper Cables
Best Jumper Cables – Value: EPAuto 4-Gauge 500A Booster Jumper Cables
We take great pride in our Buyer’s Guides like this one. If you’re struggling with battery issues, be sure to check out our Buyer’s Guide for the Best Car Battery which will help you better understand how car batteries work, how to test them, what to look for when purchasing one, and even give you some good recommendations on some of the top brands available today.
On the theme of cables, we also reviewed the Best Aux Cable products on the market today as well. Auxiliary Cables allow you to connect your device to your car’s stereo system so you can play music.
If you’d just like to learn more about Maintaining Your Ride, we suggest starting with the basics. Our Oil Filter Guide will help prepare you to do your first oil change and then you can further explore the site for more information!