Every motorist at least in a lifetime had experienced a dead car battery. The car is unable to start and there is no other way to get back on the road other than jump start it with cables and borrowing electricity from another vehicle.
In that case, having a car jumper cables with you is a true lifesaver. They are cheap and easy to use addition to your car equipment and they are very helpful when you are stranded by the side of the road. Just like first aid kit, jumper cables is something you should have in your car at all times not just to keep you going but to help other motorists that are in trouble. Follow our best jumper cables buying guide and “how to“ article in order to learn all there is on jumper cables and find the right jumper cable to suit your needs. We have covered not only regular type jumper cable reviews but professional grade ones and different types for various uses in your car or truck.
Best Jumper Cable Reviews
1. Energizer 2-Gauge Jumper Battery Cables
The affordable product of solid quality is Energizer’s offering which features regular clamps on both sides of the cables with copper tips for better connectivity.
However, the wires inside are not full copper but copper clad aluminum. It is a cheaper solution since copper transmits electricity better but aluminum is lighter and cheaper.
With 20-foot length is good enough for most users and isolation material makes it tangle free cables and flexible even at -40°C.
With the really affordable price it a good proposition for users that are not in need for regular jump starting but needs a set or reliable jumper cables in their car just for emergency. It is also available in several lengths for demanding customer.
2. Forney 52878 Jumper Cables
As we said before, good jumper cables won’t be cheap and this is an example of our claims. The Forney’s cables are not only long with 25 feet of length (over 7 meters) but made from best materials. This is a pair of heavy-duty jumper cables made from industrial grade premium copper welding wires and finished with a heavy-duty 500 amp clamps used on both ends of the cable.
This means that Forney’s cables are pretty expensive but they will last a long time and won’t break or get warm and melt during the use. The manufacturer has a shorter and cheaper option on sale but if you are going for the best, choose this 25-foot long one.
The users of this product are very satisfied and almost single on of them said that they’ll never need another set of cables after they bought this one.
3. Bayco (SL-3010) Jumper Cables
Product of similar quality but somewhat lower price is new Bayco’s jumper cable. It has a nice length of 25 feet (not available in a smaller size) and has an extremely heavy duty clamps rated at 800 amps. However, there is no information on characteristics of the wires in the cable and the clamps are made from steel, not from copper. The steel alligator clips do the same job as copper ones but as it is known copper is a better transmitter of the electric energy and thus favorable material in this case. The other specifications show that Bayco SL 3010 is an upscale product with good characteristics and quality reputation. Users reported not specific problems with this set of jumper cables.
4. Energizer 1-Gauge Jumper Cables
Interesting product with high specifications comes from Energizer and it is, in fact, a package with long 30 foot cables (over 9 meters long) and Quick Connect plug for fast and easy connecting to the electric outlets.
Please note that this set of jumper cables haven’t clamps on both sides like ordinary ones but clamps on one side and Quick-Connect jack on the other. This limits their usability on cars and machinery with such outlets so is best to know that before buying.
This product is the best choice for professional users, tow truck companies and people who own vehicles with Quick Connect outputs. If you are a regular user, we recommend you to buy a regular set of jumping cables.
On the other hand, Energizer introduced this set in different lengths and for different affordable prices. The quality of the materials is good and there are no problems with this product.
5. Performance Tool W1667 Jumper Cable
This is mid class product with good specifications and modest price. The steel clamps with the copper top are not especially well isolated which can be a deal breaker for some users.
The length of the cables is 20 foot which is not short but not long enough as some other jumper cables on the market.
All in all, if you need a cheap but usable set of cables this is a good choice but do not expect the durability of more expensive sets. With 500 amp clamps, it should endure the most regular tasks.
The manufacturer offers this product in various different sizes and all at affordable prices and the best deal is portable set which offers jumper cables and host of other USB and aux cable sets and jacks for almost any purpose and needs.
6. FJC 45245 2 Gauge Jumper Cables
This affordable but modest spec product with commercial grade wires and regular steel clamps with 600 amp rating. The 25-foot length is a plus but substandard isolation and clamp design could be a deal breaker.
However, if you do not need car jumper cables on a daily basis and you are not a professional user, this could do the trick since having a set of cables in need is better than be left by the side of the road.
We can not recommend this product fully since there are far better options on the market for slightly more money and we are always suggesting that you should buy the best product for your money and get the best user experience from it.
7. Coleman Cable 08660 Jumper Cables
The Coleman’s jumper cables are a simple and affordable product with a classic layout and ordinary alligator clamps with added copper for better energy transmission. Engineered for warm and cold climates and “Polar-Glo“ polarity labels glow in the dark.
The cables are available in two sizes shorter 12 foot and longer and more desirable 20-foot length. This is a relatively basic product without any extra features but with one problematic aspect. Both cables are painted red and that can cause a problem in use.
The clamps are painted red and black for the positive and negative side of the battery but both cables are red.
In emergency situations starting the car in the dark, it could be difficult to see what is what cable and if you are in a hurry you could connect it the wrong way. This is why we don’t recommend this product even though it is a solid and reliable set of jumper cables.
8. Heavy Duty 2 Gauge Wire Jumper Cable
With 25 foot length (over 9 meters), really affordable price and good specifications, this set of jumper cables are one of ours most recommended products. It features heavy duty 2 gauge extra flexible cable and 600 Amp alligator clamps with copper inserts for better connectivity.
The cables are painted red and black, as they should, for easier recognition. Engineered for warm and cold climates, flexible to -67 F and they are suitable for both 12 & 24 volt systems.
Since they are suited both for 12 and 24 volt systems it means that quality of wires are good and they can sustain high voltage and extended use. Since the cars use 12 volt systems but some machines use 24 volts, it means that this set of cable is good for professional users also.
9. Cartman Heavy Duty Jumper Cable with Carry Bag
Another affordable but really good product is Cartman’s Booster Cables which comes in several dimensions and packages.
The difference is not only in the length of the cables but also in the design of the alligator clamps and whichever option you choose you will get highly isolated and copper plated clamps easy to use on any style of car battery which is very good.
The wires inside the cables are made of copper coated aluminum which is standard on most jumper cables on the market and amp index is 600. The isolation of the cable is made from TPR material and has low-temperature resistance (-40F/ -40C) so it can be used in extremely cold conditions.
So if your car needs a boost the Cartman Extra Heavy-Duty Booster Cables is one of the best options on the market and they some with a nice plastic bag for easier storage when not in use.
10. OxGord 4 Gauge Jumper Cables
One of the cheapest jumper cables on the market is the OxGord 4 Gauge. They come in various sizes and you can them all the way from 12 ft to 25 ft. Every size is the same in terms of the type of alligator clamps (copper plated), colors (red and black cables) and you’ll get a practical plastic bag for storage. The wires are made from CCA (copper coated aluminum) and the material of the cable is TPR with low-temperature resistance (-40F/ -40C).
The manufacturer is a well-known name so this product is great for personal use and for having in your car in case of an emergency.
However, this is not a professional grade product with heavy duty features so if you need something for that use, you shouldn’t consider this.
We recommend you buying the longest option (25 ft) which will be enough for any use and for starting cars as well as big SUV or trucks.
Jumper Cables Buying Guide
First, let us introduce you to jumper cables and their specification and use. The jumper cables are simple car accessory and they are basically two thick, industrial grade wires with alligator clips on each side.
In most cases, one is painted red and another is painted black for easier use. The black one for the negative side and a red one for the positive side. The cables itself are perfectly the same and they are interchangeable, however, we will explain to you why is important not to have them mixed.
3 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Jumper Cable
However, there is only three important advice when buying a set of jumper cables and they are:
- Longer cable – better cable
Always buy the longest jumper cables available. It is very practical advice because you have to connect two cars to use them and in an emergency situation, two car may not be positioned ideally, side by side or nose to nose. In those cases, longer cables are the only way to successfully achieve your task and start a car. Most of the cables on the market are short (3 meters long) but you must buy longer ones. There is no real limit there, buy the longest cables you can find and the longer the cable the better and more practical it is. You don’t want to be in the frustrating situation where you got the cables but you cannot connect because they are too short.
- Always buy thicker and heavier cables
There are some cheap and thin products on the market but you should avoid them since they are good only for one or two jump-starts before they overheat and break.
The trick with the jumper cables is that they have to be able to conduct a high level of energy through them and the wires must be strong, high quality and durable. The cheap and thin wires just won’t do the trick so you need some industrial grade stuff. The preferred option is cables made from pure copper but copper plated aluminum is also good. Most of the modern cars have bigger and stronger car batteries especially big trucks or SUVs, so if you have such a vehicle you need a stronger type of cable in order to jump-start it successfully.
The modern diesel-powered cars and trucks have bigger capacity car batteries from similarly sized gasoline-powered vehicles so in jump-starting those cars you need a stronger and more durable cable. Bigger and stronger cables have bigger alligator clips, which means that they can form a better connection between the two terminals of the two batteries and transmit more energy.
- Good cables won’t be cheap
The main difference between good and bad cables is the quality of the materials used. The cheap and bad cables can cost as little as 10-20$ but they will last you one or two starting at most and they can be very dangerous if not used correctly.
However, good and durable cables can cost ten times as much but will last a lifetime. We recommend buying the best cable you can afford since this is an important part of the equipment and you need the best you can get in a time of need.
How to Use Jumper Cables
The jumper cables are very easy to use but there are a few important things that you have to know in order to do it successfully.
On the other hand, if you don’t follow these instructions you can cause serious problems, even fire, so remember this next time you jump start a car.
- Start the engine of one car
The car which is used for powering the dead battery should be started and idling, put in neutral with the handbrake on or in parking if you have automatic transmission before connecting the cables. You don’t want a car to slide or move while jump-starting.
- Open the hood and connect the car batteries
Open the hoods of both cars and carefully connect the car batteries. Look for red terminals on both and connect the red cable (+ sign) on one car battery to red terminal on the other. Then connect the black terminals with the black cable (- sign). Do not cross the cables and try to place them so the cables are not on the engine to avoid melting the cable isolation if the engine is hot. Do not, by any means, connect the – terminal with the + terminal or red with the black with the same cable and be extra careful.
If you do that, the electricity coming from the battery will melt and break the cables and in the worst case cause a fire or even explosion of the car battery. This is very dangerous and always double check if you connected it properly since it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Start the car with the dead battery
The starting of the car with the dead battery should be preceded by slight revving of the car with a good battery. The revving the engine at around 3000 rpm will turn on the alternator, replacing the lost electricity and adding more power to the battery which will be transmitted to dead battery car ensuring that the start will be successful and fast.
On the other hand, the alternator will ensure that there is no shortage in the electrical system of the donor car and prevent any malfunctions which can be caused by that since the new models are sensitive to electrical power disturbing.
Then turn the key of the dead battery car and the starter should turn on the engine in a matter of seconds. If the car doesn’t start, try again and repeat the starting procedure until you get the wanted result. After the dead battery car is started, revving of donor car should stop and you are ready to disconnect the batteries.
- Disconnect the batteries
When both cars are working it is time to disconnect the batteries. However, you still have to be careful because there is still the danger of fire or electrical problems. First, disconnect red (+) terminal on one car with red (+) terminal on the other and then do the same with the black (-) terminals.
Do not, by any means, connect alligator clips while the cables are connected to the battery. It will cause sparks which are not harmful but that means that there is a short circuit and that can cause the car fuse box to be blown or even some bigger problems with the car computer.
- Be careful with hot cables
If the connecting cables are bad quality they will get pretty hot during the car jumping process which can be very dangerous. The hot cables can burn trough isolation leaving live wires touching your car. That is something you do not want and live wire can cause damage or fire. If your cables get hot but they are not damaged visually it is pretty safe to say that they are broken and you should buy another set. This is why we recommend buying tougher, thicker and stronger cables which can last a long time and won’t get hot after use.
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Having a dead car battery can be very frustrating and leave you stranded by the side of the road. To avoid this, you should always have a set of jumper cables in your car in case of emergency not only to get you back on the road but to help somebody in need.
We have presented here a some of the most popular jumper cable reviews on the market with easy to follow buying guides and instructions on how to properly jump start your car and avoid damaging your battery or your vehicle. We hope that you find this interesting and helpful and that you can find the best jumper cables for you here.