We’ve all been there: we’re driving along on the road or the highway and our car runs out of juice. This can be because of a faulty alternator or simply because your battery had a poor connection or just needed a bit of extra oomph. When this happens, if you don’t have a dedicated jump starter, you have to depend on the kindness of strangers in order to give their car a boost.
Getting a boost entails the connection of positive and negative leads to you and your benefactor’s batteries. Once connected, they’ll need to rev up their car in order to generate some extra electrical energy for your battery to capitalize on. The leads that you need for this are called jumper or booster cables, and there are many different products of the type on the market today.
When it comes to the type of jumper cable, there is really only one type. These cables usually utilize a wire that is at least 12 feet and can have a variable gauge. Gauge is just an indicator of the wire’s length, and as a general rule, you want a smaller gauge level as this is an indicator of a thicker cable. Thicker cables mean that you’ll be able to send more current, more reliably. When you’re thinking about new cabling, the base level you should stick with is about a gauge level of six or so. You can get as low as four gauge, but lower than this isn’t really needed unless you are going to be jumping a semi-truck.
Features to look for
When you’re searching for a new pair of jumper cables, here’s what you should consider:
- Grip: When it’s time to secure your cables to the battery leads, you’ll want cables that can grip the leads firmly so that they don’t easily slip off. Different models of booster cables have different grip types, but generally a grip that is toothed is better because it’ll be firmer. When selecting a new set of jumper cables, also be sure that the tension is strong in the grip area.
- Length: If you’re forced to do a jump on the side of the road on a highway, you may need a jumper cable that has a longer reach. For the most part, most jumper cables come at a base length of 12 feet but can range significantly higher than that. While additional length may make the cable more expensive, we like to have at least a 16 inch cable for our booster cables.
- Gauge: Sometimes, thicker cables don’t actually mean that the booster cable’s wires are actually high gauge. It’s important to know the precise number when selecting a new set of booster cables.
- Insulation: When cables have thicker insulation, it reduces the heat generated in the boost process. Once again, be sure that the cables aren’t thick because of a lot of insulation and low gauging.
|Item||Best Design Feature||Price||Rating|
|EPAuto 4 Gauge x 20 Ft 500A Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables||The fact that these come with a bag and safety gloves is really useful.||$16.87||Stars 4.8/5|
|Cartman Booster Cable 4 Gauge||These cables have low temperature resistance.||$20.99 |
|OxGord 4 Gauge 500 Amp Extra Long 25 Feet Heavy Duty Super Power Booster||These cables are extra long at a full 25 feet.||$19.95 |
|Capri Tools UL-Listed Booster Jumper Cables||Internally, these are high quality cables. They have copper plated aluminum wire underneath the insulation.||$29.95||Stars 4.3/5|
|Blackstone Heavy Duty Jumper / Booster Cables||The grips have large handles so that you can open the teeth easier.||$19.89||Stars 4.5/5|
|Energizer 6-Gauge Jumper Battery Cables 16 Ft||These are versatile and are designed for either top or side post batteries.||$14.99||Stars 4.7/5|
|Iron Forge Tools 20 Foot Jumper Cables with Carry Bag – 6 Gauge||Iron Forge Tools backs these with a lifetime warranty.||$20.97||Stars 4.6/5|
1) EPAuto 4 Gauge x 20 Ft 500A Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables
A great jumper cable will have lots of built-in durability and versatility, and the EPAuto 4 Gauge x 20 Ft 500A Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cable has this in spades. Firstly, this product has a great length that you can capitalize on when getting or giving a jump in inopportune situations. 20 feet of overall range is a great amount of range for just about any boosting situation. These are also thickly insulated cables that have a four gauge construction so that current can flow well from vehicle to vehicle.
Another place where this product really excels is in pack-ins. As you’ll see in our other products, many of these cables tend to have carrying bags for convenience. This is a great feature, and it helps you store the cables without the risk of them getting tangled. What this particular set of cables includes to boost this value is by adding a pair of safety gloves as well. It’s easy to get a shock when you’re boosting a car, so it’s nice that EPAuto thought to add in these gloves for the safety of your hands.
2) Cartman Booster Cable 4 Gauge
Our next pair of booster cables comes from car care company Cartman. These jumper cables do a great job at carrying current from battery to batter, even in the coldest of conditions. This cold temperature functionality is perfect for those who live in cooler climates. When it comes to quality construction, these cables are well-made and utilize a copper coated aluminum cabling system to ensure that current passes efficiently between batteries.
We really liked the grips on these jumper cables; they have a firm hold for just about any type of connector. Each grip is made of sturdy copper and has several teeth so that gripping a terminal is very easy. It doesn’t take a lot of strength to open the connectors and it will fit both top and side post batteries. Cartman has also included a luxurious carrying bag with the purchase of this set of jumper cables. This bag is more sack-like than most cable bags, which makes it very unique.
3) OxGord 4 Gauge 500 Amp Extra Long 25 Feet Heavy Duty Super Power Booster
These OxGord cables provide the longest cabling of any of the products featured in this guide. At 25 feet, you’ll have plenty of range between the two vehicles and batteries. On top of this great cabling, this is a 500 amp pair of booster cables, meaning that when combined with the four gauge wiring, you should be able to pass a current between the two batteries at a quicker pace. This means that the receiving battery will receive a charge quicker with this OxGord product than many other products on the market.
The material of this product is also of a high quality level. The internal cabling is comprised of copper coated aluminum and the cables themselves are rated for lower temperatures. The grips of these cables are strong and will adhere safely to the posts of the connected batteries. Each of the grips has a copper grip that will help conduct the electricity between the two vehicles. These commercial-grade cables are perfect for quickly charging up a battery and getting on your way.
4) Capri Tools UL-Listed Booster Jumper Cables
These Capri Tools booster cables have PVC coated clamps on them that fit very securely over the posts of your vehicle’s battery. Feature-wise, these cables are 20 feet in length, which is a perfect range for jumping, even if the cars are parked behind each other. Range is probably one of the best features that you can have in a jumper cable, so this lengthy range is perfect for most uses. Internally, the cable is four gauge with plenty of insulation that will keep the cable cool to the touch when you’re using it for a jump.
As mentioned before, the clamps on these cables are PVC coated and are designed to fit on either side oriented or top oriented posts. The grips on these cables are very strong so that you won’t lose connection during a jump. In addition to the cables, Capri Tools has also included a carrying bag that’ll help you store these cables away when not in use. Capri Tools also provides a comprehensive ten year warranty on these cables as well.
5) Blackstone Heavy Duty Jumper / Booster Cables
Our next jumper cables are durable and lengthy so that you can use them quickly, even during inclement weather conditions. Like many of the previous products that we’ve featured in this guide, these cables are 20 feet in length, which means that you’ll be able to easily connect two cars that are parked parallel to each other. Also, like many of these previous products, this is a four gauge set of cables that have excellent insulation and pass current at a very fast rate. Insofar as amperage, these cables have a maximum amp of 200.
Like our previous cables, these products have a PVC coating that provides great grip and insulation on the posts. The cables are also designed to remain flexible and conductive, even during lower temperature situations. We really liked the fact that the clamps also had somewhat enlarged grips that were perfect for getting leverage when opening them up.
6) Energizer 6-Gauge Jumper Battery Cables 16 Ft
Energizer is a brand that has long been associated with power, so it should be no surprise that one of their products would make it onto our list of great jumper cables. These are the cheapest cables in this guide at $14.99, so if you’re on a budget, these are excellent options for any motorist. These are also the first products on our list that are six gauge. Six gauge cables are usually more than sufficient for most people’s vehicle needs, thought they may take a little longer to fully charge the recipient’s battery than a four gauge cable.
Also, these jumper cables are only 16 feet, which is usually more than enough length for the majority of boosting situations. We really like the clamp system for these cables, they have an opposing surface on the underside so that you can easily squeeze the clamps for a tight, well-aligned grip. The internal cables are copper clad aluminum that conducts current well and the clamps are 400A heavy duty injection-style clamps.
7) Iron Forge Tools 20 Foot Jumper Cables with Carry Bag – 6 Gauge
Our final product is another six gauge product that does a great job of power transference in most day-to-day situations. Unlike our previous six gauge product, these also have a 20 foot long sizing that will provide extra range when you need to park cars parallel. The copper toothed clamps have teeth in three positions; two on each side and one on the leading edge. This orientation is perfect for gripping posts that are oriented on top or on the sides. Also this three toothed design allows for excellent grip and power transference.
Like many of the products on this list, these cables are color coded black and red so that you can easily track which of these cables goes on the positive and negative posts of your battery. These cables also come with a plastic carry case that lets you easily store them unit they’re needed. On top of its specifications, Iron Forge Tools provides a lifetime replacement warranty on this product that really illustrates how much they stand by their product.
These types of items can be invaluable. Having a good set of booster cables in your trunk at all times won’t just save you a lot of headaches when you’re in a pinch, but can also brighten someone else’s day as well. Each of the products that we’ve featured in this guide is excellent and will definitely get you out of a bind.
Out of all of the spectacular products that we’ve featured, we think the EPAuto 4 Gauge x 20 Ft 500A Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables is the best overall pick. This particular product has a great length so that you’ll have enough leeway to reach between the two vehicles easier. In addition to this, EPAuto also included a nice carrying case as well as a set of safety gloves that make the process much safer and easier. In addition to these features, the grips on the ends really adhere to your terminal, which just makes the process more convenient and easy to execute.
If you happen to be looking for a product that’ll provide a lot of bang for your buck, then we also really like the Blackstone Heavy Duty Jumper because of its inherent convenience and tight gripping teeth. While it is slightly more than the EPAuto, this product has great wiring and a good overall design.