Has it ever happened to you that you are pretty late for work and you get inside your car hastily and try to start it but it refuses to? After a quick diagnostic, you find out that the battery has died and you need to charge it.
So, your used Jeep Compass is just sitting there uselessly. In such times of need, a jumper cable is your best friend. You get the battery charged and you are ready to go. However, it will be helpful anywhere, so as long as you have access to another battery along with it.
What are jumper cables?
As we already know, a car’s battery is the one that provides its power to start the engine and power all the necessary components that keep your car running on the road. The battery achieves this by offering a difference in the voltage that it supplies to the engine to start it. Obviously, as with every other electronic, a battery can die if, especially if left unused for a long amount of time.
However, car batteries are rechargeable. Instead of changing the entire battery, you just need to kick it back to life. You need to “jump start” the battery and this is where “jumper” cables come in. A jumper cable is a tool that will recharge your dead battery, so long as it’s connected with another car’s working battery.
A jumper cable is a pair long cable with alligator clips on both ends. One for negative, one for positive. A jumper cable is a must-have tool if you own a car. If your battery dies, you will be left stranded. To avoid such a nightmare, you always need to carry a set of jumper cables.
What to consider while shopping for jumper cables?
All jumper cables essentially perform the same task. However, there are differences that you should look out for. Also, these are the things you should know while shopping for jumper cables:
- Cranking and Peak Amps
You must look for a minimum of 500 cranking amps and 1200 peak amps when you are shopping for jumper cables. For cars with larger batteries, higher ratings are preferred. It’s always better to stay on the safer side.
- Wire gauge
Wire gauge is a number that tells us about the thickness of the wires. It also tells us about the quality and durability of the cables. You will find a lot of 10-gauge wires for a low price; however, they are not recommended. The lesser the number, the higher the quality. As such, look for a wire gauge rating of 6. For bigger cars, a 4 would be fine.
Material denotes the type of wires and conducting materials used. Besides buying a cable with more thickness, you must also look for cables that are made of pure copper cables or copper-clad aluminum (CCA). Also, do check out the reviews to know about the durability and reliability of the said cables.
Not all cables come in similar lengths. Now, length is a variable factor, but we would recommend going for longer cables, typically 20 feet. The longer the cable, the easier it would be to charge your battery from another car. A smaller cable would cause issues, such as parking very close.
Make sure to check out the insulation, or the outer sheath that covers the wire. If the insulation is weak and wears out easily, it could be a big electrical hazard if something comes in direct contact with the wires. High-quality cables will have better insulation.
The best jumper cables for you
- Cartman Booster Jumper Cables
Cartman is one of the most popular brands which produce high-quality jumper cables. The Booster Jumper Cable is one of the best in the business, with a 6-gauge rating and is 16-feet long. They are also very reliable and reek of quality. They are also resistant to outside interference. It also comes with a carrying bag, as a bonus.
- Iron Forge Tools 20-feet Jumper Cables
These cables are for the ones who are on a tight budget, coming in at around $39. They have an 8-gauge rating, which is a very decent figure for budget-conscious people. The teeth are made of copper and are 20-feet long. Ideal for most scenarios.
- Unique Imports Professional Booster Jumper Cable
These jumper cables are actually 25-feet in length, which makes them extremely flexible. Also, they are 1-gauge wiring with 800A of current, with high-quality wires and insulation , making them one of the best cables in the market. If you want a no-compromise commercial-grade cable, these are the ones.
- Performance Tool W1673 Jumper Cable
This set of cable is 20-feet long and offers 500A-600A of peak current. The insulation is done pretty well and they are 4-gauge wires. Overall, a very solid choice for most people with bigger vehicles.
- Cartman 20-feet Booster Jumper Cable
Cartman also has a 20-feet jumper cable, which is more useful for heavier and taller vehicles. This also features high-quality materials and T-prene coating, just as the one mentioned previously.
- Iron Forge Tools 4 Gauge Jumper Cables
These cables from Iron Forge have a rating of 4-gauge and also feature some of the best clamps. Alongside that, the length is also 20-feet, which is ideal for longer vehicles. The material and cables used are also high-quality. They also come with a carry bag.
- Energizer 1-Gauge 800A Heavy Duty Jumper Battery Cables
These are commercial cables and have some of the best specs you’ll ever see. These are 1-gauge 800A high-performance wires and are 25-feet in length for the worst of situations. They are manufactured from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), making them great insulators as well. They are resistant to high temperatures and rust as well.
- Coleman Cable 08660 Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables
These cables from Coleman are 4-gauge and have copper-coated aluminum clamps. They also have a T-prene coating for flexibility and durability. The clamps are pretty wide and large making it easy to connect to the battery.
- Lifeline AAA 432AAA Booster Jumper Cable
These are cables with 16-feet length and 6-gauge wiring. A little low on the specs, these cables are not as expensive and especially great for smaller vehicles. The clamps are wide and easy to use. However, they can also be used to jump light trucks to life.
- EPAuto Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cable
These cables are 4-gauge and 20-feet in length; so, the specs are perfect. The cables are also not too expensive. The copper-plated clamps are wide and very strong and reliable. They are capable enough of jumping light as well as heavy cars.