13 Best Jumper Cables (Review + Buyers Guide)
Best Jumper Cables
It’s almost impossible to have driven a car over your lifetime and not experienced a dead battery at least once. It could have been after coming home from a long trip, a normal day, or helping someone else jump their car. Sometimes a car won’t be nearby, so a quality jump-starter is also a great tool to keep in the car.
No matter what, it always happens at the worst time imaginable.
That’s why we have jumper cables though. These handy little cables are can make a horrible day just a little less worse by restarting your car battery and getting your back on the road. It goes without saying that you should always have a set of jumper cables in your vehicle, ready to go no matter what may lie ahead.
But, are all jumper cables made the same? The quick answer is no, they are not, and that’s why we have this review below. We’re going to go over some of the more basic types out there as well as ones that are a bit more heavy-duty, for those of you that are working with bigger trucks or vehicles.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
It’s no surprise that Energizer is in the jumper cable game. After all, they’re here to make sure you keep going, and going, and going, and going.
These cables were made with solid materials, such as regular clamps on both sides of the cables and copper tips for ideal connectivity. The wires aren’t full copper but copper-clad aluminum which is why these cables come at a bit of a cheaper price.
Copper is better at transmitting electricity but aluminum, on the other hand, is much lighter and cheaper. So there’s a bit of give and take when it comes to these cables.
The length is pretty solid as well, coming in at 20-feet, more than enough for your average car owner. The cables are tangle-free and function perfectly at low temperatures.
These cables aren’t anything that will blow you away, but they were made for the everyday consumer in mind. They come in different lengths as well if you need such an option.
Another solid product, these jumper cables are often seen as a mid-class product that will get the job done.
Coming at a modest price, the steel clamps are not very well isolated which has been the biggest gripe against them. They’re 20 feet and only come in smaller sizes, ranging from 10-16 feet. Usually, that’s more than enough for the average user but you never know the situation you may find yourself in.
The clamps are rated at 500 amps, more than enough for your regular tasks. It’s easily portable and the wires are tangle-free, meaning you can use them in just about any scenario that you find yourself in.
Back with another product from Energizer, these cables are some of the top ones on the market. It’s quite long, 30 feet, and has a quick-connect plug for quick and easy connections to electrical outlets.
These jumper cables are a bit different than the others on this list, as they only have clamps on one side. On the other side are the quick-connect jacks. This means that you may not get to use with all such vehicles or machinery and you should double-check everything before you make a purchase.
That being said, this product is not for the every-man. It’s best for professional users, tow trucks, and those who have vehicles with a quick-connect output.
In does come in various sizes, so you can easily find the right one for you. Material quality here is outstanding, meaning that you’re not going to have any long-term issues with this product.
Looking for something simple where you won’t have to spend all day shopping around? Then these are the cables for you.
These jumper cables from Coleman and simple and affordable and look the most like regular jumper cables that you grew up with. They have your regular alligator clamps and copper for ideal energy and electrical transmission.
They are great for both warm and cold climates and have Polar-Glo priority labels that glow in the dark. Pretty neat, right?
They come in two sizes, 12 and 20 feet. The biggest issue with these is that both cables are red which may cause some confusion, especially if you’re not used to using jumper cables on a regular basis.
Ideally, your cables would be black and red, but it’s not the biggest drawback in the world. It may be confusing if you have to use it in the dark or in a hurry and could make a silly error.
The cheapest item on this list, these jumper cables are surprisingly well-engineered. They are made with commercial-grade wires and use regular steel clamps that are rated at 600 amps.
They come in at 25 feet and use a substandard isolation and clamp design, which may be a deal-breaker for some. But, if you’re not someone who needs jumper cables on a daily basis nor a professional user, then these are more than enough.
As we have said a thousand times and will say a thousand more, you get what you pay for. These come in at under $40 and while that is certainly is a bargain, we have to question their long-term durability and ability to handle the heat.
But once again, if you’re looking for some cables to keep in your trunk, these are OK. It’s better than being stranded with nowhere to go.
When it comes to buying jumper cables (and all things car-related), you’re often going to get what you pay for. That’s why we were so surprised to see that these Forney cables are quite affordable.
These cables are long, coming in at 25 feet which makes it ideal for cars that can’t get too close together. They are also made from top-notch materials and 500 amp clamps that are used on both ends of the cable.
You’re not going to notice any melting or wear and tear with continued use. Heck, we didn’t even notice any excess heat when we tested them out.
They come with stellar reviews as well and if you make a purchase here, you’re likely going to be set for life.
These cables are of professional grade. The amps are rated at an incredible 1200 amps, meaning they are more than enough for your car and can be carried by professional users as well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a commercial car or a tractor at home, these cables are more than enough to get everything back up and running again.
They are also incredibly versatile, able to be used on gas and diesel engines and everything from 6-24 volts.
The clamps are also fully insulated and can fit in the most awkward of situations. They are also incredibly durable, as the cables are made with PVC coating and are resistant to acid, heat, and oil. In addition, they’re tangle-free so you don’t have to sweat the small things.
Last but not least, they come with a small plastic bag for easy storage and carrying.
Coming in at 25 feet, these thick clamps are rated at 800 amps, plenty for those looking to jump-start more than just their car.
The biggest thing we noticed is that the clamps are made of steel instead of copper. Overall, they perform the same job as the copper ones but do not transmit electricity as well.
They’re incredibly sturdy, but we have yet to be able to find information on the cables. After reading the reviews and taking a look at them ourselves, we couldn’t notice any big drawbacks with the cable materials.
Bayco has been in the game for quite some time and is recognized for making quality products so you’re not going to be disappointed with these cables.
There’s nothing too special about these cables, as just as the brand name suggests, they are basic and just do enough to get the job done. The alligator clamps are rated at 100 amps, meaning anything more than a regular car will be too much for them.
They are expertly engineered, made with CCA cables that don’t melt or react poorly to heat buildup.
They are also easy to use, thanks to the cables being painted red and black meaning you won’t have to struggle with limited visibility in certain situations.
Lastly, they come with a limited one-year warranty in case of damage. If you’re on a limited budget and just want a set of cables in your car, you can’t go wrong here.
Another incredibly cheap set of jumper cables, these OxGord cables come in from 12-25 feet, meaning you can find your ideal of cables for any situation. No matter which length you choose, the clamps are the same size and the same materials.
You’re going to get red and black cables, copper-plated alligator clamps, and a nice little plastic bag for easy storage. The wires themselves are made from CCA and the cable is made from TPR with low-temperature resistance.
OxGord has been in the game for quite some time, so you know you’re getting a quality product when you go with these cables.
That being said, these cables are far from professional grade so if you’re looking for something heavy-duty, then you’d better skip these.
While you may think the 12-foot option is ideal, we recommend you go ahead and get the 25-foot version. You never know what situation you may find yourself in.
Despite the name “extra long” being thrown in, these cables only come in two lengths: 15 and 20 feet. That being said, they are a great product coming in at a moderate price.
Each clamp is rated at 400 amps, giving you more than enough power to start your car or trucky. They are lightweight and easy to use, thanks to the red and black cables.
The tangle-free cables make these hassle-free and you can use them in just about any weather situation. In addition, these cables come with a 10-year warranty just in case these products happen to fail you or you’re dissatisfied with their performance.
As a nice little addition, these cables come with a carrying bag that makes storage easy. Who doesn’t like a nice little addition?
Heavy Duty Jumper Cables
For those of you that need something a bit sturdier, we went out and took a look at a few heavy-duty jumper cables. Take a look.
These jumper cables, despite being heavy-duty, are quite affordable. They come in several different dimensions and lengths, meaning you can easily find the product you’re looking for with Cartman.
The alligator clamps are expertly designed and you’re going to get highly isolated and copper-plated clamps that are easy to use on just about any style of the car battery. The wires inside the cables are also expertly engineered and are made from copper-coated aluminum.
They’re good for just about any weather circumstance, performing very well in the cold. The wires are tangle-free which makes them easy to set up and take down.
As a nice little touch, they come with a plastic storage bag to keep them from sliding around in your trunk or coming apart.
These cables are 25 feet in length and come at a great price. It’s hard not to pass up this product with its durability, ease of use, and price. The flexible cables work well in just about any weather situation and the alligator clamps are rated at 600 amps with copper inserts.
The copper inserts are what set this set of jumper cables apart from others, as usually, the cheaper sets come with steel or aluminum. Copper means better electrical and energy transmission for a better jump.
The cables are painted red and black which makes for easy hookup. They are ideal for both warm and cold climates, working for 12 and 24 volt systems.
These cables can be used by professional users and your everyday car users. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a tow truck operator or someone just looking for a set of jumper cables for their vehicle, these are going to get the job done.
What to Consider Before Buying Jumper Cables
As you saw above, not all jumper cables are the same. There are some out there made for more professional users while others are just looking for something to keep their family car out of trouble.
That being said, there are still some considerations to take into account before making your purchase.
As with everything, it helps to start by looking at the price. While you may be able to find deals here and there, you’re going to get what you pay for when it comes to jumper cables. Those with higher prices are going to be more durable and more versatile.
If you’re on a budget, then you should be fine to go ahead and purchase some on the lower end of the price spectrum. Don’t purchase those if you expect to be using them every day, they’re better suited for once in a blue moon use.
Many jumper cables come in varying lengths, as short as nine feet and some extending to 30 feet. Typically, you’re going to want cables that are at least 12 feet in length as those will give you top function and use.
Extra-long cables allow you to reach all of those awkward places as well as being able to reach cars that aren’t parked close together. This can be useful in a parking lot or busy streets.
You’ve seen this a lot in the above reviews and product names, but just what is a gauge? This is a numerical value that is used to describe how thick the wire is inside the cable itself. The lower the gauge, the thicker the wire.
Overall, this can be a solid indicator of the overall quality of the jumper cables themselves. If you have a truck, you’re going to want one with a 4-gauge. For a normal car, 6-8 is sufficient. Anything above 10 should be avoided, as they transmit very little electricity.
Different from the gauge, this represents the actual thickness of the cable itself. The thicker the cable, the more durable and sturdy it’s going to be.
Typically, you’re going to see this label attached to heavy-duty cables. Your everyday cables don’t need that amount of thickness.
The most common clamp out there is the alligator clamp, aptly named because of its teeth that need to clamp down on the battery itself. You’re going to want clamps that fit both top and side port batteries, as you never know which situation you may find yourself in.
They are always wrapped in rubber for comfort and safety.
The best insulation for jumper cables is PVC coating which is resistant to heat, chemicals, and oil. You may find that some materials will make sure the cables resist tangling, especially at lower temperatures.
Jumper Cables vs. Jumpstarters
You might have seen other places mention jump starters or even see them pop up while you’re doing research online.
So, what exactly is the difference between cables and jump starters? It’s pretty simple, to be honest. Jump-starters have been around for a while but recently, they have exploded in popularity.
In the past, these were lead-acid batteries in a portable pack. Nowadays, these packs use a lithium-ion battery as the main power source. Each option comes with its own set of certain pros and cons.
Cables are, naturally, cheaper and don’t take up a lot of room in your car. But, you need another car or vehicle in order for you to get out of your jam. But, it the motorist doesn’t have the same type of voltage that you do then you’re going to be out of luck. Plus, there’s always a risk for damage when connecting your car’s battery to another vehicle.
That risk has only increased with recent cars as the newer the vehicle, the greater the risk of damage.
Jump-starters, on the other hand, are much more expensive and can easily climb into three digits. They take up a lot more room in your vehicle, are heavier, and pretty bulky. But, you don’t need another vehicle to come by and often come with few other tools like a flashlight, emergency lights, and even USB charging ports for electronic devices.
They do, however, need to be charged every now and then to make sure you have enough juice to get your car up and running.
Some Important Questions
Even after all this, you might have some questions roaming around in your head. Below, we hope to answer some of those questions for you and clear up any doubts that you still may have.
Is clamp style important?
In a word: yes, clamp style is quite important. You’re going to want to invest in a set of jumper cables with strong clamps that will both firmly and easily attach to batteries.
If you find yourself struggling to attach the cables to your battery, then it might be time to look for another set of jumper cables. You shouldn’t be struggling or getting frustrated when it comes o attaching cables.
The most common clamp you’ll see is an alligator clamp that comes with rigid teeth and a very strong grip. Some heavy-duty jumper cables have a parrot clamp along with a double connection for safe and secure energy transfer.
Essentially, you want to have durable clamps for easy and repeated use. Those that heat up are trouble and may cause the insulation to melt after time. The best option out there is solid copper which is the most efficient material for transmitting energy. Cheap clamps do have copper plates but it is often mixed with aluminum or steel, making them not quite as efficient as others on the market.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure they’re wrapped in rubber material for the safest electrical transmission.
Short vs. long, what’s the difference?
As we’ve seen above, jumper cables can come in all different lengths. While we recommend getting those that are at least 12 feet, your situation may call for different lengths over time. The longer the jumper cables, the farther apart vehicles can be in order to get them to work.
Those that are shorter take up less room but may not offer the same flexibility as their longer brethren. In terms of power and electrical transmission, there isn’t a difference when it comes to length.
After jump-starting my car, do I need to replace the battery?
Yes, and put a hamster on a wheel inside for the best results!
Just kidding, but that would be pretty great. Just because you’ve hard to jumpstart your battery once doesn’t mean that it needs continued replacing. Perhaps you just left the lights on or it’s been a long time since you last used your vehicle.
If you find yourself constantly using jumper cables, then you should definitely look into replacing your battery. Plus, there could be other, more complicated mechanical issues besides the battery that might need your attention. If that’s the case, then you’re going to want to go visit a mechanic.
How do I jumpstart my car?
We’re going to leave this up to another guide or YouTube video to help explain the steps. All in all, it’s pretty simple. We will, however, give you this common rhyme that is often used to help people remember the steps to jump-starting their car:
“Red from the dead, to read on the good. Black from the good, to under the hood.”
So take your red jumper cable and put it on the dead battery’s red positive lead, then connect that to the good battery. Then take the black one on the good battery and connect it to under the hood. Then start the car and voila, you’re ready to go!
Finding jumper cables shouldn’t be a difficult task for you and you should take your situation into account before making a purchase. If you need something heavy-duty or have a bigger vehicle, make sure you’re buying an appropriate set of cables.
Make sure you read the product information and specifications before making a purchase, good luck!