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Have you ever turned the key in your car ignition (or pressed one of those fancy ignition buttons), only for the car engine to turn over a couple of times and die? Do you remember the feeling at the exact moment you knew your car battery was dead? Did you leave a light on? Have you left it too long to replace your battery? Was there anything else you could have done?
It does not matter how the battery died; all that matters now is getting some juice into it so that it can charge or last long enough to transport you where you need to go. It is time to reach for your indispensable jumper cables, a staple of every vehicle.
We have scoured the internet in search of the most durable and heavy-duty jumper cables, the jumper cable which is going to be with you for life. Here are the best, and the information that you need to know.
When it comes to wire gauge, it is pretty simple.
The lower the number, the bigger the wire and, the bigger the wire, the more current it can handle.
If you want to be sure that the jumper cables can handle the current, go for a lower number and thicker wire. Most cars can be jumped with a six or eight-gauge cable, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Pro tip: if you go for more than you need, then you can also help out those bigger cars, SUVs and trucks, and not only your own.
Most jumper cables are measured in feet, though it is not hard to convert from meters. The length of the cable will often be directly influenced by the gauge of the wire (and the thickness).
Lower gauge wires (thicker ones) can handle more current, and that means more heat. To evenly distribute the heat, the wires are made longer. Wires with higher gauges (thinner wires) do not have as much current and heat, so they can be shorter.
Having a long cable is good protection against overheating and fires, and we would also recommend tangle-free cables, as you increase the length.
As with cable thickness and length, going bigger is recommended here.
With higher amperage, your jumper cables are capable of handling more power, and that means that they will not only start your car but also your neighbor’s behemoth of a truck.
With more power to boost a dead battery, a higher amperage cable could be the difference between your car starting or not.
Thickness And Material
There are many cheap jumper cables on the market which may seem like a good deal, but the thinness of the cables can let you down. Thin jumper cables are only good for a jump start or two before the metal inside overheats and begins to break. The sad part about this is that you may not know that the cables are broken until you come to try and jump-start your car. That is the worst possible scenario to be in.
When we looked for heavy-duty jumper cables, we definitely chose ones which are going to hold up over time. Thick jumper cables will allow a high-level of energy to be conducted through them.
Cheap and thin wires will not hold up; thick and durable wires will.
- Copper cable is the best option and will conduct the energy the best.
- Copper-plated aluminum is also a safe choice. With vehicle batteries getting stronger and more powerful, cheap jump cables cannot keep up.
You will also find that thick cables come with larger alligator clamps. The benefit to this is that they can deal with large connectors as well as small connectors. If you have small alligator clamp and are trying to attach them to a large battery, they may keep slipping off. With large clamps, you can connect to almost anything. A good connection will also ensure that you have, well, a good connection. The better the energy can flow, the better it is for your jump start.
The most common clamps in the jumper cable world are alligator and parrot.
Both types of clamp look like the animal that they are named after. Parrot clamps are more rounded and are shaped like the beak of a parrot. Alligator clamps are more pointed and have teeth. Both clamps have their place, and you should go for the clamp that works best with your vehicle.
We would recommend looking for clamps that are wrapped in rubber for a better grip on your battery, and a reduced chance of shock should the clamps be touched.
Look for a handle that is easy to hold and comfortable. Safety is always your number one priority when dealing with electrics.
Your cable should be thick, but it should also be protected. Materials such as PVC will not only insulate the wire, but they will also protect them. High-quality PVC is resistant to chemicals and oil, a handy thing to have when the cables are going to be resting on a car engine.
A good material will also remain flexible, especially in cold weather.
This means that the wire will not tangle easily, a nuisance when you are trying to get your car running again, and will be easy to uncoil when you need it.
You get what you pay for. We are looking for the most heavy-duty jumper cables on the market. With great durability comes great cost. Well, not necessarily great cost but you should expect to pay a little more to get a set of high-quality jumper cables.
A cheap set may last you forever if you do not happen to use them at all, or only one time, but we are after the set which will last you forever should you need to use them over and over.
We do not want to take the chance of not being able to jump-start your battery when it dies or not being able to help someone else when they are in need of a jump start.
Our Top Picks
The best jumper cables are out there, and we have found five of the best. We have looked at a rage of cables, and chosen the five that will give you the most choice. There are a variety of gauges, lengths, and styles. Let’s take a look.
Voilamart Auto Jumper Cables (Commercial Grade)
Available Gauges: 0, 1, 2; Available Lengths: 20 feet; Amperage Capacity: 3000 A
These are commercial-grade jumper cables, so you know that they are going to start your vehicle on that cold winter morning. They come in low gauges, allowing lots of power to course through them, and that can make the difference between your car starting and it not starting.
The construction is rugged and durable, with strong PVC covering the metal, adding a layer of protection to ensure that you do not get shocked. The PVC is resistant to heat, oil, and acid, and it also allows you to get a firm grip on the cables when you are handling them.
You get 20 feet of length, enough for most situations and the cable is tangle-free, something which can be a life-saver in those low temperatures.
The cables are ideal for 6V, 12V, and 24V batteries, making them perfect for almost any car, van, truck, SUV, and even commercial vehicles. A great set to get your car started or to help others in need.
NoOne Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables
Available Gauges: 0; Available Lengths: 25 feet; Amperage Capacity: 1000 A
These heavy-duty cables will help to start almost any vehicle, and they come with a nice set of extras to speed along the process and give you extra protection.
These cables are thick, with over half an inch of thickness, allowing them to handle almost any vehicle. You can send a lot of power through these cables, and they won’t bat an eyelid (if they had eyelids). The thick inner core also means that they start your battery faster than other jumper cables, getting you back on the road quicker.
The four alligator clamps have strong jagged teeth that will latch on to the battery and not let go as you are trying to give your battery some power. The plastic covering is easy to handle and protects you from any shocks. The PVC is also resistant to freezing, so the clamps will not lock in place during the cold weather.
The cables come with their own travel bag for extra protection, safety goggles for your own protection, and gloves and a brush for handling and cleaning the battery.
Energizer Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables
Available Gauges: 1, 2, 4, 6; Available Lengths: 16, 20, 25, 30 feet; Amperage Capacity: 800 A
This set gives you a lot more cable than many other sets on the market. You do not need to worry about where the other vehicle is when you are getting a jump start or helping someone else. The cable set is also good for almost any vehicle, from small and compact cars to large vans or SUVs.
There is a thick vinyl coating covering the cables which helps to protect the cables from rust and corrosion. The same vinyl coating also covers the handles, protecting them too. The bonus of having the coating on the handles is that they are really easy to grip. The handles are strong, rugged, and durable, with a strong spring for easy and secure positioning. The clamps fit on the top or side posts of most batteries.
A travel bag helps to protect these tangle-free cables, protecting them when they are not in use. You can easily store and transport them when you want to.
You will especially like that the aluminum cables are covered in copper to give you a flexible product which will still work even when the temperature drops down to -40 Celsius, and we all know that that is the time when batteries most fail.
TOPDC Heavy-Duty Jumper Cables
Available Gauges: 0, 4; Available Lengths: 10, 15, 20 feet; Amperage Capacity: 900 A
A robust set of jumper cables that come with their own carry bag. They offer some of the best performance out there, with copper-coated aluminum and pure copper jaws for amazing electrical conductivity, and superior power transfer.
The cables come in a selection of gauges and lengths, bringing something for everyone. The cables are long, and the PVC insulation means that they are still flexible, even at -40. The tangle-free design further helps to keep the cables on the straight and narrow, and you do not have to worry about them tangling when you need them the most.
The clamps are specially designed to be strong, and they will grip onto the terminals without slipping off when you are jumping your car. They are also powerful enough to deal with most cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, and vans.
They are easy to connect, transfer power well, and come with a travel case that will keep them in prime condition.
Spartan Power Heavy Duty Jumper Cables
Available Gauges: 0, 1, 2, 4; Available Lengths: 12, 16, 20 feet; Amperage Capacity: 1000 A
These Spartan jumper cables come with more choice than you would think possible. There is a choice of 5 gauges and 3 different lengths. With so much to choose from, you are sure to find what you are looking for.
The jumper cables are heavy-duty and made in the USA. They work well for your car, even in cold weather, but they have also been designed to be used with large trucks (even diesel) and commercial fleet vehicles.
The bright yellow bag helps you to find them easily, especially when it is dark, and it also acts as a safety device. Place it by the side of the road when you have broken down, and it adds a layer of visibility.
The cables work well with a variety of vehicles and amperages, and they will hold up in most weather conditions, including low temperatures. There is a copper ribbon on both sides of each clamp, so both sides will provide power to the battery, ensuring that you are back on the road quicker.
The cables come with a lifetime warranty, and Spartan will fix or replace the cables should anything be wrong with them.
How To Use Jumper Cables?
Using jumper cables incorrectly can be dangerous, so knowing the right procedure is essential. Most jumper cables come with an instruction card, but here’s a quick video on how to connect two batteries properly.
When it comes to electrics, it can get complicated. Thankfully, that is not the case with jumper cables. You are dealing with electricity, but all you are worried about is transferring it. As long as you have the correct gauge, you are going to be fine.
Always put safety first when you are dealing with jumping your battery. Ensure that your cable can carry enough power, secure the clamps, and always follow the instructions.