When you're stuck somewhere and your vehicle won't start, not having the best jumper cables handy might mean you are stranded.
Here's the thing:
There's nothing worse than a dead battery.
Oh wait, there is. It's having a dead battery and not having any jumper cables.
Has this happened to you?
You kept meaning to get some cables for your vehicle, but kept putting it off. You think if that ever happens, someone else will have some that I can use.
Until you find your battery dead in the parking lot. Then you end up asking 10 people over the course of an hour and it turns out no one has any.
It's pretty simple: get a set of cables for each vehicle that your family drives. It's a lot easier to get someone's help to give you a jump when you already have your cables in hand when you ask them.
That way this problem becomes a minor 5 minute inconvenience instead of a multi hour fiasco.
In this article, we are going to check out the top cable options. I did a ton of research and found the highest quality cables that are guaranteed to work when you need them the most.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
How To Choose The Right Cables
When it comes to picking the right cables, there's only a few things you should consider when making your choice.
The gauge just deals with how thick the metal in the cable is, which directly effects how much juice can run through the cables.
The bigger your vehicle, the more juice the cables will have to deliver between the batteries in both vehicles.
Smaller cables mean that the cables will eat up some of the electricity flowing through and turn the current into heat.
This could take the 12 Volts from the battery that is jumping your vehicle and beat it down to 10 or 11 Volts, which may not be enough to crank your starter. That's why it's important to get the right gauge cables for your specific type of vehicle.
Gauge is determined by your vehicle type.
Here are the general rules of thumb:
- 1-2 Gauge: all vehicles
- 4 Gauge: SUV, Trucks, and smaller vehicles
- 6 Gauge: Full size and smaller vehicles
- 8 Gauge: Mid size and smaller vehicles
The length of the cables determines how you will need to park the vehicle that is giving you a jump in order to hook up the cables.
With more length, you have more options.
Anyone that has ever tried to use short jumper cables will tell you that it can be challenging getting the vehicles close enough together, especially depending on where you are at.
If you are in a parking lot and there are vehicles all around yours, the jump vehicle will have to get behind yours.
If your cables aren't long enough, you may be out of luck. Either that, or you'll have to push your vehicle out of your parking spot.
It gets complicated. You can solve this problem by just getting longer cables to save yourself a lot of head ache.
Here are the typical lengths:
- 20-25 feet: Truck parks behind Truck
- 16 feet: Car parks behind car
- 12 feet: Vehicles facing each other
Top Or Side Posts?
Depending on your battery, the positive and negative posts might either be on the top of the battery or the side of the battery.
You can never know what the battery on the vehicle that will be jumping yours will be, so it's best to get cables that support both.
Let's dive into the best options next.
Best Jumper Cables - Top 5
One of the best overall options for trucks and smaller vehicles is the Cartman 4 Gauge.
The cable is copper coated aluminum, making it lighter weight without sacrificing electrical performance.
These booster cables are 20 feet long, giving you a lot of length and flexibility on how you hook up both vehicles.
The cables come in a draw string bag, or you can opt for an EVA zip case for a little bit more money. The cables are UL listed and stamped for tested safety.
The jumper cable clamps fit top and side post batteries, and have a neat design where more copper on the clamp makes contact with your battery leads compared to other cables.
The dimensions of this set is around 11 x 11 x 2.5 inches if you want to check that it will fit in your vehicle for storage.
2. AAA 6 Gauge
If you have a full size car or smaller, and want some great cables that come in a nice zip bag, then get the AAA 6 Gauge.
These cables are 16 feet long, which gives you a lot of position options for the car that will be giving you a jump.
The metal here is also copper clad aluminum. The coating of the cables is PVC.
They are a great cable set made by a well known auto service company.
If you like the quality of the Cartman brand, but found the previous option too big, then check out the Cartman 6 Gauge.
These cables have all of the same features, except they are 6 Gauge, which is perfect for full size cars and smaller.
The length of these cables is 16 feet long, which is all you need for jumping cars.
They are very flexible and don't tangle easily.
If you have the budget and want the ultimate option, get the Energizer Heavy Duty 1 Gauge.
These bad boys are 1 Gauge wire, meaning they can handle any sort of jump you could need with an 800 Amp capacity.
The clamps are super durable and accommodate both top and side battery posts.
The length of these cables are 25 feet long, meaning that you won't ever have trouble getting vehicles close enough together.
You can easily jump a truck from behind the truck with these. They are the best heavy duty jumper cables.
Another great option is the EPAuto 4 Gauge. These cables are great for trucks and smaller vehicles.
With a length of 20 feet, these cables give you a lot of flexibility on how you can hook them up for a jump.
The clamps are copper coated Aluminum, which is standard for this type of cable.
The cables comes with a carry bag and also printed instructions on how to hook them up.
You also get a set of working gloves included so that you don't get your hands dirty or greasy under the hood.
In summary, don't find yourself stranded with a dead battery and no jumper cables. If this hasn't happened to you yet, it's not fun.
The best thing is to go ahead and get cables for your vehicle ahead of time.
That way when you do have a dead battery, it's a minor inconvenience, and not a several hour endeavor.
Plus, having some in your vehicle means you are always prepared to help any other driver that might need a jump.
Not to mention that the cables will be extremely handy in any sort of survival situation where you'll need to be transferring power from one source to the next frequently.
Another great skill to have in case of emergencies is siphoning gas. Check out this how to guide on it.
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