Best Jumper Cables
There are some products that you buy where you hope you never need to use them. This sounds ludicrous but there are so-called “precautionary investments” that every person needs (or should) make. It just so happens that purchasing a high-quality pair of jumper cables is one of those products. You simply never know when your car battery or mower battery is going to need a jump. It can happen in the worst of situations and having a pair of jumper cables on hand (and the help of a nice individual if your car battery needs jumped) can end up saving you. Of course, you can also lend a hand to someone else who needs a jump if they lack quality cables. They are simply something that everyone should store in their vehicle so let’s dive into how to actually buy a pair.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Includes a storage case and sleeve
They are 100 percent copper
They feature a one-gauge build
- Bayco SL-3010
- Forney 52878
- Unique Imports
- Cartman Heavy Duty
- Energizer 800A
- Iron Forge Tools
- EPAuto 1 Gauge
- OxGord 4 Gauge
- Performance Tool W1667
- Coleman Cable
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST JUMPER CABLES
1. Bayco SL-3010
Includes a storage case and sleeve
They are 100 percent copper
They feature a one-gauge build
The copper stops where the clamps are actually secured on your battery
This is another expensive model that sports a one-gauge build with also 100 percent copper (however steel is still used). It also packs the power in the amount of 800 amps.Read more
Let’s just say that this design is no joke. Whether you want to point to the power (800 amps) or the thickness (one-gauge), both offer exceptional performance.
This is not copper over aluminum but there is some steel present in the clamps. Where the clamps actually secure is where the copper stops, actually, which is a bit frustrating.
With a 25-foot length, there is plenty of leeways when you actually use these. While it makes storing them more of a hassle, the extra length may be needed.
As a bonus with your purchase, you also receive a storage case and a sleeve. This makes it easier to store this in either the back-end of your truck or your trunk.
Per the product description, this is backed by a limited one-year warranty.
Yes, you can argue that this design is flawed. The construction is pure copper but, technically, the steel is used as the electrical conductor. Still, this is a heavy-duty design.
2. Forney 52878
Built with heavy-duty 500-amp clamps
There are multiple size options
Made with premium copper
It is not one-gauge
If you are not familiar with this technology, this price tag may shock you. The main reason for the inflated price of this model is due to the all-copper construction (and copper is not a cheap metal).Read more
On each end, the clamps are 500 amps. And, while the gauge is not the thickest it can go, these are still two-gauge for optimal thickness and performance.
As opposed to others on this list, this right here is made of premium copper welding. This model is not copper clad and instead is 100 percent, pure copper.
To lower the price, you can lower the length. There are multiple options available (12, 16, 20 and 25 feet) and you can choose accordingly.
It is not indicated that a carrying bag is included so count on one not being included.
This product is backed by a warranty but you must claim it within 90 days of your purchase. And, this warranty does not cover neglect of the product or overall misuse.
If you need a heavy-duty model and will not settle for anything less, you need pure copper and that is what you get here. That is really what it all comes down to here.
3. Unique Imports
The clips are rust-resistant
A bonus travel bag is included
It is 25 feet in length
The construction is copper plated aluminum and not pure copper
There is a lot to love about this design including the 25-foot length, one-gauge build, and 800-amp power rating. But, do be aware that these are copper plated aluminum.Read more
Probably the main reason why this model is dubbed as professional is due to the 800 amps of power and the one-gauge construction.
As can be expected by glancing at the price point, these jumper cables are made of copper clad aluminum and not 100 percent copper. But, thanks to the temperature-resistant shielding, these are safe in extreme temperatures.
Thanks to the 25-foot length, you should not have too much trouble connecting two batteries together when one needs some juicing.
For your convenience, a travel bag is included and it can be used to help store these in your vehicle.
Within 30 days of your purchase, if you are dissatisfied with this model in any way you can return it. It is claimed a refund will then be issued to either your debit or credit card within three to five business days.
Heck, even if you are completely disgusted by this design you can return it within 30 days and get a full refund. That small reassurance could be enough to convince you to give this option a shot.
4. Cartman Heavy Duty
The inside tongue is a patented design
Backed by a five-year warranty
It is RoHS compliant and UL-listed
The included bag has been heavily criticized
For the average consumer, this pair of jumper cables is going to be incredibly sufficient. While it may not be sufficient for heavy-duty use, it will suffice for just about everyone.Read more
This is capable of dishing out 600 amps of power and thanks to the two-gauge construction, it is thick enough to deliver optimal power transfer.
Cartman designed their model to remain flexible in colder conditions and this is because it is insulated with T-Prene coating. Also, this is copper coated aluminum.
While slightly less in length than most top-end models, this still remains sufficient with its 20-foot length.
Given some of the other models, it is not much of a surprise that the included carrying bag is not that good. Of course, this one is probably worse than others due to its thin nature and small size.
Cartman does their users a solace and backs their model with a five-year warranty. Some sellers will not even include a warranty so this is a huge bonus.
Let’s just say that if you find a different storage bag, you should be thrilled with your purchase. Unless, of course, you are expecting pure copper.
5. Energizer 800A
Sports 800 amps of power
Multiple length options are available
The grips secure tightly to ensure they do not pop off
The included storage bag is inconveniently sized
Even if you live under a rock, chances are you have still heard of Energizer. It just so happens they make high-quality jumper cables and oh boy, have consumers ever enjoyed them.Read more
For the record, there are other seller options available. But, this specific design is equipped with 800 amps of power and also a gauge of one for optimal performance.
Now, this is made of copper clad aluminum but the cables do remain flexible in colder weather. Also, the heavy-duty grips stay secure for an ideal connection.
There are a few length options to select from (though this has a direct effect on the gauge that you can select) with the longest being 30 feet (which is a sensational length).
Be aware that even though there is a travel bag that comes with your purchase, it is not sized well. Due to this, it can take you several attempts to get the cables back inside (as there is literally no breathing room).
It is interesting to note that a warranty is not specified on the official product page on Energizer’s website. Though, they do include a warranty with one of their other models.
Without much doubt, this is the best copper clad aluminum model on the market. It is designed by Energizer so that is not much of a surprise, though.
6. Iron Forge Tools
20 feet in length
The clips have a strong grip
Backed by a lifetime replacement warranty
The gauge and amperage are limited
Getting them back in the bag is a chore
A lot of consumers have put their trust in Iron Forge Tools and based on the feedback, it appears that most of them wound up satisfied with the jumper cables provided by them.Read more
It goes without saying at this point but at 400 amps and a four-gauge construction, this is not going to compete with top-end models in regard to performance.
Iron Forge Tools designed their jumper cables with alligator clips that sport tight grips. The teeth are copper-coated aluminum, though, as you would expect.
This specific design measures 20 feet in length and for most instances, this is going to be a sufficient-enough length.
Another seller who really fails to include a well-sized carrying bag is Iron Forge Tools. It is nice that they supply you with one but there is little to no breathing room (so you will need to plan how to get the cables inside).
Here is what is really nice about buying from Iron Forge Tools. They stand by all their products and they back this with their lifetime replacement warranty.
When you put your trust in great companies, they usually deliver. And, though this model is far from the best, it does just that. Plus, the lifetime replacement warranty provides you with an excellent peace of mind.
7. EPAuto 1 Gauge
Comes with a carrying bag
Remain fairly flexible in colder weather
The 25-foot length is very sufficient
A few mention that it is hard to get them back in the bag
No warranty is included
Even though pure copper was not used in the construction of this model, it still remains one of the best options for most consumers out there due to its gauge and power.Read more
Due to the combination of the thick one-gauge core and the 800 amps of power, these are able to perform extremely well.
For the record, this is not pure copper and is aluminum. Now, they get a little stiff in the cold but nowhere near as stiff as cheap models.
EPAuto designed their model to be 25 feet and will make it much more feasible to connect these cables from one battery to the next.
Despite the fact that a carrying bag is included, it can be tricky to get the actual cables inside. But, at least one is included.
On EPAuto’s website, it is claimed clearly that they make no warranties. It is also stated that they disclaim and negate all other warranties.
For a copper clad aluminum model, this is pretty darn impressive. Given the fact that pure copper will jack the price up significantly, this is a tradeoff most consumers will accept.
8. OxGord 4 Gauge
The clamps are ergonomically designed
Sports 500 amps of power
Comes with a free travel bag
The gauge is not very thick
Not pure copper
Put two and two together and you will quickly understand why these cables are cheaper in price than most. While they are nowhere near commercial-grade quality (despite the claim), they are still a great option for most buyers.Read more
The thickest gauge available here is four (with an amperage of 500). While this is not awful by any means, the cables will not be thick enough to perform to some users’ standards.
The lower price is indicative of the copper coated aluminum construction. But, what is nice is that T-Prene coating is present and this helps to enhance the flexibility in colder climates.
If you want the four-gauge option, you have two size options. You can either go with 12 or 25 feet. Given the price difference is not too substantial, you may want to opt for the 25-foot option.
To prevent these from becoming too tangled, they come with an included travel bag free of charge.
Though the process sounds longer than it needs to be, you can fill out a warranty form on OxGord’s official webpage. Do so if you feel the product is defective.
Really, this is very similar to the other options on this list. Of course, this is a very affordable option and is really suitable for casual uses only.
9. Performance Tool W1667
Many different design options are available
The jaw clamps are heavy-duty copper
Features red and black PVC coating
A few buyers note the clamps are too small
Both the pivot hinge and the spring are a bit flimsy
For the price point, it is hard to argue with the quality here. Now, with that said, there are a few hiccups that prevent this model from competing with the best of the best.Read more
Performance Tool provides you with several different design options and you can pick the one that suits your needs the most. While you can’t individually choose the gauge and the power, there are a few different combined options available.
In addition to the fact that this is made of tangle-free rubber and copper clad aluminum, it also features red and black PVC coating for easy identification.
Again, there are different size options available but you can’t choose an individual length and also an individual gauge and power rating. This one, in specific, measures 20 feet.
With the design options available, you can be directly responsible for making this model more portable (but the tradeoff is the performance).
On their webpage, it is claimed that Performance Tool does not back their product with a warranty of any kind.
Though this design is not without its flaws, it has accumulated several positive reviews so it must be doing something right. If you can accept its limitations, you can enjoy its quality.
10. Coleman Cable
Features clamps that glow in the dark
Each clamp is shielded to prevent short circuits
It is ergonomically designed
The connection between the clamp and the cable could be improved
Does not appear that a carrying bag is included
What makes this next design stand out is its ergonomic design and its safety features. However, in terms of its actual build, it is limited in several areas.Read more
This is the first real model on this list where the specifications are a bit limited. As it sits, this model sports 300 amps of power and also a four-gauge thickness.
To enhance the flexibility in colder conditions, this sports a T-Prene coating. However, the real issue here can be with the clamps as the connections with the cable itself are not that great.
The seller provides you with a strong variety of lengths. It is up to you but you can choose 12, 16, 20 or 25 feet (with the price changing based on the length).
It is not specified if a carrying bag is included so count on one not being present. Now, one benefit to the thinner construction is this can be a bit easier to store.
On the company’s official webpage, there is no warranty that is specified. Much like with the carrying bag, it is better to assume that this is not backed by a warranty.
Admittedly, there is nothing overly impressive about this design. It is probably not going to wow very many people but you know what, it will get the job done.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are a few factors that will either enhance or decrease the overall performance. And, keeping them in mind is key.
When it comes to determining how well a pair of jumper cables can perform, there are two very important specifications to consider. Firstly, you need to take into account the wire gauge. But, what exactly does the gauge specify? It is simple, really. All the wire gauge refers to is the actual thickness of the wires. But, the higher the number, the thinner they are. Do not let this confuse you as a one-gauge pair will be thickest. In addition to the fact that a thicker pair will enhance the durability, this will also decrease the charging time. For most consumers, four or six-gauge cables will probably do. But, if you need them for commercial use or any other similar reason, go with the thickest. Also, pretty much stay away from 10-gauge models as they are not very efficient.
Outside of the wire gauge, you can also assess the amperage. Now, it is important to keep this in mind as the pair of cables you buy needs to be able to handle the amperage that your battery possesses. Most top-end models will be able to handle 800 amps and granted you stay in the ballpark of 400 to 800 amps, you should be fine.
Outside of the main material choice, there are also some other minor considerations that you need to make.
It is time to address the elephant in the room. This is referring to copper clad aluminum. If you are familiar with this technology or have asked your knowledgeable friends about it, you may have heard that copper clad aluminum is utterly inferior to pure copper. While this is true, do not come away with the assumption that copper clad aluminum should be avoided at all costs. Here is the reality of the situation; copper is not a cheap metal. Due to the fact that the metal is naturally highly conductive and has low-resistance, it is widely used as a conductor. But, for pure copper, you are going to pay the price. No one will argue that this is superior to copper clad aluminum (which is merely created by bonding a layer of pure copper onto an aluminum core) but most consumers will not feel the need to get a pair with pure copper (due to the price and usage).
Also, do not forget a couple of other things. Firstly, ensure that the design of the alligator clips is up-to-par as you need them to establish a tight grip for an enhanced connection. Also, keep an eye out for insulation. With heavy insulation integrated, this can reduce the heat that passes through and some insulation (such as T-Prene coating) can even enhance the flexibility in colder climates.
The length is very important but do not overlook something criticial.
Even though this section seems simple at its core, it may not be as simplistic as you initially believe. Now, before we dive into the logic behind why the length can be a bit more complex than you think, do know that the most important thing is buying a length that is suitable for your needs. The question is, how long is that going to be? For certain, the minimum length you should go for is 12 feet. You really do not want to go much shorter than that (which is why most designers will at least make their model 12 feet). However, what you should do is buy cables that will be long enough for your needs but not necessarily the longest ones you can find.
To elaborate, it may not be beneficial to buy a 25-foot pair if you only need 15 feet of the actual cable. The reason for this is in longer cables, the energy has to travel farther and a loss of power can result. Now, if you have a one-gauge model then this will not be much of an issue but it certainly could come into play with higher gauges.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
It really comes down to your needs when you need to determine how efficient you desire a pair of jumper cables can be. They come in different gauges and amperage capabilities and while most users will concur that 10-gauge models are literal garbage, not everyone is going to require a one or two-gauge model with high-end amperage. Some users can get away with a four or six-gauge model with 400 to 600 amps.
The main material is either going to be pure copper or copper clad aluminum. There really is no debate between the two but most people are highly aware of the insanely high demand and therefore high price tag that pure copper comes with. Copper clad aluminum is not an insufficient material, either, it is just not quite the conductor that pure copper is. Also, keep an eye out for insulation.
Without question, you need to buy a pair of cables that will be long enough for your needs. But, it may be in your best interest to avoid buying the longest pair you can find. If you do not need 25 feet, then the extra length can actually be a detriment as it can reduce the power as the energy needs to travel through a longer cable. But, it still needs to be long enough for convenience.
Other Factors to Consider
This is where things can get a little contradictory. Here is the potential issue if you are buying solely for portability sake. If you want a pair of jumper cables to be as portable and as lightweight as possible, you will need to buy a higher gauge and a shorter length, in general. But, this comes at the expense of the performance and this is a tradeoff most consumers will not be willing to make. With one-gauge cables, admittedly, they will be a bit harder to store in your trunk due to their thickness (but they may be needed because of their performance). It can become a little tricky, can’t it? But, you should always buy with performance in mind (getting what you require) and worry about the portability second.
Now, there are some other factors to keep in mind that will not affect the performance. Firstly, remember to look for insulation that can keep the cables flexible (which will make them easier to store). Also, keep an eye out for sellers who include a carrying sleeve. Of course, some will make their sleeves so small that you have to fight it to get anything inside (which can be more of a nuisance than it is worth).
There is not too much to discuss here as this one is pretty obvious. With any product you buy, an included warranty gives you peace of mind that the product is not only sufficient but that you are covered if certain issues arise. But, do be aware that not all sellers will back their product with a warranty. In this situation, you will find some sellers that back their model with something as simple as a 90-day warranty against defects to something as luxurious as a lifetime replacement warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why won’t the engine jumpstart?
Alright, so this question technically has nothing to do with the jumper cables themselves. However, it is a problem that you could encounter and it is never a bad thing to have a little more insight into it. So, what happens if you try to jumpstart your engine to no avail? Well, it is likely due to another problem not associated with the cables themselves.
For example, it may simply be due to the age of your car battery. If it is too old, it may not accept any juice whatsoever. Of course, the terminals on the battery may simply need to be deep cleaned as they may not be holding any connection.
q: What order do the cables need to be applied?
This is possibly the most frequently asked question out of them all as everyone seemingly wants to know which order the cables need to be applied. Now, there have probably been people out there who have jumped vehicles before with no rhyme or reason behind how they applied the cables. And, they have probably done so successfully. But, to err on the side of caution go ahead and follow these steps.
Firstly, get another vehicle’s battery as close as you can to yours without allowing the two vehicles to touch. Next, turn both vehicles off. Now, connect one red clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery and then the other to the good battery. With the black-end clamp, connect it to the dead battery (negative terminal) and then to a large metallic part of the other vehicle’s engine block (avoid connecting to the negative terminal on the dead battery as this can cause sparking).
q: Is it safe to jumpstart in the rain?
Everyone is fully aware that electricity and water is a deadly combination as water is a great conductor of electricity. So, it would seem logical that jumpstarting a car in the rain would be dangerous, right? Not so fast, as it is not very dangerous at all. It all comes down to the fact that the electrical system of cars is typically not more than 12 volts. This voltage is not high enough to be a legitimate concern of electrocution when jumpstarting in the rain. So, feel free to do so if the situation presents itself.
q: Can you throw them away?
Okay, so what happens if your jumper cables have reached their shelf life and are ready to be disposed of? How are you supposed to do so? Can you just throw them away? Well, it all depends on what your city will accept but it may be in your best interest to find another way. If you can find a local retailer, such as Best Buy, that will accept old cables and cords you can transport them there. Or, if you know of a local scrap yard, you could probably take them there. Plus, if they are made of pure copper, you may be able to score some green due to the high demand of the metal.
q: Will rusty models still work?
Could you make them work? Possibly, but you should really either replace rusty models or attempt to clean the rust off. For the latter, you will need either sandpaper or steel wool to attempt to remove the rust off the surface. Either one of these abrasives can work and you simply need to use one of them to physically rub the rust off. Afterward, wipe them off with a moist cloth and then dry them immediately.
q: How do you store them safely?
The portability was alluded to and documented earlier but how exactly are you supposed to store these safely? One of the benefits of receiving a storage bag or sleeve is it can protect the jumper cables from corrosion and overall filth. Ideally, store them in your trunk and avoid allowing them to get dirty or wet. And, if you do use them in the rain, be sure that you dry them off before you store them. The last thing you want is for them to corrode (especially on the inside).