Buying the best jumper cables should be simple enough if you know what to look for. There are light duty and heavy duty cables out there and different gauges to sort through. It may seem intimidating for an inexperienced driver or a first-time car owner, but that’s beside the point.
If you own a vehicle you should definitely keep a pair of good jumper cables in the trunk. Relying on a stranger’s kindness to power up your engine can be hard enough at times. At least you should be prepared with the proper tools to jump-start your car when needed. Depending on what ride you own you might need a particular set of cables.
The following three top choices have been reviewed and compared so that you can have a better understanding of what’s involved in jump-starting a car and which design suits you the most.
Heavy Duty 16′ 6 Gauge Booster Cable
AAA’s 6-gauge jumper cables can deliver up to 100% more power (after accounting for losses) than their light duty counterparts. Because of this feature they are suitable for jump-starting large passenger vehicles and those with powerful engines.
These cables are 16 feet long. This gives you plenty of freedom especially when you’re stuck in a tricky parking situation. They also come with sufficient rubber insulation for ease of use and safety.
The clamps are very important on jumper cables. The one on the AAA heavy duty 6-gauge jumper cables are beefy and fit tightly. Unlike some competiting cables they don’t leave any gaps between the clamp and the battery terminals.
The AAA heavy duty 6-gauge jumper cables can be use with both top and side post battery terminals. The clamps are also color-coded, making them easier to use by beginner drivers.
While not as efficient as a 2-gauge or even a 4-gauge for that matter, the 6-gauge AAA is still a solid and affordable choice for most car owners. Their flexibility is ok even for cold weather and the peak amperage of 400A should be enough in most situations.
These lower-gauge thick cables may be more cumbersome, but battery and car manufacturers often recommend choosing a heavy-duty cable over a light duty one.
12′ 10-Gauge All Weather Jumper Cables
If you’re looking for heavy duty copper clamps, the Performance Tool W1670 has got you covered. They are easy to secure and provide a tight fit every time.
The W1670 cable is 12 feet long. It’s not the longest on the market but should still give you plenty of length to get you out of tough situations. Especially considering the very low price tag, the cable length adds good value for the money.
The clamps are painted red and black for easy identification. The W1670 cables are perfect for jump-starting motorcycles and compact vehicles. However, keep in mind that the W1670 is a light duty jumper cable so it may get hot.
The 10 gauge rating is thick enough for transfer of power without overly high losses. That being said, the durability is not as impressive and the losses are quite a bit higher than thicker, lower-gauge cables.
The clamps are compatible with top battery terminals only. The cable insulation is good because the design is that of an all-weather purpose jumper cable.
The W1670 cables are rated safe for up to 250 amps. Considering the price tag and the aluminum clamps with copper coating, you get a very efficient cable in the W1670, albeit it might not last you a lifetime.
16′ 2-Gauge Jumper Cables
The Energizer 2-gauge jumper cables are among the finest on the market today. They’re not the most budget-friendly option but they do outclass the competition in terms of efficiency and durability.
2-gauge cables give you enough juice to jump-start even the largest of vehicles. As you probably already know, cable gauges are rated in reverse of thickness, so lower-gauge cables are thicker and higher-gauge cables are thinner.
The cable length of 16 feet is longer or at least on par with most competitors. This ensures that you can power up your battery even with a parked car or some other interference in between. Despite the thickness, the cables are quite flexible even under extreme weather conditions.
The clamps work with both top and side post battery terminals. This offers you a bit more variety when you have to rely on someone else’s help. The peak amperage handling is 800A. The clamps are high quality copper-clad aluminum.
Another strong suit of the Energizer 2-gauge jumper cables is durability. Between the heavy duty design, PVC-coated insulated clamps, and flexibility retention at -40 degrees, these cables can last you a lifetime.
It’s also nice that they cover such a wide range of vehicles too. You can buy them for your bike and still use them later on for a minivan, or a bus if needed.
The AAA heavy duty 6-gauge booster cables can get you out of tricky situations. Between the length and the gauge, you get good value at an affordable price. These outclass the AAA light duty line of cables so if you’re looking for an upgrade but don’t want to switch brands, look no further.
The Performance Tool W1670 jumper cables are good for a very quick jump-start. They’re 10-gauge light duty cables that are more flexible and easier to carry and store than thicker cables. They might get a bit hot at times but they’re the most budget-friendly option available without too much compromise on performance.
If you’re looking for the ultimate all-weather jumper cables that can handle small vehicles and large vehicles alike, the Energizer 2-gauge cables are the ones for you. They feature peak amperage rating of 800A, heavy duty design, high-quality clamps, and tangle-free flexibility in the harshest of winter conditions. You also get a range of use of 16 feet.