What is a Jumper Cable?
If you drive a car, more likely than not at least once in your life you’ve had a problem with a discharged car battery. And if in summer it mightn't seem a serious problem, when it’s freezing cold outside few of us would be happy being stuck on a road. In this review, we’d like to offer you a simple and yet effective solution how to bring life to the dead battery and put your car on the go with minimum spendings. Compare five best jumper cables and choose the one to help you out when there’s nobody around.
Just as well, it’d be a good idea to keep one of the jump starters in the trunk of your car, so you could be totally armed and protected against any unpleasant emergency on a road.
What Features to Compare
Cable Gauge and Amperage
The most important features that determine the efficiency of jumper cables are the amperage and the gauge, in other words, the cable cross section as it is sometimes referred to. You should keep in mind that the larger the wire gauge is, the smaller resistance it has. The gauge of your jumper cable must correspond to the capacity of your car engine. The larger the engine, the more powerful your starter is, so the greater is the power consumption. Therefore, it’s better to use small gauge cables which can conduct a higher current. According to this system, the smaller the number, the thicker the wire. The minimum gauge for a 1500 cc engine should be equal to a caliber 6 (Ø 0.16"), while caliber 4 is excellent for most passenger cars and pickups. Thicker cables, for example, gauge 1 (Ø 0.28" ), are used to start diesel engines. Power, transmitted by cable, is usually measured in amperes, so good for you if you know the optimal amperage needed for your car. For example, the amperage of 150 Amp is enough to start a conventional sedan. But if your car needs more power, pick cables with the amperage of about 300 Amp or more. This charge can jump-start both conventional cars and some trucks. Diesel trucks require the cables supporting at least 500 Amp.
Cable Length and Connection
Another crucial feature to consider is the type of the jumper cable you need for your vehicle. Today there are lots of sizes of jumper cables for every type of vehicle. The most common models are from 16 to 20 feet long, which is quite sufficient for most conventional vehicles. There are >25 feet cables as well, suitable for off-road vehicles, industrial trucks or cars. Note, that long cables do not always help because the longer the cable, the higher resistance. You should also take into consideration the location of the terminals on your battery. They are usually located on the housing or side of the battery. Selecting jumper cables, make sure you know where your battery terminals are located. Most cables on the market are designed for the top connection but some advanced models can be versatile and offer a side connection as well. The clamps on the cables are also important if you care for a good connection, they must have good teeth to ensure a secure hold of the terminals.
Cable Material and Insulation
The final features important for efficiency and durability of any jumper cable are the material and insulation. The amperage highly depends on the material a cable is made of, therefore, all-copper cables and clamps are advisable. Let's also highlight the importance of the clamps-and-cables connection: if they are soldered, you are a lucky person. As for the insulation, it should be made of silicone or frost-resistant rubber, be durable but soft and flexible at the same time. The ideal insulation should properly protect the cable as well as withstand relatively low and high temperatures. This is very important because when you use your cable in a freezing cold weather, it will harden, which will result in the destruction of the insulation. Before each use, make sure you’ve checked the cable insulation for cracks. Don’t use the cable if you have any doubt as for its safety.
Energizer 1-Gauge 800A Jumper Battery Cables
This model of Energizer jumper cables proves to be one of the most performing and effective, compared to its competitors. This is backed up by the highest #1 section of its cable gauge, which means the maximum thickness and, thereafter, amperage. The Energizer jumper cable amperage is 800A, which makes it easy to start not only cars but even large trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles. This 24-ft model is sufficiently long and will surely do its job when vehicles are positioned in front of each other; apart from that, this model is really very helpful when your dead battery car isn't within easy reach.
Follow the Rules
Despite an abundance of jumper cables on the market, certain rules of how to use them must be observed. Misconnection (minus to plus or plus to minus) may result in negative major failure, and even cause a fire, no matter who the donor is. Therefore, before use, be sure to check the correct line of poles. Attach one of the red clamps to the positive terminal of your battery. Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the other car. Attach one of the black clamps to the negative terminal on the other battery. Attach the last black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn't near the battery. While connecting cables, don't touch any bare parts of the cables of different polarity, as there is a risk of sparks or electric shock hazard. You should remember that the cables must be connected as tight as possible. In case your vehicle does not start, check if the contact between the clamps and the battery terminals is tight enough. Once the engine starts, you are free to disconnect the jump cables in 10-15 minutes. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order, first negative, then positive.
More Products to Consider
Deflecto early warning road safety triangle kit, a set consisting of three ergonomic, light reflecting, identification triangles; neatly fitted into a small box for easy transportation and storage.
Capri Tools UL-Listed Booster Jumper Cables
The Safest Cable
These jumper cables have been tested by the independent reputable laboratory UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and included in the list of devices which meet the US safety standards. It is worth noting that over the last few years, the company has expanded its activities, evolving from electrical and fire safety surveys to wider security issues, such as hazardous materials, water quality, food safety, performance testing, and environmental sustainability. The company has offices in 104 countries and owns 95 laboratories. We have also found that the cable complies with the RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) which aims at the restriction of hazardous industrial substances to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. This directive restricts the use of potentially dangerous components in electrical and electronic equipment and in the production of six hazardous substances including lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium (chromium VI or Cr6 +), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), the last two substances are sometimes used as combustion inhibitor additives in plastics.
The Capri Tools cables are one of the most durable and high-quality products of this type. Copper-coated aluminum not only provides excellent conductivity but also prevents the tangling of cables to facilitate their rapid and efficient connection. In addition to the high-quality materials, the manufacturer provides a 10-year warranty, making you feel confident to have the world-class cables on board.
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Neiko® 51005A, 10,000 lb break limit towing cable, a real must-have particularly if you drive a truck.
OxGord 4 Gauge 500 Amp Extra Long
These battery cables, manufactured by the OxGord company, are among the most efficient in terms of duration. This model has excellent durability due to the conductive material (which is a copper-coated aluminum) and the flexible cable coating. The coating of the cable is a TPR material - a cutting-edge eco-friendly polymer produced by non-waste production technologies. This material has the best properties of plastic and rubber and contains no harmful substances; it’s flexible, durable, non-porous and does not emit any unpleasant odor. It is highly wear-resistant and gives you the opportunity to use the cables even in extreme weather conditions, such as the temperature of -40° Fahrenheit/Celsius.
Useful to Learn
Many of you probably do not know how to identify a discharged battery and what to do to prevent the discharge. There are a number of reasons why the battery can be significantly drained and, in the end, fail during the next start of the engine. And here are some of the most common causes:
1) you’ve left the lights, parking lights, music or ignition on for a long time;
2) you haven’t started your car's engine for quite a long time;
3) your battery terminals are corroded, the acid level is critically low or just it’s the time for the battery to be replaced;
4) for some reason, the generator failed to charge the battery;
5) very low temperature (may catalyze the process of battery discharge due to one of the above-mentioned reasons).
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PRESSCHECK air tire pressure gauge, a device for measuring tire pressure. It's perfect for cars, motorcycles, and trucks.
Cartman Booster Jump Cable with UL Listed
Easy to Carry, Difficult to Soil
Studying the following jumper cable, anyone might say that Cartman Booster Cables are very handy and ergonomic to use and transport. And there are two reasons for that. Firstly this cable is not very long, which means it is lightweight and small when folded. And secondly, the cable comes with a durable, high-quality carry-bag, designed for comfortable transportation and storage. Thirdly, there is a set of special working gloves to protect your hands from getting, say, motor oil or another liquid, doesn't matter whether you use the cables or you have to do any other dirty work.
Jumper Cables VS Jump Starters
Several advantages of jumper cables:
1. Jumper cables last comparatively long, even more than many cars.
2. Cables do not require charging.
3. They are not influenced by temperature (batteries run worse at low temperatures).
4. A good set of cables costs much less than a good jump starter.
5. You can use them to start any 12V engine, no matter large or small.
6. They are lightweight and more convenient to store in your car trunk.
7. Jump starter cannot start large engines.
P.S. The only significant advantage of any jump starter is that it doesn’t need another car to start the engine of yours.
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If you are an experienced driver or spend a lot of time at the wheel, you will definitely appreciate a special bag designed for the first aid medicine storage AAA 85 piece commuter first aid kit. You can keep the bag in your car or take it along while traveling on foot or by bicycle, moreover, the bag can be easily attached to your backpack with the safety hook.
EPAuto Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cable
Copper - That's What Matters!
In spite of their relatively low price, these EPAuto cables provide excellent durability and conductivity. These cables are made of pure copper, which provides positively low resistivity, high conductivity, and perfect flexibility. The 4 gauge cables are 20 ft long, which is enough to connect them to another car and boost the engine. Keep in mind that you’ll never get excellent conductivity with aluminium, but these jumper cables give you a conductivity of 500A thanks to copper. Another pleasant surprise is the copper coated clamps. Due to their low resistivity, a lot of power can be transmitted even through an extremely drained battery in no time. Of course, some metals are better than copper: silver, for example. However, silver jumper cables would cost far too much!
EPAuto cables are a good choice owing to their quality, efficiency, and low price. This affordable model has a number of advantages, among which are not only the cable length, amperage and gauge, but also a good set of accessories, such as a special bag for easy storage and a pair of gloves that will come in handy and protect your hands from oil and other liquids while you're fiddling with your engine.
As for the dead battery problem, remember several options that will help you get out of the unpleasant situation without any jumper cables at all:
1) you may use pre-chargers (Jump Starters) as an external source of battery power;
2) no device is needed if you just push-start your car or have it in tow for a while (no good for some cars, especially for those stuffed with electronics);
3) why not trying a good old hand-crank method (that might be impossible, though, for the newest cars)?
P.S. It’s interesting that the so-called boosting is used not only by car owners. An external power source can be used to start virtually all wheel-tracked vehicles (even tanks and special vehicles). Any suitable voltage and power source can be used for that purpose, even mobile power generators, independent power plants or industrial DC converters.
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In winter you will surely benefit from Hopkins 532 Mallory 26" snow brush. This special brush (that is 26 inches long and has four lines of hard bristles) is designed for cleaning snow off your windshield.
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6. How to Boost a Car Battery, The Globe and Mail. August 23, 2012.
7. How to Use Jumper Cables, HowStuffWorks.
8. How do I Determine What Type of Jumper Cable I Should Carry? StackExchange. June 11, 2014.