Jumper Cables Comparison
Jump Start It
|Applicable for||All Vehicles||Mid-size Cars,|
Vans & SUVs
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|Cars & |
|Cars & |
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|Clamp Type||Parrot||Parrot||Top & Side||Top & Side||Top & Side||Top & Side||Parrot||Top & Side||Parrot||Top & Side|
Jumper Cables Buying Guide
What is a Jumper Cable?
When it comes to the sheer quality inherent in any given pair of jumper cables, the idea of subjectivity goes right out the window. As such, you can be sure that all three of the products listed above are about as high-quality as it gets. However, in terms of whether or not a set of jumper cables will work for you, things get a little trickier. When shopping for jumper cables, whether online or in person, keep some of the following tips in mind to be sure you’re getting the right product for you.
What size clamps do you need?
There are two things to think about when discussing clamp size – your own car, and cars which you may happen to come across when you need a jump. The single most important thing you can do when buying jumper cables is ensuring their clamps can fit your car’s battery. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use them at all. Later on in this buyer’s guide, we’ll help you figure out which clamp size you absolutely need.
However, after getting what you absolutely need, what happens next? If you need a certain clamp size, do you stop there or do you go even bigger? This is up to you. Of course, smaller clamps typically cost less. A lower cost is something we can all appreciate. At the same time, bigger clamps increase the odds that the next car you see will be able to give your car a boost. If you’re constantly in the city where you witness hundreds of cars going by over the course of a minute, you may be able to get away with a smaller clamp size. If; however, you spend a great deal of time out in the country where other drivers are rarely seen, it may be beneficial to go the extra mile and get large clamps. If you only see one car drive by over the course of an hour, you certainly don’t want to find out that car won’t be able to fit your jumper cables’ clamps.
What length cables do you need?
Much like clamp size, overall cable length will change a product’s price to some degree or another. As I’m sure you can guess, longer cables will typically cost more than shorter cables. As such, it can be tempting to grab the shortest cables you can find. If you’re in the city, this is fine. Though, once again, if you spend a great deal of time in the country, you may have to spend those extra few dollars on longer cables. This is because, unlike those who spend all their time in the city, you never really know where you’re going to wind up. If you end up needing a boost while you’re in the ditch off of the highway, longer cables are a necessity. As I’m sure you can imagine, you’ll have a tough time finding a driver who will willingly drive into a ditch so your short cables can reach his or her car.
How Big Is Your Car’s Battery?
I previously mentioned that, while your clamp size is up to your own preference to some degree or another, there is a minimum requirement. This is due to your car’s battery inputs being of a certain size. If your clamps are too small, they won’t be compatible with your car in the first place. In such an instance, you’re better off having no jumper cables in the first place. You’ll have to check with your manufacturer to find out just what size your inputs are. If this isn’t possible, take a look at the average battery input sizes below to get some idea of what to shoot for.
- Sub-Compact Cars – These typically only require six-gauge clamps. However, because each car is different, your best bet is going for a four-gauge clamp to be safe.
- Large Cars – Most sedans will be compatible with four-gauge clamps. However, to be sure the jumper cables you buy are compatible with your car, you’re always better of going with ones equipped with two-gauge clamps.
- Every Other Practical Vehicle – Unless you’re driving a transport truck or similar vehicle (in which case your employer can recommend which cables to get), your best bet is going for one-gauge clamps. In fact, such clamps are often used on diesel engines, so you can be sure they’ll be compatible with any practical vehicle.
Common Jumper Cable Features
Nobody can tell you exactly what size you need. It will be up to you to buy the size which is compatible with your specific car. There are; however, a few characteristics that every motorist should look out for in their jumper cables. Keep and eye out for the below features when shopping.
- Fifteen-Foot Cables – This is the absolute minimum you should shoot for when considering different cable lengths. Depending on your needs, you may even need more. However, if I have to set a minimum recommended cable length across the board, this is it. Never go shorter than fifteen feet.
- A Warranty – This isn’t a TV or a pair of shoes. This is a device which may be your last source of hope when nothing else has worked. As such, a warranty isn’t just a great cost-saving measure (although, this aspect is certainly a nice plus); a warranty is a guarantee of functionality. If the manufacturer is willing to bet money on their reliability, you can bet you have yourself the right set of cables.
The main takeaway here is that you need to decide just how much you’re willing to spend. Unlike many other products, there is no such thing as a useless feature when it comes to jumper cables. A longer cable and a bigger clamp is always better. However, whether or not the added assurance these features bring are worth your money all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. When it comes to what is and isn’t worth your money, only you have the final say. Keep all of the following considerations in mind and you’re sure to get just what it is you’re looking for in your next set of jumper cables, no matter how much you’re willing to spend.