Jumper cables are one of the most essential tools to have in your trunk – they can help you or someone else who’s left hanging in the middle of nowhere get out of a tough situation. But even though jumper cables are pretty straightforward parts, there is a wide range of models and buying the right one will require some consideration and compromise between quality and price. Luckily, most jumper cables are affordable, but they can still handle bigger batteries, provide surge protection, offer quality insulation and have a decent length.
When looking for jumper cables in auto electrical parts stores, the wire gauge is something you must consider. This refers to how thick the wires are, which can be very indicative of their overall durability and quality. The wire gauge is expressed in numbers, but higher doesn’t always mean better. For instance, 4 is probably too much, unless you’re jump-starting a truck. Typically, 8 is great, while 6 is slightly better. Generally, the lower the number the better, because it will charge faster and more power will pass through the cables.
Generally, the thicker the cable, the more durable it will be. Some manufacturers claim that their cables are heavy-duty, but that’s not always the case. Instead, look at the wire gauge and the thickness of the cable before making your choice.
Using jumper cables usually entails placing one clamp on the dead battery and the other being used for boosting. That being said, it’s essential that the clamps are heavy-duty. The clamp’s teeth should be able to stick properly on the battery terminal without falling off easily. Similarly, it’s important they’re wrapped with rubber so that they’re easy and comfortable to hold. Additionally, rubber wrapped clamps reduce the chances of shock.
Insulation is what separates great jumper cables from bad ones. That being said, when looking through auto electrical parts stores, ensure the jumper cables you’re buying are from a trusted brand. Higher insulation means less heat being transferred through the cable.
The price of the jumper cables is one of the most important considerations for a lot of people. As is the case with everything else – you get what you pay for. With that said, it’s really not recommended that you decide based solely on the price – cheaper jumper cables aren’t always a steal, and at the end of the day, you can consider this an investment. Don’t hesitate to spend a bit more money if that means you’ll get jumper cables of a superior quality.