If you have been around cars, trucks or motorcycles for long, then chances are you have needed a jump start at some point, or have helped someone who has. Sometimes we are careless and leave a dome light on. Sometimes a car door doesn’t get shut all the way. Maybe the battery is older and can’t quite get the car started on a cold day. Whatever the reason, when you need a jump, you need good cables.
Low quality jumper cables typically don’t last long. The gator clamps on the ends can come apart and become useless. Similarly, they can corrode which causes contact issues. Poor quality materials often lead to poor quality results, and when you are sending electricity through poor quality materials, well, you shouldn’t expect anything good to come.
And don’t think for a second that poor quality jumper cables can’t have an effect on you. We have personally seen someone trying to jump a car without success. When we went to lend a hand, we noticed that the cables were hooked up correctly, but the little car was just not getting any power from the SUV that was being used as the jump vehicle. After a little investigation, it was found that one of the jumper cables had corroded so badly that there wasn’t even continuity from one end to the other. Of course, visually, the cables were just fine. But inside the wire casing, a cable had completely come apart. The struggle of poor quality jumper cables is real.
That said, we have always had great results from tools that are built to last a lifetime. Make no mistake, we don’t have a shop full of tools from the high end tool truck. In fact, very, very few of our tools carry a brand name that most people would associate with a top shelf brand. Our philosophy has always been to buy the best tools that we can afford to, but at the same time, not spend extra money on a tool when there is another option available of similar quality for a fraction of the cost.
Jumper cables are somewhat of an oddity when it comes to tools. They rarely get used and stay out of sight until you need them. Be that as it may, quality is every bit as important on jumper cables as it is on your favorite socket set.
The Best Jumper Cables
Cartman Extra Heavy-Duty Booster Cables are hands down our favorite jumper cables, and the reasons aren’t going to surprise you.
First, the alligator clips on these cables are awesome. These clamps are tough. They have the strength to lock on to top post or side post batteries and not let go even if the posts are a bit rounded. Even when using them on a GM vehicle (uggh…), with their little side “nubs” (for lack of a better word), these clamps hold strong. The teeth on the clamps make it easy to lock on to almost any well ground bolt you can find under the hood. Did we mention the clamp surfaces are also made from copper coated aluminum? Solid copper is too soft to be used for the actual clamping surface in our opinion. Every set of jumper cables that we have had that used solid copper in the clamps ended up being scrapped eventually. The soft copper just deforms and becomes useless. Aluminum holds up much better, and with a copper coating, conducts electricity very well.
As for the cables themselves, how does 4-gauge cable sound? That is the heaviest-duty consumer grade jumper cable you’ll find.
The length of the cables will be either 16ft or 20 ft, depending on which you choose. We highly recommend buying the 20ft version. You never know when or where you are going to need to use jumper cables, and the extra length can really come in handy when you can’t park the jump vehicle right next to the disabled vehicle.
As far as best places to find a set, Amazon.com has the most attractive pricing we have found for the Cartman Heavy Duty Jumper Cables. Overall, we think you’ll be happy with your Cartman Cables just like we are. The truly are one of the best jumper cable sets around and will last you pretty much forever. Happy wrenching!