Last updated: February 4, 2017 8:04 pm EDT
Nobody likes coming out to their car with a dead battery. But sometimes it happens. Instead of calling and waiting for a tow check — and spending the money — you can likely jump start the car yourself. There’s right and wrong ways to do it, but before you can even start jump starting a car, you’ll need a set of jumper cables. Here’s the best jumper cables you can buy.
Do Different Jumper Cables Matter?
The jumper cable industry isn’t as crazy about cables as the home theater industry, but that doesn’t mean you should completely cheap out on something that’s going to be connected to your very expensive car.
There are a few different ways to jump start your car, and that’ll dictate what type of cable you want or need.
“Old Fashioned” Jumper Cables
Traditional jumper cables are always a great thing to have in the trunk of your car. When you’re buying jumper cables, you’re going to want to make sure you get a set that’s long enough to reach to another vehicle from the front of yours.
If you’re driving a big pickup truck and you need a jump from a small hatchback, a longer cable will be easier to hook up and make work. Also, longer cables mean you don’t have to worry about parking really close to the other car, causing damage.
For this task, a good set of long jumper cables work. You really can’t go wrong with this set of Cartman Jumper Cables — in this case sold on Amazon — for $19.99. They’re 20-feet long, which means you won’t have to worry about length. Plus, they’ll get the job done.
There are more expensive options on Amazon, but these are the best-selling in that category. That means you’ll get something that many people recommend, including ourselves, without breaking the bank. Remember, if you have Amazon Prime you also get free two-day shipping on them!
Battery Jump Starter
There are inherently some risks in connecting your car, and the electrical system, directly into another car. You can mix up the polarity. There could be a problem with the other car’s alternator that sends too much juice into your car. Those aren’t ideal situations.
That’s why you want a battery pack jump starter. Instead of hooking up to another car, the pack jumps the car from a battery in the pack. This is much safer and you can do it yourself without needing help from someone else.
Some even offer additional features, like a built-in air compressor or the ability to charge a USB device. Imagine if you’re stranded somewhere with a dead battery and your phone is dead? You can charge your phone from one of these devices.
We are recommending the Stanley 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter with Compressor. It’s only $69.98 currently on Amazon, which is way less than some other brands. Also, it’s Stanley which has a reputation for quality. Finally, it supports the jump starting of the vehicle, charging a USB device, and it has a compressor for filling up a tire that’s low on air.
It’ll also prevent you from screwing it up by including an alarm to tell you if you’ve connected it to the battery terminals wrong. That can save you a huge repair bill on the electrical system on your car or truck.
It’ll be a bit heavier than just having jumper cables in your car, but the extra convenience and safety will pay off in the long term.
What Do You Use?
Do you have a product recommendation for our readers about car jump starting? Please feel free to make recommendations to products in the links below.