What Is the Best Gauge for Jumper Cables?
If you are searching for a set of jumper cables, you may be surprised to realize how varied the options can be. There are cables made from copper, aluminum and other materials. Some have heavy-duty insulation and others have a weaker coating. However, the aspect that confuses people the most is the cable gauge.
Does the Gauge of the Jumper Cables Matter?
The short answer to this is that jumper cable gauge does matter. However, you only need to have a sufficient gauge for the situation. You can think of gauge as being a representation of how heavy-duty a set of cables is.
The longer answer is that gauge is a measurement of the thickness of the wires in the jumper cables. The smaller the gauge, the thicker the wire. Vehicles that need high power from their batteries to operate (larger vehicles) require a lower gauge. So, you can expect to only need a high gauge for powersports batteries. However, if you are jumping a semi-truck, you will need very low gauge cables.
If you use an incorrect gauge, you likely will not be able to get sufficient current to jump the vehicles. Similarly, you won’t be able to jump a truck with a battery on an ATV, even with low-gauge cables. So, having the right gauge can have a big effect on how successful your jumping attempts are.
How To Determine Which Jumper Cables You Need To Start Your Car?
The best way to know what gauge of jumper cable you need is to look in your vehicle owner’s manual. This will include information about what type of jumper cables you should be using.
Of course, you may not have the manual when you are buying cables. This is a rough guide to help you find the right size for your needs:
- Large Trucks and Heavy Equipment – 2 gauge
- Large Passenger Vehicles (SUVs and Pickups) – 4 gauge
- Full-size Sedans and Small SUVs – 6 Gauge
- Mid–size Sedans and Compact SUVs – 8 gauge
- Compact Cars – 10 gauge
Other relevant factors include the material of the wire (copper is best), the quality of the clamps and the insulation. Overall, if you are unsure about what type of cables to get, it is almost always best to buy higher-quality cables. You don’t need to buy ultra-heavy-duty cables intended for semi-trucks for your compact car. However, if you are unsure whether to go up one gauge from the minimum, it is usually best to.
Five gauge is often considered the most universal for passenger vehicles. Unless you have a very large car or truck, that will be a perfectly acceptable number.
Find the Right Jumper Cables for Your Vehicle
Get started on your search for the right jumper cables for your vehicle. Also, consider learning a little about your vehicle’s electrical system. For example, learning the process of installing a top post car battery can be a time and money saver. It may also help you in a pinch if your battery completely dies. Discover more about your vehicle’s electrical components and battery today. You’ll be glad you did if you break down.