What Size Jumper Cables Do I Need? (2 vs 4 vs 6 Gauge)

It’s crucial to have jumper cables inside your vehicle at all times. If you find yourself with a dead battery on the side of the highway or five minutes from your work, you’ll want them handy.

Even more important is having the right size jumper cables on you, as the wrong size will be useless for your vehicle.

There are multiple sizes and lengths to jumper cables, and not all of them work for every car out there.

What makes them different from one another are their gauges or the thickness of the wires on the jumper cables. The gauge size is crucial, as it determines how much power can pass through the jumper cables, impacting your car and whether it will receive enough electricity.

If you’re wondering, “What gauge jumper cables do I need?” This article will discuss three different gauge sizes, what makes them similar, and the best vehicles suited to them.

These are the three gauge sizes we will cover:

  • Two-gauge
  • Four-gauge
  • Six-gauge

The difference between them is the width of the wires and the power they can transmit to your car battery: the lower the gauge, the higher the power.

For example, the two-gauge on our list is the thickest and most powerful wire, as two-gauge jumper cables can transfer the most electricity from one battery to another.

Before going over the best gauge for your vehicle, we’ll start by refreshing your memory on how jumper cables work.

How Do I Use Jumper Cables?

Although a very simple wired invention, jumper cables can become confusing. You start to second guess your knowledge and wonder if red does go to red if a positive connects with another positive, and then suddenly you have forgotten how to use them.

Properly using jumper cables is as simple as knowing what color goes to what charge.

  • The red wire connects to the positive side of the battery
  • The black wire connects to the negative side of the battery

Also, remember to be safe when removing the cables from the batteries, starting with the vehicle being jumped. The red wire should go first, then black can follow.

Knowing what gauge works best for the vehicle is wise, but knowing how to use jumper cables is even more critical. Before you purchase your set of jumper cables, be sure you know how to handle them effectively and safely.

What Gauge Jumper Cables Do I Need?

Each gauge has its amount of electrical current units it can transfer and its related levels of AMPs that it can transfer while it’s working. The amount of electrical current they can handle directly correlates to their thickness. The thicker the wire, the higher the AMPs.

  • A two-gauge jumper cable can transmit up to 800 AMPs.
  • A four-gauge jumper cable can transmit from 300 to 500 AMPs.
  • A six-gauge jumper cable can transmit 200 AMPs.

The main thing to consider while noticing the width and power differences between a two-gauge, a four-gauge, and a six-gauge is determining which one is best for you and your vehicle. It’s important to know what power your car battery needs to be revived.

Two-Gauge Jumper Cables

The level two-gauge jumper cables have the thickest wires on our list, making them the strongest ones, only the one-gauge jumper cable being stronger. They are powerful enough and best used for vehicles that have bigger batteries.

It would be best to use two-gauge jumper cables if you’re the owner of a van, sports car, or pick-up truck. Any other vehicle with a smaller battery may have too much electricity passed through and considered excessive and not necessary.

Although size two gauges are just as widely used as the other jumper cables on our list, if you have one of these vehicles, that would be best suited for you.

Four-Gauge Jumper Cables

More common than the two-gauge, four-gauge jumper cables are best suited for smaller, compact cars and medium-sized cars. The power source isn’t as strong, so it is more fitting for these types of car batteries, but for some vans or trucks, gauge four jumper cables work, too.

Gauge four is recommended by most mechanics because it is the middle ground between gauges two and six: not too thick or thin and not too overly powerful or weak. It’s a safe choice if you are unsure what size would be best.

Six-Gauge Jumper Cables

The thinnest size and the least powerful size on our list is not the first choice for vehicles but a close second. The two-gauge is too overpowering for intermediate cars, and sometimes the six-gauge is underwhelming. A six-gauge has 200 AMPs, so they can work for cars that require 300 AMPs.

However, if you want to ensure you don’t get stuck on the side of the road because your jumper cables weren’t strong enough, sometimes the four-gauge is safer. It also definitely cannot work for the same vehicles as gauge two. It wouldn’t have enough power.

This size gauge can work for the same cars the gauge four will work on. Emergency jumper cables are typically four- or six-gauge wires. If you wish to be rather safe than sorry, sticking with gauge four will take away any chance of disappointment, but don’t discount the six-gauge entirely.

Other Things to Consider

There are plenty of things that go into the perfect-sized jumper cables for your vehicle. The gauge size is essential because, without the proper width, you could do too much or not enough.

Focusing on how much you wish to spend on your jumper cables, the length of your jumper cables, and the space you have in your vehicle to store them are crucial aspects to consider as well.

These are things to think about that might impact the usefulness of the cables, just like the gauge size you choose.


The prices of jumper cables vary, although not many reach over $100. The importance of your budget is determined by which jumper cable you need. If your vehicle requires a two-gauge jumper cable, there isn’t much room for debate. The other cables’ power isn’t strong enough.

If you are in a tight spot and all the cash matters, choosing between a four-gauge and a six-gauge can be considered. It’s common for a six-gauge to work on small and medium cars despite their lower AMP.

Most likely, the six-gauge is cheaper than the four-gauge, so if you need to settle for a six-gauge from a good company, then do so. If you wish to buy a four-gauge for a not as reliable retailer, that is your choice. Your budget is simply something to consider when looking to purchase.


Jumper Cables offered to come in all kinds of lengths. If you are purchasing a two-gauge jumper cable and you have a larger vehicle, you’ll probably want to buy a longer one. A longer cable will help you create more space between your car and the car that’s helping you.

If you have a smaller car, you don’t have to spend extra for a longer cable. The usual length of jumper cables for a small car is 12 to 20 feet.

Be sure to pick the right length, so you don’t find yourself in a situation where it’s pointless to have the right gauge because the cable isn’t long enough.


Jumper Cables are easy to roll up and stow away in your vehicle. It is wise to consider the length of your jumper cable and how it will fit in your car. If you choose to purchase a long cable, you may want to find somewhere to store the larger object.

The issue here is the damage that could befall the jumper cables. It would be a shame to need them, only to find that because you left them tangled in the back and under a travel suitcase, they are damaged and unable to work.

Consider where in your car it is that you will store your cables so you can avoid damage, or worse, a messy car.

So… Which Size Is the Right Jumper Cable?

The answer is simple. It all comes down to what size car you have and what size gauge you need. The best-suited jumper cables for car batteries are gauge sizes two, four, and six, so your options have already dwindled to three.

It’s vital to do your research and purchase the proper gauge and length to avoid unwanted situations where your cables don’t work. Consider your budget and space beforehand. This way, you won’t be making any returns or mistakes in your choice.

With the right reliable jumper cables, you won’t have to worry about your battery dying. You’ll have exactly what you need to be stored safely in your trunk.

Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

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