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Updated Oct 28, 2021 3:04 AM

Inverter battery cables allow you to use direct current (DC) power from a battery to activate devices that run on alternating current (AC.) You can also use battery cables to hook batteries together and provide a power conduit for accessories on your boat, car, or RV. Battery inverter cables can even be used for solar power integration. Not all battery cables are created equal; the type of wire and how it is insulated can vary, as can the type of lugs at the end of each cable. Copper is the most popular type of conductive wire, but is often tin-plated to help slow corrosion and help dispel heat more efficiently. We’ve discovered a range of battery cable options that can give you peace of mind from the highway to the open water, for land or marine use.

The Best Battery Cables

 

WindyNation Pure Copper Battery Cable comes in five-foot lengths, so you can make your own battery inverter cables. Choose from 8-gauge wire all the way to 1-gauge for the power you need. This pure copper wire is fully annealed according to ASTM standards, and is compliant with IEC,  RoHS, and SAE J1127. Each cable has a high copper strand count for heightened conductivity. The insulation jacket is manufactured from tough, solvent resistant EPDM that is also tear-, cut-, abrasion-, and water-resistant. The coating and wire can withstand temperatures from -50 degrees Celsius to 105 degrees Celsius. When you can’t find exactly the battery cable you want, the answer is simple: just DIY it and create your own customer inverter cable. The wire is rated up to 600 volts, making the leftovers suitable for other electrical installations.

Key Features
  • Available in 8-gauge through 4/0-gauge
  • Fully annealed pure copper
  • Solvent resistant EPDM insulation jacket
  • Rated up to 600 volts
Specification
  • Brand WindyNation
  • Model 4 Gauge 4 AWG
  • Weight 1.5 pounds
PROS

Flexible

Meets ASTM standards

Complies with SAE J1127

CONS

Lacks consistency in gauge size

Coating isn’t durable

Not labeled with “AWG”

The Cartman 6-gauge battery cable is a heavy-duty set of red and black (positive and negative) battery cables suitable for use with your car, truck, RV, golf cart, motorcycle, lawnmower, or solar panel system. The tin plating on the terminals increases corrosion resistance, facilitates heat dissipation, and reduces the chances of wear from rubbing. The PVC jacket provides a flame retardant casing that resists abrasion, is waterproof and moisture-proof, and enhances flexibility even in extreme weather. The 20-inch length is ample for most use cases, without excess that can become tangled or get in the way. The 4-gauge, individual tin-plated wire allows you to use these cables for multiple purposes, and allows heavier-duty applications than most standard 6-gauge battery cables.

Key Features
  • 4 AWG 24-inch battery inverter cables set
  • One black and one red
  • Fits ⅜-inch stud
  • Tin-plated 95 percent copper lugs
Specification
  • Brand Cartman
  • Model CM-BC18-4X24
  • Weight 11.2 ounces
PROS

Heat-resistant up to 105 degrees Celsius

Stays ultra flexible

Superior corrosion and oxidation resistance

CONS

SAE wire, not AWG

Wire is thinner than advertised

Inconsistent terminal holes

The Camco 96-inch battery cable is four gauge wire with tin-plated 95-percent copper lugs, to reduce corrosion and maintain safety. This type 3 cable stays flexible even under the most extreme weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for marine use. The extra length means you never have to balance something in a precarious position due to short cord reach. Wires are individually tinned for extra strength and corrosion resistance. This battery cable is available in multiple colors, including black, red, and yellow. The cable wire is manufactured to the highest ABYC standards, is UL 1426 listed, and can withstand dry heat up to 105 degrees Celsius. If you need an extra-long battery cable for your truck, boat, RV, or van for any reason, this cable is probably your best bet.

Key Features
  • 4-gauge marine battery cable and lug assembly tinned
  • Fits ⅜-inch stud
  • Tin plated 95 percent copper
  • Type-3 boat cable wire
Specification
  • Brand Camco
  • Model 47457
  • Weight 1.5 pounds
PROS

Heat-resistant up to 105 degrees Celsius

Superior corrosion and oxidation resistance

Flexible

CONS

Terminals pull off easily

Inconsistent lengths

Wire should be thicker

Spartan Power Battery Cables let you neatly and safely connect an inverter to your car battery, letting you run a light, a karaoke machine, or a hot plate off of your vehicle. You’ll be the hero of the campout when you pop the hood and hook up your inverter, making it possible to party all night long. These PVC-insulated, 4-gauge cables are made from 420 strands of copper cable. Each end has a preassembled 5/16” lug. 2 feet each of positive and negative cable mean you’ll be able to position your inverter safely and utilize the power of your car battery for whatever is wanted. If products made in the USA are your preference, you can rest easy knowing these heavy-duty inverter battery cables are made start to finish in Reno, Nevada.

Key Features
  • 4 AWG battery cables
  • 420 strands of 100 percent pure copper cable
  • 5/16-inch lugs pre-assembled on both ends
  • PVC insulated
Specification
  • Brand Spartan Power
  • Model SP-2FT4CBL56
  • Weight 9.6 ounces
PROS

Sturdy and flexible

Made in the USA

UL approved

CONS

Leads can pop off

Terminals are different sizes

Crimps can be loose

Best Battery Cables Buying Guide

The hidden culprit of many vehicle issues is the cables. Some of the most important cables are the battery cables. If you’re struggling to resolve an error code or are having issues with power, then it’s time to consider the cables.

Battery cables come in pairs, typically a red and a black one. The red one will usually connect the battery to the starter. This gives your vehicle power to start the engine. Then the black cable is the negative one that will connect to your vehicle’s firewall.

You can’t just buy any cable and connect it, though. There are special cables designed to withstand the amount of power you’ll have going through them. This guide will help you find the best battery cables for your vehicle.

Why You Need Battery Cables

If you’ve done everything you can think of and can’t seem to find a repair solution for your vehicle, then it’s time to check your car battery. Maybe it is time to replace the cables. Buying your own battery cables is an affordable solution.

Battery cables are more affordable than other vehicle components. It’s also a solution that you can do yourself. So with buying aftermarket battery cables, you’ll save money and time.

Once you replace your cables, you’ll have reliable power sent to your vehicle’s components. This should resolve a lot of your power problems. If it doesn’t, you can further narrow down the problem by knowing that there’s an issue with the power supply.

If you don’t need the entire length of the cable that you buy for your vehicle, you haven’t wasted money. Battery cable is a high-quality cable that is effective at transmitting power. So you can buy extra cable and then use it around your home or office for other repair projects. You could use it on your boat, truck, car, farm equipment, or solar system.

  • Have reliable power sent to the components in your vehicle
  • Affordable repair solution for your vehicle
  • Cables are versatile for a variety of repairs
Car battery and cables

Types of Battery Cables

There are two types of battery cables to choose from, either SGT or SGX. The goal is to find the right cable for your vehicle that will create a direct connection in as few turns as possible. Both types come in a variety of lengths and sizes. They’re usually rated for 60V DC power handling.

  • SGT Battery Cable

This type is considered a decent and affordable general use cable. It’ll get the job done in a majority of applications. Insulating the wire is a PVC insulation. It will protect the wire from acids, cracking, and oils. This isn’t nearly as protective as the SGX type.

However, the PVC insulation is effective, and you’ll be able to create a reliable connection. The wire is rated by the SAE to meet its performance standards.

You’ll find that this wire is either sold on a spool or in pre-cut pieces. If you need a lot, it’s smarter to buy a spool of 50, 100, or even 500 feet. However, if you only need a short length, you can buy pieces that are as small as six to eight inches.

  • SGX Battery Cable

This type is considered an upscale option when shopping for battery cables. You’ll have improved heat protection abilities over the SGT cable. This is because it uses XLPE insulation. It helps it to resist corrosion from alkalis, abrasions, diesel fluid, ethanol, acid, gas, ozone, oil, and flames—essentially, anything that it could come into contact with while installed in your vehicle.

These extra qualities make it more suitable for use in your engine bay. You can also use it on your RV, tractor, truck, or boat. If you plan to put your vehicle through harsher driving conditions, then this is the better option.

The Most Important Features of Battery Cables

Not all cables are built the same, and not all cables can handle the same amount of electricity going through them. Choose the wrong cable, and you’ll have a dangerous fire hazard on your hands. You need to buy a cable that is large enough to handle the voltage that your car battery produces. Otherwise, the cable will overheat.

But it isn’t enough to buy a cable that works with electricity; it also needs to be designed to work in your car. This means buying a cable that’s rated for automotive use.

  • Cable Size 

When you see size figures, there will be two measurements that you need to pay attention to. The first is the gauge size. This is the thickness of the cable and the amount of copper wiring that’s running through it. The bigger the cable, the more amperage or electricity it can handle.

You need to buy a cable that’s large enough to handle the power coming out of your car’s battery. Otherwise, you risk the cable overheating and creating a fire hazard under your hood. You don’t want a cable that’s too big, though. This will be thick and stiff and too difficult to work with.

The other measurement you need to consider is the length of the cable. You need to buy a cable long enough to reach from the battery to the component you want to connect to it.

  • Compatibility 

It isn’t enough to have the right-sized cable for the amount of amperage and the length you need. The cable you buy also needs to be compatible with your vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers design a car to run at ideals based on certain equipment combinations. If you alter from this, you risk the car’s performance decreasing or ceasing.

Check your owner’s manual or even a maintenance manual to confirm you’re using the correct cable for your vehicle. A typical four-cylinder engine will use a 2-gauge wire. But don’t assume this is the case. You may even be able to upgrade it in certain circumstances.

  • Durability 

The last thing you want to do is spend time making a full repair, only to then find out weeks or months later that you have to do it again. This is why it’s important you only use high-quality and durable cables. This will help you be confident that your cables will last.

The cable you buy should easily last for 50,000 to 100,000 miles. The more durable the cable, the longer it will last.

Look for a cable that has a thick outer coating to make it resistant to abrasions and cuts. The cable also needs to be resistant to corrosion. This will slow down the degradation of the cable over time.

Testing the voltage on battery cables

Tips for Buying and Using Battery Cables

It’s important to use your cables correctly after you buy the right set. This will not only ensure they work, but will also keep you safe. Start by buying color-coded cables so that you always know the red is positive and the black is negative. This will guarantee you hook them to your car correctly every time.

It’s also equally important to make sure the vehicle is ready. Park the car and turn the engine off. This will prevent you from getting electrocuted. You should also clean off any corrosion and rust that’s on the battery terminals. This will help you to get a better connection.

  • Always turn the car off and engage the parking brake before you attempt to connect your cables.
  • Buy color-coded (red and black) cables to avoid confusion.
  • Remove any rust or corrosion that’s present before you connect the cables.

Best Battery Cables FAQs

There are several questions that people commonly have when dealing with electricity. Your battery and cables are no different. Knowing the size of the cable you need is important so that you don’t buy one that’s too small and overpower it. Similarly, it’s important to know the correct way of connecting your cables to ensure you stay safe and don’t damage your vehicle’s battery.

Q: What size battery cable do I need?

The size of the cable you need depends on the number of amps that will go through it. You also need to think about the length of cable you need.

Q: Which battery cable is positive?

The red cable should always be the positive one. You can have a set of red and black cables, or both cables could be black, and then one of them is the positive.

Q: How do you connect battery cables?

Finish the ends of the wire with terminal connectors by crimping the wire.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best overall battery cable is the WindyNation Pure Copper Battery Cable. This cable comes in a variety of gauges, so you’re able to get exactly the size you need. It’s constructed of fully annealed pure copper for the best conductivity. It’s rated up to 600 volts and meets the ASTM and SAE J1127 standards.

Final Thoughts

For a high-quality battery cable that’s safe and functional, the WindyNation Pure Copper Battery Cable is a smart choice. For a more affordable option, the Cartman 4-Gauge Battery Cables are ultra-flexible and have superior corrosion and oxidation resistance.

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