What’s the difference in CCA and Peak Amps?


What’s the difference in CCA and Peak Amps?

Cold Cranking Amps

This is a question we get a fair bit, but the explanation is fairly simple. CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) is how car batteries are rated. Your vehicle manufacturer equipped the vehicle, new at the factory, with a battery of a CCA rating that they determined was needed to start the vehicle reliably across all temperatures. A smaller CCA battery may not start your vehicle reliably, especially in the cold.

HALO and NEBO jump starters are designed to work in vehicles up to a certain CCA rating, based on our jump starter CCA rating. It’s that easy. This usually tracks the size and type of the engine, i.e. a 6L gasoline engine or 3L diesel. Not all manufacturers will provide you with this information, as it’s easier for them to not commit to a value, or not provide it in the hopes of selling more product. At ACG, we believe that the customer is capable of understanding these concepts and we want to market products clearly and accurately.

So what are peak amps?
First, a bit more about CCA- this rating refers to the number of amps a 12-volt battery can deliver at 0°F for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery. This sounds tech-y, but it is essentially an average measurement taken over seconds of cranking.

Peak amps, on the other hand, may occur in a fraction of a second. These peaks may be what are required to overcome, for instance, temperatures colder than this, or if there is something wrong with the starter motor or engine itself. By itself, this value doesn’t mean a lot, as most of the time you will never need this peak power… but it is a larger number that looks more impressive, that many manufacturers like to advertise.

The most important number when selecting the jump starter is the CCA, if you know it. Fortunately, CCA tracks engine type and size very well, so if you simply know the fuel type and displacement, or even just the fuel type and number of cylinders, this should be enough for you to select the jump starter that you need.

What if you buy a larger jump starter? Will that help start my smaller engine faster?
Using a jump starter that’s larger or more capable that you need will not hurt. It likely will not help start any faster, though, since the starting, once “enough” CCA is provided, usually operates at the same speed. A larger unit will allow you to use it on a larger vehicle, though, if you ever loan it or upgrade vehicles, or find yourself needing to start a larger vehicle (which is likely!). Larger capacities (in mAh or Wh), will allow the power bank feature to run longer, when compared with a smaller mAh or Wh unit.