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The 7 Best Car Batteries For The Money in 2021

Without your battery, your precious vehicle is not going anywhere, period. Battery is a critical component that gets your car going. Its health affects whether your vehicle can run smoothly or at all. Therefore, buying the best car battery that is suitable for your specific vehicle as well as knowing how to take care of it is among the most important car maintenance jobs for every car owner. This not only ensures optimal performance but will also prevent unnecessary damage to other parts and components. 

It’s normal to change the battery once or twice throughout the life of your vehicle. Some of them simply wear out from repetitive charging and discharging, while in case of the careless drivers, some might die prematurely and require expensive car battery replacement. Securing the best car battery with superior performance and lifespan therefore one of the best things you can do for your four-wheeled investment. And the next best thing is to understand the specific type of battery you have and how to care for it so that it will provide you with excellent service for many years to come.

Whether you are a novice or a veteran, you have come to the right place. If you are familiar with auto batteries and know exactly what you’re looking for, dive right into our 2021-updated handpicked list of the very best car battery with in-depth reviews. Otherwise, spend some more time understanding the different types of batteries, the best car battery brands, how long they last and other useful information to get the most out of your batteries.

Best Car Battery Comparison Chart

Below are the best rated car battery on the market, based on their specifications as well as proven performance and lifespan based on in-depth car battery reviews from verified purchases. There is something for every car owner in this list, regardless of your performance-related priorities and budget.

Best Car BatteryVoltageOur ReviewsPrice
Odyssey PC680 Battery - Best of the Best124.9$$$
XS Power D6500 - Editor's Choice124.9$$$$$
Optima Batteries 8004-003 - Editor's Choice124.8$$$$
VMAX857 AGM Battery - Best Valued Battery124.8$$$
ACDelco 94RAGM124.7$$$$
Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35124.8$$$$
DieHard 38217 AGM Battery124.8$$$$

Car Batteries Basics

best car battery
Ensuring your battery’s health means optimal performance for your vehicle. Source: GoMotors.net

What do the batteries do? 

The battery is the vital component that gets your car running. Without it, you’re not going anywhere. Batteries are composed of “cells”. These cells are what contain the actual energy needed to start and run your car.

When you turn the key, a chemical reaction occurs inside the battery. The battery converts this chemical energy into the electrical energy and it delivers this electrical energy to the starter to power your car.

Power to run the car is stored in the battery and is measured in voltage. A battery is fully charged when it holds 12.6 volts or above. When a battery goes down to 12.2 it is only 50% charged, and when it is below 12 volts the battery is “dead” and needs to be replaced. 

Not only does your battery provide the energy required to start your car, it’s also stabilizing the voltage in order to keep your engine running healthily. 

What happens if you have a weak battery?

When you have a weak battery, your car ends up putting additional stress on the charging system or the alternator and the starter motor. These parts can malfunction because they’re drawing excessive voltage to compensate for the lack of battery power. If you do not inspect, test and charge or replace your batteries if needed, you could wind up replacing expensive electrical parts–typically without warning.

Understanding Basic Battery Types

Before jumping into the car battery reviews, educate yourself with their types, which will come handy when you will be shopping for the best auto battery.

Car batteries can be broadly categorized into two groups, if we’re talking about their function: starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. Each type comes with their own unique benefits, which you should know about before making any decision.

Another way to categorie car batteries is by their design and technology. Design-wise, there are three types: lead-acid battery being the most commonly used in vehicles nowadays, while Lithium ion batteries and NiMh batteries are later and more advanced inventions. 

Starting (SLI) Batteries vs Deep Cycle Batteries 

Our handpicked list of the very best car battery does include products that can act as both starting batteries and deep cycle batteries. Understanding how they differ will help you decide whether you are willing to pay for such versatility.

Starting batteries are also called cranking batteries or SLI batteries, which stands for “starting, lighting, and ignition.” SLI batteries provide a large amount of energy in very short bursts in order to crank your engine as well as powering your lights and other electrical accessories. As a result, only a small part of the starting battery is discharged quickly, typically a shallow depth of discharge of only about 2% to 5% of the battery’s capacity. 

In contrast, a deep cycle battery is a battery designed to handle many thousands of cycles of deep discharge and recharge over its lifetime. While technically, it is possible to cycle the battery down to 20% without “killing” the battery right away, it is recommended by professionals and full-time campers to keep the average maximum discharge at around 45% to 50% to maximize the lifespan of the battery. 

Another key difference in comparison with starting batteries is the speed of discharge. Deep cycle batteries are also designed to discharge slowly, thereby providing steady power for several hours at a time instead of delivering an instant surge of high voltage for a very short time. This feature makes deep cycle batteries ideal for camping applications.  

In addition, the typical charging efficiency in a deep cycle battery is 85-95%, the very best can even approach 98%, which is much higher than that of regular starting batteries. 

1. Lead–Acid Battery

Lead acid batteries are the most common type, which rely on a lead-acid chemical reaction to get things moving. Lead acid batteries fall into the “SLI” category.

Once the battery jolts the engine to life, power for the car is supplied by the alternator. Most vehicles come with a generic SLI battery from the factory.

This category is further divided into flooded, gel and Absorbed Glass Mat. To learn more about the unique features and pros and cons of each type, jump to the next section “Types of Lead-Acid Batteries”. All three types work under the same concept: one lead plate and one lead oxide plate are submerged in an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid that triggers a reaction between the two plates.  

A combination of such two plates is called a cell, where the chemical energy is stored in the battery. A typical lead acid battery has six cells. Each cell is able to produce about 2-volts of energy. In most car batteries you have six cells, and therefore a 12-volt battery. 

The sulfuric acid will trigger a reaction on the lead dioxide plate, causing the plate to produce two things: ions and lead sulphate. The ions produced by the lead dioxide plate react to the adjacent plate to produce hydrogen and lead sulphate.

The result is a chemical reaction that produces electrons. The electrons race around the plates and generate electricity. The electricity flows out of the battery terminals to start your engine and power the electrical devices like radio, interior lights and headlights.

What is interesting is that this chemical reaction is entirely reversible, which is why you can jumpstart your battery and continue to charge it throughout the duration of its life. By applying current to the battery at just the right voltage, lead and lead dioxide will form on the plates and you can reuse your battery until it retires from old age and requires replacement.

While charging a lead acid battery, the battery generates oxygen and hydrogen gas, which can be explosive. This is why batteries are typically mounted under the hood, where they dissipate and do not become condensed. When installing a battery in the trunk, a firewall must be installed to protect the passengers. The battery box must also be vented to the exterior of the vehicle.

The newcomers to the automotive battery realm are lithium ion batteries and NiMh batteries. These batteries are commonly used in rechargeable applications for cell phones and other portable devices. Compared to the old lead acid batteries, these two are very stable and hold a charge for a long period of time, with the ability to release that charge quickly. 

2. Lithium Ion batteries

Lithium ion batteries are very similar to NiMh batteries below. Lithium batteries are the most efficient battery type and hold a static charge for the longest, which explains their whopping price. These batteries are becoming more prevalent in high-performance applications, especially where performance requires the batteries to be as light as possible. 

In fact, Porsche recently replaced the conventional lead acid batteries, which typically weigh around 40 pounds, for Lithium Ion, which weigh only about 13 pound. Such an upgrade came with a replacement cost of $1700.

The only downside is Lithium Ion batteries are not ideal for use in very cold weather, as they can be damaged in temperatures below freezing.

3. NiMh batteries

NiMh batteries charge fast, but they have a faster discharge rate when idle. These are the type of batteries used in hybrid vehicles.

NiMh batteries use hydrogen-absorbing alloy as the negative electrode, and nickel oxyhydroxide as the positive side. 

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Types of Lead-Acid Batteries

“Flooded” Batteries

This type of deep cycle battery, also called wet-cell batteries, requires two important maintenance processes. Firstly, flooded lead-acid batteries lose water during the charge cycle. They must be refilled regularly with distilled water every 2-4 weeks as needed to function properly and stay healthy.

Note that you should only use distilled water since non-distilled water, like tap water, has small particles and contaminants, which weakens the battery chemistry.

Secondly, flooded lead acid batteries should be equalized occasionally to make sure each cell is equally charged. You can do this by applying a controlled overcharge once every 30-90 days. More on the instructions for a controlled equalizing charge in the Frequently Asked Questions at the end of this guide.

Another distinct feature is that flooded batteries produce gas when overcharging. This gas must escape to avoid damage to the battery via some type of ventilation, which is why this type of battery is sometimes called vented cell battery.

“Sealed” Batteries

Sealed batteries are also lead-acid batteries like the flooded type, however, as they are “sealed”, they eliminate the hazards associated with acid spills or leaks and they allow for a maintenance free design.

Easier to maintain, sealed batteries do not require water refilling and equalizing charge. They require very little maintenance other than the occasional check-up on the battery’s state of discharge using a multimeter or a voltmeter to read the voltage of the battery.

Gel Batteries

Gel batteries are absolutely spill-proof and almost maintenance free. Their cells contain acid that has been turned into a solid mass by adding Silica Gel, so it is impossible for them to spill acid even if broken. 

However, gel batteries have several disadvantages. One is that they must be charged at a lower voltage than the other three types of deep cycle batteries. If overcharged, voids can develop in the gel which will never heal by themselves, causing a loss in the battery’s capacity. In extremely hot climates, water loss can cause premature battery death in 2-4 years. 

Secondly, they will be permanently damaged if they are fast charged using a regular charger. Such fast charging will generate excess gas that can damage the cells, since these batteries produce gas when overcharged just like flooded batteries. 

AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) Batteries

AGM batteries are also sealed, spill-proof, maintenance-free and will not leak acid even if broken. Being the most recent and advanced invention and offered at about the same price point of the gel type above, AGM batteries offer significant advantages over both the traditional flooded batteries and gel batteries. 

In particular, the best AGM battery has the highest charging efficiency, tolerates a much deeper depth of discharge than flooded batteries without suffering damages, and can very well withstand low temperatures. They are also much more resistant to vibration and impact, which makes them ideal for a greater number of camping applications too.

AGM batteries also have smart features like electronic safety, convenience features, fuel-saving stop-start systems and power outlets for mobile electronic devices. To enjoy all these benefits, you have to pay about 40% to 100% more than normal batteries like lead-acid batteries. 

>> Check out the best tire pressure monitoring system list here <<

In-Depth Reviews: 7 Best Car Battery In 2021

AGM batteries is becoming the most preferred type of automotive batteries thanks to its well-rounded performance and superior value for money. Thus, in this best car battery review article, we only focus on reviewing the best rated car batteries using AGM technology. 

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, dive right in. Otherwise, skip to the next sections to learn the most important buying criteria and other tips to select just the best car battery for your needs. 

1. Odyssey PC680 Battery | Best of the Best

Odyssey PC680 Battery

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Odyssey PC680 Battery is the first name in our list for being the most well-rounded product. If you are looking for a double duty battery, Odyssey will be a perfect choice for you: it works both as a starting battery and a solid deep cycle battery that can withstand deep discharges without suffering any deterioration or permanent damages. Odyssey PC680 can handle up to 400 cycles at 80 percent depth of discharge. This is truly wow-inducing, given that most batteries can only withstand up to 50 percent of discharge, or else they would die prematurely. 

Thanks to these capabilities as well as its excellent charging efficiency, this battery is also popular among campers and RVers. With a strong and rugged construction, this battery can tolerate shock and vibrations. Therefore, it can work well even if you drive in rough terrains. Besides, the design of Odyssey PC680 contains pure lead plates which prevent spills.

Another benefit of Odyssey PC680 is this battery has thrice the lifespan and twice the power of the average AGM batteries sold in the market. And extreme temperatures would have minimal impact on its performance, as this battery is designed to overcome extremely hot or cold weather, enabling it to last as long as possible.

With such superior performance yet offered at a reasonable price point, Odyssey PC680 is often hailed as the best car battery for the money, in 2021 or many years after. The only problem with this battery is it is prone to overcharging. 

Things we liked: 

  • Double functions: as a starting battery and a deep cycle battery
  • Lightweight and compact 
  • Powerful enough to start RVs with a lot of onboard accessories because of its high 750 cold cranking AMP rating
  • Durable, can withstand vibration and shock

Things we didn’t like:

  • High risk of overcharging
  • Terminals not included

2. XS Power D6500 Battery | Editor’s Choice

XS Power D6500 Battery

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According to its manufacturer, car owners can use the XS Power D6500 as an additional battery to supply extra power needed for an aftermarket system or as a replacement for the standard battery. It is ideal for 3000-4000W car audio sound systems. 

Indeed, XS Power D6500 has plenty of power to crank even the most power-hungry performance vehicles, thanks to its ability to put out 1070 cranking AMPS with a maximum output of 3900 AMPs. Coming fully sealed in a heavy-duty reinforced ABS plastic case, another benefit is that D6500 can resist physical impact and extreme high temperatures. The 3-year manufacturer’s warranty is another proof that this battery is very durable.

Things we liked:

  • A replacement or supplement for standard car battery
  • Solid construction, leak-proof and maintenance-free design
  • Perfect for 3000-4000W car audio systems
  • Resists physical impact
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty

Things we didn’t like

  • A little pricey

3. Optima 34/78 RedTop | Editor’s Choice

Optima 34/78 RedTop Battery

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Hailed as one of the best deep cycle battery models, Optima 34/78 RedTop is designed to deliver the most energetic 5-second starting burst and its lifespan is twice longer than conventional lead-acid batteries. Hence, it should be easy to understand that your engine will fire up immediately after you turn your car key.

What makes the Optima 34/78 Red Top battery different from its competitors is it is loaded with tightly coiled columns of pure lead instead of being loaded with impure lead flat sheet like conventional batteries sold in the market. This smart design ensures unbeatable output, ultra low ohms and maximum vibration resistance. This product comes with a 36-month warranty.

An important note if you opt for this battery: Slow drain kills these batteries. If you keep this battery unhooked, except when you use it, it’ll work well with one of the best amp levels and the longest lifespan you’ll ever see. But if you leave it hooked in the car for a long time, the slow drain will make it fail faster than the cheapest battery you can buy.

Things we liked:

  • Powerful 5-second starting burst
  • Lasts up to twice as long as conventional batteries
  • Perfect for classic cars, daily drivers, weekend racers and show cars
  • 36-month warranty

Things we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t fit all vehicles

4. VMAX857 AGM Battery | Best Bang for the Buck

VMAX857 AGM Battery

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VMAX857 is consistently rated as a reliable deep cycle battery that still functions well after repeated deep discharges. This makes them suitable for a number of camping applications, and a favorite option for recreational vehicles as well as small boats. However, this battery cannot be used for cranking purposes.

The VMAX857 AGM Battery is definitely among one of the best car battery regarding value for money. In addition to the leak-free design and heavy duty VMAX grids that allow for a longer lifespan, its dimensions are 7.7″L, 5″W, 6.1″H and it weighs only 25 pounds, making it exceptionally compact and easily transportable.

Things we liked:

  • Heavy duty VMAX grids providing better performance over a longer time
  • Compact and lightweight 

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not to be used for cranking purposes

5. ACDelco 94RAGM Automotive Battery

 ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Automotive battery

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ACDelco 94RAGM has it all: superior power, efficiency and lifespan. ACDelco 94RAGM is notable for providing about 80 AMP hours of energy and an impressive 800 cold cranking AMPS. Thus, this cool battery is ideal for every type of vehicle, from heavy trucks to sports cars, only except for BMW cars. Its excellent cold cranking AMPs means it can still deliver excellent performance even in extreme environments.

ACDelco 94RAGm has high-density negative paste which helps to enhance overall battery life and performance. Additionally, ACDelco 94RAGM is designed with a Calcium-Lead positive grid, which allows for low resistance, thus better conductivity and higher efficiency. Another superior feature is the use of enhanced life alloy or silver-calcium stamped alloy, which extends the battery’s cycle life and improves performance.  It is also a pressure tested and sealed battery with vent caps to prevent any kind of leaks and provide resistance to extreme shock.

Things we liked:

  • Enhanced lifespan and performance
  • Advanced design: Calcium-lead positive grid and enhanced life alloy/ silver calcium stamped alloy

Things we didn’t like:

  • Cannot be used for BMW cars

6. Optima D35 YellowTop Battery

Optima D35 YellowTop battery

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If you are looking for a small car battery with excellent performance, Optima D35 YellowTop is a good fit for you. This extra compact and portable battery makes it ideal for smaller cars and boats. 

This battery is designed to provide deep-cycling capability and a lot of power to meet your vehicle needs if your car has a lot of extra accessories. It is powerful enough to start a small or mid-sized outboard motor with the ability to deliver 650 cold cranking AMPs. This battery has a 98-minute reserve capacity.

Rest assured that this battery can withstand a lot of abuse on the road and will stay with you for a long time. A feature that sets it apart from competitors is its durable and thick plastic exterior for excellent vibration resistance. This small yet tough battery offers 15 times the average level of vibration resistance compared to other models on the market.

This Optima D35 YellowTop is also hailed as one of the most environmentally friendly and safe for users. It is also a good product for seasonal use as it has a very low self-discharge rate, allowing you to store your car all winter time without any trouble. The only downside is its high risk of overcharging.

Things we liked:

  • Compact and portable 
  • 650 cold cranking AMPs
  • Superior vibration resistance
  • Reserve capacity of 98 minutes

Things we didn’t like:

  • High risk of overcharging

 7. DieHard 38217 Advanced Gold AGM Battery

DieHard 38217 AGM Battery

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DieHard 38217 is ideal for the F150 range. It has a lifespan of up to twice that of an average lead-acid battery and is often rated as one of the best deep cycle battery for a wide number of applications.

DieHard 38217 is recommended for vehicles with heavy loading capacity and a complex mechanism because of its ability to deliver and maintain sufficient charge. A feature that makes DieHard special, even among the heavy duty batteries, is its exceptional 850 CCA ratings, which allows it to function well even in extreme weather conditions. Another highlight is its advanced design with electrolyte suspension and safeguards internal components.

Things we liked:

  • Up to 2x lifespan
  • Huge cranking power
  • Extreme temperature-resistant
  • Advanced design

Things we didn’t like:

  • Size is a bit small

Criteria For Choosing the Best Car Battery

Cold-Cranking Amps

Cold-cranking amps (CCA) is a measure of how well the battery starts an engine during extreme cold weather and is a crucial car batteries ratings. Each vehicle model requires a certain amount of amperage to start, especially in cold weather. If your battery doesn’t have sufficient amperage to turn over, it won’t start.

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To check the CCA rating of a particular battery, look for a label on the top or the side of the battery case and look for a number followed by “CCA.” Otherwise, check your owner’s manual specifications for a minimum CCA rating. If the battery in your car isn’t the car’s original, you’ll need to look up the accurate battery CCA rating for your particular vehicle.

If you live in a cold climate when temperatures can go well below freezing point, you may want to look for a battery with a higher CCA rating to prevent no-start issues in cold mornings.

Reserve Capacity

car battery CCA
You can find important specifications on the battery’s case.

Reserve capacity indicates how long a battery can run a vehicle if the charging system, which consists of the alternator, stator, and rotor, fails. In general, 30 minutes of power is considered average, while 2 hours and above are considered superior reserve capacity.

A way to test actual reserve capacity is to measure the amount of time it takes a fully charged battery to be discharged down to 10.5 volts, which is the typical fully discharged state. At that level, the car will be unable to start without a jump-start. Another way is to measure how long you can accidentally leave the headlights on and still get the car started without needing a jump-start. 

Lifespan

Battery life is tested by repeatedly discharging and recharging the battery until performance drops to unacceptable levels. Such a test is typically performed at a test temperature of about 75°C or 167°F to mimic the high underhood temperatures during the summer, which is the most detrimental condition for batteries health and lifespan. Frequent exposure to high temperatures deteriorates batteries quickly due to increasing plate corrosion and the electrolyte needed for current vaporizing more quickly.  

Long life is especially important if you make many short trips that don’t allow much time for recharging. That said, if you plan on keeping your vehicle for up to 10 years, a higher grade battery that is designed to last longer would be a wiser investment. Otherwise, a lower grade battery that will get you by in the meantime might be a better option if you’re on a budget.

Other Factors To Consider

Tip 1: Choose The Right Type of Battery For Your Vehicle

We all know that every vehicle requires a specific type of battery. Each vehicle needs a different amount of power and differently sized battery. 

For instance, many cars come with AGMs to support an increasing array of electrical components, and the charge system may be configured specifically for an AGM battery. Thus, you need to check your vehicle’s maintenance guide to know what kind of battery is suitable for your car.

  • If you lose the maintenance guide, you will need to take your car to a repair shop and ask a mechanic to identify the type of your car battery.
  • If you go camping often, especially if you like boondocking without electrical hookups, you must get a deep cycle battery on top of your usual cranking battery for powering your appliances and devices.
  • Because climate has a huge impact on the way a car battery works, you should choose a battery appropriate for your local weather conditions. Cold-weather batteries are often labeled “N” or “North”. Hot-weather batteries might be labeled “S” or “South”. In some cases, owners can replace an AGM battery with a traditional flooded one to boost longevity in hot climates, but it’s best to consult a mechanic first. 
  • If you are an off-road driver, a battery which can endure constant vibrations will be a better choice for you.
Best Car Battery 2021
If you need a solid battery for camping applications, get a deep cycle battery.

Tip 2. Choose The Right Size

Batteries come in a variety of sizes and it’s important to choose the right size. If the terminals are in the wrong place, your car’s cables might not reach or they might not fit securely. 

To determine the right fit for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual or an in-store fit guide. Below is a battery size groups for your preference.

  • Size 24/24F (top terminal): Fits most Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
  • Size 34/78 (dual terminal): Fits many large Chrysler vehicles, 1996 to 2000 GM pickups, SUVs, plus mid-sized and large sedans.
  • Size 35 (top terminal): Fits most Japanese nameplates, including Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and recent Honda vehicles.
  • Size 47 (H5) (top terminal)
: Fits Buick, Chevrolet, Fiat, and Volkswagen models.
  • Size 48 (H6) (top terminal)
: Fits many Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Volkswagen, and Volvo models sold in the European and North American markets.

  • Size 49 (H8) (top terminal): 
Fits many Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz models sold in the European and Asian markets.
  • Size 51R (top terminal): Fits many Honda, Mazda, and Nissan.
  • Size 65 (top terminal): Fits large cars, trucks, and sport-utility vehicles from Ford or Mercury.
  • Size 75 (side terminal): Fits some General Motors mid-sized and compact cars and a few Chrysler vehicles.

Tip 3: Pick A Maintenance-Free Battery

Thanks to advanced technology, most car batteries nowadays are maintenance-free which don’t need any special attention. However, do note that the flooded type of lead-acid batteries require more maintenance. They lose water during the charge cycle, thus they require to be filled with distilled water only every 2-4 weeks as needed to function properly and stay healthy

Furthermore, flooded lead acid batteries should be equalized occasionally to make sure each cell is equally charged. You can do this by applying a controlled overcharge once every 30-90 days. 

Therefore, if you are not a handyman or would want to save time, you should buy a maintenance-free battery whenever possible, which is either a gel type or a fuss-free AGM.

Wonder how to test a car battery, check this video!

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Tip 4: Avoid Purchasing Old Batteries

Batteries lose their strength even when we store them carefully. Therefore, you should always buy a new one which was manufactured within the last 6 months to make sure what you buy is the best car battery at that time.

Tip: To know how old your battery is, you can check the four- or five-digit date code on the cover of your battery case. The first part of the code is key and consists of a letter and a digit, for instance D11. A letter is assigned to each month: A for January, B for February and so on. 

The number that follows denotes the year: for instance, 8 for 2008, 9 for 2009, 0 for 2010, 11 for 2011, 12 for 2012 and so on. So “D11” means in April 2011, the battery was shipped from the factory to local battery wholesale distributors. 

Tip 5:  Purchase A Battery Which Has A Good Reputation

Buying a battery which has a lot of reviews is a smart choice as this battery is tested by auto enthusiasts and consumer communities. All you have to do is read reviews or check consumer reports on commercial sites selling the battery to get information about the battery or other types of batteries sold there. 

A safe bet is to grab one from a major manufacturer with positive reviews. You can find in the next section a list of the most prestigious car battery brands with proven track records.

Also: Recycle Your Old Battery

You cannot dump a car’s battery just anywhere as the battery’s lead and acid is toxic. But they can easily be recycled, and most retailers will dispose of the old one for you. Sometimes when buying a new battery at a store, you might have to pay an extra small amount that will be refunded when you return the old battery.

Need a new car battery? Watch the video below to know how to choose the right type:

Best Car Battery Brands For Lasting Performance

If you are well informed and know what suits your vehicle best, feel free to grab a lesser known battery, especially if you have had positive experience with a particular model before. Otherwise, going for reputed brands is your safest bet. 

Prestigious manufacturers often offer better customer service, plus if you are opting for a popular model from a big brand, you will be able to gather more reviews and instructional videos from fellow drivers. Below are the biggest names in the market with many of the best car battery models:

1. DieHard Batteries

DieHard batteries from Sears are considered one of the best car battery manufacturers these days. Initially, the core purpose of manufacturing this battery was to make it last longer than the car and has accomplished it to some extent, though. This far-fetched battery product can improve your car’s performance as it comes with the medium, heavy, and premium duty lines.

Well-rounded performance, plus the capacity to start well even in extreme cold weather, it’s such a steal that these batteries cost less than $100. Sears also offers 3-year warranties, which is quite desirable.

2. Odyssey

Odyssey is a great battery brand that you have to take into your consideration. This company has been creating a wide range of batteries that are both durable and reliable by using the latest innovations and technologies, leading them to the top of the battery market. 

Their products are superior and have longer lifespan compared to other competitors. Odyssey batteries are suitable for most applications from industrial, commercial, automatic and military uses.

3. NAPA

NAPA offers eighty-four series of car batteries for every kind of vehicle and every kind of weather too. The brand also makes batteries of many sizes. Several batteries from NAPA are consistently included in best car battery lists from reputed organizations like the Consumer Report. 

This brand makes tough deep cycle batteries that can function well in the hottest and coldest weather. The market price of these batteries cost from $100 to $200. For such a price, the manufacturer’s twenty-four months warranty is particularly decent. 

4. Kirkland

You can only buy this battery brand at Costco in the US. This brand offers products with high recital and AMP ranking at half the price of comparable models from competitors.

Kirkland’s batteries are known to be efficient and built to last, with excellent weather resistance. In fact, you can get the full refund if the battery falls short, regardless of the cause. 

5. Optima

Known for its superior AGM batteries, Optima offers three product types: red top for automobiles, blue top for RV’s and marines and yellow top for deep cycle battery. With fast charging time and unbeatable power, the best car batteries from this brand costs around $125 to $150. 

6. AC Delco

AC Delco’s batteries will free you of headaches, thanks to their vigorous quality test. The corrosion-free terminal and the massive reservoir make the batteries from this brand last long and deliver reliable service for many years down the road. Despite all these qualities, AC Delco batteries are highly affordable, making them popular with budget buyers who do not want to sacrifice performance nonetheless.

7. Duralast

Duralast is a brand owned by the same manufacturer that makes DieHard and Sear. This brand is up to par with DieHard in many aspects, despite its extremely agreeable average price tag.

8. EverStart

One of the eminent car manufacturers in the US, Johnson Controls is the creator of EverStart batteries. This brand’s car batteries are so affordable that you can buy a solid piece for some $80, but don’t underestimate its performance. You can find these high-quality batteries at WalMart with a free installation fee.

Car Battery Maintenance

How long do batteries last?

Car batteries last, on average, three to five years. Once your battery is over three years old, it is time for close monitoring.

To know how old your battery is, you can check the four- or five-digit date code on the cover of your battery case. The first part of the code is key and consists of a letter and a digit, for instance D11. A letter is assigned to each month: A for January, B for February and so on. 

The number that follows denotes the year: for instance, 8 for 2008, 9 for 2009, 0 for 2010, 11 for 2011, 12 for 2012 and so on. So “D11” means in April 2011, the battery was shipped from the factory to local battery wholesale distributors. 

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How to know when your car battery is bad

Making sure your car battery is charged properly is critical to maximizing its life and better gives you an enjoyable and hassle-free driving experience with your vehicle. The most common signs that your car battery needs charging or must be replaced:

  • One of the most obvious signs is the warning battery light illuminated on the dashboard.
  • Headlights are dim. When the battery is weak, it does not have enough power to run your car’s electrical components.
  • You hear a click, or nothing at all, when turning the engine.
  • Engine cranks slowly when starting.
  • You need to press on the gas pedal to start. 
  • No-starting: The car just refuses to start.

A super convenient way to find out if your battery has enough charge is to use a multimeter. A multimeter measures how much voltage your car’s battery is currently storing, or how much power is stored in the battery. 

It is a simple tool to test the state of your car battery at home and in no time, saving you time and money with the mechanics. You can find a multimeter for as low as $8 on Amazon.

For a step-by-step guide on how to safely test your car batteries at home, refer to the comprehensive guides below.

READ MORE:

Useful Accessories

Float/Trickle Charger

Batteries are prone to the problem called natural discharge or self-discharge, in which internal chemical reactions reduce the stored charge of the battery without any connection between the electrodes or any external circuit. Therefore, if your vehicle is going to be idle for an extended period of time, for example you need to put your recreational vehicle into storage in the winter, consider having a float charger to keep it fully charged. 

Also known as trickle chargers, storage chargers, or maintenance chargers, these float chargers prevent excessive self-discharge when your battery isn’t used for a long time. To prevent this, the charge rate of a float charge is equal to the battery’s natural self-discharge rate.

Most trickle chargers have built-in circuitry to prevent overcharging so you can leave the charger on 24/7 without worrying about overcharging the battery, although some models do not and can damage a battery by overcharging it. Even though a float charger automatically monitors and charges the battery, it is always recommended that you periodically take a look to make sure that everything is still in good working order.

>> Click here to find out what is the Best Trickle Charger on the market <<

Jump Starter

Portable battery jump starters allow for convenient jump starts without having to connect two cars. They are becoming increasingly compact too, so you can store them in your vehicle at all times as an emergency tool. 

Batteries Maintenance 101

Lead acid batteries

Lead acid batteries must be charged constantly to maintain that charge. Leaving a lead acid battery on the shelf for 6 months will degrade the battery, especially in extreme cold weather. 

Cold weather

Extreme cold weather is a no no for lead acid batteries and  Lithium Ion batteries. In severe cold weather, a battery can freeze, which will short out the plates and the battery will no longer charge. When a battery freezes, the sides of the box will bulge.

Corrosion 

Corrosion is a problem with all batteries. A little Vaseline on the terminals goes a long way to protect against corrosion. Another solution is liquid electrical tape, which creates an airtight seal, but it has to be cut off before removing the battery cable.

Cables and Terminals 

The battery can only do its job when the connections are intact. Corroded cables and terminals or loose fitting terminals can limit the alternator’s ability to charge the battery and provide power to the car. 

All terminals must fit tightly so that you cannot wiggle them by hand. You have to be careful with side-post terminals, as you can strip the threads and actually break into the case, causing electrolyte to leak out.

Load test

While almost all of today’s car batteries are “maintenance-free,” we recommend having your battery load-tested by a mechanic annually once it is 2 years old if you live in a warmer climate or 4 years old if you live in a colder climate. Doing so tests its ability to hold voltage while being used, and the results will let you know when it’s time to start shopping.  

42 Comments
  1. High Performance Battery says

    I have read your awesome article. Perfect information with detail pics.

  2. Mark Neal says

    Excellent list of brands. I have an AC Delco right now and it’s been three and half years with me. Still haven’t experienced any starting issues and the battery is still in great condition. Maybe you can provide a link to the chargers that you recommend.

  3. Alex hales says

    I was going to buy a new battery but before that I read this article, this article gave me a lot of help in buying a new battery. Thanks for posting such article I really appreciate that.

  4. Shan Pauth says

    Do these batteries have category for bikes also? Need an answer…

    1. Billy says

      Thank you Shan Pauth for your comment. Those above units can be used perfectly for bikes.

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  11. Lee Jian He Terence says

    It’s a great list of brands. These are the best car battery brands around the corner. This car batteries review will help everybody to choose the best car battery brand for their car. Thanks for sharing this article its really helpful.

  12. David COSTA says

    Very informative. i learned quite a bit…

  13. Taughm says

    I don’t see Interstate Batteries on here. I have never had a problem with them vs others.

    1. MattC says

      Interstate is another private label Johnson Controls brand like Duralast, Autocraft and DieHard. I find their quality rather identical. These were my last 5 batteries and I never get less than 5 years out of them. All Gold – 36 mo – free replacements versions.

  14. Lee says

    I don’t understand. For Lead – Acid Battery (Regular), it says ‘drivers have to top off the water periodically.’ It sounds like they currently have to do that, doesn’t say they used to have to do that. But then it says “the new ones are manufactured to retain their fluid for the battery life and their caps are not meant to be disconnected.” So do these batteries require topping off the water or not? Thanks!

    1. MattC says

      The ‘maintenance free’ batteries do not require or allow top off.

  15. Jack Sparrow says

    Mostly I also write about batteries on my own blog. Usually I prefer Optima batteries to my reader, but at the end they are expensive.
    But now I recommend Odyssey to them.
    According to your choice, which battery is good in quality like optima but should little cheap. ?

  16. Buzz Rick says

    For Lead – Acid Battery (Regular), it says ‘drivers have to top off the water periodically.’ It sounds like they currently have to do that, doesn’t say they used to have to do that. But then it says “the new ones are manufactured to retain their fluid for the battery life and their caps are not meant to be disconnected.” So do these batteries require topping off the water or not? Thanks!

  17. Dave says

    Learned a lot about the different types of car batteries from this article!

  18. JOHN PAUL HORGAS says

    Do not buy a Legend battery from Napa. I just had my 3d one replaced in two years , they just do not hold up.

    1. MattC says

      I’m a bit surprised at that. They’re provided by East Penn which is a reliable battery manufacturer.

  19. elphone says

    hope my new knowledge will help select battery of my choice

  20. Sariah Meagle says

    I’ll be sure to choose the right auto batteries for my vehicle as you advised and get help for it if I am in doubt. Since you did state that I have to pick one that’s maintenance-free, I’ll try to get one that can be winterized as well. If its brand has a good reputation, I’ll buy that from the sellers I’ll buy from online if possible so that I can have it delivered to my doorstep.

    1. MattC says

      You’ll undoubtedly get a fresher battery by going in a store and choosing as opposed to ordering online. Auto stores like Sears Auto, Advance Auto, Autozone tend to have rapid turnover of Battery inventory, which means fresh ones are always available. Plus, they’re all made by Johnson Controls.

  21. Rico says

    Why would you state that the Odyssey PC680 can provide 750CCA, when the ACTUAL figure is 170CCA (according to Them) ?

  22. Linda paeleman says

    At Car Analytics, a full vehicle history check is included in the services offered, to help ensure that the vehicle concerned hasn’t previously been scrapped and also about Car Tax status.

  23. Adam Wilson says

    There was an experience of using XS Power D6500 on my another car -in the winter at a temperature below 20 degrees I did not experience any problems! Very cheerfully twists even if the car stood in the cold for a whole week.

  24. Myrtice says

    Another good read for sure. Waiting for an in-depth post about the car battery chargers and charging options.

  25. LeGrande says

    SAFETY FIRST!!! Where are your safety glasses. You are slopping sulfuric acid around!!

  26. Zach says

    You were going pretty good until you mentioned NAPA batteries. NAPA batteries are manufactured by Exide and they have the shortest lifespan and are least depenable batteries of any local parts store.

    1. MattC says

      East Penn manufactures and supplies NAPA with Batteries. Exide lost out years ago. You’ll find the SDS next to the battery on Napa online.

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  28. tajhizyar says

    interesting ! Thanks for information !

  29. jayino says

    Thanks for your good website and information !

  30. sanders auto glass says

    Keep up the great work!

  31. James F says

    Rapid Car check includes a comprehensive vehicle history check with the service offered as standard, this helps consumers know if a vehicle is written off, scrapped or worse.

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  34. MattC says

    I’m not a big fan of the AGM batteries ($$$), and stick to a wet (Lead-Acid) battery. I’ve had good luck with Johnson Controls manufactured batteries over the years and buy them. Autocraft Gold, Diehard Gold, Duralast Gold, Interstate, whatever is on sale at the time. Haven’t tried Everstart yet and they’re made by Johnson Controls.

    I’d steer away from Exide. ACDelco used to be a great battery, but it’s contracted out to a low bidder now. Tend to be hit or miss.

  35. Daniel Galbreath says

    XS Power D6500 battery is a beast and an excellent choice for battery. Worth the money.

  36. Battery Mantra says

    A standard car battery have 12 volts of electric potential. But Amps can vary from 35 amps to 55 amps and more depending on the additional equipment in your car which will be using power from your car battery.

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