In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything there is to know about car batteries.
Check out the updated list of the best car batteries.
List of the Best Car Batteries
1. Optima Batteries RedTop
The Optima brand is a well-known battery brand that has an established reputation for being well made. This battery is the go-to battery a quick replacement battery. It is made of high-quality materials and is affordable. This battery is recommended based on its specs which include:
• 12-Volt battery
• 800 Cold Cranking Amps
• 10 x 6.9 x 7.8 inches (Even though there are measurements listed in all of the reviews, be sure to consult a guide before purchasing to ensure the batteries fit correctly.)
• Weighting at 38.8 pounds
This battery utilizes an exclusive technology which is called Spiralcell. A series of individual spiral-wound cells composed of lead plates is the heart of this technology. This technique makes them one of the top players in today’s market.
The reserve capacity is about 100 minutes of constant performance. This battery can start in frigid temperatures and bad weather.
When driving a car, the car vibrations caused by the road can damage the battery. The Optima RedTop is fifteen times more resistant to road vibrations when compared to other batteries. This fact makes it the perfect choice for strength and durability.
- It is the best battery when comparing price, durability, strength, cold cranking amps, and reserve capacity.
- These cells have Spiralcell technology which enables the battery to have a long-lasting life.
- The Optima Batteries RedTop is maintenance and spill free with resistance to road vibrations.
- This battery was created for starting and allowing the alternator do the rest of the work.
- If this battery is completely discharged, it may mean the battery’s life is over.
2. Optima Batteries YellowTop
Another fantastic Optima Battery is the YellowTop. It is a best seller also. This battery is meant for deep cycling which means it is fabulous for vehicles that have a lot of fog lights, light bars, massive sound systems, or other battery using devices.
This battery is not as affordable as its family member RedTop, but the YellowTop could be one of the best-rated car batteries available on the market today. The specs of this battery include:
• 12-Volt battery
• 620 Cold Cranking Amps
• 9.4 x 6.8 x 7.7 inches
• Weighing in at 36 pounds
This battery also has a 98-minute reserve capacity. This capacity means that the car can continue to run with consistent performance without missing a step. As with the RedTop, the YellowTop is fifteen times more resistant to car vibrations when compared to other batteries. It is also wired to ensure optimal starting whether in cold or hot weather.
- This battery was created as a deep cycling battery which will protect over usage of the alternator.
- As with the RedTop battery, the YellowTop also utilizes Spiralcell technology to make it one of the best batteries on the market.
- The Optima YellowTop battery is also maintenance and spill free and resistant to damage from car vibrations.
- The major drawback with this battery is it has less cold cranking amps than the Optima RedTop battery.
3. Odyssey PC680
When a battery dies without warning, it may be necessary to purchase a more affordable battery. The Odyssey PC680 offers some fantastic features while still being one of the most affordable batteries on the market.
The Odyssey PC680 has the following specs:
• 12-Volt Battery
• 170 Cold Cranking Amps
• 7.9 x 7.8 x 3.8 inches
• Weighing in at 15.4 pounds
The Odyssey has a long cycle life which is 70% longer than most conventional batteries when compared. It also has another 400 cycles at 80%. This battery has the highest recharge efficiency out of the sealed lead batteries on the market. It only takes four to six hour to completely recharge this battery. It can be mounted flexibly with a non-spill design.
When the road gives a car high impact shocks and vibrations, the Odyssey PC680 is protected due to the vibration resistance provided by the manufacturer. This battery is also one of the few batteries where the temperature has little to no effect. It is resistant to extreme temperatures. With the above features, this battery can be considered the best car battery for the money.
- The Odyssey’s long cycle life which is 70% longer will save time and money in the long run when compared to other batteries.
- This battery will support the national economy with every purchase because it is made in the United States.
- The battery is not damaged by temperature and has vibration resistance which makes it the best car battery for the money.
- With only 170 cold cranking amps, the Odyssey is short on CCA which means it is not the best choice for extremely cold areas.
- This battery does not come with terminals.
4. AC Delco 94RAGM
If the customer is buying the battery for a truck, the AC Delco is a perfect choice. It has an 800 CCA which means even with a diesel engine; there will not be any problems with frigid weather. The 140Ah allows this battery to power a 22” light bar or an extensive subwoofer without issues like dimming headlights.
The AC Delco 94RAGM specs include:
• 12-Volt battery
• 800 Cold Cranking Amps
• 12.4 x 6.9 x 7.5 inches
• Weighing in at 51.6 pounds
AC Delco is known for making heavy duty parts, and this battery is not any different. It has high-density negative posts. The life alloy is enhanced which helps to increase the cycle life and the performance of the battery. Conductivity is maximized by the calcium lead positive grid.
This battery comes with Robust Envelope Separator which has a puncture-resistant back. This type of back helps to ensure more acid circulation and fewer shorts. This battery is one of the heaviest on this list. The weight probably does not matter except when it is being placed in the car.
- This battery has 800 cold cranking amps with 80 Ah which makes it one of the best in both categories.
- The AC Delco is made from heavy duty parts which ensure durability and a long life cycle.
- It also contains enhanced life alloy and silver calcium allot to give it a pleasing appearance and increased life cycle.
- It weighs over 50 pounds which makes it extremely heavy and may be hard to install.
- A customer needs to double check before purchasing because the AC Delco is large.
5. XS Power D6500
With exceptional power, this deep cycle battery is an excellent choice. It is versatile with the options of being able to replace the starter or ready to be a backup if the extra juice is needed for the muffins car audio setup. It is vital to mention that the terminals are not included in this battery.
It is excellent for vehicles that have a massive audio system because of the number of amps. Some other features of the XS Power D6500 are:
• 12-Volt battery
• 1070 Cold Cranking Amps
• 14 x 10 x 9.5 inches
• Weighing in at 58.3 pounds
The battery uses absorbed glass mat technology which is different than the typical lead plate model. This technique prevents spilling or leaking which allows it to be mounted anywhere. It offers more efficient power and output because it is ultra-low resistant. This amount of energy can be a drawback also. If the amps are not needed, purchasing this battery may be a waste of money.
It can also be difficult to install due to how large and heavy the unit is. However, it is definitely worth the money if a customer has a system that needs the amps. It is constructed with durability as the main priority.
- The XS Power utilizes absorbed glass mat technology which makes it unique among similar batteries.
- The cold cranking amps are high, and it is a long-lasting deep cycle unit for the vehicle.
- This unit can be mounted in almost any position which makes it perfect for a variety of applications.
- This battery does not come with terminals, so if it is to be used as a starter, terminals must be purchased.
- At almost 60 pounds, the XS Power is bulkier and much more substantial than other batteries.
6. Kinetik HC800 BLU
This unit is one of the smaller batteries available on the market. The size makes it easier to install and uninstall when needed. The Kinetik HC800 has one of the more beautiful looking packages with its black case and blue logo that looks good from any angle.
With 750 cold cranking amps, the HC800 can hold its own in cold weather. This battery also utilizes a sealed absorbed glass mat design which means it can be mounted anywhere. The size and weight also ensure it is the perfect battery for unusual jobs. Other specs include:
• 12-Volt battery
• 750 Cold Cranking Amps
• 6.5 x 8 x 5.5 inches
• Weighing in at 21.1 pounds
With the versatility of this battery and its lightweight, compact size, it is excellent for those who do not want to fight to get a battery installed. It also is a perfect choice as an auxiliary or secondary battery for someone who runs a large car audio setup.
- This unit is lightweight which makes it easy to install and transport from the store to the vehicle.
- If it is essential to a customer, it has a very appealing package with an eye-catching logo.
- The maximum power cell watts come in at 800 which means the customer is getting everything that he or she can get out of the battery.
- The Kinetik HC800’s display screen is analog which many customers may find to be a bad or negative thing.
Car Batteries Q&A
What does the rating mean when selecting a battery?
Most batteries have an AMP-HOUR Rating. This rating refers to battery capacity which is calculated by multiplying the current flow of amperes by the time in hours of discharge. This rating is changed by manufacturers using different discharge periods. When selecting a battery, the Ah rating should only be used a general method of evaluating the battery’s capacity. The best ratings to use when selecting a battery is the Cold Cranking Amperage and Reserve Capacity.
How much voltage is required to charge a battery? What is the charging voltage?
When charging a 12-volt battery, a person can use a range of voltages. The minimum amount is 12.9 volts, but when this energy is used, the charge rate is prolonged. If the battery is discharged, a person can apply higher voltages. If the battery is being monitored for overcharging, voltages over 15V can be used safely. If the battery will just be left on the charger, the best voltage is between 13.6V to 13.8V.
What does the Cold Cranking Amperage rating mean when selecting a battery?
Cold cranking amps are the maximum amount of amperes that can be removed continuously from a car battery for 30 seconds at zero degrees F. If the amount of amperes goes above this amount, the voltages can drop below usable levels. The CCA rating is critical when selecting a battery that will start engines.
As a 12V battery is charging and discharging, what is the battery voltage range?
A car battery’s voltage changes on its condition. The open circuit voltage of a battery when the engine is off is 12.9 volts. A battery will accumulate non-chemical charge when being charged by alternator or charger so that the volts will be higher. When a battery is discharging, the voltage will drop to 10 volts or below. As long as the battery is above 11.8, it will typically still start a vehicle.
What does the Reserve Capacity rating mean when selecting a battery?
The reserve capacity rating is measured in minutes. It is the number of minutes that a battery can maintain voltage with a 25 amp discharge. The higher this rating, the more equipment the lights can run for longer periods without needing a recharge. This rating is the more accurate measurement of deep cycle service.
Will a car battery freeze?
If a battery is fully charged, the electrolyte is sulfuric acid. This acid has a freezing point of below -40°C. If a battery is fully discharged, the sulfate ions have been consumed, and the electrolyte is water. Water has a freezing point of 0 degrees C. So if the weather outside is cold and the battery will not accept a charge, warm it up first and then charged it.
What do the terms ‘battery cycle life’ mean?
A cycle is a movement from a fully charged battery to a fully discharged battery and then returning back to fully charged battery. The number of times a battery can go through this cycle is referred to as the ‘cycle life’. Typically, a manufacturer does not advertise the cycle life of their batteries because deep cycle batteries have not been tested for a life cycle and cranking batteries do not have a long cycle life.
After starting the engine, how long will it take to charge the battery?
This question is a little difficult to answer. Each battery is rated for cold cranking amps. If the battery has an 800 CCA, then it can be assumed it will take about 800 amps to start the car. If it is expected that a vehicle can be started in less than 10 seconds, it will take 2.2 amp-hours to start the car. If an alternator can source 80 amps, it could replace this in about 99 seconds.
Is there a difference between deep cycle batteries and starting batteries?
The term deep cycle just means a battery can be fully discharged and charged. However, a good deep cycle battery can handle thousands of hard cycles without losing its capacity. Deep cycle batteries can be used as cranking batteries. A cranking battery is only used for starting a vehicle and they cannot handle deep cycle use. When doing a car battery comparison, a person should pick a deep cycle battery when using the battery for cycling applications.
Does driving short distances flatten the battery?
During cold weather, a person typically has headlights, seat heaters, heater fans, heater pumps, defrosters, etc. all running on a short trip to the store. All of this equipment is a significant drain on a cold battery. Since the battery is cold, it has a harder time recharging. As the days grow longer and the weather heats, the battery will not be as flattened by short distances.
Does the battery need water before or after it is charged?
The water should be added before the battery is charged. When a battery is being charged, the process will create bubbles that help mix the acid. Many batteries will not consume water at a single charge. Most modern systems for charging have accurate voltage regulations that will not absorb any water. The modern sealed batteries will recycle the water, so it cannot be replaced.