Best Car Batteries

The day your car won’t start isn’t the best time to shop for a new car battery. But according to our research, that’s exactly what most people do.

You will probably have to replace the car battery once or twice during the life of your vehicle because it gets old or worn out from exposure to heat and repeated charging and discharging. 

A dead battery can be a real hassle, especially if you can’t find your jumper cables or have to wait for roadside assistance.

Taking care of your battery can help get the most service life from it, and being attentive to its condition and age can signal when it is time to begin shopping for a replacement before you are left stranded.

Below are tips for getting the best battery for your needs.

How to Get The Best Battery For Your Needs

Be Proactive

Being attentive to your battery’s maintenance and mindful when the time for replacement is approaching will ensure that you can choose a replacement on your own terms, including properly researching and conveniently scheduling.

Test Batteries Annually

Inspections should be part of an owner’s routine maintenance, but it is especially important to check before taking a long road trip.

Car batteries typically last from three to five years, according to AAA, spanning from 58 months or more in the furthest northern regions of the U.S., down to less than 41 months in the most southern regions.

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.  

The battery’s age is also a strong indicator that it’s time to consider a replacement. The manufacture date can be found on a sticker affixed to the top or side of the battery. 

A battery made in October 2018 will have a numeric code of 10-8 or an alphanumeric code of K-8. “A” is for January, “B” is for February, and so on (the letter “I” is skipped).

A Battery Should Fit Your Car and Driving Needs

Car batteries come in many sizes. Among those that we have tested, there’s significant variation in which is the top performer from year to year, and from size to size. 

This makes it impossible to make simple recommendations by brand or model. It also means you shouldn’t assume that buying the same battery model you are replacing will get you the same results.

Make sure you get the right size and terminal locations (or type) for your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or an in-store fit guide before shopping.

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. 

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.

Make Sure It’s a Fresh Battery

Batteries lose strength over time, even when in storage. For optimum performance, purchase one that is less than 6 months old. 

Three months is even better. Most have a shipping code on the case. Some use a letter for the month (“A” for January) and a number for the year (“8” for 2018); others use a numeric date.

Recycle Your Old Battery

A battery’s toxic lead and acid can easily be recycled, and most retailers will dispose of the old one for you. 

When buying a new battery at a store, you will probably pay an extra charge that will be refunded when you return the old battery.

Compare Warranties

It is important to choose a battery with the longest free-replacement period you can get. A battery’s warranty is measured in two figures: the free-replacement period and the prorated period—which allows only partial reimbursement. 

A code of 24/84, for example, indicates a free-replacement period of 24 months and a prorated warranty of 84 months. But the amount you’ll be reimbursed usually drops off pretty quickly once you’re in the prorated period.

Be aware that signs of neglect—such as low water levels and improper installation—can void a warranty. So can heavy-duty use, such as for high-end car audio and marine applications, if the battery is not recommended for it.

Top 5 Best Car Batteries You Can Buy Online

1. ExpertPower Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery

ExpertPower Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery

This ExpertPower battery is an affordable option for smaller vehicles, which explains its compact size. 

This battery is also maintenance-free, which means you can install it in your vehicle without having to worry about occasionally adding water to it.

Product Features

  • 7.72 x 5.16 x 6.34 inches
  • 12 volts, 33 Ah
  • Sealed
  • Lead acid
  • Maintenance-free
  • Deep cycle
  • AGM technology
  • Wide operating temperatures

Find out more on Amazon

2. Odyssey PC680 Battery

Odyssey PC680 Battery

This battery is meant for powerful vehicles, like a motorcycle or jet ski. 

It is resistant to extreme heat and can be placed in any direction due to its sealed nature, which are two important factors for powersport batteries.

The battery also has a long life cycle and fast recharge, which means the battery lasts longer than most before needing a recharge, and when it does recharge, it takes less time.

Product Features

  • 7.15 x 3.00 x 6.65 inches
  • 12 volts, 170 CCA
  • Sealed
  • Lead acid
  • Maintenance-free
  • Extreme temperature tolerant
  • Vibration resistant
  • 100% recharge in 4-6 hours
  • 2-year, full replacement warranty

Find out more on Amazon

3. Optima Batteries YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

Optima Batteries YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

Optima Batteries is a trusted provider of car batteries. Veteran Optima users say this battery has lasted them more than five years, which means you don’t have to worry about paying for a new battery any time soon.

Optima also offers a warranty that is one or two years longer than most battery providers. If your battery stops working within three years, Optima will send you a new one for free.

Product Features

  • 10.00 x 6.88 x 7.80 inches
  • 12 volts, 55 Ah
  • 750 CCA
  • Extreme temperature tolerant
  • Vibration resistant
  • Reserve capacity of 120 minutes
  • 36-month, full replacement warranty 

Find out more on Amazon

4. ACDelco Advantage AGM Automotive BCI Group 51 Battery

ACDelco Advantage AGM Automotive BCI Group 51 Battery

This ACDelco battery was specifically designed for a Toyota Prius. 

The placement of the terminals and vent holes work with several Prius models, making it the go-to battery for owners of this type of car.

This battery is sealed, which means it is maintenance-free, and it is resistant to both vibration and corrosion.

Product Features

  • 18.50 x 11.40 x 9.50 inches
  • 12 volts
  • Sealed
  • Maintenance-free
  • AGM technology
  • Vibration resistant
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Store between 32 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 24-month, free replacement warranty

Find out more on Amazon

5. Optima Batteries RedTop Starting Battery

Optima Batteries RedTop Starting Battery

Optima’s RedTop battery takes the top spot for its longevity and power. 

It has 800 cold cranking amps (CCA) and no amp hours (Ah) limit, which means it offers a lot of power for a long period of time.

With every Optima battery, you also get a 36-month warranty. This means that if your battery stops working within the first three years, Optima will send you a new one free of charge.

Product Features

  • 10.00 x 6.88 x 7.80 inches
  • 12 volts, 800 CCA
  • No Ah limit
  • Extreme temperature tolerant
  • Vibration resistant
  • Reserve capacity of 100 minutes
  • 36-month, full replacement warranty

Find out more on Amazon

Car Batteries – Frequently Asked Questions

What type of car battery do I need?

Car batteries come in two basic varieties: the more traditional maintenance-free and the more advanced absorbed glass mat (AGM).

Lead-Acid (Regular)

Batteries once required drivers to periodically top off the water in the electrolyte solution, the liquid inside that is the battery’s power source. 

Modern maintenance-free batteries consume far less water than traditional “flooded cell” ones. Low-maintenance batteries retain their fluid for the life of the battery, and the caps on these models aren’t meant to be removed.

There are still some batteries that can be topped off with distilled water; properly maintained, these may last longer in hot climates.

A lead-acid battery will generally cost significantly less than an absorbed glass mat battery. However, it will not hold a charge for as long and is less able to tolerate a deep discharge.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)

AGMs are built to better stand up to repeated draining and recharging cycles than standard batteries. 

They are becoming standard equipment in more cars because modern features such as fuel-saving stop-start systems, electronic safety and convenience features, and power outlets for mobile electronics all increase the demand for power.

But AGMs can cost 40 to 100 percent more than highly rated conventional batteries. Consider buying one if you sometimes don’t use your vehicle for long periods and the battery loses its charge. 

An AGM battery can better tolerate a deep discharge, and it is more likely to fully recover if it is accidentally drained.

What size car battery do I need?

Batteries come in a variety of sizes. It’s important to choose the right one to ensure that it fits securely and provides sufficient power. 

If the terminals are in the wrong place, your car’s cables might not reach or they might not fit securely. 

Check your owner’s manual or an in-store fit guide. Many retailers will install the battery free of charge.

  • Size 24/24F (top terminal): Fits many Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
  • Size 34/78 (dual terminal): Fits many large Chrysler vehicles and many 1996 to 2000 GM pickups, SUVs, and midsized and large sedans.
  • Size 35 (top terminal): Fits most Japanese nameplates, including many recent Honda vehicles and most Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles.
  • Size 47 (H5) (top terminal): Fits many Buick, Chevrolet, Fiat, and Volkswagen models.
  • Size 48 (H6) (top terminal): Fits many European as well as American vehicles from Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
  • Size 49 (H8) (top terminal): Fits many European and Asian vehicles from Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.
  • Size 51R (top terminal): Fits many Japanese vehicles from 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 midsized and compact cars and a few Chrysler vehicles.

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