Best Car Battery

To determine the best car battery we looked at the following considerations: battery type, CCA rating, and reserve capacity. Most drivers will be limiting their selections to lead-acid and AGM batteries. However, the CCA rating that’s best for your vehicle will vary depending on the type of car you drive. And likewise, reserve capacity is important if you intend to power a range of electrical systems.

After considering all of the above, we nominated the Optima Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery as our Top Pick. In addition to having a solid 720 CCA rating, we liked that it featured a 90-minute reserve capacity. And the fact that it’s a lead-acid battery means that it’s virtually maintenance-free. Keep reading to learn more about our top picks.

Top 5 Best Car Battery Reviews

 #1  Optima Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: A solid battery with a 720 CCA rating from a trusted brand that will effectively power and start most SUVs and small trucks — especially in the winter.

Pros
  • Best for SUVs & Small Trucks
  • 720 CCA rating
  • 90-minute reserve capacity
Cons
  • Inconsistent life spa

Not all batteries are designed for every vehicle. And aside from confirming that the battery you want will work with your car, SUV, or Truck, we found that the Optima Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery deserved to be our Top Pick. In addition to being affordable, it features a commendable 720 CCA rating, making it more than powerful enough for standard cars as well as SUVs and small trucks.

We like that you also get a 90-minute reserve capacity. And Optima batteries are 15 times more resistant to vibration as compared to other brands, making it more durable. You’ll like that this is a virtual maintenance-free battery and that it’s spillproof with faster recharging than other batteries. This means that you won’t need to use the best car battery charger as often.

 #2  Odyssey PC680 Battery – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: An affordable AGM battery that’s ideal for cars with a life span that’s guaranteed for three to 10 years with faster recharge and a non-spillable design.

Pros
  • Best Budget
  • AGM Battery = maintenance free
  • 170 CCA rating
Cons
  • Somewhat inconsistent warranty support

If you need to replace your car’s battery but you’re on a budget, some of the options in our guide might be beyond your means. But Odyssey has you covered with their PC680 Battery. In addition to being the most affordable option in our recommendations, you’ll like that it features a 170 CCA rating which is more than sufficient for most cars (i.e. sedans, convertibles, etc.).

You’ll also enjoy a 70 percent longer life cycle than other batteries in this category and the ability to recharge the battery 100 percent in just four to six hours. This battery is designed to be vibration resistant for improved performance and is also extreme temperature tolerant — which is especially important if you live in regions that routinely experience extremely high and low temperatures. And of course don’t leave the best car stereo on when you are not in your car, to help with your battery juice.

 #3  Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery – Best SUV Battery

WHY WE LIKE IT: A high-performance AGM battery that’s perfect for SUVs, trucks, and vehicles that need to operate in cold temperatures.

Pros
  • Excellent for cold temps
  • 120-minute reserve capacity
  • 15x more vibration resistant
Cons
  • Expensive

When you own an SUV or truck, you know that you need a more powerful battery that can stand up to the challenge of starting your vehicle regardless of the weather. The Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery is designed exactly with this need in mind. With a 750 CCA rating, this is more than powerful enough for your needs — even though it’s not the highest CCA rating in our roundup.

Although this is a pricier battery option, we think that you’ll also like the 120-minute reserve capacity and the fact that like other Optima Batteries, this one is also 15 times more vibration resistant than the competition. This AGM battery is also ideal if you need to power a wider range of electrical systems. Sure, batteries aren’t as sexy as the best car subwoofer, but without one, your car is just a large immovable object.

 #4  ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage AGM Automotive BCI Group 51 Battery – Best Quality

WHY WE LIKE IT: An AGM battery from a trusted OEM manufacturer with a history of creating quality parts for some of the industry’s top automotive makers.

Pros
  • Best Battery for cars
  • 325 CCA rating
  • OEM manufacturer
Cons
  • Inconsistent warranty support

If you’re concerned about buying an aftermarket battery, then ACDelco should be at the top of your list. This is a heritage and trusted automotive brand that made a name for themselves by supplying OEM parts to industry leaders such as General Motors. So, you can purchase in confidence that they understand cars, and how to make quality products to keep your car on the road.

The ACDB24ZR Advantage AGM Automotive BCI Group 51 Battery is ideal for cars in particular with a 325 CCA rating. You’ll also like the corrosion-resistant terminals and the no-maintenance design that makes your life much easier. Speaking of must-have car accessories, you should also have the best breathalyzer with you.

 #5  Odyssey 35-PC1400T Automotive and LTV Battery – Best Commercial Battery

WHY WE LIKE IT: A serious performance battery that’s up to the challenge of keeping large and heavy-duty vehicles on the road longer.

Pros
  • Longest service life
  • 850 CCA rating is great for cold temps
  • 70% longer cycle life than traditional batteries
Cons
  • Expensive

It’s a fact of life that some vehicles are going to need significantly more power to start and to maintain various electrical systems. If you have a large truck or performance vehicle, then the Odyssey 34-PC1400T Automotive and LTV Battery is a smart option. This battery is designed with an 850 CCA rating — the most powerful rating in our roundup. And as is common with Odyssey batteries, you can expect a 70 percent longer battery life than from other brands.

And in just four to six hours, you can completely recharge your battery to 100 percent. You’ll like that you also have mounting flexibility thanks to the non-spillable design. And best of all, vibration resistance helps to improve performance. Speaking of spills, the best truck floor mats will help contain them.

How We Decided

No one thinks about the battery in their car, SUV, or truck until there’s something wrong with their vehicle and it’s time to replace it. There are a lot of options, and unless you work in the automotive industry, it can be overwhelming. To narrow down the selections, we prioritized the following factors — battery type, CCA rating, and reserve capacity.

It’s important to note that we highlighted some of the most popular batteries that are available on the market. But it’s still your responsibility to confirm that the desired battery is compatible with your vehicle. Always refer to the sizes, ask a sales associate, or refer to the compatibility charts when shopping online.

First, we considered the battery type. Within our guide, we focused our efforts on AGM and lead-acid batteries as these are the two most popular options the average car, SUV, or truck owner will encounter. Our Top Pick and #5 selections are lead-acid batteries while the remaining options are AGM. Lead-acid is ideal if you don’t want to deal with battery maintenance.

Next, we looked at the CCA rating. While CCA ratings are important on all batteries, the range you prioritize is going to depend on the type of vehicle that you drive. While traditional cars are compatible with lower CCAs, anyone who owns an SUV, truck or performance car should prioritize higher CCAs of at least 500.

And finally, we considered the reserve capacity. It’s important to note that not all manufacturers list the reserve capacity. So, where available, we’ve provided this information to help you make an informed decision.

Car Battery Buying Guide

 

Most Important Things to Consider

  1. Battery Type
    Car batteries can be divided into three main categories, lead-acid, absorbed glass mat (AGM) and lithium-ion. Lithium-ion batteries are high-performance rechargeable models that are typically reserved for electric or hybrid cars. They also tend to be the priciest option. Lead-acid is one of the most common options for cars, SUVs, and trucks. Wet-cell and gel-cell batteries also fall into this category. But on the whole, lead-acid batteries are considered the most affordable options. And AGM batteries offer better performance because of their design which features an electrolyte solution that is close to the metal plates. These feature a slower discharge rate and are also considered more sustainable because the bulk of the parts can be recycled.
  2. Cold Cranking Amps (CCAs)
    CCA references how many amps a battery must emit at zero degrees for up to 30 seconds at a rate of 7.2 amps. This is an important statistic, especially if you live in a part of the country that experiences cold weather. The higher the CCA rating, the more confident you’ll be that your vehicle will be able to efficiently start in cold weather. If you own an SUV or truck, you should look for batteries that offer a CCA of 500 or better.
  3. Reserve Capacity
    Reserve capacity represents a battery’s run time with a discharge of 2.5 amps. This is an important figure because it refers to how much power you can draw from your car’s battery to power the other systems in your vehicle such as sound systems, air conditioning, etc. In terms of reserve capacity, AGM batteries tend to offer the best performance with the potential to hold as much as 80 percent of their charge after experiencing a deep discharge.
  4. Operating Temperature
    Most of us live in parts of the world where you might experience extreme highs or lows. However, most batteries have a Goldilocks zone that ranges between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Look for batteries that are designed for temperature extremes such as 40 degrees below and 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Size
    While many batteries are designed to work with a range of vehicles, it’s always important to confirm that a car battery will safely fit under the hood. Specifically, your battery should never touch the hood of your vehicle. Doing so could encourage fires and lead to extensive damage. As a precaution, you should always ensure that you have at least a 3.4-inch clearance between the top of the battery and the hood of your vehicle.

Car Battery FAQs

How do I know if I have a bad car battery?

The most obvious sign that your car battery might have a problem is if your vehicle won’t start. But another common sign is that some of the other electric-powered accessories on your vehicle aren’t as powerful as they once were. For example, you may find that your headlights are dimmer than usual.

Why are cranking amps so important for car batteries?

This is an important figure because it will directly impact how easily you can start your car in colder weather. While most standard cars and even SUVs will find lower CCA batteries to be more than enough to start their car, the same can’t be said for larger SUVs and trucks. Specifically, most sedans will be fine with a battery in the lower range of up to 400 CCAs. But many SUVs and trucks should prioritize CCAs between 700 and 1,000 amps. And truly heavy-duty trucks should focus on CCAs of 1,000 or more.

How many years do car batteries last?

It’s important to keep in mind that while most brands will provide a range for the life cycle of their batteries, it’s always going to depend on your real-world behaviors with your cars. Lead-acid batteries tend to last for two to three years before they need to be replaced. However, these batteries cannot be repaired and must be replaced when they no longer work. In contrast, AGM batteries can be serviced.

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Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. She also writes for Inverse, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.

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