Best Car Batteries Reviews (2020)

Posted: 11 March 2020

Introduction

In this day and age, without an automotive battery, your vehicle isn’t going anywhere. Period. Ones that come from the factory tend to last a few years most of the time, but in some cases, it’s more like a year or two max. Finding the right type of car battery is crucial to ensure your vehicle will have the juice to start up during extreme weather. And not only extreme weather but also to have the durability to last your for not just 1-2 years… but 5, 6, 7, or even 10 years.

While these products may be costly at first, when you find the best car battery, it will pay for itself in the years to come.

For some questions that you may have, we’ve got some answers.

Is it okay to buy cheap car batteries? The answer is yes, it’s completely okay. In this category of automotive accessories, in most cases, you get what you pay for.

What is the average lifespan of an auto battery? In most cases, the average battery life is anywhere between 4 to 5 years. It’s not unheard of, having a battery last upwards of 10 years before needing to be replaced.

How much is a battery? The cost varies based on the brand and size you’re looking into. Most of the time, a battery would cost you 80-160 dollars.

And now, we’re going to dive deep into the best car battery to buy.

5 Best Car Battery Reviews For 2020

5. Bosch S6508B S6 Flat Plate AGM Battery

Bosch S6508B S6 Flat Plate AGM Battery

If you’ve ever been to a hardware store, you know Bosch is a brand that leans towards the “premium” side of hardware tools.

You may be shocked to find out that Bosch S6508B S6 Flat Plate AGM Battery is one of the better types of batteries you can buy. Yes, Bosch makes car batteries that last quite a long time, and powerful ones too, thanks to the AGM technology (absorbed glass mat), which means that it uses absorbed glass mat between the plates inside the battery instead of any kind of liquid.

This battery, in particular, is rated to 710 cold cranking amps, making it an excellent battery for extremely cold and extremely hot environments. This battery weighs in at around 47 lbs, but manageable by using the included handle on-top.

According to Bosch, this battery will outlast the overall life of a conventional battery by up to 2x. If this battery fails on you within 4 years of ownership, Bosch will replace it absolutely free.

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4. Exige Edge FP-AGM24F Flat Plate Car Battery

Exide Edge FP-AGM24F Flat Plate AGM Sealed Automotive Battery

If you have a hybrid vehicle, SUV or even a truck, the Exide Edge FP-AGM24F Sealed Battery is something you should look into. This is definitely a heavy-duty battery, sealed off prevents any kind of spills. Rated at 710 cold cranking amps (CCA), this battery is going to easily start your vehicle in both super cold and super-hot temperatures.

This one from our inspection seems to be similar in AGM design and features as the Bosch mentioned above. However, the differences with this battery are mainly the price. The entire battery weighs in at just under 50 lbs but is manageable by using the handle built-on top. Overall, a GOOD battery for cranking your car over at sub-freezing temperatures.

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3. ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Car Battery

ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 94R Battery

Another BIG brand in the automotive field is ACDelco. In particular, we have the Professional AGM car and truck battery here. There’s a high-density negative paste, which helps to improve performance and overall battery life, along with enhanced life alloys and silver calcium is used to increase cycle life and improve performance.

This AGM technology is pressure tested and sealed to avoid any kind of leaks. From the start, this battery is rated to an impressive 800 cold cranking amps and about 80 amp-hours of energy.

This is an excellent absorbed glass mat battery for all types of vehicles, from big dually trucks to sports cars like a Porsche Boxter. The impressive cold cranking power not only helps it turn over easy during regular temperatures, but it also helps to turn over with no problem during super cold temperatures.

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2. Optima D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Car Battery

Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

Moving down to the YellowTop multi-purpose battery by Optima, this one, in particular, is loved by so many users. The overall quality of the material and ability to crank over the engine in various weather conditions is really impressive.

From the factory, this battery is rated at 12 volts, 650 cold cranking amps, and a total weight of around 36.4 lbs (a vast improvement of some others which are closer to 50 lbs). It features a 98-minute reserve capacity for constant performance, and there’s improved vibration resistance, making this battery capable of staying together for a much more extended period.

Though this battery costs right around 170 dollars, which is what the price point should be, it fits in a wide range of vehicles. We highly recommend looking into this auto battery, no matter which type of car or truck you may have.

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1. Optima Batteries 34/78 RedTop Starting Car Battery

Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery

After looking into the last 4 car battery reviews, we’ve come to the conclusion that the Optima Batteries 34/78 RedTop Car battery is the #1 batter you should get for your car, truck, van and SUV.

Now, this one we picked for a few good reasons, first one being the price which is right around 150 dollars (give or take), the second reason being the output of cold cranking power which comes out to be 800. The overall weight of this battery is what we love more because compared to others, it sheds almost 12 lbs.

Reserve capacity is approximately 100 minutes, there’s definitely optimal starting power for bad weather (especially in extreme temperature conditions). Another reason to get this battery is that it fits in a LOT of vehicles. Take a look for more below!

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NOTE:
In addition to having a GOOD quality car battery, it’s equally important to have a proper jump starter (for worst-case scenarios). Today’s modern technology has managed to make these as small as an iPhone.

NOTE #2:
One of the tools everyone MUST have with them at all times, is a set of jumper cables. In case you need some 110v or 120v power directly from your 12v battery, you can also take a peek at our power inverter buyers guide.

Lastly, having a quality digital multimeter can also help you identify electrical issues.

A quick video on how to replace an old car battery

Best Car Battery Buying Guide

We can guarantee that if you choose an auto battery from our list and you will take proper care of it, you will be satisfied.

Of course, if a battery you might have chosen is not on this list, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t even consider buying it.

The most important things is to know your needs and your vehicle requirement – you need to know what features in a battery you are looking for, what you should bear in mind, and what should be a deal-breaker. Don’t listen to marketing slogans. They won’t be able to fool you if you know the topic.

That’s why we have prepared this best car battery buying guide to help you make the best possible purchase.

What to consider when buying a car battery?

There are several things that you should keep in mind while researching the best car battery for your vehicle, the most important being:

  • Battery size – it means that it should fit perfectly into your vehicle, being the right length, height and width. Apart from that, it should have the terminal locations that will suit your vehicle. Check the car’s manual or consult with a mechanic to know the size of your car’s battery. Otherwise, you risk damaging other of your vehicle’s components.
  • The date of manufacture – never buy a battery older than six months. They tend to lose power with time, so by purchasing a second-hand battery, you won’t provide your vehicle with the necessary power, and it will last shorter. Each battery has its code (a letter and a number) that indicates the date of manufacture. It’s always better to buy a new battery.
  • Power requirements – CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) indicated the energy required from a battery to start a car in 0 degrees Fahrenheit, while CA (Cranking Amps) – in 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the CCA, the better, but keep your car’s possibilities at mind; a battery that’s too powerful is not only pointless but can also be harmful.
  • Battery RC (reserve capacity) – it indicates the number of minutes that a fully charged battery at 80 degrees Fahrenheit will discharge 25 amps until it drops below 10.5 volts.
  • Required maintenance – low-maintenance and zero-maintenance batteries are available on the market right now. Most new batteries are advertised as zero-maintenance these days; it means that they are sealed and protected, and you can’t open them (you also don’t refill water). However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take care of a battery at all.
  • Warranty – the longer the period of free battery replacement, the better. Never buy a battery with an unusually short warranty time.
  • Ah (Ampere Hour) – it refers to a battery’s capacity, that is the amount of electricity that can be stored. The higher Ah, the lower the chances of a battery running out.

Car battery types

Not all batteries are the same, so how can you know which type you should choose?

Wet cell car battery – lead-acid, conventional batteries. Among wet cell batteries, you can find SLI batteries and Deep Cycle batteries:

  • SLI battery (Starting, Lighting, Ignition) – they are the most likely to encounter in regular cars. They participate in starting the vehicle, but they also provide energy to keep lights, radio, and other accessories going. However, they need to be recharged frequently, as they aren’t able to store a lot of electricity.
  • Deep Cycle battery – they aren’t more powerful than SLI batteries, but they can store more, so deep cycle batteries can work for longer periods. That’s why, apart from cars, they are very often used in boats, golf cards or RVs.

VRLA (Valve-regulated lead-acid batteries) – they are completely sealed, leak-proof, but also impossible to service. You need to check this battery from time to time, but it doesn’t require you to refill water. However, if it starts acting up, all you can do is get a new one. There are two main kinds of VRLA batteries – gel cell and AGM batteries:

  • Gel cell battery – they are best for deep-cycle applications, have less acid, and are filled with silica-based electrolyte on the inside.
  • AGM battery (absorbed glass mat battery) – their power rate is higher in shorter bursts, so AGM batteries are better for vehicles with higher electrical demands. AGM design provides them with exceptional vibration resistance. It uses absorbed glass mats between the plates inside the battery instead of liquid.

Car battery size

Each battery group size has numbers and letters assigned, depending on the physical dimensions of your car, the location of terminals and the right type.

It’s usually linked to a car’s make, model, and the type of engine, as well as to your driving habits and needs, so it’s best to consult with a manual or a mechanic.

It’s essential to choose the battery of the right size, as the wrong one may provide you with less energy or even damage your car.

There are several groups that indicate the size and the position of terminals of the car batteries. For example, GM vehicles require batteries size 70, 74, 75 or 78, VAG and other European manufacturers most-commonly use 41, 42, 47, 48 and 49 batteries, while the most popular for American and Japanese cars are: size 24, 24F, 25, 34, 35, 51, 51R, 52, 58, 58R, 59 and 65.

What kind of maintenance does a car battery require?

Most car batteries are maintenance-free these days, but it doesn’t mean that you can install it and forget all about it. You can’t refill the water, as it doesn’t open, but you still have to check its shape.

In the case of low-maintenance batteries, you have to check on them regularly and add water to avoid drying up.

In both cases (low- and zero-maintenance batteries), you have to maintain them to ensure the longest and most efficient possible performance; once a year would be optimal for making sure everything is exactly how it should be.

Be sure to always remove corrosion from terminals and around the battery. Clean the cables thoroughly, and give everything a proper wash with some water and baking soda. Then test the electrolyte in each cell using a hydrometer to see if a battery is charged and ready to power your car.

How to charge a car battery?

To charge a battery yourself, you will need a battery charger or jumper cables.

Jumper cables are good, but a temporary solution, because if your car battery can’t hold power properly, you will need to repeat it every time you want to start your car, and you will quickly get weary of that.

Make sure that everything is off before you start and remove the negative or ground cable (it will have the ‘-’ sign). Use a terminal cleaning brush to clean the terminals and use water with baking soda to remove the corrosion. If your battery has removable caps, remove them carefully and check the water level. If one of the cells looks low, add some distilled water.

Be sure the charger is off, then put the positive cable to the positive terminal of the battery, and do the same with negatives. The charger needs to be set to the lowest rate. Turn it on and set the timer. The charging time will depend on the charger and battery voltage.

For example, if the charge rate is 10 amps, and the battery voltage is lower than 11.85, it will take around 6 hours to charge the battery fully.

Commonly-believed myths about car batteries

Myths and stories have always been around, and people still tend to believe them, no matter the topic. Car batteries are no exception here – we all have an uncle or a cousin who claims to have experienced it with his battery. That’s why we have decided to gather some of the most popular beliefs to break them up and prove them wrong.

Going for a ride will recharge your battery after you have flattened it.
It’s possible to recharge a battery a little bit, but if it has gone totally flat, you won’t be able to fully charge it by driving. Alternators cannot transfer that much power, and they certainly can’t do it so quickly, so it’s better to use an external charger and charge your battery properly to avoid more significant damage.
Maintenance-free batteries don’t require any kind of maintenance.
As we have discussed before, you may not need to refill them with water to keep them from drying up, but you still need to check them regularly, get rid of corrosion, and make sure they’re clean. It’s also a good idea to have a professional do a yearly check-up.
You should disconnect the terminals if you know you won’t be driving for some time.
These days, cars have lots of electronic systems that operate even when your car is off, e.g., steering, security or transmission. They need a continuous amounts of power to keep running. If you disconnect the battery, they won’t be working, plus, you risk that they won’t come back to work at all, even after the power is back. If you’re going away, you may consider buying a maintenance charger that will keep your battery fully charged while you’re away.
You can use tap water to refill the water level in a battery.
Always use distilled, deionized, demineralized water. If you have run out of it and you don’t have access to it, you can use rainwater, as long as you have collected it in a clean container; it’s better than tap water that can block the pores and coat the plates of the battery.
Heat is better for batteries than cold.
While cold may be a bit worse (not always, though), heat can still do a lot of damage to your car and its battery. High temperatures cause a quicker loss of water, heat distortion and an increase in corrosion. If you have a low-maintenance battery, it’s essential to keep refilling the water so that it doesn’t dry up. Maintenance-free batteries may be a better choice for warmer climates.

Car Batteries FAQ

➡️ How do car batteries work?

When you turn your car on, the ignition is switched on, which starts a process of reactions inside the battery that converts the chemicals into electricity. The battery grids go into a sulphuric acid solution, which catalyzes the emissions reaction – that’s how ions and lead sulphate are being produced.

The ions react with the second grid to give off more lead sulfate and hydrogen. That’s how the electrons come to being to power the car. Then, the alternator keeps generating and storing electrons.

➡️ How to install a new battery?

If you don’t know your way around cars, it would be best to ask a professional to replace a battery for you, but it’s not impossible to do it yourself.

Turn off the car and locate a battery (batteries’ locations differ, so it’s best to check with your car’s manual). Unplug the negative cable (usually, they are black) with the help of a wrench (loosen the bolt, detach the cable and terminal from the post); do the same with the positive cable (usually red). Remove the clamp and take out the battery.

Make sure the terminals and the cable connectors are clean and free of corrosion. If they are, position the battery so that the red positive post will face the positive terminal and cable. Insert it and secure it with a clamp or another retaining system. Then, remove the plastic caps and install anti-corrosion washers. Use grease to cover battery posts and terminals, and then connect the positive terminal to positive post, and tighten the connector.

Do the same with negative posts and terminals, and now, you can give it a go.

➡️ How can I diagnose a dead car battery?

There are several signs that can indicate that your battery is dead:

  • no or very weak dome light
  • no door chime when you insert the key
  • car won’t start
  • no headlight or dim headlights
  • radio won’t turn on
  • nothing happens when you turn the ignition key
  • the engine doesn’t start, even though you hear the starter motor
  • the car starts fine during the day, but it has problems in the morning
  • you have jump start your car multiple times already

➡️ Why do car batteries fail?

Car batteries are generally expected to last around three or four years, but multiple factors can alter this period. There’s really no rule as to how long a battery should work. You can only do as much as you can to prolong its lifespan. Even the best car battery will eventually die.

A battery may have multiple reasons to start failing, but the most common are:

Weather, or cold weather to be precise
Is the number one reason for all batteries’ deaths, and that’s why people get especially concerned about their cars during winter. A battery gets one-third weaker at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and two-thirds weaker at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The biggest problem is that you can’t change the weather, so take care of your battery, but be prepared that it will need charging more frequently or even replacing it.
Time, because no battery is forever
The average lifespan of a battery is three to five years; the colder the climate you live in, the shorter the battery life. Keep an eye on your car battery to know when it starts acting up – it may mean that it needs recharging or to be replaced.
Corrosion
While it is obvious that battery acid is corrosive, there are still a lot of people who don’t take care of it. Corrosion tends to damage the connections of your terminals, and since they take part in recharging your battery, they may affect its capacity. Check your battery regularly and give it a good wash from time to time, using a dry rag or a stiff wire brush and water with some baking soda.
Parasitic drains
They are hard to detect, but they are quite common as a reason for a battery to fail. The most common parasite is a bad alternator that’s drying your battery. The alternator is there to help your battery recharge, so if it’s acting up, your battery may go flat even when everything seems fine. Another cause may be a broken fuse which can drain the battery even when the car is not running.
Bad driving habits or simply human errors
Such as leaving the lights on for the night. A lot of people don’t think about how much car batteries are doing these days – they power everything in our cars, and since the car has been becoming more and more advanced, car batteries have much more work to do.
Additionally (rare)
An original defect. It’s rare for a battery to have a manufacturing defect, but it is possible. They are certainly covered by a warranty, so you should simply contact customer service.

➡️ Do I need to add water to my car battery? How much and when?

If your battery is low-maintenance, not zero-maintenance, and it’s not sealed, then you have to fill it with distilled water to maintain the right level not to let it dry up. Be sure not to overfill it, though, as it can be as harmful as drying up.

➡️ How can I tell if my car battery is charged?

If it’s charged, it should measure at 12.4-12.6 volts if it’s still, and 13.7-14.7 if the car is running. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can check your battery by starting the car and turning on the headlights.

If the lights are a bit dim, it means that they don’t get as much power as they need, as the alternator may not produce enough charge. If they get brighter after revving the engine, it means that the alternator produces some current, but not enough at idle.

If everything seems fine, but you have problems with powering your car, it may be the battery that doesn’t hold the charge or other component discharging it.

➡️ How do temperatures affect my car battery?

Cold temperatures are, in general, extremely harmful to your battery. To start the engine, your car needs a charge that is produced by an electro-chemical reaction.

Heat speeds it all up. While it may be good for starting off your car, it also speeds up the internal corrosion with the cells, which, in the long run, is harmful to your battery.

However, cold temperatures can do even more damage. As heat accelerates everything, cold slows it all down. Your battery may be fully charged and still cause problems every time you try to start the car during cold winters. Low temperatures diminish the capacity of the battery.

➡️ How should I dispose of my old car battery?

Car batteries contain lead and acid and are therefore considered as toxic, that’s why they should always be recycled. The majority of retail outlets and repair facilities will accept an old battery for recycling, so wherever you’re buying a new one, you can give away the old battery. Very often, they even offer a deposit fee to encourage you to do so to avoid leaving toxic items out.

Summary

We had a group of experts research the topic to be sure that we provide you with the list of the absolute best car batteries available on the market. They all are of high quality and considered as reliable. You will never be able to find the perfect battery, but it’s possible to find the one that will suit your needs perfectly. Some aspects are worth giving up if you know that they won’t influence your daily life.

For example, there’s no point in buying a battery that is super resistant to cold temperatures if you live in a mild climate.

It’s obvious how crucial it is to pick the right new battery and to know how to take care of it properly, whether these are SLI or AGM batteries, modern or conventional batteries, low-maintenance or maintenance-free. A battery is like the heart for your car – it keeps everything running smoothly, and if it fails, you won’t be able to drive at all. Make sure to choose a reputable brand, but don’t give up your searches for the best, most affordable deal.