The 7 Best Car Batteries

We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. You never think about your car battery until it fails to start your vehicle. Then it becomes an emergency that usually results in arriving late to wherever you were heading or not getting there at all. So give yourself some peace of mind by investing in one of these reliable and high performance units. We’ve included models suitable for every type of vehicle, from small cars to large trucks. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

7. ACDelco ACDB24R

The ACDelco ACDB24R will never leak and requires absolutely no maintenance. It makes use of valve regulated-gas recombinant technology to give it three times the lifespan of traditional models, and features high-density plates to produce a high power-per-pound ratio.

  • Cold cranking amps test to spec
  • Sturdy built-in handle
  • May require bracket modification

Brand ACDelco
Model ACDB24R
Weight 32.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Odyssey 65-PC1750T

The Odyssey 65-PC1750T comes with a 4-year, full-replacement warranty and is known to get as much as 10 years of service life, so you shouldn’t need to buy another one any time soon. Its AGM structure, makes it suitable for multiple mounting orientations.

  • 2x the power of conventional units
  • Premium brass terminals
  • Requires testing for warranty claims

Brand Odyssey
Model 65-PC1750T
Weight 59.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Optima 8002-002-FFP

With 800 cold cranking amps, the Optima 8002-002-FFP was designed specifically to stand up to the power needs of large SUVs, trucks, and 4WD vehicles. It has a long shelf-life, making it just as suited to seasonal use as everyday driving.

  • Spiral-wound agm cells
  • Good choice for offroading
  • Connecting terminals are small

Brand Optima
Model OPT8002-002
Weight 41.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. ACDelco 65AGMHR

The ACDelco 65AGMHR has a high-density paste that improves performance and increases the service life. It offers low internal resistance with its calcium lead positive grid to maximize conductivity for reliable starting day after day.

  • Leakage-resistant vent cap
  • Always remains cool
  • 36-month free replacement warranty

Brand ACDelco
Model 65AGMHR
Weight 47 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. XS Power D3400

The XS Power D3400 utilizes absorbed glass mat technology, so even if it were to break, no liquid would leak out. A valve regulated and vibration resistant seal add to its durability and make it a good choice for those who often drive over rough terrain.

  • Minimal internal resistance
  • Versatile mounting options
  • Designed to handle heavy loads

Brand XS Power
Model D3400
Weight 48.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Odyssey PC925

The Odyssey PC925 outlasts most other brands, and, rated at up to 400 cycles at 80% discharge, it offers the highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead battery. It can produce a high, stable voltage for a long period of time, making it suitable for a range of uses.

  • Powers winches easily
  • Sturdy cell connections
  • Tolerant of a range of temperatures

Brand Odyssey
Model PC925
Weight 26.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Optima 8014-045 D34

The Optima 8014-045 D34 is a deep cycle model that offers 750 cold cranking amps and a reserve capacity of 120 minutes. It’s designed to be drained to near empty time and time again without affecting its lifespan, which few other options can claim.

  • Extremely vibration resistant
  • Can handle high electronic loads
  • Consistent starting in cold weather

Brand Optima
Model OPT8014-045
Weight 47.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

History Of The Car Battery

The French physicist Gaston Plante invented the lead-acid battery in 1859. It was the first ever rechargeable battery and had the ability to supply high surge currents despite having low-energy-to-weight and energy-to-volume ratios. These properties later made them ideally suited to use in motor vehicles, which require a high current to power the electric starter.

Though the lead-acid battery was created in 1859 and the birth of the modern car occurred in 1886, early car models didn’t use lead-acid batteries. In fact, they didn’t use any batteries at all as they had very limited electrical systems. They used a hand powered bell for the horn, the engine was crank-started, and the headlights were gas-powered. It wasn’t until the 1920s, as they started installing electric starters, that car batteries became widely used.

The original starting and charging systems installed in cars were positive-ground, 6 V systems. They had a direct connection between the vehicle’s chassis and the positive battery terminal as opposed to today’s car battery systems, which are negative-ground, 12 V systems.

Until the mid-1950’s, all cars used the 6 V system, but as they started installing larger engines with higher compression ratios, more power was needed to start the engine and the switch to a 12 V system began. Except for smaller cars like the Volkswagen Beetle, nearly all cars had switched to a 12 V system by the late 1950s, with the Beetle following suit in the mid-1960s.

Early lead-acid batteries used a liquid electrolyte and actually required periodic refilling. They could also only be mounted in one position, as side-mounting them could cause leakage. In 1971, the first sealed lead-acid battery or valve-regulated lead-acid battery (VRLA) was invented. These were designed to never be refilled and were also available in models with a gel electrolyte, which could be mounted in any orientation without worry of leakage. Now, both sealed and unsealed car batteries are available and with either a gel or liquid electrolyte.

How A Car Battery Works

When it comes to explaining how a car battery works, there is a long version and a short version. Since you probably aren’t here to learn about the exact sciences behind the chemical reactions that take place in your battery, we will focus on the short version.

A car battery provides a surge of electricity that your car’s electrical components require to function. When you turn the key, your battery takes chemical energy stored in the electrolyte substance and turns it into electrical energy that the starter and accessories can use. In addition to providing the initial power surge, the battery also helps to regulate the voltage output from the alternator and safeguards against AC spikes.

A car can technically continue to run once started, even if the battery cables are removed, as the alternator is supplying power, but since it is helping to regulate the 14 volts your alternator is cranking out, one should never do this as you can fry all of your electronics.

While a car battery is referred to as a 12 volt battery, this is more of an average than anything else. A standard automotive battery is comprised of 6 cells, each capable of holding 2.1 volts when fully charged. This means your car battery is storing 12.6 volts, and sometimes slightly higher, at a full charge. When you crank your engine, the voltage can dip as low as 8 volts. A car battery is considered fully charged at 12.4 volts and discharged at anything less.

Types Of Car Batteries

There are basically two main types of car batteries; starting and deep cycle. These types of batteries can be further broken down into three sub-categories; wet cell, gel cell, and absorbed glass mat (AGM).

A starting battery is capable of delivering quick bursts of high energy. A deep cycle battery on the other hand, has greater long-term power delivery, but less instant surge energy. Generally deep cycle batteries are best used in marine applications or for electric vehicles like golf carts, which need a constant supply of low power over a longer period of time. Deep cycle batteries can also be good for people with competition speaker systems in their car who plan on running the speakers for long periods while their engine is off. There are also dual-purpose batteries, but these don’t excel in either area and it is best to avoid them if possible.

Nearly every factory-installed battery is a sealed, maintenance-free battery, but wet cell batteries are available in unsealed models as well. Sealed batteries are known as maintenance-free while unsealed batteries are considered serviceable. They are serviceable because they allow, and often need, the addition of water, as some will evaporate over time. They also allow for one to check the specific gravity of the electrolytes, which can help you determine the charge level.

Gel cell and AGM batteries cost more than wet cell, but they hold their charge better through long periods of inactivity. Gel cell batteries use a gelified electrolyte substance that allows for mounting in any position. They are also more resistant to physical shock, hot temperatures, and electrolyte evaporation. AGM batteries have similar characteristics to gel cell batteries, but use glass mats made into very thin fibers that are meshed together to store power instead of a gel substance.