Best Car Batteries for Cold Weather: Stay Out of the Cold with These Top Choices
The best car batteries that will start your engine no matter how cold it gets
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When the temperature drops and the weather turns chilly, that’s when car batteries struggle. The car may not start or may stall halfway to your destination. If you live in an area where the winter is exceptionally cold, then you need the best car battery for cold weather out there to give you confidence on the road. This guide will give you plenty of information to find the right option for your vehicle.
Optima handles the cold climate with ease and efficiency. Its powerful starting burst will fire the engine even in bad weather. That power is only equaled by its reliability, vibration resistance, and performance. The battery is both for the heavy-duty and casual user.
It has a really high cranking amp and a good reserve capacity, which both translate into a fast start and reliable performance. Spiral Cell technology offers a cleaner source of energy.
The packaging is an issue with this battery.
No other battery gives you as much value for your money as Odyssey. With its dual functionality, mounting flexibility, and faster recharge, it offers more than other more expensive options.
Functions as a starting battery and delivers sustained power for a longer time. It’s both lightweight and has a compact design that makes it easy to mount and install.
Terminals are not included with the battery. It’s also prone to overcharge.
ACDelco deserves a place here not because it’s the cheapest nor the best overall; it’s because of its unique high-density negative paste. It gives the battery high performance and long life. Since it doesn’t require water, it’s relatively maintenance-free; you can install and forget about it.
The high-density negative paste combined with the enhanced life alloys gives the battery superb power and performance. Good vent caps design prevents leakage.
Premature battery failure is a high risk.
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Benefits of Car Battery for Cold Weather
- More reliable performance. No matter how cold it is, cold weather batteries are designed to deliver maximum power. The car won’t die down or stall in the middle of nowhere. The battery’s capacity powers even intensive energy-consuming cars with efficiency and reliability.
- Faster engine start. Car batteries for cold weather deliver a strong five-second starting burst. That burst is what brings the engine to life instantly. Once you turn the key, the car fires up, even when it’s freezing out there.
- Better charge and discharge rates. Regular batteries tend to have a low capacity in the cold, as it slows down the chemical reaction inside the battery. This affects both the battery’s performance and reliability. Batteries designed for cold weather don’t have this problem, and they tend to charge and discharge at faster rates.
- Cold climate compatibility. Both high-reserve capacity and cold crank ratings make winter batteries more efficient during the cold months. Hot weather batteries need to handle the heat with a higher lead-to-electrolyte ratio.
Types of Car Battery for Cold Weather
Once upon a time, lead acid batteries were the norm. All vehicles ran on them and maintaining them was part of the car owner’s routine. The batteries use liquid electrolytes, which is why they’re sometimes called wet cell batteries. They leak and spill more often, especially when they’re not supposed to. They’re cheaper than AGM batteries and have a relatively long life, especially when maintained properly.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries don’t need an active liquid to produce electricity. This takes away the risk of spilling and leakage that plague wet batteries. AGM batteries handle repeated draining and recharging cycles better than wet batteries. They’re also maintenance-free.
For the past 40 years, Optima Batteries has been leading innovation in the field of car batteries. The company introduced the first maintenance-free acid battery as early as the 1970s. This was followed by its high‐performance AGM automotive batteries, the first of its kind. The company also makes Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop for boats and RVs as well as Optima Batteries 8014-045.
EnerSys Energy Products Inc. is the company that manufactures Odyssey batteries. With 100 years of experience, the company operates from two manufacturing plants in Warrensburg, Mo. and Newport, Wales. It has sales and service facilities in 17 countries all over the world. Top battery options include the Odyssey PC625 Powersports Battery and Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery.
ACDelco has been around since 1908 when GM was established. Over the years, the company’s innovation and technology have helped a woman fly around the world and put a man on the moon. The company makes the ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM and ACDelco 48AGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI.
Car Battery for Cold Weather Pricing
- Under $200: Batteries that sell under $200 vary both in features and lifespan. You could find a good battery with reasonable performance, but its starting power would be limited. Batteries in this price range won’t have a decent, or even moderate, reserve capacity to keep the car going for long.
- Over $200: Investing this amount of money in a battery ensures you get a battery with high starting power. Batteries in this price point have high reserve capacity, are maintenance-free, and are reliable on the road in the harsh cold. They are also durable and come with a good warranty.
We’ve already established that cold weather is the bane of batteries. So not only do you need a high-performance car battery for the winter months, but the battery has to handle heavy-duty use, shouldn’t require much maintenance, and shouldn’t need frequent replacing. Always buy a fresh battery that is less than six months old from the date of manufacture. Even the best car battery for winter will lose its power and performance if it’s older than six months.
When the alternator in your car malfunctions, you still need the battery to keep powering the car’s different functions. That’s where reserve capacity comes in handy. A battery that produces 25 amps at 80 degrees for an extended period of time is considered to have high reserve capacity.
Cold Cranking Amps
Cold cranking amps, or CCA, is an important feature in every cold weather battery. When the temperature drops to 0 degrees, you’ll want the battery to still produce enough amps to get the car started. CCA rating refers to the number of amps the battery offers at this low temperature. Naturally, you’ll want a high CCA battery so you can fire up the engine no matter how cold it is outside.
- Maintenance Free: When you use a wet battery, you’re expected to fill it with water every now and then. It’s part of the maintenance. If you are the kind of person who likes to install a battery and forget about it, then you should consider buying a maintenance-free one.
- Amp Hours: Amp hours are used to measure a battery’s reserve capacity. They refer to the energy charge needed for the battery to produce one ampere for one hour. Again, the higher, the better. A battery with higher amp hours means it can keep the car and all the electronics on the dashboard running for a long time before you need to recharge it.
Best Car Battery for Cold Weather Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- To avoid having trouble fitting the battery in your car, make sure you get the right size when you order it.
- Cold weather batteries usually have an ‘N’ or ‘North’ marking on the label. Batteries labeled ‘S’ or ‘South’ are for hot climates.
- The best winter battery is the one that has high cold cranking amps (CCA) and a moderate amp hour rating.
- If the battery isn’t used for a long time (like off-season storage), it will self-discharge. Consider buying a charger.
Q: When is it time to replace my battery?
A: You can tell it’s time to replace the battery when the engine crank becomes sluggish, or you keep cranking it with no result. If the battery gives off a bad odor, that’s also a good sign you need to replace it.
Q: Why does my battery case look bloated?
A: When the battery overheats for a prolonged time, the case can get bloated. If you notice a swelling in the battery, you should test it.
Q: What is a fresh battery?
A: A fresh battery is a battery that has been manufactured in the last six months. If the date of manufacture is older than that, it’s neither fresh nor new.
Q: How many cold cranking amps should a battery have?
A: On average, a battery with 650 CCA is good for the cold climate. An 800 cold cranking amps battery ensures you’ll start your car in any weather.
Our top pick for the best Car Battery for Cold Weather is the Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 Red Top. Its 800 CCA and 50-amp reserve capacity are enough to start and power your car regardless of the weather conditions.
For the best budget car battery, we chose the Odyssey PC680 Battery. Its affordable price along with its dual functionality and compact design makes it the perfect choice for many cars.