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Best Car Batteries: Reliability Leads the Charge

We've sorted through the many offerings for your vehicle, and these won't let you down.
These are the best car batteries
There are many positives and negatives to our list. Amazon

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Many consider a vehicle’s engine to be its beating heart. But without a working car battery, you’re not going anywhere. Once your motor begins to crank slowly, it’s time to get your hands on a new battery before you wind up needing a tow. And unless batteries are an area that you’re familiar with, it can be tough to understand how car battery performance figures relate to you. Whether you compete in car stereo contests or just want to heat your seat on a cold winter’s morning, our guide to the best car batteries will help get you situated.

Summary List

Our Methodology

To choose the best car batteries on the market, we employed a comprehensive research methodology. We evaluated dozens of batteries before choosing the top contenders. Although we haven’t personally tested these products, our selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and our institutional knowledge of the automotive industry.

Best Car Batteries: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Optima 8004-003 34/78 RedTop

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The Optima 8004-003 34/78 RedTop battery should have most motorists covered as it boasts 800 cold-cranking amps (CCA), which is relatively high and the reserve capacity of 100 minutes will keep you covered in the event of an emergency. It’s suitable for trucks, SUVs, and cars. This is one of the most durable batteries on the market as it’s up to 15 times more resistant to vibration than other models.

It’s also completely spill-proof, meaning you can mount it in practically any position. Even though you can place it where you please, you’ll still need to do a fit check to see if your engine bay can accommodate it. This maintenance-free model can last up to twice as long as other batteries on the market. Since this is a lead-acid AGM battery, it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, but good overall performance means it’s still great value.

Best Value: EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery

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If you need a new battery but are working off a tight budget, then check out the EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery. This lead-acid battery offers 640 CCA, which is one of the lowest figures on this list, however, this battery offers more than enough power to start cars and trucks, even in winter. The only models that this battery might struggle to power are ones with large electrical features, such as an electric sliding door.

It comes with a three-year free replacement warranty, so you can rest assured that it’s built to last. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t an AGM battery, meaning it will have a shorter life than some other models on this list. And since this is a group size 35N model, it should fit plenty of vehicles, but you should still check with the manufacturer before buying: it measures 9.6 x 6.9 x 9.11 inches and stops the scales at 38.2 pounds.

Honorable Mention: Odyssey 34R-PC1500-A Group 34

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There aren’t many vehicles that will come close to testing the Odyssey 34R-PC1500-A Group 34 battery. This lead-acid AGM battery uses virgin lead, unlike the lead alloy found in most batteries, meaning it can pack in more plates. And since there’s more plate surface area, this battery produces more power than similarly sized batteries with 850 CCA and 1,250 hot cranking amps (HCA) on tap. Odyssey is confident in its product and offers a limited four-year replacement warranty.

The battery has a massive 135-minute reserve capacity, which is one of the highest on this list. But all the extra power on top doesn’t come cheap, so it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum. This model has flexible mounting options but, measuring 10.86 inches, it’s slightly longer than most group 34 batteries. So check your battery compartment before purchasing. The battery weighs 49.5 pounds but, thankfully, comes with a built-in carrying handle.

Best Value AGM: Acdelco Gold 94R AGM

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If you’re looking for the life expectancy an AGM battery offers without the high price tag, consider the Acdelco Gold 94R AGM. This model produces 850 CCA, which is excellent, especially when you consider its low price tag. And since this is a silver-calcium AGM battery, it has a long life cycle and performs particularly well at high temperatures. The maintenance-free battery features a leak-proof pressurized valve system, which helps to prevent acid from leaking and damaging the terminals, too.

This model uses high-density negative paste, which increases performance and battery life. It’s a 94R group size battery, meaning it could be too long for your battery compartment, so check this before buying. It measures 12.4 x 6.9 7.5 inches and is one of the heaviest models on this list, weighing 51.6 pounds. And though this model is on the low end of the price spectrum (for an AGM), it’s reliable and comes with a 36-month warranty.

Best Deep-Cycle: Optima Batteries D34/78 YellowTop

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If your vehicle has electronics that draw a lot of power when you start up, the Optima Batteries D34/78 YellowTop could be what you need. This isn’t an out-and-out deep-cycle battery, as those are mainly used for boats and RVs, but this is a true dual-purpose model, which is perfect for cars and trucks that have a high electrical load. It produces 750 CCA and a 120-minute reserve capacity, and this model will run through over 300 discharge/recharge cycles before you need to replace it.

It features dual SAE/GM posts but if you need a different type of terminal, you should check out one of the other models from the YellowTop range. Like all Optima batteries, this model has a spill-proof design and can be mounted in almost any position. Its group size is 34/78 and measures 10 x 6.88 x 7.8 inches. Although the manufacturer offers a 36-month warranty, this might not be honored if you buy through a third-party seller, so be careful.

Best High-Output: XS Power D3400

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Anyone running a high-watt speaker system should consider the XS Power D3400 as this AGM battery produces 1,000 CA, which is higher than any other model on our list. It also has the joint highest reserve capacity on the list, at 135 minutes, so this is the best option for anyone who needs to run a high electrical load while their engine is idling or even turned off. And its 3,300 maximum amp output means there aren’t many situations that’ll put this model through its paces.

This is one of the most expensive batteries on the market, but its price is reasonable when you consider its high-performance figures. The group size 34 battery measures 10.24 x 6.75 x 7.2 inches and weighs 48 pounds. Since it’s relatively heavy, it’d be nice to see a built-in carry handle, but this is a minor gripe, and like most AGM batteries, it has an ultra-low internal resistance and is spill-proof.

Our Verdict on the Best Car Batteries

The Optima 8004-003 34/78 RedTop is our best overall car battery. This is a tried and tested model from a trusted brand, built to last, and competent in all but the most extreme situations. But, if you need a reliable replacement that won’t break the bank, then check out our value pick, the EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: How long does a car battery last?

Flooded batteries usually last 3-5 years, although their lifespans are getting shorter due to the heavier electrical load modern vehicles require. AGM batteries can last up to 10 years if well maintained.

Q: How do I know if my car battery is dying?

If your engine is slow to crank, then your battery is on the way out. Dim headlights are also a sign of a dying battery, as it can’t fully power all electrical components.

Q: Why does a car battery stop working?

Put simply, car batteries run out of juice over time. Other issues that could cause your battery to fail included corroded or loose battery connections, faulty electronics that drain the electrical system, and exposing your battery to extreme temperatures.

Q: How long does a car’s battery last without driving it?

A: Normally, a new battery that’s in good condition will last at least two to three weeks before it needs to be recharged by the generator. After about two to three months of non-use, a car battery will fully discharge.

Q: How much do I need to drive to keep my battery healthy?

A: You should drive your car for at least 30 minutes per week to keep its battery healthy, preferably at highway speeds.

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Robert Bacon Avatar

Robert Bacon

Contributor

Robert is a former Commerce Reporter for The Drive. He primarily creates informational motorcycle and car content, automotive buying guides, and how-to pieces. Originally from Ireland, Robert traveled across Asia and Europe working with automotive dealerships and rental companies.