Reviews

Best Car Batteries (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022

These are the batteries leading the charge.

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook The Drive on Instagram

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

BY Robert Bacon / LAST UPDATED ON November 19, 2021

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, there’s a battery for you. We’ve created a buyer’s guide to help you understand what features and types to consider before choosing a model. You’ll also find a list of the best car batteries on the market below.

Best Overall
Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This is a reliable battery from a trusted brand with 800 CCA on tap and a 100-minute reserve capacity. 

Pros
Pros
  • 800 CCA
  • 100-minute reserve capacity
  • Spill-proof design
  • Vibration resistant
Cons
Cons
  • On the higher end of the price spectrum
Best Overall
Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop
Best Value
EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

Here you have a reliable battery that won’t break the bank. It produces 640 CCA, but it’s a wet cell battery so won’t last as long as the AGM models.

Pros
Pros
  • Great value for money
  • Three-year warranty
  • 640 CCA on tap
Cons
Cons
  • Wet-cell battery
  • Not suitable for large diesel engines
Best Value
EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery
Honorable Mention
Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500-A Group 34
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

It pumps out an impressive 850 CCA and has a 135-minute reserve capacity. Unfortunately, high-performance stats like these don’t come cheap.

Pros
Pros
  • 850 CCA
  • 135-minute reserve capacity
  • AGM battery
  • Uses virgin lead
Cons
Cons
  • One of the priciest batteries producing under 1,000 CCA on the market
Honorable Mention
Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500-A Group 34

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

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.

We visited the Car Talk subreddit to get a more informed opinion of what automotive enthusiasts felt about the products on the market.

Some brands are already well-established in this niche, and priority was given to their products. However, other lesser-known brands were also evaluated. The main features taken into consideration were price, CCA, reserve capacity, battery type, group size, reliability, durability, and warranty. Car batteries were immediately disqualified from consideration if they were unreliable, hazardous, or not fit for the demands of modern vehicles.

Best Car Battery Reviews & Recommendations

Best Car Battery Overall
Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop

The Optima Batteries 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. 


Product Specs

  • Brand: Optima Batteries
  • Model: 8004-003
  • Type: AGM

Pros

  • 800 CCA
  • 100-minute reserve capacity
  • Spill-proof design
  • Vibration resistant

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum
Best Car Battery Value
EverStart Maxx Lead Acid Battery

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.


Product Specs

  • Brand: EverStart
  • Model: MAXX-35N
  • Type: Flooded lead acid 

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Three-year warranty
  • 640 CCA on tap

Cons

  • Wet cell battery
  • Not suitable for large diesel engines
Honorable Mention
Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500-A Group 34

There aren’t many vehicles that will come close to testing the Odyssey Batteries 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.


Product Specs

  • Brand: Odyssey
  • Model: ‎34R-PC1500T
  • Type: AGM

Pros

  • 850 CCA
  • 135-minute reserve capacity
  • AGM battery
  • Uses virgin lead

Cons

  • One of the priciest batteries producing under 1,000 CCA on the market
Best Value AGM Car Battery
Acdelco Gold 94R AGM

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.


Product Specs

  • Brand: ACDelco
  • Model: ‎94RAGM
  • Type: Silver-calcium AGM

Pros

  • Good value AGM battery
  • 850 CCA
  • High-density negative paste

Cons

  • Could be too large for some vehicles
Best Deep-Cycle Car Battery
Optima Batteries D34/78 YellowTop

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.


Product Specs

  • Brand: Optima
  • Model: ‎OPT8014-045
  • Type: Deep-cycle AGM

Pros

  • Great for vehicles with a high electrical load
  • 750 CCA
  • 120-minute reserve capacity
  • Lasts over 300 cycles

Cons

  • Not the best option for vehicles without a high electrical load
  • Slightly expensive
Best High-Output Car Battery
XS Power D3400

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.


Product Specs

  • Brand: XS Power
  • Model: D3400
  • Type: AGM

Pros

  • 1,000 CA output
  • Maximum output of 3,300 amps
  • 135-minute reserve

Cons

  • One of the most expensive batteries on the market

Our Verdict on Car Batteries

The Optima Batteries 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.

What to Consider When Buying a Car Battery

Unless you’re an automotive expert, you would be forgiven for not knowing what battery best suits your vehicle and needs. This guide will explain what key features and battery types to consider before purchasing. If you still have any questions, check out the FAQs section.

Types of Car Batteries

Flooded Lead Acid Battery (Wet Cell)

The flooded lead acid battery (also known as the SLI “starting, lighting, ignition”) is one of the oldest battery types and was the most common type around. But, as accessories now place a larger electrical load on vehicles upon ignition, these models aren’t as practical. These batteries are usually made up of six cells and have a liquid electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water. Some models require you to periodically top their solution up with water. Since this solution can spill, wet cell batteries need to stay vertical.

If you discharge these models below 50 percent it greatly reduces the battery’s life. So, while they’re suitable for starting vehicles and powering standard accessories, they’re not a good option for anyone using heavy-duty electronics.

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) Battery

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are a type of valve-regulated lead-acid battery (VRLA) that are better than wet cell batteries in most measurable ways, but they also cost more. They are better able to support the higher electrical loads today’s vehicles place on batteries. These models work like wet cell batteries, but a fiberglass separator keeps the electrolyte solution in place by absorbing it. AGM batteries are sealed, so you don’t need to install them vertically. When compared to wet cell batteries, AGM models can charge up to five times faster and last two to three times longer.

AGM batteries aren’t as negatively affected by being deeply discharged and can safely cycle down to 80-percent of their capacity. These are better suited to vehicles that have an automatic stop-start feature. Keep in mind that if you retrofit an AGM battery to a car that’s set up for a wet cell battery, the AGM battery won’t work to its full potential.

Deep Cycle

Deep cycle batteries, also known as ‘marine’ batteries, use a lead-acid solution, but they can be flooded or sealed. These models use a denser active material and thicker battery plate in their cells. This allows deep-cycle batteries to sustain a low power draw for long periods. These models are well-suited to recreational vehicles and boats. 

Car Battery Key Features

Cold Current Amps (CCA) 

The number of CCA a car battery produces refers to the starting performance of the battery in cold temperatures. This is a good measure of how much power your battery can sustain over short bursts. More specifically, this is the number of cold cranking amps that the battery will deliver at a temperature of minus-18-degrees-Celsius for 30 seconds with the voltage staying above 7.2 volts. If you use a gasoline engine, you want at least one CCA per cubic inch. Anyone who’s using a diesel engine will need to double this.

Reserve Capacity 

The reserve capacity of a battery indicates how long it can deliver a current of 25 Amps, at a temperature of 25-degrees-celsius, until its voltage drops to 10.5 volts. Along with the CCA, the reserve capacity completes the picture of how powerful your battery is by indicating how well it works over long periods with a low draw. This will be an important feature for anyone who will use appliances while the engine is off, especially ones with a high electrical load like speaker systems or winches. But it's also important for general users, as it indicates how long your battery will last if you accidentally leave standard electric appliances on, like headlights.

Group Size

A battery’s group size refers to its physical size and terminal locations. For example, batteries that are group size 24F fit many Honda, Toyota, and Nissan cars but mightn’t fit American or European vehicles. If you’re unsure whether your vehicle’s battery compartment can accommodate a certain group size, you can use an online compatibility checking tool. You could also check your owner’s manual to see what battery group sizes are suitable.

Date Of Production

Since batteries lose power over time, you always want to buy the freshest one possible. Some battery manufacturers print codes on their batteries consisting of a letter and a number, which relate to the month and year of production, while other brands use a print date of production. Whenever possible, check this code before buying and try to get a model that was produced within the last six months.

Car Battery Brands

Optima

Optima Batteries is a premium brand of auto, marine, and commercial batteries owned by Johnson Controls. This brand has been producing batteries for over 40 years and is based out of Milwaukee, Wis. Optima is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in the industry and has a reputation for producing high-end, reliable products. There are three lines of batteries: RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop. Regardless of if you need a battery for your boat or sports car, you’ll find something suitable in one of the company’s ranges. All models use a unique six-pack design and Spiralcell AGM technology. Most Optima batteries come with a three-year replacement warranty.

Odyssey 

Odyssey is a well-known brand that has been producing car batteries for 25 years. The batteries are manufactured by EnerSys, which has production facilities in the USA, United Kingdom, and France. Odyssey produces premium AGM batteries, which are on the high end of the price spectrum. These models come with a limited four-year replacement warranty.

EverStart

EverStart is a Johnson Controls company that produces good value car batteries. EverStart shares technology with some of Johnson Controls premium brand names and performs just as well, but for a lower price. The manufacturer produces AGM batteries, but you’ll find the best value in its wet cell models. Depending on what model you choose, EverStart batteries come with a 1-3-year warranty.

ACDelco

ACDelco produces a range of automotive parts and is owned by General Motors (GM). It was founded in 1916 and its headquarters is in Grand Blanc, Mich. The brand produces factory parts for GM and aftermarket parts for non-GM vehicles. The AGM batteries this company produces are high-spec, reliable, and good value. ACDelco batteries for non-commercial vehicles usually come with a 36-month warranty.

XS Power Batteries

XS Power Batteries was established in 2005 and is located in Knoxville, Tenn. This manufacturer specializes in high-performance batteries and is favored by people who compete in car stereo contests. The AGM models produced by XS Power are some of the most powerful in the industry and have the performance figures to match. These batteries are some of the most expensive on the market and warrant the price by their high-performance specs. All XS Power Batteries come with a three-year warranty from the date of purchase.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car batteries. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • If your car's electrical system is set up for an AGM battery, this is the type you should use if you need to replace the original battery.
  • Similar to the last tip, if your car’s electrical system is set up for a wet cell battery, it won’t be able to fully utilize an AGM battery’s performance.
  • Keep your battery terminals clean by using a toothbrush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture. Rinse with cold water and dry thoroughly after cleaning. This will reduce the speed at which they corrode.
  • If you regularly drive on bumpy roads, make sure your battery is tightly fastened. The more a battery vibrates, the more prone it is to internal damage to short circuits. 

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.