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The Best Car Batteries: Rugged and Reliable Options That Won’t Let You Down

Decrease your chances of being stranded with these top-quality, reliable car batteries.

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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON June 11, 2021

Your car battery is one of those things that's easy to forget about or neglect—this is until it stops working and throws a wrench in your plans. While most car batteries have a life expectancy of four to six years, several factors can leave you scrambling for a new one at the most inopportune time.

Frequent short car trips, prolonged exposure to cold and harsh temperatures, corroded battery terminals, and leaving your lights on are all things that can cause your car battery to meet an untimely demise. If this has happened to you, you've probably just run to the nearest automotive store or called your roadside assistance superhero and taken the first car battery that came your way.

In the interest of proactivity and not wanting to see you stranded again, we've come up with our list of favorite, most reliable car batteries and a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose the best car battery for you.

Best Overall
Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery
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Summary
Summary

Protects against high-impact shock and mechanical vibration. Its CCA is 950, and it has a reserve capacity of 145 minutes. It comes with a limited three- and four-year full replacement warranty.

Pros
Pros
  • The Odyssey is capable of 100 percent recharge in 4-6 hours
  • Cranking power is excellent
  • Overall, it's very durable and reliable
Cons
Cons
  • Battery may not last as long as the manufacturer claims and may die within a couple of years
  • On the pricier side
  • Handle is flimsy
Best Overall
Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery
Best Value
DieHard Silver Battery
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Summary
Summary

A budget-friendly, maintenance-free  battery that will still deliver strong and reliable starting power each and every time.

Pros
Pros
  • One of the most affordable batteries on our list
  • Offers 800 CCA of starting power
  • Has excellent cold temperature reliability
Cons
Cons
  • This battery has a shorter lifespan compared to other models
  • Not the best choice for vehicles with moderate to high electrical power draws
Best Value
DieHard Silver Battery
Honorable Mention
Optima Batteries 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 
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Summary
Summary

This is a 12V battery with 800 CCA and 200 amp load. It's powerful, reliable, and designed to last. It comes in handy for regular use as well as emergencies.

Pros
Pros
  • Battery offers a reserve capacity of 100 minutes and ensures an optimal starting power
  • Compact
  • Easy to mount and use
  • Proves to be very durable
Cons
Cons
  • Unit might be too bulky for some vehicle types
  • Several buyers had to make quite some modifications for a perfect fit
  • Not easy to claim the warranty, either
Honorable Mention
Optima Batteries 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Car Batteries

  • Start your car. The best car battery works by providing a jolt of electricity that powers your vehicle's electrical components. It's necessary for starting your vehicle as well as running the lights, radio, etc.
  • Easy to install. Most batteries are located in the front of your vehicle under the hood. They're usually easy to access and replace with just a few tools. The most important thing to remember when installing a new battery is to disconnect the negative terminal first for safety purposes.
  • Provide peace of mind. It can be a real hassle if you're on your way somewhere, and you can't go because your car won't start due to a dead battery. The best-rated car batteries are designed to be durable and reliable.

Types of Car Batteries

Wet Cell

Wet Cell automotive batteries are often also commonly known as “flooded” batteries. These are currently the most common, most popular, and most affordable car battery types on the market. This type of battery contains free liquid that requires periodic maintenance and monitoring. Extreme cold or harsh temperatures can have a detrimental effect on the electrolyte solution in these batteries, sometimes even causing it to freeze, which will significantly shorten your battery’s lifespan.

Lead Acid

Car owners used to have to top off the water in the electrolyte solution of their car's batteries. These days, maintenance-free batteries are much more user-friendly. These conventional batteries don't require topping off the fluid, and the caps aren't meant to be removed. Lead-acid batteries don't hold a charge as long as an absorbed glass mat battery and are less tolerant of deep discharge. However, they're more affordable.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)

AGMs can be drained and recharged more frequently than standard batteries. More and more automakers are using this type of battery for high-performance purposes because modern vehicles are increasingly using more power for things such as fuel-saving stop/start systems and power outlets for mobile devices. These batteries cost significantly more than traditional batteries. If you don't use your vehicle often, and it loses its charge, an AGM is a good pick.

Lithium-Ion 

Hybrid and electric cars use this type of battery, which is also referred to as a li-ion battery. In contrast to traditional, lead-acid batteries, Li-ion batteries hold considerably more energy and are much lighter in weight. 

Top Brands

DieHard

Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., first introduced DieHard batteries in 1967. During the product's testing phase, not one battery failed in over 26,000 starts in temperatures ranging from sub-zero to over 100 degrees. One popular product is the DieHard Platinum Battery.

Optima

Optima was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis. The company was responsible for the first maintenance-free lead acid batteries for commercial and military use as well as the first high‐performance AGM automotive batteries. One of its most popular batteries is the Optima RedTop.

Odyssey

Odyssey batteries are manufactured by EnerSys Energy Products Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of EnerSys, which is headquartered in Reading, Penn. The company has manufacturing facilities in Warrensburg, Mo., and Newport, Wales, United Kingdom. The company produces high-quality products that provide superior performance for a variety of power applications. One top battery is the Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery.

ACDelco

One of the best car battery brands, ACDelco is owned by General Motors and has been around since the birth of GM in the early 1900s. Based in Grand Blanc, Mich., the company's parts are included in more than 2 million GM vehicles produced each year. One of its most popular products is the ACDelco 48AGM Professional AGM Automotive Battery

FirePower

FirePower, based in Boise, Idaho, has over 50 years of experience in the power sports industry. The company sources the highest-grade materials to create its products, which includes batteries, ignition coils, kill switches, starters, and more. One popular product is the FirePower Featherweight Lithium Battery.

Car Battery Pricing

  • Under $100: Car batteries in the price range will give you decent reliability and performance, but they are likely to have a lower lifespan than many more expensive, higher-tech battery options. Expect to get one to two years of fail-safe use out of batteries in this price range. You’ll be hard-pressed to find AGM or lithium batteries in this price range.
  • $100 to $200: Most batteries typically fall within this price range. There are plenty of powerful AGM and wet cell batteries in this price range that will last for 3-4 years and are backed by a solid replacement warranty.
  • $200 and up: Now you’re getting into the cream of the crop when it comes to long-lasting, uber durable car batteries. Most brands will offer their best battery in this price range. You’ll see a lot of lithium batteries here, as well as high-end AGMs.

Key Features

Manufacture Date

Batteries lose strength over time, so it's important that you select the newest one possible. Batteries have a code with a letter and number that indicates when they were manufactured. Companies use different types of codes, so make sure you know what you're looking for when you select a battery. Avoid units that are older than six months from the date they were manufactured.

Size

It's essential that you install a battery that is the correct size with the proper terminal locations. If the terminals are in the wrong spot, the cables on your vehicle might not reach the battery or they might not fit tightly enough. Be sure to check your owner's manual to find out exactly what you need. For instance, size 24/24F batteries fit many Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, and Infiniti vehicles, while size 48H6 batteries fit many European and American vehicles.

Other Considerations

  • Warranty. Look for a product with the longest free-replacement period you can find. Companies typically have a free-replacement period and prorated period, which will give you partial reimbursement. Just note that a warranty can be voided if you neglect the battery (i.e., improperly install it).
  • Carrying Handle. Batteries can weigh between 25 and 60 pounds, which can make them hard to lift and carry. This is much easier to do if it has a plastic handle. You can also use the handle to lower the battery into the engine compartment.
  • Technical Specifications. Batteries are rated by a variety of factors, including the amp hour, cold-cranking amps (CCA), and reserve capacity. CCA, in particular, refers to the number of amps a battery can produce when the temperature drops to zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Car Batteries Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery

This battery weighs 58 pounds and is designed to protect against high-impact shock and mechanical vibration. It has plates made of pure virgin lead. The battery also has twice the power and three times the lifespan of conventional batteries. The company promises a service life of 3-10 years.


The Odyssey has a longer cycle life than its competitors (up to 400 cycles) and a high recharge efficiency. Specifically, it's capable of 100-percent recharge in four to six hours. The cranking power is excellent, and aesthetically the red top looks nice in the battery box. It starts cold when your vehicle sits for an extended period of time and delivers consistently. Overall, it's durable and reliable.


One downside is the lifting handle is a bit flimsy. There have also been some complaints that the battery does not last as long as the manufacturer claims and may die within a couple of years. Finally, the Odyssey battery is a little on the pricier side.

Best Value
DieHard Silver Battery

If you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly battery that will still deliver strong and reliable starting power, you can’t go wrong with the DieHard Silver Automotive Battery. This 42-pound battery is designed to meet all manufacturer’s power and reserve capacity requirements so that you can be assured of a quick start every time. This affordable automotive battery is maintenance-free, offers a standard lifespan, and comes backed by DieHard’s signature two-year free replacement warranty. It also offers excellent cold temperature reliability. 


While this certainly isn’t the most powerful or longest-lasting battery that DieHard makes, it’s a great and reliable bang for your buck. It’s also best suited for most conventional vehicles with low to moderate electrical demands rather than vehicles with moderate to high electrical power draws.


Most Versatile
Optima Batteries 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery

Optima is known to produce a wide range of automotive batteries, and they are all very popular among the users. The Optima 8004-003 model is a 12V battery with 800 CCA. It's a powerful and reliable unit you get to use for a long time.


The battery has a reserve capacity of 100 minutes, and it ensures an optimal starting power. It makes sure your vehicle can start effortlessly even in the most extreme weather conditions. Users also love the compact design that allows for various mounting options. The unit is easy to install and use. It's also well-protected against vibration, spills, leaks, and impacts.


However, you might want to double-check the dimensions of the battery before the purchase. Some buyers complained about not being able to mount the unit due to its size. The battery might be unsuitable for your particular vehicle. Also, if you end up needing a replacement, you might have a couple of issues with the warranty.

Most Durable
ACDelco Advantage AGM Automotive BCI Group 51 Battery

ACDelco is a popular company that never fails to deliver high-quality and powerful car batteries. This particular model is one of the best AGM batteries on the market. With impressive power and overall extraordinary design, it proves to be essential for quick and smooth starts and stops.


Because it's an AGM-powered battery, this model is leak- and spill-proof and doesn't require you to add water. The main benefit of such a design is the overall durability of the product. The battery uses a valve-regulated recombinant feature that makes it up to three times more durable than regular car batteries. It's also super safe and easy to use, and no special maintenance is required. The installation is fairly easy, too. 


However, make sure to double-check the dimensions of the battery before the purchase. The model might not fit all vehicle models. A lot of buyers had to make some modifications to fit the battery. Some of them also complained about receiving an uncharged battery, so you might need a charger right after opening the package.

Most Reliable
DieHard Platinum AGM Automotive Battery

Thanks to its top-of-the-line AGM technology, this car battery greatly meets or exceeds your manufacturer’s starting and reserve capacity requirements. This battery comes with a solid lifespan that lasts up to two times longer than a standard flooded battery and a three-year replacement warranty. It offers the best cold temperature reliability of all the batteries in the DieHard family. It is suitable for most conventional cars and new cars with high electrical demands. It’s equipped with stamped grid technology for more consistent starts and premature failure resistance. 


This battery also gives you up to 60 percent better electrical flow when compared to other top grid designs. And it offers up to 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. The one drawback is that this product is also DieHard’s most expensive battery, so be prepared to shell out some cash.

Honorable Mention
XS Power D1200 XS Series AGM Battery

The XS Power D1200 AGM battery is a reliable and powerful unit that comes at a reasonable price. Just like all of the other XS Power batteries, this model is highly rated and tested for racing. It's a 12V battery with 2600 amp output. You can use it for powering up small to medium-sized systems and ensure quick starts wherever you are.


This AGM battery is completely sealed, spill-proof, and safe for the vehicle. It's valve-regulated and vibration-resistant, which means you'll use it for quite some time. In fact, the battery can withstand quite some abuse and still perform at its best. You can expose it to extreme temperatures or forget to turn off the headlights, and the vehicle still won't fail to start. Furthermore, the battery mounts in almost any position due to the compact design.


However, this battery still might not fit all vehicle types. You might have a couple of issues with the terminals and have to make some modifications for a proper fit. Also, the product doesn't come with battery posts for the installation. You'll have to buy them separately.

Honorable Mention
ACDelco 49AGM Professional Automotive Battery

If you’re looking for a seamless replacement for your GM vehicle, you’re going to want to choose the ACDelco 49AGM Professional Automotive Battery. This genuine General Motors Original Equipment part is approved and recommended specifically for use in GM vehicles, and it’ll be sure to work perfectly with your GM model. Featuring 12 volts and silver-calcium battery cells, this 58.6-pound AGM battery measures 13.9 x 6.9 x 7.5 inches in size. It’s designed to last and is 100 percent leak- and spill-proof, keeping the electrolyte in the glass mat separator instead of allowing it to flow freely.


Other great benefits of this ACDelco car battery include oxygen recombination, which reduces water loss and offers drivers maintenance-free performance. You’ll rarely have to worry about what’s happening with this battery installed. It also offers a long life expectancy — the design and structure of the battery maintains pressure on the plates, significantly reducing the amount of active mass that can be potentially lost. This will keep you, your vehicle, and your battery up and running on the road for longer.

Honorable Mention
Optima Batteries 8022-091 RedTop Starting Battery

Optima offers a 12V battery that is rather powerful and able to deliver excellent performance and impressive durability. Due to its compact design, the battery mounts in a breeze and is easy to use. You get to install it on cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicle types. Thanks to the spill-proof and maintenance-free design, you'll find it ideal for both professional and DIY purposes.


The battery offers 720 CAA and 90 minutes of reserve capacity for constant performance. It provides quick and easy starts even in bad weather and proves to be up to 15 times more durable than traditional automotive batteries.


The Optima battery is resistant to vibration, shocks, and impacts. It's perfect for regular as well as off-road conditions that demand more efficiency and reliability. All in all, the battery is safe for both the vehicle and the user and has a long lifespan.


The main issue you might have with this product regards the warranty. A lot of buyers complained about not being able to fill out the necessary paperwork for getting the warranty. It's a real hassle and requires a lot of patience. You also might be bothered by the fact that the product comes badly packed.

Tips

  • Be sure to check your car’s owner’s manual or the specifications on your current battery before purchasing a new one, as battery sizes and capacities vary  from vehicle to vehicle.
  • You should test your car's battery annually to be sure it's in good working order. Also, check it before taking a long trip. Even the best automotive battery needs to be replaced every few years.
  • The type of battery you use largely depends on where you live and the weather conditions in the area. If you want the best car battery for cold weather, you may need a battery that's labeled with "N" or "North", while if you live in a warmer climate you will need one labeled with an "S" or "South".
  • Some cars such as BMWs need a new car battery that is coded or digitally matched to the vehicle. This requires specific software, so you'll probably need to have it changed by an authorized dealer or facility.

FAQs

Q: How long does a car battery last?

In ideal conditions, most car batteries can last anywhere from three to six years. Lifespans can vary based on manufacturing techniques.

Q: Why does a car battery stop working?

There are many reasons why your car battery might stop working. Factors such as prolonged exposure to harsh or extreme weather conditions, corroded terminals, forgetting to turn off your car’s interior or exterior lights, excessive battery vibration, and frequent short trips will all shorten your car battery’s lifespan. A battery that’s left sitting for too long without being started can also cause it to drain down below its minimum starting voltage.

Q. How do I know if my battery is dying? 

Several warning signs might indicate a dying battery. These include dim headlights or dashboard lights, a slow or lagging engine turnover when you try to start the car, a clinking sound when you turn the key, problems with running some of the car's electrical components, and a swollen battery casing. If the battery warning indicator is illuminated on your dashboard, it's a pretty direct sign that your battery might be going bad.

Q. Can I use a cheap battery in my car?

If you are on a tight budget, by all means, feel free to use a less expensive battery in your car. It may not last as long or perform as well as a more expensive, top-of-the-line car battery, and it may need to be replaced more frequently, but at least you’ll have power to your vehicle without stressing yourself out financially.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a high-quality, long-lasting, reliable car battery that is guaranteed to give you years of great performance, the Odyssey Automotive and LTV Battery is a great choice. It offers an impressive 950 CCA capacity, super quick recharge rates, and is backed by a solid manufacturer’s warranty to keep you protected. 

For a less expensive option that won’t break the bank, we like the DieHard Silver Battery. It’s got a reliable and robust starting capacity, excellent cold temperature reliability, and a two-year manufacturer’s replacement warranty.