LAST UPDATED: October 24, 2019
Best Battery Terminals: Meet The High-Current Demands of Your Battery
Maintain stable battery performance with these battery terminals
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON October 24, 2019
The best battery terminals can improve the performance of your vehicle’s convertor and help you achieve higher speeds. If you notice that your car isn’t accelerating, take a look under the hood and you may find the culprit: the battery terminals may be corroded, and that could be the main reason behind your ride’s insufficient horsepower. Consider going for the aftermarket battery terminal replacements in our buying guide.
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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.
Benefits of Battery Terminals
- Increased conductivity and efficiency. Because quality battery terminals increase conductivity and efficiency, you can expect your vehicle to have the ability to accelerate better and faster. This means more response off the line and increased agility and maneuverability as you drive.
- Better electronics performance. An up-to-date pair of battery terminal connectors provide better performance of electronics across the board. This includes headlights, taillights, and marker lights. It also gives you more responsive electric windows and door locks, and a more powerful blower.
- Better battery charging. New battery terminals allow your alternator to charge your car battery more completely and thoroughly. This, in turn, provides longer battery life because an incompletely charged battery is a short-lived battery.
Types of Battery Terminals
These are the most common type of battery terminals, and if you have ever replaced a truck or car battery you will recognize it. Auto post terminals have a positive battery terminal post that is larger than the negative battery terminal post. This is to prevent reverse polarity if you accidentally connect to the wrong battery terminal post.
These look identical to auto post battery terminals, but they have a smaller circumference. Pencil post battery terminals are smaller because they fit on smaller-sized batteries, which are designed to fit in smaller spaces. These battery terminals are found mostly on Japanese-made cars and trucks.
Stud Battery Terminals
You will find these stainless steel 3/8th-inch threaded battery terminals on the batteries of most heavy- and medium-duty Class-8 trucks on the road. This design securely fastens and holds the connection to the lug onto the battery terminal’s lead base. It looks like an upright stud or bolt.
Dual Post (a.k.a. Marine) Battery Terminals
Dual post battery terminals are made with an ⅜”-16 automotive post and 5/16”-16 stud. The automotive post is for connecting to the positive battery terminal post; the 5/16” is for connecting to the negative battery terminal post. You make your connection to the battery terminal posts with either a ring and wing-nut configuration connector or a normal pressure contact. You will find these battery terminals on marine battery applications but also on electronic equipment, such as floor scrubbers and off-the-grid, solar-application battery setups.
Button Battery Terminals
Also called insert battery terminals, these are used on absorbed glass mat batteries on uninterruptible power systems and emergency backup applications. They come in M5 to M8 sizes (metric measurements). This means that if your battery has an 8mm terminal, you need a bolt that has an 8mm-diameter thread.
Top Battery Terminal Brands
ACDelco began business operations in 1908. The company supplied parts to airplanes that Charles Lindburgh and Amella Earhart flew. ACDelco helped build equipment for use in World War II and for the Apollo space program. Although it is a global company with distribution centers in North America, India, and Japan, among others, its home office remains in Detroit, MI. Top battery terminals include the GM Original Equipment Battery Terminal and the Professional Battery Cable Terminal.
H.R. Schumacher founded the company in 1941 because he saw a need for processes that could provide corrosion and abrasion protection for metals. The company subsequently bought several other enterprises that have helped them expand their capabilities and their customer base. Now in its third generation of family ownership, one of Schumacher’s best offerings for battery terminals is the Coated Top Terminal/Post Washer set. The company’s main offices are in Houston, TX.
Battery Terminal Pricing
- $2-9: On the lower price end, you will find basic zinc- or brass-plated battery terminal connector sets that can fit both ⅜-inch and 5/16-inch battery posts.
- $10-15: These battery terminal pairs provide great conductivity and are long lasting, yet they are reasonably priced.
- $16-18: These attractive battery terminal connector sets (some have nickel or gold plating) offer superior conductivity and longevity. The screws on many versions of battery terminals make for a secure connection.
The ability to conduct electricity efficiently from your alternator to your car battery is very important when choosing battery terminals. The battery connectors must be made of a metal that can conduct electricity like lead, zinc, or steel (or a combination of these metals), and they must conduct electricity well so your vehicle operates at top performance.
Battery terminals connect to the battery and battery cables with a number of devices: bolts, screws, or wing nuts. The fasteners should work well, but where and how they are located on the terminals are also considerations. Placement should make it relatively easy to work with the battery terminals, i.e., there should be room to work when you remove, clean, or install them.
Choose the battery terminals that are right for your application. Your choice of battery terminals must fit your battery and be right for your vehicle, whether it’s a truck, car, or SUV. The battery terminals also must fit your battery cables. Researching battery terminals before you buying is a big help in making your choice.
- Functionality: The most important consideration is whether the battery terminals provide power to your battery. Read reviews and the product descriptions about battery terminals for hints on how well the battery connectors you want to buy do the job. Battery terminals that look nice or have additional equipment included, like battery terminal covers or cleaning tools, but don’t do the most important job of conducting electricity are undesirable.
- Price: Consider your budget and your needs when choosing battery connectors. Prices vary widely and it does not make sense to buy an expensive set of battery terminals when a more reasonably priced set of battery terminals does the job just as well.
- Fancy or Basic: Do you want a battery terminal kit that includes protective covers, fiber washers, and a cleaning tool? Or do you just need a basic set of battery terminals? A set of gold- or brass-plated battery terminals will look great under the hood, so maybe you want those instead of the more utilitarian versions of battery connectors. Research your options to see what quality of battery terminals you can get for the money.
Best Battery Terminals Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Our pick for the best battery terminals make a tight connection to battery terminal posts to help maintain power in the battery, and therefore you get strong, stable performance. These battery terminals are great for multi-battery setups (like marine batteries), off-road equipment, and race cars.
This is a battery terminal kit that includes not only the battery terminals but copper lugs for cables, lug protectors, and red (positive) and black (negative) plastic battery terminal covers. The metal battery terminals are made of a lead alloy that provides strength, durability, and reduced corrosion. Being made of a lead alloy means they will last and will help you avoid having to clean off corrosive acid that may form on your battery. The design also protects against shorts.
While the clamps on these battery terminals may not fit all automotive batteries and the design features a large screw and bolt that may be problematic on some vehicles, we recommend these battery terminals. They work great on multiple battery installations like marine batteries and are made in America. Note: you will need a crimp tool to attach the copper lugs to the power wires or have them welded on.
Install these battery terminals from Schumacher to replace broken or damaged OEM equipment. With a simple hex-nut design, these battery terminals install easily and feature a larger negative (black-colored) battery terminal compared to the smaller positive battery terminal (red-colored), so it’s impossible to mix up the cables and make a wrong connection.
The battery terminals are also zinc coated, providing further protection against corrosion and battery acid buildup. Less corrosion and acid buildup means the battery terminals last longer and ultimately provide better engine and electrical performance. This results in fewer rough starts, more horsepower, and better operation of your electronics. Schumacher claims these battery terminals offer three times the conductivity of other battery terminals. These battery terminals also come with fiber post washers that help keep the area around and beneath the battery terminals clean.
These are well-made battery terminals even though there have been some reports of battery terminals cracking or breaking during installation. Install with care. And while they fit well in most situations, some consumers have had problems with one of the battery terminals not fitting on a standard battery terminal post.
This is a battery terminal kit that you can use in a ground or parallel connection configuration or as a battery extension. In addition to the positive and negative battery terminals, the kit includes four two-gauge copper lugs, lug covers, and red and black military-spec battery terminal covers. Use them on trucks, cars, RVs, SUVs, and boats.
The battery terminals are made of a lead alloy, which gives them more strength and more resistance to corrosion and rust. Being made of lead alloy results in durable, longer-lasting battery terminals that require replacement less often. These battery terminals come with ⅜- and 5/16-inch mounting bolts and everything you need for an easy, fast installation.
While the quality of the plastic battery terminal covers could be better and the product may ship without installation instructions, these are an economical buy for quality battery terminals. Note: be sure to install correctly to avoid burning the battery cables.
- An inexpensive method of protecting the battery terminals from corrosion is to rub petroleum jelly on the positive and negative terminals. You could use a wrench to remove the cables from the post for better access to the terminals.
- Monitor the condition of your battery terminals on a regular basis. Pop the hood and disconnect each terminal to inspect them for any signs of rust, wear, or corrosion. Clean them if need be.
- A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar (or water) is the best solution for cleaning your battery terminals. First, wipe off the grease residue with a clean rag. Then, put them in a bowl of the mixture for a few minutes to remove the tough corrosion or grease stains.
Q: How do improve the connection of the battery terminals?
A: If you notice that you are not getting the best out of the connection of your battery terminals, it may be due to a dirt layer or a metal oxide coating. The latter forms when the terminals are exposed to heat and humidity and result in an extra dull layer on the metal. To get a better connection, use a wire brush to scratch off the terminals until they are shiny.
Q: How do you prevent battery terminal corrosion?
A: You could use small amounts of dielectric grease that will neutralize and prevent the corrosion attack. You could also use an anti-corrosion washer, which are typically felt pads with an anti-corrosion formulation. Detach the terminals from the battery before you apply the anti-corrosion agents.
Q: What causes battery terminal corrosion?
A: When a vehicle’s battery is damaged, there is usually a build-up of corrosive acid powder. The acid powder, which is either white, yellow, or green, leaks onto the terminals and corrodes the material. In the end, the terminals will not be able to maintain an electrical connection. The battery won’t be able to complete a discharge when required and may eventually die.
Our top pick is the Fastronix Military Spec Battery Terminal. They allow for superior signal transfer from your vehicle’s battery to the electrical system, and the terminals are designed for durability.
The Schumacher BAF-TTC Terminal are affordable replacements for corroded stock battery terminals, and they are easy to install.