Best Truck Batteries: Strong Choices for Top Performance
A reliable battery is essential to keep your truck starting and running properly
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Trucks, just like any other vehicle, require batteries to operate properly. But the right battery can give you the extra power you need to survive a harsh winter, or keep you driving further for longer distances if you’re a bit of a road warrior. In this buying guide, we’re breaking down the most important features you need to consider when shopping for a truck battery, and through our research have highlighted some of the best options that should be at the top of your list.
A starting battery with an 800CCA rating that offers a 100-minute reserve capacity. This battery is 15 times more vibration resistant than the competition and offers faster recharging capabilities.
This battery is ideal for starting cars in colder weather. Easy mounting in almost any position and a maintenance-free guarantee make this a smart choice.
We noted that the warranty isn’t always supported and in some cases the battery may die prematurely.
A compact battery with a 720 CCA rating that’s perfect for small and select larger trucks.This battery is designed to be15 times more vibration resistant than the competition.
The small and light footprint makes this battery easier for DIY installation. A 90-minute reserve capacity guarantees improved and consistent performance over time.
Battery life doesn’t always meet projected lifespan claims. Inconsistent customer service means the 3-year warranty isn’t always honored.
A formidable AMG battery from an industry leader in OEM automotive parts that features high-density negative paste for enhanced performance, calcium lead positive grid to improve connectivity and an improved acid circulation to extend battery life.
A proprietary vent cap design helps to prevent acid leaks, along with a 100% spill-proof and leak-proof AGM design. A 36-month free replacement warranty gives customers peace of mind.
Some batteries may be less than 50% charged depending on where they’re purchased. Premature life spans and inconsistent warranty support.
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Benefits of Truck Batteries
- Improved performance. Trucks require more power when you start them up compared to traditional sedans. A quality truck battery is designed to effectively start-up larger vehicles with enough power to support the higher amps required.
- Recharge faster. A truck battery can recharge faster than a standard car battery, making it more powerful and reliable—especially with extended use.
- Longer battery life. The last thing you want is a battery in your truck that constantly needs to be replaced or jump-started before it will work. Truck batteries are designed for longer life spans than standard batteries.
Types of Truck Batteries
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
AGM batteries are popular because of their discharge and recharge efficiency. These are some of the best batteries and are designed with an electrolyte solution placed close to the metal plates. In contrast to other battery types, they offer a slower discharge rate. AGM technology is also more sustainable because most of the parts, such as the plastic shell, fiberglass and lead-acid, are recyclable.
Lead-acid batteries are a very common option for trucks. This type of battery features a lead and acid combination, which stores the electric charge. This battery category includes wet-cell batteries. Wet-cell batteries are also known as “flooded batteries” and are some of the most affordable options on the market.
Lithium-ion batteries are ideal high-performance batteries because they can store more energy than conventional batteries. Specifically, a quality lithium-ion truck battery can last for up to 10 years. While they are compact in size and have minimal weight, lithium-ion batteries aren’t compatible with all trucks. This type of battery is usually reserved for electric or hybrid cars. Also, this type of battery tends to be the most expensive to replace.
Optima Batteries is a popular battery brand that provides aftermarket batteries for consumer and racing customers. Founded in 1972, this Wisconsin-based company prides itself on making quality batteries with cutting-edge technology. In addition to the RedTop batteries that are our Best Overall (34 RedTop Starting Battery) and Best Value (35 RedTop Starting Battery) choices, Optima also creates other batteries such as YellowTops and chargers and maintainers to help you keep your batteries at peak performance.
ACDelco is known as an OEM and aftermarket auto parts provider for the automotive industry and most notably works with General Motors. This heritage brand was founded over 100 years ago and is best known for its attention to detail and high-quality products. Along with our Honorable Mention, the ACDelco Professional AGM 94R Battery, ACDelco produces a wide range of car parts, including brake pads, O2 sensors, and engine air filters.
Truck Battery Pricing Pricing
- Up to $200: Budget shoppers should be able to find quality lead-acid batteries in this price range.
- $200 and up: Beyond $200, shoppers focused on more specialized batteries such as AGM or Lithium-ion options can easily find quality options within the premium price spectrum.
Always confirm that the battery you’re planning to purchase is compatible with the year, make, and model of your truck. Ideally, any new battery should have identical dimensions as your current OEM battery. If the unit is not compatible, you will have to return it, which will cost you time and possibly money.
Cold Cranking Amps
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) references the total number of amps a battery releases at zero degrees for 30 seconds at a rate of 7.2 amps. In extreme temperatures, that’s when you need your truck battery to reliably start your engine. Shoppers that live in cold-weather regions where temperatures regularly dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit should prioritize batteries with a higher CCA rate. Specifically, look for batteries with over 500 Cold Cranking Amps.
Typically, batteries operate at their best when the ambient temperature is between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, there are going to be plenty of times (depending on where you live) that you’ll face weather conditions outside of this “goldilocks” range. To ensure that you have a quality truck battery designed to last, look for models with wider performance temperature ranges. A good battery can perform in temperatures as low as -40 degrees to as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit.
The reserve capacity (RC) references a battery's running time with 2.5 amps of discharge. This is an important figure because it will determine how many electronics you can simultaneously run in your truck and what equipment you can charge before the battery dies. Typically, AGM batteries perform the best in this category because they feature the highest reserve capacity. AGM batteries are known to hold as much as 80 percent of their charge after a deep discharge.
- Cranking Amps: Always keep in mind the amount of cranking amps you’ll need to start your truck. Smaller trucks can be started with 400 amps, but larger trucks require 700 to 1,000 amps. Heavy-duty trucks should be paired with 1,000-amp batteries.
- Safety: An improperly-fitting truck battery that’s too close to the hood of your truck can pose a fire hazard. For the best performance and to avoid fires, confirm that there is at least 3.4 inches of clearance space between the hood and your battery.
- Compatibility: Always confirm that the battery you’re planning to purchase is compatible with the year, make, and model of your truck. Ideally, any new battery should have identical dimensions as your current OEM battery.
Best Truck Battery Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Higher life cycles are important, but remember that the real-world conditions in your region and your typical usage can affect this figure.
- Confirm that your intended truck battery is compatible with the connection terminals in your truck.
- People who live in colder regions should focus on higher CCA ratings to prevent frigid temperatures from draining the battery.
Q: What’s the difference between a deep cycle and an AMG battery?
A: Deep cycle batteries tend to be very powerful and have a longer lifespan. Specifically, these types of batteries are usually reserved for electric or marine vehicles. In contrast, AMG batteries are very commonly used for trucks. Even though they are pricier than “standard” lead-acid batteries, AMGs usually outperform them because of their fuel-saving start-stop systems and ability to withstand vibrations.
Q: How long do lead-acid batteries typically last before they need to be replaced?
A: A quality lead-acid battery has a service life of up to two to three years of regular use before you should consider replacing it. One of the biggest benefits of picking a lead-acid battery is that these are some of the best low-maintenance types of batteries for people who don’t want to constantly work on their truck battery. However, if these batteries develop a problem, there’s no option to fix it — all you can do is replace it.
Q: Why should I get a truck battery instead of a regular automotive battery?
A: It might be tempting to opt for a car battery to replace your existing truck battery but in the long run this is a bad idea. Truck batteries are designed with higher CCA ratings — even when compared with top of the line car batteries. So, a car battery might not be strong enough to properly power your truck.
We recommend our Best Overall Optima Batteries 8002-002 34 RedTop Starting Battery and Best Value Optima Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery to keep you on the road.