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Knowing that the alternator does the heavy lifting for the electrical system when a car is running can be a poisonous thought. You start to take the battery for granted. As long as there's enough juice to turn the engine over, you're good to go, right? That mindset can easily get you caught in a loop of buying battery after battery from different companies, wondering why you can't keep one in your car. It might be a parasitic draw on the battery, but it can also happen because many companies know folks tend to buy whatever's in front of them without putting much thought into their purchase. Since more and more people are catching on, we thought we’d share what brands are worth your consideration.
The king of the hill when it comes to AGM batteries. Odyssey produces some of the toughest, most reliable batteries for all applications.
- Produces premium, dependable AGM batteries
- Made in the USA
- Respectable warranty lengths
- Premium pricing
- Relatively hard to find locally
Maybe the price is misleading, but these powerhouses deliver. They can also easily be found.
- Affordable pricing
- Respectable performance
- Decent warranty coverage
- Quality control lacking
- Better batteries can be had for a slightly higher investment
A worthy contender, Interstate batteries are known performers, and a lengthy warranty is in place to protect its customers.
- Highly reliable batteries
- Long warranty
- Competitive pricing
- Not easily found at parts stores
- Slightly more expensive than more readily available options
Our team of experts has been using car batteries for as long as we've been driving. We’ve even repurposed many for recreational uses. Collectively, we all have opinions on who makes the best car batteries. To keep tension low and our recommendations sound, we've also done our share of homework to come up with our list. We looked at details such as where the batteries are made, what each brand is known for, and what the public has to say about them. The thing is that your experiences are going to determine what one works best for you, so treat this list as a starting point in your quest.
Best Car Battery Brand Reviews & Recommendations
Odyssey batteries are pretty much the best on the market. The reliability, performance, and answer to niche applications make it so, in our view. Ever Start batteries have also proven more than capable of keeping car owners across the country moving on a budget.
Be sure to reach out and let us know what you think are the best battery brands on the market.
Types of Car Batteries
Flooded Lead Acid
Traditional car batteries work by soaking lead plates in an electrolyte, which is essential to the electrochemical reaction responsible for creating power. In a lead-acid battery, otherwise known as a wet-cell battery, the lead plates are physically submerged in sulfuric acid. These are the most common and most affordable types of car batteries. They do have a few drawbacks. Primarily, water must be added from time to time, you can only mount them upright, and you shouldn't place them in confined spaces as off-gassing of hydrogen can be dangerous. It’s important to note that you can generally upgrade any car originally equipped with a flooded-acid battery to an AGM, but the opposite is not true. Modern cars with stop-start technology are designed to use either an AGM or EFB battery.
Absorbent Glass Mat
AGM, or absorbent glass mat, batteries are essentially the leveled-up version of lead-acid batteries, which were originally designed for aircraft. The chemical reaction is largely the same in that the key players are lead and an electrolyte. However, fiberglass mats between the plates carry the electrolyte rather than submerging the lead in liquid. This makes for a more efficient, spill-free battery. They are also able to withstand shock and vibration better than traditional batteries, can withstand colder temperatures, and supply deeper cycles. The only real drawbacks are that they are generally more costly than other batteries and require special chargers.
Enhanced Flooded Batteries
Enhanced flooded batteries are another common type. All that essentially separates these units from a traditional flooded acid battery are their enhanced charging and deep-cycling abilities. You can think of this as a unit that breaches the gap between flooded lead-acid and AGM batteries in many ways. These are commonly used in compact cars with stop-start technology alongside AGM batteries for larger vehicles. That said, you can upgrade from an EFB to an AGM battery in most situations. However, you should not move to an EFB if the vehicle is designed to work with an AGM battery.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.
Q. How much does a car battery usually cost?
A. Car batteries can run anywhere from $100 to $350. How much you pay depends on the brand and type of battery you opt for. In most cases, regular lead-acid batteries are closer to the $100 mark, while AGM batteries tend to draw higher prices.
Q. What are some key features to know about?
A. The two key features you want to keep in mind are the type and group classification of the battery. Most older vehicles want a lead-acid battery, while newer applications often call for an AGM. The group number has to do with the physical dimensions, and you want a match as this determines not only the size but the location and type of terminal posts that are present.
Q: What is CCA?
A: CCA means cold-cranking amps. It essentially tells us how many amps the battery can supply continuously for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Most applications want 650-800 CCA, but more is almost never bad. Another detail to read into is the reserve capacity, which essentially tells you how long the battery can power the vehicle without the engine running.
Q: Can you replace a regular battery with an AGM battery?
A: There are many reasons to upgrade to an AGM battery, and you can do so freely. It's always wise to read into your application in case there are any nuances that may present issues, but it's usually a drop-in swap as long as you select the right group number.
Q: How long does a car battery last?
A: Most car batteries will last about 3-4 years. However, if you buy from a reputable car manufacturer, your battery may last longer. It's common for people to get 5-10 years out of a good battery.
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