Guide To Buying The Best Car Battery
Your car battery is what keeps all the electrical components of your car in good working order and while that is all running smoothly, it is easy to not notice. However, things are not so hunky-dory when the battery starts acting weird or doesnt discharge its power sufficiently. As a driver, it pays to know a few crucial things about the car battery you use so that will know when and how to replace it before its life cycle comes to an end. After all, it is a battery. It will not last forever, especially if youre someone who experiences winter annually. Aside from simple things like not leaving any of the cars electronics on when the engine is turned off, you should know first and foremost which battery is the most efficient choice for your car. Unfortunately, that may not be as straightforward a task as you might like. By referring to the following buying guide, you will be able to make a more clear-minded choice in terms of all the major requirements you want to cover in a battery.
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A fully charged and functioning battery is essential to your vehicle’s everyday performance.
Not only does your car’s battery provide the necessary energy to start the engine, but it also powers other vital components like its heating and air conditioning, sound system, navigation, and more.
With the ever-increasing technology on cars of today that requires electrical power, your car’s battery is more important than ever. And although the battery in your vehicle continuously replenishes via the alternator and charging system while you drive, eventually, it reaches the end of its lifespan.
What can you do when your old battery begins to lose voltage and reaches the end of its service life? Maybe your vehicle struggles to start in the morning, or you’ve needed jumper cables here and there. With the average car battery life around three to five years, you may need to look at new car batteries.
And instead of visiting a repair facility, you could try and replace your vehicle battery yourself. Who makes the best battery for today’s vehicles? What are the different types of automotive batteries?
Let’s look at your available options when it’s time to replace your car’s battery.
What Is Battery Reserve Capacity
This is the amount of time a battery will last with the headlights on, under a 25 amp draw , until its completely discharged. Having a battery with a high reserve capacity is a bonus, especially if you drive a vehicle with auto start/stop or one with additional accessories that require extra power.
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Using A Battery Warranty
Every battery on our list comes with a battery warranty, and its a great feature to have. While its unlikely that youll ever need to use it, it does give you some peace of mind that you wont need to drop any more money on an automotive battery in the near future.
But while a battery warranty is nice, there are a lot of misconceptions about how you use it. You dont need to bother to reach out to the person you bought the battery from, in fact, they probably wont help you.
Instead, reach out to an authorized service shop for the battery youre using. If youre not sure where this is, the battery manufacturer can point you in the right direction. From there, keep your proof of purchase, with the date on it, and bring it in.
Theyll test and charge the battery for you, and if it doesnt check out, theyll replace it for you for free. Its a pretty simple process, but plenty of people go through loads of frustration because they keep reaching out to the wrong people and cant figure out how to use the warranty.
Car Battery Key Features
Cold Current Amps
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 whos using a diesel engine will need to double this.
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.
Date Of Production
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Prolonging Electric Car Battery Charge In Winter
So, youâve chosen to make the switch in the winter by subscribing to an electric vehicle. High five! However, keeping in mind what we discussed above, you will want to follow a few steps to improve your winter driving experience.
Low Maintenance And Maintenance Free: Know The Difference
The latter is fully sealed and cannot be refilled either and does not need any distilled water. However, a low maintenance battery is not quite so independent. It will have a cap on top which is for adding water. Usually, low-maintenance batteries are preferred by people who drive in a very warm climate.
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Check The Conditions Of Your Tyres
Can you remember the last time you checked your wheels? Tyre pressure aside, good tyre thread depth ensures you get as much grip as possible.
The age-old way of checking is by inserting a 20p coin into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit which is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre.
You should also check for any cuts and bits and pieces hanging of the tyres. Good to keep an eye out for any damage and cuts which can worsen over time.
Duracell Platinum Agm 47 H5
Absorbed glass mat batteries dont have any water inside, so they require less maintenance than standard flooded batteries. AGM batteries are often more expensive, but they also last longer.
Fortunately, CRs best AGM pick for this battery group retails for only $135. The Duracell Platinum AGM 47 H5 earned high marks in every category and can be replaced for free within three years if it fails.
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Optima Batteries D35 Yellowtop Dual Purpose Car Battery
Wishing to use your batteries in severely bad climate? This is it! On the whole, this battery is optimized for such kinds of times as it delivers optimal starting power well. Going beyond that, the item also delivers extra performance when engaged for the job in ways that surpass the ordinary batteries.
One sure advantage of this battery is that it pairs and channels the power output to many accessories and extras. Most important of these are the running headlights, audiovisual systems, hydraulics, and stereo systems. You hence have it for the taking if you have the infotainment systems in mind.
Courtesy of its unique SpiralCell technology, the item generates a consistent gush of clean power output. That goes a long way in guaranteeing your own safety as you go about its use. Moreover, it also comes in handy during the particularly cold winter months as it works pretty well.
However, these automotive batteries have a tendency for deep discharges hence you might have problems when trying to jump-start once it looses power. You can check your owners manual to see if this type of battery is compatible with your vehicle. They are also considered a maintenance free battery.
Budget Pick: Acdelco Gold
With the ACDelco Gold battery, electrolytes are absorbed through the fiberglass mat separator, eliminating acid stratification and preventing spillage and corrosion. Additionally, the electrical system is fully tested to prevent early battery failures.
Ultimately, the ACDelco Golds valve-regulated cover design is what separates this car battery from its competitors. The design of the valve-regulated cover avoids penetration of external oxygen, which reduces the oxidation of negative plates. Additionally, this design reduces oxygen escape, which then supports oxygen recombination and reduces water consumption.
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What Are The Advantages Of Using A Car Audio Battery
The car audio battery has lots of benefits over the traditional car battery. First, these batteries are cheaper than traditional batteries. Secondly, they deliver sufficient power that your car sound system requires for optimal performance.
Also, they come in various sizes, which means they will fit in different cars. Besides powering your stereo system, these units also power various electrical components onboard. Unlike traditional batteries, the car audio batteries power your sound system when the engine is not running.
Top Car Batteries Recommended By Experts
Stay charged with this guide to lead acid, cold cranking amps, AGM, and reserve time.
Whether your car is electric, internal combustion, or remote-controlled, it will have a battery. Here we focus on internal combustion and what you need to know before making a purchase.
There are two types of batteries: lead acid and absorbed glass mat . Lead acid batteries are an older technologyyou dont have to refill them with distilled water anymorewhile AGMs are modern and fit in vehicles with more advanced electrical systems. You can swap an AGM battery into a car that came with lead acid, but not vice versa.
Lead acid batteries cost less, but they wont hold a charge as long as an AGM. According to Consumer Reports, AGM batteries are 40 to 100% more expensive than lead acid ones, but can tolerate discharging better. Theyre also better for cars with high-powered stereo setups or other extra electrical demands.
Both types come in a variety of sizes terminal locations vary from top to side. Some batteries have both. Make sure your size matches up to the vehicle battery youre replacing, no matter the type. The average battery lifespan, says The Family Handyman, is four to six years.
This list is culled from the best-ranking batteries from the sources above we expect youll find something for everyone. Just make sure to check your sizes and requirements!
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Bottom Line: Car Batteries
When selecting a new car battery, keep in mind that youll want to find a battery size and type that matches the OEM battery. Most modern vehicles are designed to use AGM batteries .
Our favorite AGM battery is the Optima RedTop. Optima is a reliable brand and the RedTop model is a high-powered battery at a reasonable price. Those with older cars looking for a lead-acid battery might consider the DieHard Platinum series, which utilize stamped-grid technology to extend battery lifespan.
Those in need of an extremely lightweight, high-powered battery for racing vehicles might consider the Braille Intensity Battery, though this is a niche battery not suitable for typical drivers.
Car Battery Charger Prices
You can find cheap car battery chargers that provide trickle and float functions for under $20. Some offer a surprisingly comprehensive range of features, though you need to check details carefully if you want to charge AGM or gel batteries.
Theres huge choice in the middle range between $40 and $80 where youll find chargers that can handle 6-volt and 12-volt batteries of all types, and engine starter models.
At the upper end are chargers that can handle everything from car batteries to heavy-duty 24-volt commercial models, and up to 500 amp hours. These cost from around $150and up, depending on the amp rating. Youll also find chargers that can handle two or more batteries simultaneously that cost anywhere from $80 to over $600.
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How To Choose The Best Car Battery
Here’s what you need to know to choose the right battery for your vehicle.
This story was updated on August 9, 2022 with new products and information.
We’ve all experienced the stomach-churning trauma of a dead car battery. You need to be somewhere and you’re running late. You jump in, twist the key or push the start button, and . . . nothing! Or maybe just a sickening . Suddenly you need a jump-start or, worse, a tow. And probably a new battery, too. But which one? So many brands, types, prices, and places to buy them. Which to choose and why?
Know The Battery You Are Using Right Now
This does not mean thoroughly examining the battery itself but rather, studying the owners manual which contains important details like battery size, type, and age. You can also consult the opinion of your local auto parts dealer who can tell you all you need to know about your existing car battery. It will prove to be very important when deciding on a replacement.
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How We Chose The Best Car Battery Brands
Before choosing any brand, we scour the web and all the biggest e-tailers to ensure we know all the available options on the market. We look at customer reviews, star ratings, brand ethos, processes, materials, accessibility, and so much more. We weigh the pros and cons, so you dont have to, helping you make informed shopping decisions.
Check out some of our other curated lists of top brands:
What Are Agm Batteries
There are many types of car batteries, but there are two general classifications: Flooded battery and Valve Regulated Lead Acid or VRLA battery.
Except for the EverStart, all the batteries on this list are AGM batteries or Absorbent Glass Mat. AGM batteries have fiberglass separators or glass mats that absorb the electrolyte solution inside the battery. Based on their design, AGM batteries perform better than traditional batteries. Compared to standard batteries, AGM batteries can charge five times faster, last three times longer, and cycle down to 80 percent of their DoD or Depth of Discharge .
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What Features Should I Consider When Picking A Car Audio Battery
With so many car audio batteries on offer, picking the right battery with the ideal features is vital. Thats why you need to know the critical features to look for before spending your hard-earned money on a poor battery.
Some of the things to consider include durability, size, reserve capacity, vibration resistance, maintenance, handle, price, and warranty. A good car audio battery should also be easy to install and made by a reliable brand.
Careful Driving On Snow Or Ice
Electric cars weigh more than petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles. In icy conditions, slow and cautious driving is critical because the loss of traction may cause a slide that’s difficult to recover from.
Avoid sudden movements, such as hard acceleration and braking, or turning sharply.
EVs also have stability control and an anti-lock braking system, which can support handling and traction by monitoring your speed, reducing wheel spinâand activating the brakes.
Some EVs also have a âwinterâ setting specifically designed for winter driving and improves traction in icy conditions.
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Why You Can Trust Us
Each year, we review over 1,000 auto products. Our team of product experts thoroughly researches top products and tests items on real vehicles when possible before making our recommendations.
We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more.
Best For Cold Weather: Hulkman Alpha 85s Jump Starter
Peak amps: 2,000ACapacity: 20,000mAh Advertised maximum engine sizes: 8.5L gas / 6.0L diesel
Born as a Kickstarter project in 2020, the Hulkman brand has proven to be at the level of the top jump starters in the market. With a high amp count of 2,000 and a very big battery of 20,000mAh, the Alphas are powerful devices with enough extra features to please most buyers.
Its large screen shows the amount of charge left on the jump starter itself, and lets you know when the car battery is ready to turn on. It has one USB-C and two regular USB-A ports, along with a 12V port to use with the included lighter-style adapter. All the extra cables and the clamps are stored in the included hard shell case, which makes carrying it a lot easier and safer.
Theyre advertised as being able to power up large gas engines up to 8.5L, and 6.0L diesel ones. It can also power up batteries that are nearly dead . Although it wont detect a battery with such low voltage at first, you can override it by pressing the power and flashlight buttons simultaneously. The pack will start charging the battery and delivering the necessary amps. According to testimonials and reviews, it works perfectly well even on batteries below 1.0V.
The 85S even has a trick up its sleeve that sets it apart from the competition and its own brand siblings: pre-heat technology that allows it to work in temperatures as low as -40°.
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