Best Car Batteries 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything there is to know about car batteries.

Check out the 2018’s list of the best car batteries.

List of the Best Car Batteries 2018

Battery Brand Cold Cranking Amps Ah (Amps*h) Reserve Capacity
 
Optima Batteries RedTop
(Editor's Choice)
80050 100 minutes
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Optima Batteries YellowTop
(Editor's Choice)
620 4898 minutes
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Odyssey PC680 170 1624 minutes
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AC Delco 94RAGM 80080140 minutes
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XS Power D6500 1070 75150 minutes
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Kinetik HC800 BLU 750 35N/A
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Exide Edge FP-AGM24F 710 60120 minutes
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Northstar Ultra High Performance 1150 103 220 minutes
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Kinetik KHC2400 1700110 110 minutes
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Stinger SPV69C 550 44100 minutes
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1. Optima Batteries RedTop

The Optima brand is a well-known battery brand that has an established reputation for being well made. This battery is the go-to battery a quick replacement battery. It is made of high-quality materials and is affordable. This battery is recommended based on its specs which include:

• 12-Volt battery

• 800 Cold Cranking Amps

• 10 x 6.9 x 7.8 inches (Even though there are measurements listed in all of the reviews, be sure to consult a guide before purchasing to ensure the batteries fit correctly.)

• Weighting at 38.8 pounds

This battery utilizes an exclusive technology which is called Spiralcell. A series of individual spiral-wound cells composed of lead plates is the heart of this technology. This technique makes them one of the top players in today’s market.

The reserve capacity is about 100 minutes of constant performance. This battery can start in frigid temperatures and bad weather.

When driving a car, the car vibrations caused by the road can damage the battery. The Optima RedTop is fifteen times more resistant to road vibrations when compared to other batteries. This fact makes it the perfect choice for strength and durability.

PROS

  •  It is the best battery when comparing price, durability, strength, cold cranking amps, and reserve capacity.
  •  These cells have Spiralcell technology which enables the battery to have a long-lasting life.
  • The Optima Batteries RedTop is maintenance and spill free with resistance to road vibrations.

CONS

  •  This battery was created for starting and allowing the alternator do the rest of the work.
  • If this battery is completely discharged, it may mean the battery’s life is over.

2. Optima Batteries YellowTop

Another fantastic Optima Battery is the YellowTop. It is a best seller also. This battery is meant for deep cycling which means it is fabulous for vehicles that have a lot of fog lights, light bars, massive sound systems, or other battery using devices.

This battery is not as affordable as its family member RedTop, but the YellowTop could be one of the best-rated car batteries available on the market today. The specs of this battery include:

• 12-Volt battery

• 620 Cold Cranking Amps

• 9.4 x 6.8 x 7.7 inches

• Weighing in at 36 pounds

This battery also has a 98-minute reserve capacity. This capacity means that the car can continue to run with consistent performance without missing a step. As with the RedTop, the YellowTop is fifteen times more resistant to car vibrations when compared to other batteries. It is also wired to ensure optimal starting whether in cold or hot weather.

PROS

  • This battery was created as a deep cycling battery which will protect over usage of the alternator.
  • As with the RedTop battery, the YellowTop also utilizes Spiralcell technology to make it one of the best batteries on the market.
  • The Optima YellowTop battery is also maintenance and spill free and resistant to damage from car vibrations.

CONS

  • The major drawback with this battery is it has less cold cranking amps than the Optima RedTop battery.

3. Odyssey PC680

When a battery dies without warning, it may be necessary to purchase a more affordable battery. The Odyssey PC680 offers some fantastic features while still being one of the most affordable batteries on the market.

The Odyssey PC680 has the following specs:

• 12-Volt Battery

• 170 Cold Cranking Amps

• 7.9 x 7.8 x 3.8 inches

• Weighing in at 15.4 pounds

The Odyssey has a long cycle life which is 70% longer than most conventional batteries when compared. It also has another 400 cycles at 80%. This battery has the highest recharge efficiency out of the sealed lead batteries on the market. It only takes four to six hour to completely recharge this battery. It can be mounted flexibly with a non-spill design.

When the road gives a car high impact shocks and vibrations, the Odyssey PC680 is protected due to the vibration resistance provided by the manufacturer. This battery is also one of the few batteries where the temperature has little to no effect. It is resistant to extreme temperatures. With the above features, this battery can be considered the best car battery for the money.

PROS

  • The Odyssey’s long cycle life which is 70% longer will save time and money in the long run when compared to other batteries.
  • This battery will support the national economy with every purchase because it is made in the United States.
  • The battery is not damaged by temperature and has vibration resistance which makes it the best car battery for the money.

CONS

  • With only 170 cold cranking amps, the Odyssey is short on CCA which means it is not the best choice for extremely cold areas.
  • This battery does not come with terminals.

4. AC Delco 94RAGM

If the customer is buying the battery for a truck, the AC Delco is a perfect choice. It has an 800 CCA which means even with a diesel engine; there will not be any problems with frigid weather. The 140Ah allows this battery to power a 22” light bar or an extensive subwoofer without issues like dimming headlights.

The AC Delco 94RAGM specs include:

• 12-Volt battery

• 800 Cold Cranking Amps

• 12.4 x 6.9 x 7.5 inches

• Weighing in at 51.6 pounds

AC Delco is known for making heavy duty parts, and this battery is not any different. It has high-density negative posts. The life alloy is enhanced which helps to increase the cycle life and the performance of the battery. Conductivity is maximized by the calcium lead positive grid.

This battery comes with Robust Envelope Separator which has a puncture-resistant back. This type of back helps to ensure more acid circulation and fewer shorts. This battery is one of the heaviest on this list. The weight probably does not matter except when it is being placed in the car.

PROS

  • This battery has 800 cold cranking amps with 80 Ah which makes it one of the best in both categories.
  • The AC Delco is made from heavy duty parts which ensure durability and a long life cycle.
  • It also contains enhanced life alloy and silver calcium allot to give it a pleasing appearance and increased life cycle.

CONS

  • It weighs over 50 pounds which makes it extremely heavy and may be hard to install.
  • A customer needs to double check before purchasing because the AC Delco is large.

5. XS Power D6500

With exceptional power, this deep cycle battery is an excellent choice. It is versatile with the options of being able to replace the starter or ready to be a backup if the extra juice is needed for the muffins car audio setup. It is vital to mention that the terminals are not included in this battery.

It is excellent for vehicles that have a massive audio system because of the number of amps. Some other features of the XS Power D6500 are:

• 12-Volt battery

• 1070 Cold Cranking Amps

• 14 x 10 x 9.5 inches

• Weighing in at 58.3 pounds

The battery uses absorbed glass mat technology which is different than the typical lead plate model. This technique prevents spilling or leaking which allows it to be mounted anywhere. It offers more efficient power and output because it is ultra-low resistant. This amount of energy can be a drawback also. If the amps are not needed, purchasing this battery may be a waste of money.

It can also be difficult to install due to how large and heavy the unit is. However, it is definitely worth the money if a customer has a system that needs the amps. It is constructed with durability as the main priority.

PROS

  • The XS Power utilizes absorbed glass mat technology which makes it unique among similar batteries.
  • The cold cranking amps are high, and it is a long-lasting deep cycle unit for the vehicle.
  • This unit can be mounted in almost any position which makes it perfect for a variety of applications.

CONS

  • This battery does not come with terminals, so if it is to be used as a starter, terminals must be purchased.
  • At almost 60 pounds, the XS Power is bulkier and much more substantial than other batteries.

6. Kinetik HC800 BLU

This unit is one of the smaller batteries available on the market. The size makes it easier to install and uninstall when needed. The Kinetik HC800 has one of the more beautiful looking packages with its black case and blue logo that looks good from any angle.

With 750 cold cranking amps, the HC800 can hold its own in cold weather. This battery also utilizes a sealed absorbed glass mat design which means it can be mounted anywhere. The size and weight also ensure it is the perfect battery for unusual jobs. Other specs include:

• 12-Volt battery

• 750 Cold Cranking Amps

• 6.5 x 8 x 5.5 inches

• Weighing in at 21.1 pounds

With the versatility of this battery and its lightweight, compact size, it is excellent for those who do not want to fight to get a battery installed. It also is a perfect choice as an auxiliary or secondary battery for someone who runs a large car audio setup.

PROS

  • This unit is lightweight which makes it easy to install and transport from the store to the vehicle.
  • If it is essential to a customer, it has a very appealing package with an eye-catching logo.
  • The maximum power cell watts come in at 800 which means the customer is getting everything that he or she can get out of the battery.

CONS

  • The Kinetik HC800’s display screen is analog which many customers may find to be a bad or negative thing.

7. Exide Edge FP-AGM24F

When a battery sits in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it can lose 35% of its power. With 710 cold cranking amps, a customer does not need to worry about this fact with the Exide Edge. This battery has 300+ discharge and recharge cycles.

Some other features of the Exide Edge FP-AGM24F are:

• 12-Volt battery

• 710 Cold Cranking Amps

• 10.2 x 6.8 x 8.7 inches

• Weighing in at 46.2 pounds

On this battery, the positive or red terminal is located on the right-hand side which makes it easy for right-handed people. It has AGM construction that is non-spill. The capacity of this battery makes it better to handle heavy loads.

When tested, the Exide Edge outperformed more conventional batteries when tested for heavy usage and high electrical demands. When the toughest automotive stress tests were performed, this battery excelled in a variety of categories proving it can sustain performance. With this battery, the customer will get greater protection from battery failure.

PROS

  • This battery has 710 cold cranking amps and 120 minutes reserve capacity making it ideal for frigid weather.
  • It has an absorbed glass mat to prevent it from freezing and cracking in extremely cold temperatures.
  • The Exide Edge receive high marks when tested with the toughest automotive stress tests.

CONS

  • This battery was not created as a deep cycle battery so it may be easy to ‘kill’ it.

8. Northstar Ultra High Performance– Best Car Battery for Cold Weather

As temperatures drop, a battery becomes less efficient which can cause issues if a person does not have the right unit. With 1150 cold cranking amps and 220 minutes reserve capacity, this problem is non-existent with the Northstar Ultra High-Performance battery.

It is made 100% in the United States and claims a faster recharge time than regular car batteries in similar categories. It can recycle 900 times to a 50% depth of discharge. Some other features of the Northstar Ultra High Performance are:

• 12-Volt battery

• 1150 Cold Cranking Amps

• 12.9 x 6.8 x 9.2 inches

• Weighing in at 76 pounds

With 1150 cold cranking amps, this unit outperforms other batteries designed for cold climates. This amount of cold cranking amps almost guarantees the vehicle will start under any conditions. It also has a reserve capacity of 220 minutes to help ensure this guarantee. This battery is a Group 31 battery and is an NSB-AGM31 Pure Lead AGM battery.

PROS

  • The Northstar High-Performance battery has 220 minutes reserve capacity with 1150 cold cranking amps.
  • This unit also has an absorbed glass mat which protects it from damage when experiencing below zero temperatures.
  • The battery will recycle 900 times at 50% discharge which is much more than similar conventional batteries.

CONS

  • With a weight of 76 pounds, this battery is extremely heavy and bulky which can make it hard to install.

9. Kinetik KHC2400

When people love to listen to music, they tend to upgrade the speakers and radio to enhance their listening experience in the car. This upgrade can but extra pressure on the battery of the vehicle. Most vehicles come equipped with a starter battery that can be drained quite quickly. The Kinetik is the deep cycle battery that is needed in this situation.

With a reserve capacity of 110 minutes and 2,400 amps, this battery can provide plenty of power for a massive stereo system. Kinetik has the following features also:

• 12-Volt battery

• 1700 Cold Cranking Amps

• 14 x 7.5 x 11 inches

• Weighing in at 67 pounds

This battery can be used as a reserve battery to provide an additional power source, or it can replace the vehicle’s current starter. It is very versatile which allows it to be mounted in almost any position. This battery is sealed, spill proof, and valve regulated to give the customer the best for the money. It is also an absorbed glass mat battery.

PROS

  • The Kinetik has 150 minutes reserve capacity and 2,400 amps to power just about any stereo system.
  • With 1700 cold cranking amps, this battery can start at well below freezing temperatures.
  • This battery also is built durable for high-performance and has vibration resistance to ensure a longer life-span.

CONS

  • The Kinetik can be mounted in any position but weighs over sixty pounds which might make it difficult to install.

10. Stinger SPV69C

As stated previously, extra speakers and specialized radios can drain a starter battery very quickly. For a battery to keep up with the extra pressure, it needs to have the correct amount of amps and be built well. The Stinger meets both of these needs perfectly.

This battery is a powerful audio battery that comes in a protective, sealed designed called absorbed glass mat. This design prevents the battery from leaking or spilling. Some other features associated with the Stinger SPV69C are:

• 12-Volt battery

• 550 Cold Cranking Amps

• 6.5 x 6.8 x 7.8 inches

• Weighing in at 36.5 pounds

With the durable design and available amps, this battery can be used as a replacement for an original battery. With the battery having a sealed absorbed glass mat design, this fact allows the battery to be mounted almost anywhere.

PROS

  • This battery is sealed, and leak proof so can be mounted in almost any position.
  • The Stinger can be used as a replacement for a standard battery, but with extra power for audio systems.
  • It is a dry cell battery that is sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM) design to help prevent leaks and spills.

CONS

  • The Stinger battery only has 550 cold cranking amps which may make it hard to start in colder temperatures.

Best Car Batteries Buyer’s Guide

What does the rating mean when selecting a battery?

Most batteries have an AMP-HOUR Rating. This rating refers to battery capacity which is calculated by multiplying the current flow of amperes by the time in hours of discharge. This rating is changed by manufacturers using different discharge periods. When selecting a battery, the Ah rating should only be used a general method of evaluating the battery’s capacity. The best ratings to use when selecting a battery is the Cold Cranking Amperage and Reserve Capacity.

How much voltage is required to charge a battery? What is the charging voltage?

When charging a 12-volt battery, a person can use a range of voltages. The minimum amount is 12.9 volts, but when this energy is used, the charge rate is prolonged. If the battery is discharged, a person can apply higher voltages. If the battery is being monitored for overcharging, voltages over 15V can be used safely. If the battery will just be left on the charger, the best voltage is between 13.6V to 13.8V.

What does the Cold Cranking Amperage rating mean when selecting a battery?

Cold cranking amps are the maximum amount of amperes that can be removed continuously from a car battery for 30 seconds at zero degrees F. If the amount of amperes goes above this amount, the voltages can drop below usable levels. The CCA rating is critical when selecting a battery that will start engines.

As a 12V battery is charging and discharging, what is the battery voltage range?

A car battery’s voltage changes on its condition. The open circuit voltage of a battery when the engine is off is 12.9 volts. A battery will accumulate non-chemical charge when being charged by alternator or charger so that the volts will be higher. When a battery is discharging, the voltage will drop to 10 volts or below. As long as the battery is above 11.8, it will typically still start a vehicle.

What does the Reserve Capacity rating mean when selecting a battery?

The reserve capacity rating is measured in minutes. It is the number of minutes that a battery can maintain voltage with a 25 amp discharge. The higher this rating, the more equipment the lights can run for longer periods without needing a recharge. This rating is the more accurate measurement of deep cycle service.

Will a car battery freeze?

If a battery is fully charged, the electrolyte is sulfuric acid. This acid has a freezing point of below -40°C. If a battery is fully discharged, the sulfate ions have been consumed, and the electrolyte is water. Water has a freezing point of 0 degrees C. So if the weather outside is cold and the battery will not accept a charge, warm it up first and then charged it.

What do the terms ‘battery cycle life’ mean?

A cycle is a movement from a fully charged battery to a fully discharged battery and then returning back to fully charged battery. The number of times a battery can go through this cycle is referred to as the ‘cycle life’. Typically, a manufacturer does not advertise the cycle life of their batteries because deep cycle batteries have not been tested for a life cycle and cranking batteries do not have a long cycle life.

After starting the engine, how long will it take to charge the battery?

This question is a little difficult to answer. Each battery is rated for cold cranking amps. If the battery has an 800 CCA, then it can be assumed it will take about 800 amps to start the car. If it is expected that a vehicle can be started in less than 10 seconds, it will take 2.2 amp-hours to start the car. If an alternator can source 80 amps, it could replace this in about 99 seconds.

Is there a difference between deep cycle batteries and starting batteries?

The term deep cycle just means a battery can be fully discharged and charged. However, a good deep cycle battery can handle thousands of hard cycles without losing its capacity. Deep cycle batteries can be used as cranking batteries. A cranking battery is only used for starting a vehicle and they cannot handle deep cycle use. When doing a car battery comparison, a person should pick a deep cycle battery when using the battery for cycling applications.

Does driving short distances flatten the battery?

During cold weather, a person typically has headlights, seat heaters, heater fans, heater pumps, defrosters, etc. all running on a short trip to the store. All of this equipment is a significant drain on a cold battery. Since the battery is cold, it has a harder time recharging. As the days grow longer and the weather heats, the battery will not be as flattened by short distances.

Does the battery need water before or after it is charged?

The water should be added before the battery is charged. When a battery is being charged, the process will create bubbles that help mix the acid. Many batteries will not consume water at a single charge. Most modern systems for charging have accurate voltage regulations that will not absorb any water. The modern sealed batteries will recycle the water, so it cannot be replaced.

What is the substance that makes up the battery?

The battery contains an electrolyte mixture of sulfuric acid and water. The amount of acid depends on the amount of charge on the battery. If the battery is discharged, it has less sulfuric acid.

What is the correct amount of water in a car battery?

Each battery should have an indication line to show the proper amount of water. When the fluid reaches the indication line, no more should be added. Many batteries have a cup with a hole in it inside the fill port. A person just has to fill it until it is at the indicated level.

Is it better to add battery acid or distilled water?

This question is frequently asked but can be answered quickly. Water is being consumed so water should be replaced. The only time acid should be replaced is when a person has dumped all of the acids out of the battery. Replacing battery acid can be tricky, so it may be better to just invest in a new battery.

What is the voltage of a fully discharged battery?

The mark for a discharged battery is typically 10V. A battery produces very little energy between 10V and 0V. Typically, when a battery is discharged below 10V, it could indicate damage.

Is it important to have a battery with high cold cranking amps?

When it is cold outside, batteries can lose power and not perform correctly. It is only important to have a battery with CCA when purchasing a battery for areas with cold weather.

What is the right amount of cold cranking amps?

The right amount of cold cranking amps depends on the vehicle. The cold cranking amps needed are different from cars, light trucks, boats, all-terrain vehicles, etc. The best way to determine the number of cold cranking amps needed is to check the requirements for a specific vehicle.

What is a dual purpose battery?

A dual-purpose battery can do the work required of two batteries. The common starter battery is used to provide a short but powerful boost of amps to turn an engine until it fires. Once a car is started, an alternator continues to charge the electrical system of the car. Boats tend to need more amps to start and do not have alternators that will properly charge the battery. This situation is where a dual purpose battery works best. A typically starting battery does not like to have long periods of use at low amps without a full recharge. This job is reserved for deep cycle batteries. A dual-purpose battery handles both situations without issues.

What is the purpose of a dual purpose battery?

A dual-purpose battery has the cranking ability to start a vehicle but also can handle deep cycles. These batteries are perfect for trucks or cars that have a lot of electrical equipment or massive electrical systems being used after the car is turned off. It can also sometimes be used in place of two batteries on particular boats. Common usages in boats are smaller boats, boats that need two of the same batteries, and boats that have electrical systems designed for one unit. Common usages in vehicles are the ones with winches, cranes, and other large accessories that need electricity.

What is an SLI Flooded Lead Acid battery?

SLI is an acronym for Starting Lighting and Ignition battery. These types of batteries are lead-acid and were created for high rates of discharge. This higher rate gives more starting power. SLI is also available for deep cycle purposes. The SLI Flooded Lead Acid batteries have a longer life when the charged is maintained.

What is an alkaline battery?

These batteries are sometimes called manganese dioxide and are not rechargeable. These batteries are the ones typically used for extended run-time disposable applications. They are also able to work in a variety of temperatures and varying drains. With using consumer electronics, alkaline batteries are the best choice.

What is a Lithium, Li-Ion battery?

This battery is a high energy density rechargeable battery. This type of battery is the most common battery for personal electronics including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Operating at 3.7 volts per cell, these batteries produce higher voltages than other rechargeable batteries. This operation means that one cell can be used instead of multiple cells like the NiM or NiCd cells.

Does a battery need to be disconnected before charging?

When charging a battery, it is not necessary to disconnect it. When a car is turned off, there is a limited amount of drain of the battery. A charger does not supply enough voltage to cause damage to the car. It is important to remember to not remove the car’s cable from the terminal while the alternator is working. This action can cause a load dump surge or a voltage spike.

Does a new battery need to be charged?

A brand new battery has enough charge to run a car. However, it does not hurt a battery to put it on a charger. If the battery is to be stored, it should be placed on a float charger or make sure to charge it every two months to prevent sulfating.

Can overcharging a battery damage it?

Overcharging is the worst thing a person can do to a battery. When a battery is overcharged, the excessive amount of current causes the oxides to shed and precipitate to the bottom of the battery. This process also causes the battery to heat and water to disappear.

Can overdischarging a battery damage it?

Overdischarging can damage a battery. Discharging comes from insufficient battery capacity which causes an overworked battery. When a battery discharges deeper than 50%, the cycle life is significantly shortened. When a battery is over-discharged, sulfating can also occur.

What is an SLA, Sealed Lead Acid battery?

These batteries are similar to the SLI batteries, but they use a gel or paste type electrolyte instead of liquid. This gel or paste means that these batteries can be used in applications without the worry of acid leaks or spills. These batteries are maintenance free because they are completely sealed. SLA batteries are suitable for high rate discharge and deep cycle applications.

What does voltage mean?

Voltage is a unit of measurement. It is used to determine the electrical potential or pressure of a battery. Batteries are expressed in volts DC. Voltage varies in different battery types because it is calculated on the electrochemical reaction that occurs in the individual battery.

What is OEM?

OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. This type of equipment comes from the original producer of the device. When purchasing a new or replacement battery, the OEM specifications can be used to guarantee the device will operate properly and at the manufacturer’s minimum standards.

What does mAh, milli-Ampere-hour mean?

This term is used to describe the discharge of a battery over a particular period. It measures how long a current can be drawn. This rate capacity is sometimes referred to as Ah or Ampere-hour. It may be important to remember that the overall capacity is also affected by other things such as temperature, depth of discharge, and speed of discharge.

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