As drivers, we put an enormous amount of faith in the functioning of our batteries. Every time you put the keys in the ignition and turn? You’re asking your battery to output a huge amount of electrical energy, enough to start your engine and get you going.
And what happens if your battery fails? It’s the dreaded stutter of a dead engine. You’re going nowhere.
The cycle of discharge and recharge takes its toll on any battery, and over the course of its lifespan a battery will inevitably weaken. Ultimately, your battery will be past its best.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Becoming stranded by a dead battery is everyone’s worst nightmare. You could be late for work or even miss your flight on a much-needed holiday!
Replacing your battery should be done around once every four years – but testing your battery needs to be done even more regularly, especially before cold snaps in the weather that make it harder for your battery to perform.
If the power in your battery is dwindling, it’s time to upgrade. Here are the best car batteries on the market for every make and model of vehicle.
The Best Car Batteries of 2022
We take our car batteries for granted, starting our vehicles day-in day-out. But not all batteries are created equal. Here are the best car batteries of 2022 for every vehicle.
1. Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 – Best For Vehicles With High Electronic Demands
This powerful 34/78 battery is a great choice for larger pickups and sedans.
Thanks to absorbed glass mat construction, this battery will last longer and outperform lead-acid alternatives in cold weather. However, as with all AGM batteries, it comes with a hefty price tag.
And even amongst AGM alternatives, this is a high specification battery in its own right. It comes with 750 cold-cranking amps (CCA) which promises exceptional performance when the temperature drops, and over 300 recharge/discharge cycles – it goes and goes.
Optima’s YellowTop range comes with added power so you can comfortably run electronics in your automobiles. Whether that’s DVD players to keep the kids happy or bass-heavy subwoofers that bring the tunes is your choice.
As well as power, Optima has plenty of added features. Their 8014-045 is exceptionally vibration resistant, meaning wear and tear is less of an issue over time, and with a hard-wearing spill-proof cover gives you peace of mind in all weather conditions.
With dual terminals, it’s an adaptable battery that can be mounted in most positions, making installation a breeze if you choose to do it yourself.
2. ACDelco Gold B24R – Best Affordable AGM Battery
ACDelco’s 24R battery is built with AGM technology, providing more power and security than the traditional lead-acid option. This battery is built for trucks, although it will fit a wider range of vehicles.
Weighing in at just over 30lbs, it’s actually fairly light which makes for an easier installation job. But the casing, at 18.5 x 11.4 x 9.5 inches is seriously big – if you’re running a smaller car, this battery isn’t going to fit.
ACDelco has designed this battery for usage in trucks first and foremost, and so they’ve included a durable design that limits vibrations running through the battery. Despite the relatively light feel of the battery, you can tell it’s tough stuff.
Another feature is the carry handle, built into the sturdy plastic chassis. Although once you’ve installed your battery, you’re unlikely to need this handle any time soon. It’s a helpful inclusion and you’ll thank ACDelcro whilst transporting your battery home.
3. Optima Batteries 8004-003 – Best For Lower Power Requirements
A standout battery in Optima’s RedTop range – indicating a standard electrical output for day-to-day use.
It’s a compact battery but with a hefty weight, and the absence of a carry handle in the standard unit could make it an unwieldy unit. But dual terminals provide great adaptability in installation as the battery can be mounted in multiple positions.
It’s a 34/78 sized battery making it optimum for mid-’90s trucks as well as newer SUVs and sedans. As always, check your own car’s manual to ensure a good fit.
800 CCA makes it a great option for regular winter drivers as this battery handles seriously low temperatures. However, the electronic output isn’t as powerful as other Optima models, so if you’re running aftermarket electronics you might be upgrading sooner rather than later.
4. ODYSSEY PC680 – Best For Small Vehicles
ODYSSEY’s lightweight and compact battery is a great deal for smaller vehicles with limited power requirements.
This bijou battery weighs in at under 14lbs and with dimensions of 7.15 x 3 x 6.65 inches it’s one of the smallest vehicle starter car batteries you can buy. Whilst this is great for transport and installation, it does come with a compromise on power.
For small vehicles, however, this battery has ample power. Starting motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs is a breeze with the PC680, but it should be ample power for some small cars too, and could save you splashing out on a bigger battery. It combines lead-acid and AGM technology to create a battery that’s low-maintenance and has a long lifespan.
The PC680 only has 170 cold cranking amps, so in extreme low temperatures it could struggle to start your vehicle. In fact, ODYSSEY recently reduced the cold-cranking amps on these models, increasing concerns about cold-weather performance.
With 24 minutes reserve capacity, this isn’t the battery to power your aftermarket electronics. This is a basic battery that will start your vehicle, but not much more.
ODYSSEY has included anti-vibration technology to maximize the lifespan of the battery, and the durable housing further protects it from spills and adverse weather. Whilst it doesn’t go above and beyond, it’s a reliable product at a good price.
5. Optima Batteries OPT8022-091 – Best For Mid-Size Vehicles
Another powerful battery in Optima’s RedTop range, this 75/25 sized battery will fit a range of Buicks, Hondas, and other mid-size vehicles.
When it comes to starting your engine, this is a reliable battery that should do the job in all weather conditions. 720 cold-cranking amps give you the power you need when the cold comes in, and with 90 minutes of reserve capacity, you’ll be safe to leave the lights on from time to time.
Optima’s dual terminal setup makes installation even easier, and you can mount the battery in a variety of positions. With dimensions of 9.32 x 6.8 x 7.62 inches it’s relatively small for the power it offers, offering your further adaptability with installation.
Optima is a leading brand in the battery biz, and they claim the RedTop series has 15x more vibration resistance. This is especially good for bigger vehicles that have a tendency to rumble, or for anyone anticipating off-road driving.
6. Optima Batteries 8020-164 – Best For Japanese Brands
Optima’s 35-sized RedTop is a great fit for many Japanese vehicles such as Toyota, Subaru and Honda.
Optima’s RedTop series are great for basic battery needs. What this won’t do is power your aftermarket sound system for hours, but it’ll get your car started day-in-day-out.
With 720 cold-cranking amps, this is a reliable battery for colder conditions. 90 minutes of reserve capacity will keep the lights on too, ensuring that if you have some alternator issues you’re not getting stranded straight away.
The 8020-164 is durably built, with a hardcore plastic chassis made from polypropylene. It’s weather-proof, protected from liquids, and has Optima’s inbuilt vibration resistance, protecting your battery on long bumpy roads.
With dual terminals and multi-positional mounting, the battery adapts to installation in a wide variety of engines and the terminals themselves are SAE – an international standard. Weighing in at just over 30lbs and sized at 9.3 x 6.8 x 7.6 inches, these car batteries can be installed at home with minimal expertise, saving you a trip to the garage.
7. XS Power D3400 XS Series – Best For Cold Climates
XS Power offers just that – power in excess. This is a high-performing battery with a price tag to prove it.
The D3400 weighs in at 48lbs, making this a seriously heavy battery. But that’s the price of power, just be prepared to find a helping hand if you’re undertaking installation at home.
And as the battery is built with M6 terminals, you may also find yourself needing an adaptor to fit it to common SAE connectors. With the right tools, however, installation isn’t complicated – the battery can be mounted in multiple positions giving you increased adaptability in installation.
When it comes to power, however, the D3400 stands out from the crowd. With 1000 cold-cranking amps you’re practically weatherproof, and can rest easy even on the coldest winter days.
In normal weather conditions, the 3,300 amp AGM battery will perform exceptionally well and have power to spare for your in-car electronics, from sound systems to entertainment in the back seat.
The sealed plastic chassis finishes a premium product, offering vibration resistance and protection from liquids and damage.
8. ACDelco Gold 48AGM – Best For European Models
This surprisingly affordable 48 AGM battery is ideal for many European manufactured vehicles. German brands such as VW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz as well as the Swedish manufacturer Volvo frequently take 48 batteries, but it will also fit certain American-built cars such as Chevys and Cadillacs.
It’s a powerful battery, with 33,000 ampere hours and 760 cold-cranking amps. That means you’ve got power to spare, and you’re covered on the coldest days.
ACDelco’s Gold battery also stands out for its reserve capacity – stretching to 120 minutes, you’ll be able to keep the lights on for some time without draining the battery. That’s great for forgetful folks like me!
The whole battery has been robustly designed to ensure a long lifespan. A solid envelope separator allows for better acid flow throughout the battery, reducing the risk of it shorting out. The whole chassis is puncture-proof and solid throughout.
At 48lbs, this is a heavy battery better suited for bigger vehicles, but the in-built carry handle makes transport that bit easier. Notably, it’s somewhat smaller than the factory-installed car batteries in certain cars, so if you’re installing this battery at home ensure the battery holding bars are appropriately tight.
9. Delphi BU9094R – Best AGM Battery
This premium 94R battery is best suited to a range of German car manufacturers, such as Audi, Volkswagen and BMW. These premium cars need premium car batteries and Delphi is on-hand to provide.
It’s a seriously heavy-duty battery – over 50lbs of power here. A helpful carry handle is built into the robust chassis to help you lug this thing over to your engine.
The MaxStart AGM ticks all the boxes in terms of power. 800 cold-cranking amps isn’t quite top of the range, but it’s ample power for colder days. The 140 minute reserve capacity is impressive, giving you over two hours of continuous power in case of alternator failure.
You can comfortably run your in-car electronics and extra features with this powerful battery. Entertainment systems and luxurious extras such as heated seats will never run out of power.
With top terminals, you’re somewhat limited in installation compared to dual terminal models. For this big-time battery professional installation is probably the way to go. Thanks to an affordable base price tag, you can splash out on installation and stay on budget.
Before You Buy: The Buyer’s Guide To Choosing Right Car Batteries
Now you’ve seen the best of the best, I’m sure you’re eager to buy. But before you do, here are a few things you need to know so you can make the best choice for your car.
Knowing Your Needs
With so many high-performing car batteries to choose from, it’s easy to hone in on premium products. We all want the best of the best for our prized automobiles – but sometimes it’s overkill for your driving needs.
For one thing, your car will require a specific size of battery. It’s frustrating to make a choice based on performance, only to discover it isn’t going to fit into your engine. We’ll go into detail about the sizes you can buy later, but this should be your first consideration when choosing a battery.
Fitting your battery to your electronics needs is also vital to ensure you get the most from your battery. For example, do you spend a lot of time with the engine off and the lights on, or are you powering aftermarket sound systems? Even DVD players to keep the kids entertained create an additional power draw, so make sure your battery can match your power requirements.
Reserve capacity refers to the length of time the battery can power other electronics without losing the charge it needs to start your engine. If you have problems with the alternator, for example, then the clock starts ticking. RC can range from under half an hour to over 120 minutes.
Cold Cranking Amps
And lastly, climate is always a concern. Certain batteries are better suited to warm countries where it’s hot under the hood – whilst others can get your car going when the temperature drops.
Cold-cranking amps (or CCA) are the measure of what your battery can put out in the coldest conditions. Standard cold-cranking for mid-range car batteries sits at around 750, but 1000 CCA or more are available in premium batteries.
Not all batteries are created equal, so let’s take a deep dive into the world of car batteries!
Finding New Car Batteries For Best Performance
Even when they’re not being used, batteries slowly lose capacity over time. Despite perfect storage, a year-old “new” battery won’t be as powerful as a battery straight off the production line.
When buying car batteries online you may not have a choice between two seemingly identical models, but at the garage, you can beeline for the freshest batteries.
All car batteries should be tagged with the date they shipped from the factory, giving you crucial information to select the optimum product. Sometimes you’ll find a numerical date on the battery whilst others will have the year and a letter to indicate the month they were produced – A for January, B for February, and so on.
Don’t accept anything less than six months old, and ideally opt for a battery built within the last three months. So fresh!
Warranties vary dramatically across car batteries on the market – and what might strike you as a bargain could turn out to be a big risk if you’re buying a battery that comes without a warranty.
When comparing car batteries, aim for the longest warranty period you can get your hands on – that means if your battery acts up within the first few years of use, you’re completely covered.
And free replacement isn’t all there is – most car batteries also come with an extended warranty period for partial reimbursement in the case of fault or defect. Look out for a code formatted with two numbers such as 12/36 or 24/84. The first number indicates the length of the free replacement period, whilst the second is the number of months you can be partially reimbursed.
And always beware: it’s easy to void your warranty if you don’t meet the high standard of care determined by manufacturers! Anything from amateur installation to non-standard use can give your manufacturer a reason to evade the payout, so read up on battery care later in the article!
Types of Batteries
There are two main varieties of car batteries on the market – and knowing the difference will help you find the best deal for your battery needs.
1. Standard Batteries: The Lead-Acid Option
Lead-acid batteries have been the traditional power source in cars for decades, and they’re still an exceptionally popular and affordable choice for motorists all over the world. Traditionally, lead-acid batteries required a water top-up in the car batteries’ power source, but increasingly lead-acid batteries have done away with this “flooded cell” model, and are now low-maintenance models that you can install, and ignore.
However, in countries with warmer climates, flooded cell lead-acid car batteries can sometimes have a longer lifespan. If you need a battery that can handle the heat, consider opting for the old-school technology – but keep it properly maintained for optimum performance.
Wherever you are, the main advantage of lead-acid car batteries is their affordability. Basic lead-acid batteries can cost as little as half the price of their upmarket competitors. Do your wallet a favor and see if you can get away with this tried and tested battery tech.
2. New Technology: Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries
The new kid on the battery block is the Absorbed Glass Mat battery – AGM for short. With every battery, draining and recharging comes at a cost but AGM batteries are much better suited to frequent usage. Today’s cars have higher power demands than ever – for example, carbon-cutting stop-start technology which prevents your engine from idling at the lights means new demands on your battery. You could be starting your car multiple times every journey with city driving!
If your car is packed with additional features, an AGM battery gives you the added power you need. They also hold charge for longer, so if your car is regularly sitting by the side of the road for long stretches, it’s more likely to start when you do need to drive.The downside? These high-tech car batteries come with a premium price tag.
Fitting Your Battery
With such a diversity of automobiles on the road, it’s no surprise that car batteries come in a few shapes and sizes!
As a quick guide, the size of battery taken by your car can be found in the owner’s manual which I’m sure you keep close at hand in your glove compartment. If you’re upgrading your battery, it’s good to know that you don’t necessarily need the same size battery as the one previously installed by manufacturers – many cars are adaptable and can take a slightly larger battery than comes as standard. More juice!
As well as size, the location of the terminals on the battery will determine whether it can be fitted under the hood. Terminals for hooking your battery can be found on the top or side of the battery – or both called a dual terminal and offering you more flexibility in installation.
Can You Install Your Own Car Battery?
Commonly, when you buy a battery from a reputable dealer they’ll install it for free. This saves you a bit of hassle, but more importantly, it covers you in case of fault or malfunction, ensuring your warranty is intact with the manufacturer.
For DIY types, self-installation is always appealing. Installing your car battery is surprisingly easy. However, big car batteries are heavy, so it helps to have an assistant to get the battery in place.
If your battery is kept in place by hold-down bars you’ll need a wrench to release these. Then simply swap the battery out and connect it with the appropriate terminals.
And remember – always turn the engine off before going near your car battery. Take the keys out of the ignition to be sure there’s no charge going to the battery.
Car Battery Care
Our cars need regular upkeep to stay in working order, and the battery is no different. Whenever you’re topping up your oil or running through the car wash, it’s a good idea to take a moment to check on your car battery too.
Car battery care ensures the longest lifespan for your battery, and prevents you from getting stranded when the battery just refuses to go! It’s also essential to keep the manufacturer’s warranty and protect you in case of factory defects.
Check Your Car Battery Regularly
Tucked away under the hood, for a lot of people the battery is out of sight out of mind. Until the day your car won’t start.
Don’t get stuck. Check your battery regularly to ensure it’s in tip-top condition for starting your engine.
This includes cleaning off rust and debris from around your battery – erosion is common in engines, and these small particles can get into your battery cells, hindering their performance. You may also need to top up the water in your battery’s electrolyte solution occasionally.
Test Your Battery Annually
I hate to break it to you, but nothing lasts forever. Car batteries degrade over time, and they especially struggle in the colder, winter months. Testing your battery’s ability to generate the power you need is vital to ensure you make it through these difficult seasons.
Get your local mechanic to conduct a battery load test to gauge your battery’s performance. The perfect time to do this is when the nights start closing in, giving you the security of a car that goes all winter.
Know When It’s Time To Replace It
Ultimately, it’s going to be time to say goodbye to your car battery. Replacing your battery should be done around every four years, although in temperate climates or with AGM batteries you might get away with a little longer. Mark the date in your calendar – don’t wait until it’s too late.
Recycling Your Old Battery
Finally, you need to know what to do with your old car battery. Because of the combination of toxic metals and acids, the materials used in car batteries are hazardous both to the environment and human health. Dispose of your old car battery responsibly!
Ask your local mechanic if there’s a recycling facility where you can take your old battery – but often your garage is happy to take it off your hands.
There’s an optimal moment for replacing your battery – and it isn’t on the morning that your car won’t start.
We take travel for granted, leaving with minutes to spare for job interviews, important flights, or just picking up the kids for school.
And that means we take our car batteries for granted. Car batteries are the gatekeepers of our automobile travel!
Replacing your car battery before it’s too late will save you the stress of a missed trip. And with so many powerful car batteries on the market, it can even be an exciting journey through upgraded power!
Whether you’ve got aftermarket electronics to run or a hostile climate to brave through the winter, there’s a battery here for you.
Don’t wait until it’s too late – test your car battery today.