Best car batteries of 2022
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Buying new car batteries is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but choosing the right (or wrong) product can significantly affect how your car starts and drives. It’s essential to buy a battery designed for your climate, type of vehicle, and power accessories to make sure you can start your car whenever needed.
Before you buy just any old car battery, you'll need to know exactly what size battery your vehicle is designed for. That means more than just the external dimensions — batteries get all kinds of ratings for power output, and larger engines and vehicles will need larger batteries. Most manufacturers have charts to help you find the right battery for your car, truck or SUV, including recommended brands like Optima. If you're still not sure, we'd suggest you check your owner's manual.
In case you're wondering, yes, your vehicle almost assuredly has a standard 12-volt battery, even it's a hybrid or electric model.
We’ve gathered a few of our favorite batteries to get you started, so let’s get rolling. After a few recommendations, we'll cover some frequently asked questions.
Optima Batteries RedTop Starting Battery
The Optima RedTop AGM battery offers excellent vibration resistance and toughness, making it suitable for various vehicle types and applications. It’s also fine to sit in storage for extended periods. The 31.7-pound battery provides great cold-cranking power and can handle a decent load. However, if you run extensive stereo equipment or powered vehicle modifications, you may need the Optima YellowTop or another higher-spec battery.
Optima covers its batteries with a one-year limited warranty, but you may not have the same protection, depending on where you buy the battery. It’s easy to find resellers online, but be wary of their return policies and how they describe the warranty coverage.
DieHard Platinum AGM
DieHard is a well-known battery brand with strong environmental chops. The Platinum AGM features a 94-percent recycled material composition, a reasonable price, and is available in nearly every size imaginable. The batteries are engineered to provide long life – up to two times the life of its rivals, and DieHard backs its batteries with a three-year warranty.
That said, AGM batteries (more on that in the FAQ section) are expensive and may be overkill for regular-duty applications. DieHard’s three-year warranty is generous but shorter than many of its competitors’ cheaper batteries.
The Odyssey Extreme AGM could be your go-to battery if you live in an area where temperatures routinely crest 100 degrees in the summer. The Extreme battery provides cranking power in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 176 degrees. Odyssey says its batteries are designed to resist vibration and deliver more power with up to 40 percent more reserve capacity.
That said, the people who report bad experiences with this battery tend to have notably bad experiences. Poor customer service and high prices are among the top complaints. However, the vast majority of reviews are positive, but it’s vital that you make sure the selected battery physically fits in your vehicle, as some say it’s too large for their battery mounts.
The Deka Intimidator AGM battery offers two times the endurance in tough situations and two times the cycle life. It should be your go-to battery if you’ve got power equipment and accessories to run. The big downside here is the price, which for most Intimidator batteries, is far more expensive than similar batteries.
One thing to remember when shopping for a Deka battery is fit. Many people say that the promised fits in the sales listing were inaccurate. Most report stable output, excellent durability, and strong capability.
One little-known fact is that just a couple of suppliers make a sizable percentage of all lead-acid car batteries you're likely find for sale in America. A large supplier called Johnson Controls manufacturers batteries that are sold under a number of various labels, including brands sold at Walmart, Costco, Autozone, and Advance Auto Parts. East Penn Manufacturing supplies similar batteries for O-Reilly and Napa. As you can see in the following video, some of these batteries offer solid performance for the amount of money they cost, though prices may vary widely. It may pay to look over all the stickers on any battery you find at a big-name retailer to find out what company actually made the battery. You could end up with a deal or a dud, so it pays to do some research before plunking down cash.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I need a new battery?
Your car battery’s capacity and output degrade over time, and unfortunately, there’s not much warning when one is about to give up. If you’re noticing slow starts and dim or pulsing lights, that’s a good indication. One thing to remember is that the alternator could also be to blame, so it’s essential to have both checked by a pro.
How much should I spend on a battery?
How much you spend will depend heavily on what you need. Vehicles with excessive power equipment or those that operate in extreme climates need more expensive batteries, up to $200 or more. Everyday passenger cars can get away with cheaper batteries that start around $50.
Can I replace the battery myself?
If you’re stuck on the side of the road, it’s best to get help or use a temporary battery charger, if you have one, to get to a safe location. If you’re working in your home garage, it’s an easy fix, but be sure to follow safety and battery disposal precautions.
What does lead-acid mean?
Nearly all cars on the road today use lead-acid batteries. As their name suggests, they use lead electrodes and an electrolyte heavy in sulfuric acid. They are the oldest rechargeable batteries, invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté.
What does AGM stand for?
AGM stands for absorbent glass mat. Thin glass fibers are woven into a mat that's then stuffed inside a casing and then soaked in an electrolyte solution. This arrangement offers advantages like greater resistance to self discharge and better resistance to temperature extremes.
How do I change my car battery?
Watch the video below!