As technologically advanced as this generation is, we are still very much dependant on battery power, especially when it comes to our cars. Indeed, we can expect a new age where we may not need them anymore. But for now and in the near future, we are going to have to know our way around car batteries.
We usually need car batteries to power all the electrical functions in our cars. But the cars being made today have more gadgets in them than ever before. As a result, you may not be able to rely on conventional batteries like you used to.
Happily, however, battery technology has also been developing to suit the ever-increasing demand. With immense breakthroughs being made in design, efficiency, and longevity, car batteries today are more reliable than ever before. But as a buyer, you cannot simply pluck one from a shelf. You must be aware of the specific requirements of your car as well as how and where you intend on driving it.
To help narrow it down, we have devoted many hours of research to come up with the following list of what we reckon are the 10 best car batteries on sale right now. They have all been proven to be leaps and bounds ahead of the more conventional alternatives and are very much applicable to modern car technology.
- Features to Consider in Good Car Batteries
- Top 10 Best Car Batteries in 2018
- 1. ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM 94R Battery
- 2. ACDelco 48AGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 48 Battery
- 3. Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery
- 4. Kinetik HC600 BLU Series 600-Watt 12-Volt High Current AGM Car Audio Power Cell Battery
- 5. Odyssey PC680 Battery
- 6. Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
- 7. Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery
- 8. Mighty Max Battery ML35-12
- 9. Optima Batteries 8003-151 34R RedTop Starting Battery
- 10. Kinetik HC800 BLU 800W 12V Car Audio Battery Power Cell
- Guide to Buying the Best Car Battery
- 1. Know the battery you are using right now
- 2. Make sure the replacement is the proper size and specs
- 3. Make sure the new battery is actually new
- 4. Be mindful of the battery’s reserve capacity
- 5. What are cranking amps and cold cranking amps?
- 6. Low maintenance and maintenance free: know the difference
- 7. Examine the warranty
- 8. Recycle the old one
- 9. Replacing your car battery
- 10. Test the batteries at least once a year
Features to Consider in Good Car Batteries
However, not everything on our list is equally good and that need not be the case either. Since every motorist comes with a list of specific requirements, the best battery is, in other words, the closest match to that list.
Here are some of the key aspects to look for in a new car battery:
- Power: It is not just the engines of cars these days that are getting more power. Other components like sound systems also sap quite a lot of juice. So you want to make sure that your battery has the capacity to keep all those items running smoothly for extended periods of time.
- Longevity: Batteries are not what you would call cheap. So buying one that will work properly for a long time will save you quite a bit of money. However, to make an informed decision here, you will also have to factor in the climate and different driving conditions that your vehicle can handle.
- Maintenance: You get low-maintenance batteries and free maintenance batteries. Choosing between them is matter of what climate you usually drive in. For instance, if it is particularly warm, you had best select a low-maintenance as you can distilled water to it to cool it down.
- Value for money: Just because it is ridiculously expensive does not necessarily make it any better. Carefully examine the prices of each battery alongside the benefits and shortcomings to make the most cost-efficient choice.
Now that you know what you are looking for, you can check out our list down below featuring our top 10 picks for modern car batteries.
Top 10 Best Car Batteries in 2018
When it comes to car batteries, it does not get much better than ACDelco. Its range of Professional Automotive AGM batteries is vastly capable and entirely leak-proof. The latter is the result of the absorbed glass design which, instead of allowing free flow within the cells, permanently holds the electrolyte within the glass mat separator. The vent cap is highly resistant even to acid leaks.
More good news. This battery has oxygen recombination which keeps water loss to a minimum and keeps up the performance without requiring maintenance. There is real longevity here as well. AGM batteries are known to last much longer than traditional batteries as they consistently maintain pressure on the plates which effectively minimizes how much active mass the grid loses. The grid itself is made from calcium lead which enables low resistance enhances conductivity. Further lengthening the battery life and offering much-needed cooling is the improved acid circulation.
There are, however, a few concerns to make note of. Battery posts, terminals, and other related items have lead in them as well as other chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. Users are strongly advised to wash their hands thoroughly after contacting them. Last but not least, you get a 36 month long period for a free replacement if necessary.
ACDelco 48AGM Professional is designed to start and stop your vehicle with virtually no glitches or maintenance procedures involved. It uses AGM technology to achieve lengthy cycling capabilities and is highly charge receptive. Crucially, the design has the electrolyte held permanently within the glass mat separator instead of allowing free flow within each of the cells. This makes it entirely immune to leaks and spills. Meanwhile, the design also oxygen recombination to deliver maintenance-free performance and minimal water loss.
This battery also impresses on the subject of longevity. Thanks to the constant pressure that is maintained in each of the plates, the active mass being lost from the grid is significantly reduced. As a result, this battery is able to last for much longer than a traditional battery would. However, despite the impressive stats, ACDelco has not gone cheap on the insurance front. This battery still comes with a 36-month free replacement plan.
The only concern with this battery really is the presence of lead compounds and other harmful chemicals in the battery posts, terminals, and other linked areas. They are all capable of causing severe health problems such as cancer, and reproductive health complications. It is imperative that you wash your hands thoroughly after contacting them.
Often times it can be tempting to shop for a battery without considering that you might have to rely on it in some pretty harsh weather conditions. Perhaps, you will not have to contend with extreme temperatures during your daily commute but you can never be too sure about other journeys. Fortunately, the people behind Optima’s red top have been right on top of this matter. Their 34/78 RedTop is able to power your vehicle in extremely harsh conditions that most other batteries would fail at. It is in fact, a favorite for use on off-road vehicles and hot rods.
The battery features an innovative spiral cell design which makes for a clean, strong power delivery that is safe for road users as well as the environment. This battery makes it so easy for one to take start-ups for granted since its ignition power is so consistent. It is has been tested on everything from fast launches to hard corners, and prolonged racing. In terms of performance and longevity, it is a serious leap forward from more traditional batteries. Crucially, it is also leak-proof so it can be mounted in any position you want.
While it may look small and unassuming, the Kinetik HC600 BLU Series packs a mean punch. It is a 600-watt battery which, next to an amplifier can churn out 800 amps. That is more than enough to start something with a V8 and a high-end sound system. We imagine it must be doing extremely well in the American market. Its audio power cells too are things of unparalleled greatness. They are in fact, the most compact, powerful, and durable audio power cells in the world right now. If driving is only half the fun, we reckon the other half is probably music.
And boy, does this battery bring some life to the party! Not only are the Kinetic HC power cells able to handle the modern range of extremely demanding amplifiers, they do so consistently while for about twice as long as a regular battery can manage. One of the really clever features that help out with the wicked amp power is the fiberglass mat separators with which the batteries are suspended. They work like absorbing sponges that help dish out high performance that is maintenance free. They are also highly resistant to vibrations and keep the discharge to a minimum. The design itself permits no leakage at all.
Feel free to take your car literally anywhere with this, the Odyssey PC680 battery. It has a rugged, no-nonsense construction that will not let up to any kind of punishment either on land, water, or snow. It has the leak busting AGM design that also holds against vibration and shock. It is, therefore, immensely durable compared to regular batteries. It also has a lot of power – as much as 400 cycles for 80% depth of discharge. It has pure lead plates are tightly packed together and give out twice the power output of regular batteries.
As you may have gathered by now, the Odyssey is aimed squarely at the market for high performance and all-terrain vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles, light aircraft, personal watercraft, and motorcycles. The absorbed glass mat design, in addition to being leak-proof, also aids conductivity, resistance to corrosion, and the internal recycling of gases. Each cell has a safety release valve that works in tandem with robust intercell connections to minimize the effects of vibration. The reserve capacity has gone up by 40% thanks to the elimination of dead spaces between the cylinders.
If your vehicles are stuffed full of additional gadgets like winches, hydraulics, and a really loud AV system, you cannot just be shopping for any normal battery. You need something like the Optima YellowTop Dual Purpose battery. It uses an innovative SpiralCell design, making it a clean and reliable source of power that is safe for both motorists and the environment. In addition to powering vehicles that have additional accessories in them, the Optima is also good for seasonal use as it has a very low self-discharge rate. So in effect, you can leave it alone for an entire winter without charging it up and it will still jump-start your vehicle when spring arrives.
And speaking of recharging, this battery has one of the longest cycling capabilities in the market. In fact, it can easily last three times longer than a standard battery and is 15 times more resistant to vibrations. Of course, the magic of AGM technology has not been left out either. Cranking power is plentiful enough to power all the extra tech on board. Then there is the company, Optima itself, which has been at the forefront of innovative battery tech and engineering for nearly half a century now. Its YellowTop dual purpose battery has been used to power large trucks with winches, tractors, and even forklifts.
Advancements in vehicle technology have brought with them a severe dependency on electrical power. As a result, the pressure is constantly on battery manufacturers to produce batteries that can keep up. Chances are, if you drive a modern car, a traditional battery may not be able to sustain all of its power demands for very long. Thankfully, Odyssey is one of those manufacturers that has noticed the direction of modern car design well in time to develop batteries that will work long term.
The PC925 uses plates that are made from virgin lead rather than the lead alloy you find in most other batteries. That allows it to pack more plates in than normal which in turn, increases the surface area and generates more power. Compared to more conventional batteries, this generates twice as much power and can last 3 times as long, around 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. That makes it a suitable choice for a wide range of vehicles including classic cars, high-performance cars, normal road cars and off-roaders. AGM technology is also present here to do away with any acid spills and features high conductivity, corrosion resistance, terminal seals, and fire redundant cell containers, internal gas recycling, and strong internal cell connections which reduces the effects of vibration.
The Mighty Max ML35 may have literally the longest and most boring name in the world, certainly not something you will remember to type correctly on your online shopping site. However, everything else about it is anything but boring. With the use of a nearly unbeatable calcium-alloy grid, this battery gives out phenomenal performance and convenient service life for float as well as cyclic activity. Also integrated into the design is Absorbent Glass Technology which is used by just about every high-performance car battery these days. The design is valve regulated so it does not allow any leakage nor does it require any maintenance.
As a result, the list of applications for this battery is immense. It can be applied to anything from engine starters, electric vehicles, garden tools, golf carts, motorcycles, toys and emergency lights. A diverse range of utility, however, does beg the question if the ML35 performs equally well on any device you try it on any of its compatible devices. Unfortunately, you can never know for sure. But there is a yearlong warranty and a 30-day refund plan to work with.
If you are an aficionado of off-roaders and hot rods, your demands for a battery are bound to be a little specific. Consider the Optima RedTop, a battery that was designed precisely to suit your needs. First off, it has been designed to withstand extremely harsh weather conditions, something you want when you are going off-road. It has a spiral cell design for a clean and smooth power delivery while also being safe for both drivers and the environment. And we have not even arrived at the AGM technology yet.
The first thing to note about AGM technology in any battery is no spillage, and it makes sure your vehicle gets a strong startup every single time. Also, it is quite happy having to deal with fast and hard launches, tight corners, and grueling races. It is more than a match for conventional batteries when it comes to cranking and starting up your vehicle. Also, it does not suffer from the usual causes of battery problems. It will work just as well in a truck, hot rod, SUV, or streetcar. Most of all though, it is recognized as a great truck battery.
Another one from Kinetic, this time for 800-watt sound systems. The Kinetic HC800 also uses AGM technology, a favored choice for most high-performance batteries. It works best as a secondary battery for some extra oomph but it will certainly hold its own as a primary power source as well. The design is completely leak-proof as expected and lacks any external vents, so will fit in with most factory-made battery positions without causing any leaks over time. That not only improves the performance but the longevity of the battery as well.
The power cell gives out 750 amps with an hourly rating of 35 amps. Scaled up power is not the only benefit of the design. It can also withstand extreme temperatures and vibrations, and it is sealed in a casing made from reinforced ABS plastic. Kinetic has also given the power cell extra plates greater energy density and higher voltage under load. All of this means that you really have the confidence to dial the volume all the way up to eleven and not have to worry too much if the standard vehicle battery fails at any point.
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 doesn’t 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 you’re someone who experiences winter annually.
Aside from simple things like not leaving any of the car’s 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.
1. Know the battery you are using right now
This does not mean thoroughly examining the battery itself but rather, studying the owner’s 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.
2. Make sure the replacement is the proper size and specs
This is where the owner’s manual comes in handy again. Your battery has to be able to fit inside the space your car has reserved for it. It should also be the appropriate type of battery.
3. Make sure the new battery is actually new
Certainly not one that has been sitting on a shelf for the better part of the year. You can verify this by looking at the date stamp code located on the cover where you will find all the relevant manufacturing information. The letters denote months, and the digits, years.
4. Be mindful of the battery’s reserve capacity
This is a measure of how the battery will last on its own power in the event of alternator failure. Definitely not something to be overlooked.
5. What are cranking amps and cold cranking amps?
The latter indicates if your battery is able to start up the engine even in sub-zero temperatures. Meanwhile, CA shows you how much current the battery generates when the temperature is close to freezing.
6. 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.
7. Examine the warranty
With batteries, you cannot be entirely certain that they will perform as the manufacturer claims they will. So best play it safe and select one with a respectably long replacement period. Fortunately, a replacement period is part of the deal with most car batteries as well as a prorated period that is for partial reimbursement. On a battery, the free replacement period and partial reimbursement period each have two figures combined to make a code. For instance 24/84 denotes a 24-month free replacement period and 84-month, a prorated warranty.
8. Recycle the old one
Did you know that your car battery could be recycled into something else? Buying a new battery does come with an extra charge. However, you can get a refund on that by turning up your old battery for recycling.
9. Replacing your car battery
This is actually quite a dangerous procedure and you are better off leaving it to a professional mechanic. Hopefully, there is an auto supply store near you that will sell you the battery and then do the installation for free.
10. Test the batteries at least once a year
Although most car batteries they make these days don’t require any maintenance, it would still be wise to have a mechanic run tests on your battery load. A couple years or so if you live in a warm part of the world and after 4 years if your area is significantly cold.