A powerhouse battery that is suitable for race cars, luxury vehicles, and everything in between.
On the higher end of the pricing spectrum.
A reputable, low-cost, deep-cycle battery with exceptional power. Works well in electric vehicles. Withstands extreme temps.
Does not come with terminals or terminal hardware.
A powerful battery of lightweight construction that is suitable for all types of vehicles.
An expensive AGM battery that needs to be routinely charged for optimal performance.
Starts regardless of temperature or weather thanks to exceptional starting burst when engine is cranked.
A few reports of failed battery life after about a year. Some consumers received batteries that wouldn't hold a charge.
When you’re in a hurry to get to work or an appointment, there are few things more frustrating than finding out your car won’t start. In most cases, it’s a dead battery that’s keeping your car from getting you where you need to be. No matter how much you pay for your car, the battery usually has to be replaced at least once during the car’s lifetime — so it’s a good idea to be prepared. You shouldn’t wait until your car refuses to start before shopping around for a new battery.
Unfortunately, many car owners don’t know what to look for when it comes to purchasing a new battery. There are different types and sizes to consider, as well as factors like CA and CCA ratings, that are key to choosing the right battery for your car.
At BestReviews, we buy all our own products, which means our reviews are completely unbiased. We also conduct field research and consult with experts, so we can pass along all the info you need to make an educated shopping decision. If you’re ready to buy a car battery, take a look at the product list above for our top recommendations. For general information on shopping for a battery, continue reading our shopping guide.
The engine may have a hard time turning over when you start the car.
Your headlights may become dimmer.
The AC might start to make strange noises.
You may notice reduced air flow from the car’s vents.
The car’s radio volume could become inconsistent.
Your power windows might open and close more slowly.
VRLA batteries are low maintenance, and don’t require adding any water like wet cell batteries do. They are completely sealed, though, which means they usually can’t be repaired. If the battery goes, it must be replaced.
There are two main types of VRLA batteries: gel cell and absorption glass mat (AGM). Gel cell types work best in deep cycles, and may have issues in extreme hot or cold, so they’re not the best option for cars. AGM batteries provide more power in short bursts than other sealed batteries, so they work well for cars.
Most car batteries are SLI batteries, which help start the car, as well as power the lighting, radio, ignition, and other features. They are a type of lead-acid, rechargeable battery, but can only provide power in quick bursts, such as the few seconds it takes to start the car.
Deep cycle batteries deliver power over a more prolonged period of time than SLI batteries. They’re not used as often in cars, though, because the battery can run down fairly quickly, making it difficult to drive long distances.
Wet cell batteries contain fluid, such as a combination of lead, sulfuric acid, and water, that create electrolyte to power the battery. They are usually the least expensive type of car battery, but require more upkeep than other types.
LIthium-ion batteries are found in hybrid and electric cars. They can usually store more energy than traditional car batteries and are fairly lightweight. However, they typically have a short lifespan.
Car batteries come in different sizes, which usually fit according to the make and model of your vehicle.
The sizes are divided into groups with numbers and letters to designate each. Some cars can accommodate more than one battery size, but it’s important to choose a battery that’s approved for use in your vehicle.
Consult the car manufacturer’s specifications to determine what size battery is appropriate for your vehicle.
CA measures the starting power of a battery. Your owner’s manual should list your vehicle’s requirements when it comes to a CA rating, so you can choose the right option for your car.
CCA measures a battery’s starting power in cold temperatures. The rating indicates the number of amps that a 12-volt battery is able to deliver at 0℉ for 30 seconds, while keeping the voltage at a steady 7.2 volts.
CCA rating is particularly important if you live in a cold climate. For the best results, choose a battery with the highest CCA rating available that fits the car manufacturer’s requirements.
A battery’s reserve capacity indicates how long it can provide power if the you leave the headlights and other accessories on, or if the battery’s charging system fails.
Look for a battery that can supply at least 1½ hours of reserve capacity. For a higher performing battery, opt for one with 2 hours of reserve capacity.
The best car battery is relatively maintenance free, which means you don’t need to add liquid to it. Look for a completely sealed battery for the least maintenance necessary.
To be sure that the battery will last as long as possible, look for a model with a strong warranty. Opt for a battery with at least a three-year replacement warranty. You can find batteries with longer warranties for extra security, or options that allow for a prorated refund should the battery fail within a certain time period after the replacement warranty ends.
Car batteries can weigh as much as 40 pounds, which can make them difficult to maneuver. If you plan to install the battery yourself, it helps to choose a model with a handle to make lowering it into the tight confines of a car engine a little easier.
Car batteries vary in price based on the type and the size, but you can typically expect to pay between $100 and $300.
For an SLI battery, you’ll usually pay between $100 and $200.
For a sealed battery like an AGM, you’ll usually pay between $200 and $300.
Prolong your car battery’s life by not using the radio, lights, or AC when the car isn’t running.
To keep your car battery’s positive and negative terminals from corroding, treat them with a terminal protector spray every so often.
Driving your car for longer periods can help prolong the battery life, so try to take the scenic route home every now and then.
If you’re replacing or otherwise working on your car battery, always wear safety eyewear and rubber gloves to protect yourself.
In the winter, park you car inside a well-insulated garage when possible, to protect the battery.
Q. How long will a car battery last?
A. A car battery’s lifespan depends on how it’s used and maintained. If you care for your battery properly, it can often last four to seven years.
Q. How does temperature affect a car battery?
A. In hot temperatures, a battery’s capacity increases. However, the battery life actually decreases. In cold weather, the battery has a lower capacity, but it typically lasts longer.
Q. What should I do with my old car battery?
A. When you purchase a new car battery, many stores will take the old one to recycle for you. In some areas, you’ll actually pay a fee if you don’t turn in your old battery, in an attempt to keep the dangerous lead and acid in car batteries from winding up in landfills.
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