10 Best Car Batteries in 2020: AGM, Lead-acid and More
The car battery is a vital car component. It is responsible for engine ignition and without it you cannot start your vehicle.
However, the car battery is also one of the most overlooked parts of the car. Most of the time, it is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to check and replace the car battery when necessary. Workshops rarely check the car battery and replace it for you.
So, if you are interested in a new car battery, or don’t know if your current car battery needs replacement, then welcome. We made this article to answer these questions.
Below we rounded some of the best car batteries on the market and give you our expert impressions. Let’s see which one belongs in your car!
- 10 Best Car Batteries - Reviews
- 1. Odyssey PC680 – Cost-effective and Reliable
- 2. Yuasa YUAM6220C – Small and Compact
- 3. Odyssey PC925 – Durable and Long Lifespan
- 4. Mighty Max Battery ML35 – Affordable and Value for Money
- 5. Optima OPT8020-164 – Perfect for Cold Temperatures
- 6. ACDelco 94RAGM – Superior Capacity and Heavy-Duty
- 7. Vmax V35-857 – Excellent Build Construction
- 8. DieHard Advanced Gold 38188 – Wide Range of Sizes and Capacities
- 9. Optima 8073-167 – Small and Minimalist Design
- 10. Odyssey PC1200MJT – Premium and Very Durable
- How to Buy a Car Battery
- When to Change Car Battery
10 Best Car Batteries - Reviews
1. Odyssey PC680 (Cost-effective and Reliable)
2. Yuasa YUAM6220C (Small and Compact)
3. Odyssey PC925 (Durable and Long Lifespan)
4. Mighty Max ML35 (Affordable and Value for Money)
5. Optima OPT8020-164 (Perfect for Cold Temperatures)
6. ACDelco 94RAGM (Superior Capacity and Heavy-Duty)
7. Vmax V35-857 (Excellent Build Construction)
8. DieHard Advanced Gold 38188 (Wide Range of Sizes and Capacities)
9. Optima 8073-167 (Small and Minimalist Design)
10. Odyssey PC1200MJT (Premium and Very Durable)
1. Odyssey PC680
(Cost-effective and Reliable)
2. Yuasa YUAM6220C
(Small and Compact)
3. Odyssey PC925
(Durable and Long Lifespan)
4. Mighty Max ML35
(Affordable and Value for Money)
5. Optima OPT8020-164
(Perfect for Cold Temperatures)
6. ACDelco 94RAGM
(Superior Capacity and Heavy-Duty)
7. Vmax V35-857
(Excellent Build Construction)
8. DieHard Advanced Gold 38188
(Wide Range of Sizes and Capacities)
9. Optima 8073-167
(Small and Minimalist Design)
10. Odyssey PC1200MJT
(Premium and Very Durable)
1. Odyssey PC680 – Cost-effective and Reliable
- Capacity: 16 AH
- Cold Cranking: 170 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 24 minutes
Since there are so many models of car batteries on the market, it is sometimes difficult to find a model that is suitable for most people, both in terms of price as well as in terms of performance. This is a problem that the Odyssey PC680 car battery is here to solve.
Indeed, not only is this car battery exceptionally cost-effective, but it also uses AGM technology that makes it very reliable and long-lasting. Moreover, since it uses AGM, it can withstand shocks and vibrations better than other types of batteries.
One of the best things about this model is definitely its fast recharge time as this model can fully recharge in about 4 hours to 6 hours, depending on the size of your alternator. In addition, it has 400 cycles which shows that it will also last a long time.
Therefore, the Odyssey PC680 is the best automotive battery for those who have a low budget and do not need an excessive amount of power capacity but still need the reliability of a premium car battery.
The only few problems we have with this car battery is that it is not very heavy-duty especially when compared to the competition. Also, due to the low cold cranking amps of 170 CCA, this model is not recommended for use in cold weather.
2. Yuasa YUAM6220C – Small and Compact
- Capacity: 18 AH
- Cold Cranking: 270 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: N/A
Most of the time, you can judge a car battery by its brand. One typical example is the YUAM6220C by Yuasa. One of the best things about this 12 V car battery is that it is a small and compact battery that is ideal for powering any type of vehicles despite its fairly low capacity of 18 AH.
Indeed, with this type of capacity, it is definitely not the most powerful battery on the market. However, this battery is extremely reliable and for casual use or for powering your vehicle that is not loaded with electric components. It is an excellent choice especially considering its relatively affordable price.
Moreover, one of the best things about this battery is its reliability. Indeed, it uses a sealed design that will prevent any battery acid from leaking. The lead-calcium technology used will make it last at least 3 times longer than a conventional lead-acid battery.
All in all, if you’re looking for a small and compact and yet performing car battery, this is an excellent model to consider especially that Yuasa is one of the best car battery brands on the market.
Just keep in mind that this is not a heavy-duty car battery and you must absolutely install it in a flat position for it to work optimally.
3. Odyssey PC925 – Durable and Long Lifespan
- Capacity: 28 AH
- Cold Cranking: 330 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 52 minutes
The Odyssey PC925 is a popular car battery found in many vehicles. One of the best things about this model is its long lifespan of 3 to 10 years. Moreover, this battery uses a completely sealed design which means that it will not spill battery acid even if you mount it at an awkward angle.
In addition, since this battery the typical quick recharge time of 4 hours to 6 hours that you will find in most Odyssey car batteries. This is mostly explained due to an efficient internal design of the battery.
Furthermore, it has excellent resistance to vibrations and shocks. Therefore, if you usually use your vehicle in rough terrains then the Odyssey PC925 is a top-rated car battery and an excellent model for almost any vehicle owner. The only problem we have with it is its price which is a little bit high considering its feature set.
4. Mighty Max Battery ML35 – Affordable and Value for Money
- Capacity: 35 AH
- Cold Cranking: N/A
- Reserve Capacity: N/A
Not everybody can afford a car battery that costs several hundred dollars. After all, a high-performance car battery is generally an expensive car item. This is a situation that Mighty Max is here to solve as the ML35-12 is one of the best car battery on the market when it comes to price.
Despite being fairly affordable, it still does not sacrifice performance, reliability or durability. Indeed, this model has a high-capacity of 35 AH which means that it will have no problem powering a vehicle that has demanding electric devices installed.
Even if this model uses lead-acid technology it still remains quite reliable and this unit is also maintenance-free. Additionally, this car battery will not under-perform even when exposed to high temperatures inside your car.
If you’re on a short budget, the ML35-12 is an excellent model to consider. Of course, this model cannot possibly compete with a true AGM car battery because it is a lead acid battery. But for the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck. This model comes highly recommended especially that it has a high-capacity of 35 AH!
5. Optima OPT8020-164 – Perfect for Cold Temperatures
- Capacity: 44 AH
- Cold Cranking: 720 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 90 minutes
Operating a car during wintertime is often difficult for many people. This is because the cold temperature usually is not an optimal temperature for a car battery. Luckily, this Optima car battery has a very high cold cranking amps of 720 CCA, which means that cold temperatures will have no effect on the discharge rate of the battery.
Moreover, its reserve capacity of 90 minutes will ensure that this battery will be able to send a high amperage current without any interruption for an extended period of time. But one of the best things about this Optima car battery is definitely its high resistance to vibrations and shocks.
Indeed, due to a completely sealed design, as well as the position of the electrodes inside the battery, this car battery is almost 100% vibration and shock resistant. Best of all, you can install it in any position you like as well.
The only caveat we have with this unit is its fairly steep price. However, you get what you pay for. This Optima battery is by far one of the best car batteries for cold weather that you can buy. If you usually have difficulty starting your car due to extremely low temperatures, then we seriously recommend that you consider this car battery as your next purchase.
6. ACDelco 94RAGM – Superior Capacity and Heavy-Duty
- Capacity: 80 AH
- Cold Cranking: 800 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 140 minutes
ACDelco is a trusted brand that makes car components for manufacturers like General Motors. This high-performance car battery has an impressive capacity of 80 AH, which makes it one of the most powerful models in this car battery review.
In addition, this unit uses AGM technology which makes it both efficient as well as heavy-duty. It has excellent resistance to shocks and vibrations and will have absolutely no problem delivering a very high amperage current for an extended period of time.
You will not experience vehicle hiccup during startup with this battery, regardless of the number of electric devices you have installed in it.
Moreover, the sealed design of this battery makes it safer as it will not spill battery acid especially when the vehicle is driven on rough terrains.
Best of all, due to an improved internal design, the battery acid can move freely inside so as to dissipate heat more easily. Bottom-line, the battery remains cooler and hence works at optimal performance all the time.
But despite this ACDelco model being one of the longest lasting car battery on the market, the only problem with it is ironically its big size. You must ensure that it will fit your battery compartment before grabbing this model.
7. Vmax V35-857 – Excellent Build Construction
- Capacity: 35 AH
- Cold Cranking: 300 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 75 minutes
If there is one award that you can give the Vmax857 then it is in its build construction. Indeed, this car battery is built like a tank and has a completely sealed design which means that you can install it any way you like and it will not leak battery acid everywhere.
Moreover, with its capacity of 35 AH, this model can be used as a heavy-duty car battery as it will be able to send a sufficient amount of current to power relatively demanding electric components. With a reserve capacity of 75 minutes, you are guaranteed to get a high amperage current for a long period of time.
What we like about this model is also the presence of thick handles at the top that allows you to easily carry the battery anywhere you like. Indeed, you can use this deep cycle car battery as a camping battery if you so wish. So, it is quite versatile as well.
Best of all, this high-quality car battery has AGM technology making it very reliable especially for those who use their vehicles in rough terrains.
When it comes to the cold cranking amps, its 300 CCA is definitely not the highest we have seen but it is still high enough so as not to be affected by very low temperatures. Therefore, you can safely use this battery during wintertime.
Just be careful when charging this battery because undercharging it can cause short-term and long-term damage as it will increase its discharge rate drastically.
8. DieHard Advanced Gold 38188 – Wide Range of Sizes and Capacities
- Capacity: 50 AH, 55 AH, 70 AH, 92 AH
- Cold Cranking: 650 CCA, 760 CCA, 775 CCA, 850 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 100 minutes, 120 minutes
The DieHard Advanced is a series of batteries that come in different sizes and capacities so as to fill different needs. You have the Group 34 which is the most affordable offering and the Group 49 which is the most performing DieHard Advanced car battery.
One of the most interesting features of this battery is that it uses AGM technology that makes it 20 times more resistant to vibrations when compared to a traditional lead-acid battery. Moreover, the manufacturer claims that this model is also twice more performing as well as has a longer lifetime as well.
Additionally, with a capacity of 50 AH for the most affordable model, this top-rated car battery will have absolutely no problem powering any type of vehicle components with ease.
Moreover, the very long reserve capacity as of of 100 - 120 minutes is one of the best we have seen for car battery in this price range. This will guarantee that it can supply a constant flow of high amperage current without suffering from hiccups for an extended period of time.
Just make sure that the model is compatible with your vehicle because it does not have a universal design.
9. Optima 8073-167 – Small and Minimalist Design
- Capacity: 38 AH
- Cold Cranking: 450 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 66 minutes
The Optima 8073-167 is a small and minimalist car battery that does not take a lot of installation space. But one of the best things about this compact battery is that it has a high current capacity of 38 AH along with a high cold cranking amp of 450 CCA.
Best of all, the connectors of this battery are made from stainless steel so it will not corrode and conduct electricity in the most efficient manner possible. For the size, the reserve capacity of 66 minutes is also an excellent value as this battery will be able to send a high current for a long period of time.
Therefore, this is an excellent model for those who do not have a lot of installation space in their vehicles and need a high-quality car battery that can work optimally in very cold temperatures. The only caveat with this Optima battery is that the price could have been a little bit better as it is a little bit pricey considering its capacity and feature set.
10. Odyssey PC1200MJT – Premium and Very Durable
- Capacity: 42 AH
- Cold Cranking: 540 CCA
- Reserve Capacity: 78 minutes
The Odyssey PC1200MJT is a premium grade car battery that has a deep attention to detail. The outer casing of this AGM battery is made from a thick and very durable ABS plastic that is puncture proof and will prevent any form of battery leakage.
Additionally, its cold cranking amps of 540 CCA means that it has excellent resistance to the cold and will have no problem performing at 100% even under extremely cold temperatures.
Further, its 42 AH capacity makes it a heavy duty and high capacity car battery that can power even the most demanding electric devices in your car. Finally, its reserve capacity of 78 minutes will also guarantee that it can send power without suffering from any power hiccups.
Best of all, since this battery uses AGM technology, it has a high resistance to vibrations and shocks. It will also last a very long time, especially when compared to the traditional lead-acid battery making it one of the most reliable car batteries that you can get. Of course, all those features cost something and the Odyssey PC1200MJT is a bit pricier when compared to the competition. Understandably so!
How to Buy a Car Battery
1. Right Fit
Car batteries are generally made in different sizes to fit a specific type of vehicle. Here is a quick overview of the different car battery sizes so that you can find the right fit for your car.
- Size 24/24F: This type of size will generally fit vehicles like Nissan, Lexus, Acura, Honda, and Toyota
- Size 47 (H5): Will fit most cars like Volkswagen, Buick and Chevy
- Size 48 (H6): One of the most popular types of sizes for premium cars. It will fit both European and American cars like Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Buick, among others.
- Size 49 (H8): Mostly intended for Asian and European cars
- Size 51R: This size will fit most Japanese cars like Mazda, Honda, and Nissan
- Size 34/78: This is a large battery mostly for American cars like Chrysler, GM, and other American SUVs
- Size 35: Intended for the Japanese market and will fit cars like Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, and Honda
- Size 65: This is a big size car battery for North America. It will generally fit very large cars, RVs, and trucks from various American constructors
- Size 75: A car battery size that was originally made by GM. It will fit a few Chrysler vehicles as well as a few compact vehicles by General Motors.
2. Lead-acid or AGM Battery
Often times, choosing between lead-acid and AGM battery is a question of price.
Indeed, the lead-acid battery is significantly less expensive than the AGM battery. For casual and general-purpose use, as in simply starting a vehicle, the lead-acid battery is more than enough.
On the other hand, if you need a heavy-duty battery to power demanding electric components in vehicles, then AGM was originally designed for that. Indeed, this is a heavy-duty battery that is able to send a lot of current for an extended period of time without suffering from drainage.
Additionally, AGM is more resistant to vibrations and shocks because the electrodes are made from a sheet of fiberglass that is very close together which eliminates movement inside the battery. Moreover, AGM batteries have a longer lifespan as it is made from components that do not get damaged easily.
Therefore, if you have a short budget, then you can go with a lead-acid battery for basic car needs like car ignition. However, if you need more juice in your battery, the AGM is the way to go.
3. Power Requirement
The power requirement is related to the capacity of the car battery. Logically, the more electric devices like headlights, music system and other you have installed in your car, the more powerful and high-capacity your car battery needs to be.
This is because, at startup, a high-capacity battery will be able to send a high current with a high amperage to your power all your various components without running the risk of them at a low startup voltage.
Therefore, if you have many components installed in your car then it is best to go with a high-capacity car battery of at least 40 AH or more. On the other hand, if you have basic electric devices installed, then you can safely go with a lower capacity 28 AH car battery and save some money as they are generally cheaper than a high-capacity one.
4. Cold Cranking Amps
Basically, the cold cranking amps is an industry standard for measuring the current flow in a car battery at very low temperatures. The higher the CCA value of the car battery, the more you will be able to use it under optimal conditions in low temperatures.
So, if you usually use your car in very low temperatures then it is best to go with a car battery that has a high CCA value of at least 300 CCA or more.
5. Reserve Capacity
The reserve capacity is how long the car battery is able to send a high amperage current defined by the manufacturer before it drains below 80% capacity. Of course, the higher the reserve capacity, the more heavy-duty and long-lasting the car battery usually is. In most cases, you should be fine with a car battery that has a reserve capacity of 40 minutes or more.
However, for heavy-duty purposes where you need a very high current flow in your car then it is best to go with a model that has a reserve capacity of 100 minutes or more. This is to ensure that your car battery is reliable enough in providing such a high current flow.
When purchasing a car battery, you do not want to go with a no-name brand. This is because you want to ensure that the car battery you buy is made from high-quality components that you will only get when going with a trusted brand.
Brands like Optima, Odyssey, ACDelco, Yuasa, amongst others, are trusted car battery makers which make some of the best car batteries for the money. You cannot go wrong with any of them.
Sometimes, you may be tempted to buy a second-hand battery and save some money in the process.
However, this is a bad idea because the electrodes and electrolyte in a used car battery are usually in bad condition and will cause the car battery to under-perform.
Therefore, it is always best to go with a new car battery even if it costs more as new batteries are almost always more reliable than old ones.
It is almost impossible for the average person to repair a car battery. So, it is important that you choose a model that comes with a warranty. Keep an eye out for a car battery warranty period of at least 2 years to be on the safe side.
The price of the car battery can quickly get out of hand, especially if you choose a high-capacity and heavy-duty car battery like AGM.
We recommend that you set a budget before purchasing your car battery and stick to that budget. In most cases, a high-quality car battery should cost you anywhere from $100 to $300 depending on its capacity, brand and technology used.
When to Change Car Battery
As every component in your car, your car battery will not last forever and will require frequent changes. Each battery has its own specification and will depend on both the amount of time the battery has been used as well as the rated manufacturer spec of the battery.
As a rule of thumb, you will need to change your car battery every 3 to 5 years. Of course, some car batteries have a longer lifespan and a few reputable manufacturers claim that the car battery can last up to 10 years.
1. Using a multi-meter
However, there is another neat way to know if you need a battery replacement or not. It’s by using a multi-meter. A car battery in good condition should test around 12.6V when the engine is off. If you note a voltage below 12.6V, then your car battery either needs to be recharged or replaced altogether.
Additionally, the voltage should be 13.7 V to 14.7 when the engine is on. The voltage is higher when the engine is powered on because the alternator is now charging the car battery.
2. Maintenance-free Batteries
Some batteries are labeled as maintenance-free. What this means is that you do not have to perform maintenance on the battery and they usually have a sealed casing which means that you will not be able to open the battery without breaking it.
However, if you are using wet cell batteries, then it uses distilled water as the electrolyte. Wet cell batteries normally have open caps so you can open the battery, remove the electrolyte and then replace it with distilled water. It is recommended to replace the electrolyte every 3 months or so when it comes to the wet cell battery.
Additionally, wet cell batteries also have an indicator at the top that will show you when it needs maintenance.
As we have seen, the car battery is responsible for starting your car ignition system and helps to power your various aftermarket lights, electronics and electrical devices that you install in your car. Therefore, the more equipment you install, the more powerful and reliable your car battery must be to cope with your vehicle’s electric needs.
Additionally, we have seen that there is a wide range of car batteries intended for different usages and budgets. Nevertheless, you can still get a high-quality car battery that will last you for years without spending a fortune.
Finally, if you have read our car battery review above and still not sure which model is right for your car, then we recommend you go through our reviewed products again.