The Best Car Batteries For 2020

Best Value

Optima Battery

Best Overall

Odyssey 65-PC1750T

Budget Pick

ACDelco ACDB24R

Most car owners don’t plan on buying a new car battery until it’s too late.

The thing with car batteries is that it’s only being used for a couple of minutes a day. Once your engine is running, the battery is recharged by the alternator. Even if a car battery is already past its recommended lifespan, everything still seems perfectly fine to most people.

However, the older a battery is, the less reliable it gets. If you don’t plan on regularly replacing your car battery every 3 to 5 years, you’re likely to need a jump start or be stuck in the middle of nowhere when you least expect it.

Also Read: Best Car Battery Chargers

In anticipation of your next car battery purchase, let’s take a look at the best car batteries from the most reliable brands that you can order online today.

1. Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT

The Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT is one of the top models in Odyssey’s Extreme Series line of batteries. The Extreme Series is designed to provide tons of cranking power along with lots of deep-cycle reserve power.

If you live in a cold climate where winter temperatures typically drop to below freezing, the Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT should be at the top of your list.

It can deliver a whopping 850 amps of current for 30 seconds even if the temperature outside is at zero degrees Fahrenheit. With this battery, you’ll never have to go outside in the middle of winter and fiddle with a set of jumper cables just to get your car started.

In more temperate weather conditions, a fully charged Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT battery can pump out up to 1,500 amps. Its reserve capacity lasts up to 135 minutes or over 2 hours, which means you’ll still be able to start your car even if you leave the radio or lights on while the engine’s not running.

Its tested lifespan is also much longer than normal deep cycle batteries and can last for up to 400 charge cycles.

The Odyssey 34/78-PC1500DT is made using 99% pure lead which allows the company to pack in more plates inside the battery, compared to batteries that use lead alloy plates that are much thicker.

Odyssey advertises a very long service life of 3 to 10 years compared to the 1 to 5 years that other brands typically offer. This battery also comes with a 4-year warranty.

Key Features:

  • Designed to deliver tons of cranking power and lots of deep cycle reserve power
  • 850 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA); 1,500 Pulse Hot Cranking Amps (PHCA); 1050 Cranking Amps (CA)
  • 68 Ah Battery Capacity with Reserve Capacity (RC) of 135 minutes
  • Can handle 400 charge cycles to 80% depth of discharge
  • Fast recharge times; 100% recharge in 4 to 6 hours
  • Made with 99% pure lead plates that have 15% more plate area
  • Group Size AGM 34/78 battery with top and side terminals
  • Maintenance-free non-spill design
  • Long service life of 3 to 10 years
  • 4-year warranty

The Pros:

  • Lots of cranking power
  • Long warranty
  • Excellent design

The Cons:

  • Expensive

2. Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78

The Optima D34/78 YellowTop battery is another deep cycle battery with lots of cranking power. With 750 Cold Cranking Caps on tap, it can easily start small and large engines even if you’re in the middle of a snowstorm.

Optima’s line of YellowTop batteries will also power your power-hungry car electronics with ease with its huge reserve capacity of 120 minutes at 25 amps. It’s guaranteed to last for more than 300 charge cycles, which gives you confidence that it will have a very long lifespan. It also has a C20 capacity of 55 Ah.

Like other AGM batteries, Optima YellowTop batteries are spill-proof and maintenance-free. It’s also designed to be 15 times more vibration-resistant compared to more conventional battery designs.

It also features a pair of top and side terminals making it widely compatible with different vehicles and applications.

Key Features

  • Designed to deliver tons of cranking power and lots of deep cycle reserve power
  • 750 Cold Cranking Amps (CCA); 870 Cranking Amps (CA)
  • 55 Ah C20 Capacity with Reserve Capacity (RC) of 120 minutes
  • Can handle 300+ charge cycles; Up to 3x longer life
  • Fast recharge times
  • Group Size 34/78 AGM battery with top and side terminals
  • Maintenance-free non-spill design
  • 15x more vibration resistant
  • 3-year warranty

The Pros:

  • Ideal for cold temperatures and powering lots of car electronics
  • Long-lasting with fast recharge times
  • Maintenance-free design
  • Less expensive than comparable models

The Cons

  • Price
  • Specs are not best-in-class

3. ACDelco ACDB24R

The ACDelco ACDB24R is a perfect fit for a later model Toyota Prius that uses a smart key. It’s also compatible with other vehicles that require a group 51 battery, but it’s smaller than normal battery terminals and unconventional dimensions may require some creative modification to get it to properly fit.

It can output up to 325 Cold Cranking Amps which is relatively low, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re going to use this with a Prius since the starter is powered by the hybrid battery.

It has a rated capacity of 45 Ah and up to 70 minutes of reserve capacity, which are both quite good.

It boasts up to 3 times the lifespan of conventional lead-acid batteries with its use of Valve Regulated Gas Recombinant (VRLA) and Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. It’s also designed to be spill-proof and maintenance-free.

Key Features:

  • Designed for Toyota Prius
  • Group 51 AGM battery
  • Lasts 3x longer than conventional lead-acid batteries
  • Designed with high-density plates to provide adequate power despite its smaller size
  • Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • 2-year warranty

The Pros:

  • Fairly priced
  • Perfect fit for later model Toyota Prius

The Cons:

  • Small non-standard battery terminals
  • Not a good fit for early-model Toyota Prius and other vehicles requiring a Group 51 battery

4. DieHard 38188

The DieHard 38188 is part of DieHard’s top of the line Advanced Gold line which offers lots of cranking amps and a huge deep cycle reserve capacity.

It can deliver up to 775 Cold Cranking Amps making it perfect for winter use. It also boasts a reserve capacity of up to 120 minutes – allowing you to use electronic accessories like radios, lights, and winches for prolonged periods without completely draining the battery. Compared to Diehard’s less expensive Gold series, the Advanced Gold line’s service life is twice as long.

It uses modern AGM technology which means it’s spill-proof and maintenance-free.

The battery’s casing and internal components are also 20 times more resistant to vibration, compared to regular batteries. It uses an enhanced electrolyte suspension system that makes it ideal for off-road vehicles, watercraft and other applications where it’s subjected to lots of shaking and movement.

Key Features:

  • Group 34R AGM battery
  • Belongs to top of the line Advanced Gold line
  • Designed for high output and extended reserve capacity
  • 775 Cold Cranking Amps
  • 55 Ah rating
  • 120-minute Reserve Capacity
  • Its enhanced electrolyte suspension system makes it 20x more vibration resistant
  • Lasts up to twice as long as DieHard Gold line
  • Ideal for off-road use and extreme temperatures
  • Convenient carrying handle
  • 3-year warranty

The Pros:

  • High power output
  • Designed for durability
  • Fairly priced

The Cons:

  • Some owners report issues with reliability

5. Optima Batteries 8025-160

The Optima 8025-160 comes from Optima’s RedTop line of starting batteries. Unlike the Optima YellowTop line which can be used for longer periods without the help of an alternator, RedTop batteries tend to get depleted easily if your engine’s not running.

Its reserve capacity only lasts up to 90 minutes, which is still pretty good, but not as good as other high-performance batteries that last more than 2 hours. Keep in mind, you don’t need a very high reserve capacity if you don’t have a ton of aftermarket accessories running while the engine is off.

This particular RedTop battery does deliver up to 720 Cold Cranking Amps – making it just as good as the top-of-the-line models when it comes to performance in freezing temperatures.

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Also known as the Optima RedTop 25 model, this battery uses modern AGM technology which means it’s spill-proof and maintenance-free. It also uses Optima’s proprietary SpiralCell technology just like the brand’s more expensive models.

Key Features:

  • Premium starting battery
  • Ideal for colder temperatures
  • 720 Cold Cranking Amps
  • 90 minute Reserve Capacity
  • Rated at 44 Ah capacity
  • 15x more vibration resistant than regular batteries
  • Battery Group Size 25
  • Uses AGM technology; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Proprietary SpiralCell technology
  • 3-year warranty

The Pros:

  • High Cold Cranking Amp rating
  • Spill-proof and maintenance-free

The Cons:

  • Price
  • Owners have reported issues with reliability

6. Odyssey 65-PC1750T

If you’re looking for a car battery with the highest output and reserve capacity, the Odyssey Extreme 65-PC1750T should be at the top of your list.

This is a very large battery that can output 950 Cold Cranking Amps and up to 1750 Pulse Hot Cranking Amps. As one of the top models in Odyssey’s Extreme series, it also has one of the longest reserve capacities you’ll find in the market today at 145 minutes.

With these two features, you’ll never be left stranded even if you have your lights on full blast or if you’re constantly using your winch in the middle of winter.

You can definitely get your money’s worth out of this battery as the company claims it has an extremely long service life of 3 to 10 years.

It’s also been designed to withstand up to 400 charge cycles at 80% depth of discharge – allowing it to have a 70% longer lifespan compared to conventional deep cycle batteries. It even comes with a 4-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Key Features:

  • High-output battery with deep-cycle capabilities
  • Part of Odysseys top-of-the-line Extreme Series
  • Outputs a very high 950 Cold Cranking Amps; ideal for starting large engines in cold weather
  • Peak output of 1,750 Pulse Hot Cranking Amps
  • Reserve Capacity of 145 minutes
  • C20 Nominal Capacity rated at 74 Ah
  • Lasts up to 400 charge cycles at 80% depth of discharge
  • 70% longer life cycle compared to conventional deep cycle batteries
  • Battery Group Size 65
  • Fast recharge times; 100% recharge in 4 to 6 hours
  • Uses AGM technology; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Made with 99% pure lead plates that have 15% more plate area
  • Designed to be vibration resistant
  • Long 3 to 10-year service life
  • 4-year warranty

The Pros:

  • Dual-purpose starting and deep-cycle battery
  • High current output even in cold weather
  • Long service life
  • Suitable for vehicles with large engines and lots of electronic accessories

The Cons:

  • Price

7. Optima Batteries 8020-164

The Optima 8020-164 is another RedTop starting battery that uses Optima’s proprietary SpiralCell AGM technology, which gives it a unique look.

This is a Group Size 35 model that delivers 720 Cold Cranking Amps. It performs exceptionally well even in colder weather. When it’s nice and warm out, it can produce a very respectable 910 amps which is powerful enough to turn over larger truck engines.

Even though Optima RedTop batteries are not designed for deep cycle performance, the Optima 8020-164 still has a good reserve capacity of 90 minutes.

As long as you’re not constantly draining the battery with lots of electronic accessories while the engine is turned off, it should be more than enough for most normal applications.

Key Features:

  • Optima RedTop 35 starting battery
  • Produces up to 720 Cold Cranking Amps and 910 Cranking Amps
  • 90-minute Reserve Capacity
  • Ideal for colder temperatures
  • Rated at 44 Ah capacity
  • 15x more vibration resistant than regular batteries
  • Battery Group Size 35
  • Uses AGM technology; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Uses Optima’s proprietary SpiralCell technology
  • 3-year warranty

The Pros:

  • Offers a lot of cranking power
  • Designed for colder weather conditions
  • Decent reserve capacity

The Cons:

  • High price
  • Not designed for deep cycle use

8. XS Power D3400

The XS Power D3400 is the most recommended battery among car audio enthusiasts. If you’re running power-hungry amps that pump out thousands of watts, you’re going to need a high-quality battery that can handle the load.

Many people use the XS Power D3400 as a second battery to support all their audio equipment and in-car electronics. It also works extremely well as a replacement for your regular car battery if you only have a couple of aftermarket accessories like lights, mini-fridges, and winches.

As can be expected from a premium car battery, the D3400 has a peak output of 3,300 amps and is rated for 1,150 cranking amps. It has a reserve capacity of 160 minutes allowing you to power your electronics for almost three hours even if the engine is not running. Its battery capacity is rated at 80 Ah.

Key Features:

  • Designed and marketed for car audio
  • Can easily handle high wattage audio amplifiers that pump out 2,500 to 4,000 watts
  • Peak output of 3,300 amps
  • 1,150 Cranking Amps
  • 160-minute Reserve Capacity; Nominal Capacity rated at 80 Ah
  • Uses AGM technology; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Group Size 34
  • Comes with M6 terminal hardware (screws and washers)

The Pros:

  • Extremely high-quality battery
  • Very popular among car audio enthusiasts
  • Very high peak output

The Cons:

  • Price
  • Does not come with SAE terminal posts
  • No information about performance in cold weather

9. Kinetik HC600

The Kinetik HC600 is another AGM battery aimed at audio enthusiasts. It’s part of Kinetik’s HC-BLU series which is recommended for both pro and semi-pro car audio applications.

It’s primarily designed as a second battery that can handle 600-watt audio amplifiers and can also be used as your vehicle’s main starting battery. When used as a backup battery, it can support even more electronic accessories. It’s also very compact which makes installation as either a primary or secondary battery a breeze.

This is a sealed AGM battery that’s spill-proof and maintenance-free, which means it can be mounted in virtually any position as long as it’s not upside down.

Despite its small size it still has a decent nominal capacity of 18 Ah. It’s also the most affordable battery in this list. If you need more power, Kinetik also has higher-end models that can support multiple audio amplifiers that can reach a total combined output of 3,800 watts.

Key Features:

  • Designed for pro and semi-pro car audio applications
  • Can be used as a primary starting battery or as a second battery
  • Easily supports 600-watt car audio amplifiers
  • Nominal capacity of 18 Ah
  • Eliminates the need for capacitors in your car audio setup
  • Sealed AGM battery; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • The compact size makes it easy to install
  • Ultra-low resistance
  • Uses M6 terminals

The Pros:

  • Very low price with premium features
  • The compact size makes custom installations easy
  • Can support 600-watt amps on its own

The Cons:

  • Not an ideal starting battery for larger gas and diesel engines
  • Performance in cold weather is not guaranteed
  • Does not come with SAE terminal posts
  • No BCI Battery Size specified

10. ACDelco 48AGM

The ACDelco 48AGM comes from ACDelco’s Gold Professional line which is made to a much higher standard and comes with longer manufacturer warranties. It’s designed to last longer by maintaining constant pressure between the plates which decreases the loss of mass over its lifespan.

Much like all the other batteries we’ve reviewed, the ACDelco 48AGM is a modern AGM battery that’s spill-proof and maintenance-free.

Primarily designed as a starting battery, it performs well in colder temperatures and can produce up to 760 Cold Cranking Amps. In normal conditions, it outputs as much as 880 amps – making it ideal for larger engines.

It also has a very long reserve capacity of 120 minutes, which is comparable to similarly-sized models from other brands.

ACDelco is GM’s in-house parts brand. This battery is the manufacturer-recommended battery for many GM brands like Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. It will also fit cars, trucks, and SUVs from other brands that require a Group Size 48 battery.

Key Features:

  • Premium battery from ACDelco’s Gold professional line
  • Starting battery that produces 760 Cold Cranking Amps and 880 Cranking Amps
  • 120-minute reserve capacity
  • Group Size 48 AGM battery; spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Pressure tested against leaks
  • Comes with integrated carrying handles
  • 36-month warranty

The Pros:

  • Lower price compared to similarly-sized batteries from other brands
  • Longer warranty
  • Long reserve capacity for a battery marketed as a starting battery
  • Excellent performance in cold weather

The Cons:

  • Peak output in normal temperatures not as high as other models

11. Delphi BU9094R

The Delphi BU9094R belongs to Delphi’s premium MaxStart AGM line. This particular model’s terminals are reversed which is standard for Group Size 94R batteries.

It performs exceptionally well as a starting battery in colder climates and is rated to produce up to 800 Cold Cranking Amps. It also has a respectable reserve capacity of 140 minutes which means you can keep your car’s electronic accessories running longer even if the engine is turned off.

Since it uses modern AGM technology, it is guaranteed to be spill-proof and maintenance-free. It also recharges faster and has twice the lifespan of more traditional flooded lead-acid batteries.

The battery’s casing and internal construction are very durable. It’s advertised as being 20 times more vibration resistant than conventional batteries.

Key Features:

  • Belongs to Delphi’s top-of-the-line MaxStart series
  • Designed to perform well even in colder temperatures
  • Can output 800 Cold Cranking Amps
  • 140-minute reserve capacity
  • Group Size 94R with reverse terminals
  • Uses modern AGM technology; Spill-proof and maintenance-free
  • Corrosion-resistant and 20x more resistant to vibration compared to traditional flooded batteries
  • 2x longer service life compared to traditional batteries
  • Integrated carrying handles
  • 36-month warranty

The Pros:

  • Ideal starting battery for colder weather
  • Price is in line with comparable models from other brands
  • Durable construction

The Cons:

  • Reverse terminals limit its compatibility with other vehicles
  • Some users have reported fitment issues

How To Choose The Right Car Battery

The first thing you should check when replacing your old car battery is the Battery Group Size specified by the manufacturer. Battery Group Size standards are determined by the Battery Council International or BCI.

If the battery you’re looking at has the same BCI Group Size number recommended by your car’s manufacturer, it should fit right in the factory battery location.

A battery that’s too small will move around and has a higher chance of getting disconnected from the battery terminals while you’re driving. Getting a battery that’s too large will make it difficult to close your hood. In many cases, it may even dent your hood when you slam it closed.

If you feel that you need a more powerful battery, don’t just pick a battery with a higher Group Size. A higher Battery Group Size number doesn’t necessarily mean the battery casing is larger or that it’s more powerful.

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You should first check the physical dimensions of the battery. If its measurements are close to your old battery’s Group Size, you should be able to make it fit.

The next thing to consider is the battery’s advertised cranking amps. If you pick a battery that has lower cranking amps, then you might have trouble starting your vehicle. Some manufacturers may only advertise a battery’s Cold Cranking Amps which should be enough to determine if your new battery is a good match.

You also shouldn’t just choose a car battery with the highest Cold Cranking Amp rating. This number only really matters if you’re living in an area with really cold winters and if you are already having issues starting your vehicle.

You should also check the battery’s reserve capacity and rated capacity. If you choose a battery with a lower amp hour rating, you may experience issues with your electrical system. A common symptom of a weak battery is dimming headlights, which makes it harder to see where you’re going at night.

How to Remove and Install a Car Battery

Removing and installing a car battery is very simple and requires minimal tools, as long as you have a battery that fits properly. All you need is a 10mm wrench or socket.

The most important thing to remember is to remove the red negative battery cable first. The negative wire connects to your car’s body via a ground cable. If you try to remove the black positive battery cable with the negative terminal still connected, your metal wrench may accidentally touch the car’s body and cause a short circuit. After removing the battery cables simply unscrew that nuts that hold down the battery.

When installing the new battery, connect black positive battery cable first. After installing both cables, make sure to properly tighten the screws of the battery holder so it doesn’t move around while you’re driving.

How to Check if You Have a Bad Car Battery

You can’t just test a battery by using a multimeter. A bad battery can still show a 12 volt reading with the engine off because it’s constantly being recharged by the alternator while you’re driving.

The best thing to do is to take it to your local mechanic or auto parts store so they can do a load test with more sophisticated equipment.

You’ll know when to replace a car battery if you’re cranking the engine for much longer than usual, or if you’re always needing a jump start. You can also test if the battery is not able to handle your car’s electrical load by turning on your lights, HVAC, wipers and radio all at once. If the battery is not strong enough, you’ll notice that the headlights are dimmer than usual or that some electronic accessories not working at their best.

Final Words

If you want to get the most out of your money, choose a battery with a good warranty. Some manufacturers only offer a limited warranty and may not honor it if the battery is too old, even if you just recently bought it.

If you want to take better care of your new battery and prolong its life, make sure it’s regularly charged either by driving longer distances from time to time or connecting it to a smart trickle charger.

Batteries degrade much faster if they are fully discharged for long periods of time. If you’re only taking short trips every so often, or if you’re living in an area with extremely cold or hot temperatures, your battery’s lifespan can decrease dramatically.

Don’t let price or brand determine the quality of the battery. Always check the specs before buying your next battery and make sure it’s a good fit for your needs.

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David Rodriguez

David lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with his wife, three children, and Hugo, his adorable medium-sized dog. For the past 11 years, he has been working for several automotive dealerships in Fort Wayne due to his lifelong passion for cars. He's one of the new authors on CarGuided.