Best Car Battery 2020: An Easy Guide
Picture yourself driving down the highway with your family on a long road trip. You pull over at a rest stop to refuel and get some snacks, but when you all pile into the car to get back on the road, your car won’t start! You realize that your car battery is dead, and in that moment you wished you had paid a little bit more attention when that mechanic was telling you to invest in a quality battery for your vehicle.
We here at FIXD want to help you avoid this all too common situation by providing you with a list of the best car batteries for every situation. We know that sorting through dozens of car battery makes and models can seem daunting and all-together confusing, so we’ve made it easy for you to decide.
FIXD went ahead and made a list that just gives you the exact battery you should buy depending on what is most important to you. This means that if you live in freezing upstate New York and need something that can withstand those cold winter months, we’ve got a recommendation for you, and if you are in college and on a super tight budget and just need a battery that will at least start your car, we’ve got something for you as well. We also have some helpful bits of battery buying info at the bottom of this article to help you better understand what it is you are buying when you start your battery search.
Best Battery Recommendations
Overall Best Battery
Price: Moderate Price Option
-4 year warranty
-3 year roadside assistance
-Spill and Corrosion proof design
If you’ve seen FIXD’s list for best windshield wipers, then you already know that Bosch makes some great automotive parts. They are great at making top quality products, without charging you a fortune. Their Flat Plate AGM Battery is the perfect option for somebody looking for a reliable battery that can stand up to both hot and cold climates. It is a high performance battery that lasts up to 2 times longer than your average starter battery, and it comes with some pretty useful perks.
It has a 4 year free replacement warranty, along with free roadside assistance for the first 3 years after purchase. This means that there is no need to panic if your battery dies on you while you’re out on the road! The battery is also designed to be spill and corrosion proof too, so the chances of you needing to use your warranty are greatly decreased.
Best Value Battery
Price: Moderate Price Option
-3 year warranty
-Advanced electrolyte suspension
-Good CCA rating
-Great vibration protection
The DieHard Advanced Gold AGM Battery is our Best Value pick, and that is because it provides you with all of the important features you expect your battery to have, along with some cool added perks, for a relatively low cost. Like most modern AGM batteries, it is designed to be spill proof. It has a high CCA rating, and is designed to provide up to 20 times more vibration protection for your battery. Through the use of its full-frame positive and negative plates, it is able to provide increased power, and its advanced electrolyte suspension system allow it to guard its internal structure while also absorbing more electrolytes. It also comes with a 3 year warranty, which is always nice! Ultimately, this battery can be used whether you are a big fan of off-roading, or simply driving down a lot if city streets, which is why it is our Best Value pick.
Price: High Price Option
-EXTREMELY high CCA rating
Optima is a brand that makes top-quality batteries that will cost you a pretty penny. Although their high prices sometimes deter the average buyer from purchasing their products, the truth is that they simply make some of the best batteries, and their prices reflect that. If you live in an area that experiences extremely cold weather conditions, then the Optima RedTop is the perfect battery for you. It has an EXTREMELY high CCA rating, which means it can stand up to those freezing conditions and start your car when you need it to the most. It recharges quickly and is 15 times more resistant to vibrations than your average battery. Like other AGM batteries, it is spill proof and maintenance free.
Price: High Price Option
-Powerful and durable
-Great for off-roading and powering electronics
-Quickly recharges up to 300+ cycles
-Great Vibration Resistance
Optima’s YellowTop Battery is a deep-cycle battery with an awesome Cold Cranking Amps value. This battery is designed to be extremely spill resistant, and have a life-span that is 3 times longer than your average battery. The YellowTop has extremely high vibration resistance, so it is perfect if you take your vehicle off-roading a lot. It also is able to quickly recharge up to 300+ cycles, so it can consistently power any fancy electronics your more modern car might come with. It certainly isn’t the cheapest battery on our list, but it is extremely reliable and useful if you put your car through a lot of intensive use.
Best Low Budget Battery
Price: Low Price Option
-Fair CCA rating
At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves in a financial bind, but that shouldn’t stop you from being able to get a reliable and low cost battery. Unlike our other battery recommendations, the EverStart Maxx is a Flooded battery, as opposed to an AGM battery. Flooded batteries are typically not as efficient or long lasting as AGM batteries, but they tend to be far, far, cheaper, and generally get the job done. It has a fair CCA rating, and comes with a 3 year warranty, so you have some protection incase your battery dies out.
This battery isn’t claiming to be anything it’s not, but it comes from a trusted brand, and comes with an extremely low price tag, which is why we named it our Best Low Budget pick.
Helpful Battery Buying Tips
AGM vs. Flooded
Technically speaking, Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries and Flooded batteries both fall under the category of Lead Acid battery. BUT, they have some key differences that are important to note when you are going about finding the right battery for you.
Flooded batteries can be thought of as a close imitation of an original battery. It has liquid electrolyte free-flowing throughout its interior which sometimes requires maintenance or capping off. These batteries tend to be used in older vehicles, and tend to be much cheaper than their AGM counterparts. The main issue that users find with Flooded batteries is that they are more susceptible to accidental damage due to their free-flowing liquid, which can sometimes spill out if forcefully moved, or freeze if the weather conditions are too cold.
AGM batteries are what FIXD recommends for anybody who has a modern vehicle and wants a modern battery to go along with it. They tend to out perform Flooded batteries in almost every category.
AGM batteries have a special glass mat separator that is designed to absorb the liquid electrolyte and store it as a “dry” material, eliminating many of the spilling issues that accompany Flooded batteries. The electrolytes are then transferred to the battery plates as needed.
They are typically much higher in price, but they are maintenance free, and are far less likely to be damaged due to spillage or cold temperatures.
Cold Cranking Amps
The Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) rating is an extremely important thing to pay attention to if you live in an area that experiences a lot of cold weather! Technically speaking, the CCA rating is a measure of the number of amps a battery can deliver at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 degrees Celsius) for 30 seconds and maintain a voltage of at least 7.2 volts for a 12-volt battery. In simple terms, the CCA refers to the starting power of your vehicle.
Batteries have a much harder time starting in cold weather compared to warm weather, which is why it is important to know your battery’s CCA rating. You need to know if your battery will be able to start when it is freezing outside and you have to get to work! The HIGHER the CCA rating, the better.
This number measures how long a battery can run while putting out a specific amount of power. The Ah rating is used to rate batteries that are mean to consistently be giving out low levels of current over long periods of time.
We have classified each battery as either a “High”, “Moderate”, or “Low” price option. Depending if your budget allows, we suggest that you invest in “Moderate” or “High” ranked batteries, as those typically do give you a better product that will last much longer. With proper care, batteries should last from 5 to 7 years, but the lower quality battery you get, the lower the chance of you reaching that optimal usage time is. For the sake of you as a car owner, we suggest that you invest in a high quality car battery in order to avoid unexpectedly having your battery die when you are out and about.
That being said, every battery FIXD suggests on this list is reliable and well-researched, so you can be confident that even are “Low” price options will get you where you need to go.
Whenever you are contemplating buying a new battery, it is important to make sure that you are buying the correct size for your vehicle. You also must make sure that they battery is compatible with your vehicle’s terminal locations. In order to find out the correct sizing for your car battery, check your vehicle’s owner’s manual, or, if you have your Year, Make, and Model, just type them into Google to find out the correct information.
When to Change the Battery Out
It is important that change your battery out every 5 to 7 years in order to avoid having it die out on you when you need it to work the most. You will hear people say that their battery has lasted for 10 years and that the 5 to 7 year rule is conservative, but it’s important to remember that this is your car’s battery that we are talking about! This is one of the key components that enables your vehicle to operate at all, and you don’t want to roll the dice on something that important!
A quality car battery is an investment, and one that is well worth making.