Even on the coldest morning, you want your car to start without a hitch. It doesn’t matter what you drive. If you don’t have the best car battery brand, you won’t get it to turn over.
Take it from a mechanic – these are the brands you want. Not only will they get your car or truck going in the heart of winter, but they’ll keep it running year after year.
Editor’s Choice: Optima
As somebody who’s changed hundreds of car batteries, Optima’s are the ones you want if you want your car to keep starting year after year. They aren’t cheap, but their reliability, performance, and durability more than make up for it.
They offer a few different options; most regular automotive applications will utilize either the Optima Redtop or Yellowtop. Optima designed the Optima Redtop battery for cars, where the Optima Yellowtop is ideal for larger trucks. Optima even has an option for marine batteries.
The thing with Optima batteries is that it doesn’t matter which one you choose; it’s a great choice. Unlike other brands that make you buy their higher-end battery to get consistent performance, all of Optima’s batteries are high performers. It’s why Optima offers a 36-month warranty on all of their batteries.
- Long-lasting AGM option
- High cold-cranking amps across all models
- Great options for both cars and trucks
- 36-month warranty
Best Lead Acid Battery Brand: DieHard
While AGM batteries are all the rage, they also come equipped with a high price tag. While Die Hard also produces high-quality AGM batteries, their lead-acid batteries are what sets them apart from the pack.
They are long-lasting and come with a 36-month warranty. The DieHard group 65 are their top of the line lead-acid batteries, and they come with an impressive 880 cold-cranking amps. You don’t need to worry about getting your car started on even the coldest days with that many amps.
While DieHard batteries are more expensive than other lead-acid batteries, they are still cheaper than most AGM battery brands. DieHard batteries are made in Wisconsin and only available through select dealers.
If you’re looking for a DieHard battery, you’ll need to head to an Advanced Auto Parts, CarQuest, K-Mart, or Sears. If you’re looking for the closest DieHard battery dealer, find one here.
- 36-month warranty
- Up to 880 cold-cranking amps for group 65 batteries
- American made
- Only carried by select dealers
- Expensive for a lead-acid battery
Budget Pick – Lead Acid Battery Brand: AC Delco
Just because you’re not spending a ton of money doesn’t mean that you need to settle for the bottom of the barrel car battery. AC Delco has a wide range of battery options – and even their high-end options are incredibly affordable.
The best part is that their top-end batteries come with a 42-month warranty, but their lower end batteries only come with an 18-month warranty.
Since they have such a wide range of options, you can find exactly what you’re looking for – without paying for what you don’t need. Maybe you live down South and don’t need a battery with a ton of cold cranking amps.
While AC Delco batteries let you stick with a trusted brand that makes a wide variety of automotive parts, they are manufactured worldwide. While this might not seem like a big deal, the products they make in locations like Saudi Arabia have a history of failing quicker than their American made products.
- Wide selection to choose from
- Top-end batteries come with a 42-month warranty
- Offer both maintenance-free and flooded filler cap options
- Very affordable
- Low-end batteries only come with an 18-month warranty
- Batteries are made all over the world – you never know what you’re going to get
Best AGM Battery Brand: Odyssey
While our Editor’s choice is the Optima brand, Odyssey batteries are another outstanding choice. Depending on the battery that you choose, they either come with a 36- or 48-month warranty, giving you peace of mind for years to come.
Even better, their AGM batteries can last for up to 10-years, meaning that it’s one less thing for you to spend money on for the next decade. And their top-end AGM batteries have up to 950 cold-cranking amps, so even if you live in a remote corner of Alaska, you’ll be able to get your car started in the morning.
The only real drawback to an Odyssey battery is the price tag. While they are a top-end battery, they’re priced like one too. If you don’t need that many cold-cranking amps, you might be better off finding a more affordable option.
- Up to 48-month warranty
- 950 cold-cranking amps
- Lasts for up to 10 years
- High price tag
Budget Pick – AGM Battery Brand: MaxStart
AGM batteries offer a multitude of advantages over a lead-acid battery. However, the most significant disadvantage is often the price. While MaxStart batteries don’t eliminate that disadvantage, they do minimize it.
MaxStart batteries are affordably priced – for an AGM battery. They come with a 36-month warranty, but the chances are that your battery will be good for at least five years and might make it ten.
You’ll have to be careful when selecting your MaxStart battery, as they offer a wide range of sizes to fit various vehicles. While this can be convenient, it can also be a headache trying to figure out what size battery fits in your car.
The biggest drawback to the most affordable MaxStart battery is the cold cranking amps. At only 680 amps, this battery isn’t the strongest one of the bunch. However, it’s plenty strong enough for most applications in the continental United States.
- 36-month warranty
- Affordable AGM battery option
- Vehicle specific size options
- As little as 680
If you don’t know a lick about cars, picking the perfect battery can be more than just a little overwhelming. But after reading this guide, you’ll be able to find the ideal battery from your car. That way, you can rest easy knowing your vehicle will start every time you get in.
Lead Acid vs. AGM
It’s the two most significant battery options out there. But what’s the difference? Typical lead-acid batteries are sitting in a battery acid pool – previously, they often needed upkeep every few months, but newer options are maintenance-free. Meanwhile, AGM batteries are always sealed and offer a few advantages.
But what battery do you need? Read more about both options and decide for yourself!
Lead Acid Batteries
It’s the typical car battery, and vehicles have used them for years. Sometimes they come with removable caps, allowing you to service them every few months to keep them running longer. However, most newer batteries are maintenance-free, even if they aren’t AGM.
The most significant drawbacks to regular lead-acid batteries are that they don’t last as long, and they’re not suitable for off-road vehicles. Lead-acid batteries need to stay upright at all times, or else they’ll leak, and excessive vibrations wear them down quickly.
The advantage of a lead-acid battery? They’re far cheaper than the AGM alternative.
- Lower price
- Don’t last as long
- Sometimes aren’t maintenance-free
- Need to stay upright at all times
Simply put, an AGM battery is an upgraded battery. They offer a wide array of benefits, and the only real drawback is the upfront price. But while regular lead-acid batteries only have a shelf life of about five years, an AGM battery can last up to 10 – and most of the time, AGM batteries aren’t twice the cost of their lead-acid counterparts.
Even better, AGM batteries hold their charges better in storage, handle far more vibrations, and are always maintenance free. They’re ideal for off-road vehicles, as they don’t always need to stay upright. That’s because AGM batteries are completely sealed, so nothing will ever leak out.
Keep in mind that AGM batteries don’t make it easier to start your vehicle in cold conditions; that’s all about the cold-cranking amps. A lead-acid battery with more cold cranking amps will still be better at starting a vehicle then an AGM battery with fewer cold-cranking amps.
- Last longer
- Always maintenance-free
- Doesn’t need to stay upright
- Holds charges longer in storage
- Can handle more vibrations
- More expensive
The Final Verdict
When it’s time to replace your battery, it’s one job that you don’t want to put off, because nothing’s worse than trying to get somewhere and not being able to get your car started. And you want to rest easy knowing that when you shut off your car, you’ll be able to get it going again without any problems.
Do your research and get a battery that’s going to get the job done, and if you’re not sure what you need, play it safe and get a long-lasting AGM battery, and always get a little more cold-cranking amps than you think you’ll need. While they might cost you a little more upfront, they’ll save you money in the long run.