Top Pick: XS Power D6500 | $366 | Amazon
There are plenty of choices and brands in the world of car batteries. Which are really better than the rest? Is it worth spending extra cash on a big brand name? It can be a confusing realm to navigate, so I’ve asked the experts to share what they install in their own vehicles to help you make an informed purchase.
It’s essential to invest in the best car battery for your particular needs, particularly now during the winner. Because summer heat can diminish your battery’s inner mat and cells, they might not be ready to pull off a “cold start” out of the blue, as Harley Cheyenne - former Mercedes technician and shop foreman, now insurance adjuster - told me. Don’t cheap out: it might cost you more in the long run.
Best Car Battery Overall: XS Power D6500
“I personally use the XS Power D6500 because of how reliable it is as well as being resistant to show and vibration. I used to use an Odyssey PC680 but terminals were not included and, as well as this, I had heard that it could overcharge, and I did not want to take the risk. The XS Power was a bit more expensive, but it was worth the risk just for safety. You can extend the life of a battery by cleaning the terminals and measuring the voltage often as well as not using accessories like phone charges when the engine is off.” - Michael Lowe, CEO at Car Passionate
Best for Longevity: Optima Red Top
“From my experience, the Optima batteries seem to last longer (7-8 years) than other lead-acid batteries. They don’t allow any leaks thanks to the absorbed glass mat that absorbs the electrolyte inside, unlike the black box battery. Optima batteries are tightly compressed and have high resistance to vibrations and extreme temperatures that usually fail other batteries.” - Alex Manos, CEO at Beverly Hills Car Club
Best for Cold Weather: DieHard Platinum AGM
“Our favorite AGM car battery is the DieHard Platinum AGM, which you can get at Advance Auto for around $200 and comes with a 3-Year free replacement guarantee. AGM batteries tend to be more robust in general as well since they provide a stronger consistent voltage, are lighter per amp, and are more resistant to vibrations, leading to a longer life. They do tend to be a little more expensive than traditional batteries, but we stand by them due to their durability and resistance to extreme temperatures.” - Chris Burdick, Founder of Gearhead Media
If you’re looking for a standard battery, pay more attention to the price and warranty details instead of the brand on the label.
“Most automotive batteries in North America are manufactured by [formerly Johnson Controls, now called Clarios]. Walmart, Autozone, Advance Auto, Interstate, Optima, and even a number of OEM batteries are made by [Clarios]” explained Honda and Hyundai certified car technician Katie Pardo. “The only difference is the specification and warranty set by the retailer. Essentially they are all the same thing.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misstated that the batteries were made by JCI. That portion of Johnston Controls was in fact sold and now manufactured by Clarios.
This article was originally published by Chaya Milchtein on 12/30/2020 and updated with new information by Andrew Hayward on 02/12/2021.