Featured Product: XS Power D6500 | $419 | Amazon
You have no shortage of options when it comes to a car battery. There are loads of choices and brands out there, but which are better than the rest? Should you spend extra on a big brand name? It’s a confusing space to try and sort through, so I asked expects to share what they use in their own vehicles so that you can make an informed purchase.
It’s critical to invest in the best battery you can for your particular use cases, particularly for when the cold weather returns. Summer heat can wear on your battery’s inner mat and cells, so they might not be able to handle a “cold start” when winter comes, as Harley Cheyenne - a former Mercedes technician and shop foreman turned insurance adjuster - told me. Don’t cheap out on your car battery: it could cost you more in the end.
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
Need a standard car battery? Typically, the price and warranty details matter more than the brand name you see 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 Hyundai and Honda 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 07/29/2021.