Whether you drive a car, truck, or SUV, or whether you have an electric-start ATV, personal watercraft, or a child-size electric vehicle, you’re going to need reliable battery power. The battery is used to start your vehicle, operate its functions and features, or most likely a combination of both.
Choosing a battery for your motorized vehicle is more complex than you’d initially imagine. You need to ensure the battery is physically the right size to fit in your machine, the post design is correct for the battery cables to reach readily, and the battery has suitable reserve and cranking power.
- Reserve Capacity
- Cold Cranking Amps
- Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery
- Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
- Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
- Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery
- Exide Edge FP-AGML4/94R Flat Plate AGM Sealed Automotive Battery
Regardless of the vehicle that needs a new battery, it has to fit. A battery that’s too big won’t slide into place and a battery that’s too small won’t have the capacity your vehicle requires.
Batteries are categorized by group number. When selecting a new battery for your vehicle, use the exact group number as the original battery for a precision fit.
Post configuration is as important as any for your vehicle. Your vehicle’s battery cables are meant to reach only far enough to attach to the proper battery, so buying one with the wrong terminal or post setup won’t work, or at worst, could result in a dangerous short or fire. Selecting the right group number for your replacement battery will ensure the right post configuration.
Reserve capacity (RC) is a rating in minutes of how long your battery will be able to supply a minimum operating charge in the event your alternator dies. Vehicles with high demand for electrical power should choose a battery with the highest RC rating possible.
Cold Cranking Amps
In cold weather, your car engine requires a much higher amperage from the battery to start. That’s because everything is cold and stiff, and the starter has to put out more effort. The rule of thumb for drivers in climates that see sub-zero temperatures is to buy the battery with the highest CCA rating possible, ensuring the most reliable cold starts.
Choose a battery whose manufacturer backs their product for the longest time. If you’re given the choice between a 12-month warranty on your new battery and a 36-month warranty, which one do you think will provide you better peace of mind? Typically, the warranty period indicates the quality of the battery as well.
Choose your next battery from these top-rated batteries.
Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery
The Optima RedTop battery series is the pinnacle of AGM batteries. They are built using a unique SpiralCell design that is cleaner, safer, and more durable than your standard absorbent glass-mat (AGM) battery. It’s a particularly popular choice for off-roaders and custom-built cars due to the leak-proof case, its proven starting power, and its amazing power.
The Optima RedTop Starting Battery is a 12-volt battery with 800 cold cranking amps (CCA) making it the ideal battery for cold-weather climates and high-performance vehicles. It has a 100-minute reserve capacity, promising constant power with or without the engine running. Its unique SpiralCell battery cells are 15 times more resistant to vibration that would damage a normal battery and recharge up to twice as fast as a standard flat-plate AGM battery.
The RedTop battery is excellent as a starting battery and can operate well as a normal replacement car battery, but is not ideal in situations where deep cycle charging is necessary such as RVs and boats.
Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
The Optima YellowTop battery series is the best of dual-purpose batteries. Like the RedTop battery that is primarily designed for starting ability, the YellowTop battery is supremely capable of cranking over a high-compression performance car just as reliably as an economy or compact car. What sets the YellowTop battery apart is its unparalleled deep-cycle recharging ability, making it ideal for the driver with lots of accessories.
With a cold-cranking amperage rating of 650A, the Optima YellowTop battery will be all most people need whether you live in the cold north or the heat of the south. Its SpiralCell design helps prevent discharge simply through lack of use, so you can park your vehicle for the winter and still have power to start it when you take it out of storage. With a 98-minute reserve, you’ll have plenty of reserve power to operate your electrical devices whether it’s a winch on your truck, a DVD player in your SUV, or a performance sound system in your car.
The Optima YellowTop battery is an excellent overall choice, however those who live in the deep north or see temperatures of -30F may want to look to for a higher CCA rating instead.
Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
The Optima BlueTop battery series is your ideal choice for marine applications. While the dark gray case BlueTop is strictly for starting, the BlueTop battery with a light gray case earns the top spot for marine applications requiring deep-cycle operation. Even in harsh conditions, the BlueTop battery can be depended on to turn over your motor. It’s a maintenance-free battery, requiring no servicing during its lifespan.
The Optima BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery has 750 CCA, more than enough for reliable starting in any open-water conditions. With a reserve capacity of 120 minutes, you can use your electrical devices such as a 12V trolling motor, marine electronics, and sonar with enough battery life to start your boat at the end. The SpiralCell technology means your battery is 15 times more resistant to vibrations like the impact of the waves or the rough roads towing your boat, and the BlueTop battery can be recharged up to three times more often than a standard AGM battery.
The Optima BlueTop battery is overkill in many situations that don’t require deep-cycle capabilities, and its price is typically quite a bit more than a standard car battery.
Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery
Odyssey batteries are a great choice for automotive applications in temperate areas. The Odyssey PC925 automotive battery has a cold cranking amperage rating of 330 CCA, and is backed by one of the best warranties on car batteries with free replacement over 3 or 4 years depending on the model. Odyssey claims their batteries have a longer life than average of up to 10 years.
The Odyssey PC925 is highly tolerant of deep-cycle charging, accepting up to 400 charges when the battery power is depleted to 80 percent or more, which is stellar. It’s also capable of a faster recharge than most car batteries with a full charge in just 4-6 hours.
Mounting options are flexible also. Because it is an AGM battery, it is spillproof and can be mounted in any direction, even on its side.
Because its CCA rating is so low, the Odyssey PC925 is not a suitable choice for vehicles exposed to cold temperatures or even vehicles that require high amounts of electrical power to start.
Exide Edge FP-AGML4/94R Flat Plate AGM Sealed Automotive Battery
One of the most highly rated batteries in the marketplace is the Exide Edge flat plate AGM battery. It has one of the top rated amperage capacities and reserve capacities and is a durable, long-lasting construction. It is rated at 800 CCA, and has a 140-minute reserve capacity, far outperforming almost all other batteries in its category.
The absorbent glass mat construction makes the Exide Edge an excellent choice for off-road vehicles, large-engined cars and trucks, and high-performance cars and is less affected by vibration and jostling than others.
The Exide Edge is not a deep-cycle battery so it does not perform as well when the battery is experiencing high electrical draws that deplete the battery significantly.
Overall, the Optima YellowTop battery looks to be the best choice for an all-around automotive battery. It has above average cold cranking amps, decent reserve capacity, and is tolerant of deep-cycle charging. If extreme power is what you’re looking for, the Exide Edge flat plate AGM battery is your best option with the highest CCA and reserve capacities of the bunch, however it’s not the best choice for vehicles with excessive draws.