5 Types of Batteries for a Car: Prices and Reviews

January 27, 2012

There are many different types of batteries for a car. An automotive battery is used to start the car, power the lights, and more. When you drive, your engine constantly recharges the battery. However, these batteries have a set life and at some point you will need a replacement battery. There are many batteries to choose from, and you need to determine which is best for your car and circumstances, as a deep cycle battery is not the best for every vehicle.

  1. Wet/Flooded Battery: The wet/flooded battery is one of the most popular types of batteries. It is so popular because the battery price is very low. The battery design uses plates that are freely suspended. These plates are insulated from each other as the negative plate is completely sealed in a separator bag. These are maintenance free and sealed so no gases are replaced. The fluid in the battery will last until the battery dies and you do not have to keep topping it off. These batteries can range from $50 to several hundreds of dollars depending on the brand.
  2. Calcium-Calcium Battery: This battery has a calcium alloy that is on the different charged plates. This calcium reduces the amount of fluid loss and the rate of self discharge is much slower. The main disadvantage is that you can seriously damage the battery if you overcharge it. The bubbles that move through the fluid are important, as they are responsible for mixing the different acid densities. You can find a calcium-calcium battery for under $100.
  3. VRLA: The VRLA stands for a valve regulated lead acid battery. This name really describes the safety valves that are on the battery box. The safety valves are all pressurized. By containing the gas in the battery it will mix and form water so you stop any fluid loss. There are two main designs of this VRLA battery: AGM or GEL. A GEL battery uses silicon to make the acid more solid and like a gel. This type of battery is very good but is not the best for a starter battery. This type of battery costs between $100 to $250.The AGM battery uses absorbed glass matt. The matts are very thin, which keeps internal resistance very low. This makes it a perfect battery for starting a car, as you can get a lot of power out of very small volume. AGM batteries price range anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the brand.
  4. Deep Cycle: A deep cycle battery will provide power for a very long time. These are typically used on small boats, golf carts, or electric vehicles. You will also find these used to collect and store solar and wind power. These batteries have thicker plates inside the battery as this increases the capacity charge. They are typically not used for cars because they have a high discharge rate, so the battery will run down very quickly. If you do not drive your car for a long time, then you will not sufficiently recharge the battery. Deep cycle batteries are expensive and starting prices are about $200.
  5. Lithium Ion Battery: Some high performance vehicles or limited edition cars will offer a lithium ion battery. This battery is used primarily for electric vehicles, as they are much lighter which provides a more fuel efficient vehicle. The Porsche 911 2010 model uses the lithium ion battery for starting. These are very expensive batteries, and starting costs for cars are about $1,000.
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