The Best Car Batteries: Top Model Types and Brands

January 27, 2012

When trying to determine what are the best car batteries on the market, projected usage, along with load demands that will be placed upon the battery must be taken into account more than anything else. Every car has a minimum number of cold cranking amps that it requires in order to start the vehicle. Installed accessories and the demands they place on the electrical system must be taken into account also when determining which battery is the best one for your needs.

Best Overall Battery Brand

The overall best car batteries are made by Optima. This battery brand uses a unique battery design to increase the battery's output and length of service life. This unique design is immediately obvious when you look at an Optima battery for the first time. An Optima battery is designed with the plates being coiled. Additionally, most Optima batteries are designed with top, clamp type terminals and side screw type terminals. This makes them installable in any make of automobile, as vehicles manufactured by General Motors are made with side screw type terminals and most other auto makers use top, clamp type terminals. Optima batteries are available in two varieties. These varieties are shown by the color of the top of the battery. These batteries are red top, blue top and yellow top. The red top is designed to provide a massive burst of power for starting, especially in cold environments. The blue top is designed to provide an even larger amount of power when starting. The yellow top combines features of both an ultra high output battery and a deep cycle battery, which means it's capable of being drained lower than a standard car battery and still be able to crank your car. Additionally, Optima batteries are truly "maintenance free", being completely sealed. This means they are capable of being mounted anywhere in the vehicle and in any orientation, even sideways. For the average car owner, the biggest drawback to Optima batteries is the cost, with the average red top, the lowest priced, being around $150 and the yellow top being around $200. This price range makes them prohibitively expensive for the average car owner. These batteries are mainly designed for the car owner who either owns an ultra high power stereo system, a large amount of onboard electronics, or the show car/stereo competition car owner.

Best Average Use Batteries 

The average car owner isn't going to need the features and expense of an Optima battery. Interstate Batteries is one of the oldest makers of batteries for automotive use. This experience makes them one of the two best makers of automotive batteries. Interstate Batteries are available for every type of current and past production model cars. Interstate Batteries are available nationwide at a number of retailers, as well as Interstate Battery stores. Exide also makes an excellent battery for everyday use at a very affordable price. This brand also comes in sizes and series numbers to fit any automotive application. Exide also makes two universal fit batteries for those that need more power output than what is specified by the automaker, such as the owner of a high output stereo system. For the money, Interstate and Exide batteries are the best batteries on the market for the car owner who doesn't make huge power demands on a car battery, with average prices of between $50 and $75.

Projected usage is the prime factor in determining the best car batteries. If you will be installing the battery in a vehicle with a huge stereo amplifier, or video displays and a DVD player, you will want to spend the extra money on an Optima blue or yellow top battery. However, if your car only has a stock stereo, and you don't want to spend upwards of $150 on a battery, then Exide or Interstate will be the brands of choice.


Related Questions and Answers

What Is the Cheapest and Most Expensive Exide Car Battery?

The Exide car battery company offers lead acid and nickel cadmium batteries. While the actual cost of the battery depends on where you purchase the battery and whether or not you have to pay shipping, a general price range for Exide automotive batteries ranges from just over $100 to just under $200 for the heavy duty version. It also offers batteries for lawn mowers, electric vehicles, off road vehicles and more. Be sure to check on the price of a core charge before purchasing the battery, as this may change the price.

How Does the Interstate Car Battery Rank Among Other Manufacturers?

Interstate car battery options rank among the top automotive batteries to choose from. They offer a wide variety of batteries, drawing in a large target market which includes light truck, automotive, deep cycle, motorcycle, heavy duty, commercial vehicle and more. The prices are reasonable, ranging from around $90 to $150. They are known as the #1 replacement battery company in the U.S. Interstate also makes batteries under the NAPA brand, and can easily be found at NAPA stores. Core charges are always a factor, so make sure to take your old core in to save some money.