What's a Good Car Battery: Specs, Amps Per Hour, Price, and Charge

December 19, 2012

When you’re looking for a good car battery, you will want to strike a happy medium between battery quality and car battery life and how much you’re going to have to pay. There are three factors involved in determining the total price you’ll pay for a good car battery, if you decide to install it yourself. The first part is the actual price of the battery, then you will of course have sales tax. After that, you will have to pay a core charge, which in most places is $5. However, that core charge will be returned when you bring the old battery back to where you bought the new one. Batteries come in basically four quality levels: mediocre, ultra-low price and quality, acceptably priced good quality, slightly more expensive, but still reasonably priced better quality and very high priced, extra high quality.

Car Battery Specifications

There are two main specifications to consider when purchasing a car battery. These are listed below:

  • Series number-This is an alpha-numeric designation, such as 78R, 22F, 24, that match up to the correct size and shape for your car.
  • Cold Cranking Amps-This is the amount of current that the battery is capable of supplying at zero degrees, while still maintaining a usable charge.
  • Reserve capacity is a somewhat minor battery specification, unless you run accessories without the engine running. Reserve capacity is a unit of measure which states how long the battery can power a certain load and still retain a usable charge for car starting. The higher the number, the better, and more expensive the battery. This is also known as Amp-hours.

The Best Brand

If price isn’t an issue for you, then you’re going to want to purchase either a red or blue top Optima battery. Optima uses a unique coiled design of lead oxide plates to optimize battery output and extend car battery life. The construction methods and materials used in Optima batteries are the best available. They also make a yellow top battery which is an even higher quality battery, which combines features of both regular car batteries and deep cycle marine/RV batteries. For an Optima red top battery, the price will be an average of $100 to $150, depending on exactly which one you get and where you buy it. An Optima blue top, with slightly more output, will average between $150 and $250. Again, the exact price will depend on model and output. The Optima yellow top, the overall best car battery available, will cost between $200 and $275. Optima red top batteries are rated at about 720 cold cranking amps, with up to 900 Amps surge. A blue top battery will be rated around 800 cold cranking amps and be capable of supplying up to 1,000 Amps surge. Yellow tops are rated for the same output levels as blue tops. Red and blue tops have a 12 month free replacement warranty period, while a yellow top has an 18 month free replacement warranty period.

If prices over $100 are too much for you to pay, Exide and Interstate batteries are both batteries that are of very good quality with prices below $75 each. The preceding paragraphs contain information regarding battery specifications and the best car battery maker on the market.