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Best Car Batteries for the Money in 2024

Here are the best 2024 car batteries for the money recently rated by Consumer Reports and what you need to know before buying a new car battery and making it last its longest.

According to a recent Consumer Reports newsletter there is a broad range of prices when it comes to buying a new battery for your car. In fact, among those recently tested by CR analysts the average price was $170 with the highest reaching more than $350.

Does Paying More for a Battery Guarantee a Better Battery?

In short, paying more for a battery does not necessarily guarantee that it is the better battery for you and your car. In fact, in many cases you might not need to pay those higher prices for your car. Rather than becoming too focused on pricing, it can payoff to look a little deeper into a battery’s value by focusing more on what kind of performance you are going to get for your hard-earned dollar.

According to the Consumer Reports’ newsletter:

 “The best value may be in choosing a strong performer that can be had for much less than the cost of the top battery,” says John Galeotafiore, who oversees the testing of car batteries at Consumer Reports.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Car Battery?

Choosing the best price and performance is only part of the equation toward your decision making. You also have to decide whether you can (or want to) DIY, or whether it makes more sense to let a qualified mechanic or trained technician do the battery replacement for you.

Depending on the make, model, and year of your car, it could be more involved than simply popping open the hood and loosening the battery terminal bolts before lifting the old battery out. Many models have their batteries installed in hard to access areas that require some removal of parts before installation that may be dangerous to handle―especially with Hybrid cars.

Relates article: Toyota Hybrid Owner Experience with an Aftermarket Hybrid Battery

Furthermore, with a battery replacement, your vehicle may require reprogramming of systems that are dependent on a constant source of power at all times. To find out whether this applies to your vehicle you will need to consult your vehicle owner’s manual or ask a trusted mechanic.

How Do I Know What Battery To Buy For My Car?

At the very least, you need to know the Group Type of your vehicle’s battery due to the physical size, placement of the terminals (side or top), and mounting style that typically varies with each model.

Related article: Never Buy This Battery Type for Your Car

You can find out the Group Type by:

• Checking your owner’s manual.

• Go online and take advantage of battery company websites that have search engines to help you select the correct battery.

• Visit an auto parts store where you will often find in-store guides in the battery department and/or ask the clerk to look it up for you. In fact, often they will offer free installation of most of the batteries they sell, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself or adding to the cost of a battery by having to hire someone else to install it.

Related Article Warning: Auto Parts Store Free Service Leaves Customer Stranded

• If you have one, ask your local mechanic for his recommendation.

• If you are the original owner of your vehicle, you could check the labeling on the original battery. Used car buyers need to be aware that ofttimes sellers will install a cheaper lower amp battery before selling a car and therefore it might not be the correct one rated for your car.

How Many Cold Cranking Amps Does My Car’s Battery Need?

Cold-cranking amps (CCA) are simply a measure of how well a battery can turn over an engine for starting during cold weather. Manufacturers typically simulate winter conditions, by cooling batteries to 0° F, and then rate their batteries CCA based on their performance.

However, not all manufacturers’ CCA values match those performed by independent testers. Which is why it pays to research batteries and their performance from sources such as Consumer Reports.

We feel that our CCA test is based on more realistic charging voltages and amperage demands than typical manufacturers’ tests, and our results show each battery’s relative cranking power, regardless of manufacturer’s claims,” stated CR analysts in an earlier newsletter and their Car Battery Buying Guide.

For more about what you need to know about replacing your battery and its cold cranking amp value, here’s an informative video from the MotorWeek YouTube channel that helps explain what you need to know in selecting a battery for your car when it comes to understanding cranking amp and cold cranking amps.

Goss' Garage: Battery Replacement


What Can I Do to Make My Battery Last Longer?

Just like maintaining your car engine, basic battery maintenance can help your car last longer. Here is a mini guide for car battery maintenance, testing, and replacement using simple inexpensive tools you should have in your garage:

Basic Car Battery Maintenance Guide

Step 1: Inspect the battery cable connector-to-post fit―try wiggling the battery cable connectors to the positive and negative posts. If they move slightly, tighten them up because a loose connection could interfere with the flow of electricity from the battery to the starter and be the source of your problem.

Step 2: Inspect the battery posts for corrosion―that bluish green or white gunk on your battery posts can cause a poor or nonexistent connection between the battery posts and the cables. Plus, too much of that gunk can cause leaking of electricity.

Remove the cables from the posts and use a paste-like slurry of baking soda and water with an old toothbrush or small wire brush to clean the surfaces of the posts and the cable connectors; Or get one of those handy wire battery terminal post brushes to scrape the outside of the posts and the inside of the connectors clean.

Step 3: Test the battery voltage with a multimeter―once you’ve determined that your connections between the battery posts and cables are fine, now is the time to check the voltage of the battery. Simply set the multimeter to DC volts at a setting one click above 12 volts and apply the red test lead to the positive battery post and the black lead to the negative battery post and note the voltage reading.

If the reading is 12.4 to 12.6 volts, then the battery is fully charged. If the reading is significantly lower at 10.5 volts, then you might have a bad cell since with 6 cells―each providing 2.1 volts of power each―a bad cell would cause a reading of roughly 2 volts less than fully charged. While this is a good indication of a bad battery cell, it could just be a coincidence and the fault(s) lie elsewhere. In either case, a second multimeter test is needed if the multimeter shows the battery is not fully charged.

Step 4: A second voltage test with a multimeter and a battery charger―if the battery does have a bad cell, then there is no fixing it---even with a long recharge of the battery using a battery charger. It’s a physical and chemical impossibility.

So to test this, connect a battery charger to your battery posts―red to positive, black to negative―and leave your multimeter on the battery posts as well during the charging. Let the battery recharge for two hours and note the voltage on both the multimeter and the meter on the charger if it has one.

After 2 hours, you might see that the voltage readings on both meter faces show a fully charged battery at 12.2-12.4 volts. However, this can be misleading since power is constantly applied to the battery. To find out if the previous voltage reading was low and hinting at a bad cell, turn off the charger and watch the multimeter reading. If the reading drops rather quickly back to the low voltage reading of 10.5 volts, then it is likely a bad cell problem with the battery. If the battery holds its charge however, then the battery is not likely the problem.

Caveat Warning: However, there are caveats to step 4. Just because after charging the battery and observing a fully charged indication on your voltmeter, this does not guarantee a healthy battery. In fact, your car’s electrical system could be “holding” a temporary charge causing a false reading. Some automotive sites recommend waiting an hour before retesting your battery with a multimeter so as to get a measure of the battery’s true resting voltage.

But more to the point, you cannot really get an accurate battery voltage reading connecting a voltmeter directly to a battery. For more accuracy, the battery needs to be under an electrical load to test its actual health.

One way to do this is to put a load on the system by turning on the headlights or AC and seeing what happens on the voltage reading. The voltage should drop by a few tenths, but not much further. Next, turn off the accessories and see what happens to the voltage reading. If it goes back to showing fully charged, then your battery is probably good. However, if the voltage reading remains low after shutting off the accessories, then it’s likely a bad battery is your problem.

As a final test, have someone crank the engine while you watch the multimeter. If the voltage reading drops by 1 to 1.5 volts and then returns to fully charged after a brief cranking, then the battery is likely okay. If the reading drops to 8- or 9-volts during cranking, then the battery is likely bad.

A caveat to a caveat―with all of this said and done, there are times when a battery will foil your best testing techniques with a simple multimeter. Sometimes batteries will be at a―for lack of a better explanation beyond this article’s focus― “going bad” stage just temporarily and interfere with your testing. There could be a bad cell plate that is just barely connecting (or shorting) and causing some skitzy results.

A better test is to take an actual battery voltage indicator with a built-in load source to check the health of a battery. In this case, it is preferable to put the multimeter aside and buy a true battery tester and/or go to your local automotive parts store where they will likely test your battery on their equipment for free. I would recommend that they show you what their battery tester shows on its display just to be sure before committing to buying a new battery.

Where To Go From Here

Hopefully by this point you have learned something new or useful and are motivated to learn even more. Here is where I would highly recommend turning to the video below and learn not just some good techniques about how to remove a battery, choose a battery and install a new battery, but also how to diagnose whether your battery problems are due to a faulty alternator, a faulty connection between the battery and the alternator; or, if there is a hidden mystery electrical drain sucking the juice out of your battery over time like a Brahms Stoker character.

How to Test and Replace a Bad Car Battery (COMPLETE Ultimate Guide)



To help consumers match their battery group type with their vehicle, CR analysts categorized the groups with a potential listing of models along with their recommended best performing for the price of each battery within their group with each battery rated according to their:

1. Overall Score: CCA, or cold-cranking amps: How well the battery starts an engine during extreme cold weather.

2. Life: How the battery performs through repeated draining and recharging.

3. Reserve capacity: How long it can supply energy if the car’s charging system fails.

A summary of the listing is provided below:

Car Battery Groups

Size 24 and 24F: Fits many Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
• Recommended battery: NAPA Legend Premium 8424F

• Price: $130

Size 35: Fits most Japanese nameplates, including many Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles.
• Recommended battery: Super Start Extreme 35EXTJ

• Price: $155

Size 47 (H5): Fits many Buick, Chevrolet, Fiat, and Volkswagen models.
• Recommended battery: Interstate Mega-Tron II MT47H5

• Price: $135

Size 48 (H6): Fits many vehicles from Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
• Recommended battery: Exide Marathon Max AGM MXH6L348 [FPAGML348]

• Price: $180

Size 49 (H8): Fits many vehicles from Audi, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.
• Recommended battery: ACDelco 49 AGM

• Price: $184.99

Size 51R: Fits many vehicles from Hyundai, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.
• Recommended battery: Duracell 51R

• Price: $105

Size 65: Fits large cars, trucks, and sport-utility vehicles from Ford and Mercury.
• Recommended battery: ACDelco Professional Gold 65PG

• Price: $125

For a more detailed breakdown of each battery chosen as well as alternative choices, please visit the Consumer Reports website. Note that while access to some information requires a CR membership, the potential savings make it negligible in comparison when looking for the latest information to aid your car buying research.

For additional articles related to car batteries, here are three for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on  “Zen and the Art of DIY Car Repair” website, the Zen Mechanic blog and on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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