4 way test comparison between Toyota Prius 12v Batteries
Peter Neilson's picture

Toyota Prius 12v Battery Comparison Test: Which Is The Best Value?

I cannot tell you how many times I get asked what 12v battery should be put in your Toyota Prius. Here is my comparison chart and what you need to know about these 12v batteries.
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I think I have seen over 100 posts now on a 12v battery that has died in a Prius and what one should replace it. Prius owners seem to believe that the dealer is the worst option, but is it?

I made a 4-way comparison on AGM Prius batteries looking at warranty and cost. Here is what I came up with and what battery I think you should put in your Prius.

Toyota Truestart AGM OE Battery
Dealerships sometimes get a bad rap, but the thing is, have you looked into what they are offering? When it comes to a 12v replacement battery for your Prius, they are on the high end of price, but what are you getting?

The Truestart option for Prius comes with an 84-month warranty. Out of all the batteries that I reviewed, this is the best warranty for a few reasons. First, it has a 24-month FREE replacement warranty with an additional prorated 60-month warranty on top of that.

Toyota Truestart 12v Battery Prius

The other thing is (and this is in the fine print) the warranty on this battery includes a FREE tow to the dealership specifically to replace the 12v should that be the issue. Plus, you are getting a battery that is made for your Prius.

The cost? $231.41 MSRP, which should translate to around $250 once installed and after taxes when you turn in your core. So how do the others stack up? We will see.

Optima Yellow Top AGM Battery
When Optima batteries came to market, they were for sure better. Overtime, Optima has failed to live up to those standards they once set and now warranty everything they see. Not a great business model.

Toyota Prius Optima Yellow Top 12v Battery

Optima warranty is a 24-month free replacement (according to the website). You get no prorated warranty either. Coming in at the highest price of $249.99 MSRP, this battery for what you get is seriously overvalued.

I do not care what Optima says on their website about it "can last up to 3x longer" I have replaced more yellow top batteries in Prius than I care to mention. This battery was the first loser in my book, no question. You do not get what you pay for here.

The Super Start Platinum Battery O'reilly
Slightly better on the price coming in at a $199.99 MSRP with core exchange, this battery seems reasonable for the price. However, the devil is in the details with this one.

Toyota Prius battery super start agm

The 36-month warranty only gives you a 12-month free replacement and a 24 month prorated. That is all fine and good, but most of the AGM batteries far exceed that warranty lifespan, so this battery warranty is basically useless.

In a pinch, maybe, or if you were selling the car and wanted to get your customer on the way, sure, it is cheaper, but cheaper is not always better.

NAPA Legend Premium AGM
This battery is the price winner. Coming in at an MSRP of $194.99 with core, before taxes, it is the lowest cost battery out of the 4.

NAPA Legend 12v battery Prius

The warranty on this one surprised me, 75 months. 18 months free replacement and a 57-month proration give you more than the other two aftermarket batteries.

Conclusion
The Toyota Truestart battery is the winner. It may be more money, but you get the best warranty, and if it dies, you get a free tow to the dealership to get another installed. With over 1200 locations across the nation, you seriously cannot go wrong with this.

The 4 way battery comparison

The Truestart also offers the correct internal resistance, which is critical for battery health and longevity. One of the reasons that the Optima is not a great option is they cannot get the internal resistance correct.

The close second would be the NAPA because of the warranty and the price point; it is a good option. Anyway, I hope this clears up a lot of misinformation floating around, and you can now make an informed decision.

Thank you, and I hope your weekend is fantastic. See you in the next article; The automotive industry is changing and solid state battery tech is the reason.

Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


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Comments

I have replaced 2 prius batteries. The 1st Toyota AGM lasted 3 years and was replaced with optima yellow top AGM and I traded the prius for a newer prius. The Toyota battery lasted 7 years and was replaced with an O'Reilly AGM because of distance to the dealer. 2 years on the battery and I am experimenting recondition/trickle charge the battery with an Optims recondion/trickle charger every month or so.
You overlooked GM's AC Delco AGM battery. A clear winner for my 2018 Prius Prime.
Which size or BCI group of the GM's AC Delco AGM battery are you using for your Prius Prime? I'm finding that looking for a battery for this thing is becoming a nightmare.
Why use AGM? Start/stop system is not going from 12V but from hybrid (big) battery. So why agm and not normal battery?
Because they charge differently, and the prius is built to charge AGM style batteries. They're also non spillable, meaning the electrolyte is suspended in gel, opposed to liquid.
I replaced the factory battery in a 2007 after 4 years with a yellow top that lasted 7 years with another yellow top that has 2 years on it now. Just because you replaced several doesn't mean anything really. Maybe those people don't know how to not run a battery down in the first place and do a full charge at the start of each winter.
You should check out the Duracell-branded AGM battery made by East Penn and sold at Batteries Plus and Costco. 48 month free replacement and cheaper than Optima and OEM. East Penn has a great reputation for AGM. Optima supposedly has dropped in quality the last few years.
I will have to check them out when the time comes to replace my current one. Thank you for the info on the actual manufacture.
Based on my experience, I'm not sure the 12v battery is all that important. My 2008 Prius (bought used in 2015 with 150K on it) was showing signs of needing a new 12v battery in 2019. To be honest, I didn't know exactly where the battery was in my Prius, and had never seen it. When I took it into the shop to get a new battery installed, the service people started laughing and called me out to look. For the entire time I had owned my Prius there was a garden tractor battery in the spot for the 12v battery! The standard 12v battery for a Prius isn't very big but the garden tractor battery was less than half the size! So, for four years (probably more) the garden tractor battery did the job for me and my Prius. BTW, I live in upstate NY and we get quite a variety of weather- subfreezing winters and close to 100 degree summers. At the time of battery replacement the car had about 240K miles.
I replaced a Toyota battery in my 2009 prius with an Optima in2013. It is still going strong! So take what you read in this article with a grain of salt!
Great job on a clear, concise, and to the point article. I now know which 12 volt battery to buy, thanks.
I had my battery replaced in my 2008 Prius after nine years. Couldn’t believe it lasted that long.
My 12 volt battery in 2011 Prius is OEM battery I guess I'll just buy new one from Toyota when the time comes so far still working I have 67,000 mile on the car. ....!! If I had to change out 12 volt might try Lipo4 see if it holds up...!! any answers are welcome.?
I just replaced the battery today on my friend's 2012 Toyota Camry, and got a Duralast Gold battery with an included 36 month free replacement warranty for $169. I think that generally we may see more batteries needing replacement now because Covid means cars often sit a longer time between drives, and trips are generally shorter, with less chance to recharge the battery.
The o'reilly and napa batteries pictured are both made by East Penn - they are the exact same battery, as they do not build to spec for individual customers. You can compare the specs yourself to the part numbers on their cross reference site dekacatalog (Deka is their house brand). They are highly regarded replacement agm batteries for the Prius.
12 volt battery has anyone used Lipo4 battery instead agm battery..??
My wife's Prius 12v died so I call the dealership, and they had never heard of the free tow thing. They did tell me they'd sell me the battery, though. So there's that.