Although we tend to take them for granted, it’s hard to deny the fact that diesels offer quite a few unique benefits over their traditional gas counterparts. To make things even better, all these benefits play exceptionally well with the whole massive truck story.
Don’t believe me?
What do you say then about things like high efficiency, lower maintenance costs, smooth ride, good longevity, and, probably most important, more torque that translates into more powerful towing?
Yeah, diesel engines and heavy trucks are a match made in heaven. Of course, all this power comes at a certain price. One of the biggest weaknesses of this fuel system is that it needs an incredible amount of energy to get going. In the case of the heaviest vehicles, you may even need two batteries.
But what kind of battery you need and which one of them fits your truck the best? Well, if you are troubled by these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we are going to take a look at some of the best products currently floating the market and try to find the best battery for diesel truck sitting in your garage.
So, fasten your seatbelts we are just about to hit the road!
Top 5 Best Battery for Diesel Truck to Buy In 2020 – Reviews
So, here are the top five most popular batteries currently floating the market. Just keep in mind that I’m not going to sort the product in any particular order, so if you are impatient about my final ranking, you can scroll to the Conclusion section.
1. XS Power D3400 XS Series 12V 3,300 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt
Although the company was founded relatively recently (back in 2005), XS Power has gained quite a reputation in the automotive-loving audience in the years since. And, honestly, any company that has its stake in NASCAR races is good enough for my truck as well.
So, there shouldn’t be any doubt that XS Power D3400 enters this race with a chip on its shoulder. Let us see is the battery capable of living up to the hype?
Well, the answer really depends on your expectations, but I can tell you I was more than satisfied. For a start, XS Power d3400 specs are rock solid. At the output, the battery produces 12 Volts and as well as 65 amp-hours, which is more than enough even for the heaviest trucks out there. Also, the unit has no problem delivering steady 1000 Watts even on temperatures as low as 32 degrees F. So, you have no problem using this bad boy even in severe winter conditions.
The unit’s build quality doesn’t lag too far behind its performance. As a matter of fact, I would say the performance is a direct consequence of good work put on in the engineering department. Seriously, the casing you get here is entirely sealed, spill-proof, and vibration resistant.
Now, people who are concerned with environmental issues will probably dislike the fact that manufacturer has opted to use genuine lead for manufacturing, but things are as they are – pure virgin lead simply puts on a far stronger performance than recycled alternatives.
All these things amount to a product that has no problem keeping your truck juiced and steady even if you decide to hook on a couple of portable appliances. The recharge time of barely over two hours makes the whole story very convenient as well.
I should point out, though, that in spite of all the good reputation, XS Power has notoriously bad customer service, so the only thing you can do is to pray you don’t get a faulty unit. Also, keep in mind that this, otherwise great package, comes without battery posts, so you will need to spend a couple of dollars more.
- Excellent build quality
- Pure virgin lead
- Excellent power output
- Battery puts on a steady performance even on low temperatures
- Fast recharge time
- Bad customer service
- The package content isn’t all too extensive
2. Odyssey PC680 Battery
Odyssey PC680 may not be the best battery in the world or, for that matter, even on this list. Do all these things make PC680 a lousy product, though? Not even remotely. In spite of a couple of flaws, Odyssey somehow managed to assemble the package that will attract a lot of curious customers.
First and foremost, there is the matter of price. Compared to some other entries on the list (I’m looking at you XS Power), this battery puts one incredibly reliable performance at a fraction of the price
But, just how solid?
Well, more than enough for a good ancillary unit. You get your 16 amp-hours, 100 Watts output, 170 CCA (hot cranking amps go all the way up to 520 in short bursts), and 24 reserve capacity minutes. Slightly lower numbers than the ones you can find in PC925, but still very decent for the money.
The area where Odyssey PC680 truly shines is how efficiently these specs are used. For instance, compared to the conventional deep cycle batteries, this unit somehow manages to squeeze a 70% longer lifecycle (approximately 400 cycles at 80% discharge), which is nothing short of praiseworthy.
Also, the recharge efficiency I’ve seen here is one of the best I’ve stumbled on the market this year. The full 100% recharge doesn’t take more than 4-6 hours, which is quite good for a sealed lead battery of this size.
Speaking of lead – the battery does feature a solid build quality, and you get a couple of neat features non-spillable design and moderate shock resistance but take all these things with a grain of salt. This unit sits at the lower end of the market, and it was designed as such.
What about the things I didn’t like? Well, true to its budget status, PC680 tends to experience performance drops as time goes by. Not too fast, but as soon as you’re out of your two-year warranty period, you will start noticing the difference.
Also, the unit of this size should feature excellent compatibility. In reality, though, you will have a lot of trouble fitting the battery even in some of the vehicles that are listed as supported. Damn sloppy.
- Very affordable price
- Solid core specs
- Long life cycle
- High recharge efficiency
- Average build quality
- Limited compatibility
- Performance tends to drop over time
3. ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 94R Battery
If there is one thing that makes the world of truck batteries needlessly complicated, that would be compatibility issues. Even if we put aside the matter of dimensions, electric systems are very fragile, and putting together ill-advised setups can cause some serious problems.
Keeping that in mind, I can wholeheartedly say this is probably the best battery for Dodge diesel truck you can find on the market? Do you own a Dodge Ram? This is the battery for you.
But how this unit performs as a standalone product? Well, this question is a bit harder to answer.
Looking at the specs, the unit shows a lot of promise. As a matter of fact, the cold-weather performance is definitely above the average – driving the vehicle at 32°F will provide you with the CCA of 1020, while going as low as 0°F will still get you super impressive 850 amps.
In terms of design, all I have to say is that ACDelco is a manufacturer with a rock-solid reputation – 94RaGM does nothing but honor this legacy. The thing I liked the most, though, has to be the inclusion of calcium lead positive grid that produces very low built-in resistance and thus maximizes the conductivity.
High-density negative paste that improves the battery’s performance and, theoretically, increases the battery life comes at a close second place.
Where this unit, unfortunately, falls short is the build quality or the quality control to put it more accurately. Seriously, I’m very hard-pressed not to use the word sloppy here, but finding the functional unit that won’t break down after two weeks is a game of chance.
The list of issues that can occur in the meantime is too long to cover. Still, if you get a working unit, you are in for a treat.
- An excellent choice for Dodge owners
- Solid specs
- Very efficient and steady performance
- Incredible conductivity
- Reasonably affordable
- Very poor quality control
4. Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
In a sense, Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34 is very similar to ACDelco 94RAGM. As much as that battery, in spite of some inherent flaws, made a perfect purchase for Dodge owner, this unit may be the best battery for Ford F350 diesel.
This time, though, we are talking about a much more refined product. Sure, there are some drawbacks. For example, the customer support system Optima Batteries set up for this product is pretty atrocious.
Also, the unit experiences some performance drop even during the provided warranty period (e.g., the battery loses capacity when standing idle). This problem is only made worse by the previous complaint. If you leave your vehicle sitting for more than a couple of days in a row, you better have the charger nearby.
But, if we put these issues on the side, we’ll find one very well-designed and firmly put together product that features the core specs that have no problem powering even the heaviest trucks in the market.
So, what do we have here? Well, besides the numbers pretty standard for this type of product (12 Volts, 13.1 Volts open-circuit voltage, 750 cold-cranking amps), the battery features an extraordinary reserve capacity of 120 minutes which makes it one of the best super duty units of the market.
The other thing that drew my attention is the extremely well-built polypropylene casing that provides the battery all the protection you can imagine. As a result, the unit features excellent resistance to vibrations (up to 15 times more than regular lower-end batteries) and very strong cold-weather performance.
With 750 cold-cranking amps and two hours of reserve time, you don’t need to worry you will end up stuck in a snowstorm in the middle of nowhere. Sure, there are some flaws you should be aware of, but as long as you keep them in mind, you will get a lot of pleasure out of this unit.
- Excellent casing
- Extremely long reserve time
- Solid cold weather performance
- An excellent choice for Ford owners
- Very good core specs
- Noticeable performance drops
- Poor customer service
5. Optima Batteries 8020 164 35 redtop starting battery
Finally, we have yet another entry from the famous lineup of Optima Products. And what to say, the manufacturer has its unique design and engineering language, so you can expect to see something very similar to 8014-045 D34.
However, there are some noticeable differences. For instance, with its far handsome price tag, it looks more like that 8020 164 35 aims to be one of the best commercial truck batteries in lower price segments. Of course, lower value entails some compromises.
For instance, the number of reserve capacity minutes is cut to 90, which is still a pretty good figure – who wouldn’t like to have the additional half an hour of extra time when driving on the long road in the middle of nowhere?
Also, the performance drops that I experienced with the previous product are even more pronounced with this one. But, honestly, taking into consideration the price these compromises aren’t all that horrible.
And from this point on, things only get better. Once again, you have robust, durable, and compact polypropylene casing, powerful cold-cranking amps (720), and excellent resistance to vibrations. Throw into the equation the strong and steady output (even in extreme temperatures), and you will get a battery that ought to put a smile on the faces of money-conscious Ford owners.
So, there you have it, a very solid, but somewhat flawed product that does enough things right to warrant the attention of a very wide number of Ford customers. As a matter of fact, in spite of lower specs, I would go as far as to say this battery makes an even better purchase than 8014-045 D34.
What to say, you can’t compete with a good value proposition and probably the best price in this range.
- Excellent price-value ratio
- The excellent casing that keeps the battery safe from vibrations
- Good performance in extreme temperatures
- Very good specs
- Performance drops do occur over time
- Bulky dimensions
What is an Automotive battery?
An automotive battery is a rechargeable battery that supplies electrical current to a motor vehicle. Its main purpose is to feed the starter, which starts the engine. Once the engine is running, power for the car’s electrical systems is supplied by the alternator. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_battery)
Best Battery for Diesel Truck Buyer’s Guide
And now that we’ve covered our contenders, I am going to quickly go through some of the most important considerations you will need to make before spending your money. So, without further ado…
Type of the battery
Diesel truck batteries can be divided into a couple of groups:
- Lead-acid – They are pretty much spill-proof and maintenance-free. However, they are also near impossible to fix.
- Absorbed glass mat – The contemporary industry standard that features more recharging cycles and a pretty hefty price.
- Wet Cell – One of the most affordable types that require a lot of maintenance.
- SLI – Starting, Lighting, and Ignition batteries offer strong bursts of power but need to be recharged more frequently.
- Lithium-Ion – This type of batteries lightweight and powerful but feature very limited compatibility.
Truck batteries come in a variety of different sizes. Obviously, you will need to find the one that fits your vehicle. Fortunately, this shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem – the specifications of the required battery can be found in the vehicle’s manual.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
Essentially, CCA is the amount of current your batter will be able to produce at 0° Fahrenheit. Lower-quality batteries feature a lower CCA rating. More pristine products will be able to provide ample power even in the lowest of temperatures. If you are driving through colder areas, pay strong attention to this feature.
As the name suggests, operating temperature describes the range of temperatures in which battery can perform without losing efficiency. Once again, the higher this rating is, the better.
Generally speaking, the lifespan of one truck battery can be affected by a number of different factors, so guessing just how many years you can squeeze out of them is a game of chance. But, with the things as they are, you should at least do your best to protect yourself from unexpected malfunctions as long as possible. Let say a three-year warranty is a minimum you shouldn’t go below.
FAQ about best battery for diesel trucks
Q: What is the best battery for diesel trucks?
This question is somewhat hard to answer. After all, different trucks require different types of batteries. However, if I would have to choose the product with the broadest appeal, I would probably say, go for XS Power D3400. This company is famous for a series of excellent automotive products, and this battery is no exception. You get strong output, good build quality, high reliability, and a lot of juice to keep you powered even on the trips.
Also, the unit features one incredibly solid lifespan, so if your truck doesn’t entail some other requirements, you will hardly find a better product in this price range.
Q: How often I need to change diesel truck batteries?
As I already mentioned, the battery life doesn’t follow some specific schedule, and determining when you will need to replace them will depend on a number of different factors. But, if we take a look at some average numbers, we can say that, much like batteries in the car, diesel truck units last somewhere between three and five years.
Keep in mind, though, that proper maintenance and good driving conditions can stretch these numbers even further. So, do your best to keep your battery clean, avoid short durations, of running time, keep the wiring system in good shape, and, if you are able, don’t use your vehicle in extreme temperatures.
Q: How to disconnect the batteries on a ram diesel truck?
The good news is that most of the Dodge Ram trucks work on the very same principle. Namely, the batteries are connected in parallel, so you will be able to run your truck even if you are left with only one under the hood. Just do your best not to put too much pressure in this case, though.
As for the very disconnecting process, things are relatively simple. First, switch the ignition off and remove the keys. Second, put on the safety gloves and goggles (batteries contain various corrosive and flammable agents).
All you have to do now is to locate the negative battery terminal (usually, it’s marked with “-”) and use the wrench to loosen the bolt. Now, repeat the same procedure with positive terminals.
As soon as you remove the cables (store them safely, so they don’t make accidental contact with terminals), the battery will be safe to remove.
Q: How to replace batteries in diesel trucks?
Changing the batteries will require that you first remove the old battery and then install the new one. I have already described how to remove the truck battery in the section above, so I won’t repeat everything here. Instead, we’ll jump immediately to step two.
And, as you can expect, the process is pretty much the same – you’ll just do everything in reverse. Just don’t forget to connect the positive terminal first, and only then start hooking the negative one. Messing this up is not wrong by itself, but you will run a risk of shorting the battery through the body or engine.
It’s best not to leave anything to chance.
Q: How to clean batteries on diesel trucks?
If you want to clean your truck battery, you will first need to make sure it’s unhooked. While you are doing so, make sure that you are following the same order as you are trying to remove it, meaning negative terminal first, and the positive terminal second.
When you are done, it is time to prepare the cleaning agent. Don’t worry, though, all you need to do is to get three tablespoons of baking soda, one tablespoon of distilled water, and mix them together until you make a thick paste.
Now, use the old butter knife to scrape off the corrosion from the terminals, and rinse the battery surface with the cleaning agent (the terminals included) until it looks spotless.
Q: Why are there two batteries in a diesel truck?
In comparison to their gas-powered counterparts, diesel engines are more powerful and able to produce much more torque. These two factors lend the diesel-powered vehicles excellent towing capabilities. All these things make diesel engines exceptionally suitable for heavy trucks that are designed to carry heavy loads.
However, this exceptional power comes at a certain price. Namely, diesel engines require a lot of electric power to ignite and keep running. That is why heavy diesel-powered trucks need two batteries to run efficiently. Although most of them can be ignited even with one battery in place (courtesy of the parallel setup), they won’t be able to unleash their full power.
Q: What are the best batteries for Ford F250 diesel?
Ford is a company known for its high reliability and some incredibly power-hungry engines. That is why, although you can find a lot of units with the better overall quality, I would recommend that you upgrade your Ford F250 with Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34 or Optima Batteries 8020 164 35. Both of them are very strong, durable, and perform very well in low temperatures.
I would, however, give a slight advantage to the latter product, if not for any other reason, then because of genuinely excellent value you get for the money. Still, if you are willing to spend a couple of dollars more, you can’t go wrong with Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34.
Q: How do you charge a diesel truck battery?
To charge the batteries, you will need to follow the steps we have already set up for all of our previous activities. So, pop up the hood and disconnect the terminals – the negative terminal should go first and the positive terminal second. Just remember to keep your protective gloves while you are doing all of this – batteries are filled with dangerous chemical agents that can potentially hurt.
When you are done, it is time finally hook up the battery charger, and fortunately for you, the process is virtually the same as in the previous steps. You only need to do everything in reverse (the positive terminal goes first). Now, set the charger to a low-amperage and let the battery do its job.
The full charge process usually takes about two hours, but your charger will give you a notification when it’s done working. Unhook the battery and mount it back in the same connect/disconnect order I have described above.
Q: How do you check a diesel truck battery?
The current status of truck batteries can be determined in several different ways. For instance, if the vehicle has the problem of cranking up, there is definitely something wrong with its power source. But, if you want to get a more accurate reading, you better bring in some instruments.
So, disconnect the cables from the car battery (for the reasons previously discussed, the negative terminal should be unhooked first) and, instead of them, attach the load tester (in reverse order). The reading you will get at the gauge indicates how much charge the battery has in itself.
Keep in mind, all these gauges are color-coded. As long as you are in the green zone, you are good to go.
Finally, it is time for me to proclaim the winner of this short round-up. And as you have probably guessed by now, the flattering title of best battery for diesel truck goes to XS Power D3400. Sure, the product is not without some flaws, and to be quite honest, its price may discourage some of the more money-conscious buyers.
But, you know how they say – you get what you buy, and this battery definitely lives up to the expectation. When the biggest flaws you can summon to mind are the things left out of the package, you know you are onto something good.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 3 years of experience in marketing.