Dead car batteries have to be one of the most irritating things that happen during winter!
The reason for this is understandable, though – when the temperature falls, your car battery has to supply twice as much power to start up the engine.
Only the best car battery can sustain extremely low temperatures, and will not fail you under these conditions.
If you’re dealing with coldness often, what you need is the best battery for cold weather that the money can buy.
As usual, I run car batteries through a standardized gauntlet of tests to ensure that I found the right picks for you!
Types of Car Battery for Cold Weather
Traditional Lead-Acid Battery
Traditional lead-acid batteries were the norm before, all vehicles had them, and maintenance was a vital part of the car owner’s care routine. The lead-acid battery is filled with a liquid electrolyte and produces power by converting the chemical energy to electric energy.
The good side is that they are way cheaper than AGM batteries, they supply high current, and they can have a long life if they are maintained properly.
The bad thing about these car batteries is that they are pretty heavy, they tend to leak and spill, and they will need at least 16 hours to fully charge!
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries
AGM batteries are heavy-duty designed to handle the constant cycle of recharging.
They do not need active liquid to produce electricity, so there is no risk of spilling and leaking like with acid-lead batteries. Nowadays, it is a standard that all modern vehicles come with an AGM battery straight from the manufacturer. Mainly because of the benefits it offers like electronic safety and fuel-saving function. The good thing is that they are completely maintenance-free.
The bad thing is that they can’t be used interchangeably with flooded batteries! If you want to do that you will have to do a software reconfiguration on the electrical system, of course, do not do that on your own, hire a professional to do it for you.
Flooded or also known as wet cell batteries, are the most commonly used batteries. They offer better performance when it comes to your engine’s start and stop functions than traditional lead-acid batteries.
You can find them in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are the cheapest type of batteries on the market since their construction is the weakest one and prone to failing.
The bad thing is that they are not eco-friendly since they are not sealed to allow the gases produced in the electrolyte’s reaction to being vented externally. Also, this means you need to maintain it by adding water to replace the lost electrolytes.
Keep in mind that lead plates may corrode when the electrolyte level drops and plates become exposed to air.
How To Choose The Best Car Batteries For Cold Weather
If you are concerned that your current battery doesn’t do its job properly anymore, it is time for a change. What can you do with a car battery that performs badly during cold winter?
Let’s avoid that by learning how to choose the best car battery for cold weather. Today we are going to show you what specs you must look for in a car battery for cold weather.
CCA or Cold Cranking Amps
CCA is the measure of how efficient a car battery is in starting the engine in cold weather. The calculation is next – the number of battery amps that can be allotted in 30 seconds at a temperature of zero degrees.
Logically, this means that the higher the CCA rating, the better the battery’s cold-weather performance will be.
Regular car batteries don’t have a CCA rating because that is not an important feature for warm climates. Also, their components battery isn’t meant to handle intense cold temperatures, so it is easier to identify the cold-weather battery with the CCA rating.
Reserve Capacity (RC)
In case your alternator malfunctions, you must be able to believe that your car battery can power the car and run important functions. For example, you should be able to charge your phone, power the windows, use the stereo, etc.
Eighty degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature at which a battery can still function efficiently. That’s where reserve capacity comes in handy. A reserve capacity is the number of minutes in which a battery can push out 25 amps at 80 degrees.
Choose the battery with higher RC since these batteries perform better during the cold season.
When a battery vibrates in place, it can suffer mechanical and high-impact shocks that can damage the internal components, which can significantly reduce the battery’s lifespan. That is why some battery models are designed with tightly packed cells and robust shells that are vibration-resistant.
No one likes to fuss over the car battery, so that is why you should consider using a maintenance-free car battery.
A maintenance-free car battery is any type of sealed battery that doesn’t require you to frequently add water to replenish the electrolytes.
Most AGM batteries are maintenance-free. Maintenance-free batteries provide a longer lifespan compared to vented batteries due to the lower self-discharge rate.
The best products will always have the best warranties since this will, for sure, tell you what exactly the manufacturer thinks of the quality of its product.
The car batteries should last for at least three years. So logically, the warranty period is around one or two year’s top. Of course, you want the longest warranty coverage, but make sure to do some research first and find out if the manufacturers honor the terms of the warranty for sure.
The 6 Best Car Batteries for Cold Weather in 2020
Capable of enduring even the harshest cold weather conditions, the Odyssey PC680 is my best pick overall.
Let’s see what helped me reach the verdict that this is the best cold-cranking battery.
170 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) are more than enough to support your engine in the cold weather. Of course, I do not judge a product by its covers (or better yet, numbers), but I actually tested out how this car battery withstands cold weather.
Therefore, I can tell you that it has approximately 60% longer life than a standard deep cycle battery due to its fantastic peak performance of up to 400 cycles and very high but stable voltage.
The secret to the efficiency of this car battery is its fast recharge (I would even dare to proclaim it the fastest on the market) of 100% in 4 hours.
The only thing I didn’t like is that you need to make sure not to overcharge it, that is, you should take it off the charger immediately after it is full, or it will significantly reduce its lifespan.
- Long-lasting (three times the regular battery)
- Optimal CCA for ignition during winter
- The shortest battery recharge time
- Excellent value for the price
- It’s easy to overcharge it
Overall, the Odyssey PC680 showed to be the best battery in cold weather with its rugged and robust construction enhanced with premium features!
The first pick of the two Optima batteries that found their place to my best cold start battery list, the RedTop Starting battery, is slightly more durable, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
It is a 12-Volt battery with 800CCA and a capacity of 50Ah. What this translates to is durability, durability, and durability – even in the coldest weather.
Such a high power qualifies this battery to be deemed the best truck battery for cold weather.
Another ode goes to the SpiralCell Technology that is the trademark of Optima batteries.
These spiral-wound cells that are found in the center of the battery enhance the temperature tolerance, so that it is guaranteed that this car battery will serve you for many winters to come.
Another thing that impressed me is the excellent vibration resistance with impressive high-grade materials.
Did anyone say “versatility”? Because this car battery is mountable in any position that you want.
The only thing I didn’t like is the packaging – it did not feel very sturdy, and you cannot turn it into a storage box later.
- Suitable for almost all stock vehicles
- Great price
- Fast recharge
- High-quality materials
- I wish the packaging were more sturdy
The RedTop has an impressive design that protects it from damages, and I was delighted with its performance. Go check it out if you need a powerful car battery for cold weather!
ACDelco is part of the famous General Motors Original accessory line, which is featured in more than 2 million vehicles each year. Considering their experience, it’s no surprise that they manufacture high-quality car batteries for cold weather!
There’s a lot to like in the ACDelco ACDB24R, starting from 390 amps and 325 CCA that promise to start up your car in any weather conditions. The 12-V battery capacity is also just enough.
I liked how the manufacturers employed a smart technology to prolong the lifespan of this car battery. Namely, it is equipped with a smart key that sends a radio signal to your car.
When you approach the car, the signal is sent, and you can open the doors and start up the engine without the key, which disables the transponder that damages the battery life.
What additionally prolongs its life is the vibration-resistant construction, which basically means that vibrations (as well as extreme temperatures) do not affect this US-made car battery.
With this purchase, you are covered by a 24-month warranty, though this car battery promises a lot more than that.
There is a remark I want to make, though. While it will fit most of the car models, it’s still better to check the compatibility, because it is somewhat smaller than the regular car battery!
- Non-spillable design, as it is sealed
- High CCA
- 2-year warranty
- Durable construction
- Not so versatile
Go for the ACDB24R if you need a car battery for cold weather for a smaller car – you won’t be disappointed!
Remember the famous Optima RedTop car battery?
Well, here is its brother – the YellowTop Dual Purpose battery, slightly twitched, yet equally effective and sustainable.
The YellowTop car battery decidedly has a slightly lower CCA index of 750, but it specializes in vehicles that have a lot of extra power consumption.
By that, I mean – turn on the DVD player, GPS, radio, windshield wipers in the middle of a freezing day – and this one won’t have any trouble powering up your engine because it operates on an optimal discharge cycle.
The core of its successful performance is the SpiralCell Technology patented by Optima. By the way, they have been producing these cells since the 1990’s – and it can be really seen that they have perfected every aspect of them.
Just like with the previous Optima battery on my list, I wasn’t delighted with the packaging quality. Once you unpack it, the box is ready to be dumped in the trash and won’t serve you for anything.
- Premium design
- The best pick for racing cars
- Advantageous SpilarCell technology
- Isn’t damaged easily
- The packaging could have been better
To sum it up – go for the YellowTop Optima car battery rather than the RedTop if you own a car that comes with a lot of electronic accessories or need a car battery for racing, sports, and diesel-powered vehicles.
ACDelco is another brand that produced two of the best car batteries on my list.
48AGM is a car battery that has one of the best designs with its absorbed glass mat separator that makes it impossible for the electrolyte to leak or spill.
And that’s not even all!
Thanks to the construction of the vent cap and an envelope separator, you won’t have any problems with acid leakage.
You got to give them credit when it comes to the design of this fantastic car battery!
What I really liked about this product is its high-density negative paste that boosts its ignition and increases the lifespan.
It’s important to say that these car batteries are better and have a longer life duration if used in traditional vehicle applications – I’ve confirmed that myself.
When you buy an ACDelco battery, you get a 36-month free replacement period, which keeps you worry-free about any potential problems. And I believe it will last longer than that!
There’s the elephant in the room: it is a bit more expensive than the other batteries of this range, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
- Superior design
- The 36-month free replacement period
- Comes fully charged
- No acid leakage & waste
- A bit pricey
All in all, if you want a durable car battery and you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks – this is the real deal!
Last but not least, the Kinetik HC1200-BLU car battery battled its way to my top list.
The best battery type for cold weather is spill-proof, has a longer cycle of battery life, and offers a lot of power.
This car battery from Kinetik checks all those boxes!
This car battery is the perfect solution if you are looking for a car with an advanced audio sound system. It will also be an excellent supplementary battery for adding extra power if needed.
Another great thing about this car battery is its resistance to cold weather. I was impressed with the majestic cranking power, which equals up to 3 times longer life than that of a regular car battery.
After all my tests, the conclusion is that this car battery can last as long as five years with optimal use. Should anything go wrong, you are covered by a 2-year full replacement warranty.
Heads-up: this car battery took me the most time to get fully charged. However, this is truly insignificant if you take into account what it delivers!
- Withstands extreme temperatures
- Great for cars with electronic devices
- Fast ignition
- Long recharge time
The Kinetik HC1200-BLU car battery will be another great power source for all of your individual needs during cold weather!
What battery is best for cold weather?
Who says that you have to pay big bucks for a high-quality battery for cold weather?
Arguably, the best car battery for cold weather is the Odyssey PC680 battery.
First and foremost, it passed all of my tests with flying colors, while it also comes with an affordable price tag.
It performs outstandingly and offers a long lifetime (up to ten years). What is more, it will never let you down in cold weather!
This basically means that this battery will boost your performance while protecting other car parts when you need it the most.
How long do car batteries last in cold weather?
A typical lifespan of car batteries is around five years, but, as you know, extreme weather conditions may significantly worsen the condition of the battery.
Cold weather is indeed a bitter enemy of your car battery.
Generally, it is widely acclaimed that, when the temperature reaches zero degrees, your car battery suffers around 60% of its strength. If there are additional consumers (e.g., heating, chargers, GPS), it may even drop an additional 30%.
Now, let me get this straight: no battery is 100% immune to cold weather. But it is of primary importance that you get one that is very durable and won’t be impacted by the cold weather that much.
I made sure to pick out six excellent choices for you!
Are Optima Batteries good in cold weather?
While the answer to what is the best car battery brand for cold weather remains unsettled because many companies have managed to produce high-quality, reliable car batteries, Optima is undoubtedly amongst the top three.
Why do car batteries fail in cold weather?
As noted, a car’s engine requires a lot of amperage power to start up. This usually isn’t a problem when it’s not cold unless your car battery has some issues.
However, during winter, the amount of amperage that the engine needs increases – doubles, even. It doesn’t help if the battery is old, and thus, its capacity has already been reduced.
That’s when the trouble happens, as a lot of strain is put on your battery (not only from the engine, but also from windshield wipers, radio, heating, etc.), and it simply cannot withstand the pressure. It has to have enough amperage to sustain all of that.
So, if a battery doesn’t have a high CCA index (Cold Cranking Amps), it will most likely fail.
For anyone looking to buy the best car battery for cold weather, my recommendation is the Odyssey PC680 battery.
It delivers big on every front: it is sturdy, powerful, and, above all, reliable. That’s precisely what you need when the temperature drops down.
Not only will the best car battery for winter provide excellent support for your engine, but it will also remove a strain from the weaker units in your car that can easily get damaged.
I am Dave McCurdy I am the content developer on the ecodrivingusa.com website. I have 6 years of experience in marketing as an automotive major.