What every best Car Batteries has:
- A strong warranty.
- Good reserve capacity.
- Ample cold-cranking amps.
Editors at ConsumerReports.org put 70 car batteries through the wringer – by partially draining and recharging them, running them dry to test reserve capacity, and exposing them to harsh temperatures. Paid subscribers can access the full test results, with a handy table that rates each car battery's expected life, cold-cranking amps (CCA), reserve capacity, and overall score. Editors rank the batteries from best to worst, assigning ratings on a scale from poor to excellent.
In this free article, ConsumerReports.org cautions buyers not to shop by brand. Jim Travers notes that it's not uncommon for a brand's batteries to be top rated in some size groups, but finish toward the bottom in others.
Amazon.com sells mostly Optima and Odyssey batteries. Several models get high marks with lots of owner reviews posted, so if you happen to be in the market for one of these brands, this is a good place to check. However, many popular brands -- DieHard, Interstate, EverStart, and more -- aren't sold here.
Sears.com sells DieHard car batteries, and is the best place to see user feedback for this brand. However, most sizes only have a handful of reviews. We found about half a dozen individual battery models with high ratings (4.5 stars out of 5 or better) from at least 25 users.
Pep Boys sells a wide variety of auto parts, including batteries. Unfortunately, there's no way to view the full list of batteries sold at the site; you can only search for a battery to fit a specific car make and model. Thus, we have relied on PepBoys.com primarily as a source of additional feedback about batteries that get good reviews elsewhere.
AdvanceAutoParts.com is a retailer that offers a variety of automobile replacement parts, tools, and supplies for routine maintenance, from headlights to motor oil and wiper blades. The site has a selection of more than 300 car batteries for sale, but AutoCraft batteries get the most reviews from users. We found several batteries from this brand with 4.5-star ratings from 250 owners or more.
Walmart carries over 2,500 car battery models. Some have a decent amount of feedback, but most have few or no reviews. Walmart is the exclusive source for EverStart car batteries, which makes it the best resource for user feedback for this battery line.
Sorting through reviews of car batteries at AutoZone.com is a real hassle. There are more than 140 models for sale, but there's no way to sort the list based on rating or even see how many reviews each battery has without clicking through. We eventually managed to turn up just one well-rated battery with over a dozen reviews from owners, and the individual reviews are all quite short.
Automobile owners and enthusiasts discuss the best replacement options for Kirkland car batteries, previously sold at Costco, in this forum thread. A few members offer feedback on other brands that they have had good experiences with and offer other shopping advice such as considering the warranty length, price, and amps.