Buyers Guide & Information

Best Car Batteries For Cold Weather

We have reviewed and compared the best batteries for cold weather. These reliable, long-lasting battery brands are sure to start in extreme winter conditions.

When you live in colder climates, your car battery takes a beating. That’s why it’s essential to search out the best car battery for cold weather.

The trouble is that it’s not often easy to find the cold weather car battery that suits your brand and size of the vehicle. That’s why we have performed a complete review to find the best-rated car batteries for cold weather.


Benefits Of Having Cold Weather Specific Car Batteries

When you invest in the best car battery for very cold weather, you receive many benefits. First, this battery offers reliable performance, no matter how low the temperatures dip. You will also notice a faster engine start.

Aside from that, these heavy-duty batteries optimize the charging and discharging rates for longer life. Cold-climate batteries are most efficient during the cooler temperatures, ensuring that they last as long as possible.


Choosing A Quality Car Battery For Cold Weather

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)

The best car battery for cold weather in Canada has plenty of cold-cranking amps. CCA is one of the most important features to consider when you live in a cold climate. As the temperature drops, the battery needs to produce enough amps to start the vehicle.  How many cold cranking amps do you need for cold weather? We recommend a minimum of 650 CCA, but a battery rated at 800 CCA is ideal.

Battery Type

Another factor when looking at the best car battery for cold is what type you choose. You have plenty of options between the deep-cycle, Valve-Regulated lead-acid, wet cell, lithium-ion, absorbed glass mat (AGM), and more. Ideally, it's best to choose a maintenance-free option, such as the AGM. These batteries will not leak and can be mounted in any position. 

Vehicle Compatibility

The best car battery for cold winters is one that works with your vehicle. You must consider your vehicle's engine size, charging system, starter demand, and terminal configuration. If it doesn't work with your vehicle, it can't possibly be the best car battery for extreme cold weather.

Battery Group/Size

Vehicle batteries are available in a variety of sizes. You can often find them classified by Groups. To fit the best cold weather batteries for cars, it must sit in your battery compartment. Otherwise, it isn’t going to perform the way you had hoped and could become dangerous. If you are looking for a replacement truck battery, it’s best to go with the same group size that is already installed.

Depth of Discharge

When we discuss the depth of discharge, we are talking about the battery’s state of charge and cycle life. If you want the best car battery type for cold weather, you must consider the depth of discharge. This number is usually expressed in terms of amp hours or by a percentage.

Reserve Capacity

The reserve capacity is defined by the number of minutes that a fully charged 12V battery will provide 25A at 10.5 volts while operating in 80-degree temperatures. The higher the reserve capacity is, the more likely the battery will last longer, especially when it isn’t being charged, such as when the alternator malfunctions.

Operating Temperature

To be a reliable cold weather battery, the unit must be able to operate well when the temperatures drop. However, this isn't all you want to think about. After all, there might be times when you are also facing higher temperatures. Ideally, you want a battery that provides power during low and high temperatures.

Build Quality/Durable Construction

How do you avoid finding your battery dead in cold weather? Having a high-quality battery with a strong build is one step to success. With a durable case, it will be able to withstand vibrations and resist shock. Using the battery in harsh conditions is sure to take its toll on any battery, but you can avoid premature failure by choosing a strong construction.

Price & Warranty

We all want to buy cheap car batteries, but that’s not wise when you live in a cold climate. Instead, you want to focus on finding the best car battery brand for cold weather. With a quality brand, you achieve a better value than when you purchase a cheap battery that won’t last. You should also pay close attention to the warranty terms to ensure coverage.


6 Best Car Batteries For Cold Weather Reviewed

1. Odyssey 65-PC1750T

Our Top Pick

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

950

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

145 minutes

Amp Hour/C20

65Ah

Warranty

3-year

This Odyssey AGM battery features a whopping 950 cold-cranking amps for maximum performance in cold weather. It also boasts of a longer cycle life, at 70% longer than a conventional deep cycle battery. With this additional capability, you know that you are receiving quite the value. Odyssey batteries also have a faster recharging time. The company claims it provides the highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead battery on the market. Expect to receive a full recharge in just four to six hours.

The AGM battery features a non-spillable construction. You can mount this in any position without worry over leaks. Furthermore, the heavy-duty construction ensures protection from mechanical vibration and high-impact shock. With a reserve capacity of 145 minutes, this battery is not quick to let anyone down.

Odyssey continues to be one of the top battery companies to choose from. A quick look at the reviews shows that this battery is meant to last. Aside from that, Odyssey provides a three-year limited warranty. What makes this warranty different is that it is for a complete replacement, not just prorated. Unfortunately, a few of the customers have issued complaints about recent customer service inquiries. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be a widespread concern.

Pros

  • 950 CCA
  • Longer cycle life
  • Quick charge
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Customer service concerns

2. NorthStar Ultra High

Runner Up

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

1150

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

220 minutes

Amp Hour/C20

103Ah

Warranty

4-year

If you want the best car battery for cold temperatures, it might be best to invest a little more in this option from NorthStar. This Group 31 AGM battery has top threaded terminals and features the power you are looking for. With 1150 cold-cranking amps, this battery is even more powerful than the last option. It also features a 103 Ah capacity and 220-minute reserve capacity. With this type of performance, you won’t be left stranded in the cold.

This extra capacity does add to the weight slightly. This battery does top the charts at 75 pounds, so it will be a little more complicated to install. However, you can use this battery in a variety of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs, and marine vessels. Probably the biggest downfall to this battery is the price. It might cause people to look at other options, but this unit shouldn't be overlooked. It is meant to last and provide exceptional value.

In fact, the company backs up these claims with a full four-year warranty. This is not a typical battery warranty and proves that the manufacturer believes in the construction. If you still aren’t convinced, you might want to take a closer look at the customer reviews.

Pros

  • 1150 CCA
  • Durable construction
  • Long reserve capacity
  • 4-year warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavier

3. Optima Batteries 8012-021 D34

Best Rated Model

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

750

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

120 minutes

Amp Hour/C20

55Ah

Warranty

3-year

If you want something lighter in weight, the Optima battery might be a good option. This 12V battery features a 120-minute reserve capacity so that you can have peace of mind. Plus, this unit weighs under 43 pounds, making it easier to install. Even in bad weather, you can count on the starting power, even though the 750 cold-cranking amps are slightly less than the other options.

Optima Batteries are best known for durable construction. In fact, the company claims that these batteries are fifteen times more resistant to vibration and shock. If you are rough on your batteries, these won't disappoint. Just look at the exceptional reviews. It also features 55 Ah, so you know you are getting reliable power.

We wouldn't recommend this battery if you are constantly living in a cold climate. However, it is suitable for most winter climates in the United States. If you need something to perform in extreme climates, we recommend looking for something with higher cold-cranking amps. Aside from that, we can't say much negative about this battery. Plus, Optima backs up the product with a three-year warranty for maximum protection. Overall, the price is reasonable, and the performance is what you would expect.

Pros

  • Highly rated
  • Durable construction
  • Reliable performance
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Lower CCA

4. ACDelco 94RAGM

Best Car Battery for Extreme Cold

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

800

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

140 minutes

Amp Hour/C20

76Ah

Warranty

3-year

If you need a GM replacement battery, this model from ACDelco is the OEM part you are looking for. It is a Group 94R battery that features a high-density negative paste to increase the battery life and improve performance. It’s also constructed with an enhanced life alloy and silver calcium alloy that further increases the cycle life. With the calcium lead positive grid, you get maximum conductivity for lower resistance.

This battery also features a robust envelope separator that has a puncture-resistant back. With this design, you can count on the increased acid circulation and longer battery life. In addition, this construction keeps the battery cool. With the vent cap design, there is a lowered chance of acid leakage. Probably the best part about this battery is the lower price. Because it is an OEM-replacement, you can expect to pay less than the typical aftermarket companies.

Additionally, you can’t ask for much more from the reviews. Customers are genuinely pleased with the performance. Aside from this, there is a three-year warranty on the batteries, but we can’t imagine that you will need this either. The only trouble that some customers have had is receiving a dead battery, but the company makes that right immediately.

Pros

  • GM replacement
  • Durable construction
  • Maximum conductivity
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Shipping concerns

5. Kinetik HC1200-BLU

Best Small Car Battery for Cold Weather

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

100

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

unknown

Amp Hour/C20

40Ah

Warranty

1-year

Do you want a cheap battery for the cold weather? This Kinetik might be the best option for you. Keep in mind that it only features 100 CCA, so it isn’t going to provide the same performance you would find from the other options, but it might get you by in a jam. Even at the lower price, the AGM technology ensures that the battery will not leak and cannot spill. In addition, you won’t have to worry about maintenance, making it easier to manage.

Another positive aspect of this battery is the lighter weight. At less than 28 pounds, you won’t have any trouble getting this installed. Of course, the reason it is so light is because of the reduction in power. If you understand what you are buying, there’s no reason to be disappointed. Just look at the positive reviews from the majority of customers.

Another downside to this battery is the warranty term. You aren’t going to get the peace of mind that you will find with the other options. In fact, Kinetik only offers a one-year warranty. We recommend this battery only in conditions when you need to get by for a time on a budget.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Leak-proof
  • Ideal for small cars
  • Highly rated

Cons

  • Low cold-cranking amps
  • Short warranty term

6. Optima Batteries 8002-002 34

Best Starting Battery for Very Cold Weather

Nominal Voltage

12V

Amp Rating (CCA)

800

Battery Type

AGM

Reserve Capacity

100 minutes

Amp Hour/C20

50Ah

Warranty

3-year

Another option from Optima Battery is this lower-cost unit. Even though the price is reasonable, it still offers plenty of power with 800 cold-cranking amps. It also contains 100-minutes of reserve capacity, so you are never left stranded again. Plus, the heavy-duty battery has a weight under 38 pounds for a quick installation. You won’t need to muscle this battery under the hood like you would with some other choices.

You can rely on this battery, even in severe weather, which is ideal for customers in extreme climates. Optima Batteries also creates their units to offer fifteen times more resistance to vibration for added durability. The RedTop lineup is designed to offer high power cranking ability. You will find many customers with hot rods and off-roaders trusting this lineup because of the durable construction. Optima relies on a SpiralCell design to offer clean and strong power.

As with other Optima Batteries, you can count on the three-year warranty for complete coverage. This is lengthy and ensures you don’t receive a faulty battery. However, there have been some customer complaints about premature failure, but that’s what the warranty is designed to protect against. This battery isn’t just great to use during the colder months, but ideal for most regular starting needs.

Pros

  • Reasonable cost
  • Unique construction
  • 800 CCA
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Some customers received dead batteries

Reasons Why Car Batteries Die in Cold Weather

Why do car batteries die in cold weather? There are several reasons you might face a dead battery in cold weather. First, there is reduced battery capacity when the temperature drops. That’s when you might notice a reduction in performance whenever it gets cold.

There is also an increased power draw during these times. Often a car battery is low in cold weather because of the toll the other systems are taking on it.


Cold Weather Car Battery Maintenance & Tips

How do you protect a battery in cold weather? We have a few cold weather car battery maintenance tips for you to follow.

  • Test its capacity often.
  • Keep the car in an enclosed location.
  • Turn off unnecessary loads.
  • Clean the battery terminals and connections when corrosion is present.

When and how should you store the batteries in the winter? If you aren’t planning on using the vehicle, take the fully charged battery out and place it in a secure location. Before you use it again, make sure it is fully charged.

In addition, you must know how to charge the car battery in cold weather. To do this properly, you must first have the best car battery charger for cold weather. From here, you can follow the steps outlined in this YouTube video.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long do car batteries last in cold weather?

The car battery will lose 60% of its strength at 0°F and 35% at 32°F. With these numbers in mind, it’s clear how the battery cold weather performance is affected.

What is the best type of car battery for cold weather?

A lead-acid battery is the cheapest option, but not always the best for cold weather. The AGM battery holds up under numerous recharging cycles and is responsive to draining repeatedly. If you want the maximum performance out of your battery, we recommend looking at the AGM type.

What is the best car battery brand?

When looking at the best car battery for cold weather on Reddit, you will find users discussing a few brands at the top of the list. These include Optima, ACDELCO, and Odyssey.

When is the best time to replace these car batteries?

Most car batteries will last at least three years. If you notice that the vehicle is having a hard time starting or the electrical aspects are not running the way they should, it might be time for a battery replacement.

How much cold can a car battery handle?

The fully charged lead-acid battery is capable of handling up to -58° F, but the battery that’s not fully charged can begin freezing at 30° F. If the water inside the battery freezes, it will expand and can cause permanent damage to the cells.

Should you start your car every day in cold weather?

If you want to know how to keep a car battery from dying in cold weather, you must keep it charged. To do this, you will want to start the vehicle often. However, you need to do more than let it idle. Instead, you want to take it for regular trips that last at least 30 minutes. Aside from that, you could use a battery maintainer during the cooler temperatures to ensure a proper charge.


Conclusion

What is the best car battery for cold weather? We recommend the Odyssey 65-PC1750T because it features 950 CCA. In addition, the company comes highly rated and supplies users with a lengthy warranty that keeps you protected in the cold.

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