Lead acid car battery designs have not changed much over the years. Vehicles have relied on 12 volt batteries since the 1960s. In recent years, some innovations have been made in battery designs and charging times. Find out which features to look for when shopping for a new battery or car battery charger this year.
Best Car Battery for Fast Charging
Standard wet-cell lead acid batteries charge slower than newer absorbed glass mat and gel batteries. If you want to be able to charge a vehicle’s battery faster, look for an AGM or gel battery of the right voltage, size and shape for any vehicle. It is important to select a battery that meets or exceeds the specifications of the original equipment manufacturer part.
Most batteries in cars with internal combustion motors and even accessory batteries in electric or plug-in hybrid cars are 12 volts. The size and shape of a battery is indicated by the Battery Council International or BCI number, which also includes letters that indicate the terminal position. This number can be as important as a VIN number search for ensuring you get the right parts for a vehicle.
Best Car Battery Charger Overall
The best car battery chargers for long battery life are trickle chargers. These chargers tend to have around four amperes and may take anywhere from 10 to 24 hours to fully charge a battery, though it may be possible to start the engine within one hour.
Battery chargers with more amperes can charge batteries faster. Chargers in the range of six to 15 amps are generally considered safe, though these fast chargers tend to cost more than trickle chargers. A battery charger with more than 15 amps may shorten the lifespan of any battery.
Best Car Battery for Performance
For day-to-day performance, it is hard to beat a battery with a sufficient amount of cold cranking amps. It is important to ensure that any replacement battery has at least the same amount of CCAs as the OEM battery. You can upgrade to a battery with more CCAs to provide more starting power, particularly if you live in a region that is prone to extreme temperatures.
If you are concerned about battery maintenance and leak or spill risks, you might want to take a closer look at AGM and gel batteries. AGM batteries, which are also known as sealed lead acid or valve-regulated lead acid hold less acid than standard wet cell batteries, and this substance is absorbed by a glass mat. Gel batteries feature gel electrolytes that are made immobile during a chemical reaction. Both of these battery types charge faster than standard wet cell batteries.
No matter what your priorities are, you can find a battery that charges faster or has better overall performance. In general, it is not necessary to charge high-quality car batteries that do not become or stay discharged until relatively late in the operational life. Depending on your needs, you may prefer a battery made of materials that charge faster or a model with more cold cranking amps.