As the weather gets colder, your car will be put under a lot more stress and wear than usual.
One of the biggest challenges that your vehicle can face is the cold start, as freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your engine and your battery in particular.
Fortunately, with modern technology these days, there are many new battery models from which you can choose that will enable you to start your car in almost any condition, even if snow and ice are commonplace.
Today I’m going to look at some of the best options out there, as well as go over the most important details to consider when picking out a new battery.
The most important things to pay attention to are the cold cranking amps (CCA), the reserve capacity (RC), and the warranty. In each case, the higher the number, the better it is for your needs.
Car Battery for Cold Weather Comparison Chart.
|TOP PICK!||1. Optima Batteries YellowTop
||CCA: 650||Reserve Capacity: 98 minutes||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Runner Up||2. Optima Batteries RedTop
||CCA: 800||Reserve Capacity: 100 minutes||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|3. ACDelco Professional AGM
||CCA: 800||Reserve Capacity: 140 minutes||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|4. Exide Edge FP-AGM
||CCA: 710||Reserve Capacity: 120 minutes @ 25 amps||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|5. Kinetik (HC1200-BLU)
||CCA: 1150||Reserve Capacity: 20-hour rate, 40 Ah. 10-hour rate, 37.2 Ah||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|6. Odyssey PC925
||CCA: 330||Reserve Capacity: 52 minutes||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Best Car Battery for Cold Weather
Below is a list of the best car batteries that work perfectly in cold weather with high cold cranking amps and provide excellent value for money.
1. Optima Batteries RedTop
Starting us off is this RedTop Battery from Optima.
This company is well-known for making high-performance models that can stand up to a lot of abuse, and the RedTop version is built for a wide variety of applications.
Mostly, if you love to go off-roading or you like to drive hard and fast, you will appreciate the ability of this battery.
- CCA: 800
- Reserve Capacity: 100 minutes
- North?: No
- Type: Starting
- Warranty: 36 months
What makes this model ideal for cold climates is that it comes with 800 cold cranking amps.
This means that it will have much better starting power, even when the outside temperature is below freezing.
The other thing that makes Optima batteries so reliable is that they use coils instead of flat plates. This enables the battery to work more efficiently and requires less maintenance.
The housing is also designed to significantly reduce vibrations, which is why it’s so ideal for off-roading vehicles.
Finally, with 100 minutes of reserve capacity, you shouldn’t have to worry about your car dying quickly if you leave the lights on or anything.
This can be helpful if you’re outside of the city and need light while the vehicle isn't running. Overall, this is a fantastic starting battery.
- Strong starting power
- Spill Proof design
- Six coils instead of flat sheet
- Extra vibration resistance
- Made for high-performance vehicles
- Low-maintenance design
- Recharges faster than other models
- Works on almost all cars and trucks
- Long-lasting warranty
- Additional reserve capacity
- In rare cases, the battery may stop working correctly after a year or so
- Warranty may be tricky to use under certain circumstances
2. Optima Batteries YellowTop
When comparing different battery models from Optima, it’s imperative that you understand the company’s color-coding system.
As I showed you above, the RedTop is designed for quick starts and off-roading.
The Yellow Top is still built that way, but it’s also made to allow for more deep cycle usage.
- CCA: 620
- Reserve Capacity: 98 minutes
- North?: No
- Type: Dual-Purpose
- Warranty: 36 months
So, if you want to run electrical systems in your car or truck, such as floodlights, a winch, or something else that needs a high-performance battery, the YellowTop has you covered.
Not only will it help your vehicle start in most weather conditions, but it will provide a ton of extra power when you need it most.
Beyond the deep cycle charging, this battery comes with the same high-quality construction and efficiency as the RedTop.
It uses coils instead of plates, which enables it to work much better than most other units. It also has advanced vibration insulation, meaning that you can take it off road without damaging the internal components.
As with all Optima batteries, you can expect to get a three-year limited warranty, and it is a low-maintenance design.
In fact, the YellowTop is rated to work for up to 300 recharge cycles without breaking down.
This has been consistently our top pick as the best car battery of the year for the last 2 consecutive years.
- Durable construction
- Built for high-load vehicles
- Ideal for cold weather
- Long-lasting reserve
- Coil design for improved efficiency
- Reduced vibration
- Low maintenance design
- Perfect for starts and deep cycle needs
- Long-term warranty
- Faster recharging
- Rated for up to 300+ recharge cycles
- Spill-proof design
- Not as great in cold weather as other models
- In rare cases, the battery may have trouble holding a charge
3. ACDelco Professional AGM
When looking at different car battery types, you’ll see that there are a few popular methods used to ensure that you get the power you need for all of your electrical components.
In the old days, the only way to build a battery was with lead plates.
However, while this design was relatively efficient, it was prone to corrosion and leaks, depending on how well it was constructed.
- CCA: 800
- Reserve Capacity: 140 minutes
- North?: Yes
- Type: Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
- Warranty: 36 months
These days, many high-performance batteries use something called an absorbed glass mat (AGM) instead of lead plates.
This keeps all of the chemicals and acids used from getting out, and it vastly improves the output and efficiency of the battery itself.
This model from ACDelco is a perfect example of AGM technology.
As far as cold starting goes, this particular unit is rated for lower temperatures and delivers 800 cold cranking amps. It also has a remarkable reserve capacity (thanks to the glass mat) and can keep going for up to 140 minutes after the engine shuts off.
Overall, I like this battery because it is built much more solidly than other models. It is both leak and corrosion resistant, and the AGM ensures that it will last longer and perform better than any standard lead plate design.
Also, it comes with a three-year replacement warranty.
- High-performance design
- Maintenance-free battery
- Long-lasting warranty
- Extra reserve power
- Absorbed glass mat technology
- Rated for cold weather
- 800 cold cranking amps
- Leak resistan
- tHigh-efficiency model
- Corrosion resistant
- Longer life expectancy
- Does not fit all car types
- In rare cases, the battery may arrive damaged or used
4. Exide Edge FP-AGM
Because your car battery goes through so much wear and tear, you want something that is built to last as long as possible.
- CCA: 710
- Reserve Capacity: 120 minutes @ 25 amps
- North?: No
- Type: Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
- Warranty: 48 months
You don’t want to have to replace your battery on a yearly basis, particularly because they can be somewhat expensive, particularly for a high-performance model.
Fortunately, this unit from Exide Edge provides the power you need at a price you can afford.
Best of all, it has a more extended warranty than most other companies, so you get the trifecta of amazing deals.
When talking about performance, this battery also uses absorbed glass mat technology. This means that it’s better at starting, stopping, and recharging. It can also provide deep cycle power when you need it most.
Although the cold cranking amps on this model are not as high as I’ve seen, it’s more than enough for most low temperatures.
Also, because it uses AGM, you shouldn’t have to worry about it much anyway. It’s a low maintenance design, and it will provide years of high-quality use.
As for the warranty, Exide will replace the battery within a four-year window, which is much better than most other brands.
Not only that, but this unit is cheaper than other AGM batteries, so you are spending less and getting more out of it.
Overall, if you want performance and you’re on a budget, this is the best option for you.
- Durable construction
- High-performance design
- Leak and corrosion resistant
- Easy carrying handle
- 710 cold cranking amps
- Excellent reserve capacity
- Long-lasting four-year warranty
- Absorbed glass mat design
- Ideal for starting and deep cycle needs
- In rare cases, the battery may be old upon arrival
5. Kinetik (HC1200-BLU)
Here, we’ll be taking a look at the Kinetik BLU Series 1200 Watt 12V DC Power Cell Battery. The BLU Series of batteries from Kinetik tend to do fairly well on customer reviews. Kinetik has been around since 2003, making batteries for cars, power sport vehicles and more. The neat thing about this HC1200-BLU model is that it can be used to replace a standard car battery, or, simply be used for additional power. As people have started to grasp the usefulness of these batteries, however, they have become tougher to find.
The sealed AGM design of this battery puts it on par with others in its class. It also kicks out an impressive 1150 cold cranking amps.
If someone is looking to power a new high-performance sound system, this is the battery for them. There’s a reason any one of Kinetik’s Power Cell batteries can be referred to as “The World’s Loudest Power Cell”.
Many powerful batteries struggle with overheating, leaking and other malfunctions. Well, the Kinetik HC1200-BLU is designed to eliminate those concerns. It's completely leak-proof since there are no external vents on the battery. This means that even with this large 12V battery, it can be mounted anywhere inside of a vehicle without the fear of leakage. This can save a lot of space within a car, especially when using a modern, high-powered sound system. The Kinetik is also rather lightweight despite its size and power. In addition, its non-hazardous design will give users the ultimate comfortability when installing and using it.
- Advanced AGM technology
- Perfect for cold weather
- Compatible with almost all vehicles, including power motorsport vehicles
- Low ESR
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Tightly packed cells
- Affordable price
- Occasional issues when trying to power an entire car
Overall, the Kinetik HC1200-BLU Power Cell Battery is one of the best bangs for your bucks on the market. It can be used for a variety of purposes and can be featured as the main batter for your car or one that provides supplementary power. Again, for those looking to power a new sound-system, this battery will work perfectly. Plus, owners can use it on a wide array of vehicles. Kinetik has built itself up to be one of the more reliable and recognizable names in the battery industry, and this particular battery showcases the reason why.
6. Odyssey PC925
The Odyssey PC925 is one of the most cost-effective batteries on the market that delivers top-tier quality. Odyssey is one of the better battery-makers that specialize in anything from power sport vehicles to marine ships.
While not the most powerful battery from Odyssey, the PC925 will satisfy a plethora of your energy needs.
Most AGM batteries are designed extremely well, and the Odyssey PC925 is no exception. It’s durable, lightweight design gives you great mounting flexibility. It’s non-spillable design also gives you the confidence to use it anywhere you see fit. A CCA of 330 is also a great value compared to similarly priced batteries.
The versatility of the PC925 is another one of its strong suits. Many users have found success with this battery when using it for a small fishing boat, an ATV and similar vehicles. This can also be used in the colder months, as well as the intense heat, as it is extreme weather resistant.
For a sealed lead battery, this has an incredibly efficient recharge rate. It can fully recharge in just four to six hours and has a reserve capacity of 52 minutes. The brass terminals on the battery are also rust-resistant, helping extend the usage that users get out of it.
The overall efficiency of the battery might be the most impressive feature. At just a 25-30% charge, the Odyssey PC925 can power any compatible machine for a whole day. That is not something every battery can provide, making this a great option for those who might spend entire days out on a worksite.
- Extreme weather resistant
- Efficient AGM Technology
- Quick and efficient recharge rate
- Can become damaged if left unused
- Lacks casual charger support
The Odyssey PC925 is one of the best mid-tier level batteries available. The warranty that comes with it will cover any potential early issues you could encounter with the battery if any present themselves. With its combination of efficiency and versatility, the PC925 is a trustworthy option.
How Winter Affects Car Battery Life
Regular batteries consist of lead plates combined with liquid electrolytes. These components are essential to generate an electric charge. In higher temperatures or hot weather, the electrolytes react faster, which allows the battery to generate a higher charge.
This allows the battery to start quicker, giving you optimum performance. However, the fast reaction time is a double-edged sword because it will also speed up the service life.
On the other hand, a colder temperature causes a slower reaction, which translates to challenges in starting the battery or overall battery performance. That's why cars won't start immediately during winter or cold weather conditions.
In worse situations, the extreme cold slows down the reaction rate severely, which causes the battery incapable of generating any charge, affecting battery performance.
In cold weather conditions, a standard lead-acid battery tends to lose charge. At 32°F, about 35% of the stored power is compromised.
If it reached 0°F, 60% of the batteries' charge might be gone. You won't be able to start the car normally in this scenario.
Car parts, such as fog lamps, seat warmers, GPS, stereo, and electronic chargers, all require power from the battery to operate. Using them simultaneously can be too much for the battery. If it's older, it quickly drains of reserve power.
Because the car's battery is already at a disadvantage during winter or cold seasons, limiting the use of the components could help avoid excessive discharge. However, opting not to use them could severely impact your driving or your car's reliable performance.
Winter Battery Care Tips:
While getting a battery that is rated for cold weather will go a long way to ensure that your vehicle makes it through the winter without any problems, there are some extra steps that you want to take as well.
Considering that you don’t want to have to replace your battery after each harsh season, it’s imperative that you take any precautions that you can to extend the lifespan.
Overall, following these tips will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Buy a Charger if the Battery Isn’t Used.
One of the main issues with a car battery is that it will start to self-discharge over time.
This means that if you leave it in the garage all winter, you could wind up with a damaged or broken system.
What happens is that the discharged liquid freezes, cracking the internal components of your battery.
To avoid this issue, you can either use your car regularly throughout the season (even just for quick drives) or you can buy a charger to go with it.
A charger is much less expensive than buying a new battery, so it’s worth it if you don’t plan on driving your car for weeks or months on end.
This will ensure that the battery gets regular use and won’t discharge on its own.
You may also opt for a multi-stage battery charger, which charges the battery throughout the winter. The advantage of using this battery charger is it will maximize battery health, charge, and lifespan.
Clean Your Battery More Often
Corrosion and leaks are going to be an even bigger problem during the winter months as the cold temperatures can result in complications, such as cracks.
As such, you want to inspect the battery more often, particularly if it’s already a few years old.
Keep it clean and remove any rust or corrosion as soon as you see it.
Examine the battery terminals by opening the hood. If you see an accumulation of white, powdered material, it's a sign that you need to clean them. Internal battery cells tend to shed sulfate and other debris, which causes the battery terminals to corrode.
To avoid corrosion, disconnect the terminals and carefully wash away the dirt and filth with a used toothbrush dipped in a mixture of water and baking soda. Use a moist towel to remove the residues.
Apply some petroleum jelly to every battery terminal before reconnecting them. This material is an effective air sealant, which helps prevent or slow down corrosion.
Remove the Battery Altogether:
If you are planning on storing your vehicle through the whole season, then you might as well take the battery out so that it won’t be an issue.
This way, you can keep it in better conditions (i.e., not the garage) and you can hook it up to the charger much more easily.I only recommend this if you are sure that you’re going to store your car for a month or more.
If not, then it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
Consider a Battery Warmer
A car battery warmer provides layered heat and insulation around any type of battery to keep it warm when extreme temperatures kick in.
Once hooked into a power source, this product helps avoid startup issues during winter or a colder climate. It ensures that the battery liquids stay fluid and do not freeze over by supplying heat continuously. If the electrolytes have the ideal temperature, the car will start normally.
Besides keeping your battery warm, it can also help prolong the shelf life of your battery and improve fuel efficiency. Protection from damages caused by cold climates is also possible with a car battery warmer.
Avoid Short Trips
The alternator only recharges the battery if the vehicle is running. You may take advantage of this feature to save battery life by avoiding long trips. Driving short distances could prevent your car's alternator from replenishing the battery charge.If the driving conditions are safe, adding a few miles might help keep your battery charged. This way, you maximize the stored power instead of letting it get squandered due to cold weather.
After looking through all of these batteries, I have to say that our top pick is the Optima YellowTop.
I like the fact that it’s built to handle rough and tumble driving, and that it’s designed for quick starts in cold weather.
It has more than enough reserve capacity and cold charging amps to last through the winter, and the coil design is much more efficient than any standard plates.
Overall, you can’t do much better than the YellowTop.