If you’re looking for a quick answer, I recommend the Optima Red Top as the best AGM car battery. The Spiral Cell technology delivers a consistent amperage and it has a longer reserve capacity than others.
Do you remember the last time you tried to start your car and the battery was dead?
I sure do. I was leaving the house one day for work and I tried to start the car. The engine didn’t turn over. The battery was dead. And I had a big meeting to get to. I needed to call my boss because I was going to be late. I was finally able to jump it using my wife’s car but it was a delay that I wasn’t expecting.
That’s the difficult part about having a dead car battery. It’s always unexpected.
Every battery will die if you leave a light on overnight. None have infinite discharge capabilities.
There are some types of batteries that are better in different automotive applications. I’ll explain what AGM technology is and why it may benefit you.
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What is an AGM Car Battery?
Traditional car batteries are cells flooded with a liquid electrolyte (sulfuric acid). They have caps on the top to allow for discharge or to add more acid if needed. This technology has been used for years and stores a lot of energy in a small space.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries use a fiberglass like material that is sandwiched between metal plates. The electrolyte is not free to move around in the battery case. Vibration doesn’t hurt it and it won’t spill either. They are usually sealed because they don’t off gas and are generally safer.
These are great advantages for performance, hot rod, and car audio applications.
Read more about the types of automotive batteries over at AutoZone.
Why would I want an AGM Car Battery?
The first reason is lifespan. One way to avoid a future dead battery is to use a battery that has a longer life. AGM batteries will last two to three times longer than flooded batteries in the same environment. This is a huge benefit and could save you an unexpected dead battery in the future. But all batteries will eventually run out of life.
The next reason is performance. AGM batteries give more starting power at colder temperatures than flooded batteries. Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is a way to measure the amp output of a battery over 30 seconds at 0 degrees Farenehit. Most people aren’t in -30F temperatures very often so decide if CCA is important to you or not.
You may need to put your battery in a different or odd location if you’re building a hot rod or modifying your car for performance. AGM batteries are perfect for this because they are completely sealed and don’t need to be upright.
What Else should i know about AGM Batteries?
Every technology always has its negatives too.
The biggest negative about AGM is the cost. You can expect to pay two to three times the cost of a traditional flooded cell battery. The manufacturing process is more intensive and the materials cost more. Everything has a price.
Another negative is that they gradually lose their capacity. Yes, they last longer than flooded cells but their capacity chart is a slow curve down. It’s not a steep drop off like other batteries. This may not mean a whole lot when starting a car, but it means less time running accessories like a radio in a car or kitchens in an RV.
Optima RedTop 8020
This is your high quality option.
This AGM battery gives quick surges of cranking power and is very reliable. Vibration affects it less than flooded batteries because there’s no cavity of sulfuric acid to move around. This makes a great option for hot rods, racing, or off road 4×4’s. It has 720 CCA’s and has a reserve capacity of 90 minutes.
It also never needs to be serviced. That means you never have to get under the hood to maintain it.
The primary advantage of this Optima battery comes from their SpiralCell technology. The cells are coiled and rolled up like a sheet of paper instead of flat plates of other batteries.
This means it will consistently crank the car because of its efficient output.
- The SpiralCell technology will give you a more consistent output over time.
- The Red Top has a 90 minute reserve capacity.
- It has 720 CCA’s which gives excellent starting power in cold weather.
- You can mount it almost anywhere because it won’t spill. It’s completely sealed.
- If you’re replacing your lead acid, this one is smaller. You may have to make some accommodations inside the battery compartment.
This is your quality option at a good price.
Odyssey makes their AGM battery with pure lead plates. That means even if you accidentally discharge more than 50% you won’t decrease the life of the battery. You can discharge up to 80% and still not impact the lifespan. Like other AGM batteries, it’s non-spillable and is resistant to shaking and impact.
When people receive the battery they usually put a trickle charger on for a day or two to top it off. People like it because it’s smaller and lighter than their OEM battery. Many people will take it out of their boat or ATV and leave it in storage for the winter. They mention it doesn’t need any charging after a winter.
- It’s smaller and lighter than most OEM batteries. This makes it easier to handle and install.
- It comes with L terminal adapters so you don’t have to buy them separately
- This battery has a 24 minute reserve capacity in case you accidentally run it low.
- 170 CCA – This is lower than other AGM batteries. But consider if your battery is ever in sub-freezing conditions (-30F).
- A few people have issues with a short battery lifespan.
XS Power D3400
This is your high performance option if you’re in to car audio and need power.
XS Power is well known in the competition audio world. Their batteries can supply large amounts of instant power measured in max amps.
This is important if your 4,000W amplifier is driving a large amount of subwoofers. Otherwise your amp will strain to draw power and the subs won’t output to their capabilities. AGM batteries benefit car audio significantly. Some users keep an eye on the battery voltage to see if it drops while playing at high volumes. This battery will output amperage without any strain.
- It has 3,300 max amps which is significant power to drive high wattage car audio amplifiers.
- XS also makes billet hold downs to compliment the battery
- It has 1150 CA (cranking amps)
- You need to purchase battery posts separately.
- This is a heavy battery at 46 lbs. It’s almost the weight of some lead acid batteries.
ACDelco 48AGM Professional
This is your budget option if you want an OEM replacement.
This battery from ACDelco is a great choice for truck applications where there’s lots of vibration. ACDelco uses a calcium alloy instead of pure lead grid to help with cycle life and durability. ACDelco is even the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for some GM parts.
- This battery can withstand multiple deep discharges
- It has a 36 month warranty.
- It has 760 CCA for winter weather cranking ability.
- It comes with terminals
- It also comes with 3 year warranty
- You may need to double check the fit for your car
Delphi MaxStart AGM
This battery from Delphi will give you 800 CCA for any cold weather you may encounter during the winter. Like other AGM batteries, it’s resistant to vibration and is corrosion resistant. It comes with a vent tube or a plug if you need to seal the vent. One great feature is that it comes with handles to carry it. This is helpful in moving it because AGM batteries can weigh over 50 lbs.
- 800 CCA for winter weather
- Made in USA
- Vibration resistant so you can mount it anywhere
- Comes with posts and straps
- This battery is reverse terminal
- It’s smaller than an OEM battery so double check the fit
How to install a car battery
My recommendation is the Optima Red Top AGM Battery.
It outputs consistent power due to the spiral cell technology. It has a longer lifespan than lead acid batteries. It’s price towards the high end but it delivers what it states.
Cold Cranking amps are not very relevant for today’s vehicles. The majority of the American population lives outside of areas where it gets down to -20F. Most cars start very quickly now and you don’t have to spend 10-15 seconds trying to start a car like in the past. That’s where CCA would matter.