7 Best Cheap Car Batteries, According to Consumer Reports

Sooner or later, your car’s battery will die. Knowing the dizzying number of options, Consumer Reports compiled a list of the best affordable car batteries. CR testers judged the batteries on charge-discharge cycles, available reserve capacity, and performance in cold temperatures. These models didn’t earn the highest overall rating from Consumer Reports, but they provide the best value. Let’s go over the different battery sizes and CR’s top pick in each category.

Your car model determines the battery type it’ll need

You might need a size 24/24F battery if you drive a Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Acura, Lexus, or Infiniti model. For other Japanese makes, a size 35 battery might be required. Most Chevy, Volkswagen, and Buick cars use a size 47 battery, Consumer Reports explains.

A size 48 battery fits many American and German makes, including Jeep and Mercedes-Benz. In addition, many Audi, BMW, and Hyundai models take size 49. 51R batteries are another common size for Nissan and Honda vehicles.

Size 65 batteries will fit most full-size trucks and large SUVs.

To know for sure which battery size your vehicle needs, locate any of those numbers on the label of your car’s current battery.

Here are Consumer Reports’ picks for the best car batteries for the money in each group:

1. NAPA Legend Premium 8424F (Group 24/24F)

CR testers have no complaints about this battery’s performance in terms of usage or reserve capacity. It also has an 18-month replacement warranty and is rated for 725  cold-cranking amps (CCA). 

For comparison, the average battery produces only up to 500 CCA. NAPA Legend Premium 8424F retails for around $130.

2. Bosch 35-640B (Group 35)

The Bosch 35-640B car battery is slightly cheaper at $125 and comes with a generous 36-month warranty. It also has removable caps so you can add water when necessary and an above-average CCA rating of 640. However, it doesn’t have the highest reserve capacity among car batteries in this group.

3. Duracell Platinum AGM 47 H5 (Group 47)

Best cheap car batteries: Consumer Reports
Duracell car batteries at a Batteries Plus store on Nov. 13, 2014, in San Rafael, California | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries don’t have any water inside, so they require less maintenance than standard flooded batteries. AGM batteries are often more expensive, but they also last longer.

Fortunately, CR’s best AGM pick for this battery group retails for only $135. The Duracell Platinum AGM 47 H5 earned high marks in every category and can be replaced for free within three years if it fails.

4. Interstate Mega-Tron Plus MTP-48/H6 (Group 48)

This car battery has an excellent reserve capacity and can produce 730 CCA. It comes with a 30-month replacement warranty.

All five reviews on its CR page recommend the Interstate Mega-Tron Plus MTP-48/H6, with one driver even claiming it lasts over four years. The four-year mark is when most batteries need to be replaced on a daily driver. However, at $160, this battery is pricier than its rivals.

5. Duracell 49 H8 (Group 49)

The Duracell 49 H8 holds up well after frequent recharging and has a three-year warranty. Duracell claims this car battery gets 900 CCA, but CR still didn’t give this battery the highest score in that category. Though it also doesn’t have the best reserve rating, it’s still a good deal at $145.

6. Duracell 51R (Group 51R)

Retailing for $105, the Duracell 51R is the most affordable car battery that Consumer Reports recommends. Though it earned excellent scores on the CCA and life tests, its reserve capacity isn’t as impressive. Still, a 36-month warranty protects your purchase.

7. ACDelco Professional Gold 65PG (Group 65)

This car battery comes with an above-average warranty of 42 months, yet it’s still less expensive than several other models on CR’s list. For $125, you also get 850 CCA and a decent amount of reserve power. Even though the ACDelco Professional Gold 65PG isn’t an AGM battery, one satisfied consumer claims it can last for eight years.

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