7 Best Car AGM Batteries of 2020 | A Buyers Guide

 
the best car AGM batteries

If you look under the hood of your car, it probably has a lead-acid battery. By far lead-acid batteries are the most popular and most cost-effective type of batteries out there.

In this day and age, there’s a new type of battery that is becoming just as popular, but with more advantages. That battery type is called AGM (also stands for Absorbent Glass Mat). In a nutshell, how an AGM battery works is by having the positive and negative plates be separated by an absorbent glass mat. This mat absorbs and holds the battery’s acid and prevents it from flowing throughout the battery.

When you look inside the battery, you’ll see all the plates tightly compressed into each cell and held under pressure in plastic cases.

Compared to a regular lead-acid battery, AGM batteries can get significantly longer life-spans. To top it all off, you won’t be paying a premium like you would with a lithium iron phosphate.

Here’s some ADVANTAGES of AGM batteries:

  • Spill-proof – the glass mats prevent this batteries electrodes from being flooded. The glass mats hold the electrodes in place, despite being in awkward positions.
  • Higher power output – due to their design, these type of batteries have minimal internal resistance. This, therefore enables them to provide sufficient bursts of power when necessary (think of big diesel engines, sports cars, or when it’s cold).
  • Charge quicker – compared to their lead-acid counterpart, AGM batteries charge a little bit faster.
  • They last longer – lead-acid batteries have a big problem of self-discharging over time. AGM’s not only last longer, but they also hold their charge even when nothing is being drawn.
  • More durable – because of their design and no free-flowing gels or liquids within, AGM’s are the preferred type of battery in aviation and high-performance racing industries. Vibrations are no match!

Here’s a complete list of the 7 best car AGM batteries I could find after doing a few hours of research. 

Best Car AGM Batteries - Top 3 Chart

Battery:

Features:

Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500T

Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500T

Best Overall

  • Corrosion-Free Studs
  • Highly Durable 
  • Life Span 3-10 Years
VMAXSLR125 deep cycle

VMAX-SLR125

Most Premium

  • High Ah Power Capacity
  • Recharges Quickly 
  • Works in Multi-purpose situations.
Might Max Battery

Mighty Max Battery ML35-12

Top Value

  • Great Light-Duty Battery.
  • Cost effective. 
  • 30 Day Return Policy & 1 Year Warranty.

Table of Contents

Car AGM Battery Reviews in Detail (Top 7)

Now that you’ve seen the top 3 picks for the best value, best overall, and most premium option, I’ve broken down all the 7 AGM car batteries in more detail. Each review below not only talks about the batteries, but they also outline the pros and con’s of each. In addition, you’ll get the specs for each so you know what kind of AH, CCA, and Voltage each puts out.

1. Odyssey 34R-PC1500T - Best Overall AGM Battery

Odyssey Batteries 34R-PC1500T
Photo: Odyssey EnerSys

The Odyssey 34-R-PC1500T may look like an ordinary lead-acid battery, but its not. This power-house of a battery made it to the #1 spot for many reasons (I’ll get to them in a minute). If you want a powerful battery that can be used in all types of applications, look no further than this one.

Weighing in at just over 50 lbs, this model is rated at 12 volts and at a whopping 850 CCA. This battery has plates made from pure virgin lead (unlike the lead alloy used in most other batteries). With these types of plates, it means there’s more plate surface area and much more power. Odyssey confidently says you can get 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge.

If you weren’t aware of what reserve capacity is of a battery, it’s quite good with this one. If this battery was 80 degrees and discharging at 25 amps from a full charge, it would take 135 minutes (just over 2 hours) for the battery to reach below 10.5 volts.

Some of the most common things people have been saying about this battery is that it #1 lasts quite a long time, and #2 it works great with heavy duty vehicles like Jeeps, FJ’s and work vans.

Here are the following specs of the battery:

Volts: 12

CCA: 850

Ah: 68

Pros:

Cons:

2. VMAX-SLR125 - Most Premium AGM Battery

VMAXSLR125 deep cycle
Photo: Vmax Charge Tank site

If you are looking for the most premium deep cycle AGM battery, look no further than the VMAXSLR125 12v battery. Unlike the above battery which is rated for only 68ah, this one has a double rating of 125ah (almost double). With its beautiful AGM internal design, this battery is capable of lasting 5+ years (many reporting 8-10 years of use).

While it may not be a cheap option, what this fast recharging battery excels in is being a heavy-duty option when needed, and a regular battery when nothing special is expected. This battery is one of the top choices for not just automobiles, but also solar systems, wind turbines, backup power for homes, and much more.

As with most lead-acid and AGM batteries, the higher the Ah output, the heavier a battery is. This one is no exception, at 75 lbs, it definitely requires some muscle. Use this battery for only heavy duty tasks (solar) or in heavy duty vehicles (trucks, vans, sports cars, etc). Let’s dive into this batteries specs, followe by the main pros and cons.

Volts: 12

CCA: 700

Ah: 125

Pros:

Cons:

3. MightyMax ML35-12 - Best Value AGM Battery

Might Max Battery
Photo: Mightmaxbattery.com

When it comes to finding the best value for your money, there are few companies that do better than MightyMaxBatteries. This model in particular (ML35-12) is a great example of a battery that is light-duty, and cost-effective. While the above two you saw were costing over $200, you won’t find that here. Not at all, in fact, it’s not even 25 lbs. Talk about being a lightweight!

If you own a motorcycle, scooters, wheelchairs, boats, or even a small very automobile (like a Fiat 500, Nissan Leaf, etc), this battery could be a great pick.

Like the model name states, its a 35Ah battery, rated at 12 volts. Being a deep cycle battery, it’s not rated for cold-cranking amps, instead it’s rated in Ah. One thing to keep in mind with this battery is the connector pins. Unlike with traditional ones which are stubs that allow you to clamp-down both negative and positive wires, it’s not the case here. You’ll need special metal clamps that screw into place. The battery itself is quite small and some modifications may be necessary if traditional battery connectors are meant for a bigger battery.

Since this is a sealed AGM battery, you won’t have to worry about easy wear and tear. It also won’t spill over and create hazardous fumes over time. On average, you should get a least a few years out of this AGM car battery.

Volts: 12

CCA: n/a

Ah: 35

Pros:

Cons:

4. ACDelco 49AGM Professional Grade Battery

ACDelco AGM Battery
Photo: provided by acdelcousa.com

I can probably bet you’ve heard of ACDelco before, they are owned by General Motors (GM). Like GM, they specialize in making a variety of parts for many different vehicles. One of the products they make is their batteries, in particular, this professional-grade AGM battery. This one makes it to the list for a few different reasons, all of which I’ll cover below.

Like with any AGM or lead-acid battery, you don’t want to go below 50% state of charge. This battery as a whole is quite bulky, weighing just under 60 lbs. With that weight comes quite a lot of cold-cranking amps, 900 to be exact. With that kind of power, you can expect to power most big SUVs, vans, boats, sports cars, and more. This AGM battery just barely outranks the #1 spot battery in terms of cranking amps by 50. The specs state it has 95Ah of battery storage, but realistically speaking if you were to use this for anything other than a starter battery for a vehicle, you’ll get 47.5Ah of usable energy.

With the specs this battery has, the most obvious advantage of getting this battery over many others is the price point. Usually, you’ll find this battery just over $200 (but it will vary, depending on if there’s a sale going on).

Below, I highlighted the most important advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind:

Volts: 12

CCA: 900

Ah: 95

Pros:

Cons:

5. XS Power D6500 - A powerhouse of a battery!

XS Power D6500 battery
Photo: XS Power Batteries website

When I was doing research on the best car AGM batteries, I came across XS Power a few times. At first, I brushed it off, but after a few more times of seeing one of their batteries, I had to go back and have a second look. In this instance, the XS Power D6500 high-output AGM battery is what made me look further into the company.

This thing is not for the faint-of-heart. If you want all-out cranking power and capacity, look no further.

While it weighs about the same as the #4 battery above, it has 170 more cold-cranking amps (1070 to be exact). With that much power, you can put this battery in powerful vehicles and take it almost anywhere. Remember, the AGM part makes it spill-proof and very hard to damage or abuse.

When you get this battery, you’ll immediately notice its weight (just under 60 lbs). You’ll then feel the overall build quality is top-notch and it’s obvious as to why you’re paying such a premium.

You’ll find in most batteries two studs where you’ll clamp the positive and negative terminals. With this one, you actually have M6 terminal bolts that you screw on. As a personal preference, I’d prefer the terminal bolts.

Below, I listed down the most important advantages and disadvantages of this battery:

Volts: 12

CCA: 1070

Ah: 75

Pros:

Cons:

6. Deka Intimidator Extended Life AGM Battery

Intimidator AGM battery
Photo: Deka Intimidator

Aside from the cheesy name, “Intimidator”, this battery surprisingly is not made in China. Nope, its made in the USA. The Deka 9A34R AGM deep-cycle battery is an interesting unit, especially when you begin comparing it to other batteries in its price range.

This battery is rated for 750 cold-cranking amps, that’s enough for most vehicles (both on-road and marine). The top post battery terminals are designed for easy clamp style connections and lifting this thing is a breeze.

Fitting this battery into your vehicle will depend on which type of group size your car is compatible with. In this instance, 34R is the size. Be sure to verify in your vehicle owners manual or visit a local auto parts store to verify.

Don’t expect this battery to fit compact vehicles, the manufacturer states its mostly compatible with Ford, Mercury, and Toyota full-size vehicles. Also, most other SUVs, trucks and vans should be fine too. In a nutshell, larger vehicles have enough space for this battery while small vehicles may require additional modification to make things fit properly.

See below what makes this battery great and what drawbacks (if any) apply to it:

Volts: 12

CCA: 770

Ah: n/a

Pros:

Cons:

7. NorthStar Ultra High Performance AGM

NorthStar Ultra
Photo: Deka Intimidator

The last one on this list is the NorthStar Ultra High Performance AGM battery. This battery is on-par with XS Power mentioned above, but a little bit stronger (and pricier).

Let’s get the performance out of the way. When fully charged, this battery is capable of producing 1150 CCA and has up to 220 reserve capacity minutes. With that power comes great weight, out of all the batteries I mentioned, by far this battery weighs the most at nearly 80 lbs (75 to be exact).

If you are worried about mistakingly getting a weak battery for your needs, it won’t be an issue wit this NorthStar unit. While many AGM’s are meant for light to medium-duty vehicles of all types, this thing is designed for physically demanding conditions and high-output engines found in off-road trucks, and even marine vehicles.

Below, I’ve outlined the main specs of this battery, followed by some of the main advantages and disadvantages worth noting.

Volts: 12

CCA: 1150

Ah: 105

Pros:

Cons:

How to Buy the Best AGM Battery?

Ensure Compatibility: Let’s be honest here, picking the right type of battery for your vehicle DOES matter in some cases. I’m sure you’d hate to crank over the engine and learn the it does not have enough CCA, let alone in the cold weather. 

When you are shopping for the right type of battery for yourself and you want to go with an AGM type, have a look as to which type of battery you’ll be replacing. See if its an AGM, what the CCA are, how many AH’s the old one has, and so fourth. If the battery you are replacing is not a good example for specs, then just do a simple Google search.  

Type in your vehicle make and model and ask for “12v battery specs & requirements”. Usually the answer is somewhere on the first page, probably in a forum or some online car directory.

Look at Reserve Capacity: This can be an easily overlooked spec of any kind of battery because it can be easy to get comfortable with the “new” battery feeling. No one thinks of what would happen if you left the radio and headlights on for an hour, what would happen?

Would the battery be drained in 60-75 minutes?

In many cases, especially with older sealed lead-acid batteries, their reserve capacities are quite low. You can have a flat battery in as little as 30 minutes to an hour.

Look for an AGM battery that has at least 100 minutes of reserve capacity. This is calculated by taking a standard measurement of 25 amps of current being drawn until a battery goes below 10.5 volts.

Enough CCA: Something that you should keep in mind is, does the battery have enough CCA for your specific needs?

What CCA stands for is: Cold Cranking Amps. This is essentially the rating of amps the battery will put out during cold weather. The higher the CCA rating is, the better you’ll be in cold climates. 

If you live in a warm area, you can pretty much disregard this rating. It is only important for those who have sub 40F (more or less) temperatures during the winter season. 

Longevity: Buying an AGM battery isn’t cheap, especially if you want a good battery. Hopefully you’ve been through the entire list above and use it as a guidance point.

The thing I want to highlight on top of everything mentioned so far is, lifespan.

On average, a battery will be rated for 1-5 years. In some cases, some manufacturers claim 5-10 years of lifespan, but that is rare. Expect to get a new battery every few years to ensure peak CCA ratings and peak capacity.

When buying one, you want a good mix of all the important specs. No matter how heavy duty a battery claims to be, don’t sacrifice capacity for CCA, cost for durability, and so fourth. If you skimp out on one of those key things, you may one day regret it (think of cranking over a cold engine).

AGM battery buyers guide

Conclusion

If you haven’t seen by now how much better an AGM is over a standard lead-acid battery, I don’t know what else to show you.

Even if you don’t drive that often, if you just park and forget your car for some time, you should be fine for up to 8 months (on average). These types of batteries are not only great for heavy-duty and cold weather, they also have low discharge rates.

If you follow the FOUR main pointers when it comes to picking the right type of battery, you’ll have success in finding the battery that suits your needs.

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Ivan Phillips (Site Manager)
Ivan Phillips (Site Manager)

Hey there, my name is Ivan. I'm an electric car enthusiast just like you. I made this website to document everything i've learned and find interesting in the EV and PHEV world.

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