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What's behind our car battery Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 70 models in car batteries to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score combines life-test performance, reserve capacity, and cold-cranking-amp (CCA) performance in our tests; scores are relative to others in their group sizes.
  • Life
    Life test measures how a battery endures repeated charge-and-discharge cycles at hot-climate engine-compartment temperatures. The more cycles endured while maintaining a higher voltage, the higher the score.
  • Reserve capacity
    Reserve capacity estimates how long batteries can run a car if the charging system fails.
  • CCA
    CCA performance reflects voltage at our load of half the average claimed CCA for each group size after cranking for 15 seconds at 0º F. We charged batteries at the 14.5 volts that vehicles typically supply, rather than the higher voltage that manufacturers use. Batteries charged at the lower voltage met BCI voltage standards for a fully charged battery.


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Recommended car batteries

Recommended car batteries are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
The time to consider purchasing a new car battery is not when it leaves you stranded on a cold, dark, and stormy night. But you might not even know your car battery is on its last legs until it's too late, because modern ignition and fuel systems can start a car with a minimum of cranking. If you're looking for information about car batteries, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ car battery reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our car battery buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and car battery reviews to help you choose the best car battery for your needs.

Recently reviewed car batteries

Gold 51R-2
This recommended model has been tested by our experts.  It has excellent life and very good cold cranking scores, but average reserve capacity.  It comes with an 36 month free replacement warranty.  This model does not come with a handle which can make installation more difficult.

Car battery buying guide

Throughout the life of your vehicle, you will probably have to replace your car's battery a number of times. Either it gets old and has to be replaced, or it is drained unintentionally when lights or another electrical accessory are left on. A dead battery can be a hassle, especially if you cannot find jumper cables or have to wait for roadside assistance. Being proactive in replacing your battery can ensure that your car is ready to go when you are. Through this battery buying guide, we will advise on considerations for battery ownership and replacement.

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