Choosing the Right Car Battery: A Comprehensive Guide to Types and Varieties

Choosing the Right Car Battery: A Comprehensive Guide to Types and Varieties

A car battery is a type of rechargeable battery that is used in vehicles to provide electrical power when the engine is not running. It serves as an auxiliary power source for the car's electrical system, powering accessories and starting the engine.

Key Characteristics

Despite their nearly identical design, car batteries can vary significantly in their technical specifications.
  • Nominal Capacity
This rating, measured in amp-hours (Ah), indicates the amount of energy the battery can deliver over a period of time.
  • Discharge Current
Expressed in amperes (A), this value represents the maximum cold cranking amperage (CCA) the battery can provide to start the engine in cold weather. Both of these ratings are crucial factors in selecting the right battery for your vehicle.
  • Choosing a Car Battery

Consumers typically have two main options: lead-acid and calcium batteries. The latter category generally commands a higher price tag due to its superior energy density, enhanced cold cranking performance, and reduced maintenance requirements. However, calcium batteries should not be fully discharged, as this can negatively impact their capacity. Additionally, they are susceptible to voltage spikes from the alternator. 

The "right choice of car battery" depends on the electrical system's condition in your vehicle.

Hybrid batterieswhich combine the advantages of calcium and lead-acid models, are also available in the market. For vehicles equipped with start-stop systems and other complex electronics, gel batteries and their subtypes, AGM and EFB, have been developed. While they can also be used in budget-friendly cars, the cost of these batteries is quite high.

  • Main Types of Car Batteries
Consumers have a wide range of car batteries to choose from, differing significantly not only in price but also in technical characteristics. When selecting a specific model, pay particular attention to the battery type.
  • Lead-Acid Batteries
These are the standard car battery type. Despite their relatively outdated technology, they remain in high demand. They get their name from the fact that the lead plates contain up to 5% antimony. Accordingly, they are marked with Sb.
  • Low-Antimony Batteries
A variation of the previous category, the key difference is the reduced antimony content of 2-4%. This helps suppress the rapid evaporation of the electrolyte. Nevertheless, the owner must still monitor the fluid level in the cells during operation, but less frequently than with older models. This minimal attention requirement makes them a popular choice.
  • Calcium Batteries
Lead-acid batteries had a significant drawback: rapid electrolyte evaporation. As a result, a fundamentally new model was created, in which both electrodes are calcium-doped. Due to the presence of this metal, these batteries are marked with Ca. In addition to calcium, many battery models also include a small percentage of silver, which helps reduce resistance and increase efficiency.
  • Hybrid Batteries
Batteries in this category combine the advantages of the two previous models. Hybrid battery samples get their name because the electrodes are enriched with different metals. Antimony is applied to the positive electrode, and calcium to the negative electrode. Some models may also contain a small amount of silver. These batteries are marked Sb/Ca or Ca+.
  • Gel Batteries
This category of car batteries is labeled GEL. The main difference from the previous acid variants is that the electrodes are not flooded with liquid electrolyte but with a gel-like substance. This completely eliminates the possibility of accidental spills during careless handling of the battery.
  • AGM Batteries
An improved version of the gel battery, it can be used in modern cars with complex electronics and start-stop functionality. Unlike models with lead plates, AGM batteries are equipped with additional porous fiberglass. This significantly extends the service life and prevents shedding of lead particles. These batteries excel in almost all respects compared to the previous ones, but there is one significant drawback - the cost. AGM batteries are priced significantly higher than calcium and hybrid batteries on the market. It is important to note that this category of batteries is maintenance-free.
  • EFB Batteries
These are new generation batteries filled with liquid electrolyte. In terms of characteristics, they represent an intermediate option between AGM and classic acid batteries.
  • Alkaline (Alkaline Batteries)
This category includes batteries that use an alkaline solution instead of sulfuric acid as an electrolyte. These batteries are divided into two categories based on the type of nickel plates used: with iron or cadmium additives. Both options have a corrugated coating on the electrodes. They are housed in separate sealed cells, which protects them from vibrations and shaking during driving.

You can find out about the available options on specialized sites, for example, here (or any other specialized resource).

Average Rating of the Best Car Batteries

  • Bosch S4;
  • Varta Silver Dynamic AGM;
  • Varta Blue Dynamic;
  • Tab Polar;
  • Tyumen Battery Premium;
  • Mutlu SFB 3;
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