On the hunt for the best semi-truck batteries, you'll find a lot of conflicting advice. Should you choose AGM batteries or traditional lead-acid batteries? Which are the best semi-truck batteries: deep cycle or starting batteries?
There is so much information out there that it can be really difficult to find the best battery for your diesel truck. Luckily, there are some handy tips to make the search a bit easier.
AGM vs. Traditional Lead-Acid Batteries
First of all, let's talk about AGM batteries vs. traditional lead-acid batteries. There are some misconceptions that need to be cleared up.
Absorbent glass mat batteries (AGM batteries) are not a completely different type of battery. AGM batteries are a subtype of lead-acid batteries that are sealed. The act of sealing these batteries means that they won't spill during an accident and that they can be installed at awkward angles.
You cannot, however, test or charge your AGM battery the same way you would a traditional lead-acid battery. Because AGM batteries have a lower internal resistance than flooded batteries, older analyzers won't work on them. You'll need one of the newer models that have an AGM mode.
Likewise, you can't use your traditional charger for your AGM battery. These batteries need to be charged slowly, and overcharging them can kill them completely. Also, don't mistake your alternator for a charger - use a proper charger if your battery dies completely.
Deep Cycle vs. Starting Batteries
Next, we need to talk about deep cycle batteries vs. starting batteries. Despite the difference in name, these batteries actually work exactly the same way, using exactly the same chemistry. The difference lies in the plates.
A starting battery, which is the type of battery used in cars, uses thin plates which provide a surge of energy over a short period of time. This surge turns the engine over to start it -- thus the name starting battery -- and then the alternator takes over the work of powering the car.
A deep cycle battery, on the other hand, can only provide about half the amount of surge that a car battery can. These batteries are designed to slowly discharge over a long period of time. This kind of battery drain would ruin a car battery, but the thick plates on deep cycle batteries are designed to perform this way, making them the best semi-truck batteries.
How We Reviewed
In reviewing the best semi-truck batteries of the year, we took many factors into consideration. We aggregated reviews from professionals as well as everyday truck users. We looked at the comments made by customers and clients of these battery companies.
It's important that the list of the best semi-truck batteries comprise only those batteries that will perform consistently, last a long time, and do the work efficiently that they are designed to do. Every battery on this list meets these specifications, so the following is arranged in no particular order.
Product Comparison Table
The Best Semi-Truck Batteries of This Year
The best semi-truck batteries of this year are exemplary. There have been real strides made in the field of electronics and power for heavy-duty trucks, and these batteries are the result of vast improvements.
Odyssey 31-PC2150S (200)
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 1150; Better warranty: Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement warranty – not pro rata;...
- Longer cycle life: 70 percentage longer cycle life compared to conventional deep cycle batteries, up to 400 cycles...
- Faster recharge: The highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead battery on the market, capable of 100...
Odyssey is a highly-respected company, known for making quality products. This heavy-duty commercial battery is no exception.
At over 77 pounds, the 31-PC2150S is one of the heaviest batteries on this list, but it makes up for its heft with its efficiency. With the ability to complete 400 cycles at an 80 percent discharge, this battery has a 70 percent longer cycle life than the typical deep cycle battery.
It has a cold crank amp of 1150, giving it much more starting power than many other batteries, and its reserve capacity of 205 minutes is one of the longest on the market. This battery charges more quickly than other deep cycle batteries as well. It can be fully recharged after only four to six hours.
Furthermore, it has an operating temperature range of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an efficient power-generator in virtually any weather you'll encounter.
Odyssey is so sure of this battery that it's included limited three and four-year warranties.
Odyssey 34-PC1500T (200)
Another offering by Odyssey, the 34-PC1500T is another highly efficient and longlasting battery for your truck.
This battery weighs only 49.5 pounds, making it significantly lighter and easier to manage than the 150S. Like the 150S, however, it can still operate up to 400 cycles at 80 percent discharge.
The cold crank amperage and reserve capacity of this battery is somewhat lower than those of its bigger brother -- only 850 amps and 135 minutes. But it can likewise be charged to 100 percent capacity in only four to six hours.
Like all Odyssey batteries, this powerhouse can work in extreme temperatures ranging from -40 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, so the weather will likely not be a deterrent to your battery's ability.
Odyssey's limited three and four-year warranties extend to the 1500T as well as the 150S.
Optima Batteries 8037-127 D27F YellowTop. 43.5 Lbs. (200)
- Deep-cycle and cranking power; up to two times longer life
- More than 15 times the vibration resistance
- Completely spill proof, mountable in virtually any position
Optima is another well-respected battery brand, and its 8037 Yellow Top is one of their best semi-truck batteries.
This Optima is a high-performing battery, weighing only 54 pounds. While this is slightly heavier than the Odyssey 1500T, it is still very manageable. It also offers over 300 discharge and recharge cycles.
This AGM battery has a cold crank amperage of 830. It also has 140 minutes of reserve capacity, so it performs similarly to the 1500T.
The YellowTop also has an incredibly efficient operating temperature range. There is no limit to the current output of this battery as long as the temperature is at or below 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Optima's Happiness Guarantee means that this battery comes with a 36-month limited warranty on materials and labor.
Deka Intimidator (200)
This battery is a bit smaller than the other dual-purpose batteries on this list, giving it slightly less power, but also much more manageability.
The Deka Intimidator is a smaller battery that weighs only 47.5 pounds. But don't let that fool you: it can still perform incredibly well. In fact, it gives twice the cycle life of a regular deep cycle battery.
This lightweight battery delivers 750 cold crank amps and a reserve capacity of 150 minutes, giving it a remarkable level of performance for a battery of its size.
This battery performs better in colder temperatures, so it's best used in areas that don't reach extreme heat.
Deka offers a one-year warranty on this particular model of battery.
AC Delco 48AGM (200)
- High density negative paste, improves performance and increases battery life
- Enhanced life alloy/Silver Calcium stamped alloy increases cycle life and improves performance
- Calcium Lead positive grid, maximizes conductivity and allows for low resistance
AC Delco is yet another well-known and well-respected brand of battery. Their group 48 AGM battery is a best seller for very good reasons.
Though a different size category than the Deka Intimidator, the AC Delco weighs a comparable 45 pounds, making it the lightest battery on this list. It's much more manageable and easy to install due to its lighter weight than the Odyssey batteries. Its Silver Calcium alloy extends the cycle life past that of most deep cycle batteries.
The AC Delco AGM has a cold crank amperage of 760, meaning that though it's slightly more lightweight than the Deka Intimidator, it has more amperage to turn the engine. It also has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes.
The envelope separator allows more circulation within the battery, lessening the possibility of shorts as well as keeping the battery cool to extend its life.
AC Delco offers a 36-month limited warranty on its batteries.
AC Delco 65 AGM HR
The AC Delco 65 group AGM battery performs just as admirably as the 48 group model.
Though it's a different size category than its brother, this battery still weighs a meager 45.8 pounds. With such a small amount of weight, this battery, like AC Delco's other offering, is very easy to install and manage.
This battery provides a bit more oomph than its 48 group brother with a cold crank amp of 775 and a reserve capacity of 150 minutes.
Like the other batteries manufactured by AC Delco, this battery has a puncture-proof envelope separator to extend the life of the battery.
This battery also includes AC Delco's 36-month replacement limited warranty under its Happiness Guarantee.
Time to Hit the Road
The best semi-truck batteries that made this list are all extraordinary powerhouses. You really can't go wrong with any of them. Once you've narrowed down your battery group number, it's just a matter of preference and environment as to which you should choose.
If, for example, you will be using the battery mostly in an area with dry, hot weather, you'll want something that can operate in warmer temperatures. On the other hand, if it freezes often where you are, then you'll likely choose something that operates better in cooler temperatures.
Now that you've chosen your favorite of the best semi-truck batteries on the market, it's time to hit the road. Bon voyage!
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