The Best Maintenance-Free Batteries Of 2021 for Your Vehicle
The battery is one of the most essential equipment of our vehicles. Its primary function is to provide a strong pulse of current to ignite the engine. In addition, it supplies power to all the electronic components of our vehicles.
Many of us already experienced a “dead battery,” for example, when keeping our headlights on while the car is not running. This annoying situation leaves us stranded and stressed. There are many possible causes of a dead lead-acid battery: it’s too old, it has no more electrolyte, or it was overdischarged.
For a few years, battery manufacturers have worked a lot to improve the reliability and safety of their products. The new standard for car batteries is the maintenance-free battery, completely sealed and nonrefillable.
In this article, our battery expert will first give a quick insight of what maintenance-free batteries are and why this technology is superior to the regular refillable lead-acid battery.
In the second part, you will find a selection of the best maintenance-free batteries available on the market for all types of vehicles and weather conditions.
- What Are Maintenance-Free Batteries?
- 4 Reasons Why a Maintenance-Free Battery Is a Smart Purchase for Your Vehicle
- 7 Best Maintenance-Free Batteries for Your Vehicle
- 1. ACDelco 48AGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 48 Battery
- 2. ODYSSEY PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery
- 3. Delphi BU9048 MaxStart AGM Premium Automotive Battery, Group Size 48
- 4. XS Power D6500 XS Series 12V 3,900 Amp AGM High Output Battery
- 5. Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
- 6. Optima Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery
- 7. Energizer TX20HL AGM Motorcycle and Atv 12V Battery
- Four Final Tips To Get The Most Of Your Maintenance-Free Battery
- Best Selling Maintenance-Free Batteries
What Are Maintenance-Free Batteries?
Batteries are rechargeable electrochemical systems capable of storing and delivering electricity for a specific use.
Our vehicle batteries are all using the same technology – lead-acid.
Multiple technological variations of lead-acid batteries have been developed. For you to get a clearer picture, we have summarized the different types of lead-acid batteries commercially available, including the latest maintenance-free battery.
The first rechargeable lead-acid battery was developed by Gaston Planté in 1860. A lead-acid battery has two lead electrodes (anode and cathode), immersed in a sulfuric acid solution (electrolyte) and separated by a membrane.
The technology was further improved with thicker lead electrodes and separators to create the deep cycle battery.
Deep-Cycle Lead-Acid Battery: Refillable Type And VRLA Type
Deep-cycle batteries can be discharged continuously providing a steady current. They also have cranking abilities by generating intense pulses of current to start a vehicle.
There are two types of lead-acid deep cycle batteries:
- Refillable battery (wet type, also called flooded)
- Valve-regulated lead-acid battery (VRLA)
In a refillable battery, the electrolyte is liquid (sulfuric acid solution) and could evaporate. Therefore, it needs to be monitored and refilled from time to time. Furthermore, refillable batteries have to be placed in a well-ventilated area due to gas outburst.
On the contrary, VRLA batteries are sealed and maintenance-free batteries. Let’s have a look at the two technologies available under VRLA batteries.
VRLA Battery: The Maintenance-Free Battery
VRLAs are sealed and maintenance-free batteries available under two names – Gel and AGM battery.
Maintenance-Free GEL Battery
In a GEL battery, silica had been added to the electrolyte, making it a gel. It prevents electrolyte evaporation. Thus, there is no need to refill this type of battery as it is sealed and maintenance-free.
Maintenance-Free AGM Battery
AGM means absorbed glass mat. In this type of maintenance-free battery, the electrolyte is absorbed on a fiberglass mat. Similar to GEL batteries, it will not evaporate, and there is no need to refill an AGM battery. Thus, it is maintenance-free. AGM batteries are the latest maintenance-free batteries, with performances quite similar to GEL batteries. However, they exhibit a slightly higher charging efficiency, especially at higher temperatures.
4 Reasons Why a Maintenance-Free Battery Is a Smart Purchase for Your Vehicle
Traditional refillable batteries are not user-friendly. They need constant monitoring and are not adapted to rough weather conditions. We have summarized below four reasons why you should get a maintenance-free battery for your vehicle.
Best Car Cranking Abilities
The first function of your battery is to start your car. All maintenance-free batteries are SLI batteries (starting, lighting, ignition). They are able to provide a short and intense pulse of current (more than 300 Amps for 3 seconds) to start your engine. This is the cranking ability (CA).
An important parameter to take into account when picking your maintenance-free battery if you leave in a cold environment is the cold cranking amps (CCA) – the pulse of current to start your car at 0°F.
All maintenance-free batteries have CCA abilities. The value is usually indicated on the side of the battery casing.
Highest Capacity and Discharge Abilities
The secondary use of your battery is to power your car electronics. Maintenance-free batteries are deep-cycle batteries. In other words, they will provide continuous current over a long period of time before being drained. The higher their capacity, the longer they will be able to power your car electronics in case of alternator failure.
The battery capacity is rated in Amps.hour (Ah). 1 Ah is equivalent to 1 Amps during 1 hour. For car batteries, you will also find the reserve capacity (RC) on the side of your maintenance-free battery. This is the number of minutes a fully charged battery will provide a current of 25 Amps before being completely drained (at 80°F). Maintenance-free batteries have superior RC between 100 and 150 minutes.
Compared to flooded batteries, maintenance-free batteries are highly reliable and durable. Indeed, there is no need to refill the electrolyte as they are completely sealed. They are not affected by vibration when your vehicle is running.
Their warranty is therefore extended – up to 36 months for some models. In working conditions, you can expect a life duration of 4–6 years.
Maintenance-free batteries are safe to operate. Unlike flooded batteries, you won’t have to manipulate corrosive electrolyte to refill them. They won’t leak or release toxic gas, and you can mount them in any position.
7 Best Maintenance-Free Batteries for Your Vehicle
Our battery expert has selected seven of the best maintenance-free batteries for your vehicle. Highly reliable, they offer up to 6 years of service and are safe to operate.
- High density negative paste, improves performance and increases battery life
- Enhanced life alloy or Silver Calcium stamped alloy increases cycle life and improves performance
- Calcium lead positive grid, maximizes conductivity and allows for low resistance
ACDelco is a global leader in automotive replacement parts and services. It is part of General Motors company and is the only source of true General Motors original equipment. They produce high-quality replacement parts to the highest-quality standard of the automotive industry.
They have developed a broad range of automotive batteries. We have selected their deep-cycle AGM battery model 48 for your car. Let’s have a closer look at its main features.
We have selected the golden label (profesional) of ACDelco which is their highest-quality label aside from the OEM GM original parts. This maintenance-free battery features 760 Amps of CCA, and it will start your car in any type of weather. In case of alternator failure, it will provide power for 120 minutes (120 RC) with a total capacity of 70 Ah.
It features several technological improvements to enhance the battery life and performances, such as high-density paste on the negative electrode and silver calcium stamped alloy to prevent oxidation of the electrodes plates. The membrane (separator) is enriched with carbon black to increase electrolyte circulation.
They also worked on the safety with specific vent cap design to withstand acid leakage. It is an AGM battery and is therefore completely sealed and ready to use.
- 36 months warranty
- Can deliver 25 Amps for 120 minutes
- Improved technology on electrodes and separator
- Built-in high-quality material
- Cannot be connected to a solar battery trickle charger
ACDelco delivers one of the best maintenance-free batteries for your car, with advanced technology that will provide long life duration and continuous power for your car electronics. This product comes highly recommended.
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 330
- Better warranty: Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement warranty - not pro rata
- Longer service life: With 3-10 years of service life, ODYSSEY batteries save consumers time, money, and aggravation
Odyssey batteries are produced by EnerSys, a global leader in energy storage solutions with more than 100 years of experience in battery manufacturing. They have multiple factories across the world that produce batteries for automotive, military, and industrial applications.
Let’s have a closer look at their model PC925, AGM maintenance-free battery.
The key feature of this maintenance-free battery is its durability. It was designed to last long, with 3–10 years of service life and 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. It is extremely robust, offering a broad range of service temperature from -40°F to 113°F. It is resistant to vibration with a specific design to absorb shocks and impacts during use. This battery is perfect for tough use in the outdoors with an ATV, for example.
Regarding its performance, it can deliver 330 Amps for 5 seconds at 0°F (330 CCA) and has a reserve capacity of 52 min. Furthermore, it can be fully charged in 4–6 hours.
Those impressive figures are possible thanks to a strong level of technical innovation. Odyssey maintenance-free batteries contain only pure lead plate electrodes with a maximized surface area for higher conductivity. This design offers 40% more storage capacity compared to spiral wound batteries.
On the safety side, it is an AGM battery. Therefore, there is no spill or leaks possible from the electrolyte. It is sealed in a tough flame retardant cell container, preventing gas outburst.
- Extremely durable
- Built for the outdoors
- High level of safety
- 3–4 years warranty
- Fast recharge
- Risk of permanent damage if the battery is overdischarged
The maintenance-free battery of choice for your ATV, it is built in high-quality material making it an extremely robust battery that will deliver power for many years if not overdischarged.
- Extended cold cranking amps delivery means more power for today's demanding electronics
- Group 48 battery with 760 CCA (cold cranking amps) and 120 R.C. (reverse capacity)
- 20x the vibration resistance of conventional batteries
Delphi Technologies is a renowned vehicle battery brand owned by BorgWarner Inc. – one of the largest american automotive suppliers. They have developed four ranges of maintenance-free batteries with CCA abilities and reserve capacity to power the vehicle electronics.
We are featuring their top-of-the-line MaxStart AGM battery. Let’s have a closer look at its specifications.
The Delphi BU9048 is an AGM maintenance-free battery made in the USA. It was specially designed to offer superior vibration resistance (up to twenty times more compared to similar batteries). Its casing is reinforced and will resist chocks. Therefore, it will perform well in rough terrain conditions and could be installed in a pickup truck or SUV.
It is durable, with superior corrosion resistance at the battery terminal. Likewise, the AGM technology offers longer life cycle duration and faster recharge compared to refillable lead acid batteries.
Regarding its performance, it delivers 760 CCA and provides 2 hours of reserve capacity, for a total capacity of 70Ah (20h). Therefore, it will start your vehicle in a cold environment at any time.
This maintenance-free battery comes with a 36-month warranty and is designed to have a total life of up to 8 years. Thanks to the VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid) technology, it is safe and totally sealed, preventing leaks and gas outburst.
- Not affected by vehicle vibration
- 36 months warranty
- Performs well as starting battery and deep-cycle battery
- Built with shockproof material
- A bit pricey
You will make no mistake when purchasing a Delphi Battery, and the model BU9048 is not an exception. Even though it is a bit more expensive than other models, it will give full satisfaction in all types of climates and road conditions to start and power the electronics of your vehicle.
- 12 Volt battery with CA: 1070, Ah: 75
- Absorbed Glass Mat (electrolyte is suspended in fiberglass)
- Spill proof, sealed, valve regulated and vibration resistant
XS Power is a US battery brand created in 2005. They are developing reliable batteries with a high level of safety, and all their products are evaluated in their in-house testing lab. They also work with outside battery experts to ensure a high level of innovation.
Let’s have a closer look at their model XS series D6500.
The main feature of the XS Power D6500 is its outstanding power. It is able to deliver a short current pulse of 3,900 Amps, and its cranking abilities are at 1,070 Amps. Therefore, it will have no problem starting any vehicle, even in cold conditions. It has a reserve capacity of 150 min and a total capacity of 75Ah. This battery is a good choice for powerful car audio amplifiers.
On the safety side, the battery is AGM. Therefore, it is completely sealed and maintenance-free. There is no risk of electrolyte spillage or gas outbursts because the electrolyte is absorbed on a fiberglass mat.
The battery casing is reinforced to absorb road and vehicle vibrations.
- Extremely powerful
- Largest reserve capacity
- Strongly built
- 36 months warranty
This is the battery of choice for performance vehicles and competition car audio. It is a bit more expensive than other maintenance-free batteries, but it will deliver superior power for a longer time.
- 12-Volt, 750 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10" x 6 7/8" x 7 13/16" tall, Weight: 43.5 pounds, Dual SAE & GM Post
- Reserve capacity of 120 minutes for constant performance
- Optimal starting power even in bad weather. Case Material: Polypropylene.Internal Resistance: 0.0028
Optima is a pioneer in the automotive battery industry, with more than 40 years of operation. Their products are fueled with innovation, and they are famous for their SPIRALCELL TECHNOLOGY®, an innovative spiral electrode design for maintenance-free batteries.
Let’s have a closer look at their YellowTop model 8014-045:
This Optima YellowTop model is a maintenance-free dual-purpose automotive battery. It delivers 750 Amps for the cold start of your engine and has a reserve capacity of 120 min for a total capacity of 55 Ah. Therefore, it won’t have any problem starting your vehicle in tough climate conditions and at the same time power your in-board electronics.
It benefits from all the latest innovation of Optima, like the SPIRALCELL TECHNOLOGY® that enhances the performance of the battery – more power and more safety. The battery is using the AGM technology and is completely sealed. There is no risk of acidic solution spillage as the electrolyte is kept in a micro-fiberglass blend inside the spirals. Thanks to its specific design, it is also resistant to vibration. Therefore, it can be placed in any type of off-road vehicles.
- Innovative spiral design for enhanced power and safety
- Dual use (starting and deep cycle)
- Low self-discharge rate
- 36 months warranty
- Only 300 life cycles
The Optima YellowTop model is a great choice as a dual-use battery for your vehicle. It will have no problem starting your engine thanks to high cranking abilities and will do a great job at providing continuous power to your vehicle electric devices.
- 12-Volt, 720 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 9.38 x 7.69 x 6.75-Inches Weight: 31.7 pounds, SAE Posts
- Reserve capacity of 90 minutes for constant performance
- Optimal starting power even in bad weather. Case material is Polypropylene
This is the second entry of Optima Battery in our selection of best maintenance-free batteries. We are featuring here a RedTop battery specially designed to start a vehicle. Let’s have a closer look at this Amazon best seller.
The Optima RedTop model 8020 is a dual-use automotive battery that can start your engine even in severe weather conditions, with a 720 CCA and the ability to deliver continuous power with a 90 min reserve capacity. The battery would fit most vehicles like cars, RVs, and any equipment that needs a starting burst for its engine.
It benefits from Optima state-of-the-art technology, like the spiral electrodes that ensures superior power, longer life cycles, and enhanced safety. This model is an AGM maintenance-free battery, in which the electrolyte is absorbed on a fiberglass mat to prevent leaks, evaporation, and gas outburst. Therefore, it is totally safe to operate.
The battery casing is made of heavy-duty plastic. It will have no problem absorbing vibrations during use, and you will have no fear installing it in your pickup truck, SUV, and even on hot roads.
- Good engine starting abilities
- Packed with technical innovation
- Faster charging
- 36 months warranty
- Good pricing
- Should not be overdischarged
This OPTIMA RedTop series maintenance-free battery is a great entry choice as a car battery. It benefits from quality manufacturing from Optima to ensure a proper car starting in cold conditions. If you are looking for higher performances, the YellowTop series would be your best choice.
- Strong, reliable power for high-performance engines, precision charged and performance ready out of the box
- Permanently sealed at the factory and maintenance free – no topping off necessary
- Length: 6-7/8" (175 mm), Width: 3-7/16" (87 mm), Height: 6-1/8" (155 mm), Weight: 13. 67 lbs. (6. 2 kg)
Energizer is one of the largest battery manufacturers in the world with more than 100 years of existence. They have developed a broad range of batteries for every use. We are featuring here their maintenance-free battery for motorcycles and ATVs.
The Energizer TX20HL offers both cold cranking abilities with 310 Amps and continuous power of your vehicle electronics with a total capacity of 18 Ah. It generates reliable power in the roughest conditions. Therefore, it is a perfect choice for an ATV, a dirt bike, a marine troller, and even a snowmobile.
Thanks to its AGM technology, the electrolyte is absorbed on a glass mat. Consequently, there is no need to refill it and to monitor the level of electrolyte. It is completely sealed and safe to operate immediately.
It is built with superior plastic to resist shocks and vibrations, it will last long even in rough conditions.
- For outdoor sport vehicles
- Tolerant to vibrations
- Safe to operate
- Dual use – cranking and continuous power
- Performs well at low temperatures
- 12 months warranty only
A great choice for power sports vehicles, this maintenance-free battery won’t disappoint. It is robust and powerful to start your engine in any condition and run the electronics of your vehicle.
Four Final Tips To Get The Most Of Your Maintenance-Free Battery
Maintenance-free batteries are safer and more reliable than the regular refillable lead-acid batteries. They are plug and play and will satisfy most users when it comes to starting an engine and powering basic electronics. However, they still need to be operated carefully to enhance their life duration. Here are our final tips to get the most of your battery.
- Never overdischarge your maintenance-free battery (not below 50% of its maximum capacity).
- Maintain a full charge of the battery at all times, for example, with a solar battery trickle charger.
- Visually inspect your battery every 3 months for leakage.
- Properly dispose of your used battery. It contains hazardous material like acidic solutions and lead plates.
If you follow our tips, you will be able to enjoy your battery for up to 6 years.
In the near future, maintenance-free batteries for vehicles will be replaced by the more reliable and durable lithium batteries that offer thousands of cycles, 100% depth of discharge, and much higher energy density.