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The Highest Cold Cranking Amp Battery – Top 5 Reviewed

While it’s still summer outside, it might be the perfect time to start preparing your vehicle for the cold winter months by getting a new car battery.

Car batteries, especially in diesels, have a rough life during freezing weather as the starter motor draws nearly two times more current when compared to during warm weather. Because of that, you might be tempted to replace your old car battery with a new one that features even more Cold Cranking Amp power.

To save you time, we’ve done the research for you and found the five highest cold cranking amp batteries on the market right now. But before dive into the reviews, here are a few important points you should know first.

Can You Have Too Many Cold Cranking Amps?

To put it simply, you can never have too many Cold Cranking Amps – your car‘s starter motor will always draw the same amount of current that it needs at the time, completely independent on how many Cold Cranking Amps your battery has got in reserve.

You can think about it like having an extra gas tank. Your car will still use the same amount of fuel, but will have more fuel in reserve.

However if you really want to be nit-picky, there are a few reasons why car‘s don‘t come with the highest Cold Cranking Amp batteries straight from the factory in the first place – high Cold Cranking Amp batteries are slightly less durable and don‘t last as long when used in mostly warm weather applications.

To understand why, we have to look at the way car battery manufacturers fit so many Cold Cranking Amps inside some considerably small batteries. In theory, it‘s pretty straight forward – just cram more lead plates inside the battery and you‘ll have more CCAs, but of course, it‘s a bit more difficult than that in practice.

In order to fit as many lead plates as possible, car battery manufacturers make the lead plates and the separator material very thin. Because these lead plates are so thin, it‘s easier for vibration and water loss to bring these batteries to an early demise.

Luckily, in most cases, the difference in durability is mostly unnoticeable, but you still get a few cases of high CCA batteries failing prematurely if they are subjected to hot weather conditions for most of the time, like Texas for example. Therefore, if you‘re living in an area where it’s hot most of the year, high Cold Cranking Amp batteries are simply unnecessary.

How Many Cold Cranking Amps Do You Actually Need?

You only need as many Cold Cranking Amps as your vehicle manufacturer recommends, however, having more reserve CCA power won‘t hurt – it would only make your cold starts quicker and more reliable.

The exact amount of Cold Cranking Amps that you need varies greatly between each make and model due to factors like the type and size of the engine, oil viscosity, operating temperature, etc. That’s why it’s nearly impossible for anyone else, other than the vehicle’s manufacturer, to calculate the actual amount of CCAs needed. In this case – more is always better.


The 5 Highest Cold Cranking Amp Batteries


1. NorthStar NSB-AGM31 AGM

  • Type: AGM
  • BCI Group Size: 31
  • Amp Hour: 103 Ah
  • Pulse cranking amps: 2150A
  • Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) at 0°F (-18°C): 1150A
  • Reserve Capacity: 220 min

Starting off our list, the NorthStar NSB-AGM31 supplies an astounding 2150 pulse cranking amps for quick and trouble-free starting.

Obviously, the main selling point is the high number of Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). This means that while it is 0°F outside, your battery can supply 1150A or about half the amount of pulse cranking amps. So, it will be a quick start regardless of the temperature.

Moreover, the battery was rated to withstand and operate at temperatures as low as -40ºF (-40ºC) and as high as +149ºF (+65ºC).

Using an AGM design, the NorthStar is a maintenance-free part. It was sealed shut to prevent spillages and that means it is possible to mount it in virtually any position. The outside shell was made from durable plastic for full protection from heat and physical damage, but it is still advised to keep your battery away from any hazards.

The only real downsides are that considering those extremely high current ratings, the battery itself had to be made big. That is why it will not fit smaller cars and is best used in trucks. Moreover, it weighs a hefty 76 lbs (36.4kg).

Pros
  • The highest number of Cold Cranking Amps
  • Pure lead AGM technology
  • Is able to perform at extreme temperatures
  • Capable of cycling over 900 times at 50% depth-of-discharge
  • Low internal resistance allows fast recharge
Cons
  • Big & Bulky

2. Odyssey 31-PC2150S AGM

  • Type: AGM
  • BCI Group Size: 31
  • Amp Hour: 100 Ah
  • Pulse cranking amps: 2150A
  • Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) at 0°F (-18°C): 1150A
  • Reserve Capacity: 205 min

Along with the latter product, this battery has the highest pulse cranking amps on the list; 2150A is more than enough to start semi-trucks.

Furthermore, those two batteries share the same number of Cold Cranking Amps, meaning, starting your heavy-duty diesel engine on cold winter mornings won’t be a challenge at all. To add to that, Odyssey promises that you would get almost three and a half hours of reserve capacity.

Similarly to the NorthStar above, the BCI group size is the same, therefore, it is bulky and heavy. But that is actually a good thing as this battery has a 100Ah capacity and is able to supply power for 205 minutes straight. And the charging speed is fast too! It is capable of 100% recharge in 4 to 6 hours thanks to its AGM design.

Obviously, because of the AGM design, the Odyssey 31-PC2150S is virtually maintenance-free – only need to properly hook it up to your vehicle and that’s it! Moreover, the AGM technology guarantees more durability and up to three times longer lasting operation.

Compared to the NorthStar battery above, the only real difference is a slightly lower price point, mainly due to the smaller amp hour rating and reserve capacity.

All in all, it is a good competitor to the NorthStar battery, as it has almost the same specifications.

Pros
  • Highest number of Cold Cranking Amps
  • Very long service life
  • Capable of 400 Cycles at 80% depth-of-discharge
  • Low internal resistance allows fast recharges
  • Pure lead AGM
Cons
  • Reserve Capacity and Amp Hour ratings could have been a bit higher

3. Exide Edge FP-AGML5/49 Flat Plate AGM

  • Type: AGM
  • BCI Group Size: 49
  • Amp Hour: 90 Ah
  • Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) at 0°F (-18°C): 850A
  • Cranking Amperage (CA): 1000A
  • Reserve Capacity: 160 min

Now, even though it is a slightly smaller battery, the high number of Cold Cranking Amps for its size is very impressive.

850 CCAs are definitely enough to reliably start most diesel cars at very cold temperatures. Moreover, you get almost three hours’ worth of reserve capacity, which is always nice to have.

Additionally, batteries from Exide originally came with new BMWs – that’s how you know Exide is a reputable and trustworthy brand that will be dependable in the long run.

Moreover, users report that these batteries kept their vehicles running for 7 years – way beyond the warranty period. This is largely thanks to the superior AGM battery design that outperforms the outdated conventional batteries.

Now, due to its smaller size, this battery has a smaller capacity when compared to the two giants above, but for a battery this size, the Exide Edge is packed with an incredible amount of reserve Cold Cranking Amp power.

Pros
  • 3rd highest number of CCAs
  • SureLife Graphite Technology allows the battery to last a long time
  • Specialized valve system prevents the electrolyte from drying out
  • One of the best bang-for-your-buck AGM batteries
Cons
  • None

4. Delphi BU9078DT MaxStart AGM

  • Type: AGM
  • BCI Group Size: 78DT (Dual Terminal)
  • Amp Hour: 50 Ah
  • Pulse cranking amps: 2150A
  • Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) at 0°F (-18°C): 775A
  • Reserve Capacity: 120min

Moving on to passenger vehicle sized batteries, the power-dense Delphi MaxStart AGM can supply your vehicle with 775 Cold Cranking amps at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and, it is able to provide around 120 minutes of reserve power.

Moreover, this battery is non-spillable and has twenty times better vibration resistance when compared to conventional lead acid batteries – that means it is perfectly sealed and maintenance-free. Furthermore, the manufacturer promises double the life expectancy of conventional batteries, but that is to be expected at this price point.

It also has a dual terminal system which means that it has terminals on the top and on the side of the battery. So, together with the sealed design, it can be mounted conventionally or on its side.

While the number of Cold Cranking Amps is high for its size, the MaxStart AGM has quite a low Amp Hour (Ah) rating, but on the other hand, 50Ah is pretty typical for regular passenger vehicles.

Pros
  • High number of CCAs
  • Great corrosion resistance
  • Durable and resistant to vibrations
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Poor Amp Hour rating

5. Deka 9A34R Intimidator AGM

  • Type: AGM
  • BCI Group Size: 34R
  • Amp Hour: 55 Ah
  • Cold Cranking Amperage (CCA) at 0°F (-18°C): 750A
  • Reserve Capacity: 120min

Last but not least, the affectionately named Deka Intimidator is a group 34 battery which is to be used in smaller to mid-sized vehicles – but don’t let its smaller size fool you as it can still output 750 Cold Cranking Amps at bone-chilling temperatures. Moreover, the Deka Intimidator AGM features 120 minutes of reserve capacity.

Additionally, it also has the standard 55Ah which is enough for passenger vehicles. But still, considering its size, this battery is very power-dense!

Like all of the batteries in this list, the Deka Intimidator is maintenance-free thanks to its AGM design. And that includes being completely sealed off and, thus – spill-proof. Moreover, the manufacturer promises that this battery is more reliable than traditional batteries and has 200% more cycle life. With that in mind, you won’t be changing this battery anytime soon!

Just like the MaxStart from Delphi, this has one of the lowest battery capacities on the list, due to its size. That being said, this product has slightly more Ah than the competitor at the cost of slightly fewer CCAs.

Pros
  • Very low internal resistance allows quick starts
  • Great vibration resistance – can be used for off-road and marine applications
  • Enhanced Electrolyte Suspension System absorbs more electrolyte
  • Great price
Cons
  • Slightly fewer CCAs than the battery above

What to Look for When Buying the Highest Cold Cranking Amp Battery


Choose the Right Battery Group Size (BCI)

The first thing you should always look for when buying a car battery is size. Different car manufacturers use different capacity and size car batteries, therefore it’s crucial to get the right battery for your exact model.

Luckily, Battery Council International (BCI) made it easy and categorized battery sizes by assigning them numbers and letters. Here is the BCI group battery chart for the most common battery groups:

Group Size LxWxH (inches) LxWxH (cm)
Group 24 10.25 x 6.8125 x 8.875 26 x 17.3 x 22.5
Group 27 12.0625 x 6.8125 x 8.875 30.6 x 17.3 x 22.5
Group 31 13 x 6.8125 x 9.4375 33 x 17.3 x 24
Group 51 9.374 x 5.0625 x 8.8125 23.8 x 12.9 x 22.3
Group 65 12.0625 x 7.5 x 7.5625 30.6 x 19 x 19.2
Group 78 10.25 x 7.0625 x 7.6875 26 x 17.9 x 19.6

Conventional vs AGM

In reality, there aren’t many benefits to using conventional (flooded) car batteries over AGM, apart from conventional being much cheaper.

The electrolyte in Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries is absorbed into fiberglass matting – this makes them significantly more resistant to vibration and since the lead plates aren’t suspended inside a liquid, AGM batteries are less likely to leak during an accident.

In addition to much better safety and shock resistance, AGM batteries have a very low internal resistance of around 2-3 Ohms, which means they can be charged up to five times faster than conventional flooded car batteries. AGM batteries also give away a huge amount of instantaneous power – this is the primary reason why they are used in start-stop applications, for example – on Mazda 3’s with the i-stop function. And it doesn’t end there – AGMs allow for an 80% depth-of-discharge, while conventional car batteries allow 50% at best.

In conclusion, if you have the cash, buying an AGM battery is a no-brainer.

Recently Made Batteries

Last but not least, it’s important to look for car batteries that have been made recently – a car battery that is less than 6 months old is considered new.

Not only do car batteries lose charge over time, their capacity and the number of Cold Cranking Amps also gradually deteriorates, therefore a battery that is older than 6 months will no longer have the same performance it did out of the factory.

To avoid buying an old battery, make sure you know exactly when it was manufactured by checking the label on the battery, or by simply contacting the supplier via email or phone.


Highest Cold Cranking Amp Battery FAQ


  1. Is it OK to put a bigger battery in your car?

    In most cases, a slightly bigger car battery will not harm your car. By putting in a bigger battery, you’re only increasing the amount of power that you have in reserve.

    Considering that in most cases, you will only be able to fit a slightly bigger and more powerful battery, the wear on the alternator will be minimal. However, if you put a significantly bigger and more powerful battery, then it’s very likely that you’ll cause damage to your car’s alternator over time, as it’s not designed to work overtime and charge a huge battery.

  2. What causes a battery to lose CCA?

    The primary reason for batteries losing CCA are extended periods between fully recharging the battery. What happens is that below 80% of charge, the electrolyte inside the battery gets displaced unevenly – light acid on the top and more concentrated acid on the bottom.

    This process is called acid stratification and it’s a double-edged sword – the light concentration of acid on the top limits plate activation and reduces performance, while the high concentration on the bottom artificially increases battery voltage, making it difficult to judge a bad battery.

  3. Can I use a lower CCA battery?

    Using a lower CCA battery is a very bad idea. Having less CCAs than it is required by your vehicle’s manufacturer will make it more difficult to start your engine. Your battery will simply be too weak to provide the starter motor enough current for it to reach the required number of RPMs for the engine to fire.

  4. Can the wrong battery damage the alternator?

    Yes, a wrong or bad battery will certainly cause damage to your car’s alternator. If the battery is dead and is impossible to charge, the alternator will work overtime at maximum power to try and desperately charge it, however, it’s not designed to work at maximum capacity for extended amounts of time.

    The brushes inside the alternator and the rectifier will heat up and wear down much faster, bringing your alternator to an early failure.

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