Which car battery is best?

Batteries may not be an exciting topic, but we all need one in our car. Find the perfect one for you here.

A car battery being replaced

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

Even the very best car batteries are almost always overlooked - that is until you start having problems with them. When the battery goes flat, you won't be able to move your car, and modern engines now put even more stress on batteries than ever before. Features like stop-start technology and ever-increasing computer-controlled ECU systems require a very different type of battery to that which was common a few years ago. Even if you have a classic or hobby car which doesn't demand too much power, a battery can still go flat if not used over longer periods, but you can avoid this by using something like a solar trickle charger to keep things topped up.

Not all batteries are the same, though; you wouldn't fit the battery from a Volkswagen Up into a Lamborghini Aventador, for example, and expect it to work. You need to work out which battery your car needs, then select one of the best car battery options on the market.

To find out which car battery is right for you, go to your owner's manual. That's where you will be able to find the battery's group size - a good place to start when deliberating over which to get. If you no longer have access to the manual, one of the easiest and quickest ways of finding the correct battery is to visit the Amazon Garage. Once there, just enter your vehicle details, and you'll be automatically directed to the correct parts and spares for your vehicle.

The best car batteries at a glance:

Best for large engines: Bosch S5A08 Car Battery - Buy now from Amazon UK
Best budget option: 063 Powerline Car Battery - Buy now from Amazon UK
Best for start-stop engines: Yuasa YBX9096 Start Stop Plus - Buy now from Amazon UK

To help you make your decision, we've collected a few of our favourites and pointed out the positives and negatives (sorry) of each option.

The best car batteries

Best for large engines

The perfect choice for bigger engines, the Bosch S5 range may cost more than other batteries, but the quality and longevity are undeniable. Making use of Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology, this battery is capable of allowing larger quantities of energy to pass through, making it the perfect choice for more modern vehicles. It is also excellent during cold starts, making this a great choice for harsh environments where battery start-ups are a must. However, this reliability does come at a cost, as this is one of the more expensive batteries on the market.


  • Latest battery technology
  • Excellent battery performance


  • Overkill for many cars

Best for mid-sized cars

Varta is a popular choice of battery for many car manufacturers because of its quality and pricing. As such, choosing a Varta battery may maintain the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spec of your car. This C22 model is designed for small and medium cars - compatible with the VW Polo, Toyota Yaris and Citroen C1, among others. The battery is manufactured with a patented PowerFrame grid for reliable starting power, fast recharge and corrosion resistance, offering outstanding quality every time it's turned on.


  • OSM quality
  • Good price


  • Unsuitable for start-stop systems

Best budget option

It's not the most recognised brand out there, but Powerline does have good reviews and very low prices. This battery is great if you want to save pounds (you can save up to 50% over other batteries). Despite the discount price, however, this battery still caters to the demands of modern cars and is covered by Powerline for four years. Just remember that it won't last as long as premium options.


  • Very low price
  • Long guarantee


  • Doesn't last as long as more expensive alternatives

Best for small engines

Probably the go-to brand for quality car batteries, Bosch has a reputation for quality. This S4001 battery is designed for smaller engines (like a supermini), will provide excellent all-round performance and is sure to last a long time. The Bosch S4 range has up to 15% more 'Cold Cranking' power than the original and up to 20% longer service life by virtue of the battery's 'Power Frame' technology.


  • Excellent battery for small cars
  • Trusted name


  • Unsuitable for start-stop systems

Best for start-stop engines

Best for start-stop engines

Quite a few cars now come with start-stop technology, a feature that'll cut the engine when stationary to save fuel. The problem is these systems can drain the car's battery; it'll still need to run the headlights and so on. That is where this start-stop battery comes into play. Designed & engineered for vehicles with advanced technology, this battery caters to stop/start systems, regenerative braking and energy recovery. Designed to handle up to 360,000 engine starts, it'll be perfect for when you're stuck in a traffic jam.


  • Designed for start-stop systems
  • 360,000 engine starts


  • It's a big battery - make sure it fits your car

How do I know when my battery needs to be changed?

There are a few telltale signs that your battery needs replacing. If your car is bearing some of the following symptoms, it might be worth checking it out.

Engine - if your engine performance isn't quite up to scratch, there may be an issue with your battery. If you turn the key to no ignition at all - it takes the battery to ignite your fuel/air mix - your battery might be completely dead. This could be solved using a portable jump starter, jump leads or a charge-up at home. However, if the battery is just slow or struggling to recharge, it's time for a new one.

Electrical components - as well as the engine, many other components rely on the battery to function properly, including the dashboard display. If your dashboard lights are beginning to dim or flicker - or perhaps your satnav colour screen is beginning to lack in performance, this may well be a battery related issue.

Age - like the rest of the car, a battery also has a finite service life. Most batteries are able to function properly for roughly three years. Some can live far longer than this, but if you've been running yours for over five - even if it still works a treat - it may well be time to start considering a new one.

If your battery is going flat and you are having to use a battery charger to boost it every couple of days, is struggling to turn over, or there is a persistent warning light on your dashboard, it's probably a good idea to invest in a new car battery.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for Parkers and CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.

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