Your car may run on gasoline but it still needs electricity to get started. That’s why the battery is such an important component of every vehicle, and not just automobiles. Jet skis and ATVs are just a few of the other engine-powered “toys” you may own that depend on a battery.
Car batteries have a limited lifespan. That’s because temperature extremes play havoc with the internal components, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. A powerful stereo will tax it further, especially if you listen with the engine off.
A dead battery can leave you stranded somewhere. At best it’s a nuisance. At worst, it could be a safety issue. That’s why we put together our guides to the best car batteries, battery chargers and portable jump starters.
Our buying guides cover the important points you need to know before buying any of these products. They address topics like voltage, amperage, cold cranking amps and reverse polarity detection, explaining each term for people without a technical background.
Cars all use 12V batteries, but many smaller pieces of machinery have 6V systems. It’s essential to buy the right one, so our guide to the best car batteries makes this very clear. We also highlight the issue of deep-cycling, which is when a battery isn’t recharged straight after use. (It often happens with equipment that gets stored for a season.) Some batteries handle deep-cycling, others don’t. Check our guide before buying!
A charger is the device you use at home. It plugs into an outlet and delivers power to replenish the battery. Good chargers have voltage and amperage auto-detect, so you don’t damage the battery by overcharging. They also come with reverse polarity detection to stop you hooking cable up the wrong way round! Check our best battery chargers guide to learn more.
A portable jump starter is the charged-up power pack you take with you. Put it in your truck, your console or even your glove box. Many are surprisingly small and light yet store enough power to crank a big V8 engine. Reverse polarity detection, USB charging and an LED flashlamp are useful features that many include. Read our guide to the best portable jump starters to learn more.
There’s also a variety of other power-related products for your car that you’ll find in this section, including car power inverters to convert your vehicle’s 12v DC power into AC to plug in things like power tools or game consoles and EV car chargers to power your Tesla or other EV up in your garage. We work hard to keep these lists relevant and up to date with the latest products on the market and are always giving them a refresh. So be sure to bookmark our page and come back the next time you’re in the market for a car battery or power-related product!