Your auto’s audio system can be top-of-the-line, but if your battery doesn’t deliver enough power, then the sounds you hear will be subpar.
A second battery is the best way to boost your sound. Plus, it prevents drain from other electrical systems in your vehicle. If you’re looking for the best car audio battery, we’re here to help. Our product guide highlights the best choices plus all the info you need to know:
The Best Car Audio Batteries
1. Kinetik HC600 Car Audio Battery
- Brand: Kinetik
- 13” L by 3.01” W by 6.57” H
- Amp Hours: 18
- Maximum System Wattage of 600w
- Absorbed Glass Mat design
- No external vents
Ideal for powering 600-watt sound systems, the battery includes a sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM) design. It’s leakproof and resistant to both high temps and vibrations.
Plus, the battery is compact and easy to mount. It’ll fit in practically any factory battery location (you can use it as a starter or car audio battery). Also, because it has no external vents, it’s easily mounted in a trunk or other close quarters.
It provides 600 amps with an 18 amp hour rating, so you can listen to your system at full power for hours even when the engine is off.
However, do be aware this battery doesn’t include a warranty. Customer support is also difficult to reach. If you experience a problem with the battery, you’ll be on your own.
- Durable and leakproof
- Easy to mount
- Resists heat and vibrations
- Provides 600 amps with an 18 amp hour rating
- No warranty
- Customer service is difficult to reach
2. XS Power D3400 XS Series
- Model: D3400
- Volts: 12
- Wattage: 4,000
- Weight: 48 pounds
- 1 x 9.8 x 8.8 inches
- Absorbed Glass Mat design
- 3,000 Amps
- M6 Terminal bolt
It’s a 12-volt, sealed battery which fits easily into any standard battery location, including the trunk. It includes an M6 terminal bolt for quick mounting.
The battery has Absorbed Glass Mat construction, which is a relatively new type of battery with extreme freeze resistance, low heat output, and reliable operation.
It’s easily mounted in almost any position without danger of spilling, making it a good choice if you have limited free space in your trunk.
One major benefit is the manufacturer, XS Power. They’ve been widely known as a leader in audio batteries with a history of excellence dating back to 2005. Many of their batteries are used in competition car audio (that’s right, people are pros at this stuff).
On the downside, it doesn’t include any battery posts. You’ll have to buy them separately or use the top-mounted bolt from your old battery terminal.
- Easily mounts in any position
- Absorbed Glass Mat design
- Vibration resistant
- Sealed to prevent spills
- Better as an audio battery than a starter battery
3. Kinetik HC1200-BLU
- Manufacturer: Kinetik
- Model: HC1200-BLU
- 12 volt
- 1200 watts
- 8” by 6.5” by 6.9”
When the bass in your music drops, you don’t want the volts in your battery to drop, too. Adding this battery from Kinetik helps maintain constant voltage while drastically reducing, or even eliminating, light dimming.
You’ll notice instant improvements to most music, especially loud music with kick drums and bass. It’s a great choice if loud, clear audio is a major focus of your sound system.
On the downside, the 1200 watt rating might be a bit generous in some vehicles. You’ll need a high-quality alternator to maintain a 200 amp draw consistently.
- Improves sound quality substantially
- Reduces battery drain
- Compact for easy installation
- Long life
- Powered by AGM technology
- Requires quality alternator
4. ACDelco ACDB24R Advantage
ACDelco has over a century of innovation and experience developing automotive batteries. They’re the one-and-only General Motors Original Equipment manufacturer.
- Manufacturer: ACDelco
- 5” by 11.4” by 9.5”
- Weight: 31.3
ACDelco parts appear in over 2 million GM vehicles each year, making them the best choice if you own a GM vehicle. Of course, they’re also compatible with many other popular makes and models.
The ACDB24R is easy to install with a handle and easy-fit terminals. The battery should slide securely into any factory location or battery tray.
Also, the warranty here is top-of-the-line. They offer a free replacement against defects and problems for 24 months. If you’ve been burned by the customer service from other manufacturers, ACDelco will be a breath of fresh air.
- Ideal for GM autos
- Trusted manufacturer
- Easy installation
- 24-month warranty with free replacement
- Relatively heavy compared to similar batteries
5. Odyssey PC680 Battery
- Manufacturer: Odyssey
- Model: PC680
- Weight: 13.45 pounds
- 2” by 3.1” by 7.5”
- Amperage: 18A
- Voltage: 12V
It lasts up to 70% longer than many similar deep cycle batteries. It also provides a steady, stable voltage for hours at a time. The service life ranges between three and ten years (depending on use).
The battery reaches 100% recharge in about six hours, making it perfect if you like to play music when the engine’s off.
It’s safe for placement just about anywhere in your trunk thanks to a no-spill design. Plus, it’s resistant to high-impact shocks and vibrations.
Finally, the two-year warranty will protect you from any defects.
- Long lifecycle
- Quick recharge time
- Spill-proof AGM design
- Comprehensive two-year warranty
- Customer service can be difficult to reach
- Quality not as good as the previous year’s products
6. LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery by Battle Born Batteries
It’s a great choice for anyone who likes to play lots of music when the engine’s off because it can be discharged up to 90% and recharged over 3,000 times. It lasts ten times longer and can be recharged much more often than a standard lead-acid battery.
- Manufacturer: Battle Born Batteries
- 100 amp continuous output
- 3,000 to 5,000 charge cycles
- Acceptable charging volts: 14.4 to 14.6 volts
- 10-year warranty
At 29 pounds, it’s also much lighter than a lead-acid battery. It’s quick to install in a trunk. Once installed, it’s temperature resistant and generates no hydrogen gases.
Finally, Battle Born Batteries offers one of the longest warranties available. You’re protected for two years under a prorated warranty plus an additional eight under a full replacement warranty.
- 90% Discharge rate for long life
- Rechargeable up to 5,000 times
- Lightweight for easy installation
- Long, reliable warranty
- Battery cells are made in China
Although batteries tend to all look basically the same, there are important differences to consider. Here are the major features to consider before buying a car audio battery:
First, make sure the battery fits your vehicle. The battery’s product description will indicate appropriate makes and models.
You’ll find some batteries with restrictions – a battery which works best for domestic cars, for example – but most batteries are fairly universal for modern vehicles.
The main potential problem you might encounter is a battery, which is the wrong size for the place you want to put it. Generally, car audio batteries are placed in the trunk (although other options are available, which are explained before). Always measure the mounting area carefully and find a battery which fits.
Batteries charge when the car runs and drain when used while the car is off. The reserve capacity is the length of time the battery provides power when the vehicle’s engine isn’t running.
Specifically, the reserve capacity is the time in minutes which a fully-charged 12-volt battery can provide 25 amps at 10.5 volts.
Choose a battery which provides power for at least two or three hours when the engine’s off. Keep in mind that you might want a stronger battery if you want to power both the stereo and additional accessories, such as floodlights or extra speakers.
Durability and Mounting Ease
Generally, car batteries are fairly durable. However, a leaking battery can cause a fair amount of damage, so make sure the exterior is solid and well-made. A durable battery is especially important if you’re a frequent four-wheeler or your vehicle’s suspension is in bad shape.
Along with durability, the other way to prevent damage to the battery is by installing it securely. Part of correct mounting is technique (which will cover below), but battery construction also plays a role. Look for batteries which are spill-proof and sealed.
Ease of Maintenance
Most popular car audio batteries will be labeled “maintenance-free.” A maintenance-free battery doesn’t need to be replenished with liquid. A maintenance-free battery is also referred to as sealed.
Many batteries have a strap to make them easier to carry. Often, it’s a fairly simple plastic handle or loop. Although basic, a handle can make a big difference when lifting and mounting the battery. Even small car batteries are heavy and awkward to hold without a carry strap.
By their very nature, batteries eventually run out of power. While lifespan will vary by use, generally batteries last between three to five years.
Many automotive experts recommend changing your battery every four years, even if it’s working without a problem. However, that advice is for the main battery, which starts the car. If your car audio battery fails, you won’t be able to listen to your music. While that’s annoying, it’s a different situation entirely than when your car is unable to start.
Also, consider the warranty. You want to protect yourself against any manufacturing defects. The average replacement warranty for a car audio battery is three years.
Questions & Answers
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about car audio batteries:
What is a Car Audio Battery?
An audio battery is functionally the same as the main battery in your car; only it’s designed to power your vehicle’s audio system specifically. (Note that the main battery is also called the “starter battery” while the audio battery is often referred to as the “second battery.”)
Factory-installed batteries will have no problem powering your factory-installed sound system. But if you upgrade your vehicle’s sound system, you’ll likely need to increase the power available for it. Adding an audio battery allows your upgraded system to operate at peak effectiveness and efficiency.
While audio batteries are a great way to power any audio upgrade, they’re usually necessary for powering an amplifier. Amps have big-time power needs, which the main battery usually can’t supply.
What are the Benefits of an Audio Battery?
Audio batteries bring out the absolute best in your vehicle’s sound system. Music will sound louder, clearer, and deeper.
But a tip-top audio system isn’t the only benefit. Instead, a car audio battery can help improve the performance of a wide variety of features within your vehicle.
A second battery helps prevent unnecessary drain on the first. If your main battery is under too much strain, many electric features can be negatively affected. Watch for any of the following issues:
- Dim headlights
- Slow electric windows
- Muffled audio
If you’ve recently upgraded your audio system, and notice any of the above issues, your main battery is likely struggling to keep up with the power demands of your vehicle.
Finally, a second battery allows you to double your vehicle’s stored power. You can listen to your sound system for hours when the engine’s off. Playing music from your car adds fun to tailgating, camping, and many other activities.
How Do I Install an Audio Battery?
Installing the second battery is usually fairly simple and doesn’t require a ton of mechanical know-how.
Audio batteries are rarely installed in the engine. It’s generally just too cramped in there for a second battery barring major modifications.
The trunk is the most common placement option, although a cab or cargo area can also work. However, choose the trunk whenever possible. Placing the battery near your subwoofer (which is also commonly stored in the trunk) provides the steadiest power supply.
Consider the general temperature of the placement location. You don’t want the battery to get too hot. Otherwise, it can become damaged. Keep the battery out of direct sunlight and away from windows. The cool temperatures in the trunk are another reason why it’s the ideal choice for placement.
- Audio battery
- A pair of wire crimpers
- Battery tray (often included with battery)
- Battery isolator (also often included)
Once you’ve assembled your gear and found the right location for the second battery, you’re ready to get to work:
Install the Battery Tray
The battery fits into a battery tray, which needs to be mounted. A mounting kit should be provided. Usually, you’ll use the included screws to mount the tray to the trunk’s floor (or another surface). You’ll also create a second hole near the mount for cables.
Drilling through the trunk’s floor isn’t difficult, but make sure you avoid accidental contact with the fuel tank or other components.
Disconnect Your Starter Battery
Remove the negative cable (usually the black one) first. After disconnecting both wires, unbolt the wire connecting the alternator to the starter battery.
Install and Connect the Battery Isolator
Also referred to as “the isolator” or even just “the switch,” the battery isolator is how you switch between two batteries.
First, identify the now-disconnected alternator wire. Use a crimping tool to strip the end. Next, identify a side terminal on the isolator.
Connect the alternator wire to the side terminal. The terminal will have a cap which can be loosened and then retightened to hold the wire.
Next, you’ll connect a new wire from the alternator to the central terminal on the isolator. Look for a terminal labeled “A” or “1”. You’ll need to bolt one end to the alternator and mount the other under the isolator terminal.
Now you’re ready to connect a third, longer wire. It runs from the isolator’s third terminal down the length of the car to the second battery.
Connect the battery terminal in the audio battery to the appropriate device such as the stereo, subwoofer, or amp. You’ll likely either crimp or screw the wire into the terminal.
You’re almost done! Secure all the wires throughout the vehicle. Bolt or screw every wire so it doesn’t interfere with any components (especially the engine manifold). The exact location of each wire will vary based on the make and model of your vehicle. Sometimes finding a clear path for the wires can be a struggle, but it can usually be accomplished.
Once everything is set up, you can reconnect your starter battery. Also, ground the second battery. Use a screw to connect a wire from the battery’s negative terminal to a metal ground on the chassis.
What is Reverse Capacity?
Also called reverse capability, it’s the amount of time a fully-charged battery can provide 25 amps at 10.5 volts.
When you turn the key and start your car, the battery inside provides 25 amps of power to start the engine. However, the alternator quickly takes over to keep the engine running, while the battery continues to power the lights, wipers and other electronics (including your sound system if you only have one battery).
If everything is working correctly, the energy taken from the battery is replaced by power from the alternator, so you’re not draining your battery when your drive.
Reserve capacity is the time the vehicle can operate solely on battery power. While that’s not a good idea when driving, many people want to option of turning the car off but still being able to play music.
That’s why a car audio battery should have a reserve capacity of at least several hours. Plus, it should also be able to recharge quickly.
What is a Redtop or Yellowtop Battery?
You’ll see these terms used often discussing car batteries. They refer to types of batteries although they almost always refer to the look of the battery, too.
Redtop batteries are mainly used as starter batteries. They produce a high burst of initial power, recharge quickly, and last a long time.
While they’ll work fine with factory sound systems, they’re not designed to support multiple electrical devices.
Yellowtop batteries are the ones made for amps, speakers, and even non-audio devices such as GPS systems and cameras.
Vibration-resistant and more durable than redtops, yellowtops can be mounted in just about any position.
What is AGM?
AGM stands for Absorbed Glass Mat. It’s the newest type of sealed battery. While traditional batteries have a gelled or liquid electrolyte between the plates, AGM batteries use saturated absorbent glass, which is made from boron silicate.
Although AGM batteries are more expensive than the standard type, they have quite a few features which appeal to car audio enthusiasts. They’re immune to freezing damage, which helps keep them safe in the trunk during cold winters. Plus, they use a unique process which increases efficiency by up to 99%.
What is a Capacitor?
A capacitor is another way to boost the power to your car’s audio system. It’s an electrical component which stores energy. Capacitors have many of the same benefits as a second battery, but they’re often significantly more expensive. They also take up more space than a battery.
The right audio battery plays a key role in bringing out the best in your car’s sound system. Hear your music in a whole new way while reducing strain on your starter battery. Use the guide and recommendations above to find the perfect battery for your ride, and take your music to a whole new level.