There isn’t a single best place to buy a car battery, but we have favorites.
Here is a fun little fact: Most people shop for a new car battery only after their car or truck fails to start one day. You’re likely one of these people, aren’t you?
Regardless of whether your battery died and needs to be replaced ASAP or you’re simply looking to replace it before it goes kaput, knowing ahead of time where to shop for the best car batteries can save you a lot of time and stress.
If you need a hand, this article provides a detailed list of the ten best places to buy a car battery in the U.S. and to a lesser extent Canada, as well as a simple guide on how to buy one. Here is a quick rundown of the top five places:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Sam’s Club
- NAPA Auto Parts
Keep reading to learn more about each place, as well as for some valuable tips for buying a car battery.
Also, we previously reviewed a collection of the best car batteries on the market, and the Odyssey PC680 Battery came out on top. Check out the review guide and that particular battery.
How To Know If You Need A New Car Battery
Before taking out your wallet to buy a new car battery, make sure your car or truck actually needs one. Just because the vehicle won’t start or keeps dying doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem with the battery.
Your car is made up of many intricately connected parts, and the cause of the issue could be related to factors other than a faulty battery. Even so, here are seven signs that may indicate you need a new battery:
- A slow starting engine possibly due to the battery’s components wearing out over time.
- Electrical issues such as dim lights. The battery is the source of power for the electrical components in a car, including the turn signals.
- Check Engine Light is on. Although this can mean anything, the light will usually turn on if your battery isn’t providing sufficient energy.
- Bad smell coming from the engine bay. An internal short or damage to the battery can cause it to leak gas, which usually smells like rotten eggs.
- Corroded connectors. If you notice an ashy substance on the battery’s metal parts, you likely have a corrosion problem on your hands.
- Damaged or misshapen battery case. Extreme weather can deform a battery case and possibly cause it to crack. If your car battery is out of shape, it’s likely not working properly.
- Old age. Batteries typically last three to five years. Your battery may have simply reached the end of its lifespan.
How to check car battery life? Have it tested by a professional technician.
Testing it yourself with a multimeter and nothing else will tell you whether or not the battery needs to be jump-started, but it won’t tell you if it’s damaged and needs to be replaced.
The Best Place To Buy A Car Battery
While some of the following places are certainly better than others with regards to their selection and quality car batteries, prices, and convenience, don’t restrict yourself to just one when looking for the right battery for your car or truck.
First on our list is Walmart, the American multinational retail giant that has pretty much taken over the world.
Though best known for its grocery and household items, the company offers one of the widest selections of car parts and accessories of any retailer and even boasts an extensive network of auto care centers that handle tire installations and many other vehicle maintenance and repair services.
So not only can you buy many of the parts you need for your vehicle at Walmart, but its service centers will also install them for you, sometimes for free!
With regards to car batteries, you will have the option of EverStart, Walmart’s very own line of batteries, as well as a large selection from many of the world’s top brands, including Optima, Black and Decker, DieHard, and others.
You can buy your battery in-store or online (Walmart.com). If you buy it online, you can have it delivered to your home or a Walmart store for pickup or installation.
Walmart car batteries tend to have a lower price than the batteries from similar retailers and come with a competitive warranty of up to 3 years.
- Good prices
- Free battery installation
- Many locations
- Shop instore or online
If you want a good deal on car batteries, including free installation, and many places to buy one, consider shopping at Walmart.
2. Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts is a large automotive parts retailer with over 5,000 stores in the United States and Canada. Widely considered by mechanics as one of the best places to buy car and truck parts, they offer a large selection of car batteries of all types and price ranges.
Customers enjoy a competitive warranty of 2 or 3 years depending on the brand and the model of the battery.
Like Walmart, Advance Auto Parts sells at both physical stores and online. We suggest you buy online — you will have more to choose from and there are often more discounts available than at the physical stores.
New customers, in particular, can save up to 20 percent off their first online purchase, which is a great deal, if you ask us.
If you choose to buy your battery online, consider having it shipped to an Advance Auto Parts store so that a store technician can install it for you free of charge.
But regardless of where you made the purchase, the price will include a core charge fee of $18-$25 that’s refunded once you give your old battery to the store.
- Comparatively low prices online
- Free install
- Free battery and system check
- Not as affordable as Walmart batteries
Advance Auto Parts is the Walmart of car parts, accessories, and services.
You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon, including nearly every car battery currently available. Amazon doesn’t have physical stores like Walmart does, but its online presence is unrivaled.
No matter the brand or model, you are sure to find it on Amazon, and usually at cheaper prices and better deals than at most traditional retailers.
You don’t have the option of buying and picking up your battery at a physical store, but the speed of Amazon’s online deliveries is so fast that this won’t likely be an issue. All you have to do is wait a few days to receive your order.
Unfortunately, you won’t get the luxury of free installation or a battery system check. If you can’t install the battery yourself or have a trusted mechanic to rely on, a technician at your local Walmart Car Care Center will easily take care of the job for a small fee of $10.
- Wide battery selection
- Low prices
- Fast delivery
- Can’t shop in-store
- No free installation
Amazon provides the best online shopping experience and some of the best prices on car batteries.
4. Sam’s Club
Affiliated with Walmart, Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse that sells products in bulk at comparatively low prices. As such, you can find some very affordable car batteries at its outlets, even cheaper than at Walmart in some cases.
Not only do you get a massive selection to choose from, but you can also have the battery installed on-site for free if the Sam’s Club has a Tire & Battery Center.
Unlike Walmart, purchases can be made only in-store, but the Sam’s Club website allows you to browse for available batteries, make price comparisons, read user reviews, and check for availability. Each battery is covered by a three-year, free replacement warranty.
Membership is required to shop freely at Sam’s Club stores. If you’re not a member, a service charge will need to be paid every time you buy something.
- Large selection
- Low prices
- Free battery installation
- Membership required
- Can’t buy online
You can get some very good deals on car batteries if you’re a Sam’s Club member and have a store close by.
5. NAPA Auto Parts
Founded in 1925, NAPA Auto Parts is a retailers’ cooperative that distributes automotive replacement parts, accessories, and service items. With over 6,000 locations in the United States alone, finding a store to buy the parts you need for your car or truck shouldn’t be difficult.
With batteries, the company categorizes its offerings into four groups — Power, The Legend, The Legend Premium, and The Legend Premium AGM — that span from very budget-friendly options to the super-premium.
Consumer Reports has a high rating of NAPA batteries, so much so that the NAPA Legend Premium 8424F is one of their top recommendations in the group 24 & 24F category.
Installation is free if the battery was purchased at a NAPA store, and you can expect a warranty of 18 to 36 months.
The only downside to NAPA car batteries is that they are a bit more expensive than the options at Walmart, Amazon, and some other retailers.
- Wide selection of highly-rated batteries
- Many locations to shop
- Free installation
- Batteries are a bit expensive
Though a bit pricey, NAPA batteries are some of the highest-rated car batteries on the market.
Costco is another great place to buy a car battery and one of the cheapest. With over 750 stores worldwide (546 just in the United States), there is bound to be a store around where you live.
Interstate Batteries is the only brand of car batteries sold by Costco, however. Fortunately, the brand has a reputation for quality, and its batteries come in a wide range of sizes and configurations to fit just about any vehicle, with a generous 36-month limited warranty to boot.
Unlike many competing retailers, you can’t order car batteries online from Costco. You can, however, use the store’s online battery finder to find the right battery for your vehicle, as well as its price and availability.
Costco doesn’t provide parts installation services, unfortunately, so you’ll have to take your battery elsewhere to have it installed. You can have the task performed by your local Walmart Car Care Center for just $10.
As with Sam’s Club, you need to be a member of Costco to shop at its stores.
- Quality in-house brand (Interstate)
- Relatively low prices
- Convenient online battery finder
- No installation services
- Unable to buy online
- Limited to only Interstate batteries
- Membership required
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Costco is one of the best places to find low prices on good-quality car batteries.
AutoZone sells car batteries of all types and setups and from nearly every brand, making it one of the better places to buy one in the United States and Canada.
While you will find average prices for top battery brands such as Optima, ACDelco, and Duralast at its stores, budget batteries like Valucraft and Econocraft can often be had at great prices.
The warranties on AutoZone car batteries range from 18 months to 3 years, though some value models may be covered for six months or less.
Battery installation is free so long as you purchased the battery at an AutoZone store. You can buy in-store or online, with the option to have the battery delivered to your residence or a nearby shop for pick-up.
- Good battery selection
- Free battery installation and check
- Purchase in-store or online
- Batteries are a bit pricey
AutoZone ticks the right boxes in terms of selection, product quality, and convenience, and likely as the car battery you need.
8. eBay Motors
If you’re short on money and need a cheap car battery, give eBay Motors a browse.
You’re likely to find batteries from every brand, even the ones exclusive to certain retailers (Walmart’s Everlast, AutoZone’s Duralast, Costco’s Interstate, etc.).
If necessary, you can use the site’s filter to search for only those batteries that are compatible with your vehicle. However, you may need to weed through many search results to find a good one.
Since eBay is mostly an auction site and you’re often buying from random people, you can never be too sure about the state or condition of the product you buy or whether you will receive it. Fortunately, eBay now protects buyers if items don’t arrive.
As with Amazon, you are limited to online purchases only and must, therefore, wait for your battery to be delivered. eBay also doesn’t offer any battery installation or testing services.
- Cheap prices
- Very wide selection of batteries
- Trust can be an issue
- No free installation
You can find some truly amazing deals on eBay if you take the time to weed out the unscrupulous sellers.
How To Buy A Car Battery
Now that you know where to buy your car battery, do you know what to look for when choosing one? Do you even know what constitutes a good car battery?
Let’s look at the key qualities you should consider.
Types Of Car Batteries
Even though car batteries come in different shapes and sizes and with different properties, there are generally two main types used by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles: Wet-cell and absorbed mat glass (AMG), and lithium-ion.
Also called “flooded” batteries, wet-cell car batteries are the simplest, most common, and most affordable type of car battery used by ICE vehicles. They create battery electrolytes using a combination of free liquids that need to be periodically maintained and monitored.
Harsh temperatures such as extreme cold can adversely affect their electrolyte solution, causing it to freeze in some instances and shortening the lifespan of the battery.
Some flooded batteries have a maintenance-free design, meaning you don’t need to routinely top off the fluid.
Absorbed glass matte batteries are the latest and greatest innovation in lead-acid car battery design. Not only are they maintenance-free (you don’t have to top off any fluid), but they can also be drained and recharged more frequently than standard wet-cell batteries.
These high-performance batteries are most commonly found in more modern ICE cars and trucks, which tend to use up more power than older vehicles as a result of the multitudes of driver assistance and convenience features they come with (stop/start systems, power outlets, etc.)
AGM batteries are also more durable and longer-lasting than traditional batteries, but they cost significantly more. They are ideal for vehicles that deplete their battery quickly.
Even the best car battery won’t be of any use if it isn’t the correct size or has the wrong terminal locations for your vehicle.
Not only can fitting the battery into the engine bay prove problematic, but the cables connecting it to your vehicle might not reach if the terminals are not properly positioned.
Check your owner’s manual to determine the exact specifications you need. For instance, size 48H6 car batteries typically fit American and European vehicles, while many Toyota / Lexus, Honda / Acura, and Nissan / Infiniti models use size 24/24F batteries.
In addition to size and type, other key specifications you should consider when buying a car battery include the battery’s amp-hour, reserve capacity, and cold-cranking amps (CCA).
CCA is especially important, considering how difficult it is for cars to start up in the cold. It refers to the number of amps a battery can deliver when the temperature drops to zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17.78 Celsius) while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts
The general rule of thumb is to have one cold-cranking amp for every cubic inch of engine displacement. If you don’t know how much CCA your vehicle needs and haven’t made any modifications to the engine, you can find out by checking your owner’s manual.
Regardless, always take into account the weather and temperature of the area you drive in when buying a car battery.
Warranty is an important consideration when buying a car battery.
There are typically two components of a battery warranty: the free-replacement period and the prorated period, which only gives you partial reimbursement should something happen to the battery.
A car battery with a code of 36/72, for example, has a free-replacement period of 36 months (3 years) and a prorated warranty of 72 months (6 years).
When comparing warranties, choose the battery with the longest free-replacement period.
Average Price of a Car Battery
The average car battery price is between $90 and $200. That price range is split between budget, mid-range, and premium batteries.
It’s often the case that the more expensive a battery is, the better quality it offers. You are also paying for technology, durability, and, oftentimes, brand name.
- Less than $100: Car batteries costing under $100 typically deliver decent quality; however, they are unlikely to last as long as more expensive and sophisticated batteries. Expect a lifespan of one to two years.
- $100 to $200: Most car batteries fall in this price range. You have a large variety of different types to choose from, including AGM and wet cell batteries, all offering good quality, a lifespan of 3-4 years, and a solid warranty.
- Over $200: These are the longest-lasting, most durable car batteries you can get. Expect to see a lot of high-end AGM and lithium batteries in this price category.
Most vehicles don’t require a beefy, top-shelf car battery to operate effectively and will do just fine with a mid-range battery. However, high-end luxury cars, sports cars, SUVs, and trucks sometimes require stronger, more expensive batteries.
Maintenance is just as important as quality. The better you take care of your car battery, the longer it will last.
Best Place To Buy Car Battery FAQs
You’ve got more questions about the best place to buy a car battery, and we’ve got answers.
How Much Should I Pay For A Good Car Battery?
Car batteries typically cost between $50 to $150, although some premium batteries can cost upwards of $300.
Expect to pay $100 or more for a good battery, though a few units such as the Kinetik Black Power Cell Battery can be had for less.
Who Has The Best Prices On Car Batteries?
The best car battery prices can usually be found at large retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and Costco. Auto parts stores such as Advance Auto Parts, NAPA, and AutoZone also have decent prices.
It’s often more expensive to buy a battery through a dealership or a mechanic.
Are Walmart Car Batteries Good?
Yes, Walmart’s EverStart brand of car batteries are reliable, last a long time, and are generally of good quality.
That’s because they are made by Johnson Controls, which designs and manufactures some of the world’s best batteries, not just for Walmart but also for many top brands such as VARTA, Optima, and DieHard.
Does AutoZone Install Batteries For Free?
Yes, as with Walmart Supercenters, AutoZone offers free battery installation on car batteries purchased from one of its stores. However, it will not install a battery purchased from a different retailer.
You don’t have to look hard to find a place to buy a decent car battery. In this guide, we presented you with ten great options, as well as valuable tips for finding the right battery for your car or truck.
Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Advance Auto Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, Pep Boys, AutoZone, America’s Best Battery, and Battery Sales USA Incorporation all offer a wide variety of batteries for different vehicle makes and models. Just make sure you actually need a replacement before buying one.
So, what’s the best place to buy a car battery? Rather than just one, there are quite a few, meaning you’re spoilt for choice.
If you found this guide useful, make sure to read some of our other ones. Learn the difference between 5w30 and 10w30 engine oil, what causes a car to shake when accelerating, and how many spark plugs a diesel engine has (hint: none).