Replacement Parts

Best Battery for Diesel Truck – Buyer’s Guide and Our Top Picks

best battery for diesel truck

Most people are familiar with swapping out their battery in a standard gasoline car, but what if you have need of the power and heft that comes with a diesel truck?  Is it possible to simply swap in a gasoline car’s engine into your diesel?  The short answer is no, you’ll need a different battery as you’ll be asking different things from it.  In this article, GarageChief.com we’ll be exploring not only what makes the best battery for diesel truck, but also give you some of our picks for the best of the best.

Anyone knows that a vehicle needs a battery in order to go.  While it is key in cranking the tunes and handling the power windows, the true purpose of its inclusion is to ensure that the engine keeps running.  Now only do you need to ensure that the fuel is pumped from the tank into the engine but you need a source of a spark to cause ignition and the engine to truly run.

Best Battery for Diesel Truck – Comparison Table

editors-choiceBest Product Best Value   
editors-choiceBest ProductBest Value
optima yellowtop
odyssey extreme
diesel battery reviewsbest battery for diesel pickupbest diesel batterybest diesel truck battery
item-titleOptima Batteries YellowTopOdyssey PC680 BatteryOptima Batteries RedTopOdyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV BatteryACDelco 94RAGM Professional BatteryXS Power D3400 XS Series
Parameters
48Ah / 12V / 650CCA
Parameters
16Ah / 12V / 170CCA
Parameters
44Ah / 12V / 720CCA
Parameters
28Ah / 12 V / 330CCA
Parameters
80Ah / 12V / 800CCA
Parameters
65Ah / 12V / 750CCA
• Up to 3x longer life and maintenance-free
• Deep-cycle and cranking power
• Spillproof, mountable in virtually any position
Range
• With 3-10 years of service life
• Longer cycle life
• Faster recharge
• Vibration resistance
• Maintenance-free with up to 2x longer life
• More than 15 times the vibration resistance
• Spillproof, mountable in virtually any position
• Faster recharging
• With 3-10 years of service life
• Mounting flexibility
• Extreme temperature tolerant
• Non-spillable design
• Vibration resistance
• Vent cap design that resists acid leakage
• High density negative paste, improves performance and increases battery life
• Calcium Lead positive grid, maximizes conductivity and allows for low resistance
• Absorbed Glass Mat
• Spill proof, sealed, valve regulated and vibration resistant
• Ultra low internal resistance
• Mount in almost any position
Weight
36.4 pounds
Weight
15.4 pounds
Weight
31.7 pounds
Weight
26 pounds
Weight
51.6 pounds
Weight
48 pounds
Dimensions
6.8 x 9.32 x 7.62 inches
Dimensions
7.9 x 7.8 x 3.8 inches
Dimensions
9.3 x 6.8 x 7.6 inches
Dimensions
11.1 x 10.4 x 8.3 inches
Dimensions
12.4 x 6.9 x 7.5 inches
Dimensions
12.8 x 10.4 x 9.5 inches
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Our Top Picks –Reviews of the Best Battery for a Diesel Pickup

When it comes time to purchase that battery you want to go with a proven option that will last you for several years.  It is always best to do some research and select a quality product instead of merely going down to the store and buying the one they have just because it fits in the battery spot.  We have come up with some outstanding choices for you to consider.


Best Value

Optima Batteries RedTop

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If you are looking for the best value for the money you will be putting toward a battery you need look no further than the Optima Batteries Red Top series.  This is the “standard” starting battery in the Optima line, but don’t mistake it for the other standard batteries that you’d find at your local auto parts store.  The Red Top series is a stand out among starting batteries.

Perhaps the most popular battery in the line up is the 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery. This battery packs a whooping 720 cold cranking amps of power to give you performance even on those worst of the worst winter days.  The company claims that it is also 15 times more resistant to vibrations, giving it the ability to keep on trucking even while driving over the poorest surfaces.  You will need to remember that this is a starter battery though, it will do wonderfully to start up your truck, but if you are looking at running a bunch of aftermarket electronics you might want to consider stepping up to a different battery.  But at the price point this battery delivers more than you should expect.

If this seems like the right battery for you, check it out here.


Best Product

Optima Batteries YellowTop

optima yellowtop

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Now if you are running all those extra electronics and gizmos that can suck down battery power, you should take a look at the Yellow Top series from Optima Batteries.  Once you look over what these offer you won’t have any wonder why they top the list as our best product.  Simply put these offer you both the starting amps that you need and the deep cycle power that will power your high quality sound system and anything else that you feel like adding to your truck.

While the whole Yellow Top series is full of stand out batteries the one that really caught our eye is the 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery.  This battery not only offers you 650 cold cranking amps to get your engine started, but also can give you 98 minutes of reserve performance so you can leave the lights on and still have power to start the engine up again.  It is built to stand up to over 300 deep discharge and recharge cycles, giving it quite a long life.

If you agree that this is the best battery for diesel truck, feel free to check it out here.


Odyssey PC680 Battery

odyssey extreme


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Odyssey is a company that has been around for over 100 years of making batteries and puts that experience and commitment into all the batteries that roll off their line.  The first battery that we felt needed to be highlighted is the Odyssey PC680 Battery that is part of the Extreme line.  All the batteries from the Extreme line are dual purpose to ensure that you can both start up your engine and power your extra toys.

The PC680 offers you 170 cold cranking amps so you won’t have to worry about your truck starting right up on a cold winter morning.  But it also gives you a 70 percent longer deep cycle time over conventional deep cycle style batteries.  This one has been built to hold up of 400 cycles of discharging all the way to 80% of the batteries depth.  But even with that discharge can be back to 100% is as little as 4 to 6 hours.

If you think that is the one to pick, check it out here.


Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery

best battery for diesel pickup


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Also from Odyssey and part of their Extreme line is the PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery.  As the name implies, this AGM style battery can be placed in either a car or an LTV, so if need be you can pull it out of one to power the other, giving you a function stacking backup.

This battery puts out a very nice 330 CCA and much like our other offering from Odyssey gives you some stand up deep cycle performance.  The battery comes with a limited 3 and 4 year warranty, but that is not prorated, so if you need to make a claim you will be getting a new battery, not just some money towards one.  The service life for these batteries can range between 3 and 10 years, so if treated well you might only be purchasing a battery once a decade.

If this sounds like just the right choice for you, feel free to check it out here.


ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 94R Battery

best diesel battery


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ACDelco is a well known company in automotive parts circles and some of the best quality products that they offer are part of their Professional line.  These products might come with a higher price tag, but will also be engineered to stand up to very high standards, making them a no brainer when it comes time to purchase.  One of their batteries stood above the rest though, the ACDelco 94RAGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 94R Battery.

That is quite a name, but it is quite a battery to go with it.  It gives you a stunning 800 CCAs to ensure that no matter what your engine is going to start.  And this maintenance free battery has a simply guarantee that is on the stick on the front of the battery, 36 month free replacement.  If this thing doesn’t perform in that time period the company will replace it for you for free.

If you think that this is the right battery choice for you, feel free to check it out here.


XS Power D3400 XS Series 12V 3,300 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt

best diesel truck battery


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The last battery to make our list comes from the XS Power XS Series.  They might be a newer company but with their commitment to testing they have been putting out some outstanding batteries.  The have a number of different lines of battery to meet different needs but the battery that we really liked the look of hails from the XS series.  The XS Power D3400 XS Series 12V 3,300 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt packs quite a bit of power.

This battery gives you 1000 cold cranking amps.  But with a company that is focused on racing and competition car audio that extra level of power should not come as any surprise.  The company has also said that this battery can be mounted in nearly any position, so you can rotate around to find the best possible fit for your truck.

If you think that this is the right battery choice for you, feel free to check it out here.


Buyer’s Guide: Helping You Select the Best Diesel Battery

Diesel Truck Battery Types

When looking at the best diesel battery for a truck the first thing to consider is the type of battery you require.  There are three major Lead-Acid types, the Wet Cell, Absorbable Gas Mat (AGM), and the Gel-Cell.  Each of these has strong points and weak points and deserves a closer look before you select one.

  • Lead-Acid

    Most batteries used for diesels tend to be Lead-Acid batteries.  This is a battery that has a mixture of acid and lead to store an electrical charge that can be used when needed.  Our three cases of battery will all have some type of acid, so use caution when working with them.

  • Wet Cell

    These batteries can found as either a serviceable or non-serviceable option.  They are both filled with a mixture of electrolytes to hold and maintain charge.  The non-serviceable or maintenance free option is totally sealed up and when level drops too low your battery will start to lose performance.  The serviceable option lets you add in distilled water and check how the mixture is doing.  This will mean that you can extend out the life of your battery a bit, but you have to do more maintenance on the battery.

  • Absorbable Gas Mat (AGM)

    This battery type keeps the electrolyte solution close to the metal plates in a battery, which should boost efficiency in both discharging and recharging it.  These types of batteries can also hold their charge for a longer period of time.

  • Gel-Cell

    A gel-cell is still a lead-acid type battery but instead of having a liquid like a wet cell the electrolyte solution is suspended in a gel. This leads to many these types of battery having many similar characteristics to the AGM type of battery. While these types of batteries may provide a better life in hot environments, they require a special type of charger. If these batteries are over-charged or used with an incorrect charger their lifespan will be cut.

Parameters: What to Look for in a Truck Battery

Perhaps the first thing to consider when looking at a battery for your pickup truck is the physical size.  Your engine compartment has a certain size opening for a battery and it doesn’t matter if you get a free battery that meets every specification you can think of, if it doesn’t fit in the designated space it won’t do you any good.

After you know that you the battery you are considering will fit within your engine compartment, the next consideration is how much power you will need.  At the most basic level you need to have the power to start up your truck.  There is the engine itself to consider and often times your manual will give you either a rating in Cranking Amps or more likely Cold Cranking Amps (CCA).  CCAs are measured by determining the amps a battery can put out when measured at 0 degrees Farenheit over a period of 30 seconds.  This has some very important points factored in, the first being the low temperature, and over a period of time.  Cold weather can drain a battery, so knowing that it will be able to start your truck even on a cold day can be reassuring.

When considering the capacity for your new battery you should consider what you will be asking of it.  While 650 CCA should be enough for starting larger diesel engines, however once you add in other things that might be pulling power you will need to up your battery size.  Things like light bars and winches are frequently added on and will cause you to go on a quest for more power.  Work up how much you need for everything before making a selection.

Top Rated Brands and the Tech Behind Them

There are many different brands out on the market today.  Some of them are great choices and others are just out to make a quick buck.  Three of the top brands out today are Odyssey, Optima and XS Power.


Odyssey atv batteries logo

Odyssey

Odyssey is part of EnerSys Energy Products.  They have been making batteries for over 100 years.  This gives them lots of experience to fall back on when making the high-class batteries that you count on for your ATV and UTVs.  To ensure that all of their batteries meet the standards that they’ve set, all Odyssey batteries are manufactured in one of two plants.

There Extreme series batteries are stand outs for any diesel vehicle.  These batteries pack their plates much denser than a standard six pack layout.  These plates also are made of pure lead, instead of lead alloys.  This change means the plates themselves can be thinner and result in more plates in the battery.  These two changes from the more standard design mean that you can pump more power out of this battery.  They are also built to last, being able to endure over 400 discharges down to 80% of the batteries depth.  This gives you a lot of power over a long period of time to power anything that you might have hooked up to your pickup.

Check out all Odyssey batteries available on Amazon


optima

Optima

Optima is another standout battery company.  With a 40 year history, this American based company has provided not only the first maintenance free lead acid battery but has a history of providing high end batteries for military applications.  They have taken some of those powerful batteries and offered them to the public for their own toys.

There are three different lines of batteries from Optima that are currently available.  Conveniently they are named according to the color of the top of the battery.  The first is the red series.  This is their baseline battery.  It is a hard worker but designed more to just get your engine up and going.  It is a solid choice for a diesel pickup with no extra electronic add ons.  The next is the yellow series, these are the deep cycle beasts.  They will get your engine going, but then will continue to keep your stereo system pumping and the light bar burning bright.  The blue tops are made for marine purposes.  They can come in either starting or a dual purpose deep cycle style.  The main difference is that these offer threaded studs in addition to the standard SAE studs on most car batteries.

Check out all Optima Batteries available on Amazon


xs power

XS Power

Last but not least is XS Power.  While only being around since 2005, this company has made a big name for themselves in producing batteries.  They have a strong focus on testing to ensure that they only put out the best quality batteries that they can.  This means that they are using both an in house lab as well as outside accredited labs to check and double check that they have the best set up.  With this set up they claim that they have been able to squeeze the highest energy density into their AGM style batteries.

They have a wide range of choices to select from when it comes to different batteries.  If you are looking for a basic starter battery they have both their audio series and their racing series.  These batteries will provide you that power to get things going.  They also offer two series of supplemental battery.  The XP and the step up MX.  This is a solution if you have a lot of aftermarket additions, as a secondary battery can help provide power to all your toys, if you are comfortable enough to do a little extra wiring.

Check out all XS Power batteries available on Amazon


What Else to Look for? Hidden Battery Gems

battery cycleSome companies put out what are known as dual purpose batteries.  These will function both as a starter battery, which is what you need for getting your ride going and as a deep cycle battery.  While a starter battery is meant to provide power in short bursts and not meant to discharge very much of their overall power, a deep cycle battery is meant to provide more of its power (sometimes down to 45%).  Discharging a battery too far can lead to a shortening of its effective life.

These dual purpose batteries can give you the best of both worlds.  The CCAs will deliver the power to get your diesel truck up and running.  The deep cycle end of the spectrum will provide the continuing power to give juice to all your aftermarket electronics, be they that kicking sound system or just having lights everywhere to let you see what is going on.

What Battery for My Diesel Engine? Our Bests!

If you are looking for the simple answer, if the rest of the article was too long to read and you are merely skimming through stop right here!

You can’t go wrong with our choices from Optima Batteries.  The main question you need to ask yourself is what are you looking for this battery to do.  If you just need to make sure your diesel engine starts up every time no questions asked, go with our best value for the money product, the RedTop series like the 8020-164 35.  This will get your engine going every time.

But think carefully about what else you might like to add on.  Since these batteries can last up to a decade you’ll want to consider if you are going to make any additions.  For example, a light bar, a new stereo system or even a dvd player, these will all need extra power.  If you have these set up now or are thinking it is something that you might add, you should go with our pick or best product.  The Optima Batteries YellowTop series, like the 8040-218 35.  This will give you all the power you could need.

When it comes time for a new battery for that diesel truck there are three things that I want you to keep in mind.

The first is where will you put it, the easiest is to get on that will fit where the current battery is.  If you really have to have another size be ready to make some changes and update some wiring.  This is not always a good idea and should only be done by those that are fully knowledge on the subject.  Messing that up can cause major damage.

The second is to ensure that you have all the cold cranking amps you need to start your ride on a cold day.  This will vary based on where you live, but whenever you are in doubt and other choices are equal, go with the option that gives you more CCA.

The third thing to consider is what other toys do you want this battery to power.  If you will be adding some aftermarket items make sure you get a deep cycle battery that can give them all power.  If you try running them all off a simple starter battery you’re going to have a bad morning one day when the truck won’t start up.

Final Thoughts on Best Battery for Diesel Truck

And with that you should have all the information that you need to pick out the best diesel truck battery for you particular set up.  Remember the items that we have gone over and think about your particular situation.  Not everyone will have the same requirements so your best diesel battery might not be the same as your next-door neighbors.

When in doubt you can always take the easy choice and go with the YellowTop 2040-218 35.  There is a reason that the deep cycle option from Optima Batteries was our best product pick.  Of course, if you are on a budget and not worried about powering those extras you can always go with the best value for your money.  In this area, it is also from Optima, the RedTop 2020-164 35.  Either of these will do an outstanding job for you.

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Lastly, we’d love to hear from you.  Do you have some experience dealing with any of these batteries or is there a star we left off the list?  Let us know in the comment section below.


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