With the advent of electric starters and fuel-injected engines, the modern day battery has to take on a lot more responsibilities than it used to, and as a result, the prices have gone up. To make the right choice for your motorcycle and your wallet, you will need to be adequately informed.
In this article, we have done our best to compile a definitive list of the top five motorcycle batteries on the market. Whether you’re looking to get a battery for your Harley Davidson or your Yamaha, you’re sure to find a fit for you here!
Top 5 Best Motorcycle Batteries On The Market
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1. Battery Tender- Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
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The overall winner of our tests was Battery Tender's lithium battery! Well, to be fair it had a noticeable advantage being a lithium powered battery. Lithium batteries can provide up to 30% more cranking power than conventional batteries could even dream of.
This makes them the obvious top choice for any biker looking to purchase a sturdy and long-lasting battery.
That's not mentioning the weight you save when compared to its competitors. Traditional lead-acid batteries can add on a hefty chunk of weight, but lithium technology packs far more power into far less space, resulting in an incredibly lightweight batter.
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If you're replacing your motorcycle, it's time to take a look at the new Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) Battery Tender engine start batteries. Specifically, the Battery Tender BTL35A480C is unique in that it compactly offers a whopping 480 cold cranking amps.
This is more than enough to handle any motorcycle cranking. Replacing your old lead-acid battery with a new LiFePO4 battery makes sense.
The most exciting part of these particular batteries is that they are compatible with most motorcycle makes and models, which means that making the switch is quick and easy.
Still Not Convinced?
If you have not heard the about lithium motorcycle batteries yet, you have probably been living under a rock. There is a wide variety of brands that can be purchased, but the difference isn't only in the quality, it's also in the vast array of price options that are available. The question most riders ask is, "Is it worth it?"
Of course, there are some advantages to a lithium battery when compared to other options without question.
The single most significant advantage they have for the motorcycle restorer or customizer is that they contain no acid.
Not only does this mean that they are non-toxic and environmentally friendly, but it also signifies no more acid is dripping on your bike! There's nothing worse than to have your lead-acid battery burp a little acid out through the exhaust and dribble it all over you freshly restored paint & chrome.
Even if you’re extremely careful, some bit of acid always seems to escape.
For the collector or seasonal rider who does not ride their motorcycles very often, or locks it up through the winter months, a lithium battery has a prolonged self-discharge rate. This means that older motorcycles that have no load currently drawing when the ignition is not activated in a lithium battery will be able to stay functional enough to start within a year from that point.
For those with a motorcycle that has any accessories that draw electricity and may drain the battery, such as a clock or an alarm system, it requires constant attention for the long term.
Custom bike enthusiasts especially love these batteries because they can be installed in any position even upside down. Lithium-ion batteries are capable of being stored or installed in a variety of tight spaces.
In racing and other high-performance applications, lithium-ion batteries have the added (or should we say subtracted) advantage of being far lighter than different styles of battery with equivalent specifications.
If your racer has a charging system that meets the minimum charging requirements of your battery, then you should not continue to slow yourself down by running a massive lead-acid battery.
Warranties are usually better on these batteries, providing on average three or more years when placed in a compatible vehicle with a solid electrical system.
To me, all of the advantages of the lithium motorcycle battery outweigh the few disadvantages such as the higher price.
2. Yuasa YUAM320BS YTX20L-BS Battery
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Yuasa Battery, Inc. is a motorcycle accessory manufacturer with a long track record within the United States that raises the bar to uncompromisingly high standards since 1979. They are one of the largest and most well-respected motorcycle companies on the market.
Advocates for this battery constantly rave about its longevity. If treated right, this battery can last for up to 5 years at a time, without daily maintenance or replacement.
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When you've reached this point in your search, you surely wonder what exactly a lead-calcium battery is and how it differs from your conventional lead-acid battery.
The answer is relatively simple.
Lead-calcium batteries are still lead-acid batteries and function accordingly, but the primary difference lies within the internal electrode plates.
Traditionally these plates are made of pure lead, but in a lead-calcium battery, these plates are infused with a calcium compound. This allows the battery to perform better in cold climates, gives it better resistance to corrosion, and a lower rate of self-discharge.
Lead-calcium batteries are also fully sealed and do not require the electrolyte top-offs that traditional lead-acid batteries require.
If neither of those batteries fit your bike properly or aren’t quite what you’re looking for consider these alternatives!
3. Chrome Battery's YT14B-BS Battery
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Chrome Battery has a reputation for creating inexpensive and durable products, and a great customer service team. Any help or questions you have will be promptly answered by their knowledgeable and friendly staff.
If this alone isn't enough for you to make a decision, then consider that it is a high-quality AGM battery designed to fit most cruiser model motorcycles, that costs only half the price of competing brands.
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For those seeking a battery that will demonstrate their ability to be genuinely excellent in regards to ease of use and maintenance, this is one that should be on the top of your list. Spilling and leaking shouldn't even be considered. You won't need to check the water level at all.
How the terminals are formed is a point that should be duly considered. It's not comprised of sub-par design, with careful attention paid to every detail, down to the materials. Its ability to last beyond any measure of adversity makes it genuinely exceptional beyond its package date.
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With manufacturing facilities in 17 countries, sales and service locations throughout the world, and over 100 years of battery experience, Odyssey batteries have experience in making great batteries, and engineers every battery to strict quality standards.
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The PC680 is an 18 amp-hour conventional battery with 170 cold cranking amps and fits a wide variety of motorcycle makes and models.
5. ThrottleX HD50L - Best Harley Davidson Replacement Battery
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If you’ve been searching for a replacement battery for your Harley, and aren’t willing to pay the insane dealership prices, we highly recommend that you check this battery out.
Still Aren’t Convinced?
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are one of the best recent developments in 12-volt battery technology. AGM batteries use an ultra-thin fiberglass sheet to hold the electrolyte in position.
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AGMs are also spill-proof, maintenance-free and happen to be the most vibration-resistant lead batteries that money can buy. This especially makes them ideal for Harley Davidsons, as every Harley rider loves their signature loud and earth-shaking rumbles.
These batteries are specifically designed to take a beating and can be dropped, tumbled, and even come into contact with a bit of water, while still maintaining their full functionality.
AGM batteries also last a lot longer than conventional batteries and can deliver 25% more power which makes them well worth the extra money you pay. So do yourself a favor, and pick up one of the most durable motorcycle batteries on the market.
Why You Should Choose Your Motorcycle Battery Carefully
In today's world, there are many low-quality manufacturers and shady resellers. With this being the case, it's essential for you to do your research into who you're buying from and the quality of the product that's being sold.
Buying a bad battery is the quickest way to turn your weekend road trip into a weekend of being stranded on a dusty roadside. Not exactly the best way to spend a vacation.
When you are considering what battery to get, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Maybe you don't mind getting your hands dirty and doing some maintenance from time to time, or perhaps you don't ever want to touch your battery. It's important to know your comfort level before making a purchase. Either way, in today's market you have options.
Conventional lead-acid motorcycle batteries require the user to add electrolyte fluid initially as well as periodic refills with distilled water. Out of all the motorcycle batteries, you can expect to do the most maintenance on these.
Both AGM and Lithium-ion batteries require relatively low maintenance and feature safe and convenient no-spill engineering. In most cases, you can install one of these once every 3- 4 years, and expect to do nothing more than a minor amount of cleaning from time to time.
Conventional lead-acid batteries are sensitive to vibration, and engine heat and the outer casing can often become damaged over time with continued wear and tear.
A leaking battery between your legs isn't a very safe way to travel.
AGM and Lithium styles, however, are designed to be vibration proof, and if they do happen to crack, they are the safest option because they are not full liquid acid like their conventional counterparts.
Obviously, compatibility is an important consideration. Most batteries are designed to fit in a wide range of different bikes, but it's always a good idea to consult a manual first instead of assuming. Some factors that might be responsible for compatibility issues are:
Now That You’ve Got Your Battery
This wonderful Buyers Guide would all be for nothing if I didn’t at least include a little bit of safety and maintenance advice with it.
The worst mistake I see most people make after they've purchased their fancy new battery is that they treat it poorly, or try to work on their battery themselves without the appropriate gear or tools.
Not to say that they're doing it on purpose, but it still helps to be educated nonetheless. Below I've compiled a brief owner's manual of necessary battery maintenance and safety that should be followed at all times once you've decided on your new battery.
A packaged and name “12-volt battery” does not necessarily mean an actual 12-volt battery. Admittedly the title is almost completely misleading and is mainly just used to distinguish between different batteries. A “12-volt” with a full charge that is left sitting for days (slowly draining) will still have almost 13 volts when checked.
Motorcycle batteries can supply a range of different voltages for different purposes. They can supply up to 14 volts on a full charge for harder tasks such as cranking, but mostly supply far less during the time the bike is being ridden, as all, they have to power our lights and perhaps a radio.
If your motorcycle battery is reading 12 volts or less, chances are you have a bad battery. It may still crank your engine, but it's advised that you go ahead and replace it as it is most definitely on its way out. At 12 volts, only a quarter of its energy remains.
Motorcycle batteries are often tedious to access, and as a result, many riders neglect to do necessary maintenance and are surprised when their recently purchased battery meets an early demise.
If you’re going to prolong your battery life, though, you need to get used to checking it at least once a month. Even a maintenance-free battery should still be checked periodically.
One of the easiest things you can do to ensure continued performance of your battery is to make sure the battery terminals remain clean and uncorroded. Corroded or dirty terminals can negatively affect the current your battery provides to the motorcycle. The best way to clean your battery is with a particular wire brush.
Another critical thing to watch out for is frayed or exposed wires. An electrical current running right under a gas tank is very unsafe. If you find exposed wiring immediately disconnect your battery and repair the wires before continuing to ride.
For Those With Conventional Batteries
Once every two or three weeks be sure to check your electrolyte cylinders. They can usually be examined by popping off a small plastic cap. If these go too low, your battery will cease functioning.
If you find that your electrolyte cylinders are low, fill them up with some distilled water and make sure that the cap is firmly secured back on.
For Those With Maintenance-Free Lithium Or AGM Batteries
Maintenance-free batteries don't require electrolyte replacement like their counterparts, but they still should be checked at least once a month with a multi-meter to ensure that they have a reasonable charge.
Even though they aren’t traditional lead-acid batteries, they can still develop corrosion around the terminals, so check for this periodically as well.
Storage is exhausting on batteries. In fact, non-use will leave them unable to carry a charge. Even lithium-ion batteries with their slow rates of self-discharge will eventually die over time. If you do plan on storing your motorcycle over the winter, make sure that you hook it up to a trickle charger over the winter.
Trickle chargers will give your battery a constant slow-drip of charge that will keep it topped off.
If you do decide to shelve your battery, make sure it is resting on a non-conductive surface like a rubber mat. Placing it on metal or in direct contact with the ground can deplete your battery.
Batteries can also be sensitive to their environment, and it is a good idea to keep your battery out of the cold. Freezing temperatures can cause the battery casing to freeze and break, which can result in a dangerous battery acid leak for conventional batteries.
We've all seen the awful images they show us in personal safety classes of the poor guy who wasn't paying attention and got a body full of painful acid burns, or worse had a battery explode in his face.
Don’t be that person.
When it comes to picking the right battery, it may seem at first that your options are limitless. You may look a wall full of motorcycle batteries and think to yourself, “these all look the same, they must all be decent batteries,” but if you’re willing to look a little closer you’ll see the difference.
We hope that this buyers guide we've compiled has been able to narrow down your choice.
We recommended some great batteries that we've personally tested, gone into detail about how each one differs from their competitors and we've even given you a small crash course on battery safety and maintenance so that you get the longest and healthiest life possible from your new battery.