Your ATV is no good if it cannot start due to a bad battery. Best ATV batteries last longer and feed ample power to the starter motor and the electrical system.
There are many options when it comes to ATV batteries. It is best to follow the specifications of your quad when selecting a battery. Ranging from conventional types like AC Delco 12C to the more sophisticated AGMs like YTX20, it all comes down to your buying power when selecting the right battery.
You might feel that the battery has no significance when it comes to running your ATV. Who cares if the horn beeps?Who needs to use the lights during the daytime anyway? I don't care if the starter motor works or not; using the kick gives me the thrills! Whatever your excuse is for not getting a battery on your ATV, it is essential to understand that riding without a good battery can cause more severe issues like electrical component failures.
According to many veteran ATV owners, it is important to invest well in your quad. Purchasing good batteries over pocket-friendly ones can save you a lot of hassle. These so-called pocket-friendly batteries do not last, and it will not be long before you are looking to buy another "pocket-friendly" battery. By the end of the riding season, you find out that the total cost of the batteries is far more than if you had purchased a reputable battery in the first place.
Understanding Battery Terminology
Every automotive battery comes with complex numbers and indications that do not make sense to everyone. Here, we will explain three important numbers to look for when purchasing a battery for your ATV.
Every battery has a cycle life, which is the number of times a battery can be discharged and recharged before reaching the end of its useful life. At the end of its useful life, the battery will no longer hold the charge and become a box of scrap. The higher the cycle life of a battery, the longer it will last.
A top-of-the-range battery has a life of up to 3,000 cycles; this means that the battery can be discharged and recharged three thousand times before it needs replacement. But most batteries have around 300 – 500 cycles.
Cold Cranking Amps
Starting an engine is much easier in a warmer environment. Cold Cranking Amps or CCA is a standard rating that defines the battery's ability to start an engine in extremely cold conditions. Technically speaking, CCA refers to the amps that a 12-volt battery delivers for 30 seconds at 0®F while staying at a voltage of at least 7.2 volts. A higher CCA means better starting power for the battery.
A battery with a CCA rating of 500 or more will have no trouble starting your ATV, even if the temperature falls below freezing.
The Ampere Hours indicate how long a battery will last without being recharged. For example, if a battery is rated at 30Ah,it will provide 30 amperes for one hour or 15 amperes of current for two hours. The less the current drawn, the longer the battery will last.
When considering a battery for your ATV, it is best to go by the book. Your user manual will tell you the exact battery capacity that you should install. If the capacity is lower than required, your starter motor or other electrical components might not function properly. On the other hand, if the battery capacity is higher than needed, you will not be able to charge the battery fully with your charging system and thus reduce the battery's overall life.
Types of ATV Batteries
There are three main types of ATV batteries. Let us look at how each one of them works
The conventional type battery is also known as the wet battery. This battery is easily recognizable due to the presence of filler caps. Inside the battery are lead plates that are submerged in a mixture of distilled water and sulfuric acid. The filler caps help you top up the battery with distilled water.
Since these batteries are not spill-proof, they are more suited for street riding as compared to off-roading. Tilting the battery too far will cause the highly acidic electrolyte to spill in and around your ATV.
Conventional batteries are the least expensive but require regular maintenance. You have to check the fluid levels frequently to ensure that it is up to the mark in all cells. Leaving the plates dry can lead to permanent damage.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
As the name implies, these batteries contain a glass mat between the plates. The mat absorbs the electrolyte and holds it between the plates, giving the impression of a dry battery. As required, the electrolyte gets transferred to the plates, and the battery produces a charge. The mat is designed to hold plenty of electrolyte to keep the battery working at full capacity.
These batteries are known as maintenance-free and do not create spills even when tilted to extreme angles. They can be mounted in different positions and are more reliable and durable than conventional batteries.
For ATVs, AGM batteries are designed to withstand shocks and extreme vibrations, making them an excellent choice for off-roading. It is, however, important to keep an eye on the charging level of AGMs. Overcharging or undercharging the battery can greatly affect its performance and life.
Like the AGMs, gel cell batteries are also sealed. That is the end of similarities. The gel cell battery uses silica to convert sulfuric acid into a gel-like substance. The gel can then be used as the electrolyte between the plates.
These batteries are also maintenance-free and spill-proof. They can be mounted at angles and can hold the charge for longer periods.
Great care must be taken when charging these batteries. Exposing the gel cell to a high current can cause permanent burn spots in the battery and significantly affect performance.
Also known as Lithium Ferro phosphate or LFP, were first made in 1996 and utilized phosphate as material for the cathode. Overtime, the quality of phosphate has improved, making the battery very efficient.
With its newer technology, this battery can offer more power density, less heating, and a much lower discharge rate compared to other battery types. With the battery not heating up, less energy is wasted, and more of it can be put to good use, making it one of the few batteries that have 2000-3000 life cycles.
These batteries are a derivative of lead-acid batteries. What makes them stand out is the presence of calcium and lead in the terminals and plates of the battery. With the alloy, the battery has a longer life and is easier to maintain. Calcium in the terminals resists corrosion, and you will have no corrosion at the terminals and less damaged cables.
These batteries are also maintenance-free, and the added corrosion resistance means you will not need to look at the battery for long periods without worrying about performance.
What to Consider when Purchasing
In addition to the key factors listed above, here are some more things that you should consider before buying a battery
You must always check the specifications of your ATV before selecting a battery. A battery with the wrong specs will fail itself and cause damage to the vital electrical components. In addition to matching the specifications, make sure that you select the right size battery for your ATV. Some batteries have bigger dimensions and might not fit into your ATV battery slot.
Remember how we explained conventional batteries are prone to spillage. It is important to assess your riding habits before selecting a battery. If you are more into level riding, you can opt for the conventional battery. But if you like to go rough with your ATV, make sure your battery is also rough and tough. Riding with a conventional battery will cause spillages and lead to extreme corrosion on your precious little quad.
If you are a competitive rider who likes to race with your powerful machine, a heavy battery will unnecessarily weigh you down. Although battery weight might not be significant during your everyday riding, shedding a few pounds can surely help you in a race.
Best ATV Batteries
Now that we understand the basics of batteries, let us look at some of the best ATV batteries to give you peace of mind.
The EXP-1270 is a 12V, 7Ah sealed lead-acid battery. The casing is made of ABS and is shockproof and durable. It resists not only heat but also chemicals and vibrations. If you are looking for the best value for your money, EXP-1270 is the battery to go for.
This battery uses AGM technology to produce charge; this means that the battery can be oriented in all positions without the fear of spillage.
Like all AGMs, the EXP-1270 has a long service life and can provide high amperes when required.
Battery Tender BTL14A
This battery uses Lithium Phosphate technology. It is much lighter and can also last up to five times longer than a conventional lead-acid battery. With a universal terminal design, this battery can be installed in any orientation or direction.
However, this battery requires a special charger and cannot be charged using any conventional battery charger. But this new technology comes at a price, a huge price. For an ATV, this battery can cost upwards of $100!
The YTX20 is a spill-proof, maintenance-free lead-calcium battery. It can produce 300 cold-cranking amps, which are higher than most batteries of this category.
In addition to utilizing calcium in the terminals, the battery also incorporates AGM technology. Lying between the lead-calcium plates are absorbent glass mats holding the electrolyte. This is why the YTX20 is able to provide higher cold cranking amps and lasts longer.
However, two drawbacks are worth mentioning:
The battery is shipped empty and dry. You will have to use the supplied acid bottle to fill up the battery yourself. This can be risky as the acid is very corrosive and can easily damage any surface it lands on
The battery is quite expensive when compared to other alternatives. It will cost you around $95 to purchase a new YTX20.
Like the 20, this battery also uses lead-calcium technology. It is another spill-proof, decently performing battery.
It can produce 200 cold-cranking amps and is virtually maintenance-free. However, it does require periodic charging to maintain its life.
Like the YTX20, this battery also comes dry and packed with premeasured tubes filled with electrolyte. The packaging also includes a spill-proof cover that has to be mounted on top of the battery, making it leak-free
The battery is much lighter than its high-performance counterpart and is well suited for off-roading and rough riding.
The PC545 is one of the best ATV batteries out there. With its rugged construction and robust design, this battery can withstand all sorts of vibrations and even hard shocks. Whether you like to ride in the mud, over sand dunes, or even snow, the PC545 is built to handle them all.
The battery is spill-proof, maintenance-free, and boasts 150 Cold Crank Amps. It comes with a 2-year full replacement warranty. It also has a longer life cycle and short charging time, going from 0 to 100 in only 4 – 6 hours.
It is important to understand which battery is best suited for your quad before making a purchase. Using the wrong battery can diminish its purpose, and you will end up wasting money, which could easily be saved.
It is not necessarily the highest price or listed specifications of a battery that you should go for. It is best to explore options, and with the knowledge of batteries you have now, you will be in a much better position to make the right decision and get the best value for your money.
About THE AUTHOR
25 years old. I'm from PA. I love horseback riding and riding ATV's. My husband and I own a farm and our ATV's help us work and have fun.Read More About Elizabeth