What does a more expensive battery get me?

Is there any difference between battery brands? I’m looking for a battery for a 2014 highlander. On autozone they range from $135 (Duralast) to $255 (Optima). Is there really any difference for the extra money or just should I just go for the cheapest?


Generally speaking… an Optima battery will provide bragging rights to your buddies…and a lighter wallet.

But mainly a lighter wallet.


A more expensive battery is supposed to last longer, and might come with a longer warranty. I usually buy the cheapest battery available because they last longer than the warranty period for the more expensive batteries.

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They’re both very good batteries.

For a daily driver car I would get the Duralast.
Unless like ledhed75 says, you want bragging rights and a lighter wallet.

Our friends had to have their car jumped the other morning because of a bad battery . They went to Sam’s Warehouse and in less then 45 minutes they had a new battery installed . That tells me it is not that difficult to buy a battery.

I have had several optima batteries in the past. I have had them last as long as 9 years and as short as 3 years. Between vehicles & equipment, I have about 12 batteries. For the last several years, I have been buying the cheaper durastart batteries (made by Excide) that are sold at the local farm supply. I typically pay $40-60 for a battery and they last just as long as any name brand that I have used in the past.

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Just my opinion, not based on fact, a 3 year battery is essentially the same as a 5 year battery. The higher price is to pay for the longer warranty.

I have always compared CCA when pricing batteries. My life long philosophy right or wrong was to get the battery with the most CCA (Cold Cranking Amps). I live in a climate that below 0 temps in the winter are not uncommon. In hotter climates heat is a battery killer so CCA is not as major of a factor.


If you live in a cold climate, purchase a battery that meets or exceeds the cold cranking amps of the vehicles manufacturer.


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Thanks all. Helpful advice. Going to go with the cheaper one and save myself some cash.

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I’ve never spent the $$ on an Optima. I do get the ‘better’ battery at Walmart, when there’s that option. If it lasts an extra year, that’s worth it to me, hassle-wise.

Hassle-wise, I’m content to pull into Walmart’s parking lot, pull the battery, buy a new one, install it, and drive away with a new battery once every four years, which seems to be low long by batteries last whether I buy the cheap one or the expensive one.

That’s why I don’t care whether the warranty is for one year, two years, or three years.

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If this is the Highlander Hybrid that you mentioned before, Toyota uses an AGM battery if it is located inside the vehicle as it is in the Highlander Hybrid.

The low priced Duralast battery is not an AGM battery, the Duralast Platinum is AGM.

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If the car comes with an AGM, that’s best kind to use. If it did not, it’s probably best to not switch to an AGM.


I’ve had an Optima last 6 years (and still going,) and I’ve had one last 3 years- both in the same environment.

In the vehicle that it only lasted 3 years, I now have a much cheaper battery in.

Optima batteries are nice if you are doing off roading or racing, as they aren’t as prone to leak if they get shaken around alot. But beyond that, I wouldn’t buy another one for a daily driver.

There are only a few manufacturers of auto batteries in this country and different labels for different sellers. I buy the lead acid battery with the highest cold cranking amps. Some newer cars come with AGM (advanced glass mat) batteries and if you have one of those cars the websites say you should replace with an AGM. Having said that my 2012 Camry did not come with an AGM and type Advance Auto’s website shows it is the recommended battery for my car. I will stick with the lead acid for my car.

In my opinion the AGM may last a little longer but not enough to justify the price. Our batteries last a long time in Western NY. My 2012 Camry was built in 2011 and my daughters 2010 Corolla was built in 2009 and both cars have the original battery.

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The issue comes when the car is designed for, and expects to have, an AGM battery installed in order for the charging algorithms to work properly. You can sub in an AGM where one was not originally designed in, but the reverse is not always true…

Consumer Reports publishes battery tests every year or so. A few years ago they gave an expensive AGM battery - Optima, IIRC - a Not Recommended after 2 of them failed their tests. I don’t recall the specifics, but I wonder if their tests replicated “normal” charging systems and expected demands.

Nowadays it seems the AGM is the right battery for some newer cars with high electrical demands and a charging system that works differently from those of old. But the AGM may not be the best choice for the “old normal” charging systems.

I read in Popular Mechanics not long ago that the best battery for your car is the same type with the same CCA as the original. That was from an official at Johnson Controls, one of the few battery makers in North America.

Someone here may know more about this than I do. It happens!

Maybe I am wrong, but the agm battery is advised due to it’s location in the passenger compartment.

If it’s advised by the carmaker, for that car, I would call that a valid recommendation.