When it’s time to replace or upgrade your motorcycle battery, what type do you choose? Sure, you could just order yourself the same stock unit and keep riding as normal, but what if you want more from your battery? Here’s a list of the 10 best motorcycle batteries currently on the market, and an outline of battery technology in general.
Flooded lead-acid, absorbed glass mat, gel cell, lithium iron, or lithium-ion? Factory-activated, sealed or unsealed? Buying a new battery for your motorcycle isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think, so we’ve decided to take the guesswork out of the task and give you a thorough overview of all things battery-related.
Topping our list of the best motorcycle battery units is the MotoBatt QuadFlex AGM. MotoBatt has developed an excellent reputation for building strong and reliable products, and their motorcycle batteries are of the highest quality. The company primarily develops gel and AGM batteries, which is great for customers looking for a completely maintenance-free experience. The QuadFlex AGM battery is our favorite from their line. The QuadFlex model ranges in sizes from smaller CCA up to very powerful CCA outputs, which means that they have a product to suit your motorcycle, whatever the size.
What we particularly love is the overall versatility that the QuadFlex offers. They come with a variety of terminals, from exposed terminals to screw-down terminals, and also feature a very useful 4-terminal design which makes it easy to connect it to lots of accessories with ease. Not only that, they’re easy to mount in almost any frame and at any angle, which makes this motorcycle battery a popular choice for custom builders. And of course, let’s not forget that they’re totally maintenance-free. If you’re looking for a versatile battery that requires no maintenance, then one of these will do the trick. Reliable, practical, and strong – and that’s why we rate this one so highly. Be warned though, they do have a premium price tag compared with other models.
Patented 4-terminal battery design
Completely sealed maintenance-free battery
Factory activated – no need to setup before use
No need to add acid, no corrosion either
Guaranteed long life warranty
If you’re looking to do full maintenance of your motorbike, macake sure to also check our guide to the best motorcycle oil!
You can always rely on quality batteries when you buy from ACDelco. This company specializes in producing batteries for recreational vehicles like motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft. The Specialty battery from ACDelco is known for its increased cranking power, reliable starting power, easy-to-setup nature, and maintenance-free experience. It arrives dry from the factory with a bottle of acid that has been pre-measured. When you’re ready to install your new battery, all you need to do is fill it with the acid and properly seal the battery. Once sealed, the battery is 100% maintenance-free.
The battery itself features box-type terminals at the top and front. These box-style terminals are useful because you can route your cables horizontally or vertically depending on what suits your motorcycle best. This cool 12v motorcycle battery comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. All you have to do is consult ACDelco’s sizing chart to find the models that fit your ride and hit that order button. It should be noted that this AGM battery requires an initial charge before you install it. It’s not an inconvenience though, it’s a perk – since it’s not factory activated, it helps improve shelf-life.
Yuasa is one of the biggest names in the motorcycle battery industry. If you’ve ever driven a Japanese motorcycle, there’s a good chance it was hooked up to a Yuasa battery. As one of the largest producers of motorcycle batteries, you can rely on the quality of all their products, but it’s the Yuasa High Performance YTX20L-BS model that stands out. It’s a high-performance 12 volt, AGM battery that boasts 18 amp-hours, and 270 cold-cranking amps. If you’re looking for a high-quality OEM replacement, then this is the battery for you. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple plug and play installation – you have to do a couple of steps yourself, but it’s totally worth it.
This isn’t a factory-activated battery, so you have to add the acid yourself and seal it. This isn’t a difficult thing to do and the small bit of effort pays dividends. As soon as batteries are activated they begin to lose their longevity. By activating it yourself, you can guarantee that the battery is fighting fit from day one, rather than one that might have been slowly dying after months of sitting in a factory warehouse. In addition, the Yuasa YTX20L-BS also comes with anti-sulfation technology which keeps sulfation at a minimum, prolonging your battery’s life-span. According to Yuasa, the anti-sulfation tech helps their batteries live for up to three times longer. All in all, this a great hassle- and maintenance-free battery that offers excellent value for money.
ThrottleX is a brand that’s often overlooked due to the fact that they’re relatively new players on the scene. They manufacture excellent products that boast longer lives and above-average power. The MX20L is a powerful 12v AGM battery with 500 CCA and 20 amp hours in a maintenance-free, fully sealed package. It’s already fully-activated and full-charged the moment it arrives on your doorstep, so all you have to do is install it and hit the road. No refills, no spillages, no-nonsense! This Absorbed Glass Mat type battery is an excellent choice for riders who want hassle-free battery operation and a simple plug ‘n’ play installation.
The ThrottleX MX20L also has some cool bonus features. First, it has sulfation-resistant plates that keep sulfation to a minimum, which helps to extend your battery’s life. Next, it features vibration resistant technology that works to keep performance to the highest standards by keeping wear and tear to a minimum. Finally, it also has a clever AGM separator that comes protected by full-frame plates, which work together to enhance cranking amps while ensuring lower discharge rates overall. If you need quick starting power in cold temperatures, this is a grade-A choice. They’re excellent Harley Davidson batteries and are compatible with many models, including the Fat Boy, Low Rider (Dyna), Night Rod, Softail, Sportster, Super Glide, V-Rod, and Wide Glide.
Factory-activated and maintenance-free
Excellent Harley Davidson compatibility
Ant-sulfation and anti-vibration technology
Massive 500 CCA and 20 Amp-hours.
Overall weight: 15.5 lbs
5. Battery Tender BTL35A480C Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
This incredible battery from Battery Tender is one of the best in the business. Being a lithium iron phosphate battery, it offers a welcome alternative to the likes of AGM, flooded, and gel cell lead acid batteries. It offers many of the same performance statistics as other kinds of batteries but it’s significantly lighter and has a much longer life. In fact, the weight reductions are up to 80% when compared with other batteries, and the overall lifespan is often up to five times longer than other lead acid batteries. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the Battery Tender lithium iron phosphate units are popular choices for motorcycles, utility vehicles, and personal watercraft.
There’s more to this wonderful 12v battery than longevity and weight, though. It’s also incredibly versatile and is almost guaranteed to fit any battery box out there with the use of included foam spacers. It fits can be mounted in a wide variety of ways, and has multiple terminal configurations. If that wasn’t enough, Battery Tender offers a limited 3-year warranty for this product which proves that they have nothing but the utmost confidence in their products. There are a few downsides though: battery boosters aren’t recommended to be used with this battery, and a lead-acid trickle charger shouldn’t be used on one either.
Lithium Batteries do not sulphate
5x more life than lead acid units
240 Lithium Cranking Amps (Note: Lithium Cranking Amps aren’t the same as CCA)
If you’re looking for a tough and durable 12-volt battery that offers a high current and a long life, then the Expert Power EPX1270 should be high on your list. It’s a leftfield choice since the EPX1270 is more commonly found as the power source for home security systems and cable boxes, but don’t let that put you off. It’s an excellent motorcycle battery that uses the best AGM technology, offers unparalleled versatility, and comes wrapped up in an absolutely bulletproof package. In fact, the battery itself is protected by a tough external casing made from a resilient, hardened ABS plastic which protects the user from spills and leaks while protecting the contents at the same time. It’s specially designed to withstand vibration, shock, heat, and chemicals. Also, a fiberglass mat inside the battery prevents the acid from moving around inside, eliminating any potential spill risks.
This one is super easy to set up and install. All you have to do is plug it in and you’re good to go. It’s 100% maintenance-free, and there’s very little that you have to do to keep this battery going. And thanks to the small size, it’s easy to use it for a wide range of applications. If you need an easy battery that offers exceptional power and value for money, you can’t go wrong with this one.
This Chrome Battery is a great choice for those looking for a quick-installation with no-nonsense required and a totally maintenance-free experience. It’s an Absorbed Glass Mat lead-acid battery that can power a wide range of machines from motorcycle to jet skis and everything in between. Thanks to the use of a lead calcium alloy, this AGM battery offers extremely high-performance and an impressive lifespan, with an estimated 2000 full recharge cycles before it will need to be replaced. That’s not bad at all and keeps the cost of ownership down.
Other features of this cool battery include a sealed post design that keeps corrosion to an absolute minimum, a special valve that guarantees safe usage in any position, and a very interesting material choice for the terminals. The terminals are made from copper to help resist pressure, wear, and torque while remaining tough and durable. Copper also offers excellent conductivity, which helps it deliver top-shelf performance too. This is a fantastic battery for those who want a maintenance-free option, with no filling up or fluid checks required. It arrives at your door sealed and fully charged, 100% ready to go. It’s not hard to see why this gets such great reviews from motorcyclists and other users.
For a seriously lightweight battery that offers excellent power, longevity, and dependability, consider the Shorai LFX14A4-BS12. This isn’t a lithium iron phosphate battery, it’s a lithium-ion battery, which is a different thing. For most people, lithium-ion means seriously lightweight, and that’s exactly what makes it so appealing. These kinds of batteries are famous for being incredibly potent and weighing next to nothing at the same time, making them perfect for sports where added weight is an unwanted feature. This battery doesn’t sulfate, produces a seriously low self-discharge when compared to other conventional batteries, and what’s more, they can crank your vehicle even when they’re at a low capacity.
Unlike conventional batteries, these batteries don’t run down and cause you grief on cold mornings either. They provide instant cranking power and a more reliable experience. The weight savings are great, but it’s the overall reliability and longevity that users celebrate the most. With proper care, the battery will only require charging about once a year, but that all depends on the storage temperature and how much you use it. It can be charged with a conventional charger providing it hasn’t been fully discharged, which is really useful. Other cool features include a fast charge rate, fast cranking, zero sulfation, and a bonus two-year manufacturer’s warranty. They say the best way to increase the power of a motorcycle is to reduce the overall weight…and this is a quick, easy, and cost-effective way of doing it.
Zero-sulfation and environmentally friendly battery
Higher voltage with more CCA
Long lifespan when compared to other battery types
1/5 the weight of a conventional lead-acid models
Overall weight of 1.98 lbs
9. Fire Power Featherweight Lithium Ion HJTZ10S-FP-IL Battery
If you’re looking for an alternative lithium-ion battery, we recommend the Fire Power Featherweight HJTZ10S-FP-IL model. It has very similar specs to the Shorai unit mentioned above, being that it’s super-lightweight and offers numerous advantages compared with other lead acid or AGM batteries, and increased performance too. It boasts a higher amount of CCA, a much longer life cycle, and an incredibly fast charging time. Like most lithium batteries, it arrives fully charged and ready to rock and roll and works from the moment you install it in your motorcycle.
The installation should be fairly straightforward as well because it can be oriented any way that you want and at any angle. Apart from the increased performance, what many users like about this battery is the fact that it comes with a small LED display that shows the current health and status of the battery. It shouldn’t require a recharge for at least a year after installation, and even then it can be charged to 90% within 6 minutes – which is quite an incredible time. We highly recommend this battery, but do make sure that it’s a good fit for your motorcycle and the accessories that you have installed before pulling the trigger on a purchase.
Cool built in LED test gauge
6 to 12 times increased cycle life over lead batteries
Finally we have the ZPC YTX14-BS, a rechargeable absorbed glass mat battery that offers low-maintenance but high-performance. It has a lot in common with the Chrome Battery product listed above, but there are some noticeable differences. Like most AGM batteries, this one is built to power a wide range of vehicles from motorcycles to snowmobiles, but this one is a touch lighter than many other similar models. Boasting 200 CCA and 12 amp-hours, this little spill-proof, sealed 12-volt battery is one to consider.
This battery is ready to go from the moment it arrives. It’s fully factory-activated, which means that it is already filled, sealed, and charged, which means you only have to connect it up and you’re ready to go. It features heavy-duty terminals for easy connections, vibration-resistant technology to keep everything in working order, and an impressive estimated life cycle that should see it being fully recharged around 2,000 times before it gives up the ghost – depending on the conditions of use and the storage temperature, of course. Apart from that, this is a no-nonsense AGM battery with zero chance of spillage, no leaks, and no fluid to be topped up at any time. It’s a cheap plug ‘n’ play battery that won’t let you down.
Extreme vibration resitance
Heavy duty terminals
One year manufacturer’s warranty
Overall weight of 9.92 lbs
Best Motorcycle Battery Buying Guide & FAQ
It’s all very well reading a list of highly-rated batteries, but different riders have different demands and while these are what we consider to be the top 10 best motorcycle batteries, they may not be the best fit for you. To help you make a better decision we’ve put together a battery buying guide that makes the confusing jargon a little easier to understand. There’s a lot to learn about batteries, from the size, voltage, material type, sealed or unsealed, et cetera. It’s a lot to take in! With that in mind, we’ll look at the difference between battery types, their power ratings, and answer some frequently asked questions too. Let’s get started.
What’s The Difference Between A Sealed Or Unsealed Battery?
Typically, motorcycle batteries come in two distinct flavors: sealed or unsealed. In short, a sealed battery is a product that is ready for use from the moment it arrives on your doorstep. As the name suggests, these batteries are sealed units. They require no maintenance throughout their lifespans; they are either Gel Cell batteries or AGM batteries – more on that later.
An unsealed battery, however, requires the addition of distilled water and it vents acid and fumes. These batteries require maintenance. These types of batteries are known as wet lead-acid batteries.
Battery Size and Construction
The size and build of a particular battery are other important things to consider before you buy. We’re not talking about the voltage either. If you buy a battery with a casing that’s too big for the dimensions of your motorcycle, it’s not going to be very much use to you. A battery that’s too small isn’t such a big problem, but you’ll have to install it correctly and fit it into your existing battery box with shims and spacers – whatever happens, you don’t want it rattling around causing damage!
It’s also important to pay attention to what materials the battery is actually made of. The vast majority of batteries on the market are built from tough materials such as ABS plastics and the like, which is great because you want a durable product, but you should also look out for other features such as strong vibration, heat, and pressure resistance too.
What Voltage Is A Motorcycle Battery?
12 Volts is the most common voltage for motorcycle batteries. There are exceptions to this rule though. For example, some smaller motorcycles don’t require so much power and are happy running a 6 Volt battery. For a full-size motorcycle, 12 Volts is the average. While you can play around with battery types and materials, the voltage is the one thing that you really must get right. Look at your stock battery and make a note of the voltage and other specifications, and use those as the benchmark for your next purchase. A voltage that’s too low will drastically affect your motorcycle’s functionality. A voltage that’s too high could cause damage to your bike and wiring.
What Does CCA Mean?
“CCA” stands for Cold Cranking Amps. The CCA is the number of amps that a battery can deliver for 30 seconds at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit whilst producing 1.2 volts per cell. The CCA for a motorcycle is the power that’s required to get it started. Older bikes, or bikes that are harder to start, will need a higher CCA. Newer motorcycles, or bikes that haven’t clocked up thousands of miles yet, probably need a lower CCA.
“Overall Performance” is a term used in tandem with CCA. Overall Performance rates the power that can be produced by your battery. Batteries with lower overall performance will require charging more regularly. Buying a battery that suits your riding style will help you improve your battery’s overall lifespan too.
What Is A Motorcycle Battery’s Life Expectancy?
Battery life expectancy varies depending on what type of battery you buy and what manufacturer you’re buying from. Obviously, most riders are looking for a battery that will have a long life. Batteries with long life expectancies are generally more expensive due to the fact that they’re built from higher quality materials that keep wear and tear to a minimum whilst maintaining a low discharge rate. The vast majority of batteries will have a life expectancy of somewhere between 500 and 2000 charge cycles, or at least 48 months’ worth of use. This figure can be affected by a wide range of variables, but as long as you store your battery correctly and maintain it appropriately, you should be able to get the most out of it.
What Are The Different Types Of Motorcycle Batteries?
As you might have noticed, batteries come in a wide range of styles, but what are the differences between them? What’s the difference between a gel cell battery and an AGM? Here’s a brief overview of the different types of motorcycle batteries.
Wet Lead Acid Battery
A wet lead acid battery, or a flooded lead acid battery, is a common battery type that requires regular maintenance. This kind of battery needs to be topped up with distilled water to function properly. These batteries are incredibly cost-effective and enjoy quite a long life span if taken care of. Unfortunately, they’re prone to sulfation and degradation. Plus, they release noxious hydrogen gas when charging, which isn’t ideal. Still, this a great cheap option.
AGM batteries, or Absorbent Glass Mat batteries, are popular. They’re valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries that work by suspending electrolytes in a thin fiberglass mat between lead plates. They’re highly resistant to vibration, can be mounted at any angle, and do not spill. They’re excellent choices for vehicles that experience a lot of movement, and since they’re sealed and maintenance-free, they’re very easy to install. Unfortunately, they’re more expensive than flooded lead-acid batteries, and they don’t usually last as long either.
Gel Cell Battery
A gel cell battery is a valve-regulated lead acid-sealed battery that contains gel electrolytes. These maintenance-free batteries have a lot in common with AGM batteries. They’re both sealed and maintenance-free, but they have some key differences. Rather than fiberglass mats, gel batteries use a thick paste-like gel to meet the same ends, but the difference in performance is large. Gel batteries aren’t as good as AGM batteries in terms of higher charges and discharge rates, but they do last longer and are better for applications that require slow and deep discharges. They also work better in hotter climates too. Finally, they are more expensive than AGM, which is a very important statistic to note.
Lithium Iron And Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium batteries are also available options, but lithium iron batteries are not the same as lithium-ion – though both can be used to power a motorcycle, and other lightweight vehicles.
Lithium iron batteries, or LiFePO4 batteries have a much greater cell density than you’d find in a traditional lead-acid battery but at a small fraction of the weight. These batteries have a smaller cell density than lithium-ion though, which actually makes them less volatile. They’re great alternatives to AGM batteries, can be used at high temperatures, usually have a lifespan of up to 2000 charge cycles over a period of 10 years, and usually hold their charge for just over one year.
A lithium-ion battery shares many of the qualities of a lithium iron phosphate battery, but with some significant differences. Although they’re incredibly lightweight, lithium-ion cells actually have a greater cell density than lithium iron phosphate batteries, which have a higher capacity per cell, but they’re much, much more volatile – as you may have read in the news about lithium-ion battery-related fires. They can’t safely be used in temperatures in excess of 60 degrees Celsius for that reason. They also have a shorter life-span, with a typical life of 2 to 3 years, or up to 500 charge cycles. They only hold a charge for approximately 300 days too, depending on the battery pack. Still, they offer excellent power for such a low weight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I install a motorcycle battery?
After locating your old battery, remove the bolt from the negative cable first, followed by the positive wire. Remove it carefully, especially if it’s an unsealed battery type that could leak acid if improperly handled. If you need to prepare your new battery before installation, do that now as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
To install it, all you need to do is place it into the battery box and attach the positive wire before attaching the negative one. That’s a basic outline of how to install a motorcycle battery, but there are more intricacies depending on the type and motorcycle model.
How to charge a motorcycle battery?
The best way to charge a motorcycle battery is to remove it from the motorcycle and plug it into a battery-specific charger.
Disconnect the battery and hook it up to a trickle, float, or smart charger. Be sure not to over-charge your battery as that can damage it. Check the charge with a multimeter to be sure it’s fully charged, and then reconnect it to your motorcycle.
Note: lithium batteries may require a different kind of charger for safe charging. Check with your battery’s manufacturer for specific instructions. Always take care when handling and charging batteries.
How long to charge a motorcycle battery?
Depending on what kind of battery you have and what kind of charger you use, the time it takes to fully charge a motorcycle battery can be anywhere between 4 and 24 hours for a standard 12 Volt unit. Regularly checking the progress of a charge cycle with a multi-meter is highly recommended. For most batteries, a low and slow charge rate is much better for the battery’s health.
How many volts is a motorcycle battery?
The most common voltage for a motorcycle battery is 12 Volts. However, some smaller motorcycles may operate with smaller voltage batteries, while some large motorcycles that have aftermarket accessories installed on them may accommodate batteries of a higher voltage.
How to test a motorcycle battery?
The easiest way to test a motorcycle battery is with a smart charger, which will tell you when your battery is fully charged. If you don’t have a smart charger then you’ll need a multimeter to perform a voltage test. After disconnecting your battery from either the motorcycle or charger, test it with your multimeter when the motorcycle is completely switched off. Touch the black lead to the negative post, and the red lead to the positive, and make a note of the voltage. If it reads 12.73 volts or higher, then it is fully charged and ready to go. Anything below that indicates that further charge is necessary or that the battery is failing.
Can you jump a motorcycle with a car battery?
Yes, it is completely possible to jump-start a motorcycle with a car battery, but it’s not exactly the same process as you’d use for a car-to-car jump. Since car batteries are much bigger and more powerful than motorcycle batteries, it’s necessary to jump it from a car that is switched off rather than running. If the car is running the power could be too great for your motorcycle’s battery and electrics to jump properly. It won’t fry your battery, but it won’t do it any favors. Always ensure that the car is not running, and it should be no problem. If in doubt, a push start is an excellent plan B.
How should I maintain my motorcycle battery?
Different batteries that require maintenance recommend different maintenance routines. Some batteries, such as AGM and gel batteries do not require any maintenance at all. Flooded lead acid batteries however require regular check-ups.
Be sure to check your battery at least once a month for loose connections, corroded terminals, and the water level; you should top up the latter with distilled water as needed. How regularly you need to charge your motorcycle’s battery depends on how regularly you use it.
Does a new motorcycle battery need to be charged?
If you buy a new battery that is described as “factory activated,” it shouldn’t require any charging at all. You should be able to install it and use it right away.
However, we recommend that you never assume anything and check the manufacturer’s instructions before installation. There are some batteries that specifically require an initial charge before use, so make sure you understand what battery you’ve bought before installing it. Most of the time it’s not necessary though.
Can I overcharge a motorcycle battery?
Yes, you can overcharge your motorcycle battery, and it is not recommended. If you can’t spare the time to monitor your charger with a multi-meter, then it’s definitely worth investing in a smart motorcycle battery charger that will stop charging it the moment your battery is full, which will prevent long term damage. Failing that, make sure you keep an eye on your charger for the best results and for the longest possible battery life span.
Joe is a motorcycle industry veteran who has not only been paid for his words on the industry but also to throw a leg over a bike on the track. Besides riding, and occasionally crashing motorcycles, he also likes to build up older bikes in his garage in Germany. He says; "I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…" We like Joe's educated opinion and hope you do too.