The 4 Best Batteries for Diesel Trucks – Reviews 2023

best battery for diesel truck, best diesel truck battery

Photo by Alan Gore / CC BY

If you want a new battery for your diesel truck, you need to be aware of the difference between your engine and a regular gasoline one. Diesel runs with a higher compression rate and have a bit of a harder time getting started, so the batteries used need to be heavy duty in order to ensure a smooth start.

Even more, than the little bit of extra power needed, those of us with diesel trucks tend to use them as utility vehicles. This often means running a lot of extra accessories, from pumps to lights which will drain the battery far more than a vehicle in normal use.

The main thing you’ll need to keep track of is whether the CCA (cold cranking amps) is enough to start your truck. We’ll take a look at some ideal diesel batteries before we discuss what you need to find the perfect one. But first . . .

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best diesel truck batteries on the market:

Optima Batteries 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery

This battery from Optima is just for starting your truck, and with an astonishing CCA rating of 800A, you’re sure to be able to get that task done in almost any conditions. Since diesel engines can be so much harder to start in the cold, it’s always a good idea to overshoot the mark by a bit. The Red Top series of batteries is designed primarily for stock vehicles, not those with a ton of additional electronics, but it serves its purpose well and is one of the best in the business.

How long will an Optima Battery last?

Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

Optima’s Yellow Top batteries are designed for those vehicles which run a lot of additional electronics, in addition to the usual lights and stock radio. This one (see full specs) performs admirably and can make a good one-stop battery for those who aren’t interested in investing in a more complex system to manage everything. The combination of functions makes this one of the best diesel truck batteries for the money, especially for folks who have a love for accessories.

Difference between Red Top, Yellow Top and Blue Top Optima Batteries

Odyssey PC975 Battery

The Odyssey PC680 battery makes a great starter for lower powered diesel, coming in with 330 CCA to provide a good burst to get things rolling. It’s probably best used as part of a multi-battery system, however, in many cases, it might be sufficient if you’re using a smaller engine. It’s really not going to be sufficient for truly massive engines but it comes in at a bargain price and will work just fine for most diesel powered cars.

How an ODYSSEY Battery Is Made

ACDelco 78AGM Professional AGM Automotive BCI Group 78 Battery

The 78AGM is another battery that’s primarily useful for getting things started, peaking at 800A CCA. It’s not quite the Red Top listed above, but it’s a respectable battery in its own right and should allow for almost any engine to be started while using it. The best part about this battery (see full specs) is a 36-month free replacement warranty, so you won’t be left without a working vehicle if the battery does fail before the time span is up. ACDelco pretty much guarantees their batteries will last longer than anything else in remotely the same price range.

Picking out the Best Battery for Diesel Trucks

When it comes to upgrading or replacing the battery for your diesel engine, there can be quite a bit to keep in mind.

As stated above, the main thing is to make sure that it will start your engine, you should be able to find required CCA ratings for your engine pretty easily from the manufacturer. Some of the larger models of diesel engine can require around 650 just to get started reliably, so it’s definitely something to keep in mind since the variance on the rating can be huge.

You’ll also want to know whether you’re just going to be using stock electronics or if you’ve got a booming amp set up, huge floodlights, or anything else which might add to the power draw from your battery. If this is the case, you’ll have to either set up a multi-battery system or make sure you use a dual-purpose battery like the Yellow Top Optima series.

Some superior batteries are going to require you to do some extra work in order to get them functioning properly, this might mean extending the cables on your truck or setting up new holders as a lot of truly great batteries simply don’t slot into the standard “hole” sitting in your vehicle.

This kind of electronic modification should be done very carefully and usually by a trained professional. Most mechanics should be able to help you out here, but in reality, it’s not that complicated and if you’re mechanically inclined anyway it never hurts to pick up a new skill.

Setting up an auxiliary system isn’t just useful, it might also help you to learn a new skill. Give it a shot if you’re the type who can exercise a judicious amount of caution, but if you prefer to plow ahead with things it’s probably time to take it to a professional rather than risk damage to your vehicle’s systems.

When you’re using a dual-purpose battery, you’ll also want to take note of AH(amp hours) and RC(reserve capacity) which will give you a good idea of just how long you’ll be able to run all of the extras you’re planning on using.

At the end of the day, getting the best diesel truck battery is just about getting that engine cranking and the lights on. Anything else is the frosting on the cake of function, and for that, we recommend that those of you who aren’t too concerned with making sure they have the best of the best invest in something that has a CCA rating which is high enough to turn over the engine and call it good.

Automotive electronics can be fascinating, and the differences between diesel and gasoline should be apparent to anyone who’s spent a decent amount of time studying them out. If you’re looking to replace the battery in your diesel truck, give one of the above a shot. They’re the best batteries for diesel trucks that we could find, and you’re sure not to be disappointed as long as you keep an eye on that CCA. Good luck!

  • Founder of Mechanical Caveman, Beau is an unrepentant tool enthusiast and, sporting deadlift-callused hands and an incongruous beer belly, all-around macho guy. When he doesn’t know re tools, he consults with his handyman and car-repairman buds to give you well-reasoned and cutting-edge info.

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