Factory-installed car batteries are designed to power serial car stereo and other standard electrical components of the car. If you plan to install a powerful stereo in your car or upgrade the existing sound system, you may consider adding another battery.
A powerful car sound system will drain your existing battery faster and affect the performance of other electrical components like headlights. Because of that, many are wondering if they can use any battery for car audio? Well, let’s find out.
As a general rule, you should not use a random battery for car audio. Although all car batteries are 12V, they are different in the amperage and have different specifications for different car models. Therefore, you should use a battery for the car audio that can supply sufficient and stable wattage.
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Tip – The good news is that you can either install an extra battery in your car or replace an existing one with a more powerful battery when improving your car audio.
My favorite batteries that you can use as a secondary for car audio are the AGM batteries because of their higher performance over standard acid batteries.
I am particularly happy with the XS Power D3400 that I use daily and did not have a single problem with it.
In this article, I will cover the basics of what type of batteries you can use and their impact on the performance of your sound system, and how to select a battery for your car audio.
What Kind of Battery Can You Use for Car Audio?
There are many types of batteries that you can use for car audio. The selection of battery for car audio depends only on your car model and the total energy consumption of the car stereo and installed amplifiers.
There are six types of batteries suitable for car audio:
- calcium batteries
- deep cycle batteries
- wet cell batteries
- lithium-ion batteries
- AGM batteries
- EFB batteries
Knowing the difference between them will help you determine which one best fits your car audio.
They are lead-acid batteries, and instead of using antimony in their grids, these batteries use calcium components, which are added to both negative and positive plates.
You can use them in powerful systems, and due to the presence of an acid, these batteries are less affected by extreme weather conditions. As a result, they have a longer life span than other batteries, although they are not the most effective.
Deep Cycle Batteries
Deep cycle batteries can provide constant current over a long time. They can be charged and discharged repeatedly without causing any damage to the battery.
They are designed for vehicles that use many electronic components, and power requirements are high, like heavy amps or stereos.
Wet Cell Batteries
Wet cell batteries are made from sulphuric acid, lead plates, and water and are sometimes called lead-acid batteries. They are the most popular and cheapest of all types.
For proper functioning, these batteries require a good electrolyte solution (water level) in each cell. Otherwise, it can cause acid spills or sometimes swell. Also, the caps of the battery must be tightly closed to avoid evaporation of the solution.
Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM batteries are referred to as dry cell batteries. Instead of liquid as an electrolyte, these batteries use paste or gel with consistency that allows free flow of electrolytes.
Because AGM batteries are sealed, they require low maintenance and last longer than conventional batteries.
They are also more environmentally friendly because there is no acid present.
EFB stands for Enhanced Flooded Batteries, which are also known as advanced flooded batteries.
EFB batteries have low internal resistance and have charging cycles twice longer.
These batteries are suitable for automatic start-stop systems, and if you want to replace this, then a more powerful AGM battery is the best option.
These batteries are lightweight and more expensive than other types. They deliver a more steady voltage than other batteries, and they discharge much slower.
Lithium-Ion batteries are not as robust as other types, and they require protection from both overcharging and discharging.
They can survive up to 500-1000 charging cycles, but as technology advances, this number also increases.
Lithium-Ion batteries require a special charger, or you will significantly reduce their lifetime.
Now you know the types of batteries available in the market, you can either replace your battery with the same model or upgrade to a higher level.
Can a Car Battery Affect the Sound System?
The purpose of the car battery is to start the engine and give power to the main car accessories like headlights, AC, radio, etc., when the engine is off.
Like any other electrical component, your car sound system needs to receive sufficient voltage for its operation. If the voltage requirements are not met, the radio or amplifiers may not work correctly, resulting in lower quality sounds.
A car battery can only affect the sound system if the total power requirement is bigger than the battery can supply. In other words, if the amperage output of the battery is less than the power requirement of a car stereo, then your battery will drain, and it will affect the sound system.
Let me show you the example.
Suppose you have an 80amp car alternator. Since the standard charging voltage of the battery is 14.4 V, the total power output is 1,152W
Battery voltage * alternator rated current (14.4 volts * 80 amps = 1152 W)
This is the total wattage available that the battery can send to your car stereo and other electrical equipment.
Now, if your car stereo uses 40% of this total energy, then available wattage for the car audio is 1,152W x 40% = 460.8W
Since amplifiers provide power to speakers, the total energy available to an amplifier is 460.8 watts.
Further, the efficiency of D class amps is 70%, so the total energy available at the output for the amp is = 70% * 460.8 = 322.5 Watts.
If your speakers and subwoofers requirements are met, then your car audio system will perform well.
However, if you use powerful speakers and subwoofers that exceed this wattage at high volume, then it’s time to upgrade your battery with greater amperage or install an additional battery for car audio.
Can I Use a Regular Car Battery for Car Audio?
The battery selection for your car audio can be confusing because all the batteries I highlighted above have the same function to start, stop, and power a car’s electrical system.
In general, you should not use a regular car battery specifically for car audio because car batteries are not universal. They differ in multiple ways and work with different car models.
In addition, they have different specifications, and they work with different types of alternators designed for a specific car and engine model.
If a car battery is compatible with the car alternator and is charging correctly, it can be used for car audio.
For example, you can replace an EFB battery with an AGM battery, but if you are driving a hybrid electric car, they have a lithium-ion battery, and to charge this battery, you need a special charger.
Although all the car batteries are 12 Volts, it does not mean that you can use the battery from Corolla in the Ford Raptor, or vice versa, because these cars have completely different energy requirements.
Here are the factors that you should keep in mind while selecting a battery for your sound system:
- Battery Size -make sure that the battery you choose fits at the place where you are planning to install it.
- Reserve Capacity – choose a battery that can provide 2-3 hours of reserve capacity to listen to the car sound system without turning on the engine.
- Maintenance – all sealed and gell batteries are maintenance-free, so you don’t have to regularly check the water level in their cells.
- Durability – Generally, all car batteries have a life span of 3-5 years, and they eventually will drain after these years. So consider batteries having a longer life span and warranty. If you have a lithium-ion battery, use a special charger. Otherwise, you will reduce the life of your battery significantly.
Can I Use a Motorcycle Battery for Car Audio?
You cannot use a motorcycle battery for car audio because it will not handle the charging current from the alternator. Also, the car audio equipment demands more power which a motorcycle battery cannot meet.
Although the batteries used in cars and motorcycles are 12 Volts, they differ in current ratings because a vehicle’s power requirement is higher when compared to a bike.
What Is the Best Battery for Car Audio?
If your aftermarket car stereo is draining your car battery, it makes sense to install a separate battery for car audio.
For me, the best for car stereo are AGM batteries, and one that I use in my car is the XS Power D3400. You can use this battery as a replacement or as a dedicated battery to car audio. Unlike the lead-acid models, they do not require any maintenance.
XS Power D3400 battery has the following features:
- XA Power D3400 is a deep cycle battery and can be used either as a replacement or an additional power source and has a reserve capacity of more than 2 hours.
- It has an output of 300 amps.
- Thanks to the sealed, spill-proof body, it can be mounted in any position.
Another good battery worth considering is the Kinetik HC600, which is a deep cycle battery. You can use this battery with a 600-watt audio system, and it weighs just 13 pounds.
What Size Battery Do I Need for My Car Audio?
For systems lower than 3000 watts, the AGM batteries work well. However, for powerful audio systems above 3,000 watts, you should consider lithium-ion batteries.
The rule of thumb while doing electrical upgrades in your car is that you have to add 100 aH (amp hour) of AGM battery for each 2,000 watts RMS power addition in your vehicle.
While selecting a battery for car audio, make sure it fits your vehicle. Always measure the dimensions of the area where you want to put the battery.
The size of the battery for car audio depends on the power consumption of your car sound system.
Best Battery for a 2000-Watt Amp
XS Power PS925L 2000A is the best battery for car audio systems up to 2,000 watts. This battery cannot handle large, powerful systems, but it works well with less advanced modifications.
Best Battery for a 3000-Watt Amp
I recommend using AGM batteries for more powerful systems, and XS Power XP3000 is best for 3,000-watt amps. This battery has a capacity of 120 Ah, and it has a compact size.
Best Battery for a 5000-Watt Amp
A 5000-watt amp requires a battery that can resist heat and vibrations while providing constant output. For these types of systems, XS Power D7500 12V AGM Battery is best, and it can provide power up to 7,500 watts with 140 Ah.
When you are listening to your radio while commuting to work, waiting for someone in parking, or on a long drive, the last thing you want is that your battery is drained.
To prevent this unpleasant experience, you can use a separate battery that only powers your car audio.
The car audio dedicated battery works only with your car stereo and all its components. The rest of the car’s electrical system operates from the original battery under the hood.
Also, remember, you cannot use any battery you want for your car audio. It may not work, so if you make an advanced and powerful sound system in your car, make sure to consult an expert before purchasing a battery for your car’s sound system.