Hi there I’m Mike, and today we’ll be discussing the best battery for Subaru Outback. But first, here’s a quick summary of the batteries in our list and why we picked each one.
- Optima Redtop – Best all around
- Costco Interstate – Budget friendly
- Duralast Gold – Great warranty
- Odyssey Extreme – highest CCA
- Valucraft – decent if you can’t find the others
Most of the negative reviews you’ll see an Amazon are due to this.
The Subaru Outback is unique. It’s essentially a lifted station wagon with the attitude of an all-conquering midsize SUV. The Subaru Outback is also perfect for those who can’t make up their minds on whether to get a large sedan or crossover. With the practicality, comfort, and ruggedness of an SUV, there’s no question why the Subaru Outback remains a bestseller.
You may be interested in reading about Subara WRX Performance Parts, or Subaru’s Head Gasket Problems
And despite being one of the most popular and sought-after vehicles in Subaru’s portfolio, the Outback is not bulletproof. That hardworking 2.5-liter Boxer engine needs a reliable and dependable source of power to keep everything running. If you have a newer Outback with the OEM battery, it’s not uncommon to squeeze out five to seven years of life from the battery, but this also depends on many factors like driving habits and weather.
But as the weather gets cold, it’s probably a good idea to double check your Outback’s battery. Even though excess heat is the primary killer of most car batteries, it’s not until the weather gets cold when heat damage starts to rear its ugly head.
The result? For a worst case scenario, we’re looking at a no-crank and no-start issue on a cold and frosty winter morning, and that’s not good.
4 of the Top Rated Batteries for Subaru Outback
There are two main types of car batteries for the Subaru Outback: wet cell and VRLA.
The most common size for the Outback is a Group 25 SLI (Starting, Lighting, and Ignition) wet cell battery, but most OEM Outback batteries are Group 25 VRLA (Valve-Regulated LeadAacid) or maintenance-free batteries.
1. Optima Redtop
|Cold Cranking Amps||720|
It goes without question Optima batteries are one of the best in the business. Featuring a fully-sealed AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) construction that holds electrolyte like a sponge, Optima batteries are designed not to spill or degrade like wet cell batteries.
At the heart of all Optima car batteries is the company’s unique spiral-cell technology. It comprises of a series of individual spiral-wound cells made from pure lead plates and a coating of lead oxide. This design enables the battery to deliver stronger bursts of power, outperforming conventional flat-plate batteries.
For those looking at a Group 25 battery for the Subaru Outback, Optima’s Redtop 25 is designed to last up to three times longer than lesser AGM batteries. The spill-proof and vibration-proof design offer better starting power in both hot and cold weather.
With a CCA (cold cranking amps) of 720, the Optima Redtop 25 provides the power you need to get your Subaru Outback back on the road.
- 720 CCA
- Spiral cell technology and AGM construction
- Spill-proof and vibration-proof design
- Can be mounted in any position
- Faster recharging
- It’s expensive
You can read our full Redtop review here for more info.
2. Costco Interstate
|Cold Cranking Amps||690|
|Warranty||6 Months? Costco warranty changed in 2019|
If you think the Valucraft battery is cheap, wait until you see what Costco Interstate Batteries have to offer. Starting at about $80, Interstate wet cell batteries offer terrific value.
Of course, wet cell batteries are inferior to AGM in terms of CCA, reserve minutes, and spill-proof reliability. But Interstate wet cell batteries are capable of cranking out 690 CCA and 100 reserve minutes. This effectively makes it better than Valucraft while still having a lower price.
- Most affordable battery for Subaru Outback
- 690 CCA
- 100 reserve minutes
- Requires periodic maintenance
3. Duralast Gold
|Cold Cranking Amps||550|
|Price||$159.99 + Core Charge*|
For almost the same price as the Optima Redtop, you can also choose the Duralast Platinum AGM battery. With 550 CCA and 100 reserve minutes, it seems the Duralast is outclassed by Optima’s Redtop with 720 CCA. But if we’re talking about a bone-stock Subaru Outback with a standard 2.5-liter Boxer four, 550 CCA is more than enough.
Granted that having a higher CCA is better, Duralast Platinum is designed to provide maximum starting power and excellent deep cycle capabilities. In fact, Duralast AGM batteries are engineered to last twice as long as conventional wet cell batteries.
We also like the warranty. Duralast is offering a 3-year warranty on the Platinum AGM Group 25.
- 550 CCA
- 100 reserve minutes
- Leak-proof and spill-proof design
- Enhanced protection against shock and vibration
- Has lower CCA than Optima Redtop at the same price range
4. Odyssey Extreme
|Cold Cranking Amps||850|
Odyssey AGM batteries are renowned for offering one of the longest warranties in the business. This particular Odyssey Group 25 AGM battery for the Subaru Outback has a 3-year limited and four-year full replacement warranty. Odyssey also guarantees a minimum of three to 10 years of service life, which is way more than what competitors are offering.
In fact, just when you thought Optima batteries have the highest CCA, along comes the Odyssey AGM with 850 CCA. This battery has a 70-percent longer life cycle compared to conventional deep cycle batteries and offers the highest recharge efficiency of any sealed battery.
With a vibration-proof and spill-free design, the Odyssey 25 AGM Battery is as rugged as your Subaru Outback.
- Class-leading 850 CCA
- Rugged construction
- Spill-proof design
- Excellent resistance against vibration and shock
- Recharges faster than other AGM battery
- It’s even more expensive than Optima Redtop
|Cold Cranking Amps||600|
|Price||$109.99 + Core Charge*|
For those on a tight budget, the Valucraft wet cell battery is heaven-sent. Starting at just over $100 for a Group 34 size, this Valucraft battery is a cheap upgrade for the Subaru Outback.
Being a wet cell battery, you have 600 CCA. Honestly, it’s not bad for the price. If you’re worried about this, don’t be. Valucraft is offering this battery with a solid 1-year replacement warranty.
- Affordable price
- 600 CCA
- 75 reserve minutes
- Wet cell batteries require periodic maintenance
How do I know it’s time to replace the battery in my Subaru Outback?
The sad part is car batteries have a habit of dying suddenly with little or no warning. Apparently, there are signs to watch out for including:
- The engine takes a longer time to crank before starting
- The headlights start to dim when the vehicle is idling
- The clock resets after the vehicle is left sitting for several days
- The battery indicator light on the instrument panel is lit or ON
If you notice one or all of the above symptoms in your Subaru Outback, you should test the battery immediately. It’s also a good idea to test the battery and the vehicle’s charging system at least twice a year or check the alternator and electrical system during every oil change whenever possible.
Subaru Outback Battery Specifications
Most Japanese vehicles are equipped with standard top post batteries. This means the positive and negative terminals are located on top of the battery. The Subaru Outback is fitted with a standard post Group 25 battery from the factory.
And herein lies the problem. Generally speaking, standard Group 25 batteries are not easy to find. Depending on where you live, it may be hard to find a similar Group 25 battery for your Subaru Outback.
If you read our Group 34 battery review, you’re familiar with the different style sizes. But here’s a chart that I had in that article
Subaru Outback Battery Sizes
If this is the case, you can refer to a Group 34 battery, which measures 10.25 x 6.8125 x 7.875 inches. Pay attention to the height of the battery. Group 25 is a smidge taller than Group 34, but the latter is longer and wider.
While it’s true that the battery grouping number has absolutely nothing to do with the actual size of the battery, a larger battery (in terms of physical size) is packing more plates inside the case, which also translates to more power and a higher reserve capacity than a smaller battery.
Which battery group is best for my Subaru Outback?
For normal driving, you don’t need to spend more money on a larger Group 34 battery. In most cases, your Subaru Outback will do fine with a stock Group 24 battery.
And yes, AGM batteries are better and more convenient, but they’re not a mandatory requirement. If your Subaru Outback’s habitat consists of city roads and some occasional highway jaunts, a conventional and cheaper wet cell battery will serve you well. The trick is to constantly maintain the right level of electrolytes (which you’ll have to do manually) over the life of the battery.
Things to consider
- Climate you live in
- Draw of electronics (sound system, lights, etc)
- Your budget
If you live in places with prolonged harsh winter seasons or extreme heat, upgrading to a Group 34 battery for your Outback is your best option, but only if you can afford it.
If your Subi is fitted with additional power-hungry accessories like off-road lights, a winch, or maybe a more powerful sound system with massive amplifiers, spending more money on a larger Group 34 AGM battery is the wiser choice.
Remember that Group 34 batteries have a higher CCA rating than Group 25. Most Group 25 batteries can only muster an average of 500 to 700 CCA. On the other hand, Group 34 batteries have 750 to 900 CCA on average with a reserve capacity of 100 to 145 minutes.
With this in mind, choosing the best battery for your Subaru Outback depends on how you use the vehicle. If you like going camping or spending time outdoors, only a top quality Group 25 or Group 34 AGM battery will do.
But for normal day-to-day driving, there’s no reason why a basic Group 25 battery won’t serve your Outback well.
Cooley made a great video on Youtube discussing more in depth what to look for in a new battery:
How many CCA do I need?
The higher, the better. But first, let’s talk a bit more about CCA or cold cranking amps. You may hear a lot of gibberish about CCA, but here’s the real deal: The CCA is a rating utilized to define a battery’s ability to start a motor in cold temperatures.
So a higher CCA means you’re car will start easier in colder climates.
As you may know, it’s harder to crank an engine to life in cold weather than in the middle of summer, right?
The oil thickens when the weather is cold, which is why it’s important to use the right viscosity of motor oil depending on the season. Thick oil means more friction is generated as you start the motor, thereby causing hard starts.
Cold weather tends to slow down the chemical reactions inside the battery, which drastically reduces the power output. This is why your Subaru Outback will do better if the battery has a higher CCA rating to ensure flawless starts with minimal cranking.
The CCA number refers to the number of amps a particular 12-volt car battery delivers at 0-degrees F for 30 seconds, all while maintaining a voltage of 7.2-volts. And if you haven’t figured out by now, a higher CCA rating means better or greater starting power in the dead of winter.
This also means batteries with higher CCA ratings are destined to perform better in cold weather. Consider this fact if you live in colder climates.
How do I change the battery in my Subaru Outback?
Here are the simple steps to change the car battery in your Subaru Outback.
- Park the vehicle on a safe and level area. Put the gear lever in Park or Neutral and engage the parking brake. Open the hood and secure it with the hood prop.
- Identify the red positive (+) post and the black/green negative (-) post. Use a wrench to loosen the nut or bolt that secures the negative terminal to the negative battery post.
- Next, loosen and remove the nut or bolt that secures the positive terminal to the positive battery post.
- Remove the clamp or retainers holding the battery in place.
- Lift out the battery carefully and set aside. Be careful, car batteries are heavy.
- Position the new battery to make sure the positive post aligns with the positive terminals.
- Place the battery in the holder and secure it with the clamp you removed earlier.
- This time, connect the positive terminal first before the negative terminal. Tighten the nut or bolt to secure the battery cables on the posts and you’re done!
* Battery Prices pulled when this article was published and are subject to change