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. Note: We have updated this post for 2023 with current pricing and warranty information.
- 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
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.
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.
5 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.
You can read our full Redtop review here for more info.
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