One of the most relieving feelings on a cold winter’s day is getting into the car and starting it successfully. This is because, in the back of our minds, we expect the battery to have trouble starting up in cold weather.
A car battery is responsible for starting and powering the automobile, as well as supplying electricity for accessories such as climate control and audio systems, both of which are essential to any road trip, no matter how long or short. Under normal circumstances, an average lead acid car battery is designed to supply a minimum of 12 volts to the ignition system (in reality it’s a little bit higher and voltage can be tested using a battery tester to verify battery health). For those of us who live in cold weather climates, battery specifications also include Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). CCA refers to the number of amps a 12-volt battery can put out at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds, while carrying at least 7.2 volts. Needless to say, a car battery’s electrochemical capacity quickly decreases in the presence of cold temperatures which drives the need to specify CCA.
In addition to lead, two of the main components of lead acid batteries: Sulfuric Acid and Water can freeze at temperatures near 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Farhrenheit). Extreme cold reduces electrical discharge, making it more difficult to start the car. In addition, cold weather increases the viscosity of motor oil, so more juice may be required from the battery to pick up the slack caused by the excess friction within the engine (although this effect can be mitigated by using an engine block heater). Combine these factors, and more than likely you will need to get your jumper cables to give your car a jumpstart to get out of the driveway, or worse yet the garage. Cold weather wear also decreases the efficiency and lifespan of a car battery. In short, car batteries do not benefit from the cold and in fact, they prefer to be kept warm!
In order to get moving in cold weather, it is wise to warm car batteries. This can be done prior to startup, as well as overnight during extremely low temperature weather. Warming a car battery can prevent liquid components from freezing, which keeps them at the ready to react and create effective electrical discharge. In addition, it can also protect a car battery from the effects of extreme temperature wear and prolong the battery lifespan.
The main forms of battery warmers (also called battery blankets and battery heaters) are thermal wraps and heating pads, both of which are tools that utilize electrical outlets to to convert electricity into heat. For any savvy automotive parts customer, especially one who maintains a vehicle in frigid wintry conditions, only the best battery warmer will do.
The Best Car Battery Warmer
Kat’s 22200 80 Watt 36 inch Battery Thermal Wrap is by far the best battery warmer on the market. It is designed to wrap completely around the battery perimeter, and features a vinyl cover that can endure exposure to engine oil as well as battery acid. Despite being remarkably lightweight, the Kat’s 22200 has an 80-watt capacity to ensure successful battery warming. After removing the battery cover, cables, and tie down bolt, the Kat’s 22200 Battery Thermal Wrap can be easily applied and secured with a tie wire that is included. After applying the Kat’s thermal wrap, one needs only to plug the power supply cord into a nearby standard household outlet until the car is ready to drive. Kat’s Thermal battery wraps come in various sizes, making them a great battery warmer choice for all car batteries whether you drive a subcompact, a sedan, or a large truck. The Kat’s 22000 Battery Thermal Wrap guarantees efficient cold weather start up, extends the life a car battery in cold climates, and reduces strain during cold weather starts, making it the best battery warmer for any car.
Overall, build quality is high and cost is relatively low, making the Kat’s battery warmer a high value play. As far as where to buy, Amazon’s competitive price is tough to beat and as such, we’d recommend starting your search there. Overall, the Kat’s 22200 80 Watt 36” Battery Thermal Wrap is a great investment as it will spare you from having to replace your battery due to cold related damage as well as save you the time of constantly having to jumpstart your car in the morning, and thus we think you’ll be very satisfied. It gets a strong recommendation from us as it will serve you well! Happy wrenching!