The year 2022 marked 50 years since the Honda Civic first became available for purchase. In those five decades a lot has changed with the platform. Multiple revisions and upgrades have led to the Civic being what it is today - not only one of the most popular daily drivers but an icon in the tuner and racing scene as well.
We regularly get emails from people looking to improve the battery setup in their Honda Civic. Whether it’s a 9 second drag car, a weekend track car, or just a daily driver, enthusiasts of all types have reached out to us expressing interest in an upgraded battery. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information available about which performance batteries are available in sizes that all generations of Civics. So today we are going to take a brief look at some fantastic battery options that you can install in your Honda.
Initial Battery Shopping Considerations
One of the first things to consider as you begin battery shopping is whether or not you plan to leave the car in its current state. Your car may be in stock form right now but even mildly built track cars can find themselves twice as powerful within a year's time. If you plan on building the car further in the future the best strategy is to select a battery that has enough headroom to keep up with any future power demands that you may add. This will save money in the long run and give you one less thing to worry about as you start to gather parts for your build.
The next thing to determine is whether you want to relocate your battery or stick with something that can fit in the factory battery location. If you plan to stick with something stock, the OEM battery size in all Honda Civics is a Group 51R. The dimensions of a Group 51 are roughly 9.3 x 5.0 x 8.8 inches (we say roughly because the dimensions may vary ever so slightly between battery manufacturers.) The “R” in the group 51R size designates reversed battery posts. This means that the positive terminal is on the right hand side of the battery.
Reasons To Upgrade Your Battery For Everyday Use
Your car’s battery is one of the most vital components under the hood. Without one your car simply won’t function. A poor quality battery may still allow your vehicle to run but eventually it will leave you stranded or cause mysterious electrical problems that take hundreds of dollars to sort out. We have even seen people replacing numerous expensive sensors only to find that their battery was failing and causing various components and the ECU to malfunction. With today’s cars having hundreds of on-board electrical components it’s more important than ever to make sure that your car’s battery is capable of handling everything with ease.
Here are some reasons why people choose to purchase a premium battery for their daily driver:
- Reliability - less likely to find yourself stranded with a failed battery
- Extreme temperature resistance - premium batteries will typically perform far better in hot or cold climates when compared to generic wet-cell batteries
- Headroom for additional accessories like premium sound systems or future performance upgrades
- Less starter wear - a powerful battery can allow for quicker start ups and less wear on the starter from excessive heat
- Extended lifespan for a small price
Reasons To Upgrade For Racing Applications
Spending extra money on premium parts can add up quickly. For most of us those expenses need to be justified. So why put your resources towards a battery upgrade? While everyone can benefit from installing a high quality battery in their Honda, if you own a performance car of any type it’s even more important to have sufficient power.
Here are some of the most common reasons and conditions for which enthusiasts choose to install aftermarket batteries:
- Bigger fuel pumps that draw more power and need a battery that can deliver steady voltage
- Higher compression engines that require more starting power
- Performance ignition systems that demand consistent power delivery
- High heat conditions that can cause premature failure and poor performance
- Physical force placed onto battery during high speeds and cornering
- Allows drivers to remove and shift substantial weight on the front end of the vehicle to improve handling and acceleration
- Smaller, more powerful aftermarket batteries can allow more room for owners to install things like flex fuel kits, larger intercooler piping, and other performance modifications
- Most performance batteries, and each of the options in this list, are sealed batteries. This means no destructive corrosives will leak out and cause rust or deterioration within your engine bay. This can also improve the lifespan of any wiring near the battery compartment
- Sealed batteries allow for gravity-defying mounting options for relocations of all types - even if the battery needs to be mounted completely upside down
Different Battery Types You Need To Know About
There are three main types of batteries that you will likely encounter as you begin your research: traditional wet cell batteries, AGM or “absorbed glass mat,” and lithium. Each option has its pros and cons but we’ll take a brief look at what makes each one special.
Wet-cell batteries, also commonly referred to as “lead-acid” batteries, are the most basic option. Your vehicle likely came from the factory with a lead-acid battery in it. They are cost-effective and work fine for most people. However, they are the least efficient option and do not offer the reliability or performance that premium batteries provide. Wet-cell batteries contain actual electrolyte water that conducts electricity between the lead plates inside. This is a very inexpensive way to build batteries but it leaves a lot of room for failure when placed in demanding conditions. Wet-cell batteries are also more likely to die when fully discharged (a common problem with track cars and other vehicles that don’t see daily driving.)
AGM batteries are usually considered the next step up from a wet-cell battery. Absorbed glass mat units have a sealed construction and use electrolyte saturated fiber to efficiently transmit energy across the battery plates. AGM batteries are resistant to vibration and don’t have “free liquid” that can slosh to one side or another during hard corners causing a reduction in output. AGM batteries typically weigh right around the same as wet-cell batteries but they are far more reliable, usually last years longer, don’t cause corrosion, and are considerably stronger than comparable lead-acid options. However, AGM batteries are slightly more expensive than their wet-cell counter parts. Most people choose this option regardless because the added lifetime of AGM batteries ends up saving customers money in the long run.
Lithium batteries are the top tier option for all uses. Lithium batteries weigh less, have far more cranking amps, and last longer than wet-cell and AGM batteries. If you need to get the most out of your Honda, a lithium battery is the way to go. We really appreciate the added reliability and the weight savings of lithium batteries. It’s not uncommon to shed 70% of your stock battery weight by switching over to a Braille or Antigravity lithium battery option.
Should You Use An Aftermarket Battery Size In Your Civic?
Since the 51R has been the factory battery group size in Honda Civics for decades it is relatively easy to find even in premium configurations. If you want to stick with something that will drop right into your Honda’s stock battery location with no modifications a group 51R is your best bet. For the average enthusiast who’s daily driving their car, sticking with a stock size will work great. However, you may want to select a non-stock battery group size if you are planning to build your car.
Some enthusiasts change their battery size and location to simply clean up the appearance of the engine bay. Others opt for an alternate battery size and location in order to fit performance parts under the hood. As mentioned previously, things like intercooler piping, turbo kits, and performance intakes can require extra space in the engine bay.
Many people also prefer to shift vital weight away from the nose of the vehicle for track purposes. By shedding and shifting weight in the front end, drivers can dial in the handling of the vehicle to suit their needs. Selecting an aftermarket battery and mounting it in a non-stock location is a fantastic way to accomplish this.
“How can I put a non-stock battery in my Civic?” If you would like to install a battery that is either smaller or larger than the group 51R, you can easily do this using one of our MeLe battery mounts. For compact space saving batteries like the ever-popular Odyssey AGM16L (also known as the PC680), the MeLe 600 series mount fits perfectly around this battery and allows you to install it anywhere in the vehicle where metal is present. We also have larger 900 and 1200 series rally spec mounts that can be installed for anyone planning to use a larger battery. Oversized batteries are important for many of our customers with competition audio systems and other performance modifications in their vehicles.
Our Top Picks For Honda Civic Performance Batteries
Now that we have briefly discussed some basic battery knowledge, here are some of our favorite batteries that can be installed in Honda Civics (including the Si and Type R models). They are in no particular order but are each listed with features that may help you decide which one is right for you. We hope this helps as you set out to turn your Honda into the race car or daily driver that you have envisioned. As always we are here to help if you have any questions about upgrading your battery.
Antigravity Group 51R: Lightweight stock replacement with tons of power (Direct-Fit OEM Size Replacement)
The Antigravity lithium batteries have made it possible for normal people like you and I to install a world-class lightweight battery in our cars. The AG Group 51R lithium battery is a direct-fit drop in battery that needs nothing fancy for installation. This battery can simply be installed right in your Honda Civic’s factory battery tray with no modification. With 1000 cranking amps and weighing in at only 8.5 pounds, this battery is ready for anything. If you just want to lighten up your daily driver or take your Civic out to the track, this battery can do it all and will outlast your stock battery by years.
We really want to highlight how light this battery is. 8.5 pounds is about half the weight of a single Honda brake rotor. Even if you aren’t planning to track your car shedding this amount of weight can help your car feel completely different. Without sacrificing any power, you can lighten up your car and theoretically improve all aspects of the car’s performance.
Get an Antigravity 51R HERE.
XS Power D5100R: Premium AGM performance at an affordable price (Direct-Fit OEM Size Replacement)
If you want a stock size premium battery but aren’t ready to make the jump into a lithium battery, the XS Power Group 51R option is another great drop in unit. While not quite as light as lithium, AGM batteries perform fantastically in a wide range of conditions and do particularly well in cold climates. If you find your Civic taking longer to start in the winter, the D5100R may be the right choice for you. The 872 cranking amps will get you going even during the cold winter months.
XS Power AGM batteries have been a long time fan favorite in the competition car audio industry. XS Power has designed their batteries using premium materials to hold up to the rigorous demands of oversized subwoofers, amps, and multiple speakers. This battery is ready for whatever you are wanting to throw at it.
Check current price of the D5100 HERE.
Antigravity ATX-30 RE-START: Affordable lightweight lithium battery with enough cranking amps for most climates (Alternate Fitment Option)
This Antigravity lithium battery is much more powerful than most competitor's comparable offerings. The ATX30 Re-Start offers 32 Amp Hours, which is more than enough to keep your Civic running great on the track or on the road. With 880 cold cranking amps, it can even handle a wide range of accessories. Despite weighing only 5.75 lbs, this battery packs a serious punch.
Many of Antigravity's lithium batteries, including this one, come with a feature known as RE-START Technology. It is designed to cut the power to the battery before it depletes its supply. This eliminates the possibility of your vehicle running out of power and leaving you stranded. You can "re-start" the battery by pressing a button located right on top, or via a wireless keyfob supplied by Antigravity. This is extremely useful for anyone whose Civic spends a lot of downtime in the garage between track days or is not being daily driven.
This is one of the most popular options among our customers with fully built Civics. Here is an Antigravity lithium battery installation using our ATX30 Rally Spec mount.
Get an Antigravity ATX-30 HERE.
Antigravity ATX-20 RE-START: Extremely lightweight lithium battery option for under $300 (Alternate Fitment Option)
The ATX-20 offers the same technology as the ATX-30 but in an even smaller package. Despite weighing a mere 3.8 lbs, this battery packs a whopping 680 cold cranking amps. If you need to cut as much weight out of your car as possible without shedding power, this is a fantastic option.
With dimensions of only 6.8 x 3.4 x 5.1, the ATX-20 is also perfect for freeing up physical space in the engine bay. This battery is popular with those building show cars and Hondas with large turbo kits. With 4 terminal posts for easy wiring options, the ATX-20 has two variants that make it versatile enough to meet a wide range of needs.
Get an ATX-20 HERE.
Braille G20: Compact lithium battery with more than enough power to dominate at the track (Alternate Fitment Option)
If you appreciate the finer things in life then the Braille G20 is one of the best compact batteries you can install in your Civic. If you are involved in racing and want to be able to shed a huge amount of weight from the front end of your vehicle the G20 weighs less than 5 pounds and will help maximize your car’s performance on the track.
Braille has been on the leading edge of creating top tier lithium car batteries for consumers. Their raw material selection allows them to build batteries that will fit in small spaces, weigh less than a couple of rotisserie chickens, and last for years. We have data that shows some of their earlier units lasting over 10 years. Despite the initial investment their durability pays for itself.
The Braille G20 is only 7 inches long and 3 inches wide. Compared to the 9.4 x 5.2 x 8.6 stock dimensions, this will give your engine bay a clean look and allow you to fit additional performance parts under the hood. We built our 600 series MeLe mount to fit around this battery perfectly. It can be mounted in the stock location or relocated to any area of your liking.
Purchase the Braille G20 HERE.
Odyssey ODS-AGM16L (PC680) Small but powerful AGM battery perfect for accommodating turbo kits and intake components (Alternate Fitment Option)
The Odyssey ODS-AGM16L, also known as the PC680, is one of the most popular compact batteries among tuners and race enthusiasts of all types. Odyssey has a reputation for producing high quality batteries that even the most budget-conscious racer can afford. The PC680 is no exception. Packed with pure lead plates and a non-spillable design this battery is ready to take the abuse that comes with hard track days without skipping a beat.
This little powerhouse weighs in at only 15.4 pounds and boasts a whopping 520 Pulse Hot Cranking Amps. The PC680 has been a fan favorite for years and gained popularity in the Honda community among those swapping in larger motors and people installing turbo kits or superchargers. It has also allowed enthusiasts to run the oversized Power Chamber intake systems that require additional clearance at the battery compartment where it comes around and joins with the throttle body. This battery is an all around great option if you need to save some weight and free up space under the hood without spending too much money.
Like us, Odyssey is an American based company that produces their batteries right here in the USA. We are proud to partner with other businesses that keep manufacturing here with American workers. They have three facilities in Missouri and are headquartered in Pennsylvania. If you wish to keep your dollars local and support great companies that make solid batteries check out Odyssey and the PC680.
Please note that the PC680 fits perfectly in our 600 series MeLe mount. A battery this small should not be secured using your Honda’s stock hardware. We suggest securing it with a kit that’s made specifically to house this battery safely. Additionally, as with most smaller batteries, we recommend driving your car regularly or keeping the battery hooked up to a tender when stored for long periods to avoid discharging. We also suggest choosing a more powerful battery if you live in a cold climate. While we have heard of people using this battery during cold winters, it’s generally recommended that you select something bigger for areas that regularly see freezing temperatures.
Get an Odyssey PC680 HERE.
Race Cars Currently Using These Batteries
Here are a few Honda Civic track cars that are utilizing one of the batteries on this list mounted with a MeLe rally spec mount. Our customers drive their cars to the absolute limit and have put these products to the test.
We hope this quick guide has offered some insight as you begin planning out your Honda build. Although often overlooked, a proper battery setup is one of the most important parts of any car - especially if it will be seeing track days.
Again, if you feel overwhelmed or lost when looking at your options, please reach out to us. We are here to help answer any questions you may have. We won’t bombard you with any sales pitches or gimmicks.
Call or use our Contact Us form to get in touch.