ATVs: Do They Use 6v or 12v Batteries? [What To Buy]

If you’re an ATV enthusiast, you might have wondered about the battery voltage of your quad.

Do ATVs have 6v or 12v batteries? And what types should you buy?

In this post, I’ll explain what voltage ATVs use, what type to buy, and how to choose the best one for your ATV.

Do ATVs Use 6V Or 12V Batteries?

The most common voltage for ATV batteries is 12-volts.

You only see 6-volt used on kids toy ATVs and never on full size adult ATVs. Even the gas-powered kids ATVs still use a 12-volt battery, but the even smaller electric ones can sometimes have a 6-volt battery.

So, overall, almost every ATV on the market uses a 12-volt battery and have been using them for decades.

ATV Battery Sizes

It’s not so much the voltage of the ATV battery, but the size and type of battery that is important.

The most common ATV battery size is a 20L, but comes in many different names and brands, as listed below.

As you can see above, they all have a “20L” in the name.

It’s important you get the correct size battery, as most ATVs only have so much room to fit it. The size also determines the terminals of the battery, and getting the wrong size could mean the battery leads on your ATV may not reach.

What To Consider When Buying An ATV Battery?

There are several factors to consider when buying a new ATV battery. Below, I’ve listed what you need to think about when buying your next ATV battery.

  1. Size: 12-volt lead acid batteries come in many sizes, and it’s important you get one that is made to fit your ATV. The most common size is a 20L, as covered in the last section. This size will fit the tight battery compartments of most ATVs and have the battery terminals on the side closest to the terminal wires.
  2. Power & Capacity: Generally, when you get the correct size battery, it will be the correct cold cranking amps (CCA) that the ATV needs. There will be some variations, from 250 CCA to 350 CCA. The more CCA, the better, especially if you have many electrical accessories.
  3. Durability: ATV batteries last 3 to 5 years if you do the proper maintenance and care for them. Some types of batteries, like sealed and AGM batteries, will last longer and require less maintenance. The manufacturer often ships the cheaper non-sealed version of the batteries, and while they work, going with the sealed or AGM batteries will be better overall.
  4. Price & Warranty: The prices for ATV batteries can vary all over the place. You tend to find more affordable ones online, even the better sealed ones are often priced nicely online. Price should not be your only concern, but also the warranty and how easy it is to warranty a battery. I tend to buy the second-cheapest ATV battery I can find and carry a jump pack just in case. I’ve never had to warranty a battery because they usually out of warranty or damaged in other ways that the warranty won’t help.
  5. Type: Lead acid batteries come in many types, from flooded, sealed and AGM. Each type offers an advantage that I’ll cover in the next section.

Types Of ATV Batteries

ATV battery types range from the flooded, sealed and AGM variations.

There does exist more types like the GEL and lithium, but they’re not as common and often a lot more expensive. Let’s go over each type to help you better understand which one works best for your needs.

  • Flooded: The flooded or the conventional ATV battery is the most common battery type and what most manufacturers ship their new ATVs with. This type of battery tends to be the cheapest option, but requires the most maintenance and often needs the battery acid added and then charged before using.
  • Sealed: Sealed lead acid batteries for ATVs are my personal favorite as it’s just right, not too cheap but very easy to maintain. Sealed batteries come already filled, may need an additional charge, and don’t require water or other maintenances. You will need to keep this battery on a smart charger when you don’t use your ATV for months, but overall, it’s the best value if you ask me.
  • AGM: The Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery is a variation of the sealed battery, but has better protections in place to protect it from vibrations and rougher conditions. The AGM batteries tend to have the plates closer to the electrolyte and offer better power and CCA. Flooded, sealed, and AGM are still considered wet cell batteries, there is battery acid that is used, but protection, power, and maintenance differ for them.
  • GEL: A GEL battery is much like an AGM ATV battery, but instead it’s not a wet cell battery and uses a gel battery acid. This is great if the concern of the battery leaking is a problem. GEL batteries are more picky, especially about the chargers, so it’s best you don’t use them for your ATV.
  • Lithium: Lithium ATV batteries are new and are the best battery can buy for your ATV or side by side. Lithium batteries are lighter, offer more power, the charge last longer between starting and don’t use sulfuric acid like the other batteries. The downside is these batteries need a special battery charger and cost more than the other battery options.

The Best ATV Battery

The best ATV battery is a sealed ATV battery, as the price, power, and ease of maintenance makes it the best all around option.

If you want something even better, a lithium ATV battery is even better, but it can cost more and requires more things to be aware of when charging and using it.

If you want to get a lithium ATV battery, you must do the following:

  1. Get the proper 12-volt lithium battery charger*.
  2. Only buy 12-volt lithium batteries that have a battery management system (BMS). These batteries charge each cell at a time, and it’s important you have a BMS to protect each cell from overcharging, as it can explode.
  3. Get the correct size. Lithium batteries tend to be smaller and lighter, but you still need to get one that fits in your ATV battery tray and has the terminals that can reach the battery wires. A battery that is too small can bounce around and fall out your ATV, or even cause a fire from arcing.

Nominal Battery Voltage

As covered, ATVs use a 12-volt battery and system, but there is more to it than that.

An ATV battery can be anywhere from 10.5 volts to 14.5 volts. A charged lead acid battery is around 12.6 to 12.8 volts. It’s common for your ATV, when running, to have the battery over 12.8 volts and sometimes as high as 14.5 as the stator runs to supply power to the machine.

The voltage of the battery is important, but not as important as the amps. A bad battery can read over 12 volts, but put a load on it and it goes flat. This is why a load tester is needed to determine if your ATV battery is good or bad.

With the proper maintenance and care of your ATV battery, you should get a long life out of it and have fun playing on your machine.