Going on the assumption that a lot of manufacturers' products will work just fine, just like most manufactured goods, who makes passenger car batteries that you should absolutely avoid? **

Also, are there any real standout great batteries in the field?

This would be for a 2004 Honda CRV. Had an AC Delco that lasted 7 years and got it replaced in Feb. 2020 with a Les Schwab XHD that doesn't seem to be holding a charge very well. For the last few months starting seems more sluggish than usual especially when the car has been sitting for 2-3 days without driving it. I know it was winter but the car is garaged and sits right next to the water heater and furnace so the ambient temp around the battery hardly gets below 40 or 45 degrees.

I charged it fully yesterday afternoon then went out this morning and started it 5 times in a row, it started okay but the cranking was slower than what I've been used to over the 17 years I've owned the car. Put the battery charger on it right afterwards and the indicator lights showed it was below an 80% charge. If I drive it for 20-30 minutes to go somewhere, park it for a few minutes and start it the engine turns over fairly quickly but even at best it's not the "instant fast crank and jump to life" starts I'm used to with this car.

The battery is still under the 2 year warranty so going to take it down to have Les Schwab check it but if it crapped out after only one year I'm not sure I even want a new replacement - if they find the battery is defective - so am exploring alternatives for a completely different brand.

** this being the fire, I'm guessing Les Schwab batteries will be high on the list to avoid... wink

Gunnery, gunnery, gunnery.
Hit the target, all else is twaddle!