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Optima Batteries Buyer’s Guide: Which One Is Best For Your Vehicle (2023)

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For over 40 years, Optima batteries have earned a reputation for being a reliable battery for cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, and commercial vehicles. It’s easy to discern an Optima battery from any other. Optima is the only battery manufacturer to feature SpiralCell Technology, giving each a unique shape and form, which the brand calls its “Six-Pack” design

While shopping for the best car batteries, you may notice the higher price tag of a brand like Optima. Below we will cover the primary features of Optima Batteries to help give you an idea of where that cost comes from. 

Optima Batteries Buyer’s Guide

Optima batteries are available in three variants: RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop.

Everyday Vehicles
Optima Red Top
In Stock

On Our Partner’s Website

Heavy-Use Vehicles
Optima YellowTop
Available Now

On Our Partner’s Website

Marine & RV
Optima BlueTop
In Stock

On Our Partner’s Website

What Are The Types of Optima Batteries?

Optima batteries are available in three variants: RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop, and all share the same proprietary design. Let’s take a closer look.

Spiral-Wound Design

Whereas conventional car batteries have flat and square lead plates, Optima batteries use a series of individual spiral-wound cells composed of two pure lead plates coated in lead oxide (these spiral cells look like a jelly roll). The spiral winding technique offers better vibration resistance and more efficient power output. Meanwhile, the signature Six-Pack spiral-wound design increases the plate surface area to deliver greater starting power.

Sealed Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) Design

There are many types of car batteries, but there are two general classifications: Flooded battery (wet cell) and Valve Regulated Lead Acid or VRLA battery. Optima batteries feature an AGM or Absorbent Glass Mat design, a VRLA battery designed to support the higher electrical demands of modern cars and trucks. AGM batteries have fiberglass separators or glass mats that “absorb” the electrolyte solution inside the battery.

The result is a car battery that performs infinitely better than traditional flooded or gel cell batteries. Based on their design, AGM batteries offer top-tier performance when driving in both hot and cold weather. In addition, AGM batteries can charge five times faster, last three times longer, and cycle down to 80 percent of their DoD or Depth of Discharge (a percentage of the battery that can be drained without damaging the cells).

Optima batteries feature six individual spiral-wound cells composed of two pure (99.99%) lead plates coated in lead oxide.
Optima batteries feature six individual spiral-wound cells composed of two pure (99.99%) lead plates coated in lead oxide.

Features & Benefits of Optima Batteries

  • Power Delivery: Optima batteries deliver a high level of power in the first five seconds of a vehicle’s start cycle. Optima claims to have the most potent five-second starting power on the market.

  • Battery Life & Efficiency: SpiralCell Technology provides 15 times more vibration resistance than cheaper wet cell batteries. Optima batteries also last up to twice as long when compared to flooded or gel cell batteries.

  • Leak-Proof & Maintenance-Free: The spiral cells allow Optima batteries to mount in any position (even upside down) without fear of leaks and corrosive spills.

  • All-Weather Performance: Optima batteries will work in hot or chilly weather, while the corrosion-resistant casing offers better durability.

Which Optima Battery Is Right For Me?

If you have a “daily driver” parked in the garage, you can’t go wrong with the Optima RedTop. If you have a high-performance Jeep or off-road truck, the Optima YellowTop will not let you down. But if you have a boat or RV, the Optima BlueTop is the way to go. Here is a summary of each.

Optima RedTop

Optima markets the RedTop an all-purpose battery for everyday vehicles. Redtop batteries provide up to 800 CCA (cold cranking amps) and are designed to perform in all weather conditions. Redtop batteries have a reserve capacity of 100 minutes.

The RedTop is well-suited for late-model cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, including HD models from The Big Three. Optima clarifies that the RedTop is better suited for the stock electronic systems when it comes to diesel trucks. If you have aftermarket accessories and electronics on your truck, the YellowTop is a better pick.

Optima RedTop batteries come in many sizes, including 34/78, 35, 6-Volt, 75/25, 34R, 25, 34, and 78.

Optima Red Top

The Optima RedTop fits all late-model sedans, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.

With its Spiral Cell design, the RedTop provides a steady power source for your vehicle in all weather conditions.

Every RedTop battery comes with a three-year, free replacement warranty.

Optima YellowTop

Whereas the RedTop is an excellent all-around battery, YellowTop delivers that same power but with better cycling attributes. Furthermore, the Optima YellowTop has a low internal resistance to provide consistent power outputs and faster recharging times. This makes it ideal for vehicles with more electrical accessories and features, like a work van or truck with a diesel powertrain.

The Optima YellowTop is ideal for muscle cars, hot rods, and other streetcars with high-horsepower naturally-aspirated or turbocharged engines. The YellowTop works for drag racers, racing vehicles with no standard charging system, and off-road vehicles with a plethora of LED floodlights, winches, inverters, and other electrical accessories. The Optima YellowTop is also great for tractors and forklifts.

YellowTop batteries are available in many sizes, including DH7, DH6, D34/78, D27F, D51, D31T, D51R, D35, D34, D75/25, D31A, and DS46B24R.

Optima YellowTop

The YellowTop is designed for vehicles that require additional power, including work vans and trucks.

Reserve capacity of 120 minutes and 15 times more resistant to vibrations.

Every YellowTop battery comes with a three-year, free replacement warranty.

Optima BlueTop

The BlueTop battery is available in two versions. The BlueTop with a dark gray case is a dedicated starting battery for RVs and marine applications. According to Optima, it’s not built for cycling and is a starting battery only. Meanwhile, the BlueTop with a light gray casing is a dual-purpose battery. This version is a marine AGM battery for starting and deep cycling, making it ideal for RVs and marine applications with more electronic accessories.

The Optima BlueTop is available in 34M, D27M, D34M, and D31M sizes.

Optima BlueTop

Best suited for RV and marine use.

Dark gray casing indicates a starting battery only, while the light gray casing is a true deep-cycle battery.

The BlueTop with the light gray casing will handle RVs, trolling motors, and marine applications with electronic accessories.

Every BlueTop battery comes with a three-year, free replacement warranty.

Are There Other Good Car Batteries?

Although we think highly of Optima batteries, they are not the only game in town. When it comes to hot and cold weather performance, the DieHard Platinum AGM and Odyssey Performance series are great choices. If you are not entirely sold on Optima, take a gander at this list of other highly-rated car batteries.   

Other Helpful Tips

When to buy: Make sure to replace your battery as soon as possible, especially if you cannot remember the last time you had it changed.

Get the correct group size: Group size requirements will vary by automaker, but the best way to see what your vehicle requires is to consult your owner’s manual.

Remember the warranty: Just as you would do with any other auto part, make sure to read over the warranty when purchasing a new battery.

Ask a trusted mechanic for advice: Qualified automotive technicians have the education, certifications, and experience to help you pick the right battery for your car.

Portable Jump Starters: If your budget allows, consider a portable jump starter. Portable jump starters provide the convenience of on-demand power should your battery need a jump in the future. The NOCO GB40 and GB70 are good picks, in addition to the Shell 1200A portable jump starter.  

Optima Batteries FAQ

How Cold is too Cold for a Car Battery?

Your battery won’t freeze in the literal sense unless it’s unbelievably cold. Still, according to AAA, the average car battery can lose up to 60 percent of its available starting power when the temperature hits 0°F or below.

What is Battery Reserve Capacity?

This is the amount of time a battery will last with the headlights on, under a 25 amp draw (or load), until it’s completely discharged. Having a battery with a high reserve capacity is a bonus, especially if you drive a vehicle with auto start/stop or one with additional accessories that require extra power.

What Are Cold Cranking Amps?

Like reserve capacity, cold cranking amps (CCA) is another important term you will see when shopping for a battery. In so many words, it’s the number of amps that can be harnessed from a 12-volt battery at 0°F for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts (or 1.2 volts per cell). The higher the number of cold cranking amps, the stronger the “starting power” of the battery.

Though cold cranking amps are essential, they are not the end-all, be-all. With the increased amount of electronics in vehicles today, reserve capacity is just as important. While a battery with a high CCA rating has its benefits, your vehicle might not necessitate such a battery. When selecting a battery, it’s more important to have one that best matches the requirements and specifications of your vehicle instead of one with just a high CCA rating.