Affiliate Disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you purchase the Optima batteries below. As an Amazon Associate, Automoblog earns from qualifying purchases, including the batteries featured in this article.
For over 40 years, Optima batteries have earned a reputation for being the ultimate power source for cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, and commercial vehicles. It’s easy to discern an Optima battery from any other car battery. Optima is the only battery manufacturer to feature SpiralCell Technology, giving each battery a unique shape and form, which the brand calls its signature Six-Pack design.
Since a battery is more about unique shapes and vibrant colors, there’s genuine substance behind Optima’s SpiralCell Technology. The coil-wound design provides more surface area while offering better resistance to extreme vibrations. The result is a battery that cranks out more power for a longer time. The primary downside of Optima batteries is the cost, but you do get a lot of cranking power and innovative features for the money.
If the rounded, spiral casing is any indication, there’s a bit of clever thinking inside each Optima battery. Optima batteries are available in three variants: RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop, and all share the same proprietary design. Let’s take a closer look.
Whereas conventional car batteries have flat and square lead plates, Optima uses spiral-wound cells of 99.9 percent pure lead plates. 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).
Benefits of an Optima Battery
With the superior power-holding capabilities of the AGM design and a six-pack of spirally-wound pure lead cells, Optima batteries have many benefits over ordinary car batteries. Benefits include:
Power Delivery: Optima delivers high levels 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.
What Are The Types of Optima Batteries?
Optima has three types of batteries, and each has a purpose of its own. Let’s take a closer look.
Optima markets the RedTop as the ultimate starting battery, and it has the muscle to back it up. Optima Redtop batteries provide up to 800 CCA or cold cranking amps, offering a more powerful burst of igniting power for one-click starts every time and in all weather conditions. It also has a reserve capacity of 100 minutes.
The RedTop is great for late-model sedans, hatchbacks, crossovers, SUVs, heavy equipment, diesel-fed trucks or machinery, and most standard vehicles on the road today. RedTop comes in many sizes, including 34/78, 35, 6-Volt, 75/25, 34R, 25, 34, and 78.
The Optima RedTop is specifically designed for all types of vehicles and weather conditions with its SpiralCell Technology. Overall, the RedTop delivers more starting power in a shorter amount of time versus a traditional battery.
Every RedTop battery comes with a three-year, free replacement warranty.
Optima says its YellowTop battery is among the few that can offer genuine dual-use capabilities. Whereas RedTop is a good all-around battery, YellowTop delivers that same power but with remarkable cycling attributes. This makes it ideal for vehicles with tons of electrical accessories and features. Furthermore, the Optima YellowTop has a low internal resistance to deliver consistent power outputs and faster recharging times. It also provides up to 750 CCA.
The Optima YellowTop is ideal for high-performance trucks, SUVs, muscle cars, sport sedans, hot rods, and other streetcars with high-horsepower naturally-aspirated or force-fed engines. In addition, YellowTop is ideal 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. They have a price range between $265 and $365 when ordering through Advance Auto Parts.
The YellowTop is designed for vehicles that require additional power. If you’re driving a work truck or service van or have a 4×4 vehicle fitted with accessories like off-road lights and winches, the YellowTop is an excellent choice.
Every YellowTop battery comes with a three-year, free replacement warranty.
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. Meanwhile, the BlueTop with a light gray casing is a marine AGM battery for starting and deep cycling, making it ideal for RVs and boat/marine applications with intensive electrical accessories.
The Optima BlueTop is available in 34M, D27M, D34M, and D31M sizes. It’s available on Amazon for as low as $270.
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.
Are There Other Good Car Batteries?
Yes. Although we do 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 is also a good choice. DieHard batteries are also known for their patented Stamped Grid technology, making them more durable, maintenance-free, and resistant to corrosion and vibrations. The DieHard Platinum battery is currently available through Advance Auto Parts for around $220.
The Downside of Optima Batteries
Nothing is perfect, no matter how good Optima batteries are. The benefits are plenty, but AGM batteries tend to cost a bit more money than a standard wet cell or gel acid battery. But then again, Optima batteries last twice or thrice as long, are maintenance-free, and are mountable in any position with no detriment to recharging or starting power.
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. This will help keep your car and your engine running smooth no matter the weather. The links above for each battery will take you directly to where you can purchase it.
Buy the correct “group size” battery: 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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. Since winter can impact battery life and even cause battery failure, it’s all the more reason to seriously consider replacing yours with one of the recommendations on this list.
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.