Optima battery is a popular battery brand for reliability and quality among vehicles, marine vessels, and small machine owners. So, it’s only logical for one to invest in the brand. But, there comes a time when you have to take your pick of Optima Red Top battery vs Yellow Top battery.
Sure, both options offer superior spiral cell technology, resistance to degradation, and long-lasting durability. But, they also come with their unique features to give each their advantage. So, this detailed Optima Red Top battery vs Yellow Top battery comparison can help you decide which type is best for your needs.
Table of Contents
Optima brand offers a selection of excellent quality batteries. The batteries can be primarily differentiated by the colors of their top caps and bottom casings. These batteries come in three cap colors,i.e Redtop, Yellowtop, and Bluetop batteries. on the other hand, the casings are available in two colors, i.e. light gray and dark gray casing. Here’s what each represents;
- Optima Redtop: starting battery
- Optima Yellowtop: dual-purpose battery (starting and deep cycle battery)
- Optima Bluetop: Starting (with dark gray case) and deep cycle (light gray case)
In this case, we are looking at the Red Top and Yellow Top battery types used in cars and trucks, differentiated by their top cap colors. Both Red Top and Yellow Top Optima batteries are special for their superior deep cycle and starting design that improves their overall performance.
Integrating a Spiralcell technology, the batteries feature immobilized plates that prevent the active paste inside them from loosening and shorting the plates inside.
These AGM batteries (Absorbed Glass Mat) offer a maintenance-free and leak-proof performance with enhanced vibration resistance. The batteries offer this impressive performance due to their sealed build. They also allow you to mount them however you want in your vehicle without affecting the recharging or starting performance. Additionally, these batteries last twice as long as regular car batteries. But, these batteries also have differences.
Optima Red Top Battery
The Optima Redtop battery is categorized as an SLI battery, meaning it works in a starting, lighting, and ignition mechanism. This type of battery is designed to maintain a nearly full charge. After all, if its charge drops to more than 3% it starts to experience sulfation.
It releases lead surface crystals that form atop the battery, slowly killing it. This explains why the Red Top battery is ideal for regular everyday cars fitted with alternators that ensure the battery stays charged when the engine is running.
On the other hand, this starting battery is not the best option for vehicles that are seldom driven. This is because on days the vehicle is used, it will certainly experience instances of discharges higher than 3% – risking the sulfation and battery failure. Nonetheless, the batter’s SLI category gives it the ability to facilitate high cold cranking amps and ignition power.
Optima Yellow Top Battery
The Optima Yellowtop Battery is the more evolved cousin of the Red Top. This battery type was created much later after the Red Top to keep up with the changing technology. With newer technology, cars started accommodating custom electronics like bigger music systems, more lighting, and even refrigerators.
So, Optima saw the need to produce a battery to meet these needs. The deep cycling Yellow Top battery is the perfect option for off-road driving and racing, giving you much-needed power.
In fact, the Yellowtop is known as a dual-purpose battery, functioning as both a starting and deep-cycle battery. Now, to counter the possibility of sulfation and corrosion build-up over time, Optima developed a special technology.
The yellow Top battery is designed with a deep cycle finish and can be recharged at a higher amperage rate. This design means you can use the battery in a vehicle with a highly demanding electrical system. Racers can even benefit from using these batteries in cars with no alternators.
Racing cars, such as drag cars, usually have no adequate charging system or alternators, allowing them to perform better. So, to suffice this need, Yellow Top batteries are designed to go through deep power drainage and bounce back to full capacity with ease.
Which is Better?
Optima Red Top and Yellow Top batteries are excellent battery options. So, picking which particular type is better depends highly on your needs. While Optima Red Top is great for starting efficiency, the Yellow Top battery is great for cars that need more electrical power.
The Optima Red Top battery is a great option if you want a battery to facilitate dependable starting power. The battery is also a good option for a car you use daily with minimal electrical loads (no extra electrical accessories added to the car).
On the other hand, the Optima Yellow Top battery option is perfect if you want more power to handle off-road driving and racing. The battery works perfectly on race cars that lack an alternator or charger and depend highly on the battery.
It also offers reasonable battery power for commercial and heavy-duty vehicles. Plus, if you have custom electronics, such as an aftermarket sound system, the Yellow Top should be your ultimate choice.
Here’s a more detailed comparison between Optima Red Top and Optima Yellow Top batteries;
What’s the Difference?
Ultimately, choosing which battery to go for is dependent on you evaluating your needs. To choose between the two, you have to ask yourself questions such as – Will I be using the car daily? Do I want to integrate any custom electrical accessories? What battery power do I need?
Having the answers to these questions makes it easier to browse through the relevant features and decide the right battery option for you. Here are the key features to consider in your quest for an Optima Red Top battery vs Yellow Top battery comparison.
1. Battery Power Usage
When it comes to overall battery power usage, Red Top and Yellow Top batteries have huge differences. Categorized as an SLI battery, Red Top batteries can easily suffer sulfation if they experience deep power drainage. With sudden deep power drains of more than 3%, the battery can suffer sulfation. This means that it discharges lead crystals to the surface and over time, corrosion build-up.
Now, we know what corrosion can do to your battery and electrical system – this includes killing them. This means that they should be installed in cars for everyday use which come with no surprise for high battery power needs.
Further, Red Top batteries work best in cars with no added custom electrical accessories. If you plan on investing in a bigger aftermarket music system, the Red Top is probably not the best option. On the other hand, the Yellow Top is completely different. These batteries are known as deep-cycle batteries.
In fact, this battery type is designed to handle the high power drains and amps rate when recharging. When the battery experiences accidental overcharging, the sulfation it develops can be eliminated. The batteries can easily “self-heal”, breaking up the sulfation and restoring its power.
So, in instances where you need increased battery power, the Yellow Top is the right choice. Whether racing or handling a bigger electrical component in the car, the Yellow Top will not disappoint.
When picking between these two batteries, think of crank power and deep cycle ability – which do you need? The Red Top battery thrives when it comes to crank power. This battery offers incredible cranking power to effortlessly start your car over the Yellow Top. It offers a pretty reliable power supply to everyday cars fitted with alternators.
The Yellow Top is what you should go for when you need deep cycle ability. Let’s give you scenarios where this type of battery wins;
- You want continuous charging but don’t necessarily have an alternator fitted in your racing car.
- You live in a high-traffic neighborhood and expect your car alarm to go off a couple of times every night
- You have a commercial service car with a winch that carries junk cars
3. Ideal Vehicle Use
The Optima Red Top battery is perfect for normal-sized vehicles fitted with alternators and used daily. A regular SLI battery, the Red Top offers a higher starting power and caters best with zero risks on cars with original manufacturer electrical accessories.
On the other hand, the Yellow Top works on vehicles that have a higher-than-average electrical load. These batteries also work on vehicles with deeper discharge cycles (like cars without alternators).
Yet, they have a high recharge rate. You should invest in a Yellow Top battery if you have a work truck, commercial van, 4-wheelers, or SUV with aftermarket electrical accessories, or a racing car.
Further, opt for this battery if you don’t plan on driving the car (with extra electrical load) frequently.
Your choice of battery from this Optima Red Top battery vs Yellow Top battery comparison should be highly influenced by your car. While boasting the best characteristics of the brand, the batteries also have their unique properties.
So, they will not necessarily work for all needs. The SLI category Red Top battery is perfect for regular, everyday car needs. The Yellow Top battery caters more to people with extra electrical loads. In general, here’s what each battery is best for;
Optima Red Top offers excellent cranking power and is best for:
- Incredible starting power
- Normal electrical load with no extra after-market electronics
- Cars drove daily
Optima Yellow Top offers incredible deep cycle ability and is best for:
- Extra electrical loads such as bigger music systems with high sound output, cars with winches, or a frequently used alarm system
- RVs with extra electrical loads, such as refrigerator
- Racing or drag cars with no alternator
- High-performance muscle cars
- Cars not driven frequently(may be fitted with extra electrical components)
- Heavy equipment/heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles