Optima RedTop, YellowTop, BlueTop Batteries - Comparison and Recommendation
Optima batteries are very popular lead acid automotive and vehicle batteries. Depending on their intended purpose, they come in three versions, easily distinguished by their color: RedTop, YellowTop and BlueTop.
And the best of all, Optima BlueTop comes in different versions: starting/cranking batteries (dark gray color) and dual purpose/deep cycle batteries (light gray color).
Optima RedTop, YellowTop and BlueTop batteries are Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries and they are low maintenance batteries which can operate in any position, without the danger of spillage. Optima uses so-called 'SpiralCell Technology' - spiral-wound cells are comprised of two lead plates, with one plate being positive and the other is negative.
Average battery user does NOT have to know exact technical details, but in order to be satisfied with the battery, one must know the differences between the batteries.
Optima RedTop Batteries
Optima RedTop batteries are intended for use as common engine starting batteries where an alternator immediately monitors the state of charge and provides energy to the battery whenever it is needed. This would describe most stock vehicles.
RedTop batteries are optimized for delivering high currents during very short periods of time, typically from few seconds to 20, perhaps 30 seconds.
They are not intended for cycling use in any application and regular deep discharge cycling use can shorten their operating life significantly.
If you occasionally listen to the music in your car for shorter periods of time (10-20 minutes) while the engine is not working, but without trying to fry your sub-woofers and other speakers, Optima RedTop batteries can handle such load. If you like to listen to the loud music or there are similar demands for electric power while the engine is not working, consider YellowTop batteries.
Long story short - if you need a good car starting battery, consider Optima RedTop batteries.
For best deals on Optima RedTop batteries, check Optima RedTop Battery Amazon link.
Optima YellowTop Batteries
Optima YellowTop batteries are dual purpose automotive batteries. They are able to produce large starting currents and can withstand deep discharge cycling use.
As starting batteries, YellowTop batteries leg behind RedTop Optima batteries, but they can power various vehicles with significant electrical loads that may exceed the average alternator output (for example, strong audio systems, various chargers, electric winches, power sliding doors, etc.) or can be used for electric vehicles of various sizes and uses: electric scooters, golf carts, forklifts etc.
Nonetheless, it is important to avoid really deep discharges (below 20-25%) and to charge the batteries properly.
When the battery is not in use for longer period of time, it is best practice to disconnect it from the system and fully charge it once a month.
For best deals on Optima YellowTop batteries, check Optima YellowTop Battery Amazon link.
Optima BlueTop Batteries
Optima BlueTop batteries are intended for marine use. They are very resistant to vibrations often found on boats and off-road vehicles, can operate in any position, without any electrolyte spillage or hydrogen leakage.
They come in two versions: BlueTop with dark gray casing and BlueTop with light gray casing.
Also, deep discharge (light gray) batteries have 'D' in their name - for example, D27M is deep discharge (light gray) battery, while 34M is starting (dark gray) battery.
BlueTop with dark gray casing is starting/cranking marine battery and it should be used only as such. If you have LED navigational lights and nothing more to power during the night (single night!), dark gray BlueTop can handle it.
But for anything else, go for Optima BlueTop light gray casing battery.
Optima BlueTop battery with light gray casing is true dual purpose marine battery - it can provide large currents for starting the engines and can be used as deep-discharge cycle-use battery and is often used as main dual-purpose marine battery (single or as battery bank), astrolling battery, as fish finder battery on small boats or kayaks, as propulsion battery on RVs, ATVs, electric scooters etc.
As starting/cranking battery, it provides less current than BlueTop dark gray battery, but due to all other features and characteristics, it should be number one choice, not only for boats, but also for other uses.
Note: if you do need just starting battery for boat or vehicle, go for BlueTop dark gray or RedTop Optima battery. Also, the difference between BlueTop and YellowTop deep-cycle batteries is that BlueTop batteries have both automotive (SAE) posts and threaded studs, while YellowTop batteries (except D31T) only have SAE terminals.
For best deals on Optima BlueTop batteries, check Optima BlueTop Battery Amazon link.
Optima Batteries Features and Specifications
Features and specifications of popular Optima battery models is given in the following table:
|8020-164 35 RedTop||9.38 x 6.75 x 7.69 inches||31.7 lbs||44 Ah||SAE||910 A||720 A||100 (90) min|
|8022-091 75/25 RedTop||9.38 x 6.81 x 7.75 inches||33.1 lbs||44 Ah||Dual SAE & GM Posts||910 A||720 A||100 (90) min|
|8004-003 34/78 RedTop||10.06 x 6.94 x 7.88 inches||38.8 lbs||50 Ah||Dual SAE & GM Posts||1000 A||800 A||100 min|
|8078-109 78 RedTop||10.06 x 7.31 x 7.25 inches||39.5 lbs||50 Ah||GM||1000 A||800 A||100 min|
|8002-002 34 RedTop||10.06 x 6.88 x 7.88 inches||37.9 lbs||50 Ah||SAE||1000 A||800 A||100 min|
|8071-167 D51 YellowTop||9.31 x 5.06 x 8.94 inches||26 lbs||38 Ah||SAE||575 A||450 A||66 min|
|8171-767 DS46B24R YellowTop||9.272 x 5.024 x 8.885 in||26 lbs||38 Ah||-||575 A||450 A||66 min|
|8040-218 D35 YellowTop||9.38 x 6.75 x 7.69 inches||36.4 lbs||48 Ah||SAE||770 A||620 A||98 min|
|8012-021 D34 YellowTop||10.06 x 6.88 x 7.88 inches||42.9 lbs||55 Ah||SAE||870 A||750 A||120 min|
|8037-127 D27F YellowTop||12.16 x 6.762 x 8.61 in||53.2 lbs||66 Ah||SAE||1025 A||830 A||140 min|
|8051-160 D31A YellowTop||12.81 x 6.56 x 9.38 inches||59.8 lbs||75 Ah||SAE||1125 A||900 A||155 min|
|8006-006 34M BlueTop
|10.06 x 6.88 x 7.94 inches||38.4 lbs||50 Ah||Dual SAE & 5/16
|1000 A||800 A||100 min|
|8016-103 D34M BlueTop||10.06 x 6.88 x 7.94 inches||43.5 lbs||55 Ah||Dual SAE & 5/16
|870 A||750 A||120 min|
|8027-127 D27M BlueTop||12.19 x 6.81 x 8.75 inches||53.8 lbs||66 Ah||Dual SAE & 5/16
|1000 A||800 A||140 min|
|8052-161 D31M BlueTop||12.81 x 6.56 x 9.38 inches||59.8 lbs||75 Ah||Dual SAE & 5/16
|1125 A||900 A||155 min|
- If you need a battery with SAE only posts, don't buy battery with dual SAE and GM posts - however, if you do buy it, be sure to leave GM posts protected/insulated.
- Battery 34 RedTop comes in two versions - '34' model with positive terminal on left and '34R' model with positive terminal on the right (hence the 'R'). Other batteries also come with different positions of positive/negative terminals, so be sure which model you actually need.
- We have really tried to verify every single bit of information in this table. Things change over time, so we update it periodically, however, even official Optima battery site have different values for certain data (RC of some batteries, for example).
- all links in the table are Amazon affiliate links. Feel free to check them for the best deals on Amazon for every individual battery model.
At the first glance, there isn't much difference between RedTop, YellowTop and BlueTop batteries.
Although RedTop batteries have decent Reserve Capacity (RC) comparable with dual cycle YellowTop/BlueTop batteries, deep cycle discharging of RedTop batteries can shorten their operating life.
Long story short - Optima batteries:
- dark gray casing - starting/cranking battery,
- light gray casing - dual purpose battery (starting/deep cycle).