Duralast vs. Optima – a battle between the budget-friendly and the premium types

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If you are like most of us, you will be very surprised to find out that the battery that came with your car is not necessarily the best option for powering it. But it does not take much to rectify the problems this poses; provided you have the right information on the battery to use.

Batteries have come a long way in terms of their development, with new improvements coming through. However, the brands that deal with these batteries are very many, and choosing a product can prove tough when so many of the advertisements begin to sound the same.

They promise you the same levels of service, promise you a maintenance-free experience – but the lingering question in your mind is how true these statements are.

This brings us to this article, where we compare two battery brands; the Duralast and the Optima. Both of them are similar in many ways, for instance in their specs and the design they use for their products.

However, they do have their differences, which mean that one might not be suitable for your needs as much as the other, and doing a comparison review helps to narrow the differences.

You will have a better understanding of these two and what makes them different from each other, so read on for our review of the Duralast vs. Optima.

What are the differences between Duralast and Optima?

Battery brand
Duralast
Optima
Reserve capacity
130 minutes
140 minutes
CCAs
900
800 to 1000

Duralast vs. Optima – how they compare

The battery design

All the automotive manufacturing companies will have a variety of ways that they will use to improve their machines, which leads to many improvements in battery placements, as well as the design.

This has led to a variety of battery types – ranging from AGM to gel, to improvements in the lead-acid standard design.

The Optima and Duralast are quite different even in their appearance, with the Optima employing the SpiralCell appearance that uses a compressed design of the lead plates and greater efficiency – something that is present regardless of the Optima battery you are dealing with.

On the other hand, the Duralast uses a design that is very similar to standard car batteries, so it will fit in well with your engine as long as its measurements are enough for your car.

Battery life

The biggest advantage that Duralast batteries have over Optima batteries (especially the RedTop) is their longer battery life, and you will also find them in compact sizes that allow automotive manufacturers to fit them into smaller-size cars and machines.

Duralast vs. Optima – A comparison review

Duralast battery – Overview and key features

If you are new to the world of car batteries, you may understandably wonder if Duralast is a legitimate option for you as a consumer.

Other than that, you may have questions on whether there are actual differences between the components that will comprise the make that is the Duralast battery; especially between the silver, platinum, and gold models.

The truth of the matter though is bigger than that, because not all batteries you will find in this company’s offerings are consistently good, and that is a problem that is common to all users of the brand.

The other problem we have is the limitations of buying this battery from various e-commerce sites, as you can only get it from the official website of the company.

There are some commonalities that their batteries will have though, regardless of the specific model. These are:

  • Use of paste – all Duralast batteries includes a specified design that includes a paste of high density. The paste is meant to improve the cycling performance and prolong its lifespan.
  • Solid framework – the batteries all have their construction featuring polypropylene, which is a thick and strong plastic that is resistant to impact. This also makes them resistant to vibration, an issue which affects many batteries. They also have an in-built venting system, which will reduce the leaks from corrosion by giving space for the gases in the system to escape, and this will also avoid premature failure of the system.
  • Amps – Duralast batteries have sufficient cold cranking amps and enough reserve capacities, which will be enough to support the engine and reduce shorts.

Regardless of the Duralast battery model, there are 3 varieties you can select in their line;

Duralast Gold

This boosts your cranking amps when you require them, so you can view it as a starting battery. The combination of its reserve capacity and CCAs will be good when you need something that is strong enough to exceed your car’s original specifications.

It also has a high number of plates and grids, improves the startup power of your engine, and has a replacement warranty of 3 years.

Duralast Platinum

The difference between this and the Gold is that this will come in an AGM design, while the Gold is a standard lead-acid battery.

This makes the Platinum good enough to handle deep cycling, improvements in technology if your car has many high-consumption accessories, and plenty of starting power. Like the Gold, it also has a replacement warranty of 3 years, and will have a higher cycle life.

Duralast marine

This is the pick for you if you want a battery for marine environments, or an RV. It has high levels of vibration resistance, reserve capacity, and plenty of cold cranking amps that will handle the intensity of marine and RV usage.

Unlike the others, its design has a manufacturing technology that is fully framed and improves its efficiency and optimal performance.

Other Duralast batteries to look at include:

Duralast Tough

True to its name, it is the toughest and most durable option to get. This is because it has an extreme bond from the high-density, and this will go a long way to boosting the battery’s long term performance. Along with that, it also includes a 2-year free replacement warranty.

Duralast Lawn & garden

This one is consistent in its operations, and is also maintenance-free and a CCA of 250. The enveloped separators in its design will eliminate shorts and boost battery life, and the computer-controlled formation will improve its performance.

Duralast Power sport

This will incorporate OE standards of the highest quality, and will boost reliability and cranking power. In fact, its build and functionality will resemble that of AGM batteries, since it is completely sealed and spill-proof, which eliminates the need of constantly checking the acid levels.

Duralast heavy duty

This will work for equipment that require higher CCAs and RC than what a typical deep cycle battery will give you, due to its power grid structure.

The superior build of its operation will also provide a lot of benefits whether you use it in off-road or on=-road conditions. The only drawback we do not like about it is the very short warranty period of 1 year.

What we like

  • It has a durable build
  • Works and fits well for a variety of needs and cars
  • Maintenance-free, at least generally
  • Reliable and dependable operation

What we do not like

  • There are a lot of issues with the durability of the battery
  • There is not much information on the batteries themselves

What can you see with the Duralast battery?

  • It comes with plenty of accessories to add some extra power
  • Many of its models are good for cranking and deep cycling
  • Maintenance-free due to its non-spill design
  • Improved resistance to vibration issues

Optima battery – Overview and key features

Thanks to the numerous TV advertisements, it is easy to think that Optima batteries are invincible, because these advertisements will tell you that they can survive anything. It is possible to have your own doubts about this though, especially when you use it – you will find that it does fulfill some of its claims, while others seem like a long stretch. That does not make them a bad choice though.

Every Optima batteries will share one feature, which is the SpiralCell. Unlike the flat plate design that many car batteries employ, this will instead arrange the lead plates in form of spirals, which ultimately increases its efficiency and allow for better packing of the electrolyte. They will also reduce the problems that result from vibration or shock.

There are 3 varieties of the Optima battery, which you are probably familiar with. These types will also cater to different user needs and environments, so it is important to select the best one that will work well for your needs. These varieties are:

Optima RedTop

Sale
Optima Batteries 8020-164 35...
  • 12-Volt, 720 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 9.38 x 7.69 x...
  • Reserve capacity of 90 minutes for constant performance
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather. Case material is...

Among the types of Optima batteries, these are probably the most famous of the bunch. Their use will allow you to handle the cold cranking scenarios that need high amps – for instance, when you want to rev up trucks, street rods, road cars, or SUVs. Thanks to their design, they will have high ignition charges, and a very short start time of 5 seconds or less. Because of this, they will help to avoid or mitigate unfortunate instances of sudden battery failure.

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Optima YellowTop

Sale
Optima Batteries 8014-045...
  • 12-Volt, 750 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10" x 6 7/8" x 7...
  • Reserve capacity of 120 minutes for constant performance
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather. Case Material:...

Many people rightfully view the YellowTop as the most versatile option of the three Optima models, since they will work best when you need an automotive that requires high power usage, as well as other deep cycling uses (the YellowTop is the deep cycling battery in the Optima line, unlike the RedTop which is a starting battery).

The reasons behind their versatility include their ability of fast recovery, as well as meeting very stringent peak performances, because of the quick cranking and cycling power.

If you own a truck, a car with high-power stereos, commercial car, or other battery users that need a high performance, they will work best for you and you should make arrangements to own them. One of the reasons that make them great for this use is their low internal resistance that leads them to have low electrical resistance, which results in shorter charging times.

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Optima BlueTop

Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M...
  • 12-Volt, 750 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10 inches x 6 7/8...
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather
  • Mountable in virtually any position. Works well as a boat...

When looking at Optima batteries, the BlueTop will have the best of both worlds. The only disadvantage is their limited use, as it is only for freshwater and marine vessels, as well as RVs.

Their advantages include their high durability, a capacity of energy storage that is 3 times more compared to the traditional automotive battery, andvery fast charging. Their rugged build is also a source of strength, and they will serve you well where other batteries cannot.

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What we like

  • Regardless of external conditions, they will give you a quick start
  • Very low maintenance and spill-proof
  • Very easy to mount in any position
  • Compact due to the spiral cell design
  • Large reserve capacity
  • Very strong and can handle vibration issues

What we do not like

  • They are quite expensive
  • Some of them have high discharge rates (especially RedTop batteries)

What can you see with the Optima?

  • SpiralCell technology makes them leak-proof and more efficient in operation
  • Good shock and vibration resistance
  • Very long lifespan
  • YellowTop is the dual-purpose battery, BlueTop is themarine and RV battery, and RedTopis the starting battery
  • Powerful starting mechanism

Verdict: So which is the winner? The Duralast or the Optima?

When comparing these two batteries, it is easy to see that the Optima will outlast the Duralast by a long shot – especially when it comes to availability of the product, durability, and long term service. If you can get past the high price of Optima batteries, you will find it to be a great choice for both your short and long term needs.

Frequently asked questions

How long does a car battery last?

The lifespan of an automotive battery will not be constant throughout using different brands. In fact, it will vary according to how you charge it, maintain it, use it, the temperature you frequently use it in, and other circumstances.

Why are AGM batteries important?

Rather than the traditional lead-acid battery, the AGM battery seeks to increase the safety factor and prevent incidents of explosions. The rise of AGM batteries is important because they lead to better car development, and they also save your consumption of fuel in the long term. The reason is because they have a greater storage capacity of energy than a normal car battery, and they can also handle many more charge cycles.

Is the battery installation process difficult?

Not really. Regardless of the brand, the process of installation and maintenance is easy. However, you cannot just do it without exercising proper precautions, so make sure our need to exercise proper precautions though.

 

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