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Exide vs. Optima – the battle of the titans in the car battery market


Chances are, you do not think much about your car battery – but what if it forces you to start thinking about it? Probably you decide to go on a road trip, but in the midst of the journey the car suddenly breaks down and leaves you stranded. You do not need to go through that though, especially after reading our comparison of the Exide vs. Optima batteries.

Car batteries are items not many think much about – after all,they are designed to last, and when you get a good one it can work for you for many years.

However, it is also good to keep checking your battery for any signs of failure or encroaching issues it might experience, lest it breaks down on you such as in the situation we have described above.

Exide and Optima are two brands that are famous in the market, but they have led to different experiences for their users; sometimes they tend to disappoint people, while they are the best batteries ever for others.

In order to make an informed choice between the two of them, it is important to know the differences between them and their aspects, which is why we choose to do this article and see what makes them unique from each other.

What are the differences between Exide and Optima batteries?

Battery model
CCA range
750 to 850
720 to 800
Reserve capacity
140-200 minutes
140 minutes

Exide vs. Optima – how these two compare

These two battery brands have similar aspects, although there are a few differences between them. These are:

The use of AGM technology

AGM is a fairly new improvement in the world of car batteries, and it comes in different variations for different battery brands.

The Optima battery uses Spiral Cell technology, which you can consider as a form of AGM. The only difference is that its lead plates are in a spiral shape, rather than the usual flat-flat plate design you can expect in the Exide battery.

The spiral plates are great due to their reduction of vibration issues, but they have an inherent problem that the flat-plate design does not have; they take up a lot of space.

Therefore, they can be troublesome if you do want to own a space-saving battery. If you are a casual battery user though, this is not much of a problem.

CCA range

It is always important to think about the CCAs, especially if you live in places that have extremes of temperature changes. The differences though are not very big, although the Optima tend to have a bigger range of cold cranking amps compared to the Exide.

Exide batteries are still great, although you will find that it gives you less CCAs, and they also tend to have issues with reducing CCA when they pass a year of use.

Exide vs. Optima – A comparison review

Exide battery – Overview and key features

Since 1888, Exide has developed a long history of making the best automotive batteries on the market, and even today still hold that reputation.

The company continues to recognize itself and market itself as a form of solution provider regarding electric energy. In fact, they probably have a great solution for your needs, regardless of what you want to use the battery for.

The company always aims to innovate in the industry, and have even partnered with the Department of Energy in the U.S. in order to improve the performance and attributes of the batteries.

They also commit themselves to approaches promoting sustainable resource use and environmental protection. These include their campaigns promoting sustainable recycling (in fact, they are among the biggest promoters of recycling materials worldwide), and their policies will be of interest to you if you want a battery manufacturer that pays attention to protecting the environment.

They have a number of batteries in their production line, but we will highlight some of the common ones. These are:

Exide Edge FP-AGM78 Sealed Lead Acid battery

Exide Edge FP-AGM78 Flat Plate...
  • 770 CCA; 120 MIN RC at 25A
  • Non-spillable AGM construction
  • Greater capacity to better handle the heavy loads placed on...

Compared to other choices of Exide batteries, the SLA (sealed lead acid) technology makes this lighter than most batteries – such as the surprising weight of 8 ounces.

Due to this, it will serve you well when you are searching for options of light batteries for racing pursuits, your motorbikes, or other smaller motoring choices. When purchasing it, expect a design that is no-spill, while also giving 770 CCA ratings to provide a great performance.

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Exide Edge FP-AGML4/94R

Exide Edge FP-AGML4/94R Flat...
  • 800 CCA; 140 MIN RC at 25A
  • Non-spillable AGM construction
  • Greater capacity to better handle the heavy loads placed on...

If you are looking for affordable Exide batteries (because not all are budget-friendly), then you should probably consider checking out this pick.

It has a CCA rating of 800, and includes the spill-proof AGM to help in preventing electrolyte spillage and vibration issues.

The major advantage it has is none of these aspects though; it is the durability it has. Many users attest to this as well, since many say that it exceeds the lifespan stated by the manufacturer in numerous instances. Therefore, you will not need to worry too much about it failing prematurely.

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Exide Edge FP-AGML5/49

Exide Edge FP-AGML5/49 Flat...
  • 850 CCA; 160 MIN RC at 25A
  • Non-spillable AGM construction
  • Greater capacity to better handle the heavy loads placed on...

Flat plate batteries such as this one are great when you need batteries with high CCA ratings. If you happen to live in a place that has very cold or very hot temperatures and hostile conditions, as it is strong enough to handle CCA requirements.

It comes with a power of 850 CCA, which is very helpful when you are dealing with trying to rev up a car when the temperatures are very low. Due to this aspect, it also performs well when you subject it to stress tests, and it also comes at a moderate price that ensures its benefits are budget friendly.

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Exide Edge FP-AGM51R

Exide Edge FP-AGM51R Flat...
  • 440 CCA; 75 MIN RC at 25A
  • Non-spillable AGM construction
  • Greater capacity to better handle the heavy loads placed on...

This is a great choice when you have an automobile that has medium or light demands, since it has less cold cranking amps compared to the other options on the list. It will however, have the same hardiness trademark of Exide batteries, and gives you great performance even under stress.

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What we like

  • Mechanism is powerful
  • High efficiency in both usage and power
  • Very affordable options
  • Large ratings of cold cranking amps
  • Spill-proof

What we do not like

  • Can have problems with the declining power of the batteries after a year lapses

What can you see with the Exide battery?

  • Many are great for cold weather instances
  • Fast recharging time
  • Resistant to spillage
  • Extra protection against battery failure due to Surelife Graphite technology
  • Large energy capacity
  • Use of AGM technology
  • Handle is suitcase-like and the battery itself is hardy
  • Uses alloys in construction – combination of lead, calcium, silver, and tin

Optima battery – Overview and key features

If you are reading this article, you probably know Optima from all the advertisements you see about it.

The marketing will tell you that they are strong, are strong enough to survive all things, and are rugged options for all environments – regardless of where you use them.

However, there are many customers who raise complaints about Optima batteries as well, making you wonder if it will live up to its billing.

There is no short answer to the question of whether Optima batteries are good or bad – it all depends on other factors.

The main feature that makes Optima batteries unique is their use of Spiral Cell technology. It takes on the form of a traditional car battery, but with the lead plate being in form of Spiral cells in order to increase its efficiency.

It is actually a form of AGM, or Absorbent Glass Mat technology, which keeps the electrolyte in place and absorbs any excess instead of letting it drain out.

Like the Exide, they also have several options, divided into 3 types that work for different environments and for different circumstances. These are:

RedTop battery

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...

This is the most famous of the three Optima batteries, but unfortunately happens tobe the most infamous of the list because of its history of disappointing many users.

Still, it is a great pick, especially when you need a battery that can handle high cold cranking amps requirements – these include street rods, cars that operate off-road, trucks, and SUVs, and so on.

The design it carries will allow it to have a high ignition power charge, as the starting time is 5 seconds or less. It also helps when you wantto avoid the scenarios of sudden battery failures, which can be quite annoying.

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YellowTop battery

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:...

This is also the most versatile of the three, as it has a wider scope of use compared to the RedTop.

It works well if you own a car or vessel that needs high power requirements, due to the reason of recovering quickly, while still achieving your peak performance needs. This is also because of the quick cycling and high cranking power (even higher than the RedTop battery).

It is great when it comes to low internal resistance, which means it charges faster than most other batteries. It will work very well if you own rucks with winches, commercial-size vehicles such as trucks, cars that have heavy-duty modifications like stereo systems, and so on.

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BlueTop battery

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...

This carries the best of both Yellow and RedTop batteries, although its use is quite limited to marine and freshwater vessels.

It has the best aspects of durability, quick recharging ability due to low internal resistance, and a higher reserve capacity for energy (3 times higher than normal automotive batteries).

Its ruggedness will also work well for environments where other battery types might not work.

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What we like

  • Regardless of conditions, it has a quick start
  • Leak-proof and low maintenance
  • Large reserve capacity running up to 90 minutes reserve
  • Easy to mount in several positions
  • Good performance in bad weather
  • Increased efficiency due to Spiral Cell technology

What we do not like

  • A lot of issues with the packaging
  • Pricey

What can you see with the Optima?

  • Spiral Cell technology that makes it leak-proof
  • Good levels of vibration resistance
  • Powerful starting mechanism
  • Battery capacity of 12V

Verdict: So which is better? The Exide or the Optima?

If it is your first time handling a battery, then the Optima is a great choice. However, the Exide is a more reliable option in the long term, which makes it a better choice in our eyes.

Both of them are still great when the demands on your battery are not that major, although the Exide is a more budget-friendly option compared to the Optima, and you will also find that they have a wider range of batteries to suit heavy-duty use.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between AGM battery and flooded batteries?

The AGM battery, as we mentioned earlier, Is among the latest advancements in technology among the lead-acid batteries. A series of fiberglass plates bind the electrolyte, and the result is that the battery drains excess levels of pressure instead of the electrolyte inside.

Aside from the release of this pressure (which prevents explosions from happening), this also means that there is greater efficiency in the battery, and a lower discharge rate.

What should I keep in mind when using AGM batteries?

It is always important to handle AGM batteries correctly. The first is making sure the battery is completely full before using it in your car for the first time.

The second is to remember that AGM batteries lack memory effect, so it is important to monitor and energize the electrolyte frequently.

Is it necessary to frequently add acid to the battery?

This depends on the frequency of using the battery. If the conditions are normal, then addition of acid is not as necessary. If you are putting acid to standard automotive and marine batteries, the best thing to add is distilled or de-ionized water, so that you raise the acid to recommended levels.

Note that you must add electrolyte to the battery when you notice the battery is in a dry state when you buy it, or when spillages of the electrolyte occur. Once the electrolyte is full, you can add water to top it up (do this occasionally though).



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