Optima RedTop vs. YellowTop battery – is there a significant difference between the two?


You probably recall conversations you might have had with someone else, or overhearing bits of conversation, that one may prefer RedTop batteries or YellowTop batteries from Optima. That begs the question – is there a significant difference between these two types? What are their traits, and what makes any of them better than the other?

The idea that centers around all Optima batteries is the promotion of efficiency and performance that surpasses the norm of the usual car battery. However, choosing one battery from the selection proves a difficult task when you are not sure of what will work for you and your car, and the negative experiences of some users may discourage you from trying out the brand itself.

However, choosing the right battery requires a few considerations, just like purchasing any other item. You do not even need to rely on guesswork anymore and burn your money reserves in the process of trying out everything; because we have narrowed down he attributes in this article of the RedTop vs. the YellowTop batteries. We will also focus on the best application ideas for both, so that you do not need to suffer through bad experiences of using your choice.

What are the differences between the RedTop and the YellowTop?

Battery type
Battery weight (lbs.)
31.7 to 37.9
26 to 59.8
Capacity (Ah)
44 to 50
38 to 75
Reserve capacity (mins.)
98 to 140

RedTop vs. YellowTop – How these two compare

As you probably know by this point, Optima have three main types of automotive batteries, which consist of the BlueTop, YellowTop, and RedTop types. Each of these three has different performance requirements, as well as fitting best for certain uses.

There are not many differences between the two, since they are from the same manufacturer anyway – but the company considers the RedTop to be the starting battery. The only point of difference has to do with the cranking amps, which we will discuss below.

Cranking amps

From a general perspective when looking at these two, as one factor goes down, the other goes up, and vice versa. For YellowTop battery will increase by 10% in its capacity for amp hours, which the RedTop will increase the same amp capacity by 7%.

The reserve capacity differences also show up, as the YellowTop has 20% higher capacity than the RedTop. The cranking amps are a different case though, as the RedTop has 15% higher cranking amps than the YellowTop.

If you are unsure of the deep cycle abilities of a battery and want to get an indication, the best aspect is looking at the weight.

This is because deep cycle battery types gave higher contents of lead, compared to those of starting batteries. The additional lead content is meant to allow the battery to excel when giving steady energy flows by creating higher internal resistance over a longer time span.

When examining both RedTop and YellowTop batteries, the latter is 4.7 lbs. heavier than the former, which is consistent with the greater deep cycle abilities of the YellowTop.


As we have mentioned earlier in this article the RedTop is for the starters if you have never handled a deep cycle battery before.

The design is meant to provide strong bursts of power to increase the reliability of your revving up process, regardless of what car you are using it in. additionally, it has a lifespan of two times more than the traditional automotive battery.

Thanks to the design being spill-proof and fully contained, it is rather easy to mount the RedTop at any angle you want, while still maintaining an easy upkeep schedule and method. It also has higher resistance levels to vibration issues, up to 15 times more, compared to a traditional car battery, as well as quicker recharging rates.

The usage of the RedTop is ideal for cars and applications that do not need excessive amounts of accessories that drain the battery.On the other hand, the YellowTop is the high-performance battery of Optima’s line of products.

Because of this, it is better to use it in vehicles that have battery-draining accessories and electronic components, as well as being useful in tractors and forklifts.

Note that pure starting batteries are always less costly to purchase than dual purpose batteries, because they need less lead material. However, the cars of today mostly require higher power demands – so many things are computerized, and there are more electronic devices that can drain your car battery even faster. You are better off investing in a deep cycle battery that can handle these demands, both in the short and long term.

RedTop vs. YellowTop – A comparison review

RedTop Optima – Overview and key features

In simple terms, the RedTop battery is a normal car starting battery – but with improvements that a normal car battery lacks. Because of this, it exists to provide your car with high current supplies in short bursts, while holding a specific capacity.

In order for the bursts to work, you will require a battery that holds up against vibration issues, without risking your battery acids draining everywhere. Therefore, the redtop will fit into your scenarios when:

  • You need a battery that can handle quick starting of your car, RV and trucks
  • The car needs or has a way of quickly generating electricity when the battery is drained out
  • You do not need to discharge the battery deeply, since this will kill the battery
  • You are using the stator, generator or alternator to handle the electrical load, while running the car

Some of the models we find for the RedTop Optima batteries are:

8004-003 34/78 Redtop

Optima Batteries 8004-003...
  • 12-Volt, 800 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10" x 6 7/8" x 7...
  • Reserve capacity of 100 minutes for constant performance
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather

This is meant to give high power activation abilities, even in colder weather. It is also great for heavy-duty use, more so than other RedTop batteries.

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OPT8020-164 35 starting 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 greater in compact size, while still packing a variety of features that will help your car as it goes. In fact, its compact size can help you get a plastic tray to help when you wantto get the fittings correct. Unlike most RedTops, it is also easier to recharge.

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8025-160 starting battery

Optima Batteries 8025-160 25...
  • 12-Volt, 720 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10 5/16" x 6 13/16" x...
  • Reserve capacity of 90 minutes for constant performance;Up...
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather

If you want a RedTop battery that will last you many years to come, this is the pick. It will also last longer than most batteries out there.

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What we like

  • Great for cold weather
  • It has a massive reserve capacity
  • Does not require trickle charge when you are using a non-active car
  • It functions perfectly with plenty of electronics in your car
  • Quick to install

What we do not like

  • Negative and positive ports are an awkward distance apart
  • Short lifespan (maximum lifespan is 2 years)

What can you see with the RedTop Optima?

  • 700 to 800 cold cranking amps
  • AGM battery
  • 12 volts
  • Reserve capacity of 90 minutes
  • AGM battery

YellowTop Optima – Overview and key features

Similar to the RedTop battery, this comes in a spill-proof and self-contained package, which makes the mounting process much easier to handle at any angle. In addition to this, it also has similar levels of vibration resistance as the RedTop, as well as faster recharging rates compared to the normal car battery.

Similar to the RedTop, this battery is spill proof and self-contained, which makes mounting easy –regardless of the position you mount it in. It also has a quicker recharge rate and vibration resistance. It will also last as long as traditional batteries, along with the cranking power and deep cycle elements (in fact, it can withstand 300 recharge cycles).

As a general rule, the YellowTop will be suitable for you when:

  • You have added something to the electrical system of your car, and it uses electricity very quickly; yet you do not need to replenish the battery immediately. This is because they are deep cycle battery types – they can give your car large amounts of their capacity compared to a normal car battery
  • You are starting a car – they can also handle quick starts, just like the RedTop, but they have deep cycle abilities which are also the reason behind their higher cost.
  • When you are winching – this is among the best uses for YellowTop batteries, because they can handle the high electrical drains of winches. If you use a RedTop in this case, you will damage it completely, but the YellowTop can handle this.
  • Handling extreme video and sound systems – if you are using a sound or video system that is not too demanding, then the RedTop is okay; but a monster-scale system requires a YellowTop.
  • If the car lacks a charging system – this is quite a common scenario for drag racers, as well as others that do not require the weight and complexity of charging systems.
  • Electric cars – this will need a battery that does not require electricity.
  • When you require a portable welding setups – if you are ever welding using batteries, then the YellowTopis the best way to go.

Some of the batteries in this line include:

D34 8012-021 dual purpose battery

Optima Batteries 8012-021 D34...
  • 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

This is perfect for Jeeps, as it has a hybridized nature – it combines the benefits of the AGM and conventional-lead acid batteries, and it is also considered as a good starter battery as well.

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Optima 8037-127 D27F

Optima 8037-127 D27F YellowTop...
  • Deep-cycle and cranking power; up to two times longer life
  • More than 15 times the vibration resistance
  • Completely spill proof, mountable in virtually any position

This is the ultimate Optima YellowTop battery that also functions well for boats. It runs the accessories in your boat gear quite well, thanks to the high CCA rating and reserve capacity.

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8040-218 D35 Dual purpose battery

Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35...
  • 12-Volt, 620 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 9 5/16" x 6 13/16" x...
  • 98 minutes reserve capacity for constant performance
  • Optimal starting power even in bad weather; the positive or...

This combines the best of both worlds when it comes to cold cranking amps and deep cycling. In fact, the CCA of 620 CCA is considered impressive for deep cycle battery, which will easily set it apart from other deep cycles in the market.

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What we like

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Can store energy without trickle charging
  • Has a long warranty period
  • Can power electronics very well
  • Very good cranking ability
  • Drains slowly

What we do not like

  • Not directly fitting for most battery boxes

What can you see in the YellowTop Optima?

  • 12 volts power
  • Reserve capacity of 90 to 200 minutes
  • Deep cycle
  • 400 to 600 cold cranking amps
  • Lifespan of about 2 to 3 years
  • More than 15 times greater vibration resistance

Verdict: So which is better? The RedTop or the YellowTop?

Both of these are very similar in their approach to things, and it can be very difficult to tell them apart in terms of their usage. They both fit in similar situations as well. However, based on the differences of cold cranking amps, the YellowTop is a better fit, because of its durability, heavy-duty usage applications, and its long term prospects of use.

Frequently asked questions

Will I require a special charger to recharge an Optima battery?

Not really, at least not in most cases. Under a normal set of conditions regarding vehicle starting applications, plenty of automatic battery alternators or chargers will sufficiently charge an Optima.

In fact, plenty of high-quality, modern chargers will come with specific settings and built-in features that can charge AGM batteries, such as your Optima battery. However, you should also note that you need to avoid the ‘Gel’ settings, since they will not recharge the Optima completely, and they can even damage it over time.

If you have non-standard or high-performance applications and vehicles, then you will need to consider additional factors before picking a charging a charging application.

What are some of the storage conditions that an Optima battery needs?

When you are storing any battery, it is very important to ensure that the voltage never gets less than 12.4 volts. If the battery is in a car that you do not use much, and you do not use a device that maintains the battery, then the device is slowly discharging.

Even though Optima batteries have slower discharge rates than the normal car battery, it is still important to use a ‘battery maintainer’. This is a device that you use to monitor and charge the battery in order to ensure you can start it later, and the battery life lasts longer.

How long can the battery last?

This will depend on the maintenance and usage of the battery, though it is good to take extra care of it such as storing it in a cool place.


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