By Erik Watkins

Optima Red Top Vs. Yellow Top Battery: Which One To Choose?

Last updated: Apr 12, 2023
Optima Red Top Vs. Yellow

Optima has maintained its position for the past 40 years as the ultimate power source for vehicles. Besides the significant benefits, the distinctive Six-Pack design and colorful appearance have made these batteries famous. 

The manufacturer also applies these colors to classify product lines with specific features. In this article, we distinguish between the two most popular versions – Optima RedTop battery vs. YellowTop.

Types Of Optima Battery

optima battery type

At first, the Optima served 4 product lines distinguished by red, blue, yellow, and orange colors.

The first option is introduced to the market as the normal engine starting when the alternator monitors the state of charge and supplies power to the battery. 

This key feature makes sense with stock vehicles. Under normal driving conditions, it works best with sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, diesel trucks, heavy equipment, etc. You can find many models in different sizes for this choice, such as 34/7, 6-volt, 34R, 75/25, etc.

Meanwhile, the BlueTop, with its dark gray case, appeared to meet the needs of marine use. In other words, applying it to the cycling task is a mistake. If you’re looking for versatility for small boats or even electric motorcycles, consider products from the same lineup with light gray housings.

Another popular choice – YellowTop, is one of the few high-performance dual-purpose batteries. This heavy-duty battery provides ample power for vehicles with additional accessories or features. 

You can see it frequently on performance trucks, muscle cars, off-road vehicles, sports sedans, tractors, forklifts, or high-horsepower refueling EVs. Like the RedTop, this product line serves various sizes, including DH7, D27F, D34, D75/25, D31A, etc.

As a latecomer to innovation, OrangeTop shows outstanding performance, power, and reliability. Advanced technology Hypercore Lithium is made for Powersports and similar starter applications. 

Despite great benefits, car owners have difficulty accessing this option. The improvements come with strict requirements for battery-vehicle compatibility.

Optima YellowTop Vs. RedTop: Which Is Better?

At Quick Glance

The Optima RedTop belongs to the category of SLI batteries that strive to maintain a near-full charge. The manufacturer recommends applying this option to cars equipped with generators. Such a combination ensures the battery is always fully charged when the engine is on.

Meanwhile, the birth of YellowTop is likened to a race to catch up with modern drivers’ demands. Users want to install more and more gadgets on their cars, and only this big brother can handle it.

optima yellow top

Special technology has also allowed it to act as a starting battery, but the role of the deep cycle component is better known.

The Key Differences

Power Usage

This factor helps to distinguish between RedTop and YellowTop clearly. The former is considered an SLI battery and is unsuitable for cycling use in any application. 

It is prone to sulphation if it experiences a deep drain at the defined level of 3%. This phenomenon means that the battery releases lead crystals to the surface. As a result, it leads to corrosion that builds up over time.

In addition, RedTop is also not designed to meet the needs of rich-feature cars with a lot of bells and whistles. If you often listen to loud music with the engine off, skip this option or at least install a lithium car audio battery.

optima red top

In contrast, YellowTop does a bang-up job for all these cases. In other words, it is a deep-cycle battery that endures high power dissipation. Users can safely apply it to vehicles with high loads, surpassing the average capacity of generators.

Its great plus is its resistance to sulphation. In simple terms, the battery automatically performs “self-healing.” All it does is break up the lead crystals, remove them, and restore energy.

To sum up, YellowTop becomes the winner in this comparison category. It won’t disappoint you even if it powers a large auto part.

Power Rating

When it comes to crank power, RedTop certainly takes the lead. Users benefit from 800 CCA (cold cranking amps) and a 100-minute power reserve.

This feature allows it to deliver a burst of power in just one click, usually from a few seconds to 30 seconds. That’s why it is ideal for tasks that require an instant high amperage rate, such as jumping start, ignition, or lighting.

Meanwhile, the actual capacity of YellowTop is slightly lower, around 750 CCA. However, the low internal resistance stabilizes the output and contributes to fast recharge times. It also has a high storage ability for dual use.

Recommended Vehicle Range

RedTop is a good choice for normal-sized vehicles with available power generation based on the features and benefits. These cars shouldn’t come with aftermarket electronics and are meant for everyday use.

On arrival, YellowTop stands out for its responsiveness to additional electrical loads, such as loud sound systems, constant alarm systems, or refrigerators on RVs. 

It also supports cars that depend greatly on batteries, for example, those without generators. Besides, the high recharge rate on commercial vehicles or heavy equipment comes into play.

Verdict: When To Use Which One?

Both options deliver clean and smooth power. Still, you must pick out one as their different properties lead to distinctive uses.

To make the best decision, recall the worst condition your car battery has ever experienced. 

Was it stuck in the garage without an acid battery charger for a long time, or was it far from the destination with the electrical accessories running continuously? 

If the real situation is the first case, go for RedTop and vice versa.

Another helpful decision-making is to review all the accessories available on your vehicle that contribute to the electrical load. If the consumption level is above average, nothing can beat YellowTop.


Are Optima RedTop Batteries Worth It?

Undoubtedly, YES. The RedTop batteries have proven to be the best power burst when you want to start your car.

Are Optima YellowTop Batteries Worth It?

Of course, YES. Racing enthusiasts cannot sleep on this option as it provides high extra power for off-road applications.


If you’re unsure which battery your vehicle needs between Optima RedTop vs. YellowTop, drive to the repair shop and report your driving manners. 

Professional mechanics then measure the charging voltage and provide helpful shopping tips. Once you’ve decided on the right model and wonder if it’s worth your investment, the answer is always YES.

Automotive Mechanic at PowerAll

With 7 years experience in management positions leading automotive mechanics at PowerAll, Erik Watkins wishes to share useful knowledge and information about automotive mechanical equipment.


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