Optima RedTop vs. YellowTop vs. BlueTop vs. OrangeTop Batteries - Comparison and Recommendation
Optima batteries are very popular lead-acid automotive, marine and light industrial batteries. Depending on their intended purpose, they come in three versions, easily distinguished by their color: RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop.
Also, new Optima OrangeTop batteries are Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries intended for the Powersports market and range from 3 to 15Ah and from 190 to 800 PHCA, covering almost all ATVs, snowmobiles, motorbikes, and similar vehicles.
Updated: November 23, 2022.
And best of all, with four different top colors, 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 that can operate in almost any position without the danger of spilling the battery - just don't put them upside-down.
Optima lead-acid batteries use so-called "SpiralCell Technology" - spiral-wound cells are comprised of two lead plates, with one plate being positive and the other one being negative. Such a design offers great plate area while keeping the weight under control.
The 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.
New Optima OrangeTop batteries are designed as starting/cranking LiFePO4 batteries, although they also tolerate deep discharges well.
Optima RedTop Batteries
Optima RedTop batteries are intended for use as common engine starting batteries where an alternator and charging controller charges the battery whenever the engine is turned On. This would describe most stock vehicles.
RedTop batteries are optimized for delivering high currents during very short periods of time, typically from a 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 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 loud music or have similar demands for electric power while the engine is not working, consider YellowTop batteries or add an additional car audio battery, preferably a lithium one.
Long story short - if you need a good car starting battery, and Optima RedTop batteries fit your battery compartment, consider it as your next car battery.
For the most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check the Optima RedTop BatteryOptima RedTop Battery Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
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 lag 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 80% DoD) and to charge the batteries properly.
When the battery is not in use for a longer period of time, it is best practice to disconnect it from the system and fully charge it once a month.
Note: Optima batteries use pure lead plates (99.99% pure lead) and have a very low self-discharge rate, and can be stored at lower temperatures for months. However, when storing lead-acid batteries in general, it is the best practice to charge them completely and to leave them connected to the battery maintainer, which can keep them fully charged for months to come.
For the most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check the Optima YellowTop Battery Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
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, they can operate in almost any position (avoid upside-down positions) without any electrolyte spillage or hydrogen/oxygen leakages.
They come in two versions: starting/cranking BlueTop with dark gray casing and BlueTop with light gray casing.
Also, dual-purpose (light gray) batteries have "D" in their name - for example, D27M is a dual-purpose (light gray) battery, while 34M is a cranking/starting (dark gray) battery.
So, Optima BlueTop with the 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 the light gray casing is a true dual-purpose marine battery - it can provide large currents for starting the engines and can be used as a deep-discharge cycle-use battery and is often used as a main dual-purpose marine battery (single or as battery bank), a trolling battery, as fish finder battery on small boats or kayaks, for RVs, ATVs, electric scooters, etc.
As starting/cranking battery, it provides less current than the BlueTop dark gray battery, but due to all other features and characteristics, it should be the number one choice, not only for boats but also for other uses.
Note: if you do need just starting battery for a boat or vehicle, go for BlueTop dark gray or RedTop Optima battery. Also, the difference between BlueTop and YellowTop dual-purpose batteries is that BlueTop batteries have both automotive (SAE) posts and threaded studs, while YellowTop batteries (except D31T) only have SAE terminals.
For the most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check the Optima BlueTop Battery Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Optima OrangeTop Batteries
Optima OrangeTop batteries are starting Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries intended for Powersports vehicles and similar starting applications.
Note: Optima OrangeTop batteries can be used as deep-cycle batteries, but they are not intended to be used in such applications.
Optima OrangeTop batteries feature a nominal voltage of 12.8V, recommended charging voltage of 14.4V, and a maximum allowed charging voltage of 15V, and they range in capacity from 3 to 15 Ah and feature a PHCA range from 190 to 800 Amps.
Since they are lithium batteries, these batteries should be charged using battery chargers intended for lithium batteries.
Also, they can be charged via Optima PowerLink (3.5 Amps) or via battery terminals.
However, the charging voltage in the vehicle should NEVER go above 15V - if You have an older vehicle, generally before 1996, You have to replace a charging controller with a new one.
If You are unsure and want to replace your lead-acid starting battery with the Optima OrangeTop battery, take your vehicle to the repair shop so that they can verify the charging voltage of your vehicle - better safe than sorry.
Optima OrangeTop batteries feature an advanced Battery Management System (BMS), protecting the battery from unwanted events. For example, Optima CPR automatically disconnects the battery from parasitic loads and reserves enough energy to ensure the next successful engine start.
Also, batteries feature an IP67 rating, good low-temperature starting features, they are rather lightweight, feature battery terminals on both sides of the battery, etc.
For the most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check the Optima OrangeTop Battery Amazon link (the link opens in the new window).
Optima Batteries Features and Specifications
Features and specifications of the most popular lead-acid Optima battery models are 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|
Note: Amazon affiliate links ("Model" column) open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.
If you need a battery with SAE-only posts, don't buy a 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 - the "34" model with a positive terminal on the left and the "34R" model with a 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 the official Optima battery site has different values for certain data (RC of some batteries, for example).
At 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 - If you are looking for Optima batteries, remember:
- Dark gray casing: starting/cranking battery,
- Light gray casing: dual-purpose battery (starting/deep cycle),
- RedTop: starting automotive battery,
- YellowTop: dual-purpose automotive battery,
- BlueTop, light gray casing: dual-purpose marine/automotive battery,
- BlueTop, dark gray casing: starting marine/automotive battery,
- OrangeTop: lithium starting Powersports battery.
Optima batteries are not cheap batteries, but they offer very good value for the money - if You are looking for a new battery and if You are unsure what brand to go for, go for Optima batteries.