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Optima RedTop vs. YellowTop vs. BlueTop – It’s more than just colors

Choosing brands is somewhat easy! Some have the best market reputation, some are more reliable, and some offer more affordable rates. However, how does one choose when all three of the best options are from the same brand?

Things get tricky! One great example of such a mind-boggling scenario is the Optima RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop. All three of these batteries are from the same brand that offers high-quality products and has an excellent reputation in the market. But choosing one can be a daunting task, considering that each is great for a different reason.

If you are stuck like many others, follow along to see a complete comparison of these three products. Putting them side by side will help you choose the one that’s best for you!

Red vs. Yellow vs. Blue at a glance

Let’s talk about the most apparent and apparent differences between the three batteries to start the comparison. The RedTop, YellowTop, and BlueTop Optima batteries have significant differences in their designs and appearances that are noticeable at first glance. 

The first and most obvious difference between the three is the color. True to the batteries’ names, all three of these have a red, yellow, and blue top, respectively. Whether the manufacturers named the batteries after their colors or colored them after their names is a mystery! 

Moving past the physical appearance, let’s talk about the fundamental purposes of each battery. The RedTop Optima battery is a starting battery, which you can use for stock vehicles and typical engines. The YellowTop Optima battery is a deep cycle battery, which is more suitable for the bigger electrical loads. It is also ideal for situations when the typical engine starting is lower than the discharge cycle.

Lastly, the BlueTop Optima battery is a marine battery that has two variants. One variant comes in a light gray casing, while the other has a dark grey exterior. The former is very similar to the YellowTop Optima battery; it is a deep cycle battery for marine use. The Dark Grey BlueTop Optima battery is identical to the RedTop Optima battery; it’s a starting battery for marine use.

RedTop vs. YellowTop 

With a superficial comparison done, let’s take a deeper look into RedTop versus YellowTop Optima batteries.

Optima Redtop – A starting battery with serious power

As I said, the RedTop Optima battery is a starting battery. However, what sets the Optima RedTop apart from other options on the market is how powerful it is! The RedTop batteries give you the highest CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) to start your engine even in the coldest weather. Do you know what that means? It means no more getting late on snowy days because your engine won’t start! It also means you don’t have to think twice before going out to get a hot latte on a cold winter day. Optima RedTop will make your life easier.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the CCA, the better the battery is at operating your engine at lower freezing temperatures. And so, according to this criterion, Optima RedTop is a winner since it has a lot of cranking power.  

Starting batteries are usually ideal for our everyday engines and stock vehicles. However, they are also sometimes suitable for starting RV and automotive underhood, heavy equipment, and vehicles powered by diesel. 

The condition for it to work correctly in all of these scenarios is that the heavy equipment should only require a starting function. Plus, the vehicles powered by diesel should have zero aftermarket electronics or accessories. Since these batteries are pretty basic, they will not tolerate any excessive load or secondary functions apart from starting the engine.

Optima RedTop 8020-164 35
Optima RedTop 8020-164 35
Among the many batteries in the RedTop series, Optima 8020-16435 is the best one I’d recommend! It offers 12 volts, 720 CCA, and has a reserve capacity of over 90 minutes, allowing consistent performance.

Optima YellowTop – A dual-purpose deep cycle battery

Dual-purpose deep cycle batteries come in handy when the electrical load is higher than usual. It is also suitable for situations when the typical engine starting is lower than the discharge cycle, like vehicles that don’t have alternators. This would also include any vehicles that have extra electrical loads. For example, modern cars with inverters, snow flows, winches, chargers, GPS, audio systems, and other accessories would work well with dual-purpose deep-cycle batteries. 

Vehicles that have plenty of factory electronics also require batteries like the Optima YellowTop. These vehicles include minivans with DVD players and sliding doors. If you use these accessories when the engine is off, you would mainly require a dual-purpose deep-cycle battery. Other vehicles that can make good use of this battery include: 

  • Racing cars that don’t have generators, alternators, or charging systems, 
  • Drag racing cars and jeeps 
  • Vehicles powered by diesel with accessorized electronics, 
  • Cars with video and audio applications that exceed more than 250 watts over their OE system 
  • Electric vehicles
  • Heavy equipment and vehicles that have winches, hydraulics, inverters, and other such technical parts
Optima YellowTop 8073-167 D51R
Optima YellowTop 8073-167 D51R
My personal favorite out of all the YellowTop Optima batteries. Weighing only 26 pounds, it is even more lightweight than the RedTop Optima battery.

Optima YellowTop 8073-167 D51R offers 12 volts, 450 CCA, and has a reserve capacity of around 66 minutes, delivering consistent performance. In addition, you can use it to provide an adequate starting power during freezing temperatures outside. Plus, like other Optima batteries, it is also vibration-resistant and highly durable. But apart from all these specifications and features, the exterior of the battery is beyond gorgeous! With a pastel green body and bright yellow top, it looks like a perfect combination!

Optima BlueTop battery

Finally, the Optima BlueTop Battery brings you the best of two worlds. It has two different variations: the dark grey-BlueTop battery is a starting battery, while the light grey casing is dual-purpose. The former is more appropriate for cycling duties, and the latter is ideal for deep cycling and starting vehicles. Since its cranking power is exceptionally high, the Optima BlueTop Battery, the light grey version, is genuinely a deep-cycle masterpiece by Optima! 

The Great part about this color difference is that it is easy to spot which one is which. If both models had come in identical exteriors, differentiating between them would have been very hard. 

Both Optima BlueTop Batteries are used for starting RVs and marine applications. Keep in mind that you can use the dark grey case only when a starting function is required. In contrast, you can operate RVs, marine applications, trolling motors, and heavy electrical accessories with the light grey case. 

Optima BlueTop 8006-006 34M
Optima BlueTop 8006-006 34M
If you want a starting battery for your marine vehicles, the Optima BlueTop 8006-006 34M would be the right way to go. This one has a dark grey case, and it offers 12 volts, 800 CCA, and 100 minutes of reserve capacity.

An essential point to note here is this: The most significant difference between the YellowTop and BlueTop deep-cycle batteries is that the latter has threaded studs as well as automotive SAE posts. The YellowTop battery, except the D31T, has SAE terminals only.

Deep cycle battery vs. Starting battery

In case you are still confused about whether they should invest in a deep cycle battery or a starting battery and the difference between them. To clarify your confusions and answer your queries, here is a detailed explanation of the topic: 

Apart from the differences in the power, specifications, and purpose, there are other differences between deep-cycle and starting batteries: 

  1. Starting batteries are particularly ideal for starting, lighting, and ignition. They are sometimes also referred to as SLI batteries. These SLI batteries deliver large power bursts for a shorter time duration. All they do is start a standard engine, and their work is done. You then have to recharge the battery using an alternator. Starting batteries have a design that cannot withstand repeated discharge and recharge cycles. And if you drain it, its life will significantly shorten! 
  2. On the other hand, deep cycle batteries have a different design! They supply a steady current over a more extended period. Plus, they can be frequently discharged and recharged, and doing so does not damage them or shorten their life. Their design makes them ideal for plugging into numerous electronics, plug-in accessories, and various applications that demand high supply. An excellent example of this would be marine vehicles.
  3. You can also use certain deep cycle batteries for starting engines. If your deep cycle battery can also start your engine, it is called a dual-purpose battery! The most important thing to check when getting one of these batteries is the product’s cold-cranking amps (CCA) rating. Checking this rate will ensure that the battery has a significant amount of starting power and will work well as a dual-purpose battery.

Why do you need optima batteries

In case you’re wondering why I am stressing about getting an Optima battery, here are the three most significant benefits of owning this brand: 

Their batteries are made of pure lead

99.99% pure lead is a lot of lead! And it means that there are minimal to no impurities in the battery. Pure lead is also an excellent electricity conductor, which provides a much faster and higher power burst. Hence, it makes sure that a quick electricity flow will recharge faster. Plus, it will hold voltage for longer when it discharges. 

Spiral cell technology

All six cells of Optima batteries use AGM plates. These plates make sure that the acid stays contained and does not move around. Moreover, precise, compressed spiral cells further add to its efficiency. This unique spiral cell design ensures a higher surface area compared to conventional batteries. This way, it provides a massive internal structural advantage. For example, it would help the cell maintain its shape under harsh weather conditions and suffer from mild to moderate impact. 

Sturdy as hell with sealed case

The sturdiness of a battery is non-negotiable and should not be compromised. With the overall sealed case and high-quality manufacturing, there are zero leaks from this battery. Hence, there are no engine compartment contaminants, and maintenance is also not a hassle. You don’t have to continuously keep a check on it or spend a lot of time, money, and energy maintaining it. The structure, design, and overall manufacturing of the battery do most of this work for you! 


Out of all the Optima BlueTop Series batteries, the 8016-103 model is my personal favorite. This one is a dual-purpose battery and, hence, has a light grey casing. It offers 12 volts, 750 CCA, and a reserve capacity of more than 120 minutes. 

Optima BlueTop 8016-103 D34M
Optima BlueTop 8016-103 D34M
Comes in three different functions: you can get it in a single version, with a maintainer and charger, or with a starting battery.

Selecting one from three incredible options is never easy! However, being equipped with the proper knowledge and putting these products side by side can help you make faster decisions. Once you know what each item is ideal for and your particular requirements, choosing the best one becomes much more manageable.

The BlueTop Optima batteries are the most suitable way to go. They work for both marine vehicles and standard vehicles, meaning that they are multifunctional and versatile. BlueTop is a merge of both YellowTop and RedTop batteries. So, when you get one BlueTop battery, it is kind of like getting them both. However, if you don’t have a marine vehicle or heavy equipment for which you want to get a battery, stick to basic YellowTop or RedTop batteries. They are less expensive and do the job well. So, if you don’t need the extra power, you don’t have to invest in it!

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