If you’ve seen the car battery with the red, yellow, or blue top, then you probably already know something about Optima Batteries. However, you might still be wondering who makes Optima Batteries and are they any good?
In this guide, I cover the basics of Optima Batteries, including a little about the company’s history. I also look at the different types available to buy while discussing the pros and cons of the company, so you can make a better decision.
Who Makes Optima Batteries?
Optima Batteries are made by Clarios LLC. This company is known for manufacturing heavy-duty batteries for a variety of applications. While the company headquarters is currently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it has maintained a manufacturing facility in Denver, Colorado, for many years.
Clairos LLC has been a part of Johnson Controls since 2019. This parent company deals in security equipment, HVAC manufacturing and fire-related products. Johnson Controls has more than 100,000 employees worldwide and was part of the Fortune 500.
Clairos LLC also makes lithium-ion batteries not part of the Optima Battery brands. There are 17 facilities in the country, with the lithium-ion plant located in Holland, Michigan. At these plants, the company focuses primarily on manufacturing the prismatic li-ion battery cells that are used in electronic and automotive industries.
Are Optima Batteries Good?
If you want a solidly-built and long-lasting AGM battery, Optima Batteries are one of the best options. The unique construction helps to provide a long life, and there are many different applications to choose from.
Whether you want a reliable battery for your family car or you need to power up industrial equipment, there’s probably an Optima model designed for your application.
However, the price of Optima Batteries is higher than most. It’s considered a greater investment to purchase an Optima battery versus many of the other manufacturers at the auto parts store. With that higher price, you don’t get a longer warranty than with other companies, so there’s not that added perk included either. In fact, if you plan to use the battery for commercial purposes, the warranty drops significantly, leaving people to deal with defects on their own dime.
History of Optima Batteries
Optima Batteries have been around since 1972. During this year, John Devitt and Donald McClelland applied for the company’s first patent for a maintenance-free battery. At first, the battery type was only meant for the military and marine sectors.
At the same time, the SPIRALCELL construction was created. In 1975, another patent was filed for this design by Gates Rubber Company. With all of the success, Optima ventured into the truck and automotive sector shortly after. As a country, we welcomed Optima Batteries – the highest-quality AGM battery design – in 1987. By 1990, the company became known as Optimal Batteries Inc.
In 1991, Gates Rubber Company removed itself from the company. The next year, Gylling purchased the company, thereby increasing the popularity of the brand. It was in 1994 that the Denver manufacturing plant was established.
After many years of success, Johnson Controls took over the company in 2000. It became one of the brands under the umbrella of Clairos. While there have been many owners and changeovers across the years, the Optima Battery lineup continues to be well-loved by enthusiasts.
Optima Battery Pros
1. SPIRALCELL Technology
Optima Batteries have a unique construction and design. The SPIRALCELL technology is unlike anything offered in other car batteries. Each battery comes with spiral-wound cells placed within a series between two lead plates. These plates also have a coating of lead oxide. There’s one positive, along with one negative plate.
Between these two plates, you have a micro fiberglass separator that is proprietary to the company. It keeps the plates separate and holds all of the electrolyte solution in place. With the SPIRALCELL technology, you are guaranteed a lower operating temperature and constant humidity, creating more reliable performance.
No other battery company offers this sophisticated design. This is something that is unique only to the Optima Battery brand, making it a perk that can’t be matched.
2. Easy Maintenance
If you aren’t looking to maintain your car battery, Optima might be the right choice for you. These AGM batteries require little to no care at all. You don’t have to worry about leakage or topping off fluids.
The only thing you should consider is checking for corrosion regularly. You also want to keep the battery charged. These are things to keep in mind for any car battery.
3. Supreme Power Delivery
Optima Batteries are meant to supply a superior amount of power when compared with other types. You will notice how much quicker the car engine starts, with maximum power being sent directly during the start cycle.
In fact, the company boasts of having the most potent five-second starting power of any automotive battery. You’d be hard-pressed to find people saying otherwise online.
4. Longer Life
With the SPIRALCELL technology, you already know that the design is different than other options. What you might not know is that this construction provides a longer battery life.
Optima batteries are more resistant to vibration than the cheaper options. Furthermore, you can expect them to last about twice as long as a regular flooded car battery.
Optima Battery Cons
If there are going to be complaints about Optima batteries, they’d be about the price. There’s no question that you are going to spend more on these batteries than most others on the market.
However, if you research the price versus the features you receive, you notice it’s still considered a bargain. It’s nearly impossible to find a battery with this level of power and durability at a lower price.
2. Short Warranty Terms
Considering the durability and the price that’s paid, consumers wish there was a longer warranty length. At a minimum, you are looking at a 12-month warranty.
This doesn’t seem long enough, considering how much you need to spend. On the bright side, most Optima batteries don’t fail prematurely, so you probably won’t have anything to stress about.
Types of Optima Batteries
The REDTOP design is the battery that would be called the normal battery for most applications. This is the choice for most car models on the market that doesn’t need anything spectacular. The starting power is great, and this type is designed to keep on going, even in harsh conditions.
However, the warranty is not the best. In fact, in some circumstances, it’s worse than what’s offered with the YELLOWTOP lineup. If you are using a 6- or 12-volt battery for your passenger vehicle use, there’s a 36-month warranty policy. Sadly, where this model lacks is with the commercial use warranty, which is what many people are relying on. This protection only extends for 12 months, which is quite a disappointment.
The Yellow Top is considered a top-of-the-line battery for automobiles. It’s a high-performance battery that offers significantly better runtimes than most other automotive options. It comes with the SPIRALCELL design and plenty of power output, thanks to the low internal resistance. It’s a great option for most car models, but also works well with specialty models and 4x4s, too. With this battery, you can also power up your truck, SUV or construction equipment.
If you choose a YELLOWTOP Optima battery to use for personal applications, you can take advantage of the 36-month warranty. However, any YELLOWTOP battery sold for commercial use is only going to offer a 24-month warranty, thereby decreasing the value of what you spend.
The Bluetop battery is made for the marine market and is a great battery to use in a boat due to the long discharging time. You will be able to push this battery harder than a standard option, and it’s incredibly resistant to any vibration, ensuring a longer life.
The BLUETOP warranty continues to be a disappointment, just like I found with the rest of the lineup. If you are using the noncommercial battery, you can take advantage of a 24-month replacement warranty. Otherwise, all commercial applications reduce the battery warranty to just 12 months.
How many years do Optima batteries last?
The life expectancy of an Optima battery depends on the type of battery you choose and how it is used. However, you can expect an Optima battery to last between 4 to 6 years in normal use in a car. In cold climates, you can expect it to last a little less.
How to charge an Optima Car Battery?
How to charge your Optima battery depends on the model and whether it is AGM or not. There is no difference in the charging procedure between Optima and regular AGM batteries. Use a good car battery charger, and always charge it as slowly as possible.
Where to buy an Optima Battery?
How to tell if an optima battery is bad?
One way to tell if an Optima battery is bad is if it doesn’t hold a charge for more than a few days. Another way to tell is if the battery is bloated, swollen or even leaking. If you noticed that your car sounds tired when you crank it in the morning, it could be due to a bad Optima battery.
Optima is a very well known brand when it comes to car batteries, and they are known for their quality. You will most likely not be disappointed if you buy an Optima battery. However, they can be quite expensive, so I definitely understand if you want to find something a little cheaper.
I hope this article helped you decide whether or not an Optima battery is worth the cost to you. You should now know everything you need to know about Optima batteries.