Is an AGM Battery Worth the Extra Money?

Tips & Support
OPTIMA Batteries
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

For automotive enthusiasts, AGM batteries have long been the mainstay choice, surpassing other options in terms of durability, longevity and performance. AGM, or absorbed glass mat, batteries will not only perform better and last longer than flooded batteries, but their sealed design will help minimize the chance of battery acid causing damage to your vehicle. If you are selling your vehicle soon they may not always be the most economical option, but if you plan on holding onto your battery for a while, then upgrading to an AGM battery is definitely a good idea.

There are a few key considerations when choosing an AGM battery, including type of application, group size and number of batteries being used.

How to Choose an OPTIMA Battery: REDTOP or YELLOWTOP

Once you have decided to upgrade your vehicle with an OPTIMA battery, consider how you plan to use your vehicle. Will you be installing a big stereo or other demanding electrical accessories? Depending on how your vehicle will be used, you have two options: OPTIMA REDTOP and YELLOWTOP batteries.

REDTOP batteries are designed to support high cranking power in vehicles and deliver strong ignition power. They can be used when the discharge cycle is shallow and the alternator takes over after the battery starts the vehicle. Go with a REDTOP battery if you:

  • Need reliable starting power
  • Have stock or average electrical loads (non-aftermarket accessories)
  • Have a daily driver that sees regular use

YELLOWTOP batteries are the ideal battery for off-road applications and racing enthusiasts. They are best used in vehicles with demanding electrical systems and those without alternators or adequate charging systems (particularly drag cars). They are dual-purpose, with premium engine cranking power in any temperature and the ability to be deep-cycled, which means they can repeatedly bounce back from deep power drains to full capacity. The lower internal resistance in OPTIMA batteries also provides more consistent power output and faster recharges. Go with a YELLOWTOP battery if you:

  • Need to power a vehicle with multiple electronic systems such as aftermarket car audio, car alarm, inverters, etc.
  • Plan on using a winch
  • Have a race car without an alternator
  • Have a commercial or heavy-duty vehicle

Whichever OPTIMA battery you choose, you’ll benefit from thick cast straps, giving the battery more robust intercell connections with 99.99% percent pure virgin lead.

Group Sizes

OPTIMA Batteries are made for a wide range of cars and trucks, both foreign and domestic, from the pre-war era all the way through the 21st century. Keep in mind, there are several different group sizes for all AGM Batteries, including OPTIMA REDTOPs and YELLOWTOPs. These sizes may vary in their exterior dimensions, weight, rated capacity and terminal configuration and some vehicles can accommodate several different sizes.

Choosing the right group size is as easy as using the “Find Your Battery” tool at the top of each page on this site or checking out our battery fitment guide. You can also follow the recommendation by the vehicle manufacturer as found in the owner’s manual or by checking the reference guide at your local battery retailer or service center. If you are custom-mounting any battery in an enclosed area, like the trunk or interior, always make sure the battery is properly vented to the outside atmosphere. In the unlikely event a battery is overcharged, the gas that can vent from a battery is both flammable and toxic.

Tips on Using Multiple Batteries

If you’re running more than one battery, be sure to use batteries that are always identical in age, size and type. This is important because all batteries charge and discharge at different rates. As batteries age, the internal resistance increases, so if you use two different ages of batteries in tandem, one of the batteries will be doing more work than the other and both batteries will suffer. It’s also important to note AGM batteries will charge more quickly than other types of batteries, so if you mix and match AGM and flooded batteries, some will take longer to charge and may not deliver as much current when in use, while others may get charged faster and subsequently overcharged.

Tips on Maintaining AGM Batteries

Most battery chargers will work just fine on AGM batteries, but some chargers have "gel" or confusing "gel/AGM" settings. Gel batteries are a very different technology that require very narrow charging parameters, which may not fully-charge non-gel batteries and could damage them over time. It's best to avoid any charger setting that references "gel" and just use the regular or deep-cycle settings, if an AGM-specific setting isn't an option. OPTIMA also sells battery chargers and maintainers that do a great job of charging all 12-volt lead-acid batteries, whether they are AGM batteries or standard flooded lead-acid batteries. 

We're so confident proper battery maintenance will maximize performance & lifespan, we'll add a year of free replacement warranty coverage to your OPTIMA battery, if you purchase your OPTIMA battery and an OPTIMA Digital 1200 charger from us at the same time.