Optima vs Interstate: Which car battery is better?

optima vs interstate battery

When replacing batteries, what you want is a battery to meet your needs, works seamlessly and is durable. It won’t be nice that your car suddenly comes to a halt because of a bad battery. Let’s take a look at two battery brands. Optima vs interstate, which should you buy?

While those are not the only battery distribution brands, they are popular in the US. And chances are, you will fall back to either of them when you need to replace your batteries. While optima or interstate may serve your battery need, you need to know what set them apart.

Differences between Optima and Interstate Batteries

Battery capacity

Optima batteries have 720 cold crankings with a total of 910 amperages, while interstate batteries have 800 cold crankings with a total of 1000 amperages. These outputs are quite close, so you could say they produce almost the same power. 


While optima use Spiracell technology, interstate utilizes lead plates. Spiracell mechanism is believed to do well than the lead plate, which will be discussed as we progress. 


When it comes to reliability, interstate batteries do better. They can hold a charge for long and yet provides a reasonable amount of charge. This is compared to some models of optima batteries that are prone to deep discharges even when not in use.

Notifier–Use of Light Indicator

Many want to be notified of how their battery is doing. This is another option that sets interstate batteries apart. They have a light indicator that tells you if the battery is charging and the amount of charge left in the battery. 

Only a few upgraded optimal models have this option. However, one can monitor an optima battery’s charge state and get other battery information using their battery tender. 

Charge time

Though optima batteries discharge quickly, they have a faster charge time than interstate, maybe because of their smaller storage option. On the other hand, interstate takes a longer time to recharge, probably due to their bigger storage option but can hold a charge for long.

Optima and Interstate Batteries Explained

Optima Battery

Most Optima is AGM or factory batteries as they utilize a spiral cell design which sets them apart from most batteries. First, they utilize pure leads; then, these leads are housed in a spiral tube. Unlike traditional batteries, which use delicate lead plates wounded in acid vats.

This design makes their batteries able to withstand vibration. Because they utilize fiberglass in keeping the lead and electrolytes together, their batteries are less prone to leakage.

This design approach and the use of pure lead make them do better than the traditional lead-acid batteries.

You can operate one to two amps when charging optima batteries on a low current. But when deep discharge takes place (their weakness), it causes the battery plates to sulfate.

However, you can remove this sulfation by charging it with an optimal AGM trickle charger or any compatible AGM charger with 10 amps and above. 

Optima are factory batteries, not a regular flood battery or a gel battery, and as such, must be treated as one if you want it to last. When deep discharge occurs, say the charge left is less than 10. 5 volts, it’s advisable to use an AGM-compatible battery charger.

Else the battery won’t charge. Optimal batteries come in different models, which may include;

Red top batteries (Starter batteries)

Optima red top batteries are starter batteries and are suitable for cold starting engines. Providing enough charge that your ignition can come on in less than five seconds. It can be used by SUVs, off-road vehicles, street rods and trucks.

Yellow top batteries (Heavy-duty batteries)

The yellow top optima batteries are high-performance batteries that can serve different purposes. It comes with excellent cranking power and tremendous cycling rates. It is perfect for trucks having winches and commercial vehicles. Its low internal resistances make it deliver power greatly, making it perfect to power stereo systems. More, it recharges at a fast rate.

Blue top batteries (RVs/marine batteries)

The blue top battery has some attributes of the other two. And comes in two cases–dark gray case and light gray case. The blue top, dark gray case is suitable for starting engines alone. While the blue top light gray case is a deep cycle battery with massive cranking power. Perfect for starting and deep cycling.

Its ability is thrice the power of a traditional battery; it recharges quickly and is durable. A good choice for RVs, boats or other water automobiles. You can also use it for applications that easily drain other batteries.

Interstate Batteries

The interstate batteries perform well and are built strong. They can hold a charge for extended periods of time, whether in use or not.  Its reliability makes it notable among other popular brands in the US. Their high high-quality batteries are perfect for RVs.They are light which makes them easy to carry around. Interstate, just like optimal, comes in three groups.

Interstate start batteries

These batteries are built to start your RVs or motorhome. They come in different size batteries to meet your RV needs. And a year-free replacement warranty is available for  Every RV Interstate start battery. 

Interstate deep-cycle batteries

Interstate deep cycle batteries are high-performance batteries and come in various sizes. So, they can serve as a house battery for your RVs. It comes in handy in powering your lights, musical system and even high voltage electronics like cooking appliances whether the engine is on or off. 

More, the newly improved RV interstate flooded battery provides enough deep cycles to high voltage electronics such as fridges, cookers, computers etc. And comes with two years free replacement warranty. 

Dual-purpose interstate batteries

These batteries can both start and provide deep cycles power for your RVs anywhere. It’s made with pure alloy leads, and its AGM packed design makes it perform highly, giving out much power daily drivers need for their everyday commute.

Alloy AGM batteries have extended battery life and can produce more power.  It has twice the power of a traditional lead battery and thrice the power of a conventional flooded battery. Like others, it comes in various sizes to care for your RV need. And has a three-year free replacement warranty.


What is the difference between a house battery and deep cycle battery?

Deep cycle batteries are high-performance batteries and provide enough power for appliances running on 12V, and above depending on the charge it produces.
Most 12V electronics are found in a home or RV. And as such deep cycle batteries can be used as house batteries. In summary, a house battery is a deep cycle battery.

Can you combine a start battery and a deep cycle battery?

You can combine a start and deep cycle battery. But it should be used only in emergencies, especially when they start battery suddenly dies.
Both serve a different purpose, so using them interchangeably could lead to wear and tear. Or possibly damage both batteries. 
However, there are dual-purpose batteries that can serve as a starter and deep cycle battery. Using it shouldn’t bother you since they are built for both purposes.

How do I install a car battery?

Installing a battery is not a complex task; you can do it personally.
However, automobiles have different battery locations, so the installation process may differ. The best will be to consult your vehicle owner’s manual for direction.
For example, installing marine batteries will be quite different from installing an RV battery.

Which battery should I use?

The battery you should use depends on the automobile you power, its capacity, your driving habit, and climatic conditions.
A boat, truck, and motor homes are different. Deep cycle batteries are great in powering electronics operating on 12V and above, while start batteries can start your engine quickly. 
Lithium batteries can also come handy; it produces a good amount of charge, last longer, and can do well in cold climates –making it perfect for RVs that are always on the road.

Final thoughts

With all discussed above, optima vs interstate, which should you opt for? It boils down to why you need the battery and what you are powering.

Both battery manufacturers utilize different designs to serve different purposes. Interstate batteries are mainly used for motor homes. In contrast, optimal batteries serve RV, conventional vehicles, and Water vessels like boats. 

Interstate batteries are light, built strong, can last for extended periods, and has a longer life span but takes a long time to recharge compared to optima.

While optimal is built strong, some of their models suffer from deep discharge even when the battery is not in use. This is not very pleasant. You do not want to get stuck with a dead battery, so choose wisely.

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