Planetary gear transmissions are compact, high-power speed reducers that use parallel load paths. The range of possible reduction ratios is bounded from below and above by limits on the relative size of the planet gears. For a single-plane transmission, the planet gear has no size of the sun and ring. Which ratio is best for a planetary reduction can be resolved by studying a series of optimal designs. In this series, each design is obtained by maximizing the service life for a planetary transmission with a fixed size, gear ratio, input speed, power and materials. The planetary gear reduction service life is modeled as a function of the two-parameter Weibull distributed service lives of the bearings and gears in the reduction. Planet bearing life strongly influences the optimal reduction lives, which point to an optimal planetary reduction ratio in the neighborhood of four to five.