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Deep Cycle Battery vs. Lead-Acid Battery
Now that you know how these battery types work, it’s time to explore the benefits and shortcomings of each. Plus, we’ll dive into when to rely on deep cycle batteries versus when to install lead-acid batteries in your vehicles.
Because of their different designs, deep cycle and traditional lead-acid batteries work for vastly different scenarios.
Deep cycle batteries aren’t often found in everyday vehicles, like cars and trucks. Instead, they work to provide a steady supply of a lower amount of power compared to traditional batteries, making them ideal for recreational vehicles, boats, golf carts and electric vehicles, such as medical carts or electric bikes.
Traditional lead-acid batteries are probably familiar to most drivers, as these are common in many everyday vehicles, like cars, SUVs, trucks and other light-duty vehicles that need short bursts of power to start up the vehicle engine.
CCA vs. RC
When you’re looking into deep cycle batteries and traditional lead-acid batteries, you’ll come across the terms cold cranking amps (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC).
CCA indicates the number of amps a battery produces in 30 seconds at 0°C (32°F) while maintaining a minimum of 7.2 voltage.
RC is the number of minutes a battery can produce 25 amps with a minimum of 10.5 voltage.
A lead-acid battery will provide about two times more CCA compared to a deep cycle battery, while a deep cycle battery provides two or three times as much RC as a traditional lead-acid battery.
Pros of Deep Cycle Batteries
Deep cycle batteries have several benefits, depending on the situation. Many of their benefits, like sustained energy and long cycle lifespan, make them ideal for recreational vehicle use.
Cycles. Deep cycle batteries last for about 2,000 cycles, with each cycle representing a full discharge and recharge, while traditional lead-acid batteries last about 200 cycles and aren’t designed for deep discharging.
RC. A deep cycle battery has a much higher RC compared to regular batteries and provides more sustained energy.
Size. Deep cycle batteries are smaller and lighter in weight than regular batteries, which is why they work so well in recreational vehicles.
Cons of Deep Cycle Batteries
Not every vehicle will benefit from a deep cycle battery, as they do have some drawbacks that won’t allow them to work in every setting.
CCA. Deep cycle batteries provide half to three-quarters less CCA than a traditional lead-acid battery.
Power. With the lower CCA, deep cycle batteries do not provide the large bursts of power that a traditional lead-acid battery can provide to a vehicle.
Recharging. Users will need to manually recharge deep cycle batteries.
Pros of Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries are ubiquitous in many of the vehicles we come across every day because they have many benefits for modern cars and trucks.
Power. Lead-acid batteries provide large bursts of power to start a vehicle engine, and they rarely reach more than 20% DoD.
Recharging. The vehicle alternator helps recharge the battery, so users do not need to manually recharge traditional lead-acid batteries.
Cost. Lead-acid batteries are everywhere, and as the most common vehicle battery, they are easy to find and affordable.
Cons of Lead-Acid Batteries
Lead-acid batteries have some drawbacks that make them less suitable for certain applications, and unlike maintenance-free deep cycle battery varieties, they do require regular inspections and maintenance.
Limited capacity. Lead-acid batteries aren’t designed to reach a deep state of discharge the way that deep cycle batteries can and have a much lower RC compared to deep cycle batteries.
Maintenance. Lead-acid batteries need regular inspections and must be refilled to prevent battery damage.
Temperature resistance. Lead-acid batteries don’t hold up well to extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. The lifespan of lead-acid batteries can be cut short when used frequently in high heat or freezing temperatures.