The majority of people never stop to think about the batteries that are powering their everyday lives. How do the batteries that power golf cars differ from the ones in our TV remotes? The most we think about our batteries is when they don’t work.
But the truth is, while all batteries store energy, there are significant differences in how that works for different types of batteries, and which of those batteries are most effective for different applications.
Deep cycle batteries, for instance, may look a lot like car batteries to people who aren't familiar with them, but in reality, they're quite different.
Deep Cycle Battery Definition
A deep cycle battery is a lead battery designed to provide sustained power over a long period and run reliably until it is 80% discharged or more, at which point it needs to be recharged. It is important to note that although deep cycle batteries can be discharged up to 80%, most manufacturers recommend not discharging below 45% to extend the life of the battery.
The level of discharge is the “deep cycle” and stands in contrast to other types of batteries that provide only short bursts of energy before they need to be recharged. To be specific, a starter battery discharges only a tiny percentage -- usually 2 to 5% -- each time it is use.
When to Use a Deep Cycle Battery
Deep cycle batteries provide sustained energy, making them ideal for certain applications that require more than a quick start. Some of the most common uses for deep cycle batteries include:
- Marine applications
- Recreational vehicles
- Materials handling, including forklifts
- Golf carts
- Off-grid renewable energy
For some applications, particularly marine uses, hybrid batteries are another solution. A hybrid marine battery can offer both a starter burst and sustained power for marine applications, but tends to have a shorter lifespan than a battery with a dedicated role.
Types of Deep Cycle Batteries
Even among deep cycle batteries with similar functionality, there are different types. The two most common types of deep cycle batteries are flooded deep cycle batteries and sealed or “maintenance-free” deep cycle batteries.
Flooded deep cycle batteries require regular monitoring. When the electrolyte levels are low in this type of battery, the user must refill the battery appropriately to maintain performance.
“Maintenance-free” batteries, which are also called “Sealed” or “Valve Regulated Lead Acid” batteries are sealed and do not require watering, although regular inspection is still recommended.
As a consumer or a battery dealer, it is essential to understand the different functions of battery types. While the deep cycle battery distinction may not mean much to the average person, the more you know the better you can make effective power storage choices for all your needs.