Making a Reasonable Choice: AGM vs Gel Deep Cycle Batteries

Posted by Tim White

In case you’re considering implementing a renewable energy system for your home, then you’ve probably heard just how big of a part the battery plays. And when looking for solar batteries, you’ll come across deep cycle batteries, which are extremely efficient energy storage units. They’re specifically designed to be discharged and recharged far more than conventional batteries, and they provide a steady power rate for extended time periods. This makes deep cycle batteries the ideal choice not just for solar systems, but for a ton of commercial and recreational applications like boating and camping.

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There are a couple of different types of deep cycle batteries, with the most popular ones being AGM and Gel batteries. When looking for a deep cycle battery, you’ll come across types with a wide range of voltages and amps. The most common are 24, 12, 6 and 2 volt deep cycle battery models. There are also 48V battery systems, but you typically will be looking at a 24,12 ,6 and 2 volt deep cycle battery for your home or caravan.

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AGM batteries are the most popular type. They’re completely sealed and safe and easy to transport. These batteries feature lead-acid where the electrolyte is absorbed into fibreglass mat. The plates inside AGM batteries are either flat, similar to those in wet cell batteries, or wound in a tight spiral. AGM batteries have lower internal resistance, so they can handle higher temperatures than other types of batteries. They also feature a release valve which is activated when the battery is being recharged at high voltage, so that small amounts of material can escape. Additionally, AGM batteries feature gas diffusers which allow you to safely release excess hydrogen that’s created when they’re being charged. Finally, AGM batteries are maintenance-free.

Gel batteries are also sealed, and they use a gel electrolyte. These batteries have the advantage of being capable of eliminating the electrolyte’s evaporation. Additionally, they have extremely good resistance to high temperatures, vibration and shock, making them ideal for use in boats, aircraft and automobiles. Gel batteries are also rust, spill and corrosion resistant as all of their contents are 100% sealed. Since they’re designed to eliminate all gas emissions, they’re also maintenance-free. However, you have to use a proper charger in order to get the best performance out of them. This applies to AGM batteries as well, as proper charging will impact their performance and longevity, and if you want to get the best out of your investment, you should read the manufacturer’s manual on how to properly charge them.

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