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The Starting Battery Versus The Deep Cycle Battery

A question that is asked many times over, what is the difference between a starting battery and a deep cycle battery? Another question is what application do you use a starting battery or a deep cycle battery. Below is some information that might make it easier for you to pick out the right battery.
What is the main difference betweem a starting and a deep cycle battery? A starting battery is designed for the purpose of starting the engine... thats it! A marine/RV deep cycle battery is designed to have the capability of many deep discharges. The deep cycle battery can handle hundreds of discharges where a starting battery is usually in the 20-50 range.
Should I use a deep cycle or a starting battery? If you will be discharging the battery once in a while and not more than 30% a starting battery will be adequate. Just make sure the battery has the proper reserve capacity and CCA(cold cranking amps) for the application. If the battery will be discharged repetitive times more than 30% a deep cycle battery is the best choice.
Can I use a deep cycle battery for a starting battery? Yes... that is if the battery meets the CCA(cold cranking amps) for your application. A deep cycle battery will not normally provide as many starts as a starting battery does though.
Battery options? The best option in a boat is having a dual battery installation with a battery switch or isolator. This way a starting battery can be used for the engine and a deep cycle can be used for accessories. If there is not room for a dual battery installation the use of a high CCA battery with a large reserve capacity can be used. This can be a deep cycle or starting battery.
More battery information
  • A cycle is a discharge and recharge of a battery.
  • First few discharges on a new deep cycle battery should not be deep discharges.
  • Lead batteries do not retain a memory.
  • A deep cycle battery that is only discharged up to 50% will get more than double the number of cycles than a battery that is discharged 100%
  • Because a battery is a Deep Cycle does not mean it needs to be heavily discharged for proper use.
See Also
Battery Switch
Battery Isolator
Blue Water Marine     8690 S. Oceana Drive,    Montague Mi.  49437
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