Deep Cycle Vs Marine Battery – What Is The Difference Between Them

Last Updated: December 30th, 2020 | By: Gina

deep cycle marine battery for trolling motor

Batteries of any kind are electrical storage devices and despite making electricity their job is to store. When the chemicals inside the batteries go for a transformation the electrical energy is stored or released.

The batteries that are used for different applications are:

Starting Batteries:

These types of batteries are set-up in trucks and cars and have rating of cranking amps (CA) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) on it.

A range of 500-800 CA is required by a car engine to start and this battery is designed to deliver high current for a short time. A battery which is discharged to 10.5v 2-4 times then this may damage it and may not let your car start.

Marine Batteries:

These types of batteries could be starting, dual-purpose or deep cycle batteries but generally they are a hybrid of deep cycle and starting batteries.

They possess lead sponge plates that are heavy and coarse as compared to the starting battery plates. But these are less thick than the true deep cycle battery plates. These are specially created for boats and possess a CA/CCA rating with Reserve Capacity (RC) rating.

As far as the RC is concerned it does not hold any objective in the boondocking world. If you have a generator with an electric start then the only rating which will matter is Amp Hour-AH rating.

You may have some confusion with the labels of “deep cycle” and “marine” as these are used interchangeably or together as we mentioned above also that the marine batteries fall in the category of starting and deep cycle battery.

deep cycle vs regular battery

Deep Cycle Batteries:

These types of batteries come with thick plates and without causing any damage can be discharged down to 80%.

On the other hand the starter batteries deliver short and high-current bursts for cranking an engine and just discharge a very small part of their capacity frequently.

A major difference which these deep-cycle batteries carry than the other batteries is the solid lead plates and not sponge.

These include traction, solar electric (PV), back-up, RV batteries etc.

Brands And Batteries – Optima Batteries

Industrial applications with back-up and solar power plants commonly use the deep cycle batteries. Talking about some true deep cycle brands which include Deka, Crown, and Trojan use deep cycle batteries.

If we talk about a renowned brand Optima then the batteries are referred to as YELLOWTOPs and BLUETOPs for dual-purpose, deep-cycle, and starting batteries.

These are identical with not much of difference. BLUETOP are RV batteries and provide cranking power to start engines and these are slightly higher-priced than the YELLOWTOP counterparts.

marine deep cycle battery

These are available in 6-Volt and 12-Volt batteries automotive-style batteries which are designed specifically for deep-cycle use.

Only one exception the 34M BLUETOP battery is the marine version of the group of 34REDTOP starting battery. Be it the YELLOWTOP or BLUETOP both power accessories such as the trolling motors and winches that might deeply-discharge batteries.

Due to infrequent use and lack of care the batteries may have shorter life spans but if vice-versa then they have longevity.

NOTE: For an outboard and inboard marine engine a starting battery is ideally suited. But if it’s a trolling motor then deep-cycle battery is much preferred.

Battery Life Span

  • Any battery be it of any brand will have a life according to how it is used, maintained, and charged along with external aspects such as the temperature.

  • The life span of a battery is also effected by one thing that how often and how deep you deep cycle a battery.

  • The life span of a marine battery is usually for 1-6 years and the AGM (absorbed Glass Mat) battery generally lasts or 4-8 years. If it is a gelled deep cycle battery then it will be 2-5 years and industrial deep cycle battery will stay for a huge 10-20 years.

Major Differences - Deep Cycle Vs Marine Battery

As written and explained above the Marine batteries could be deep cycle, dual-purpose, or starting batteries. The Marine batteries can be considered as a compromise or a hybrid of deep cycle and starting batteries.

The Marine batteries have lead sponge plates which are heavy and rough but not as thick as that of the true deep-cycle battery plates.

The Deep cycle batteries offer less current for starting but facilitate deeper and longer discharges without damage. If it is FLA (flooded lead-acid) batteries then there is no sintering (heat treatment to a powder compact to bestow integrity and strength).

best portable marine battery charger

When To Use A Deep Cycle Battery

Sustained energy is provided by the Deep cycle batteries and these become an ideal option for many of the applications such as:

1. Marine applications

2. Recreational Vehicles –RVs

3. Golf Carts

4. Materials handling, including Forklifts

5. Off-grid renewable energy

When To Use A Marine Battery

As the name suggests, specifically for boat purposes the Marine batteries are designed. While you are on-board on a power boat then pounding and vibration may occur and the heavier plates and robust construction of these Marine batteries works well to withstand it.

Hence, for marine uses the best solution are the hybrid batteries which offer a starter-burst and sustained power alike for the marine applications. In comparison to the battery with a dedicated role these have a shorter life span battery.

The Final Thoughts:

Both these types of batteries have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. For optimum results and output you need to take good care of them and keep them using without keeping them idle for longevity. Good brand battery should be your target and the right usage is what you will be benefitted with.