Deep Cycle Battery: What Is It and How Is It Different?

We cannot overemphasize the significance of an automotive battery, seeing its role in the current provision to move a vehicle. Many auto pundits have their best car battery brand and selection that meet their individual needs. The deep cycle battery is one of them, boasting rave reviews.

How good is the deep cycle battery? One of the endearing elements of this car component is its longevity. On its top, its charging cycle allows for use for a long time. An in-depth look at this battery type will show you why it is an excellent pick for your car.

What Is a Deep Cycle Battery?

deep cycle battery 12v

To understand how a deep cycle battery works, you have to put it side-by-side with a standard car battery. The latter produces a momentary burst of energy to start your car. On the other hand, the deep cycle battery’s design ensures that it provides a steady supply of power for an extended time before it fully discharges.

The discharge value is roughly 80-100%, after which you have to charge it to complete the charging cycle. To better grasp the deep cycle battery’s functioning, you need to know about the battery cycle.

A cycle is the full discharge and recharge of a battery. The depth of discharge is the capacity removed from the battery. The depth of discharge for a fully discharged battery is 100%. The depth of discharge is inversely proportional to the state of charge, which is the remaining battery capacity. So 100% discharge is equal to 0% state of charge.

Back to the deep cycle battery, you find that it handles deep discharges of up to 100%, hence its name. Deep cycle vs. car battery, what is the difference? The main difference is that the former can handle deep discharges without degradation.

For the standard battery, one or two deep cycles won’t hurt. However, if sustained, the cycles may lead to its damage. The deep cycle battery’ resiliency comes from its construction, featuring thicker plates and dense active materials.

On the application of deep cycle batteries, you use them for a motor that requires a steady power supply for a long time. You find it in electric car motors like in electric golf carts, forklifts, wheelchairs, and lifting machines. Recreation vehicles, traffic lights, and renewable energy systems also use this battery.

Pros of The Deep Cycle Battery

The primary advantage of a deep cycle battery is its robustness. The battery features thick plates and high-density active paste that allows deep discharging without damage. The other endearing element of this power pack is its constant power supply. It is perfect for applications that need a continuous power supply, such as electric vehicles and wheelchairs.

Maintaining this battery is effortless, where you need to have the correct deep cycle battery charger to ensure it is running alright. You can use a fast charger with impressive results. The deep cycle battery lifespan is roughly 6-years, though it may extend to 10-years for some types. Moreover, this car accessory is 98% recyclable.


The deep cycle battery price is its major downside as it is higher than that of the standard battery. Some types of this power pack, especially the flooded, need immense maintenance, primarily focusing on spillage prevention.

What Are the Types of Deep Cycle Batteries?

There are two types of deep cycle batteries; flooded and valve-regulated lead acid. Under the former, you have the AGM battery and the gel battery. What is the difference between flooded and valve-regulated lead-acid types?

The flooded varieties have the electrodes fully submerged in an electrolyte. Under this category, we have the tubular and flat plated types. The valve-regulated lead-acid type consists of the electrolyte suspended in a gel-like solution like gel batteries. The AGM batteries have a mat that acts as a sponge to hold the electrolyte in place. Many people prefer the valve-regulated variety due to its sturdiness and longevity.

Deep cycle vs. lithium-ion, which comes on top? In essence, lithium-ion batteries are deep cycles, judging from their charging cycles. Lithium-ion batteries have several advantages over the standard deep cycle.

Li-ion batteries are lighter, have an efficient discharge rate of up to 100%, and have an average lifeline of 2000-4000 cycles, compared to the 400-1500 cycles of lead-acid batteries. Deep cycle batteries come on top at price, as they are relatively affordable.

deep cycle battery voltage

How Do You Maintain Deep Cycle Batteries?

You have to maintain the deep cycle batteries for lengthy service. Typically, they are not that hard to maintain, particularly the gel and AGM types. You need to have the correct charger and program the voltage setpoints. It allows for proper charging without degrading any parts.

If you have a flooded battery, you need to refill it with distilled water every 2-4 weeks. Check the electrodes and clean them where necessary to prevent corrosion. Do not forget to put the batteries upright to prevent spillage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Do Deep Cycle Battery Specifications Mean?

When dealing with a deep-cycle battery, you will encounter several specifications that you need to know. Battery capacity, expressed in Amp hour (Ah), shows how much current the battery can deliver. If rated at 80Ah at 20-hours, it can deliver 4-amps for 20-hours. You get this value by dividing 80 by 20.

The other spec that you will encounter is the discharge cycle. It denotes the times the battery can discharge and recharge without deterioration. For instance, 2000 discharge cycles mean you can discharge and recharge the battery 2000 times. Finally, we have the depth of discharge, which is the battery capacity that can be safely released.

Q: Where Are Deep Cycle Batteries Used?

Deep cycle batteries do an excellent job in applications that need sustained and stable current distribution. You find it in electric vehicles, which require adequate power to keep them moving. Electric golf carts, forklifts, and wheelchairs use this battery type. Furthermore, you get them in traffic signals, recreation vehicles, and renewable energy systems.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Deep Cycle and Regular Batteries?

The main difference between deep cycle and regular batteries is that the former can handle deep charging cycles without degrading. Also, it provides a steady power stream over a long time. On the technical side, the difference between a deep cycle and a regular battery is the cold cranking amp (CCA) and reserve capacity (RC).

The CCA is the amps a battery provides in 30-seconds at 32-degrees Fahrenheit. The RC refers to the duration a battery can last while producing 25-amps maintaining at 10.5-volts.

A deep cycle battery delivers half the CCA as the standard lead-acid battery. On the other hand, it has a reserve capacity 2-3 times that of the regular battery.

Q: What is the purpose of a deep-cycle battery?

The deep cycle battery is handy when you need a continuous and steady power supply over a long time without a recharge. It is prominent in RVs, golf carts, scooters, marine trolling motors, and solar batteries.

Q: How long will a deep cycle battery last?

The battery life depends on the type you have. If well maintained, the valve-regulated lead-acid battery will last up to ten years, which is more than the 6-7 years the flooded type will give you. The deep cycle battery has a robust structure, characterized by thick plates and high-density active paste. It translates to resiliency despite the deep discharging, hence its durability.

Q: Can You Jumpstart a Car with A Deep Cycle Battery?

A deep cycle battery will do an excellent job in jumpstarting a car most of the time. However, if it is cold or you have engine problems, jumpstarting will be pretty challenging, a low CCA being a contributing factor. It is wise to use a starter battery with a higher CCA in such a case.

Q: Can A Car Alternator Charge a Deep Cycle Battery?

The alternator helps keep batteries charged, but it does not do an excellent job with dead batteries. Considering that most deep cycle batteries get fully discharged before recharging, an alternator won’t properly charge them or completely fail.

Q: How Many Times Can You Recharge a Deep Cycle Battery?

A deep cycle battery can last after over a thousand charging cycles, compared to the standard battery that may fail in the hundreds. The thick plates and dense active paste contribute to this power pack’s sturdiness.

Q: Is A Deep Cycle Battery Better Than a Regular Battery?

In some situations, the deep cycle battery is efficient and better than a regular battery. For example, it performs well in electric vehicles, RV systems, traffic lights, and more, as the applications require a lengthy and sustained current supply. The regular battery beats the deep cycle in use in challenging conditions and heavy-duty applications. It is also cheaper.

Q: Can You Overcharge a Deep Cycle Battery?

Overcharging a deep cycle battery, where you channel more voltage than needed, will damage it. You should check its charging limits and be keen when on the charger to prevent mishaps.

Q: Is It Better to Charge a Deep Cycle Battery Slow or Fast?

Many people opt for fast charging as the battery fills up quickly. The problem with fast charging a deep cycle battery is that, at times, the charging value is not correct. There may be heat buildup in worse scenarios, which can degrade the battery.

On the other hand, slow charging will take a long time but present minimal risks of damage to the battery. The battery does not overheat, and the battery will be full when done.

Final Word

How reliable is a deep cycle battery? This article hints at how an excellent partner this battery is, especially for electric vehicles like golf carts and forklifts. The contrasting point between the deep cycle battery and the regular one is that the former undergoes a full discharge at 80 or 100% before you recharge it.

Impressive things about this battery type are longevity, effortless maintenance, and it is recyclable. Use this piece to appreciate and acquire this battery for various home or automotive applications.


Hi There, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I have been working as a mechanic for over fifteen years. I worked for a long time at Global Rebound Automotive companies (Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others ) as a Mechanic and Mechanics Supervisor.

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