During the COVID-19 pandemic, most activities were restricted. Boating and camping, however, were not one of them. As a result, 2020 yielded record boat sales. 2020 also gave rise to increased RV and mobile home sales.

Boats and RVs share similar electrical when it comes to how they start and how they run. Both need batteries to start engines, and both carry batteries that store energy for use when not connected via a power cord to land or a specific location.

Batteries that start an engine on a boat is typically referred to as marine starting battery. A battery that stores energy for use later is called a deep cycle battery or a deep cycle marine battery.

So what is the difference between deep cycle vs. marine battery? Read on to find out.

Deep Cycle vs. Marine Battery

Let’s start at the beginning. A battery, any battery, is simply an electrical storage device. Chemicals store the energy within the battery; when the chemicals interact/change, the battery releases energy. The energy can be released at a high intensity for a short period of time or at a lower intensity for a longer period of time.

Deep Cycle Battery

Deep cycle batteries provide a continuous source of energy at a consistent level. A deep cycle battery can discharge up to 80% of its total capacity.

Batteries for solar energy storage are true, deep cycle batteries.

In contrast, a cranking/starting battery provides a sudden burst of energy. This type of battery is found in most cars and provides the spark that starts the engine. After the initial high-energy spark/output, the battery is no longer needed, and energy from the running engine recharges it.

Marine Battery

Just like its name, boats and other watercraft use marine batteries. The challenge comes in that many people interchange marine and deep cycle batteries as terms.

Marine batteries are unique; they can be starting batteries, deep cycle batteries, or both. Because of tight spaces on boats, marine batteries typically are hybrids, performing both starting and storage duties.

Internally, marine batteries are different than true starting or deep cycle batteries. The lead sponge plates in marine batteries are coarser and heavier than starting battery plates; however, they are still thinner than true deep cycle battery plates.

The dual nature of most marine batteries is why many people interchange marine and deep cycle batteries as terms.

The life span of a deep cycle battery or a deep cycle marine battery depends on the environment, how many times it cycles, and how it is maintained.

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How Can I Tell the Difference?

To truly tell the difference, you must cut a battery open. True deep cycle batteries have solid – not sponge – lead plates.

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