Difference between the battery types

What is the difference between starting, semi-cycling, dual-purpose, and deep cycle batteries? 

Selecting the right battery for your specific needs can be a challenging task with a variety of battery types available in the market. As battery experts, we know how important it is to understand the difference between battery types. Each type of battery is designed to meet specific requirements, whether it’s starting an engine or providing sustained power over an extended period. In this article, we look at four main types of batteries: starting batteries, starting and semi-cycling batteries, dual-purpose batteries, and deep cycle batteries. By understanding their characteristics and applications, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions when selecting the right battery for your specific needs. 

Starting batteries: 
Starting batteries, also known as cranking batteries, are primarily designed to deliver a burst of power for a short period to start an engine. They possess a high cranking amp (CA) rating and are optimised for providing a large amount of current quickly. The initial burst of energy from starting the engine typically discharges the battery by only 1-3%, which is quickly replenished by the vehicle’s alternator. In normal usage, it is unlikely your car battery will experience a discharge of more than 20% of its total capacity throughout its lifespan. The design and construction of starting batteries focuses on delivering that initial short burst of power, and they are not designed to provide sustained power over an extended period. In fact, if they are discharged too much, starting batteries can be permanently damaged. 

When should I use a Starter battery?  
Starting Batteries are commonly used in automotive applications, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, and other vehicles that require a reliable power source for engine starting. 

Starting and Semi-Cycling batteries: 
Starting & semi-cycling batteries can be considered a hybrid between starting and deep cycle batteries. They are designed to offer both high cranking power for engine starting and light cycling capabilities for powering accessories. These batteries can handle limited deep discharge and recharge reasonably well, making them suitable for applications that require occasional cycling. However, they are not ideal for long-term, deep cycling applications that demand frequent and substantial discharging. 

When should I use a Starting and Semi-Cycling battery?  
You would use a Starting and Semi-Cycling Battery in situations that require occasional cycling capabilities, such as running accessories like lights, radios, or other electrical components in your vehicle. 

Dual-purpose batteries: 
Dual-purpose batteries are specifically engineered to strike a balance between starting and deep cycling capabilities. They are versatile and deliver the high cranking power needed to start an engine, as well as handle moderate cycling for powering auxiliary devices. Due to their design, dual purpose batteries are commonly used in marine applications where both engine starting and extended auxiliary power are required. These batteries are an excellent choice when you need a reliable power source for various applications. 

When should I use a Dual-Purpose battery? 
Dual-purpose batteries are commonly used in boats, recreational vehicles (RVs), and other applications that require a combination of starting and cycling capabilities. 

Deep Cycle batteries: 
Deep cycle batteries are specifically designed to provide sustained power over an extended period. They are built to withstand deep discharges and subsequent recharges repeatedly without experiencing significant performance or capacity loss. These batteries are optimised for long-term deep cycling and are an excellent choice when you require a reliable power source for longer periods of time. They will however not provide the same high currents and short bursts of power required to repeatedly start engines.

When should I use a Deep Cycle battery? 
You would typically use a deep cycle battery in caravans, recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, golf carts, solar energy systems, off-grid power systems, and other similar setups. 

In summary, each type of battery serves a specific purpose in different applications. Starting batteries are tailored for high cranking power to start engines, while deep cycle batteries are designed for continuous and sustained power over longer durations. Dual purpose batteries provide a balance between starting and cycling capabilities while starting and semi-cycling batteries serve as a hybrid option with limited deep cycling capabilities. When selecting a battery, consider the specific application and power requirements so you can make a more informed choice. 

If you’re uncertain which battery to choose, our Club Assist team of battery experts can assist you in making the right selection. Visit our product page to discover a wide range of high-quality batteries carefully selected from leading global battery manufacturers or if you have any further questions, please contact us.