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Lead Acid Battery Classification

Lead acid batteries are classified by what they are used for and by construction. The most common flooded lead acid battery application is automotive in which the battery is briefly hit with high amperage starting then the alternator takes care of the rest: lights etc. Deep cycle applications where there is a long duration with lower amperage load are usually broken down into specific applications such as RV, golf cart, renewable energy, industrial and marine.  Batteries designed for backup systems are designed for long duration standby and have different chemicals added for this reason. 

There are three popular types of storage batteries for off grid applications: flooded batteries (wet) , AGM and Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA ) batteries. The electrolyte all of these batteries is a solution of sulphuric acid and water.  AGM batteries have their electrolyte is suspended in a fiberglass mat (AGM technology), and are sealed allowing these batteries to be mounted in a variety of positions including indoors. 

Gel batteries are not recommend for off-grid because they do not release their charge as quick as may be required and they can only be charged gently as any air bubble created by hard charging or overcharge can create voids against the plates. Such a void remains for the lifetime of the battery. .   

VRLA and AGM are generally 2 to 3 times as expensive as flooded, and the cycle lifetime is usually similar.  So why and where would these batteries be used?

  • Used in areas with little or poor ventilation
  • Used in areas or applications where maintenance access is a problem or service is unavailable. (or owners are maintenance adverse)
  • Used in areas that a flooded battery might spill or break and cause damage

Lighted buoys, sailboat batteries.. are two examples of areas where AGM batteries are frequently used.


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Last modified: January 12, 2023