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Gel or AGM batteries,
which one do you need?

Not sure which battery type you need? Don’t panic – our technical team have put together this short guide to help you work it out.

It’s worth understanding the makeup of the two battery types, primarily this relates to the type of medium the electrolyte is held in. The term AGM stands for Absorbed Glass Matt, in AGM batteries, the electrolyte is held within this matting, which can be likened to a sponge between the plates. In a GEL battery, the electrolyte is held within a thick gel like putty compound

Both battery types are also referred to VRLA batteries, this stands for Valve Regulated Lead Acid. AGM and GEL batteries are normally offered in the same capacity and come in the same case dimensions.
Similar looks, different applications

Ok, firstly, deciding on whether you need a Gel or AGM battery depends on the type of application you are going to be using the battery in.  

An AGM is great for when you need to be able to draw a high current for a short time such as engine start batteries, thruster and winches. 

Gel batteries are better suited to applications requiring a lower steady current discharge rate and are better suited to the deeper discharge properties required by house/domestic banks, especially when used in conjunction with inverters.

Both battery type’s offer a low self-discharge rate and can be stored or left for long periods of time (when no loads are connected to them), so you won’t have to worry about going to the marina to find your boat dead in the water.

Both AGM and GEL batteries are sealed, maintenance free battery types, it is important that these are therefore charged using a good quality fully three staged battery charger, such as the Victron Energy range of chargers.

We recommend you only discharge your batteries to 50 percent discharge, this helps to increase the amount of discharge and recharge cycles the batteries can go through, this is commonly referred to as the Cyclic Life.
In conclusion if you are looking for an engine or motor start battery, then AGM would be the more preferable type, for a battery pack that will be used in a inverter application to power loads such as your TV, fridge, freezer or to supply power to DC loads such as lights etc, we would suggest a GEL battery.

We hope you find this guide useful, please call us if you would like any further information.

Technical Sales Team
01634 290772
See the Gel & AGM ranges on ES-Store
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