Deciding Between Batteries: The Battle of Deep-Cycle vs. SLI Designs

Batteries are deceptive from a cursory glance. For the most part, they’re square or rectangular shapes with a mysterious, black housing. Learn how to pick one out so that you’re always ready with the proper product for the application.

You’ve probably heard of deep-cycle batteries before. The term “SLI” also comes up in conversation. Which battery is right for your needs? The confusion is about to end because these power sources are starkly different from one another.

Deep Cycle’s purpose

As the name suggests, a deep-cycle battery can be used to the bottom of it’s charge. It’s designed to be fully charged and discharged down to nearly zero percent.

You’ll find deep-cycle batteries in these applications, including:

  • Electric scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Boats
  • Golf carts

All of these machines rely on constant power from the battery. They’re designed for a constant draw, which makes deep-cycle batteries perfect for long days on the golf course. They’re even tolerant of additional accessories, such as electrical devices added to the frame of your wheelchair. You won’t notice a difference in power as the machine takes off.

Deep-cycle and SLI batteries often look similar so always check the labeling before you add a power source to your major machine.

SLI’s niche

SLI stands for Starting, Lighting and Ignition. With this fact in mind, it makes sense that this battery is normally found in cars and motorcycles. These vehicles don’t run off of electrical power for their entire run. They merely need to power up upon ignition.

Your vehicle battery simply charges for the rest of the ride. Although the vehicle is useless without the battery upon startup, it’s largely a weight to be carried around otherwise. The alternator and other electrical components supply the rest of the current to your dashboard and select devices.

SLI batteries give you an immediate boost of power while retaining much of their charge. For this reason, car and motorcycle batteries last for several years without any hiccups.

Breaking down the interior components

If you could open up a deep-cycle battery, you’d discover thick plates and dense materials dividing them out. All of these materials contribute to charging strength. As you discharge the battery, most of the current leaves the interior. It must maintain its structural integrity for a subsequent charge afterward, however.

The thick construction gives the battery a chance to be charged and discharged dozens of times. You won’t see this design in an SLI battery.

SLI batteries rely on thin plates and relatively porous substances to give you the high-current boost that’s necessary during ignition. The thin plating offers extra square footage within the battery, which leads to efficient current movement. The internal design makes it possible for electricity to flow as necessary to your car or other vehicle.

Using the wrong batteries

If you end up using an improper battery type, you’ll notice problems almost immediately. Replace an SLI battery with a deep-cycle product, and you’ll see these issues, such as:

  • Problems starting the machine
  • Possible overcharging issues

When the engine doesn’t turn over as expected, the battery may not be the right one. Consider an SLI battery instead of a deep-cycle design. You might power the cart or wheelchair for a short period, but the battery will quickly die back. It cannot take the extreme discharge that a deep-cycle battery withstands.

Dual-purpose differences

In some circles, there are batteries that can achieve both SLI and deep-cycle goals. They’re referred to as dual-purpose batteries. However, not every dual-purpose design is perfected.

Read over the battery’s specifications before you add it to any machine. The current ratings must match the machine’s requirements. To be on the safe side, buying standard batteries for your application is the best choice. SLI and deep-cycle batteries have their distinct uses that ultimately improve your operation of the machine on a daily basis.

Don’t end up using the wrong battery. Businesses quickly lose money when their power sources are faulty.