Charging Criteria and Other Differences Between Flooded, AGM and Gel Batteries

May 24, 2018 6:39 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Three of the most common styles of batteries you’ll find for equipment today are flooded, absorbed glass mat (AGM) and gel batteries. But what exactly are the differences between these three common battery types, and what do you need to know about them when determining which is the right choice for your specific application?

Here’s some information to consider from a battery store in Houston, TX.

Flooded batteries

These are the most “traditional” type of battery for most applications. They contain a combination of liquid electrolytes, with the liquid amount needing to be carefully measured and maintained for proper performance of the battery.

Flooded batteries are much more forgiving than other types of batteries with regard to their charging criteria if you make a mistake, charging either too hard or too long. Most of the time you’ll simply be able to add water and charge at a low rate to regain the life of the battery.

These batteries are usually considered the best choice for backup power applications, grid energy storage and general utility purposes. However, there are some drawbacks. For example, the fact that they contain free liquid means they require more frequent inspection and maintenance than other types of batteries. In addition, flooded batteries could also be subject to some accidental damage when they are moved forcefully, and extreme climates could result in the electrolyte solution freezing or evaporating.

AGM batteries

AGM batteries feature a glass mat separator that wicks electrolyte solutions between the battery plates. The design of the material allows that fiberglass to be saturated with the electrolyte and then store it in a suspended state rather than it floating around in free liquid form, like in a flooded battery.

These batteries do not require the same level of maintenance as flooded batteries. Because there is not any free liquid and you don’t have to worry about as much gassing, these batteries perform better than flooded batteries in circumstances in which maintenance would be hard to perform.

However, AGM batteries are much more susceptible to problems associated with charging errors. Undercharging can have an adverse effect on the battery’s life and performance. You should never discharge more than 50 percent of battery capacity.

Gel batteries

Gel batteries are also designed to be low-maintenance batteries. You do not have to add any water to them to keep electrolyte levels in check. Instead, the interior of the battery is filled with a gel electrolyte instead of a special battery acid.

Gel batteries are much lighter than your standard batteries, and are able to hold their charge for much longer periods of time. They are capable of withstanding much wider temperature fluctuations than flooded batteries.

However, like AGM batteries, they can be susceptible to charging problems. You must charge them at a slower rate to prevent a buildup of excess gas, and the charging must occur at a lower voltage than standard batteries. If you overcharge, you risk damaging the gel and affecting the battery’s lifespan.

For more information about these three types of batteries, contact our battery store in Houston, TX.

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