Choosing between AGM and gel batteries for your car is a daunting task. You probably confused both of them, thinking they are the same – even when the evidence is clear that they are not, as long as you look into it carefully.
This AGM vs. Gel article will look at these two battery types and see which fits your car situation better.
The technology used in car batteries no longer has to do with the traditional flooded battery; now, there are plenty of technological advancements in this field, and they have also come a long way.
However, it can be a confusing process trying to differentiate the different technologies in place, and nowhere is this difference more confusing than in AGM and gel batteries.
For the vast majority of people that use lead-acid batteries, the new technology talk does not make much sense since they will likely never see gel batteries in use.
However, we cannot blame them, as these two battery types share many similarities. However, it is important to educate yourself on these contrasts, as they will help you make the most of your battery and ensure it serves you well for a long time.
What are the differences between AGM and Gel batteries?
|Battery type||AGM battery||Gel battery|
|Material sealing the acid||Fiberglass plates||Gel combination of acid and silica|
|Power losses at low temperatures||Low||Relatively low|
|Power losses at high temperatures||Low||High|
|Check here||Check here|
AGM vs. Gel – how these two compare
This will entirely depend on the battery's model and the specific manufacturer you are buying it from.
For instance, when looking at the Concorde Sun AGM battery, you find a cycle life of 1000 to a DOD (depth of discharge) of 50%, while the Gel battery has 500 cycles to the same DOD rating.
You will look at the cycle life consideration depending on the use circumstances. When using backup power, for example, the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) makes the cycle life consideration inconsequential since the battery is almost always in a fully charged state.
However, for something else, such as a solar energy system application, getting a battery with higher cycle power is always better because the batteries will experience discharge daily.
Optimum temperature use
Many manufacturers will agree that AGM batteries are best used in colder weather and climates (the ideal temperatures should be below zero C or 32 F).
Even though it is true that AGM batteries will give you a greater percentage of capacity at lower temperatures though, gel batteries are even better at these lower temperatures.
In fact, for gel batteries, many even operate in temperatures of as low as -60OC or -76OF.
The takeaway lesson from this is that you must choose the correct battery size for your specific application to deliver the best energy even in lower temperatures while ensuring that the electrolyte does not freeze.
The general rule is that gel batteries will have a lower discharge rate than AGM batteries. To know this, Gel battery manufacturers will state their batteries' CCA (cold cranking amps) on the spec sheets.
This CCA rating is good for powering high-current motors when starting an engine, but it is not applicable for UPS and solar use applications.
Even though some solar systems can start a surge load or other motor loads, the surge load is usually non-consequential to choosing the specific battery technology you will work with.
AGM vs. Gel – A comparison review
AGM battery – Overview and key features
AGM batteries are an abbreviation for Absorbent Glass Mat. This explanation can sound ridiculous, but it works: the unique glass mat is made from fiberglass, which can act like a sponge and absorb sulfuric acid.
This will make the battery spill-proof, unlike the traditional battery that tends to spill acid, and you need to refill it with electrolyte or water.
It is a fairly recent technology for making lead acid batteries, having first come on the scene in the early 1980s. This is due to the increasing demand for less hazardous and lighter-weight batteries, which could be useful for cars and aircraft.
Through its introduction, more users could handle and transport the batteries without the dangers of the traditional car battery, and the construction of the fiberglass mat means that the design of the battery could now move away from the traditional cube into a cylindrical form.
AGM batteries are also called VRLA or SLA batteries (each term stands for Valve-Regulated and Sealed Lead Acid, respectively). Another point to note is that AGM batteries will only contain smaller amounts of acid, which the glass mat absorbs entirely – even if the battery unfortunately breaks.
There are several AGM battery types in the market, though we will only highlight some of the best ones. These include;
Optima RedTop 8020-164 35
OPTIMA Batteries 8020-164 35 RedTop Starting Battery
- 12-Volt, 720 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 9.38 x 7.69 x 6.75-Inches Weight: 31.7 pounds, SAE Posts
- Reserve capacity of 90 minutes for constant performance
- Optimal starting power even in bad weather. Case material is Polypropylene
- Fifteen times more resistant to vibration for durability
- This item is not for
This is great for tough riding since it will deliver sufficient energy to the battery when needed. It gets even more powerful as you continue using it, even after performing intense excursions.
This also makes it suitable for diesel cars, automobiles, heavy equipment, and stock vehicles.
XS Series Power D3400 AGM battery
XS Power D3400 XS Series 12V 3,300 Amp AGM High Output Battery with M6 Terminal Bolt
- 12 Volt Battery With Ca: 1000, Ah: 65
- Absorbed Glass Mat (Electrolyte Is Suspended In Fiberglass)
- Spill Proof, Sealed, Valve Regulated And Vibration Resistant
- Ultra Low Internal Resistance, Mount In Almost Any Position
If you have a racing car, this is a great choice. Its internal electrical resistance is quite low; you can mount it in any position as it is spill-proof. It is also resistant to vibration issues.
ACDelco 94RAGM professional AGM battery
ACDelco Battery Asm - 94RAGM
- High density negative paste, improves performance and increases battery life
- Enhanced life alloy or Silver Calcium stamped alloy increases cycle life and improves performance, High density plate oxide provides for maximum power-per-pound and dependable high cycling service
- Calcium Lead positive grid, maximizes conductivity and allows for low resistance
This is a beautiful battery, both in its design and weight qualities. It will match the needs of consumers and has dominant performance levels thanks to the silver-calcium alloy that makes up the battery itself.
Additionally, its vent cap design will help repose acid leaks to enhance long-term performance.
Odyssey 65-PC1750T LTV battery
ODYSSEY 65-PC1750T Automotive and LTV Battery
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 950
- Better warranty: Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement warranty - not pro rata
- Includes SAE Automotive terminals
- Mounting flexibility: Non-spill able design, vibration resistance- design protects against high impact shock and mechanical vibration
- Extreme temperature tolerant- Operating temperatures from -40 degree Celsius
This is probably among the best AGM batteries in terms of cycle life – in fact, the manufacturer claims it has a longer cycle life than standard deep cycle batteries by 70%. Its voltage is also superior, and the recharging time is 4 to 6 hours.
Universal Power Group Deep cycle AGM battery
Universal Power Group 12V 100Ah Solar Wind AGM SLA DEEP Cycle VRLA Battery 12V 24V 48V
- UB121000 SLA is a 12V 100AH Group 30H Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) Maintenance Free Rechargeable Battery, UL Listed
- The spill-proof SLA/AGM battery features high discharge rate, wide operating temperatures, long life and deep discharge recovery.
- Rechargeable battery that can be mounted in any position, resists shock and vibration.
You might want a deep cycle AGM battery, but not at the price point of an Optima – this is your best option. Its features are also impressive, although you should ensure it fits in your car – it comes huge, measuring 12.17” x 6.61” x 9.16”.
What we like
- High power output
- Longer lifespan
- It has quick charging abilities
- Strong, reliable, and safe
What we do not like
- The cost of manufacturing is high (compared to AGM batteries)
- Overcharging problems
- Environmental problems
- Tend to suffer from declining capacity
What can you see in an AGM battery?
- Useful when you need a burst of amps
- Low internal resistance
- The cost of production is lower than that of gel batteries
- Easy to recharge
- Perform well in low temperatures
Gel battery – Overview and key features
Gel cell batteries are the types that use sulfuric acid, though the acid is mixed with silica.
The result is an immobile gel-like substance, and you can tilt the battery without the fear of spillage because the electrons can freely flow between the plates.
The battery design and the gel material allow it to produce few fumes, which is great to use in places that do not have or need as much ventilation.
Gel batteries are also capable of deep cycling activities and applications, which include wind and solar energy, golf carts, wheelchairs, medical equipment, cleaning equipment, electric cars, marine boats, and so on.
Since they have an immobile electrolyte, this will allow you to discharge them even more than AGM batteries – as much as 90%, while still getting a better cycle life.
Similar to the AGM battery, the number of cycles will reduce as you discharge gel batteries, but this higher cycle life will make the gel battery a more expensive choice.
It is also important to remember that gel batteries are quite sensitive and will need special chargers to handle them; you cannot use the same charger for both a gel and an AGM battery.
YTX12-BS iGel battery
Chrome Battery YTX12-BS High Performance - Maintenance Free - Sealed iGel Motorcycle Battery
- BATTERY TYPE: YTX12-BS AGM battery with [+ -] terminal is a rechargeable, powersport battery.
- Smart Technology: LED Digital display screen provides a display that reads the battery alternator voltage and warns you of a low voltage.
- Gel Electrolytes: iGel batteries are injected with Gel Electrolytes, creating a completely
This is a great choice, especially for motorcycles. It comes with smart technology, which includes an LED screen to help you monitor the status of the battery.
Weize 100Ah Pure Gel rechargeable battery
WEIZE 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Gel Battery Rechargeable for Solar, Wind, RV, Marine, Camping, Wheelchair, Trolling Motor and Off Grid Applications
- 12V 100AH is Gel Electrolyte Technology Deep Cycle Sealed Battery; Voltage: 12 Volt; Amperage: 100 AH; Chemistry: GEL; Battery Dimensions: 13 in x 6.73 in x 8.19in ; Package Weight: 63.7 Lbs; The battery comes with two Silver -plated F5/T9 terminal bolts for cable wiring. And there are
This is among the best durable gel battery options on the market. Featuring heavy-duty calcium grids, these will ensure the corrosion is minimal if it ever happens.
The service life is among the longest we have seen – at 15 years of standby use and a discharge rate of about 3% when placed in room temperature.
Odyssey PC925 Automotive and LTV battery
ODYSSEY PC925 Automotive and LTV Battery
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 330
- Better : Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement - not pro rata
- Longer service life: With 3-10 years of service life, ODYSSEY batteries save consumers time, money, and aggravation
- Longer cycle life: 70 percentage longer cycle life compared to conventional deep cycle
If you need a dependable battery for your marine applications, this is among the best picks to get. It is highly popular thanks to its superior function and superb performance levels. Its starting power is the most distinctive aspect, making it ideal for emergency or daily use.
What we like
- Maintenance free
- You can install them anywhere
- No leaks because of the sealing
- Minimal risk
- Resistant to vibration
- Resistant to discharge death
- No fumes
What we do not like
- Quite pricey
- It has issues with heat control
- Challenges in charging
What can you see with the gel battery?
- A lower power capacity
- Performs well in both colder and warmer environments
- Not suitable as starter batteries due to increased acid resistance
- Sensitive to incorrect charging
- It does very well with slower discharge rates
Verdict: So which is better? The AGM or the Gel battery?
Even though each battery technology will present advantages for specific UPS and solar applications and other uses, the battery specifications are more important to consider.
The most important elements to look at are the charging sources and electrical load, and then choose a battery that works for you in the operating temperature range.
However, we will need to select a battery as the winner of this review – and in this case, we choose the AGM battery as it has a higher general-purpose use than the gel battery.
Both are good choices, though; your final choice will depend on your requirements.
Frequently asked questions
Is a gel battery heavier than lead acid batteries?
On the contrary, no. Gel batteries are very light compared to normal car batteries. The reason is that gel ones can maintain their charge levels for longer, and you have a lower chance of seeing the battery running flat and losing its charge. They can also hold a lower amount of gel electrolyte, which makes them lighter than the standard car battery.
Why can’t I get an AGM or gel battery supplied with my car model?
The reason is that both AGM and gel batteries are very expensive to produce (although the AGM batteries are cheaper), making their price expensive. However, getting these battery types with more expensive cars is possible.
Can I use gel batteries in hot weather?
The gel battery is quite risky to use in hot weather because the electrolyte loses water, which results in permanent damage.
The safer option to use in this case is AGM batteries since they have glass mats that offer the same advantage as gel batteries but are safer.
Will gel batteries have issues when charging?
Not really, though there are some rules you need to follow. One charges them slower to prevent excess gas from collecting inside the battery, and the second charge them at lower voltages than an ordinary battery (about 2/10ths less) to prevent the gel from turning porous.