The best way to decide if a gel battery is right for you is to understand its pros and cons.
A valve-regulated, maintenance-free lead acid battery is a gel battery. Highly durable and adaptable gel batteries are available. These types of batteries produce few fumes and can be used in places without much ventilation.
Here are the pros and cons of a gel battery, which you need to know before you buy a gel battery. Learn more about Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Batteries.
What’s a Gel Battery?
A gel battery is a dry battery since it doesn’t use a liquid electrolyte. In a gel battery, silica gel is used to freeze the electrolyte. This keeps the electrolyte contained inside the battery, preventing it from evaporating or spilling.
The battery is stabilized and has a low self-discharge thanks to this design. For batteries that sit idle for a while, this is a useful feature.
Pros of a Gel Battery
- Maintenance-free. Because the batteries are comprised of gel instead of liquid, there is little to no maintenance to keep the battery working properly.
- 6-year lifespan.
- Better performance until its end of life then performance drops off sharply.
- Since it is spill-proof, you can install it in a sideways position. Gel batteries have the benefit of being practically maintenance-free and able to be used in any position since they don’t leak. As a result, gel batteries can now be used for a much wider range of purposes.
- enhanced resistance to heat.
- No Leaks: Even though wet cell batteries are sealed in a plastic encasement there is still the chance that they will leak. While gel batteries also have a valve to release excess pressure, they are sealed. This implies that the mixture cannot escape the gel substance or the release of pressure.
- Minimal Risk: A traditional lead-acid battery that is damaged requires a significant and hazardous clean-up effort, not to mention the potential consequences for anything the battery acid may come into contact with. Gel batteries won’t leak out if the casing gets damaged, so there is less of a chance that the machinery will get hurt or that there will be a mess to clean up.
- Vibration Resistant: Wet cell batteries are frequently criticized for being extremely vulnerable to impacts and strong vibrations. Gel batteries are excellent for use in items like four-wheelers because they absorb shock and vibration.
- No Fumes: There are hardly any fumes produced during the use of these batteries because they are made of a gel substance. As a result, there is a lesser need for ventilation, which broadens the range of possible uses for gel batteries and makes it simpler to charge them wherever you are.
- Resistant To Discharge Death: It’s crucial to limit the battery’s discharge when using a wet cell battery. It won’t ever recharge if not. Not so with gel cell batteries. They are deep-cycle batteries, which allow for greater discharge rates while maintaining brand-new levels of recharge.
Cons of a Gel Battery
- The Price: A gel battery has a hefty price tag, which is in line with its many advantages. Many people looking to switch from wet cells to gel batteries see this as the biggest drawback.
- Charging Challenged: You should plan to give your gel battery more time when charging it. These batteries frequently have slow charging cycles, but you can’t just leave them. You must remove it from the charger as soon as the charge is finished because it is a gel rather than a liquid. Leaving it on could result in irreparable damage from voids in the electrolyte.
- Heat Control: This is truly a drawback with most batteries and gel cell batteries are no exception. One of the quickest ways to reduce your battery’s life expectancy is through heat. You can extend the life cycle of your battery and keep it functioning at peak efficiency by managing the battery’s exposure to heat.
How Does a Gel Battery Work?
A gel battery s a valve-regulated, lead acid battery in which a pre-determined quantity of an electrolyte, together with sulphuric acid is combined with silica fumes. This chemical reaction results in an immobile, gel-like mass giving these batteries their name.
The gel batteries are virtually maintenance-free as they use one-way open valves that allow the internal gasses to recombine into the water, hence removing any need to check to top up distilled water or monitor the water level.
Gel batteries are extremely robust and versatile. They are safe to be installed in places where ventilation is limited, due to the fact that they have a very low (virtually zero) gas/fumes production, which means you can even install the batteries inside your home.
Select the Right Charge Controller for Your Gel Batteries
Gel batteries are charged at lower voltages than other batteries, so special consideration should be given when choosing chargers. Overvoltage can lead to failure and reduced performance.
The term “GEL cell” may occasionally refer to sealed, maintenance-free batteries that are designated as a setting on charge controllers. This can be confusing and may lead to the wrong selection of chargers or incorrect settings while charging.
In the case of using other charging methods like alternators, proper regulators must be installed to keep control over the charging voltage. The typical lead acid battery voltage range for charging is 14.0 to 14.2 volts, and the float voltage range is 13.1 to 13.3 volts.
Why Should You Use a Gel Battery?
Gel batteries provide the opportunity to conserve energy for the benefit of future generations. Batteries are essential to human life as the population rises and the availability of electricity declines.
We recommend using a gel battery because:
- No routine maintenance will be necessary.
- Because you won’t come into contact with the acid, there won’t be any spills, posing no significant risk.
- Gel batteries are suitable for use with delicate electronic devices due to their low corrosion rate.
- The longevity and vibration resistance of gel batteries are outstanding.
- It is extremely safe due to the low likelihood of sulfuric acid burns.
- The battery has a long lifespan, so it will last much longer than a lead-acid battery for the same amount of use.
Are Gel Batteries Better Than AGM Batteries?
The other type of sealed lead acid battery is called an absorbent glass mat (AGM) battery. AGM batteries and gel batteries: how do they compare? For starters, gel batteries can be more expensive. In order to avoid overcharging, they also require specific chargers. Not using these chargers reduces the battery’s lifespan.
Due to their higher internal resistance, they also don’t function as well with appliances that require a higher current. Gel batteries, however, have a longer lifespan. This is because:
- They hold more acid because of their design.
- They can tolerate different temperatures better. Heat transfer from inside to outside has been improved. The absorbent glass mat of the AGM serves as an insulator, whereas the gel transfers heat.
- They also continue to perform well over a longer time frame. As they age, AGM batteries gradually lose power.
Read More: Are AGM Batteries Better Than Lead-acid?
Are Gel Batteries Better Than Flooded Batteries?
A flooded lead acid battery is a wet battery since it uses a liquid electrolyte. Unlike a gel battery, a flooded lead acid battery needs maintenance by topping up the water in the battery every 1-3 months.
Because their vent valves release less hydrogen gas than lead acid batteries, gel batteries are the safer lead acid batteries. Since there is less ventilation, it is safer to install them there. Hydrogen release or gassing is a minor safety concern with flooded lead-acid batteries.
They can be oriented in any direction due to the way they are constructed. They can be stacked pancake-style which may improve cycle life. In order to prevent acid spills, flooded lead acid batteries are kept upright.
Here are other comparisons of batteries:
- Differences Between the Alkaline Battery and Lead Acid Battery
- Lead Acid Battery Vs Lithium-ion
- Gel Battery Vs Lead Acid Battery: Which is Better?
- Can You Mix Lead-acid and Lithium Batteries?
What is the Difference Between a Deep Cycle Battery and a Gel Battery?
It is not uncommon for people to confuse deep-cycle batteries and gel batteries. They are very different in many ways, but the most important distinction is that a deep-cycle battery can be used regularly while a gel battery cannot. So, this is the key distinction I’ve made between gel batteries and deep cycle batteries. Furthermore, the difference is;
Deep cycle batteries are made of lead-acid cells, which produce an electric current when they react with sulfuric acid and water. A deep-cycle battery is typically used in a boat or RV. It can be discharged more without damaging it than many other batteries, but it’s typically heavier and less expensive.
While A gel battery has additives that help prevent the electrolyte from leaking out of the cell when it’s overcharged. This makes them safer to use in certain situations, like on motorcycles or scooters, often exposed to extreme temperatures.
Gel batteries also cost more than most types of lead-acid batteries, which means you’ll usually only see them in higher-end products. Knowing this information will help you find the best type of battery for your needs!
Conclusion: Are Gel Batteries Worth It?
Gel batteries are valuable because their performance is sustained over their entire life. Battery University claims that because it was built specifically, its power output has a dome-shaped curve. There is no voltage decline, which is a common issue with other batteries.
Finally, gel batteries are best suited for deep discharge as they are more acid-starved, protecting plates better compared to AGM batteries.
Here is more information about lead acid batteries:
- Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled?
- Can Lead-acid Batteries Explode?
- How Do Lead-acid Batteries Work?
- How Do You Charge a Lead-acid Battery?
- How Long Do Lead-acid Batteries Last?
- How Long to Charge the Lead Acid Battery?
- How to Desulfate a Lead Acid Battery?
Is Gel Battery Better Than Lithium?
GEL batteries are the best for testing or less expensive solar projects. Long-term lithium battery installation is advantageous because it reduces the need for replacements.
How Long Does a Gel Battery Last?
An average use of seven years is perfectly normal for 12-volt Gel or AGM batteries.
Is a Gel Battery Better Than a Regular Battery?
Studies have also shown that the 12V gel battery is more durable than lead-acid batteries in extreme temperatures. Incredibly, these batteries can function well in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 140 degrees.