Batteries aren't necessarily a commodity that consumers want to spend their money on-they just want their gadgets, vehicles, and boats to start without having to worry about how. That's why when it comes to buying marine batteries, or any batteries for that matter, most consumers prefer to chose the least expensive option possible and save the extra cash for something a little more exciting. But does buying the cheaper battery actually cost more money? The claim in the industry is that though AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) and Gel batteries cost more than their wet-cell counterparts, they actually save money in the long run. Consumers are justified in wondering why they should spend more on expensive AGM and Gel marine batteries.
In a world of creative marketing, we've all learned that a higher price doesn't necessarily mean a better value. In order to find out, I checked with battery experts, not manufactures, to find out if AGM and Gel marine batteries were really worth the higher initial price. It turns out that people who spend an awful lot of thinking about batteries all came to same conclusion; that overall, the AGM and Gel marine batteries are more cost effective over time than wet cell acid marine batteries. Many noted that the dollar value of that cost savings depends on quite a few factors, including how often boaters use their boats, percentage of time cruising, etc, but for regular boat users, the lifetime cost of AGM and Gel marine batteries is considerably less than that of a wet cell battery.
The other significant benefit of both AGM and Gel marine batteries is that they are maintenance free, which means no checking fluid levels, no adding water, no worrying about the fact that if you don't do these things, you could force your battery into early retirement. Also because AGM and Gel marine batteries are sealed, there's no corrosion and are spill-proof. They have a slower discharge rate than wet cell marine batteries, more discharge current, and lower deep discharge failure. In the case of marine batteries, it seems that spending more now really does pay off in the end.
Wet cell marine batteries generally sell in the $55 range, Gel marine batteries start at around $85, and AGM's start in the hundreds and go up from there. But what about all the other accessories for my boat that I'd rather spend money on now? I suppose I understand where the battery experts are coming from. Though I avoided rechargeable batteries for my home electronics for years because of the price, once I made the switch, I felt pretty smart about not having to run out the store to buy batteries or be unexpectedly stuck with electronics that didn't work. Now when I see people using alkaline batteries, I'm constantly tossing in my 2 cents about the value of spending more for longer lasting batteries.
In the end, whether or not AGM or Gel marine batteries is a justifiable choice really depends on the boat owner. Yes, you'll get your money back over the batteries lifetime. But if you've been stuck on a boat with no power, spent time cleaning corrosion off terminals, or destroyed a battery by forgetting to maintenance it, the choosing AGM or Gel marine batteries is probably a no-brainer.
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on AGM and gel batteries, visit http://www.ebatteriestogo.com.