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Car Battery Showdown: AGM vs. Gel Cell Batteries

Car Battery Showdown: AGM vs. Gel Cell Batteries

Absorbed glass mat (AGM) and gel cell batteries are starting to become two of the most commonly used car batteries. Both types of models are valve-regulated lead acid car batteries (VRLA batteries), meaning they each use safety valves to hold pressure within the battery box, which reduces leaking. While they are often mistaken for one another, AGM and gel batteries have distinct traits that make them different. Here are some factors you should consider when deciding between AGM and gel cell car batteries.

Learn more about valve-regulated lead acid car (VRLA) batteries

AGM Car Batteries

Gel Cell Car Batteries

Power capacity

HigherLower

Life cycle

ShorterLonger

Cost*

More affordableLess affordable

*Refer to the Car Batteries Buying Guide for more specific types and cost ranges


AGM Car Batteries

Advantages of AGM Car Batteries

  • Withstand Freezing Temperatures - Most car batteries struggle when stored in cold weather, but AGM batteries are created with materials that handle freezing temperatures better than their counterparts.
  • Not as Susceptible to Air Pockets - Gel and flooded car batteries are both more likely to develop air pockets inside, which can cause damage. AGM batteries have strong fiberglass layers that seal their boxes shut and reduce the chances of air pockets forming.
AGM car battery

Limitations of AGM Car Batteries

  • Shorter Life Cycle than a Gel Battery - While they might last longer than some flooded batteries, AGM have a shorter lifecycle when compared to most gel cell car batteries.
  • Struggle in Hot Temperatures - AGM batteries operate well in cold weather, but might struggle sometimes in warm weather. They have a construction that can leave them susceptible to wearing down in extremely hot temperatures.

Gel Cell Car Batteries

Advantages of Gel Cell Car Batteries

  • Longer Life Cycle - Gel cell car batteries use silicon that helps transform acid into a thick gel mixture. This substance helps keep acid from leaking out of battery boxes, which makes gel cell batteries last longer than flooded and AGM batteries.
  • Operate Efficiently in Hot Temperature - The same construction in gel batteries that reduces leaking also improves their performance in extremely hot weather. That is why you'll find gel models in high performance or heavy duty vehicles that might generate lots of heat under the hood.

Gel cell car battery

Limitations of Gel Cell Car Batteries

  • Sensitive to Certain Chargers - Gel cell car batteries are sensitive to overcharging and certain types of high-powered chargers. Some chargers might release too much power that can damage gel batteries.
  • Struggle in Freezing Temperature - When temperatures dip below freezing, gel car batteries don't perform as well as their counterparts.