Some people might be confused about the difference between golf cart batteries and deep cycle batteries because both terms are used when referring to RV batteries. The truth is, golf cart batteries are deep cycle batteries. The difference might be that golf cart batteries are often larger, and are 6-volt. The batteries in an RV are often two 6-volt batteries wired in series to create 12-volts.
What is the Difference Between a Car Battery and a Deep Cycle Battery?
A car battery will provide a huge amount of current for a short burst, in order to start the car. Once the engine starts, the alternator takes over. A car battery can go through its life without ever being drained.
A deep cycle battery provides a steady level of current over a long time. A deep cycle battery can also be drained over and over again, then recharged.
6-volt Golf Cart Batteries vs. 12-volt Deep Cycle Batteries
There are 12-volt batteries that are “deep cycle” and they are often cheaper than a 6-volt “golf cart” battery. However, the 12-volt deep cycle batteries are really a cross between a car starter battery and a true deep cycle battery. They are not really a true deep cycle battery. If you will be spending most of your time in RV parks with full hookups, a less expensive set of 12-Volt RV batteries could be a good choice. They are usually than $100 each and can be purchased at most auto-parts stores and even Walmart. However, they can’t be discharged as deeply or as often as the 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. They also won’t last as long.
6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries can be discharged up to 80% and fully recharged without damaging them. That won’t work with 12-volt deep cycle batteries. Likewise, 6-Volt deep cycle golf cart batteries are tough and can take more abuse and last longer. If you are living in your RV full-time or camp off-grid a lot, then you need 6-volt deep cycle golf cart batteries. These batteries can be discharged and recharged more often and last longer than the 12-volt deep cycle batteries.
A 6-volt golf cart battery has thicker plates inside as compared to a 12-volt deep cycle battery; that means the 6-volt battery will provide more energy long-term and can survive a deep discharging better than a 12-volt battery. It can also survive more rechargings.
Overall, most full-time RVers and RV technicians recommend using two 6-volt golf cart batteries, wired in series, rather than two 12-volt “deep cycle” batteries. They will last longer and provide more power for your off-grid camping needs.