It’s time for a new battery in your Tacoma, and you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade this time around. You hit the store, only to see a variety of different types, which leaves you with more questions than answers. Let’s discuss the three types of batteries available for your Tacoma and the benefits of each.
SLI Batteries: We will start with SLI batteries—also known as Starting, Lighting, Ignition batteries—because they are the most common batteries found on the road today. This type of battery is best at providing short bursts of power (but only around 3% of their total power), making them best for firing the engines in vehicles before being recharged by the alternator. They also help supply extra power when the electrical load exceeds the power produced by the alternator for a short period of time.
SLI batteries come with downfalls, including the risk of failing after several deep cycles (using 50% or more of its total capacity) or after a complete discharge. This makes SLI batteries require more maintenance and have shorter lifespans than other options.
Expect to see these mounted on daily drivers, but not any build with a serious electrical load.
AGM Batteries: Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries are designed with an internal fiberglass mat, which is compressed between two plates and filled with battery acid up to 95% of its total capacity. This design has proved beneficial by reducing vibration and self-discharge, helping increase the lifespan over other options. The fact that they help reduce vibrations is a huge plus for off-road applications, where the Tacoma can face serious bumps and create a battery leak inside your engine bay with standard SLI batteries.
AGM batteries are a popular choice for serious off-road rigs because of their ability to recharge after serious cycles, such as heavy winching and powering onboard air compressors. These come at a cost, however, with AGMs costing as much as three or four times that of SLI options.
Deep Cycle Batteries: A deep cycle battery is designed with thicker, solid internal plates that allow them to consistently recharge after cycles of 98% discharge. This quality makes them ideal for applications requiring repetitive drainage or in instances that your truck’s electrical load outweighs the alternator’s power output, such as due to serious audio systems or high usage of auxiliary lighting.
On the other hand, deep cycle batteries struggle with cold conditions because of low CCA ratings and all-out starting power that other types have. This means that Tacoma drivers will often need to upsize the battery used (which can cause difficulties) or dual cycle type battery.