Deep Cycle Or Starting Battery For Winch: All There’s To Know

Winches are power-hungry equipment. You don’t want an underpowered battery supplying power to your winch. It’s important to have the right type of power source to supply enough juice to the winch while rescuing your vehicle out of a tough spot. 

In this article, we will be discussing if you need a deep cycle or starting battery for winch to make sure you are prepared for your next off-road adventure.

Let’s Start…

Winch Battery Requirements

Everyone needs a battery package that delivers enough power to the winch and won’t deplete too quickly. Choosing a battery can be overwhelming because you need to skim through so many features and specifications.

The general standard to select the best battery for a 12,000 pound winch is a 12-volt battery rated up to 650 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps). The battery needs to have enough energy and CCA for powering the winch and the engine along with a good reserve capacity to supply sufficient juice to the winch.

Again, you should keep in mind to scan through the user manual provided with the winch to find the battery requirements for your one because it can vary depending on the pulling capacity of the winch.

A battery with a higher CCA rating has more reserve capacity and therefore less likelihood of your winch giving up on you. You will be using a winch under challenging circumstances so a battery with a good vibration handling capacity will prolong the battery’s lifespan.

Deep Cycle Or Starting Battery For Winch

Choosing the right type of battery depends on a lot of factors. It’s important to consider all these options to find out what type fits for you. A deep cycle or starting battery can be used to power a winch. Both of these options have some pros and cons that we are going to look at now.

Starting Batteries

You will come across two types of starter batteries: flooded battery and  AGM starter battery. These batteries provide a large amount of amps in a short time to start the engine of the vehicle and then recharged by the alternator. 

Flooded batteries need to be installed in an upright position, weigh more than AGM batteries and so these are not the best option for off-roading applications.

However, AGM starter batteries take flooded batteries to the next level. There is no issue with spilling the electrolyte of the battery and can be installed at odd angles.

These batteries don’t require additional maintenance and are constructed to withstand high amounts of vibration. It requires higher alternator output to fully charge. 

Deep Cycle Batteries

If you are willing to keep a stand-alone battery for the winch, then Deep Cycle AGM batteries are an ideal choice. It doesn’t require much maintenance and has a longer lifespan. These batteries are made to deliver a steady amount of current over an extended period of time. 

Deep-cycle batteries can be discharged and recharged repeatedly without harming the lifespan of the battery. They have a deeper depth of discharge than standard AGM batteries.

But you will require additional hardware for wiring the winch system on the vehicle. It will be taking up additional space under the hood, adding more weight to the vehicle.

What kind of battery is best for a winch?

Any serious winching would be better if done in combination with a deep cycle battery. A true deep cycle battery with high rating of CCA and reserve capacity is recommended if you can have a stand alone battery solely to operate the winch on your car or boat. 

Starting batteries with high CCA and even higher reserve capacity are designed to start the engine. Deeply discharging them can shorten their lifespan.

If you use the winch rarely and not for heavy-duty purposes then investing in a starting battery with high CCA rating will be better value for the hard-earned money you spend.  

You may check out this dual purpose optima yellowtop battery to support your heavy-duty winching system.

It’s also important to consider factors like maintenance, size and weight, and warranty options while buying a battery. Be sure to check if the battery will fit and not add much weight to the vehicle.

Go for one that requires low maintenance and look for manufacturers that will provide better warranties as these batteries will be going through serious performance. 


Are lithium batteries good for winching?

Ans: No. Lithium batteries are not recommended for winching applications. These require additional circuit protection devices to protect the winch and the battery.

Should I run the winch off of the second battery?

Ans:  A secondary battery is an ideal choice if you use the winch for extended periods. Deep cycle AGM are the best stand alone battery for winch.

How do I keep my trailer winch battery charged?

Ans: You need to attach the trailer battery to the 12 volt circuit on the 7-Way to provide the maintenance charge, but then use a battery charger to fully charge the battery. 

Do I need a deep-cycle battery for my winch?

Ans: No. Starter batteries with high CCA rating and reserve capacity can be used for light winching. For extreme winching, you may use a standalone deep cycle battery.

Can you run a winch off the starter battery?

Ans: Yes. If you use the winch rarely and never under extreme circumstances you can use the starter battery for your winch.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right type of battery for powering your winch can be a daunting task. It’s common to be puzzled while choosing a deep cycle or starting battery for winch

We hope this article has helped you make your decision easier with detailed information to choose a battery that suits your needs best.

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

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