What is CCA on a dual purpose/starting battery?

If your boat, automobile or recreational vehicle needs a battery there are a few special considerations that newer batteries have been built to address. One question we often get asked is: What is a dual purpose/starting battery?
We answer this question below as we suggest you look at dual purpose/starting batteries and their uses for your application. We also answer another question that may arise when shopping: What is CCA on a starting battery?
If you are shopping for a battery, you need to decide if you want to look at cold cranking amps. Our answer below should help you decide if you want to spring for the extra benefits that are offered. To make the most out of your hard earned dollars you will want to consider important features like these.

What is a dual purpose/starting battery?

Dual purpose batteries do the work of two batteries. The traditional starter battery on a car or boat with a standard fuel engine needs to provide short, powerful amperages to turn an engine until it fires.
On a car, after the engine fires the motor turns an alternator which continues to charge the electrical system of the vehicle as well as recharging the battery for next start.
Boats with gas or diesel engines also require high amperages to start the engine, but typically don’t have adequate charging capabilities. This is where a dual purpose battery comes in handy.
One of the drawbacks of starting batteries is that they don’t handle long periods of use at low amps without charging. Deep cycle batteries can handle longer use at low amps, but don’t offer the higher cranking amps for starting a motor.
The solution to the need for two separate batteries or suffering with a misused battery can sometimes comes in the form of a dual purpose battery.

Why might I want a dual purpose battery?

The dual purpose battery offers the cranking amps to start a boat or car, but also has deep cycle capabilities. This means that the battery can operate for extended amounts of time offering a low amp electricity supply without the need for an on-board charging system.
Dual purpose batteries also appeal to car and truck owners that have a lot of electrical accessories or advanced electronic systems that they want to use after they turn the car off.
The dual purpose battery offers a better solution to the two battery problem in certain cases on boats. There are specific uses for dual purpose batteries:

Common uses in automobiles include vehicles that are equipped with winches, cranes or other accessories that use electricity.

How do I know if a dual purpose battery is right for my application?

If you are interested in the features of both starting and deep cycle batteries, dual purpose batteries can consolidate both into one.
The benefits may be worth the extra cost if you have no on-board charging system. You may also find they offer security knowing the battery has deep cycle advantages.
These batteries have some limitations. As dual purpose batteries they are usually not as capable as dedicated starting or deep cycle batteries can be.
It is important to check specifications to make sure you are getting enough cranking amps and cold cranking amps as well as enough battery run time to suit your needs.
The dual purpose battery may cost slightly more than just a standard battery, but you may also reap more rewards. Choose wisely when considering dual purpose batteries.

What is CCA on a starting battery?

CCA stands for cold cranking amperage. If you live in an area where temperatures drop considerably in the winter you may consider pursuing a higher CCA rating when choosing a battery.

What is the rating actually indicating?

Cold cranking amp ratings refer to how many amps a fully charged battery can deliver at zero degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds. The testing for this rating also requires a 12 volt battery to maintain 7.2 volts for the duration of the 30 second test.

Do I need a battery with high CCA’s?

Batteries lose power and generally do not perform as well at low temperatures. This rating often provides better information for people who are buying batteries and are concerned about dependability in colder weather.

How many CCA’s do I need?

It is important to remember that required cranking amps for starting a motor vary depending on the vehicle. There are moderate differences and you should classify which application you want to service.
The cranking amps differ between applications like:

Be sure to check the requirements of your specific vehicle to determine how many CCA’s you should have.


As you may have figured out by now, these two topics go hand in hand.
Firstly, if you determine that you want to try a dual purpose battery, we want you to understand what they actually are. They offer advantages of both starting batteries and deep cycle batteries in one.
We know choosing a good battery can be a tough decision. If you are interested in dual purpose batteries, looking at CCA’s may help you find the one that will work well for your application.
Buying the right battery is crucial in making sure you maximize longevity. Don’t sacrifice function over availability or price.

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