Join Date: Feb 2003
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I only have experience with flooded batteries. I use 4 golf cart batteries in a series-parallel configuration for house batteries. I have a good monitoring/charging system and am careful about the use. With that I get excellent lifetimes (in 14 yrs I have replaced batteries twice, I think the original batteries were about 12 yrs old when I got the boat).
My understanding is that you can get about the same lifetimes out of all the technologies. However you do have to be more careful about the discharge/ recharge cycling for wet cells. The newer technologies will take higher charge rates which translates to shorter charging times and less engine usage just to charge batteries (assuming you have the higher output alternators).
In my evaluation, the cheapness of the lead acid batteries wins, but then I am a real cheapskate.