If you use electronics or appliances – and most of us do – you may have seen AC or DC near the plug. Sometimes you’ll see both. AC means alternating current and comes from electric outlets. DC means direct current and it comes from the batteries you find in portable devices.
Batteries store chemical energy and convert it into electricity. They can be primary batteries aka disposable or single-use, meaning you use them once and toss them. If they’re secondary batteries, you can recharge them. Is it easy to distinguish Duralast vs Interstate Batteries? Yes!
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Duralast vs Interstate Batteries
Auto Batteries vs Gadget Batteries
Your car and your phone both need recharging, which means they use secondary batteries. But while your phone has to be plugged in every day, your car battery can last a month or two in typical driving conditions. Also, while most smartphone, tablet, and electronics batteries are lithium, your auto battery is probably lead and sulphuric acid, unless it’s an electric car.
Duralast and Interstate are lead-acid batteries for cars, boats, RVs, ATVs, PWCs, and similar vehicles. They work by suspending lead plates in a 3:1 solution of sulphuric acid and water. The lead and acid react chemically to power the electrical components of your vehicle. These include the starter, headlights, horn, air conditioning, sound system, or automated windows.
Standard car batteries have 12.6V when they’re fully charged. When you’re driving, they’re at 13.7V to 14.7V. The battery emits short bursts of power and your alternator keeps recharging the battery as you drive. When the car is off, the battery should never go below 12V. You may prefer a deep-cycle battery that can go down to 10.5V, but it’s mostly recommended for boats.
It’s why deep cycle batteries are generically described as marine batteries. Regular car starter batteries release a surge of energy that starts the car. Marine batteries release smaller amounts of current in longer stretches, so it’s a stream of steady electricity rather than a series of power spurts. This works better for boats, RVs, or SUVs. But specialized dual batteries can do both.
All About Duralast Batteries
Duralast batteries are manufactured by Johnson Controls and distributed by Autozone. They come in three classes – regular, gold, and platinum. All three are deep-cycle batteries, but they have different capacities and warranties, plus their physical size differs. The regular and gold are flooded cell batteries, but the platinum battery is an AGM with a sealed outer casing.
The brand uses tough polypropylene parts, so they can handle rough impact and are great at damping vibrations. Their vent system minimizes leakage, even in their flooded cell varieties. The batteries are infused with a high-density paste to help the battery cycle more effectively. Let’s review the key distinguishing features between the categories of Duralast car batteries.
|Name||Features||Best For …||Warranty|
|Duralast Regular Battery||Standard cold-cranking amps||Regular driving needs||2-year warranty|
|Duralast Gold Battery||Additional lead plates for longer life||High-energy accessories e.g. heated seats, Hi-Fi||3-year free replacement warranty|
|Duralast Platinum Batteries||Flat plate absorbent glass mat (AGM battery)||High-powered
|3-year free replacement warranty|
Because all three are deep-cycle batteries, they can run longer between recharging sessions. But while the regular and gold are wet batteries (another name for flooded cell batteries), the platinum is a sealed VRLA battery (valve-regulated lead-acid). VRLAs are designed to release current consistently at lower levels than wet batteries. They’re less messy … but more pricy.
Duralast regular, gold, and platinum are designed for use in cars. But Duralast has other battery categories for boats, lawn equipment, and power sports. The classification is often part of the name, e.g. Duralast Power Sport for high-speed specs. But because these vehicles are used more intensively, the batteries might have a shorter warranty of three to six months.
All About Interstate Batteries
Interstate batteries aren’t as exclusive as Duralast. Several factories make them, but most come from Clarios and Exide Technologies. Their batteries are divided into groups like G2, G8, or G12, but instead of sub-brands, they classify the batteries by car category (e.g. trucks, golf carts, etc.). Their batteries are also divided into starters, deep, extreme, and dual types.
Interstate extreme cycle batteries have the longest battery life and the maximum number of cycles. For reference, deep cycle vs standard is about how low your battery voltage can go before it needs recharging. But high vs extreme cycle tells you how many times the battery discharges and recharges before it dies. A dual-purpose battery is best for high-demand cars.
While Duralast batteries are branded by performance, Interstate relies more on function. So they have brands that work well on golf carts, for example, because golf carts have to stop and start multiple times along the greens. Their high-cycle batteries are best for this. But if you want a battery for your boat, their extreme cycle AGM with standby is a smarter choice.
Because Interstate batteries have different suppliers, you may need to be extra careful when you order one. They have the same quality control and performance benefits, but sometimes, distributors offer varied warranties. Costco Interstate batteries have 3-year warranties while the Interstate website only offers 6 to 12 months. The website has a wider selection though.
One unique selling point of Interstate batteries is their battery light. You’ll see it on your car’s instrument panel, and it tells you when the battery needs attention. For most other brands, you’d have to test the battery – or wait until the car refuses to start! But Interstate has tons of variants so it’s tricky to pick the right one. Use the website to confirm the make, model, and year.
Comparing Duralast and Interstate Batteries
Both Duralast and Interstate batteries have deep cycling performance and AGM options made with absorbent fiberglass mats. Let’s look at some stats to see how they compare.
|Headquarters||Memphis, Tennesee with various Autozone stores||Dallas, Texas, with various outlets and partner brands|
|Accessibility||Only available at Autozone, which has about 6,000 active outlets at the moment||Available at over 150,000 dealers including Costco and online retail stores|
|After-Sales Service||Exclusive dealerships make it hard to reach customer care or call for assistance||A wide distribution network means you can easily find help when you need it|
|Selection||Branded as regular, gold, or platinum so it’s easy to find the right fit for your needs||Divided by size and function so it’s tough to pick, but the website lets you get granular (car year, make, model, etc.)|
|Durability||Longer replacement terms, and you’ll probably need more units in your lifetime||Shorter warranties, but the batteries have been known to last 10 or even 20 years|
|Average Performance||Across the brands, you get an average of 800 CA and 1000 CCA, good at low temp||The average CA is 710 and the average CCA is 910, so slightly lower than Duralast|
|Online Visibility||Getting through their phone lines is tricky, but the social media pages are active and responsive to user feedback||Their phone lines are open, but their social media accounts rarely reply to questions or comments|
|Replacement Terms||Standard and redeemable at Autozone Dealerships||Varied by distributor and inconsistently applied by their network of vendors|
In terms of pricing, Duralast and Interstate batteries fall within the same range. Interstate batteries are easier to find because they have more access points. But manufacturers can make it tricky to pursue a warranty since the terms and conditions restrict you to official dealerships. That could be an issue if you grabbed one during a road trip or in a small town.
Visually, you can recognize Interstate batteries by their bright green branding. Sometimes, the whole outer casing is green, but even when it’s black, that verdant label will grab your attention. Duralast branding is less aggressive, but you’ll instantly identify their bold Proven Tough font. Plus it’s easier to say Duralast Platinum than to order Interstate G2-HD-AGM!
Battery Maintenance Tips
Whether you have Duralast or Interstate batteries, regular maintenance will help them last longer. If your battery water is too low, the sulphuric acid will get over-concentrated, which leads to sulphation. Acid crystals cover the lead plates so there’s less reactive surface area, which means your battery won’t work as well. These tips keep your battery in good condition:
- If your battery has removable caps, check the water every month or so.
- The liquid should fully cover the lead plates. Add distilled water if you need to.
- No distilled water? Boil, cover, and cool your tap water to remove all its minerals.
- If your battery is sealed (e.g. AGMs) you can’t top it up. You’ll need a new one.
- Check the battery terminals for corrosion and spray with a cleaner or household acid.
- Coca-Cola or vinegar work well. Gently scrub the terminals with an old toothbrush.
- After cleaning, apply a battery terminal spray to keep away the gunk.
- If you don’t plan to drive for a while, keep the battery charged at 75% to 80%.
- Overheating will damage the battery, so store it (or park) in a cool or shaded spot.
- Take the car out at least once a week. A half-hour drive is all you need.
We’ve hinted at sealed batteries above, so let’s touch on that. Regular batteries have water and sulphuric acid in liquid electrolyte form, so it can leak or evaporate. These flooded cell batteries need topping up to maintain the right pH. Sealed batteries have either AGM or gel cells that absorb the fluid, so they don’t leak or spill. They have better vibration resistance.
Time to Recharge!
When you recharge a secondary battery, electricity reverses the chemical reaction, resetting the anode and cathode so it goes back to its virgin state. Each has a set number of recharges aka cycle life. What’s the clearest difference to look for in Duralast vs Interstate batteries?
- You can only buy Duralast at Autozone, but you can buy Interstate anywhere.
- Duralast batteries charge faster, but Interstate sometimes has shorter warranties.
- Interstate uses group sizes (e.g. G, H) while Duralast has sub-brands (e.g. gold).
Do you prefer Duralast, Interstate, or VRLA batteries? Tell us your reasons in the comments!