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If you’re shopping for a replacement battery, you may have come across mention of “factory activated” which has left you scratching your head. So what does it actually mean when it’s factory activated and does it have advantages or disadvantages over the “non” factory activated options?
When it says factory activated, the first thing of note is that it typically means that the battery is AGM (absorbed glass mat), which is a popular battery variation that gained its popularity in the 1980’s. Around that time they saw significant technical improvements particularly the benefit of being spill proof, allowing the battery to be placed in any position, which is applicable for a lot of vehicles. It also meant that they could make them a lot lighter. The AGM’s decreased weight also made it attractive for vehicles and equipment where weight is important.
Additionally, many vehicles need something durable enough to tackle rugged terrains and not break or spill easily, most have high-impact polypropylene casing for maximum vibration resistance. AGM batteries are perfect as they are light and durable.
Still, not all AGM batteries are created equal. Some AGM batteries will need to be filled and charged on arrival. These are not factory activated. These will come with an acid pack that gets added to the holes at the top of the battery prior to sealing and then requires charging. Other types of AGM batteries do not require filling or charging as they have already been filled and charged prior to shipping or “factory activated” and will be ready to go upon arrival.
The setup and activation process for non factory activated batteries these days is certainly a lot easier than it used to be but the filling and charging process is not without its issues. The acid packages often come in handy contained packages that are separated by cells and as a result, far less likely to spill so they’re a lot safer but there are still some risks so you’re going to have to take safety precautions during the sulfuric acid filling process as it can be fairly damaging to skin, you definitely don’t want to get it in your eyes. Once filled, you’re then going to have to start the charging process. Charging time depends on your charger and the type of battery you use but some will require up to 8 hours to fully charge. Factory activated avoids the need for filling and charging.
When you see “maintenance free factory activated”, you know that your battery is ready to go as soon as it arrives and you are never going to have to go through the hassle of filling the acid or water as well as waiting for the battery to charge.
If you’re still curious about the battery activation process, check out this video which may be enough to deter you from going through the process yourself and seeking out factory activated batteries. If you’re looking for batteries that are ready to go, browse through the BatteryClerk website to find your match.