Best Trolling Motor Battery
Trying to choose the best battery for your trolling motor may seem like a bit of a challenge, considering there are so many different types for different uses. But how do you know which one will be the best? How long will it last? And what type do you need?
Top Trolling Motor Batteries: At A Glance
(more on these below. The links take you to Amazon)
We understand that it can all be a little confusing, especially if you’re new to buying one. But we have put together some information that will hopefully give you a better idea of the types of batteries that are out there and what to look out for when you go to buy one.
Trolling Motor Batteries: Buying Guide
Types Of Batteries
There are various types of power sources out there but the most common ones used in trolling motors are wet-cell, AGM and lithium-ion batteries. So we will take a look at each of these types to give you a better idea of how they might work.
Probably the most affordable type of battery for a trolling motor, it is a traditional battery that uses liquid acid in its construction. This is why they are referred to as wet-cell and sometimes flooded cell.
They are designed to withstand charging and draining frequently and are often traditionally used in cars, for that reason.
This makes them a popular choice for trolling motors because of the frequent usage and recharging that is expected with trolling motors. They are also able to stand up to being overcharged.
The downside is that they may require more maintenance, due to the battery acid and may require you to add distilled water. Another negative aspect of these types is that they are not sealed and can potentially leak battery acid.
They are also susceptible to corrosion, due to leakage and other factors, which can have an effect on the performance and can damage it completely. This is another reason why they require more maintenance and can be time consuming, especially if you’re about to head out on the water when you discover it.
The vibrations that are sustained when you’re out on the water can cause further leakages and damage and potentially cause corrosive sulfuric acid to leak over you and your boat. They will also require a well ventilated compartment due to them releasing hydrogen gas. A lot of people may prefer an AGM type for this reason.
AGM stands for Absorbed Glass Mat, which refers to their construction using fiberglass matting.
These batteries are completely sealed, meaning they won’t leak sulfuric acid and they don’t require ventilated cases, as the gases are safely contained within its construction.
Having an enclosed case usually means you can install them in a variety of positions, which makes them easier to fit onto boats or kayaks with limited space or mounting options.
They charge faster and last almost twice as long as a wet-cell battery, and they tend to pack more power into a smaller area, making them space-saving and more lightweight, which can be ideal for smaller boats and kayaks.
The advantages are that they require no maintenance and they work well as deep cycle batteries for trolling motors because of their ability to stand up to the demands of frequent charging and recharging.
Deep cycle means the cycle of them being constantly used, drained and recharged, for a main power source, compared to a float cycle, which is most often used on generators or when the batteries are used as a backup power supply and not the main source of power.
Another advantage is that they work well in cold temperatures and have good resistance against vibration, which makes them a popular choice for trolling motor batteries because of their durability.
They don’t, however, like heat, as this can damage them and, additionally, they are also susceptible to being overcharged; but depending on the type of charger used, this can usually be avoided.
Another downside of the AGM is that they can cost quite a bit more than a wet-cell battery but the advantages usually outweigh this disadvantage.
If you’re looking to cut down on the weight in your boat then a lithium-ion battery will certainly do that. They are much lighter than wet-cell or AGM batteries, but they are also a lot more expensive.
These ones are relatively new to the trolling motor market but are increasing in popularity because of their high performance.
You may already be familiar with lithium-ion batteries, as they are most commonly used in smartphones, laptops and other gadgets. This is because they charge fast and will generally last a pretty long time, provided you don’t let them overheat.
For trolling motors, they are most frequently used by anglers who are involved in tournaments, as the lighter weight means you can increase your speed and the fast charging time means you can fish without delays.
Batteries 101: What To Look Out For
When you’re choosing your battery, one of the most important things you should take into account is its ampere hours - commonly abbreviated to amp or Ah.
In order to work out how many amps you need from your battery you need to know how many amps your motor needs, for example, the current it requires to power it.
You should also keep in mind that batteries will come in 12 volts. A lot of trolling motors are also 12 volts, especially those used on smaller vessels, such as a kayak, so you will usually find one 12 volt battery is sufficient.
However, if you have a 24 volt trolling motor, you will need two 12 volt batteries and for a 36 volt motor you will need three. On the other hand, you may find that some lithium-ion ones will have a higher voltage, meaning you may only need one for a 36 volt motor.
Another thing to factor in is that if you do require two batteries, you need to make sure that they’re both the same type. For example, if one is a wet-cell, the other will also need to be a wet-cell. You shouldn’t mix a wet-cell with an AGM or AGM with lithium-ion.
It’s also good to note that both batteries should be of equal charge and the same age. Mixing an old battery with a new one could lessen the lifespan of your new one, as it can drag it down to its pace.
How Long Do Batteries Last On Each Charge?
The length of time your battery will last on a single charge will depend on the type of battery you have and the type of motor you’re running. It will also depend on whether you’re traveling at top speed or not and whether or not you’re pulling a heavy load.
The best way to work out how long it will last is to find out the amp draw of your motor. Then you calculate the hours by dividing the amp hours in the battery by the amps in the motor.
For example, if your battery is 100 amp hours and your motor is 20 amps going at a medium speed, you’ll get 5 hours of running time from the battery. The higher the amp hours in the battery, the longer it will last on one charge and, similarly, the higher the amperes required by the motor, the faster it will drain.
How Long Do They Take To Charge?
A wet-cell or AGM battery will take significantly longer to charge than a lithium-ion battery, and may take a couple of days to fully charge. The length of time it will take for your battery to fully charge will depend on the amps in the charger.
The higher the amps in the charger, the faster your battery will charge. A typical battery will charge in around 12 hours with a 5 amp charger, so most can be charged overnight for convenience but just remember, it’s important not to overcharge them.
With wet-cell batteries, overcharging can lead to corrosion, which can cause the circuit to break or prevent it from holding a charge. If corrosion does occur, it can be cleaned off with a wire brush and some water with baking soda.
It’s possible to get smart chargers that will automatically turn off when the battery is charged, which prevents the batteries from overheating or being damaged due to overcharging.
Another thing that will affect the length of time it will take to fully charge is if the battery is completely dead when you start to charge it. However, it’s not a good idea to let your batteries drain completely as this can affect the longevity of them.
On the other hand, when you do charge it, you should charge it till it’s completely full, as undercharging it can also lessen its lifespan. By undercharging them, batteries can develop a sort of memory that will mean they will think they are full when they reach this point.
This can mean they will never charge beyond this point, which can also mean you won’t get the expected amp hours from one charge and mean your day on the lake may be lessened.
A lithium-ion battery will take around 2 hours to fully charge. You can also get portable chargers that can come aboard with you to keep you powered if your battery dies unexpectedly far from shore.
Solar powered chargers could be a good option if you’re looking to charge up your batteries and keep your motor running while you’re out on the water. Most of the time you may find that they will help keep your batteries from draining but may not always be a good source of power if your battery is flat.
Because you’re already outside with solar energy in abundance, these chargers could mean you get to extend your fishing trip beyond the normal capacity of your battery.
How Should I Store The Battery?
After you’ve returned from your fishing trip you should always make sure you recharge your battery. Leaving a battery without a charge can cause problems, such as a dead battery when you next go to use it.
Much like a car’s battery, if the battery isn’t used for a length of time it may not recharge. So it’s important to always ensure your battery is charged, particularly if you’re not using it or there are cold weather conditions.
Having them fully charged will also make it more convenient for you the next time you’re heading out to the water, as you and your battery will be ready to go whenever you like.
You should make sure the area where you’re storing it is cool and dry to extend the life of it. If it’s a wet-cell battery, you may need to top it up with distilled water to keep the fluid at the correct level.
You should also make sure your batteries are protected from significantly cold weather, particularly if you get cold winters, as this can also affect the performance and lifespan.
It’s possible with some batteries to leave them on a trickle charge, to keep them charging at a slow speed with a low amp charger. But it’s a good idea to check your batteries frequently, no matter where they’re stored, to ensure they continue to be in working order.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Battery?
Different types of batteries have different lifespans and the way in which they are treated can also have an effect on its lifespan.
Generally, a wet-cell battery will last anywhere from a year up to 2 and a half years, with frequent use and recharging. An AGM battery will typically last between 3 and 4 years and a lithium-ion battery will last around 10 years.
If you keep them stored in the recommended environment - cool and dry - you should be able to get the maximum life expectancy from them.
You will usually find that batteries will last longer on a float cycle than a deep cycle. This is because the deep cycle use is much more demanding because of the frequent charging, draining and recharging that’s required.
Batteries will last significantly longer if they are only used for float cycle use, as they are not being subjected to constant recharging or damage sustained from overheating. However, for a trolling motor you will be more frequently using it in a deep cycle, unless you’re keeping one as a spare.
Best Trolling Motor Batteries
1: Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop
This is a 12 volt AGM deep cycle battery that is basically maintenance free. It has 55 amp hours and boasts being capable of having up to 3 times more recharges than other marine batteries.
It can be mounted in almost any position, which could be a good feature when it comes to mounting it on your kayak. It weighs 43.5 pounds and measures 10 inches by 7 inches by just under 8 inches.
It will work well in colder conditions and benefits from having a reserve of 120 minutes, meaning it can run at 25 amps for 120 minutes before it will reduce its amp usage to a minimum level. It also has good resistance against vibration, making it extra durable.
2: Interstate Batteries AGM Deep Cycle Battery
This AGM deep cycle battery can be ideal for small spaces, such as on board a kayak. It is pretty compact, measuring just 7.68 by 5.16 by 6.14 inches and it weighs just 23.1 pounds, so it’s not going to add too much extra weight to your load.
Ideal for trolling motors, it has 12 volts and delivers 35 amp hours. It also has the benefit of being mountable at any angle, so you have a bit of freedom as to how you position it on your boat.
3: Mighty Max Power Boat Pontoon Electric Trolling Motor
This is a durable 12 volt deep cycle battery that will deliver 55 amp hours and has a calcium alloy grid, which boosts its performance. This can be a good all around battery, as it is well suited to all conditions, including both high and low temperatures.
It can be mounted in any position, so you’re free to attach it wherever suits you best and because of its sealed style it doesn’t require any maintenance. However, it’s not the lightest, at 38.58 pounds, and it measures 9.02 by 5.43 by 9.13 inches.
4: VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery
This MR127 packs a lot of power, delivering 100 amp hours in a 12 volt battery. This could be a good choice if you’re looking for a enough power for a few hours on the water.
This deep cycle battery is maintenance free with heavy duty grids for improved performance and long life. It has a fast recharge rate and it is also durable, with strong vibration resistance.
It weighs quite a bit at 68 pounds and it’s also a little larger than some other AGM batteries, measuring 12.1 by 6.7 by 8.2 inches.
5: WindyNation 12V 100 Amp-Hour Deep Cycle VRLA Battery
The WindyNation is a long life 12 volt AGM battery with 100 amp hours that is designed for deep cycle performance and frequent recharging. It weighs 63.5 pounds and measures 13 by 6.8 by 8.7 inches, so it’s a little larger than some other models.
It is durable and features a reserve capacity of 240 minutes, which could make it a good choice for trolling motors. However, for kayaking, you may find that it might be a little too big and heavy.
6: Optima Batteries 8006-006 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
This 12 volt Optima BlueTop is designed for marine use and features 50 amp hours and strong deep cycle performance. It works well in cold temperatures and has a reserve capacity of 100 minutes.
You can mount it in any position, whatever suits your vessel, as it’s spill proof and requires no maintenance. It has a long life span and its amp hour rating means you’ll be able to power your motor for a few hours on one charge.
This is a powerful and tough battery that has strong vibration resistance. It measures 10 by 6.88 by 7.81 inches and weighs 38.4 pounds.
7: ExpertPower EXP12180-2 Standard RBC7 Replacement Rechargeable SLA Battery
This can be a good choice if you’re looking to power a 24 volt trolling motor, as it is two 12 volt batteries that can be connected together in a series for more power. The batteries are both sealed AGM types, so they can be positioned at different angles on your boat.
The EXP121880 batteries both have 18 amp hours and could also be a good choice if you’re looking to have a spare battery on hand, as this could allow you to alternate between the two if you’re out on the water for a significant length of time.
These maintenance free batteries each measure 7.1 by 3.1 by 6.6 inches and weigh 24 pounds.
8: VMAXTANKS Vmax857 Marine Deep Cycle Hi Battery
This 12 volt deep cycle marine Vmax857 can deliver 35 amp hours and is extra durable against vibrations, with its heavy duty Vmax plates in its AGM design. This also helps to boost its performance, giving it resistance and longevity when used frequently and being subjected to constant charging and recharging.
It can be a good maintenance free choice for small boats and it has the ability to be mounted in any position, which could make it easier to install on a kayak. It is also relatively compact, measuring 7.7 inches in length, 5 inches wide and 6.1 inches in height.
9: MinnKota Trolling Motor Power Center (Storage Unit Only)
If you have a small boat or a kayak with a transom mounted trolling motor, this could be a good option for you, as it is effectively giving you somewhere secure to store your battery. However, the power center is not a battery itself, it is only a case.
Designed for small boats that don’t have a battery compartment, this power center will hold your battery as well as let you have easy access to the terminals, so you can connect your trolling motor and charger without having to open the box.
It also benefits from having a battery meter built into it, so you can see its status and know how much power you have left. Another feature is that is has two manual circuit breakers; a 15 amp one and a 60 amp one, suitable for accessories and trolling motors.
Now that you’ve read this article you should have a better grasp on the types of batteries that are available, so hopefully you will be able to work out the right type that you’ll need for your specific requirements.
Choosing a power source for your trolling motor doesn’t have to be difficult. As long as you know the voltage of your trolling motor and the power that you’ll need for your boat then you should be able to make a good choice.
Just remember to keep in mind that if you’re in a kayak, you will probably want your power source to be as compact and lightweight as possible, so it’s not going to add too much to your load.
Also, by adding weight to your kayak or boat with a heavy battery it will also mean the motor will be pulling more weight, which could affect both your speed and the amount of hours you get from one charge.
So when you’re making the choice, make sure your power source meets the needs of both your motor and your boat but don’t forget to factor in the length of time you want to spend on the water, the frequency of your trips and how you plan to charge it.
Do you use a trolling motor? Which one do you have?