best marine battery for boats

The Best Marine Battery 2018

A marine battery is required to start the engine of your boat and power up electrical appliances. There is a range of batteries for boats that include high cranking to deep cycle battery types to satisfy the needs of the boat owner.

The best marine battery for your boat is the Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop with a powerful 12 volt, 750 CCA specification that is perfect for bad weather.

Unlike car batteries, a marine battery will store a higher voltage and discharge huge amounts of electrical current for an extended period of time. They are used for cranking and powering boats throughout the entire duration of use.

Best Marine Battery For Boats

Best Boat BatteryTypeCCA
Optima 8016-103 D34MDual Purpose750
Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST-MStarter1,150
VMAXTANKS VMax857Deep Cycle300
Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLEDual Purpose1,110
Mighty Max BatteryDeep CycleN/A

Deciding on the battery you need for your boat is dependent upon whether you need it to start the engine or power up devices and appliances on-board. For a marine starter battery, cold cranking amps is a rating to look out for whereas deep cycle marine batteries the power.

AGM marine batteries are the preferred type of battery because they are able to contain the battery acid and ensure that it does not leak whatsoever.

Factors such as types, weight, dimensions, capacity, cold cranking amps and much more go into find the correct battery for your boat. Below is a list of the best marine batteries for your boat that provide a reliable source of power.

Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop


The marine battery brand Optima produces a wide variety of boat batteries that are popular among many boat communities. It is a dual purpose marine battery with both starting and deep cycling qualities without the need of multiple batteries.

In terms of the specification of this Optima 8016-103, it includes:

  • 750 Cold Cranking Amps
  • 12 Volts with a 55 Ah C20 Capacity
  • 10 x 6 7/8 x 7 13/16 inches
  • Weighs 43.5 LBS
  • Reserve battery capacity of 120 minutes

It is an AGM marine battery that is high performing in any weather and is able to withstand heavy vibration. Although it is a dual purpose battery, it is best used as a deep cycling battery but the ability to work for both is a huge bonus.

Overall, it is the best dual purpose marine battery for your boat with excellent starting power and deep cycling abilities. For those looking for a single battery, there is no alternative that comes close to the performance and value for money.

Check it Out

Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST-M Starting Battery

The Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST is a premium battery that is a top rated cranking marine battery. At a huge 1,150 CCA, it is by far the highest Cold Crank Amps within this article and better yet, it is warranted at 3 and 4 year full replacement.

In terms of the specification of the Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST, it includes:

  • 1,150 Cold Cranking Amps
  • 100 Ah Capacity
  • Operates in -40 to 80 degree Celsius temperatures
  • Full recharging in 4 to 6 hours
  • 13 x 6.8 x 9.41 in size and a weight of 77.8 LBS

The estimated lifespan of the Odyssey boat battery is between 3 and 10 years of service with a longer cycle life than the majority of deep cycle batteries. You can achieve up to 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge.

It is one of the biggest marine batteries and requires a large amount of lead to performs as it does. It is an AGM battery that will not spill and includes brass terminals that are highly conductive and do not corrode over time.

Overall, it is the best marine starting battery for boats with the biggest CCA rating in this article. It is also fairly heavy duty to the point it will withstand extreme loads, vibrations, long idling and other aggressive uses.

Check it Out

VMAXTANKS Vmax857 Deep Cycle Battery

The VMax857 is an AGM design deep cycle marine battery with a reasonable price tag. It can be used for a range of boat include powerful trolling motors that require a certain amount of power to be able to use all the thrust.

In terms of the specification of the VMax857, it includes:

  • 35 Ah capacity
  • 300 Cold Cranking Amps
  • Lifespan of 5 to 8 years when in float mode
  • Weighs just 25 LBS for easy transportation
  • Length of 7.7 by width of 5 and height of 6.1 inches

The build quality of this marine battery is fairly impressive with particular focus on the physical and chemical structure of the plates. During the manufacturing process, they undergo treatment to enhance the strength and reliability of the marine battery.

Overall, the VMaxtanks VMax857 is the best deep cycle marine battery that provides excellent value for money along with an impressive build quality. It is also the best trolling motor battery for those that use thrust to power their boat along the water.

Check it Out

Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE

The Exide XMC-31 is another dual purpose marine battery that comes with a 2 year warranty for peace of mind. It is a premium battery that challenges the Optima battery with similar performance statistics.

The specification of the Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE includes:

  • 925 CCA at 0 degrees and 1,110 CCA at 32 degrees
  • 200 minute reserve capacity
  • 100 Ah capacity
  • Expect lifespan of 8 to 10 years in float mdoe
  • 13 x 6.7 x 9.3 inches and weighs 71 LBS

It is an AGM construction with excellent performance for both trolling motors and small outboard motors for boats. With this boat battery, it is possible to achieve more than 1,000 cycles with the average depth of discharge being 60%.

Compared with the Optima dual purpose marine battery, it is slightly more expensive and heavier but it does win the battle in terms of performance.

Check it Out

Mighty Max Boat Battery ML55-12


If you are looking for an affordable boat battery that provides a reliable source of power, then the Might Max Boat Battery may be your best buy. It is an AGM construction that has the benefit of high discharge rates, wide operating temperatures and a long service life.

The MightMax boat battery has the following specification:

  • 12V 55 Ah Capacity
  • 9 x 5.43 x 9.13 inches and a weight of 38.5 LBS
  • 1 year warranty
  • Expected lifespan of 2 years

The ML55-12 is the better buy compared to the weaker ML35 version and it is ideal for trolling motors with a maximum of 30 LBS of thrust.

Compared with the VMax857, it is very close but the MightMax has a much greater Ah rating but this does result in a heavier marine battery. Both are top rated trolling motor batteries that provide a reliable source of power.

Marine Battery Buying Guide

Buying a boat battery is more complex than first thought because there are so many variables to consider. You will want to get the best boat battery for the money without spending stupid amounts of money.

There are several types of batteries from starter, deep cycle or a mixture of the two called dual purpose. Choosing between them is dependent upon your intended usage of the battery. Below is a list of factors that you should consider.

Intended Purpose

The marine/boat batteries may be used for two broad purposes namely: cranking an engine i.e. igniting an engine to begin operating, and powering the vessel throughout its journey or duration of use.

These batteries have the ability to discharge power of various ratings and voltages, a fact that determines to a great extent the kind of usage that they may be employed to. As a general rule, should the batteries be intended for cranking only, then the low rating type should be opted for.

However, should they be intended for both cranking and powering the vessels, then the deep cycle or dual purpose battery with higher current capacity/rating should be opted for.

Cold Cranking Amps

The abbreviation CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps (or Marine Cranking Amps for the case of marine batteries) and is basically a measure of the capability of an acid battery to support plenty of power within a short duration of time.

It basically shows how much of electrical power the battery’s lead acid may generate within a typical 30-second duration, at zero degrees Fahrenheit temperature, before the voltage ultimately drops to below the 7.2 Volts threshold (7.2 Volts is the minimum power of electrical energy that is needed to crank an engine).

For instance, a battery that has a 300 CCA rating is able to generate 300 Amperes of electrical current for a duration of 30 seconds and zero degrees Fahrenheit temperature, before eventually dropping to below 7.2 Volts. The choice of the most suitable boat battery on the basis of this consideration is mainly determined by the prevailing external temperatures.

If the boat is to be used in extremely cold temperatures, then a battery with an MCA rating of no less than 500 ought to be preferred.

Reserve Capacity Rating

Reserve capacity is a measure of the total length of time that a fully-charged battery may deliver 25 amperes of electrical current in an environment that is at least 80°F in temperature, before being discharged to 10.5 volts.

For instance, a battery with a reserve capacity rating of 150 minutes can last for two and a half hours while discharging a load of 25 Amperes. The battery with the higher reserve capacity is by all means preferable to those with low capacity for optimal performance.

Amp Hour Rating

This rating is mainly applicable to the trolling battery variety. It is basically a measure of the number of amperes that a battery can deliver in a duration of 20 hours. For example, a battery that has a 100 ampere-hour rating is theoretically able to deliver 5 Amperes of electrical current per hour for a total duration of 20 hours, other factors held constant.

However, due to the fact that some electrical current is usually lost by reason of the battery’s internal resistance, it is not guaranteed that the battery will fully deliver the electrical current that is stipulated in its rating. Consequently, it is strongly recommended that a higher rating than the one desired is to be generally selected.

Charging of the Battery

To ensure that the battery is fully charged, you will require a top rated marine battery charger to keep it topped up. The electric appliances on boats will draw current from the deep cycle battery overtime and it will need to be topped up regularly to prevent lasting damage to the battery.

There are many methods of charging the battery from on-board chargers to portable alternatives. On-board chargers are often found on larger boats with multiple batteries that can be charged simultaneously.

Battery Groups

Boat batteries come in various sizes designated as 27, 24, 6D, 31, 8D, and so on. The size of the battery box is the number one determinant of the size of the battery that is desirable for use.

It is therefore incumbent upon the prospective buyer to ascertain the size of his boat’s battery box in order to make a more informed decision. Ventilation is also a crucial concern. Therefore, the amount of space for ventilation is also to be factored in before settling on a suitable battery.

Type

Boat batteries may be classified on the basis of the chemistry principles/mechanisms on which they operate and the roles they play in powering boats. These are explained in details hereunder:

According to the Mechanism of Operations

On the basis of the various chemistry principles/mechanisms on which they operate, boat batteries may be classified as follows:

  • AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) – It is a type of Lead-acid battery. It does not spill, may be mounted on numerous positions, is vibrant and shock-resistant, light in weight, more durable than the standard Lead-acid battery, and requires less maintenance. It is by far the most outstanding of the various types of boat batteries.
  • Sealed Acid Battery – Also called the Valve-regulated Lead-acid Battery (VRLA battery), this battery is also mountable in any orientation, requires minimal maintenance, is very portable, and is also leak-proof. However, it is not as durable as the absorbent glass mat battery discussed above.
  • Flooded Battery – It contains electrolyte in the form of a liquid. It is very susceptible to spillages and also sulfates if left unused for long. This battery also requires cumbersome regular maintenance schedules as opposed to the previous two.
  • Gel Cell Battery – This is a special type of AGM battery whose electrolyte is in the form of a thick putty-like gel (that is composed of Silica dust) rather than solid. It is also long lasting and requires less maintenance. It is however not as powerful as the AGM batteries.
  • Lithium Battery – In these batteries, Lithium is used as the anode. They are also lighter, safer, more reliable, and more compact than the ordinary batteries. They are thus more desirable than all the remaining battery types.

Note: The ideal boat battery under this consideration should be one that is as long-lasting as possible and also requires less maintenance.

On the basis of the kinds of roles the play in powering the vessels, they may be classified as follows:

  • Cranking or starting marine battery – These are boat batteries that are designed and intended to start engines only. The do so by supplying more power but in the form of sudden outbursts. They basically comprise several Lead plates which are thinner and have more surface area than the deep cycle battery. As soon as they are done with cranking the engine, they automatically switch off and stay idle till the next time they are needed. Their power is then replenished by the alternator.
  • Power or deep cycle marine battery – These batteries consist of fewer Lead plates but which are nevertheless thicker than those of the cranking varieties. They provide power at very slow rates but for an extended duration of time. The power that is generated by these batteries is strong enough to power multiple appliances and accessories at the same time.
  • Dual purpose marine battery – A dual-purpose boat battery is one that may serve the double roles of cranking engines and providing power to the boat itself and other accessories at the same time. It is also called a hybrid battery. It suitable for use in boats whose battery space are quite small, and are thus incapable of accommodating several batteries at the same time. On the flipside, the power generated by these boats is not high enough and may not be able to withstand much deep cycling.

Note: The number of battery slots that are provided for by the boat manufacturer determines to a great extent the kind of battery to be acquired. Should numerous slots exist, then several different kinds of batteries may be bought to accrue the various advantages they have to offer.

best battery charger for boats

Environment of Use

The typical marine setting may have very fluctuating environments indeed. Under some circumstances, the weather may be very rough, the sea may be very turbulent, and there could also be rain and storms.

These call for a battery that is tough enough to withstand all the various weather conditions and guarantee maximum reliability as well as optimal efficiency at all times. The ideal battery should, therefore, be waterproof, able to be inverted upside down or mountable in whichever position, possess thicker plates, and also be able to tolerate deeper cycles.

Manufacturing Date

Batteries are primarily powered by stored chemicals whose potency diminishes with time. It, therefore, goes without saying that the date of manufacture of a battery has a significant bearing on whether it is suitable for use or not.

Consequently, only those batteries that are ‘still fresh’ i.e. those which were manufactured as recently as possible may be preferred over and above those that have stayed on the shelves for longer. The date of manufacture is often labeled on the battery itself.

Note: It is strongly advised that batteries that have a date of manufacture that exceeds six months at the time of purchase should not be opted for.

Weight

It is a measure of how heavy or how light a battery is at the time of purchase. It is expressed in pounds. Boat batteries are often moved in and out of the boat. This, therefore, means that the ideal boat battery should be as light and as portable as possible.

Generally, a battery that weighs somewhere between 20 pounds (9.1 kg) and 50 pounds (22.7 kg) is preferable.

Vibration Resistance

Boats generally derive their motion power from motors that basically convert the stored electrical energy into motion. Other than that, the seas or oceans wherein the boats operate also experience storms, winds, and turbulence from time to time.

All these have the impact of shaking/vibrating a boat and thus compromise its functioning. These vibrations also have the ability to inflict damages to the various components of the boat batteries, a fact that may lead to far-reaching repercussions.

Examples of these repercussions include the dislocation of the inner cells, deterioration of the batteries, and the reduction of the batteries’ life expectancy. It, therefore, follows that the preferred battery ought to be resistant to vibrations.

For this to be guaranteed, the batteries have to be enclosed in very tough and durable seals that are able to absorb shocks and protect the interior of the batteries.

Versatility

Boat batteries may accommodate and indeed be used alongside several other items, parts, and accessories such as battery box, battery trays, boat battery chargers, battery isolators, battery switches, additional terminals, and battery cleaners, among others.

Not all boat batteries are able to accommodate as many of these additional accessories and parts as possible. In order to ensure that as many of these accessories may be acquired and utilized, the boat battery so chosen should be one that is very versatile and is thus able to accommodate these and much more other accessories.

Price and Warranty

The ultimate decision as to whether a specific boat battery may be settled on or not largely depends on the financial endowment of the prospective buyer. However, other factors such as the cost of the specific boat battery and the accompanying warranty also have some role to play in the final decision.

It is therefore incumbent upon the prospective buyer of the boat battery to ascertain his financial endowment alongside other factors such as the actual cost of the preferred boat battery and the potential benefits he stands to derive out of the purchase of the said battery before making an ultimate decision.

Also, products that are accompanied by generous warranties should be preferred as do sellers that offer hot discounts and special offers. This is necessary to reduce to a considerable extent the financial burdens that are generally encountered in the course of making a purchase.

best trolling motors for small boats

Voltage Rating

Voltage is the ‘pressure’ that is generated from an electrical circuit’s power source which ‘pushes’ the charged electrons (electric current) through a conduction loop thus enabling it to do some work.

Boat batteries are available in various voltage ratings such as 24 Volts, 18 Volts, and 12 Volts, respectively. There is a direct correlation between the voltage rating of a boat battery and the amount of electrical power/current it generates.

Therefore, a 24 Volt battery is preferable to a 12 Volt battery as it generates plenty of electrical currents and is also very reliable. It is also worth noting that different vessels may accommodate boat batteries of different voltage ratings, and as such, this also should be taken into consideration.

Preferred Position of Deployment

Different boats have different positions for the installation of the batteries. Some allow for the batteries to be fixed in the horizontal position, others in the vertical position, whereas others in diagonal positions.

It is necessary to factor this reality into consideration in order to forestall the attendant side effects of inappropriate installations such as leakages, wear and tear, and damages. Batteries like the AGM and the gel cell are more desirable since they are resistant to leakages and may thus be fixed/installed in whichever position.

The wet cell batteries on the other hand are very vulnerable to spillages and are thus quite risky. They may only be acquired in case the boats wherein they are to be fixed can only accommodate horizontal positions.

Maintenance Requirements

Some batteries require regular and tedious maintenance than others owing to their nature and construction. Some of the common maintenance tasks that the typical owner of boat batteries may carry out from time to time include: wiping the spillages, repairing dents, refilling the electrolytes, and replacing some worn out parts and components.

These maintenance tasks have some cost implications, consume some time, and may inconvenience the users of the boat batteries. Some batteries such as the wet cell type require expensive maintenance owing to their tendency to spill or leak on a regular basis.

However, others like the AGM and the gel cell are very durable and are less likely to require regular maintenance schedules. They are thus more desirable.

Ease of Installation

After acquiring a boat battery, the next daunting task is usually how to install it or fix it into the slot wherein it may discharge the roles of powering the vessels. Some batteries are availed in a pre-assembled form and are ready to go.

Others however, require some installed before eventual deployment. This calls for the mastery of some technical jargons or skills which the ordinary users may unfortunately not possess. Those batteries that are available in the ready-to-go form are thus more preferable to those that require some form of pre-assembly.

Brands

The field of the manufacture of boat batteries is awash with numerous players, each with its own niche or area of specialization. Brands matter in that some are famed for high quality, others are accompanied by generous manufacturer’s warranty, yet others still have excellent after-sales-services, customer care, and retail networks.

All these have a bearing on the kind of satisfaction a potential user may derive out of the acquisition and the subsequent use of any boat battery. As of the year 2017, the following are some of the top boat battery brands which may serve as the starting point for any search for the ideal boat battery: ACDelco, Exide, Lifeline, Optima’s, Power King, Rolls Batteries, Sonneschein,Superior Superflex, Trojan, US Battery, Interstate Batteries, Odyssey Marine Batteries, and VMAX Batteries, and indeed, more besides.

Safety and Security

Batteries generally comprise deadly chemicals that may pose grave dangers such as burns to humans whenever they are allowed to come into contact with the human skin. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the battery that is eventually selected is as safe as possible.

Some of the main components/parts of the typical battery that ought to be handled with care include the seals and the frame wherein the electrolytes are kept. The ideal boat battery should thus be enclosed in a very durable and tough frame and should also be sealed as tight as possible.

If you want to provide your marine battery with the best protection, there are many smart marine battery boxes that prevent impact damage and contain the battery acid.

Should any part or component of the boat battery be broken or dented at the time of purchase, the battery should be returned to the seller immediately.

Compatibility

This refers to the agreeability of the size, technical sophistication, and functionality of the boat battery to the battery slot into which it is finally fixed for eventual use. Different boats, as has been stated above, have battery slots of different sizes.

This affects the size of the batteries that may be fixed into them. Moreover, some manufacturers may also impose additional technical constraints are regards the kinds of batteries that may be accommodated and used in their boats.

All these mean that, great care should be taken to see to it that the battery that is eventually settled on is not only able to fit into the allocated slot, but is also able to work harmoniously with the various other components of the boat’s power supply system.

Conclusion

All of the recommended marine batteries listed above are of an AGM construction as this is the most reliable and they are maintenance free. Choosing the battery type is the first thing you should do and once you know this, the above batteries are perfect.

The best marine brands are often the ones to go for but they do mix and match with other batteries from the automotive category. Many boat owners will have separate batteries for starting and for deep cycling purposes. If this is the case, try to go for battery types that are dedicated with the job in hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *