Buying a trolling motor is a very good investment, because it eliminates the need for paddling. You can mount a trolling motor on your boat, kayak or canoe. But in order to get the most out of it, you need to buy the best trolling motor battery.
These are specific deep cycle batteries that discharge electricity gradually over longer time periods, unlike car batteries which are used to quick-start a vehicle. They allow you to move around for hours at the speed of your choosing. They can even power other gadgets you have onboard.
It’s important to choose the best deep cycle battery that will give you great performance and best value for money. Check out our trolling motor battery reviews and buying guide to learn more.
Let’s get started.
How To Choose The Best Trolling Motor Battery – Buying Guide
Choosing the right trolling motor battery is essential, because they can vary significantly in capacity, quality and lifespan. You should get a battery that is durable, reliable and light. When buying a battery, you have to consider the type of battery you are getting, as well as the price and customer satisfaction.
You want it to be convenient and with a good lifespan. It beats the purpose to you give a large amount of money for a battery you have to replace after a short time. There are three basic types of batteries used for trolling motors, each with some ups and downs. Take a closer look at some of the features and how to decide.
This is a basic battery type that can also be used for trolling motors. The only upside compared to the other two types is that the wet-cell battery is the cheapest. So if you don’t want to spend big bucks on a battery, this is your way to go. However, this type requires maintenance, because of the battery acid. Also, you may need to add distilled water from time to time.
They are not sealed and can potentially leak the mentioned battery acid. This can lead to corrosion so you need to be careful because it can impact their performance or even damage them completely. They are susceptible to vibrations that occur on water, which can cause further leakage. If you are willing to invest you time in proper maintenance, this type can last for a year or two.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) batteries are more modern and a better solution, but also pricier. As the name says, they have a fiberglass plating. They are also completely sealed which means they won’t have any leakage. You can position them on the side or in any other position. This is very useful when you go fishing and want to save space in your boat or kayak.
Another benefit of AGM battery being sealed is that it won’t emit harmful gasses because they all stay inside, which eliminates the need for a ventilated case. They charge almost twice as fast compared to wet-cell type, and have double the lifespan. These batteries are also very resistant to cold and vibrations. One downside is that it can be sensitive to overcharging, so you have to be careful about that. This type is probably the best deep cycle battery when you consider value for money.
The lithium-ion battery has only recently became more popular for trolling motors. You have certainly heard of lithium-ion batteries since they are most commonly used in mobile phones and laptops. However, lithium marine trolling batteries are a very good choice for your trolling motor because they charge really fast and last a long time while out on water.
If you don’t overheat and overcharge, they can last for many years. They are also much lighter compared to wet-cell and AGM batteries, which will allow you higher speeds. This is why it’s popular among competitive anglers. However, the price is a big downside here, because this type of battery is the most expensive by far.
A battery has a decline in capacity over time, because of the heating and chemical processes that occur inside while charging and discharging. Life of a deep cycle marine battery depends on a lot of things, but mainly on the type of battery you choose. As we mentioned, the wet-cell type can normally last anywhere from one to two years, sometimes a bit more but they require maintenance to be durable. AGM type can last from two to four year on average, which can vary from one manufacturer to another (some last even longer). Lithium-ion batteries have the longest lifespan on average, and can last up to 10 years.
Of course, not everything depends just on the battery type. If you take better care of it, it has a better chance to function longer – maintenance when needed, temperature, avoiding overheating and overcharging and so on. Some manufacturers simply make better products than others, even if it’s the same type of battery. Take that into consideration too. If a supplier gives longer warranty on a product, it can be an indicator that the battery is better.
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Vibration Resistance and Durability
There are a lot of vibrations occurring in your boat and kayak, and this can very negatively affect your battery. The best trolling motor battery should be shock resistant, to avoid damage. Otherwise, you risk potential damage which can result in the battery not charging properly, or not charging at all. In some bad cases it can even short-circuit. It’s also best if the battery is sealed. You should look for a battery that has both of these properties, and can be positioned however you like.
The size is important for two reasons. It can take up much space in your kayak, which is annoying. Most trolling motors use one 12V battery, and depending on the type you choose it can be very light-weight and compact. The other thing you should really consider is the weight of the battery. Batteries usually weigh between 20 and 50lbs.
This can sometimes be a problem, especially if having a heavy battery means you are crossing the weight limit of your kayak. Most people choose lighter batteries for their kayaks so they can move faster. However, both in our trolling motor battery reviews and online you can find information about the dimensions and the weight of the battery, so you can decide if it’s good for your vessel. Always measure carefully before buying.
Convenience and Ease of Use
The deep cell marine battery you buy should be convenient, of course. You have to install the battery and connect everything without trouble. As mentioned, some batteries can be put in different positions without having to worry about spilling or malfunction. Also, it’s much easier if you don’t have to perform maintenance on the battery. Just charge and use, simple as that. However, the most convenient batteries are those which will serve you for a long time.
If you are going to use the battery to charge other things onboard too (not just the trolling motor), you may want to buy a dual purpose battery. Deep cycle batteries normally used for trolling motors discharge a large amount of their capacity over long time periods, and therefore are not the best choice for quick-starting. Dual purpose batteries can perform both these things, but that can influence the overall lifespan of the battery. In the bottom line, you should know what the battery will be used for and buy accordingly.
Q: How to charge trolling motor batteries while on lake?
You can charge your batteries on lake by using conventional chargers. The charging speed should be adjusted so you can comfortably and safely do it. However, you should be careful when charging AGM batteries because they can charge very fast which can destroy the cells, so low ampere charging is better. Also, you can use solar panel chargers which function very good. This is a solid method for maintaining the charge of the battery while on water, but it may not charge the battery at same speed as a conventional charger.
Q: How to wire a trolling motor to the batteries?
Battery manufacturers recommend using a 6-gauge wire when wiring the batteries. It’s advised to install a manual reset circuit breaker. Before connecting the battery system to the trolling motor, be sure all the switches are off. If you’re using a 12V battery, you should connect the red lead from the trolling motor to the + (positive) battery terminal. The circuit breaker should be used on this connection. Then connect the black lead from the trolling motor power cable to – (negative) battery terminal.
If you have a 24V trolling motor, you can power it using two 12V batteries. The way you connect it is as following: connect the black lead cable from the trolling motor to the – (negative) on the second battery. Connect the read lead from the trolling motor to the + (positive) battery terminal on the first battery. The circuit breaker should be on this connection. Finally, use a jumper cable to connect the – on the first battery and the + on the second. The jumper wire should have the same gauge as the rest.
Q: How long should trolling motor batteries last?
This depends on several things. The combination of battery and motor power will determine how many running hours you will have. Also, if you are running the motor at full speed or if your boat is heavy, the battery will drain faster. To explain in more detail – if your trolling motor is drawing 10A per hour going at medium speed, and your battery capacity is 50Ah, you can expect a running time of 5 hours before battery is completely drained. So everything depends on the combination of these two, if the motor draws less and you have a bigger capacity battery, you can expect longer periods on water.
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We hope things are clearer now and you know what to look for when buying the best deep cycle battery to suit your needs. Every product in our trolling motor battery reviews has it’s ups and downs (but much more ups), so it’s really up to you to choose one. Follow the advice from the buying guide and buy a reliable product that won’t leave you stranded.
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