Power Your Exploration: How to Buy the Best Marine Battery for Your Boat

Marine Battery for Your Boat

Want your boat to go faster and last longer than ever before? One of the best ways to increase boat performance is to replace your marine battery. 

A newer battery will be much more reliable than that old one you’ve been holding onto for years. The problem, though, is that choosing the boat battery is easier said than done. 

There are tons of factors to consider, such as the type of boat you have and the type of engine you are running on board. Luckily, we’ve compiled all the tips you need in our handy boat battery buying guide down below.

If you’re ready to revamp your boat’s performance, then keep reading below to learn how to buy a new boat battery with confidence. 

Main Types of Boat Batteries

First off, you need to understand what types of batteries exist, before you can compare marine battery prices and choose a brand.

12V batteries, otherwise known as cranking batteries, are used to start up your motor. A deep cycle battery can be a separate battery that is used to power onboard devices such as radios, lights, fish-finding rigs, smaller motors, and other accessories.

Since you need both, you can buy a dual-purpose marine battery that performs both of these essential functions in one package. 

Cranking Batteries

Cranking batteries work by providing a lot of power in short, fast bursts. These high-powered bursts are what get your engine going once you turn the ignition. 

It can provide high, fast power output thanks to the increased number of lead plates on the battery. The greater the surface area of these lead plates, the more power can be delivered, and the larger the engine you can start. Also, the thinner the plates, the faster the power can move through them.

The high-powered blasts can’t run for a long time. However, once the engine is running, the alternator keeps the battery powered up. 

Deep Cycle Battery 

A deep cycle battery is necessary for powering anything on the boat other than the engine. Accessories and appliances like radios and speakers, along with fishfinders and trolling motors, will need longer power discharges, but don’t need as much power at any given moment.

Deep cycle batteries have less surface area on their lead plates. The plates are also much thicker, providing long power dischargers, even after the engine is turned off. 

The battery’s reserve capacity (RC) will tell you how long your deep cycle battery will continue to power your devices. When choosing a deep cycle battery, the higher the RC, the longer you will enjoy power. Overall, they can typically withstand a few hundred charges and discharge cycles. 

The Enduro Battery is a favorite among boaters. They are lightweight and charge super fast. They can last 10 years or longer, which is far longer than your standard lead boat batteries. While you might spend more upfront, they will save you tons of money and frustration down the line. 

Hybrid Batteries

Dual Purpose or hybrid batteries are those that save you space on your boat by combining both battery functions into one device. But while a hybrid battery saves space on the boat, it doesn’t provide optimal performance.

By combining both the cranking and deep cycle attributes into one, it will perform both tasks at a suboptimal level. It won’t be able to start the highest power engines. And it won’t provide as many charge cycles through its deep-cycle function.

So while it saves money, a hybrid battery isn’t designed for performance. For smaller boats, however, with small engines and few, if any, accessories, a hybrid battery can work well. Or they make great backup batteries in a pinch. 

With a bigger boat, lots of accessories, and more power desired, purchasing separate cranking and deep cycle batteries are in your best interest. 

Don’t Mix Your Batteries Up

When purchasing separate batteries for your boat, it’s important to buy the right type. You can’t use a cranking battery for both functions, nor can you use a deep cycle battery for both functions. 

Using a cranking battery for low-power accessories, even a trolling motor, will cause the battery to overheat and lose all power. This is the fastest way to ruin your battery and have to buy a new one. 

And a deep cycle battery trying to power an engine may not work. This is bad news if you are already out on the water and can’t get your engine to start. Hopefully, you brought some paddles. 

Types of Batteries

When choosing a cranking and deep cycle battery, there are a few categories to choose from. This includes wet-cell batteries, gel batteries, and AGM batteries.

Wet-cell batteries are the most common type of battery. These are the batteries that contain a liquid mixture of chemicals, known as battery acid. They are the cheapest type of battery, and if maintained properly and protected from damage, can last years and thousands of cycles. 

However, the batteries are relatively fragile, as they need to vent and the possibility of spilling the corrosive acid exists. Distilled water needs to be monitored and added as needed, so you need to stay on top of these batteries.

For a maintenance-free battery, AGM batteries are popular as well. Within the battery, oxygen combines with hydrogen gas to produce the liquid needed to replenish the battery automatically. 

AGM batteries are sealed, so no acid is going to spill out of them. This lets you install them at an angle. They are more expensive and heavier than wet-cell batteries, but only require the occasional exterior cleaning to keep them going for a long time. 

Gel batteries offer similar benefits to AGM batteries. But they are resistant to over-discharge, which is common with other types of batteries. 

If you can afford a gel battery for your boat, they are the best investment, as they have a really low discharge rate. This is great for those who store their boat for long periods between use. 

Getting the Best Marine Battery

As a boat owner, you now know that the best option is to choose a separate cranking and deep cycle marine battery. The specific type of battery you choose will depend on your budget, and how much maintenance and upkeep you are willing to spend on your batteries. Gel and AGM batteries are the preferred choices.

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