Deep Cycle on the Water: The Best Trolling Motor Battery

The old school guys that used to fish lakes and lagoons by way of the different waterborne craft will be the first to tell you how much trolling motors have changed the very face of vessel fishing. Bass fishermen, in particular, have taken to using these quiet, electric motors. They use them not only as a means of accessing otherwise unattainable fishing grounds but also for their stealth and vessel control capabilities. Trolling motors are, Minn_Kota-Trolling_Outboard-002quite simply, electric motors that have been designed with a shaft and propeller attached at the end. They typically are fastened to either the bow (front) or transom (back or stern) of the boat with a swivel mount. This way they can be either electrically or manually lifted in and out of the water for use. Because trolling motors are a separate unit from the outboard engine(s), they need to be powered by their own marine battery. Following these two important rules will have you closer to finding the best trolling motor battery for your particular trolling motor.

Motor BatteriesComfortPrice  Our Rating
MAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM BatteryA$$$$
Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M Marine BatteryA+$$$
12V 100Ah Solar Wind AGM SLA VRLA BatteryA$$$
ExpertPower 12V 33Ah Rechargeable BatteryB$$
12V 15Ah F2 Lead Acid Rechargeable BatteryB+$$

Trolling motors require deep cycle 12v marine batteries.

Regular car batteries can not deliver the maintained power supply that deep cycle batteries are built to provide. Using a regular 12v car battery will not do. It will destroy the battery, and likely ruin the trolling motor to boot. Each trolling motor provides a certain amount of thrust power (rated as pounds of thrust). Most trolling motors are built in either 12, 12/24, 24, or 36-volt models. The higher the voltage, the more pounds of thrust a motor can provide. Going with a higher voltage motor means you will need to run it off of more than 1 battery. Run at least 2 batteries for 24v motors, and 3 for 36v electric motors.

Each trolling motor provides a certain amount of thrust power (rated as pounds of thrust).

Most trolling motors are built in either 12, 12/24, 24, or 36-volt models. The higher the voltage, the more pounds of thrust a motor can provide. Going with a higher voltage motor means you will need to run it off of more than 1 battery. Run at least 2 batteries for 24v motors, and 3 for 36v electric motors.

Marine Batteries as they Relate to Thrust Power

Before we get into the characteristics of deep cycle batteries themselves, it seems wise to take a look at how much thrust power you need. Thrust power is rated in pounds, or pounds of thrust. The first thing to consider when deciding how many pounds of thrust you will want to have is the weight of your boat (almost every boat manufacturer will have an online directory of boat specs). Consider the fact that your overall boat weight is an inconstant factor (you might bring an extra buddy, and some extra gear, coolers, etc. sometimes). Also, take into account natuUntitled-3ral conditions such as the wind, current, and swell that may call for more thrust power. The most realistic number when it comes to pounds of thrust per boat weight ratio is, 5lbs of thrust per every 200 pounds of a fully loaded vessel. Running motors at full capacity will quickly drain your battery. Another reason to move up in motor voltage, and/or move up in a number of batteries.

If you have a longer, heavier boat, you're obviously going to need more lbs of thrust out of your trolling motor. This might mean a decision to use a 24 or 36-volt trolling motor. Perhaps you always bring a group, carry extra weight for other reasons, or often fish against wind and current. These factors might also edge you closer to a larger motor. Whichever way you end up going, your decision will determine the number of marine batteries you'll need to power the unit. Extra power costs extra money, and so do extra batteries. Don't worry though! We'll be providing a mixture of the best options in marine deep cycle batteries for any situation.

Knowing your Marine Battery – The Deep Cycle Difference

Getting your trolling motor supplied with plenty of power doesn't require you to become an expert in batteries. However, some basic knowledge about deep cycle batteries, and how they differ from car (or cranking) batteries can BATERIAS-Y-SAIgo a long way. A cranking (also starting) battery is designed to give a high burst of amps for a short period of time. After the starting battery has done its job, it isn't required by the car to provide any more energy. Instead, the alternator works to restore any spent energy released by the battery. Car batteries are not designed to be able to provide sustained power to accessory devices.

On the other hand, marine deep cycle batteries are constructed toBPS-Anglers-214-620x350 provide both cranking powers (though not as high a burst of amps as a car battery) and sustained provisional power. Deep cycle batteries are used on all kinds of ships, yachts, boats, RV's, and commercial trucks as an alternate power supply for accessories such as lighting, pumps, ovens, stoves, water heaters, etc. Bass fishing boats are basically doing the same thing. They're just using the deep cycle battery to power their trolling motor instead. Other instruments (such as fish finders) can also be powered by your deep cycle battery if desired.

Marine deep cycle batteries are different than starting batteries on the inside too. Car and marine batteries have rows or columns of plates inside, which is where energy is stored. The plates used to store energy in a deep cycle battery are much thicker than those of their cranking cousins. Top grade deep cycle batteries also use a gel to help stabilize the plates against the constant shifting motions associated with being on the water. This is a desirable feature, especially if you boat in rough conditions. If the plates inside your battery slip, move, or shift, it will either be ruined or lose much of its capacity.

Understanding Terminology – Reading the Best Trolling Motor Battery

One last thing to take a look at before we get into some actual marine batteries is the meaning of the abbreviations used in their descriptions. They are important in finding the right battery for your needs. These are some of the abbreviations you might see on a marine battery.

AbbreviationMeaning
VVolts
AhAmpere Hour – How many amps a battery can give off in one hour before being drained.
AGMAbsorbed Glass Matt – Used for plate stabilization in advanced batteries.
SLASealed Lead Acid – Corrosive liquid used inside batteries.

These are the abbreviations that matter when you're looking for battery specs. Any others you see will be related to the product model, and don't have a bearing on the battery performance (except perhaps for taking manufacturing quality into account). Ampere hours will typically range from 35 – 100 in deep cycle batteries, but can be found in lower and higher hours as well. The higher number meaning the battery can provide more energy (and will be bigger too). The sealed lead acid used in batteries is an unstable substance, and the absorbed glass mat contains the acid effectively (so it can't spill). The absorbed glass mat also stabilizes the plates inside the battery, making it much more difficult for them to shift.

Picking the Right Trolling Motor Battery and Setup

When it's all said and done, the boating fisherman really wants two thinYamaha-Battery-Tech-Part-1gs out of his trolling motor and battery(ies). He wants; 1) To have enough power or pounds of thrust to maneuver his boat in any circumstance, and 2) To have enough battery life to easily cover his sessions on the water. If your vessel runs fine on a 12V trolling motor, you can move up to dual batteries to get more time on the water. If your boat's weight puts you on the border between a 12V or 24V trolling motor, we suggest you splurge at first if possible. You'll be glad you did out on the water.

As you narrow down your search for the best trolling motor battery, you'll notice that the ones using the absorbed glass mat (which are also fully maintenance and spill free) can cost twice as much. We've done the research for you here at Fishermen's Angle, and will recommend two such top model batteries. We will follow these up with three more marine deep cycle batteries not equipped with the AGM, but much more reasonable in price. We only recommend products that have received high ranking reviews. Be sure to read the wrap up after our battery recommendations for insightful tips on charging, mounting, and other helpful tid bits.

Motor BatteriesComfortPrice  Our Rating
MAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM BatteryA$$$$
Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M Marine BatteryA+$$$
12V 100Ah Solar Wind AGM SLA VRLA BatteryA$$$
ExpertPower 12V 33Ah Rechargeable BatteryB$$
12V 15Ah F2 Lead Acid Rechargeable BatteryB+$$

Our Top 5 Best Trolling Motor Batteries

1. VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle SLA Maintenance Free Battery

  • Review Ranking: 9 out of 5 Stars.
  • Size: L 12” W 6.5” • H 8” Weight: 69 pounds.
  • Company: Vmax Tanks.

This VMAX deep cycle battery is a beast at 69 pounds and is$_3 meant for larger vessels. It carries a lot of energy at 100 amp hours and is a highly regarded product. The use of absorbed glass mat and it's fully sealed, maintenance-free features offer boaters a superior product. This is where this product really shines. The VMAX packs its thick plates tightly together and completely seals the gaps between with its unique style of absorbed glass mat. The battery is then fully sealed and self-contained, meaning no hazardous material to worry about. This construction also offers highly increased vibration resistance when compared to liquid lead acid batteries. The final competitive feature of the VMAX is its ability to quickly recharge to fully capacity.

2. Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery

  • Review Ranking: 6 out of 5 Stars.
  • Size: L 10” W 6.88” • H 7.81” Weight: 43.5 pounds.
  • Company: Johnson Controls.

The Opoptima-d27m-blue-top-deep-cycle-lefttima is at the top of everyone's list. I added it to ours as well because it deserves to be there. The Optima doesn't use typical battery plating. Instead, it has its own unique design called spiral plating. This technique is said to be 15 times more resistant to vibration, can be recharged 3 times more, and lasts longer than any regular plate battery. There is absolutely no liquid in the Optima, and it can be mounted in any position on your vessel. The Optima also offers 120 minutes of reserve power. Note that the Optima isn't rated by amp hours, as the spiral cell technology involved doesn't carry over to this conversion method. Rest assured, the Optima will outlast any regular plated battery in its own class. This is a top tier battery, and will work well for nearly every trolling motor application.

3. 12V 100Ah Solar Wind AGM SLA Deep Cycle VRLA Battery

  • Review Ranking: 7 out of 5 Stars.
  • Size: L 12.9” W 6.6” • H 9.1” Weight: 60 pounds.
  • Company: Universal Power Group.s-l1000

The Universal Power Group offers this Solar Wind battery at a chopped down price. It is very similar to our #1 ranked VMAX battery, in that it offers 100 amp hours, and uses the absorbed glass mat. It's also a big, bulky battery at 60 lbs and ideal for larger vessels. The resemblance ends when it comes to design, manufacturing, and construction. While you may sacrifice in superior design and quality, the Solar Wind battery comes with very good customer reviews. I would say that as long as you don't intend to use this battery in rough conditions, it would fit the bill just fine. This might be a good compromise if you're thinking of going with an extra battery, and want to keep the price down.

4. ExpertPower 12V 33Ah Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery

  • Review Ranking: 4 out of 5 Stars.
  • Size: L 7.7” W 5” • H 6” Weight: 23.2 pounds.
  • Company: ExpertPower

This deep cycle battery41WvRsTVMuL made by ExpertPower is a great fit for smaller craft. The manufacturing and design will be similar to that of the Solar Wind above. ExpertPower also does a good job of providing customer satisfaction with positive reviews, while keeping the price down. This is a much lighter battery as well, and being so only stores 33 amp hours of thrust power. At the price, it would be perfect to double up on, and even out the weight on your craft. Although not listed in the title, this 12V battery does employ absorbed glass mat technology and is also completely sealed.

5. 12V 15Ah F2 Sealed Lead Acid AGM Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery

  • Review Ranking: 5 out of 5 Stars.
  • Size: L 5.875” W 3.75” • H 4” Weight: 10 pounds.
  • Company: Universal Power Group

For our final41g20E5AeDL._SX355_ battery, we return again to the Universal Power Group. This battery though small packs some good power with 15 amp hours. Ideal for personal sized craft, this battery will provide you with several hours of fun before recharge time. The fact it only weighs 10 pounds at such a reasonable price means you can triple, or even quadruple mount these guys for extra power. If your craft easily gets by on a 12v trolling motor with minimal output, 2 of these power packs will keep you going for a while. Still built using AGM, which is perfect for the jostling smaller vessels are sometimes prone to.

Wrapping up the Best Trolling Motor Battery – Tips and Tid Bits

We hope you've found our recommendations, and the information provided here useful in aiding your quest to propel your fishing vessel. Before we conclude, here are a few good tips to make your fishing time free from power troubles.

Storage of Batteries 

During such times that your boat is not in use, your rechargeable will batteries will slowly lose their charge. If left for too long, just like any rechargeable battery, it will lose its capacity to hold a charge. Keeping all your vessel's batteries attached to a trickle charger while not in use, will keep th6988386_tech-101-preparing-your-vehicles-and-summer_t341f57a1em fresh for when you need them.

On the Water Charging

Being prepared to charge on the water can be a good idea, especially for extended trips. Extra precautions can also go long ways in emergency situations. Carrying a charging station is always an option, though not always a good one depending on the storage room you have aboard your vessel. Diodes that isolate charges are also available for purchase, but will have to be properly wired to your alternator. This is a better option for on the water recharge but does require that extra amount of electrical work.

Other Accessories

Be sure to take a look at what fish finder, or other electronics (battery level monitors are another good idea) you might need. Decide if these will also be powered by your deep cycle battery (they will in most setups), and plan your battery count accordingly.

Mounting 

One more thing to take a look at, especially if you have a restricted amount of space on board. Most of these AGM, fully contained systems can be mounted vertically or even upside down without fear of leakage. Many mounting units are very affordable and well worth the effort to save that space.

Placement 

Lastly, think of where you'll be placing (or where you have placed) your trolling motor. Is it forward or aft? Try to place or mount your batteries nearby to avoid the need for long wire runs.

Our final opinion of the best trolling motor battery for you is one that will keep you going on the water. One that is vibration resistant, and can hold many chargaes. One that is fully self-contained, requiring no maintenance over its 5 – 8-year life. Finally, we hope to have armed you with all the pertinent information necessary to make the best buying decision for your watercraft. We do suggest that you don't skimp on power. After all the time and money you've already put into your fish killing vessel, there is no sense not being able to use it to its full capacity while out on the water. Best of wishes in your power propelling search. Until next time, or see you on the fishing grounds. Sincerely, Fishermen's Angle.

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