Some say the best boat to own is your friend’s boat. In other words… don’t own a boat. This saying originates from the idea that boat ownership can be quite expensive. However, here at Discount Marine Batteries we are here to hopefully lessen the burden of boat ownership. If you have owned a boat, jet ski, or any marine equipment for that matter it is likely you have changed out your battery at some point. As with most things, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Batteries which are not regularly used, not properly winterized or do not make use of a drip charging system lose their charge. If your lucky, you’ll be able to either jump start the battery and let the alternator charge the system, or you’ll more than likely have to replace the battery. The normal life span of a marine battery is about 5-8 years, but this is assuming the boat is used regularly or at least the charging system is maintained. To solve this problem many are turning to marine solar panels in combination with trickle chargers to help prolong the life of their batteries. Because of this growing need to find discount batteries, we have put together a comprehensive comparison & reviews of the top rated marine batteries. Also, we have scanned the internet to find the best prices on these batteries. Take a look at our reviews to help find the best marine battery for your equipment.
What Makes the Best Marine Battery?
When it comes to choosing the best marine battery there are a couple of options to choose from. There are also a lot of factors to consider like the chemistry, size and characteristics. There is also the price and the maintenance factor that lets you decide which battery to purchase. But most importantly you should choose a marine battery by its performance and reliability. You never want to get yourself stuck out in the water with a dead battery. We’ve done it, and lets just say, it is not fun! So, which among the choices are best for your boat? Among the handful of choices, we have shortlisted the most reliable and high performance batteries available in the market today. Here are top picks for marine battery:
Technically, a battery is an electro-chemical device which converts chemical energy into electricity by galvanic cells. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are batteries which have a fine Boron Silicate glass mat which is advantageous for marine use since it will not leak acid. AGM batteries last about 4 to 8 years and are virtually maintenance free. They are completely sealed with pressure caps which make it safer for boat and marine use. If your boat were to capsize (lets hope not), your batteries will turn upside down but won’t release any electrolytes. These are extremely reliable batteries for boat use.
They are one of the best choices for boats because they are built to resist extreme weather conditions. They have great resistance to gas and oil exposure and the case is also protected from corrosion. This type of battery has very minimal discharge over the course of months. The usual discharge is only at a rate of 1% – 3% which makes them sit during winter time with no problem at all. Although this type of battery will cost up to two times more expensive than other batteries, this gives you the assurance that it actually is less likely to leave you stranded out on the water.
Deep cycle batteries are designed to store larger amounts of energy that discharges deeply and recharges repeatedly. It is designed to deliver a steady amount of power over a long period of time without any interruption or failure. They have thicker plates and are to be discharged up to 80% time after time. They also are built with a denser active material ratio so that you can have better cycling capacity.
Compared to starting batteries and dual purpose batteries, these deep cycle batteries are recommended for marine use because of the reliability and build design. This makes them an ideal choice when purchasing a trolling motor battery. Deep cycle batteries (L-16 type and others) usually last up to 8 years depending on maintenance and use. Flooded deep cycle marine batteries are the most affordable batteries in the market. You need to charge them for a longer period of time though as compared to AGM batteries.
This is the latest and probably one of the most cutting edge batteries that are available on the market right now. Lithium marine batteries are significantly lighter than the AGM or the lead acid battery. They do not heat up when charging and are much faster to recharge. This battery has the technology of a power control board which prevents damage to the battery. Some features include automatic low voltage protection, short circuit protection, reverse polarity protection and charge balance. It is a green alternative to other batteries available for use. With this technology, this is practically maintenance free. This type of marine battery is more expensive than the AGM or other Deep Cycle batteries but promise to give high performance, more safety, durability and deeper depth of charge. For the environmentally conscious individual, this is the best pick.
It is highly recommended for use in Jet Ski, speed boats and yachts because of its compact size and weight ratio to stable voltage output. You can also use a couple of lithium batteries for larger vessels like trawler and cargo ships by connecting the batteries in either parallel or series connection. Read our full review of the NorthStar Thin Lead Marine Battery here.
The lifespan of a battery varies depending on use and misuse. Factors which contribute to battery lifespan include proper maintenance, proper charging (depth of discharge, how often or how deep the battery was charged), temperature and other factors. Overcharging is one of the most common mistakes people commit that shortens the lifespan of the battery. Although manufacturers would say that some batteries are maintenance free, it really is not. You still have to take care of your batteries one way or another. Here are some tips to maximize the investment you have on your marine battery and extend its’ lifespan:
- Clean the top of the battery – This means cleaning it from dirt and removing corrosions on the terminals. Because of weather, use and time, the terminals will have a chance to be corroded. You can use a wire brush post cleaner to remove the corrosion. This will help in extending the lifespan of the battery and the flow of electricity that your boat needs.
- Check water levels – (for flooded deep cycle batteries) make sure that you add enough distilled water.
- Charging – This is especially most important for sealed maintenance free batteries. You have to follow the correct number of hours for charging the battery. Recharge the battery immediately especially after storing it or not having been able to use your boat for a long time.
- Do a routine check – make sure that there are no bulges on the side and there are no cracks. If they do, you might have a problem with the alternator of your boat or your charger might be overcharging your batteries. Make sure to check the voltage of the battery to see if it has the right voltage.
- Storing over the winter – make sure you put your battery on a trickle charge. Do not store without a charging device.
Choose the right battery according to your needs and budget. Take care of your battery by properly maintaining and checking it. By doing this, you keep yourself from getting stranded like all too many of us have.