Best Boat Battery: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

If you’re a first-time buyer, picking out the right marine battery for your boat can feel overwhelming. Not only are there endless options to pick from, but you also have to determine what type of battery your boat will need. Without purchasing it or trying it out, it’s often difficult to tell which is the best boat battery just from pictures or specs.

The good news is that you don’t have to shop alone—we’ve already done a lot of the research for you, and we’ve compiled a list of recommendations below as well as a handy guide to answer all your questions.

What Are the Different Types of Boat Batteries?

At first glance, a lot of batteries might look the same, but there are a few different types out there. Before you buy anything, you should know what kind of battery your boat will require.

Deep-Cycle Batteries

If you’ve got a trolling motor, you probably already know that accessories like these don’t zap your power all at once. You might be able to spend the entire day on the lake without having to recharge the battery. Unfortunately, going extended periods without recharging can also wear your battery down over time. For this reason, a lot of people choose to go with a deep-cycle battery.

A lot of boaters consider deep-cycle batteries to be the marathon runners of the battery world. Even when you don’t have a charging source nearby, a deep-cycle battery can still usually power up your electrical loads.

When you pick out a deep-cycle battery, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the reserve capacity (RC). This will tell you how much of a load the battery can carry before it falls into the “dead zone.” The higher your reserve capacity is, the longer you can count on your battery to power your motor and accessories.

Cranking Batteries

When you start your boat or crank the engine, you often need a lot of power that a deep-cycle battery can’t always provide. Fortunately, shooting out energy in short bursts is exactly what cranking batteries are best at.

Unlike a deep-cycle battery, a cranking battery has thinner lead plates that allow it to provide you with more power when you crank it.

If you’re interested in figuring out what your battery’s starting power is, you should pay attention to the marine cranking amp (MCA). This measurement will usually tell you if the battery has enough power for your boat.

Dual-Purpose Batteries

While most manufacturers will encourage you to install a deep-cycle and cranking battery separately, you might not need to purchase both if your boat is small enough. Some tinier boats that use minimal power might work fine with a dual-purpose battery. There might also not be enough room for two batteries either.

Although a dual-purpose won’t usually start an engine as well as a cranking battery or last as long as a deep-cycle battery, it should still be sufficient for shorter fishing trips.

What Are Battery Ratings and Why Do They Matter?

For first-time buyers, the battery specs and features might seem confusing. From the size of the battery to reserve minutes and cranking amps, here’s why these ratings matter:

  • MCA vs. CCA: While these are both power measurements, they measure amperage slightly differently. CCA will measure how many amps your battery can produce for thirty seconds at 0℉, and MCA measures amperage at 32℉. MCA batteries typically work a little better in warmer climates or higher temperatures, but there isn’t a ton of differences between the two types.
  • Engine Size: Boaters don’t always consider weather or climate when they’re picking out a battery, but these conditions can be more crucial than you think. In colder weather, a lot of boaters typically choose a larger battery with more power. The same goes for diesel engines or high compression gas engines.
  • Reserve Minutes: You might notice that a lot of batteries include the “reserve minutes.” This isn’t as important for cranking batteries, but for deep-cycle batteries, you’ll want to take note of the reserve minutes. This refers to how long your battery can sustain 25 amps before it drops back down to 10.5 volts. For instance, a battery that has a reserve minute rating of 120 minutes can sustain 25 amps for two hours.

Best Boat Battery Under $150

Here are our favorite picks that you can snag for under $150:

VMAXTANKS Deep Cycle Marine Battery

The VMAX marine battery is all about performance. With heavy-duty tin alloy, you might find that this battery outperforms a lot of other choices. If you’re worried about maintenance or having to check the gravity of the electrolyte, that’s not a concern with this battery. The design of the VMAX battery and tank means that it requires minimal maintenance.

While it can vary, you can usually expect the VMAX battery to last you at least four hours but possibly up to nine, depending on your motor and type of boat.

Pros:

  • Has a longer lifespan of 4-9 hours
  • Doesn’t require tons of maintenance
  • Better performance
  • Only weighs 25 pounds
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty for defects

Cons:

  • Might not be as durable as some other batteries
  • Could begin to lose power after three hours
  • Might not be the right choice for larger boats that require more power

Weize 12V Deep Cycle Battery

Although the Weize 12V Deep Cycle Battery is a versatile option for powering wheelchairs or home alarm systems, it can also perform well with trolling motors. Not only does the heavy-duty design help prevent damage, but it can also ensure that the battery doesn’t wear down as much over time.

It’s not uncommon for the reserve capacity of a boat battery to decrease over time, but Weize works to prevent that. When it comes to amperage, you’ll find that this battery has 35Ah and 12 volts of power.

Pros:

  • Provides 35Ah
  • Versatile and can work on a variety of different electric systems
  • Durable shell
  • Lightweight at only 25 pounds
  • Easy to store and takes up minimal space

Cons:

  • Might not always be consistent with charging time
  • Size and power doesn’t always work well for some larger boats
  • Battery can drain quickly at full-throttle

Best Boat Battery Under $250

At a little bit higher of a price point, here’s what you can pick out for under $250.

Banshee Deep Cycle Replaceable Marine Battery

Whether you’re putting the battery through a severe deep charge or a longer, slow charge, the Banshee Deep Cycle Replaceable Marine Battery is up to the challenge. Although it’s technically a replacement battery, this pick stands out on its own too.

The built-in hydrometer lets you know what kind of charge you have left on the battery, and it has 77Ah. Despite being a deep cycle battery, you might find that it also works just as well for cranking or igniting your motor.

Pros:

  • Has a long-lasting charge
  • Includes several battery plates for more power
  • Built-in hydrometer
  • Doesn’t require a lot of regular maintenance
  • Uses a flip-up handle for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight as some other options
  • Might leak if you place it on its side
  • Not super versatile

Universal Power Group Replacement Marine Battery

Getting your battery in the right place isn’t always easy. Depending on what you’re working with, you might need to place it on its side, which can cause some marine batteries to leak. Fortunately, the Universal Power Group Replacement Marine Battery allows you to place it in any position without the risk of leaking.

At a little over sixty pounds, this battery isn’t as portable or lightweight as some other choices, but it could have a longer lifespan.

Pros:

  • Easy to place
  • Versatile
  • Resists shocks and vibrations
  • Potentially longer lifespan
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight
  • Not as portable
  • Smaller terminals can make it difficult to attach cables

Best Boat Battery in Class

As one of our top recommendations, here’s what we’ve found to be the best in class.

Weize 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Battery

With up to 100Ah and 12 volts, the Weize Deep Cycle Battery is a heavy-duty option for your boat and trolling motor. While you can use it for a variety of other electronic applications, it functions well as a marine battery.

Keep in mind that this battery does weigh close to sixty pounds, and the wire harness and mounting don’t come with your purchase.

Pros:

  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • More powerful
  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • Includes screws
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight
  • Not as easy to transport
  • Doesn’t include a wire harness

Conclusion

Although there are a lot of great options to pick from in this list, the best boat battery has to be the Universal Power Group Replacement Marine Battery. Not only is it resistant to shocks or vibrations, but this durable battery comes with a longer lifespan that can last hours of fishing or cruising.