The battery you use to power your trolling motor is probably one of the most vital components to consider when you want your boat to run like a well-oiled machine. That’s why it’s important to familiarise yourself with the different types of batteries available so that you can buy the right battery for your boat and your preferred application.
Below, we’ve compiled a guide for you on the different types of batteries available for trolling motors, what to look for, and our selection of the best brands to choose. Enjoy.
Trolling motors come in different sizes and specifications, so it makes sense that you’d find various types of batteries when shopping for something to power up your boat. In general, Marine Deep Cycle Batteries are constructed with trolling motors in mind, have a slow release of power, and a capacity to handle frequent recharging, which makes them the ideal choice.
Below is a list of deep cycle batteries that work best for trolling motors, including all the benefits that you can expect from each type.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery cells are protected with ultra-pure lead-calcium alloy plates, and they have terminals made from equally resistant copper-silver alloy. The quality construction extends to their sealed plates, which makes them highly resistant to vibrations and corrosions, thus eliminating the need for maintenance. They have a low self-discharging rate of approximately 3% of its charge in a month. AGM style batteries offer more flexibility regarding mounting angles because the electrolyte is absorbed, not flowing freely. Different battery models have different limitations regarding mounting angles. We would recommend that you always check with the manufacturers in regards to mounting flexibility.
Their durable construction means that AGM batteries have a longer lifespan, and could last 4 or more years. However, AGM batteries are more expensive than other types due to their construction and longevity, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping on a budget.
These batteries are probably the most common and affordable option. They use lead plates and come immersed in a combination of sulphuric acid and distilled water. As you use the battery to power up your boat, the water solution gets drained, which then requires you to recharge the battery and fill up the water. Luckily, Wet Cell batteries are built with trolling motor use in mind so that they can handle frequent recharging without a hitch. On the downside, they have a short lifespan and may only last for up to 3-4 years at most before you have to replace them again, and they also require frequent maintenance as you have to top up the water, and look out for vibration spillage on a regular basis.
Lithium-ion batteries are very lightweight which means they burn less fuel and allow your motor to run longer for much less. Recharging time is significantly less than other batteries as well, and they have a higher voltage output while maintaining a level power curve. Which means your motor will run at a level speed until the power runs out- no need for a gradual decrease in voltage over time like with other types of batteries. On the downside, Lithium batteries give you minimal warning before they go dead so you have to be vigilant, and they’re not the most budget-friendly option either.
Gel Cell batteries are quite a convenient option because they never spill; they require low self-discharge, and you can mount them in any position. They also have the longest life span of up to 20 years, which is because you can attach them to a solar system to use stand-alone power storage.
Consequently, gel cell batteries are also low maintenance and can be recharged with either an engine alternator or a normal battery charger. The disadvantage of gel cell batteries is that they’re more expensive and quite sensitive when it comes to recharging. You have to ensure that the charger you use has been approved for use on gel cell batteries, and you’ll have to install a special regulator on your alternator if you’ll be using that option.
A battery’s amperage hour rating will give you a good idea of how long it will last before you have to recharge it again. So, if you have a 100 amperage hour battery, then you can expect it to provide 100-amp hours of power to your trolling motor. A good example would be, if the battery is powering a motor which is running at a fast speed of 40 amps, it will most likely last for only 2.5 hours due to the amps it is pulling (e.g., 100 amperage hour rated battery / 40 amps draw = 2.5 hour run time). If the same battery were pulling 4 amps with a low speed running motor, then it could easily last for up to 25 hours. So, ensure that your battery has a minimum amp hour rating of 100 before purchasing, to make sure that you’ll get a fair amount of use before having to recharge.
Also, the terminal voltage of a battery that comes with a 100Ah rating will drop to 10.02 volts for a standard 12V battery after delivering 10 amperes for 10 hours. Likewise, if the battery says 50Ah, then you can expect it to deliver 5 amperes for 10 hours and so on.
The marine cranking ampere (MCA) rating refers to the number of amperes a battery can support for 30 seconds at a temperature of 32°F until the battery voltage drops to 1.20 volts per cell or 7.20 volts for a 12V battery. Thus, a 12V battery that carries a MCA rating of 600 CCA (Cold Cranking Amperes) tells us that the battery will provide 600 amperes for 30 seconds at 32°F before the voltage falls to 7.20V.
As you use your battery at higher temperatures, the less voltage it will release over time. For many years now, marine cranking amperes (MCA) has been widely used as a bench marking measurement to compare batteries. The assumption is “the higher the MCA, the better it is and the longer it will last. But, beware, some manufacturers have designed batteries to provide excessively high MCAs at the cost of other important design features. However, you don't need to overbuy a battery based on cranking amps that you may never need to use. Besides, the higher the cranking amps, the more you will pay for your battery.
The size of your boat is a significant factor to consider when looking for a trolling motor battery. The bigger or heavier the boat, the more powerful the battery has to be to consistently drive the thrust, and for a smaller boat opt for a compact and mobile sized battery that won't weigh you down. In both cases, you'll find that a heavy battery is an anchor that your boat does not need, so opt for something lightweight to keep you moving.
To accelerate your boat forward, your trolling motor needs to have a certain amount of power, and this power is measured in what is called, "pounds of thrust." Your trolling motor should provide at least 5 pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds of weight on your boat, and the battery you choose should be able to power your motor adequately enough to achieve your thrust requirements.
A boat will suck more amp power from your trolling motor when you're experiencing windy weather, marshes or choppy water than it would in calmer conditions. Likewise, low water fishing requires less battery power than deep water fishing. So consider the weather and water conditions you'll be venturing into before you buy a battery, and to be on the safe side, opt for a battery that has a high amp hour rating.
Most Durable and Enduring
This AGM battery is a 12-volt with 870 Marine cranking amps. It weighs 43.5 pounds and has dimensions of 10 inches x 6 7/8 inches x 7 13/16 inches tall. It also has stainless steel stud posts and comes with a 55 Ah C20 capacity, as well as a reserve capacity of 120 minutes.
It’s extremely resistant to vibration, you can mount it in any position and its dual purpose which means that you can use it for starting and deep cycle functions. It’s made for high accessory load and recreational boats in mind, and the BlueTop power feature means the efficient supply of power and faster recharge times.
This battery also comes with a 2-year warranty, and the manufacturer offers a free replacement in the event of a workmanship or material defect.
Best Value Option
These 2-pack SLA AGM batteries come with 12 volts and 35Ah. Although they have a wide variety of applications, they are ideal for powering small trolling motors. The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on these batteries, and they weigh 48 pounds combined, with dimensions of 7 ½ inches to 5 inches and 6 ½inches.
Best Option for Small Boats, Kayaks and Canoes
This 12-volt VMAX battery comes with 35Ah and heavy-duty military grade plates that maintain superior performance even with repeated discharges. The VMAX construction ensures that plates are fully protected through tough Tank seals, thus eliminating the need for maintenance. This tough-wearing battery is also highly resistant to vibration and shocks and is completely non-spill.
They have a running time of up to 9 hours when used on a 40lbs trolling motor at 50 – 60% depth of discharge, but will last for less than two hours if running at high speeds.
The battery itself weighs about 25 pounds, and it has dimensions of 7.7 inches by 5 inches and 6.1 inches. It also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, as well as a 12-month exchange warranty, and it works perfectly for small trolling boats like a fishing kayak or canoe.
This is a Sealed Lead Acid Wet-Cell type of battery with 12 volts and 55Ah. It’s spill-proof and highly resistant to vibrations and shock. You can mount this on any position, it can perform nicely in low-temperature conditions, plus its low maintenance as well.
The dimensions of this battery are 9.02 inches x 5.43 inches x 9.13 inches, and it weighs 39 pounds. Also, the battery comes with a 1-year warranty as well as a 30-day refund policy.
This is a deep cycle AGM battery with 12 volts and an impressive 100Ah. It preserves electrolytes through VMAX plates that are devoid of any silica gels or contaminants, and the plates are further protected by super durable Tank seals. This helps to preserve the battery to increase overall lifespan. It fits into most power centers like Group 27 Battery Box, or the MinnKota Trolling Motor Power Center, which makes recharging a breeze.
The battery comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, on top of a 12-month warranty on manufacturer’s defects. It works equally well on a 40lbs motor as it does on a 55lbs version, and is suited for all types of angling boats.
To get the most out of your trolling motor, you need to power it up with something that not only complements it but can provide you with the edge you need to stay on the water for longer. Features like vibration and shock resistance, durable construction and long running time and life span are just some of the most important variables to consider. Don’t forget to maintain your battery by recharging it immediately after use and store it in a cool, dry place to keep it in mint condition and perform at your highest potential. That said, I leave you with this fun angling quote to enjoy while you’re out catching more fish with your new trolling motor battery:
“It is the goings-on between bites that excite the traditional angler as much as when the float goes under.”
― Fennel Hudson