Selecting the right battery is crucial to the performance of your trolling motor. These often overlooked components are the powerhouse to your engine–affecting speed, power, and run time.
To help you avoid having to pull out the oars and paddle yourself back to shore, we’ve researched the options and picked the 5 best trolling motor batteries on the market today. To help make your decision easier and well-informed, we’ll also show you how to choose the trolling motor battery that’s right for your individual needs.
For those of you that are short on time, here is the list:
This AGM battery from Weize is our topic pick for overall reliability, performance, and price.
With 100AH, it has plenty of power, capable of handling the needs of most boaters. Although there are higher-powered batteries on our list, 100AH will provide sufficient power for boats and trolling motors of most sizes.
Anyone looking for a balance between power and weight will appreciate this model. It weighs 57 pounds, a nice midpoint between the lightweight (38 pounds), low powered 55AH Might Max model and the heavyweight (75 pounds), high powered 125AH Vmaxtanks.
All this comes at a very reasonable price. You get the power and run-time lacking at the budget level, without the higher price tag of lithium, gel, or higher AH batteries. Although there are certainly advantages to some of these more expensive options, such as increased power, run-time, and lifespan, for the average boater looking for a reliable battery that can meet their requirements without breaking the bank, this model provides some serious value.
- Fair price
- 100AH delivers good power and run time
- Midsize weight of 57 pounds
- Other options have better power, run-time, and lifespan
For anyone looking to save some money without sacrificing quality, this battery from Mighty Max might be your best option.
You should first understand that you’ll be sacrificing power and run time by choosing this battery. It’s only 55AH, making it the lowest powered model on our list. The power this battery delivers might not cut it for bigger boats or in rough waters with wind and current, but this lightweight (38 pounds) battery will provide enough power for smaller boats, such as a kayak, in calmer conditions. However, you won’t get as much run time as other batteries with higher AH.
Do you want to run your trolling motor continuously for a full day or use it sporadically or only for a couple of hours at a time? If you only require sporadic or limited use of your motor, this battery could be an acceptable option. However, if you want the option to run your motor for a full day, you might find that this battery won’t last as long as you’d like.
Aside from the issue of power, this is a reliable, low-maintenance AGM battery that saves you a few bucks and helps reduce weight in your boat.
- Low maintenance
- Lightweight 38 pounds
- 55AH provides less power and run time
If you’re looking for a battery with a high power capacity, let’s talk about this Vaxmtanks model. It has 125 AH, making it the battery with the highest power capacity on our list. Anyone who wants to use their motor all day long, in rougher conditions, or with a larger boat and more powerful trolling motor will appreciate this extended run-time and power.
It’s an AGM battery, which means it’s maintenance-free. Also, these are some seriously long-lasting batteries. Although any battery’s power output will deteriorate over time, this model provides consistency over years of use if properly charged and maintained.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is the heaviest battery on our list, weighing in at 75 pounds. For smaller boats or for people looking to reduce the carrying weight of their gear, this could be a drawback.
Another downside is the price. Although it’s still a bargain compared to lithium batteries, it’s on the more expensive side when it comes to AGM batteries. That said, if power, reliability, and run-time are important to you, the extra money might be worth it.
- High power 125AH
- Long lifespan
- Low maintenance AGM
- Heavy weighing 75 pounds
Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more popular with boaters with electric motors for good reason. They can withstand higher temperatures than AGM batteries, which improves their performance, reliability, and longevity. If a problem occurs during charging or discharging, they’re less prone to combustion, making them a safer option as well.
Perhaps the biggest upside of lithium-ion batteries is their weight/power ratio. This lithium-ion Weize model has 100AH and weighs only 27.5 pounds. That’s less than half the weight compared to other 100AH batteries on our list.
This battery also boasts a 10-year lifespan with less power deterioration over that course of time than a standard AGM battery. If you’re looking for a battery that will last you for years to come, lithium-ion is just about the best money can buy.
Speaking of money, you should prepare to pay big time for these high-end benefits. This is by far the most expensive battery on our list. However, if you have money in the budget and place a high value on the qualities we’ve mentioned, it’s tough to beat the performance this battery offers.
- Can withstand higher temperatures
- Less prone to combustion while charging or discharging
- 27.5 pounds is half the weight of other 100ah options
- 10-year lifespan with less deterioration
If you want an alternative to the standard AGM batteries but don’t want to pay the lithium-ion price tag, this gel battery from Weize could fit your needs.
Unlike AGM batteries, which don’t recover well and are prone to damage after deep and frequent discharges, this Weize gel battery is built for extended and frequent use. For boaters, this means you can run your motor for extended periods and down to a very low charge point without as much risk of damage and deterioration to the battery’s power output. Because of this recovery advantage, this battery will also have a longer lifespan compared to AGM batteries.
Another unique upside of this battery is that it’s less prone to damage when subjected to abrupt movement. Vibration has the potential to cause damage to the battery. However, gel batteries can better withstand bumps and drops than AGM batteries. Overall, this Weize gel model is a more durable option and well suited for saltwater boaters who are more likely to deal with abrupt movement caused by waves.
You should be aware that this battery is slightly heavier (67 pounds) and more expensive than other 100AH batteries.
- Better recovery after deep and frequent discharge
- Less prone to damage when moving
- Long lifespan
- 100AH delivers good power and run time
- Slightly heavier and more expensive than other 100AH batteries
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TROLLING MOTOR BATTERY
In this section, we’ll outline some of the most important factors to consider when deciding which trolling motor battery is right for you.
Amps per hour (AH):
Deciding how many amps per hour your trolling motor battery should have is one of the most critical factors you’ll need to consider while exploring your options.
This will require some math. However, before you make any calculations, you first need to decide how many hours you’d ideally like to run the trolling motor on one full charge.
Once you’ve decided your desired run-time, you can add in the other primary considerations.
- The amount of run-time you want on one full charge
- The amperage draw of your trolling motor
- The amps per hour (AH) of the battery
Find out what the amperage draw (how much electrical current is used) of your trolling motor by consulting the paperwork it came with, looking online, or contacting the manufacturer directly. Say, for example, your trolling motor draws 10 amps, and you’re considering a 100AH battery. The formula for figuring out the most basic estimation of run-time, in this case, would look like this:
100AH battery / 10 amp trolling motor draw = 10 hours of run-time
If only it were that simple. While this formula gives you a general idea of how much run-time a certain battery will provide you with, other more dynamic factors need to be considered, including:
- The size and weight of your boat
- The speed and acceleration of the boat
- The wind, wave, and current conditions
If you have a bigger boat and want to run it fast in rough conditions, you’ll get significantly less run-time than your answer to that first AH battery / motor draw equation. The smaller your boat, the slower you run it, and the calmer the conditions, the closer to that initial answer your run-time will be.
There’s no easy answer here. You’ll have to critically consider your situation to decide how these secondary factors may affect your answer to the primary equation. Once you have an idea of how those answers will affect the run-time of a certain battery, run the formula with different amperages per hour until you find an AH that hits your desired run-time.
AGM VS. GEL VS. LITHIUM-ION
Absorbed glass mat (AGM), gel, and lithium-ion are the 3 most common chemical constructions used for trolling motor batteries. You’ll need to decide which type is right for your boat and budget, so let’s take a look at how they compare to each other.
Absorbed glass matt batteries are by far the most common type of trolling motor battery out there. They fall into the category of sealed liquid acid batteries (SLA) and use a special layer of glass to absorb the acid. The battery is completely sealed and spillproof.
- Can start in colder temperatures than gel
- Charges faster than gel
- Produces a stronger and quicker pulse of amps than gel
- Least expensive
- Damages more easily when bumped and dropped
- Cannot handle deep, prolonged discharges as well
- Shortest lifespan
Like AGM, gel also falls into the SLA category of batteries. The construction utilizes a silica gel/paste to facilitate the transfer of electricity. It’s also completely sealed and spillproof.
- More resistant to damage when bumped or dropped than AGM, making them ideal for rough conditions
- Can handle longer, deeper, and more frequent discharges than AGM
- Longer lifespan than AGM
- Require special gel charger
- Damages easily if charged incorrectly
- More expensive than AGM (but less expensive than lithium-ion)
Lithium-ion batteries are a genuinely premium battery that outperforms both AGM and gel batteries in almost every way. They’re a completely dry battery, relying on the transfer of lithium ions and electrons between anodes and cathodes.
- Longest lifespan
- Fastest charging
- Best weight/power ratio
- Maintain consistent voltage (and therefore power) throughout the entire discharge cycle
- Longest run-time per AH
- Most environmentally friendly
- The most expensive battery
The weight of a trolling motor battery will vary greatly depending on the construction type and power size. When comparing batteries with the same construction type, the greater the power size, the more the battery will typically weigh. For example, a 55AH battery will weigh less than a 100AH battery.
However, this principle is not true when comparing batteries of different construction types. For example, a 100AH gel battery will typically weigh more than a 100AH AGM battery, while at the same time, a 100AH lithium-ion battery could be half the weight of a 100AH AGM battery.
This is important to you as a buyer because it will affect the overall weight of your boat. This makes a difference when it comes to the power needed to push the boat, as well as the general ease of transportation. You need to consider how vital a lightweight, portable setup is to you and whether you’re willing to sacrifice power and run-time for this advantage.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN YOU USE A REGULAR BATTERY FOR A TROLLING MOTOR?
If by “regular” battery, you mean car battery, the answer is yes, but it’s strongly recommended not to. You shouldn’t because a car battery is not a deep cycle battery and cannot handle being discharged to a low point and then recharged. Using it as a power source for your trolling motor causes it to quickly lose its ability to hold and deliver a charge. If you are desperate and only have a car battery, it can work temporarily, but it’s not a long-term solution and will likely ruin the battery.
HOW LONG DO MARINE BATTERIES LAST?
Marine batteries typically last 2-5 years if they are correctly charged and maintained. However, lithium-ion batteries have the potential to last between 5-10 years, depending on use and maintenance.
HOW DO YOU MAKE TROLLING MOTOR BATTERIES LAST LONGER?
Here are some best use practices to follow if you want to make your trolling motor battery last longer:
- Recharge your battery to exactly full as soon as possible after every discharge–do not overcharge or undercharge
- Only charge from a source with the recommended voltage for your battery
- Clean any corrosion off the battery terminal
- Use a reliable charger
- Avoid use in heavy wind and waves as much a possible to reduce battery strain
- Make gradual changes in speed and avoid aggressive acceleration
- Handle with care, making sure not to drop or abruptly shake the battery (especially AGMs)
- When not in use, keep it stored in a cool, dry place that’s not too hot or too cold
- When sitting for an extended time, use a trickle charge or recharge the battery to full every few weeks to fight against natural discharge
HOW LONG SHOULD I CHARGE MY TROLLING MOTOR BATTERY?
You should always charge your trolling motor battery until it’s fully charged. However, the length of time you should leave it charging will vary based on the size and type of your battery, as well as the degree to which it has been discharged. Generally speaking, it should take somewhere around 10-12 hours to fully charge.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU OVERCHARGE A MARINE BATTERY?
If you overcharge a trolling motor battery, the liquid inside will heat up and burn off the electrolytes that facilitate the transfer of electricity. If overcharged for long enough, the battery will no longer be able to hold a charge.
This is why it’s highly recommended not to use a cheap charger and instead choose a high-quality, reliable charger that will prevent your battery from overcharging.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU UNDERCHARGE A MARINE BATTERY?
As a battery is discharged, sulfate crystals are left behind. If you allow a marine battery to sit in a discharged state for even just a few days, it will enable the sulfate to harden, which will weaken the battery’s ability to transfer electricity. The more prolonged and more frequent this sulfation process occurs due to improper charging practices, the weaker the battery will become until it’s completely unable to transfer electricity.
There’s a lot of consideration that should be taken when deciding what trolling motor battery is right for your boating setup. Taking the time to understand the factors at play and options available will ensure your trolling motor’s optimal performance and an overall better time spent out on the water. We hope this has provided you with the insights you need to make your trolling motor battery decision easier.