Whether you are responsible for caring for a large yacht, or you are a beginning mariner looking to power your first seacraft, having the best marine battery is an essential component of having an enjoyable, not to mention safe, adventure out on the water.
What Is a Marine Battery?
While both marine batteries and car batteries can give you significant power, there are key differences. Sometimes people try to use car batteries to power their seacraft, but you will get far better results with a marine battery.
Are Marine Batteries “Dual Purpose Batteries,” or “Cranking Batteries?”
The reason the best marine battery will work far better on your ship than a car battery is because the two types of batteries have different goals, and therefore work differently. Car batteries only have one purpose: to switch on the engine. The car battery has to give enough power to turn the engine on and then after that, it doesn't do much. For this reason, it's called a “starting battery” or a “cranking battery.”
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Marine batteries, however, are tasked with both starting the engine and continuing to power other devices on board. These “dual purpose batteries” deliver a short burst of power to switch on the engine and then continues to provide gradual power for the other onboard systems, like the television, energy outlets, or an onboard hi-fi system. If a car battery were hooked up to a boat, it would give a large jolt of energy to the systems that could damage or break them.
Are There Other Differences between Car and Marine Batteries?
Because of the different goals in energy distribution in the batteries, they are held to different standards. Because car batteries don't need to discharge energy after switching the engine on, they often have thin internal plates. On the other hand, marine batteries have thicker internal plates because it needs to provide constant energy flow to the onboard systems. Marine batteries are also often encased in a thicker external plastic housing to insulate it from impact and vibrations. Dealing with the ocean is often a far more bumpy ride than driving, so the batteries need the extra protection to be durable.
How We Reviewed the Best Marine Battery
When it comes to finding the best marine battery, there are lots of phenomenal choices available to buyers. The best marine battery for you will have the specifications that your boat needs. To help you make an informed decision, we've gathered some of the best options on the market and reviewed them based on key factors.
Overall Price Range
Depending on different variables, you can expect to spend somewhere from around $$ to around $$$ on the best marine battery.
What We Reviewed
Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Marine Battery
- 12-Volt, 750 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 10 inches x 6 7/8 inches x 7 13/16 inches tall, Weight: 43.5 pounds, Dual SAE & 5/16 inches Stainless Steel Stud Posts. 55 Ah C20 capacity
- Optimal starting power even in bad weather
- Mountable in virtually any position. Works well as a boat battery or RV battery
- Fifteen times more resistant to vibration for durability
- Reserve capacity of 120 minutes for constant performance
This is perhaps the best marine battery for durability because it is a powerful 12 volts and 750 cold cranking amps. It has a 55 Ah C20 capacity and provides optimal starting power even in bad weather. It has stainless steel stud posts and is mountable in virtually any position and works well as a boat battery or an RV battery. It's fifteen times more resistant to vibration for long-lasting durability. It has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes for constant performance.
The battery weighs 43.5 pounds and has a dual SAE. It's 7 13/16 inches tall, 10 inches long and 6 7/8 inches wide.
The manufacturer of this marine battery offers a 5-year limited warranty.
VMAXTANKSV35-857 Marine AGM Battery
- Dimensions: L=7.7" W=5" H=6.1"
- Also avilable as a battery kit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HOUCLWE
- Heavy Duty Grids: VMAX heavy duty lead tin alloys provide an extra margin of performance and service life in either float or cyclic applications, even after repeated over discharges.
- Maintenance Free Operation: There is no need to check specific gravity of the electrolyte or add water to VMAX tanks during float service life. In fact, there is no provision for this type of maintenance.
- RECOMMENDED CHARGER: VMAX BC1204 12V 3.3Amp
This is perhaps the best marine battery because it has heavy duty grids. It uses heavy duty lead-tin alloys to give your powerful battery a long life, even after repeated uses. There's no need for you to check the specific gravity of the electrolytes or add water because the system has maintenance-free operation. The battery is 12 volts and 35 Ah. It measures 7.7 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 6.1 inches high. It weighs only 25 pounds.
The manufacturer offers a limited five-year warranty on this battery.
Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy-Duty Commercial Battery
- Cold Crank Amp (CCA)- 1150; Better warranty: Limited 3 and 4 year full replacement warranty - not pro rata; Longer service life: With 3-10 years of service life, ODYSSEY batteries save time, money, and aggravation
- Longer cycle life: 70 percentage longer cycle life compared to conventional deep cycle batteries, up to 400 cycles at 80 percentage depth of discharge- high stable voltage for longer periods of time
- Faster recharge: The highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead battery on the market, capable of 100 percentage recharge in 4 - 6 hours; Mounting flexibility: Non-spillable design
- Vibration resistance- design protects against high impact shock and mechanical vibration; Extreme temperature tolerant- Operating temperatures from -40 degree Celsius (-40 degree Fahrenheit) to 45 degree Celsius (113 degree Fahrenheit).
- This item is not for sale in Catalina Island
This powerful battery is perhaps the best marine battery because it has a cold crank amp of 1150. And now it has a new and improved service life with an expected life of 3 to 10 years, giving it a 70% longer life cycle than other deep cycle marine batteries on the market. It can go up to 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge using high stable voltage for long periods of time.
This battery also comes with a faster recharge, even claiming to be the highest recharge efficiency of any sealed lead battery on the market, usually only taking from about 4 to 6 hours for a full recharge. It's easily mountable nearly anywhere and has a non-spillable design. The external casing of the battery is designed to be extremely protective and vibration resistant, keeping the battery safe from high impact shock and mechanical vibrations.
The manufacturer of this marine battery offers limited 3 and 4-year warranty options.
Mighty Max Battery Marine Battery
- ML55-12 SLA is a 12V 55AH Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) rechargeable maintenance free battery
- Dimensions: 9.02 inches x 5.43 inches x 9.13 inches. Listing is for the Battery and Screws only. No wire harness or mounting accessories included
- SLA / AGM spill proof battery has a characteristic of high discharge rate, wide operating temperatures, long service life and deep discharge recover.
- Rechargeable battery that can be mounted in any position, resists shocks and vibration. Long lasting high performance in high and low temperatures
- Backed by a 30 day refund policy and full 1 year warranty
This batter is a 12 volt 55Ah Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) rechargeable battery. It measures 9.02 inches by 5.43 inches by 9.13 inches. It is easily mountable with screws, no messing around with a wire harness necessary! The battery is spill proof so is easily mountable. It has a high discharge rate and wide operating temperatures. It has a long service life and a deep discharge recover. The insulating external covering protects it from shocks and vibrations.
The manufacturer offers a full 1-year warranty for this best marine battery.
Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Battery
- 12-Volt, 900 Cold Cranking Amps, Size: 12 13/16" x 6 1/2" x 9 3/8" tall, Weight: 59.8 pounds, Dual SAE & 5/16" Stainless Steel Stud Posts
- Reserve capacity of 155 minutes for constant performance
- Optimal starting power even in bad weather; Fifteen times more resistant to vibration for durability
- This item is not for sale in Catalina Island
- Special Shipping Information: This item cannot be returned and has additional shipping restrictions
This is one of the best marine battery options on the market because it is fifteen times more resistant to vibration for extra durability. The battery is 12 voltage and has 900 cold cranking amps. It has Dual SAE and 5/16 inch stainless steel stud posts. It weighs just under 60 pounds and measures 12 13/16 inches by 6 1/2 inches, by 9 3/8 inches. It has a reserve capacity of 155 minutes so you have constant performance. This battery offers optimal starting power even in bad weather.
The manufacturer offers a limited one-year warranty on this battery.
Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE AGM-200 (AGM) Marine Battery
- 925 CCA at 0 degrees F, 1110 CA at 32 degrees F
- 200 minute reserve capacity
- Dual terminal design
- Absorbed glass mat separator is engineered for optimal recombination rates to avoid cell dry-out and provide superior element compression assuring stabilty under extreme vibration and high cycling operation
- 24 Month Free Replacement Warranty from Date of Purchase
This perhaps the best marine battery option because it has 925 cold cranking amps and a 200-minute reserve capacity. The dual terminal design gives you long-lasting power. The absorbed glass mat separator is engineered for optimal recombination rates and to help your battery avoid cell dry out. It also works to give you a superior element compression, ensuring stability under even the worst conditions the ocean can throw at you.
The manufacturer of this marine battery offers a 2-year warranty.
Universal Power Group U1-36NE Sealed Lead Acid Battery
- UPG # D5722 UB12350 12V 35Ah
- Dimensions: 7.75 inches x 5.19 inches x 7.13 inches. Weight: 22.50 Lbs
- SLA/AGM maintenance free, spill proof battery
- Rechargeable battery that can be mounted in any position, resists shocks and vibration
- 1 Year Warranty
This battery is perhaps the best marine battery if you're looking for affordable options. It offers 12 volts and 35 Ah. It weighs only 22.5 pounds and measures 7.75 inches by 5.19 inches by 7.13 inches. It offers a maintenance free operating system so you don't need to do anything to help it continue working. Because of the spill-proof design, you can easily attach it anywhere in your ship. The battery is rechargeable and it's thick outer casing provides a level of protection to the battery.
The manufacturer of this marine battery offers a one-year limited warranty.
Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35
YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
This marine battery is one of the best ones around. It offers 620 cold cranking amps and 12 volts. It weighs 36.4 pounds. It measures 9 5/16 inches by 6 13/16 inches and 7 5/8 inches. It is an SAE with 300+ discharge/recharge cycles. The battery has a 98 minute reserve capacity so you always have charge when you need it. The optimal starting power will hold even in the worst weather. The positive, or red terminal, is located to the right, and the black terminal is located to the left. This battery is fifteen times more resistant to vibration than its competitors and it has a C20 capacity and 48 ampere hour capacity.
The manufacturer of this battery offers a one-year limited warranty.
One of the most important factors you'll want to consider when deciding which is the best marine battery for you is price. There are great options for marine batteries at plenty of price points. If you are looking to save money on a battery, you may want to try one of the more affordable options, such as the Universal Power Group U1-36NE Sealed Lead Acid Battery, the Mighty Max Battery Marine Battery, or the VMAXTANKSV35-857 Marine AGM Battery.
If money is no object, you may want to try one of the more expensive options, like the Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Battery, the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy-Duty Commercial Battery, or the Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Marine Battery. If you're looking for a more middle-of-the-line model, try the Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual-Purpose Battery, or the Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE AGM-200 (AGM) Marine Battery.
Another important factor when finding the right marine battery is weight. If you plan on managing the battery on your own, you may want to consider your own physical capabilities. If you expect yourself to have a difficult time lifting a heavier battery, it's important to consider how easily you will be able to effectively care for your ship and all of its workings. If you want a battery under 40 pounds, you may want to try the Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery, the Universal Power Group U1-36NE Sealed Lead Acid Battery, or the VMAXTANKSV35-857 Marine AGM Battery. The Universal Power Group U1-36NE Sealed Lead Acid Battery is the lightest of the batteries we've reviewed, weighing just over 22 pounds.
Another important aspect is reserve capacity. If you plan to have big adventures in your ship, you may want a battery with a large reserve capacity. The Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery has a 98-minute reserve capacity. The Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE AGM-200 (AGM) Marine Battery has a 200-minute reserve capacity. The Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Battery has 155-minute reserve capacity. And the Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Marine Battery has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes.
Cold cranking amps are a good measure of the power a marine battery is able to exert. Some of the most impressive stats on these marine batteries are the Exide XMC-31 MEGACYCLE AGM-200 (AGM) Marine Battery with 925 cold cranking amps, the Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Battery with 900 cold cranking amps, and the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy-Duty Commercial Battery with 1150 cold cranking amps. In addition, the Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Marine Battery has 750 cold cranking amps and the Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery has 620 cold cranking amps.
You saved your money, did your research, and invested in a ship. Don't ruin it by making the mistake of using a car battery! Far too many beautiful ships have been ruined beyond repair by this mistake so often made by newcomers. Your ship deserves the very best, and so you do. So figure out which is the best marine battery for you and ship, and invest in a battery that will give your ship a long life full of adventures.
Even though it may cost a bit more to purchase a marine battery over a car battery, you will be saving yourself time, money, and frustration by keeping your beautiful ship in top condition. Taking care of your ship is an essential part of being a boat owner, and that doesn't include just cleaning and waxing the outside for appearance's sake. Being a responsible ship owner includes investing in high-quality parts to power your ship and keep it functioning at its best. You and your ship both deserve a long life out on the water.
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With all of this in mind, the best marine battery can be found easily! For more product reviews, FAQs, and information on everything having to do with the water, visit our website today!
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