10 Best Marine Batteries For 2020: Starter & Deep Cycle Battery

Just like in your car, your boat needs a battery too. The best marine battery is needed to start your boat engine smoothly and operate all of its electronic accessories, a trolling motor, and any onboard appliances.

Marine batteries come in all shapes and types from starter crank batteries meant for just starting the boat and more powerful deep cycle batteries meant for running all the extra stuff on your boat. There are a lot of different kinds of marine batteries out there which can make your decision difficult. Your choice of best marine battery will determine the overall boating experience, so you need to choose correctly.

If you are looking for the best marine battery for your smooth boating journey, then you likely have a lot of questions. Worry not, as we have scoured all the data and put together this list of the top 10 best marine batteries for your boating adventures.

These batteries have been chosen and ranked based on their versatility, power, charging capacity, and overall quality.

Best Marine Battery – Comparison

Picture Product Name Voltage Weight Price
Optima Batteries 8016-103  12 volts 43.5 pounds Check Latest Price
Universal Power Group 12V 12 volts 60 pounds Check Latest Price
ExpertPower EXP12180 12 volts 12 pounds Check Latest Price
VMAXTANKS Hi-Performance 12 volts Check Latest Price
Optima Batteries RedTop 12 volts 31.7 pounds Check Latest Price
Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle 12 volts 71 pounds Check Latest Price
Odyssey 34M Trolling 12 volts 49.5 pounds Check Latest Price
Optima Batteries D35 12 volts 36.4 pounds Check Latest Price
Odyssey 34M Trolling 12 volt Check Latest Price
Optima Batteries D35 Optima Batteries D35 12 volts 23.8 pounds Check Latest Price

 

8 Best Marine Batteries for Your Next Boating

1 Optima Batteries 8016-103 BlueTop Deep Cycle Battery

Up first on our list is this hybrid crank starter and deep cycle battery. As such, it can provide a constant source of power for running onboard appliances. The BlueTop can produce enough power for most 12v boating appliances and can run trolling motors. This deep cycle battery is designed to produce a steady electric flow.

The BlueTop is also a crank starting battery which means it can be used to start your boat engine. Most deep cycle batteries do not have this dual-functionality so it is a great touch for the Optima to have. The Optima is designed to work in cold weather and can withstand up to 15 times more vibrations than comparable competitor marine batteries.

The Optima can put out up to 750 amps of current and has enough capacity to run for 120 minutes straight. It is light and small enough that you can mount it in pretty much any location in your boat. The Optima can also be used in your RV to the same effect.

One problem with the Optima is the glass mat technology. The glass mats can be damaged if you overcharge the battery. This is a common issue in deep cycle batteries and can be completely avoided as long as you make sure to charge it properly.

Overall, the Optima BlueTop is an exceedingly competent marine battery and is a great upgrade from your stock battery. It has a lot of power, some neat mechanics to make sure it starts no matter the weather and is easy to transport and set up. Best of all, it doubles as a starting battery so you don’t need to buy a separate one to start your boat. The manufacturer also offers a generous 2-year warranty which means you can get a free replacement within 2 years if something goes wrong.

What We Like:

  • Over 750 amps of power
  • 12v capacity
  • 120-minute running time
  • Vibration dampening construction
  • Doubles as a starter battery and deep cycle battery
  • Generous 2-year warranty
  • Good mounting options

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Glass mats can get damaged from overcharging
  • Some quality control issues from the manufacturer

2. Universal Power Group 12V Deep Cycle Battery

Up second is this 12V Deep Cycle Battery from Universal Power Group. This durable and versatile marine battery can run your boat’s entire electric system with fast and reliable performance. This battery is largely maintenance-free which is a big weight off your shoulders as you don’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with maintenance issues.

The UPG battery has a max 100Ah capacity which can put over 120 minutes of continuous run time. The deep cycling mechanism is strong and consistent. The battery can hold up to 6 months of charge without being used which makes it very convenient. This battery is remarkably efficient and can run all your high-power appliances such as a trolling motor without losing a beat.

Another good feature of the UPG is how versatile it is. It is designed as a marine battery to work on boats but it can be used in RVs, campers, and home setups. You could even jury rig a couple of batteries together to make a makeshift generator for powering home appliances if you are so inclined.

The UPG is a bit on the heavier side, clocking in at just under 64lbs. It is about a foot wide and 9” tall, so it is pretty compact, though it might be a bit difficult to store due to the sharp geometric corners. We were also not a big fan of the single cord carrying handle. It is sturdy enough but it’s small and cuts into the hand, especially given how heavy the battery is.

Despite these few design issues, the UPG Deep Cycle is reliable and is a good choice for a battery to last for the long-haul. Even if something does go wrong, the battery comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty that will cover any damages.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy construction and reliable performance
  • Holds charge for a very long time
  • Relatively low maintenance requirements
  • 100Ah continuous power
  • Good customer service
  • Easy to set up
  • Relatively affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Heavy
  • Sharp edges, tough to store
  • Cells can damage from overcharging

3. ExpertPower EXP12180 Lead Acid Battery

The ExpertPower EXP12180 Lead Acid Battery is a simple high voltage high-output starter battery. This powerful starter battery is capable of outputting high bursts of electricity for starting boat engines. It is a starter battery, so it is not designed to emit a constant flow of electricity. That means if you want something to run your boat’s appliances, you will need a separate deep cycle battery.

The ExpertPower is a 12v battery that can put out between 18-20Ah of electrical current. It is a lead-acid battery which means it generates electricity via the interaction of metals and acidic substances. Lead-acid batteries are the kind of battery in your car and are low-cost, high-power, and easily recyclable.

Since it is a starter battery, the ExpertPower is much more affordable than a deep cycle battery. This particular option can be bought in orders of 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, with the cheapest option costing about as much as a night out for two. The casing is made from a durable ABS plastic that is corrosion-resistance and reduces vibrations, increasing the battery’s efficiency.

The ExpertPower connects using a simple nut and bolt system that we like much more than the previous model’s threaded terminal system. The nut-and-bolt connectors are more durable and hold the connectors more securely.

As we said, the ExpertPower is only a starter battery, not a deep cycle battery. If you try to use it as a deep cycle battery you will damage it. These kinds of lead-acid batteries are not designed for continuous discharge. If you do try to use it as a deep cycle battery, you will damage the components and it won’t be able to retain a full charge.

Overall the ExpertPower is a solid starter battery that is very affordable and will give you good performance. It is not the most durable battery around, but that lack of durability is balanced by its simplicity and ease of use. You can also buy multiple batteries at once if you need a bit more starter juice.

What We Like:

  • Durable ABS plastic casing
  • High discharge capacity
  • Can buy multiple batteries at once
  • Very affordable
  • Glass mat tech has wide range
  • Easily recyclable
  • Sturdy connector bolts

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only a starter battery
  • Charge retention dwindles over time

Also Read: 8 Best Marine Speakers – Reviews and Rankings

4. VMAXTANKS Hi-Performance Marine Deep Cycle Battery

The first thing to notice about this battery is it’s sturdy and easy to carry design. The VMAXTANKS is made from a durable ABS plastic casing and features a sturdy metal handle for carrying and transportation. The entire battery is 100% hermetically sealed which keeps water out and protects the internal components from degradation

The VMAXTANKS uses lead-tin alloys for its internal components. Tin has remarkable conductivity and produces a powerful and consistent electric discharge. The VMAXTANKS is a deep cycle battery so it’s designed for outputting a constant stream of electricity to power onboard appliances. The unique structure of the battery leads and cells retain a charge for a long time. The manufacturers claim that it can hold a full charge for up to 6 months without depleting.

In terms of boats, the VMAXTANKS is great for running heavy trolling rigs. It has a very high ampere output which makes it ideal for heavy-duty applications. It’s marketed as a boat battery but it also has niche uses in solar applications, power inverters, and wind turbines. It has almost double the amp power of comparable batteries and it still manages to be affordable. The special lead-tin design gives an extra boost of power and gives the battery longer overall service life. If properly maintained. The VMAXTANKS can last you for at least 8 to 10 years. In other words, this battery has a fantastic value for the price.

One thing we really like about the VMAXTANKS is its maintenance-free design. There is no need to check the electrolyte composition or add water to the tanks. You can charge it with any standard 12 b charger, but the manufacturer recommends their specific brand charger.

Overall, VMAXTANKS is a powerful heavy-duty battery that has a lot of good features. It is powerful, versatile, and has a unique construction that increases its operational lifespan. It has a sturdy design and has little to no need for maintenance.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy and sealed construction
  • Convenient carrying handle
  • High amperage output
  • Ideal for heavy-duty applications
  • Long service lifetime
  • Special lead-tin construction

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Heavy
  • Installation is not as sturdy as the battery
  • Possible to damage it from overcharging

5. Optima Batteries RedTop Starting Battery

Up at 5th is another from Optima Batteries, this one their RedTop starting battery. Unlike the BlueTop we covered earlier, the Optima RedTop is a starter battery designed for starting boat engines. As such, it has a high discharge amount but is unable to maintain a continuous flow of electricity. It has a specially sealed design that makes it the optimal battery to use when starting in poor weather. The sturdy casing is made from a weather-resistant polypropylene material that will withstand anything the rough waters can throw at it.

The RedTop is small and compact, measuring just 9” tall and 6” wide. It has simply threaded connectors with lead caps for when the battery is not in use. The internal components are made from 99% lead plates that are coated with a special oxidized substance to increase battery efficiency. The battery also features an absorbent glass mat that gives a reliable discharge to start your boat engine every time.

One downside we noticed is the relatively low reserve capacity. It only has enough capacity to hold 90 minutes of charge. Since it’s a starter battery, this is not such a big deal as you don’t really need to worry about its continuous power output. However, there are starter batteries out there that have higher reserve capacity.

The polypropylene casing is exceedingly durable and minimizes vibrations up to 15 times more effectively than other materials. The 99% of lead components have a high resistance which gives the battery longer overall life.

Also, the Optima RedTop is on the expensive side for a starter battery. This higher premium is made up for by the battery’s excellent quality. Optima makes reliable batteries and the RedTop is no exception. It has almost double the lifespan of some other batteries and has very low maintenance requirements. It also comes with adjustable installation headers, a nice touch that makes it easy to use.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy polypropylene casing reduces vibrations
  • Special lead cell construction is more efficient
  • High discharge capacity
  • Maintenance-free design
  • Designed to start in bad weather
  • Adjustable installation headers
  • Works with trucks, motorcycles, and cars

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Low reserve capacity
  • A bit pricey

6. Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle Dual Purpose Battery

Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle Dual Purpose Battery

The Exide MegaCycle is both a starter battery and a deep cycle battery. That means that you can use it for starting your boat engine and for running appliances that need a continuous source of electricity. The Exide has some of the best performance of the best marine battery that we have seen. It has an extremely high 200-minute reserve capacity which is ideal for running heavy-duty trolling rigs.

The sturdy ABS plastic casing is completely sealed to protect the battery’s internal components. The plastic construction reduces vibrations making the battery more efficient and prevents the battery from falling out of place. The internal components are designed to draw a charge more quickly and retain more power than other batteries and it can output a continuous 25 amp current at 80-degree Fahrenheit.

The 200- minute reserve capacity can produce more than 3 hours of trolling operation in good conditions. It has a fast-charging capacity as long as you have a decent charger. We especially like the very generous 24-month manufacturer warranty. If it breaks for any reason during that 2-year window you can get a full replacement for free.

The Exide also functions as a starter battery. We especially like dual-function batteries as they kill two birds with one stone.

There are some weaknesses though. First of all, Exide is a bit expensive all things considered. We noticed a handful of quality control issues with some users receiving batteries with damaged or dead cells. Luckily, the warranty is easy to cash in on and most report receiving a working replacement without much hassle.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy construction minimizes vibrations
  • Top-notch reserve capacity
  • Dual-purpose starter and deep cycle battery
  • Excellent lifespan
  • Fast-charging capacity
  • Generous 2-year warranty
  • Good customer service

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Quality control issue
  • High price point compared to other batteries

7. Odyssey 34M Trolling Marine Dual-Purpose Battery

Our penultimate entry is the Odyssey 34M Dual Purpose Marine Battery. This best marine battery works as both a starting battery and a deep cycle battery so you can count on it to start your boat engine and run your onboard appliances. The Odyssey is an AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery and uses pure lead as its plate materials. Lead has a very high conductance and makes a battery that lasts a long time.

The Odyssey is a sealed lead-acid battery which means there is no need to refill the water tanks. In fact, it’s basically maintenance-free as long as you keep the leads clean and clear. The construction is robust and can withstand a lot of vibration. WE honestly bet you could smash it with a hammer and leave minimal damage (we don’t recommend doing that, just for the record).

The Odyssey has a wide range of operational temperatures and can put out optimal capacity between 0 degrees and 170 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a nominal voltage of 12V and a 5-second current up to 1500 amps. It has a pretty impressive 135 reserve battery capacity which translates to just over two hours of trolling operation.

The Odyssey has a better long-term performance than most other batteries in its league though it is a bit more expensive. This is not unexpected as dual-purpose batteries are usually on the more expensive side of the scale. Overall though, the extra price is worth the top-tier performance. The manufacturer claims that the battery can be stored for up to 2 years on an open circuit without needing to recharge.

What We Like:

  • Top-tier performance
  • Dual-purpose starter and deep cycle battery
  • Wide range of temperature operation
  • Completely dry and sealed construction
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Long shelf life
  • High reserve capacity

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Letting charge drop lower than 20% can damage the retention

8. Optima Batteries D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery

Last on our list is another from Optima Batteries. The Optima YellowTop is a dual-purpose best marine battery designed for starting engines and running appliances. The YellowTop has a 12 V capacity and can put out up to 620 cold-cranking amps to power your onboard devices. The Optima YellowTop is a bit heftier than the BlueTop and has a bit more juice.

The YellowTop has 98-minute reserve capacity. No amazing all things considered but good enough to get at least an hour and a half of continuous trolling action. The battery is designed with a failsafe mechanism that ensures it fires even in poor weather conditions. The sturdy ABS plastic casing is durable and minimizes vibrations.

The Optima YellowTop is designed and marketed for boats but it also works for trucks, cars, and motorcycles. Each cell is designed with Optima’s signature Spiral Cell technology that increases the overall operational lifespan of the battery. The dual terminals are corrosion resistant and the absorbent glass mat in each cell absorbs electrolytes to reduce spillage. Each component is sealed so you never have to open it up for maintenance.

The YellowTop can operate effectively in a wide range of temperatures, though the optimal range is between 40-80 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter the temperature, it can deliver continuous and reliable performance. The YellowTop can also sit for up to a year without losing any of its charge. It has a low resistance which means it charges quickly. The pure lead plates are highly resistant and will last for a long time.

What We Like:

  • Excellent and reliable performance
  • Reliable starting mechanism starts even in poor weather
  • Spiral cell technology increases cell durability
  • Corrosion-resistant terminals
  • Casing minimizes vibrations
  • 36-month warranty replacement

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Quality control issues from the manufacturer
  • Can be damaged from overcharging

9. MIghty Max Light Trolling Motor Battery

At ninth is the Mighty Max Light Trolling Motor Battery. As the name implies, this best marine battery is designed for light applications. The Mighty Max is both a starter battery and deep cycle battery so it will start your boat and run your onboard appliances.

The Mighty Max is a 12V battery and has a 35Ah capacity. It is small at just 7 inches high but effective. It has a high reserve capacity and can run for a continuous 60 minutes before running out. It is not designed for heavy-duty applications so it works the best on smaller boats.

The durable plastic casing reduces vibrations and also protects the battery from mechanical shock damage. It is entirely sealed so there is no need to open it up and perform maintenance. The Mighty Max is not as heavy-duty and powerful as some of the batteries we have covered but it is a good solution for smaller boats with lighter trolling rigs.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight and fast-charging
  • Durable metal handle
  • Completely sealed design
  • Durable plastic casing reduces vibrations

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not good for larger boats
  • Lower than average reserve capacity

10. Interstate Deep Cycle Battery

Last but certainly not least is the Interstate DCM0035 Deep Cycle Battery. This high powered non-lithium battery has a long life and dependable power regardless of what you are using it for. The Interstate is extremely lightweight and is easy to mount and store. You can basically install it and very have to worry about it again.

The Interstate Deep Cycle can run a trolling motor for basically a full day out on the water. The special metal plates make it charge quickly as long as you have a powerful enough adaptor. Since it is sealed, it requires no maintenance at all. As long as you keep the leads clean and make sure it never completely discharges, it should last you for a long time.

Each one of these batteries is put through a rigorous 7-point quality control test. In the off-chance that some error does slip through, the manufacturer has got you covered with their one-year warranty.

What We Like:

  • Sealed lead-acid battery does not need maintenance
  • Long life and consistent deep discharge
  • Versatile applications
  • Rigorous inspection process
  • Generous 1-year warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Low reserve compared to some other batteries
  • Not incredibly powerful
  • Cannot use as a starter battery

Conclusions:

So there you have it, the top 10 best marine batteries for the best boating experience. Without a proper battery, you won’t be able to reliably start your engine or run your onboard appliances. Whether you need a good starter battery, deep cycle battery, or a combo dual-purpose battery, the choice you make will affect the overall boating experience. That is why it is important to do your due diligence and make sure you have the right product for your needs.

Derek S. Webb
 

Derek Webb is a family man, outdoor enthusiast, and Editor-In-Chief at Outdoor On! He is a regular columnist in big media publication - writing from fishing to camping to various outdoor stuff.