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Choosing the right marine battery is a difficult task and one that takes into account several factors. The first step is to decide whether you need a cranking battery or a deep cycle battery. The former’s sole job is to provide the short, sharp burst of power needed to start your inboard or outboard engine. A deep cycle battery is made to deliver a smaller amount of energy over a long period of time and is used to power your trolling motor and/or onboard electronics (like some of the best marine stereos on the market). Alternatively, there are some marine batteries that fulfill both purposes.
Key features to look out for include the battery’s cold cranking amps or CCA (how much power it can supply within a short period of time), its reserve capacity (the length of time a fully charged battery can deliver 25 amps of power before being discharged to 10.5 volts), and its amp hours (the number of amps it can deliver in a 20-hour period). There are different types of marine batteries, but the best are generally AGM or absorbed glass mat batteries. This article looks at a few of the best options for different boating requirements.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST Marine Dual Purpose Battery
Odyssey’s Marine Dual Purpose Battery fulfills the twin roles of a cranking and deep cycle battery with incredible efficiency. It offers 1150 CCA, giving it a massive cranking power capable of starting any recreational inboard or outboard motor, even in cold weather. It also has impressive deep cycling capability, lasting for up to 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. Rated to 100Ah, it should deliver 5 amps of current per hour for 20 hours, giving you plenty of time to troll your local lake or river without having to recharge.
A full recharge takes just four to six hours. The battery’s AGM design means that you don’t have to top it up with distilled water or worry about spilled battery acid as you would with traditional wet-cell batteries. AGM batteries are also more resistant to shock and vibration and have a lower self-discharge rate. This is a Group 31 battery measuring 13” x 6.8” x 9.4” and weighing 77.8 pounds. Although expensive, it’s still cheaper than purchasing separate cranking and deep cycling batteries of the same quality.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery
For those that want a deep cycle marine battery only, the VMAX XTR31-135 is a top-quality option that promises reliable power out on the water. It’s an AGM battery which means that it can be installed at any angle and requires zero maintenance. Unlike wet-cell batteries, it can even be temporarily submerged without causing any damage. This battery has superior plates and a float service application lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
Ranked as a Group 31 battery, it measures 13” x 6.8” x 8.4” and weighs 77 pounds. It’s an ideal power source for larger trolling motors, with a 135Ah rating that delivers 6.75 amps per hour over a 20-hour period. The reserve capacity is 265 minutes, which is how long the fully charged battery takes to discharge to 10.5 volts if delivering a continuous current of 25 amps. Although the battery is intended as a deep cycle battery only, it has a CCA rating of 730 amps and is therefore capable of starting medium-sized motors in an emergency.
Best Budget (Dual Purpose): Bass Pro Shops XPS Power Series Dual Purpose 120 Marine Battery
If you have a small to medium horsepower engine that doesn’t need all of the cranking power provided by the other dual-purpose batteries on this list, you can save considerable bucks with the Bass Pro Shops XPS Power Series Dual Purpose 120 battery. Despite a retail price of just over $150, it has a CCA rating of 550 amps and a reserve capacity of 120 minutes at 25 amps.
Once your engine has started, the battery’s deep-cycling capabilities power your trolling motor and other electronics (your fish finder or electric radio, perhaps). It is built to withstand repeated deep discharges and is also conveniently quick to recharge. You can rely on the durability and vibration resistance of the AGM construction while the dual terminal design makes installation easy. This is a Group 24 battery, measuring 6.75” x 9.37” x 10.75” and weighing 43.5 pounds. Your purchase is backed by a one-year free replacement and 36-month pro-rated marine battery warranty.
Best Budget (Trolling): Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 Deep Cycle Battery
Well under the $100 price point, the Mighty Max ML35-12 Deep Cycle Battery costs less than a sixth of the price of the most expensive battery on this list. It is made with small-thrust trolling motors like the Minn Kota Endura C2 in mind and is rated to just 35Ah. Perfectly sized for small boats, kayaks and canoes, the battery measures 5.16” x 7.68” x 7.13” and weighs just 23.25 pounds.
Some customers recommend wiring two batteries together to provide 70 amp hours for less than the price of a top-brand single battery. Despite its affordable price, the battery offers all the benefits of AGM construction including zero leaking or maintenance. It doesn’t require any ventilation and can be mounted at almost any angle — making it easier to fit it in around other accessories when deck space is limited. Its durable calcium-alloy grid promises great performance and an extended service life.
Best Trolling (Small Motor): Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah Trolling Battery
The deep cycle Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah Trolling Battery is an affordable, effective option for those that want to power a small to medium trolling motor. Depending on the size of your motor and the speed at which you plan on traveling, it can last for a full weekend of fishing without needing to be recharged. It measures 9” x 5.4” x 9.1” and weighs 38.58 pounds making it the ideal fit for tenders, inflatables, fishing kayaks, and canoes.
The battery has a 55Ah amp hour rating and AGM technology. Sealed, spill-proof batteries are a safe, environmentally conscious choice that requires zero maintenance and can be stored at any angle in an unventilated battery box. The Mighty Max battery has a wide operating temperature range, making it a good choice for year-round use. If you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase, you’re protected by the manufacturer’s one-year warranty.
Best Trolling (Large Motor): VMAX MR127 12V 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Marine Battery
Fishermen with larger trolling motors (50- to 100-pound thrust) inevitably need to upgrade to a more powerful battery for the best results. The VMAX MR127 Deep Cycle Marine Battery is an incredibly popular choice, which features AGM technology for increased shock and vibration resistance and reduced self-discharge — like all of the batteries on this list. With a rating of 100AH, it offers almost double the amount of amp power over a 20-hour period compared to the Mighty Max battery. It’s also more than double the price.
The battery has a reserve capacity of 200 minutes and a discharge operating temperature range of -4ºF to 140ºF. Heavy-duty lead-tin alloy grids allow for an extended lifespan even after repeated deep discharges. The battery measures 12.1” x 6.7” x 8.2” and will fit any Group 27 battery box. It weighs 68 pounds and has integrated carry handles that make transporting it to and from your boat a little bit easier.
Best Cranking (Medium Power): Optima 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
If your sole reason for buying a marine battery is to start your medium-power inboard or outboard engine, the Optima 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery is a trustworthy choice. It has a 100-minute reserve capacity and a CCA rating of 800 amps — more than enough to start most recreational engines, even in winter. The battery’s patented SPIRALCELL technology delivers more power in a single burst than conventional flat-plate batteries and allows for triple the number of recharges. It also recharges faster.
The battery’s tightly wound construction keeps plate movement to a minimum and offers 15 times the vibration resistance for reliable cranking power even in rough conditions. The sealed AGM batteries are spill-proof and maintenance free, and you can mount them in whatever position best suits your boat’s configuration. Infrequent boaters will appreciate the battery’s super-low rate of self-discharge, which means that it can hold its charge for up to a year as long as it’s kept at room temperature or lower. It measures 6.88” x 10.06” x 7.94” and fits Group 34 boxes.
Best Cranking (High Power): Cabela's X-900 Pure Lead AGM Battery
For bigger engines that require extra cranking power to get started, choose Cabela’s X-900 Pure Lead AGM Battery in the Group 31 size. A dual-purpose battery capable of deep cycling to run your trolling motor and electric appliances once the engine has started, it stands out for its high CCA rating of 1150 amps. In warm weather, it can provide up to 1370 amps of electrical current. It has a 220-minute reserve capacity, keeping you out on the water longer, and a shock-resistant AGM design that works well in rough conditions.
Lab testing has proven that the battery is capable of 900 recharge cycles at a 50% depth of discharge. It can be stored for up to a year without recharging, and when you do charge it, it charges five times faster than regular wet-cell batteries. You can use a voltage regulated charger of up to 90 amps without damaging the battery. It measures 6.77” x 9.78” x 12.91”, weighs 74 pounds and is protected by a reinforced plastic housing and a four-year warranty.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular marine batteries on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different batteries overall, screened options from 7 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.