Best Trolling Motor Battery Buyer’s Guide (2017)

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A reliable trolling motor battery will help you get the most from your boat every time you go out fishing. Just like most electric motors and devices, trolling motors require specific batteries that can gradually discharge electricity over a long period.trolling battery

In the guide below, we’ve listed five trolling motor batteries that offer superior performance and value for money. The batteries we’ve listed are a mix of dual purpose batteries that you can use for both starting and deep cycling, as well as specialized deep cycle batteries.

We’ve included information on each battery’s capabilities, from its total capacity to its size and weight. We’ve also covered the major strong and weak points of each battery to help you get a deeper understanding of whether it’s the best choice for your trolling motor.

To view our recommendations, you can scroll further down the page to our “Best Trolling Motor Batteries” list. Below, we’ll cover the key features that you should look for in a battery for your trolling motor, from its design to its total power capacity.

Dual Purpose Batteries vs. Deep Cycle Batteries

Because trolling motors require a steady, consistent source of electrical power, you’ll need to use either a dual purpose or a deep cycle battery.

These two battery types are designed to gradually discharge a large percentage of their total capacity over time. This differs from a starting battery, which is designed to discharge a large amount of power at once to crank and start an engine.

This means that you can’t simply use the starting battery inside your boat to power your trolling motor. Instead, you’ll need either a dual purpose or deep cycle battery.

Dual purpose batteries are designed to both crank engines and provide a consistent source of electrical power for trolling motors and other 12v electrical devices. As the name suggests, dual purpose batteries serve a dual purpose — starting and deep cycling.

Since dual purpose batteries are designed to do everything, they usually offer good, albeit not great, performance for deep cycling. If you only want to buy one battery for your entire boat — both its inboard or outboard motor and its trolling motor — a dual purpose battery is best.

Deep cycle batteries, on the other hand, are designed specifically to discharge a large amount of their capacity over a long, gradual period. Because of this, deep cycle batteries typically last far longer than dual purpose batteries when used with a trolling motor.

This improved performance means you can often get good performance from a relatively small deep cycle battery. We’ve included a small battery — the Interstate DCM0035 — on our battery recommendation list below.

In short, if you want a do-it-all battery that you can use to start your inboard or outboard motor and power your trolling motor, you’ll get the best results from a dual purpose battery. If you’re looking for a battery specifically for your trolling motor, a deep cycle battery is a better choice.

What to Look For in a Trolling Motor Battery:

The best trolling motor batteries are light, durable and reliable. Batteries can range dramatically in capacity and quality, making it essential to know what to look for as a consumer, Below, we’ve listed three features that you should look for in a trolling motor battery:

Amp Hours (Ah)

Deep cycle batteries are rated in amp hours (or ampere hours) — a unit that measures the total amount of charge inside the battery that allows a single amp of current to discharge for a period of one hour.

In short, the number of amp hours for which a battery is rated indicates how much electricity it can store. Since this determines the amount of time that the battery can power a trolling motor, it’s one of the most important metrics to look for in a deep cycle battery.

This unit isn’t always available for dual purpose batteries, making it difficult to calculate the total amount of time for which they can power a trolling motor. As a general rule, small batteries will typically measure 25 to 50 Ah, while larger deep cycle batteries can reach 100 Ah.

There’s no “perfect” amount of amp hours for a trolling motor battery. However, a higher number of ampere-hours will mean a battery can power your trolling motor (and other devices or appliances that require 12v power) for longer.

Power System

Most deep cycle batteries are manufactured in 12 volts, meaning you’ll need several batteries to power a 24v trolling motor. Before you buy any battery, it’s important to be aware of your motor’s power system and its demands on a battery.

Design, Construction, and Maintenance

Modern AGM batteries are designed to require no maintenance, making them far easier to own than older, maintenance-heavy batteries. They’re also safe to use in any position, whether right side up or upside down.

Some dual purpose and deep cycle batteries are designed with thick plastic casing to insulate and protect the battery from vibration. This, as well as AGM technology, are both great features that can extend a battery’s lifespan and save you from having to replace your battery early.

The 5 Best Trolling Motor Batteries:

Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery

The Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop is a versatile battery that can be used for both starting and deep cycling. With a 120-minute reserve capacity and 750 CCA, this is a reliable battery that offers good performance and a large enough capacity for practical use.

Features

  • Rated at 750 cold cranking amps, this battery is a good starter battery for boats, RVs and mechanical equipment.
  • Designed to perform well in cold weather and in stressful situations, with an exterior that can withstand up to 15 times as much vibration as similar batteries from other brands.
  • The 8016-103 D34M BlueTop has a 120-minute reserve capacity, giving it a sufficient amount of reserve storage for use with a trolling motor.
  • Compared to batteries with a similar capacity and starting power, the 8016-103 D34M BlueTop is fairly light and compact, with a design that makes it easy to mount in your boat or RV.
  • Optima sells the 8016-103 D34M BlueTop with a two-year warranty, meaning you can return it for a free replacement within the first two years after purchasing in the event it has defects that prevent it from operating properly.

Pros

The Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop is a good quality battery that can be used for starting and deep cycling. If you need an all-purpose battery for your boat or RV, this is one of the best dual purpose options on the market.

With 750 cold cranking amps, the 8016-103 D34M BlueTop is more than powerful enough to start a boat engine. It also has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes under normal use (25 amps discharge in temperatures of 80°F), making it great for use with a trolling motor or RV.

It also has other useful design features, such as a vibration resistant design that prevents the battery from becoming damaged due to engine vibration. It’s light and easy to mount in almost any location within your boat or RV.

Cons

Because the 8016-103 D34M BlueTop uses absorbent glass mat (AGM) technology, it’s possible to damage the battery through overcharging. This is a relatively minor risk and will only appear if the battery is charged incorrectly.

Verdict

The Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop is an excellent dual purpose battery for use on your boat or in your RV. Sleekly designed and competitively priced, this is a high-quality battery that offers good value for money at its retail price.

Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery

The Universal UB121000-45978 is a high-quality deep cycle battery designed to discharge most of its capacity for use with trolling motors and electrical devices. Rated 100AH, this battery is an excellent option for use on your boat or at home as an electrical storage battery.

Features

  • Designed and manufactured using AGM technology for faster recharging and improved performance.
  • This is a 100% maintenance free battery. There is no need to refill it with water, as you would with a lead acid battery.
  • When standing, the UB121000-45978 discharges less than three percent of its capacity every month, making it an extremely efficient battery for energy storage.
  • Designed specifically for deep cycling, with a 100AH rating. This is not a starter battery and cannot be used to start motors, mechanical equipment, and other machinery.
  • Backed up by a one year warranty guaranteeing against defects for 12 months after the battery is purchased.

Pros

If you need a reliable deep cycle battery, the UB121000-45978 is a great choice. It’s a highly efficient battery that stores energy very well, losing approximately three percent of its capacity on a monthly basis. This makes it a great choice for use with home solar energy systems.

As a trolling motor battery, the UB121000-45978 is also a good performer. It’s rated at 100AH and delivers more than enough power to efficiently run a small or mid-sized trolling motor. It’s also an easy battery to recharge, requiring 10 to 12 hours to reach its full capacity.

One of the biggest advantages of this battery is its use of AGM technology. This improves the battery’s performance and substantially reduces the amount of maintenance required. There’s no need to fill this battery with water, or even to maintain it at all.

Cons

Since this is a deep cycle battery, it can’t be used to start outboard motors, cars or mechanical equipment that requires a large amount of cold cranking amps. You’ll need a separate starting battery for use with your boat, RV or other machinery.

Verdict

The Universal UB121000-45978 is a good quality deep cycle battery that’s ideal for use with a trolling motor or as an energy storage battery for a home solar energy system. Available for less than $200, it’s priced very fairly for its feature set and build quality.

VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery

The VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM is a reliable Group 27 battery designed specifically for deep cycle use. This battery delivers consistent performance, charges quickly and offers great resistance to vibration thanks to its thick plastic exterior.

Features

  • Designed to mount inside any Group 27 battery box, making it easy to mount inside your boat.
  • This 12v battery is rated at 100Ah, delivering consistent performance for trolling motors and other electronic devices that require a consistent, uninterrupted source of 12 power.
  • Build with a thick, durable plastic case to resist damage from vibration, knocks and other common sources of wear and tear.
  • Manufactured using AGM (absorbent glass mat) technology to reduce maintenance and deliver faster charging.
  • Sold with a 30-day money back guarantee and 12 months of replacement coverage from VMAX Marine. Defective batteries can be returned within one year of the purchase date for a free replacement.

Pros

The VMAX MR127 delivers excellent deep cycle performance, making it a great battery for use with a trolling motor. It also charges extremely quickly, with a charging speed that’s double what you’d get from a conventional battery.

This is largely due to the battery’s use of an AGM electrolyte suspension system. This system is not only designed to improve the battery’s performance, but also to reduce its maintenance and care needs. This is a zero maintenance battery that doesn’t require any water refilling or similar maintenance in order to work effectively.

Thanks to its thick plastic exterior, the VMAX MR127 is very durable. It resists vibration well and is designed to work for years inside your boat. Despite its heavy weight, it’s equipped with a pair of plastic carry handles that make it fairly easy to carry for a battery of its size.

Cons

This is a large, heavy battery, weighing in at almost 70 pounds. This makes it somewhat difficult to mount inside your boat. It’s also quite an expensive battery, with a retail price of almost $250 putting it ahead of its competitors in terms of cost.

Verdict

The VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM is one of the best batteries on the market for use with a trolling motor. It charges quickly, performs well and has a durable exterior that resists vibrations and other potential sources of damage. All in all, this is a very good premium deep cycle battery.

Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle AGM-200 Sealed Maintenance Free (AGM) Marine Battery

Designed as both a starter and deep cycle battery, the Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle AGM-200 offers excellent performance, with a 200 minute reserve capacity and impressive power rates of 925 CCA at 0°F and 1,110 CA at 32°F.

Features

  • Designed to charge quickly and retain more power than similar batteries in its class and price range.
  • Strong exterior housing keeps this battery safe and protected, with excellent resistance to vibration and wear. Uses AGM technology to prevent the battery from drying out as it’s used.
  • Lasts for 200 minutes of normal use (25 amp continuous draw at a temperature of 80°F), putting it near the top of its category in terms of power reserve.
  • Comes with an excellent 24 month warranty, allowing you to return the battery and get a free replacement if it stops working within 24 months of the date of purchase.

Pros

The XMC-31 AGM-200 is a great battery that can start and deep cycle. It has a reserve power capacity of 200 minutes, giving you more than three hours of regular use with a trolling motor in optimal conditions. It’s also quick and easy to recharge, provided you have a good charger.

This battery has several unique features that make it stand out. The first is its design, which is engineered to prevent vibration from wearing out the battery. Exide uses AGM technology in this battery, which prevents it from drying out with use or because of excessive vibration.

Another huge advantage of this battery is its warranty. With a 24 month replacement warranty, the XMC-31 AGM-200 is easy to replace in the event that it fails. Send it back to Exile to get a free replacement battery — a guarantee that’s hard to find from competitors.

Cons

No battery is perfect, and for all of its strengths, the XMC-31 AGM-200 does have a few small weaknesses. First, it’s quite an expensive battery, with a slightly higher retail price than other batteries in the same power reserve and performance range.

Secondly, there are some reported cases of customers receiving batteries that are two to six months old, often with a reduced power capacity. Although it’s easy to return the battery for a free replacement if you receive an old model, this is still a slight inconvenience.

Verdict

All in all, the Exide XMC-31 MegaCycle AGM-200 is a versatile battery that performs well for starting and as a deep cycle battery for use with a trolling motor. If you’re looking for a great battery that will perform well for several years of use, it’s one of the best choices available.

Interstate DCM0035 Sealed Lead Acid (AGM) Deep Cycle Battery

The Interstate DCM0035 is a compact deep cycle battery that’s ideal for use with small trolling motors. This 35Ah battery delivers consistent performance and requires no maintenance thanks to its use of AGM (absorbent glass mat) technology.

Features

  • Compact and lightweight, this Group U1 battery weighs in at just 23 pounds and measures 7.7 inches in length, making it one of the smallest deep cycle batteries available.
  • This is an AGM battery, meaning it requires no maintenance. It also charges quickly, making it a convenient choice if you need a reliable battery that you can use often.
  • Because of its low weight, small dimensions and use of AGM technology, the DCM0035 is safe to mount in any position and at any angle within your boat.
  • This battery is stored inside a thick, durable plastic case, protecting it from bumps and other damage that could affect the performance of other batteries. It’s also fitted with a small carry handle for simple portability.

Pros

The DCM0035 is by far the smallest deep cycle battery on our list, making it a great buy if you have a small trolling motor that doesn’t require a large battery. At 23 pounds, the DCM0035 is extremely portable and easy to carry to and from your boat.

Despite its low weight, the DCM0035 performs very well. It’s rated at 35Ah and delivers good, consistent power that will keep most compact trolling motors running for one to two hours with no issues. It’s a durable battery that can handle the bumps and bruises of regular use.

Because this is an AGM battery, it’s leak proof and safe to mount at any angle in your boat. It charges quickly and — provided you don’t overcharge the battery accidentally — wears down very little over time.

Interstate sells the DCM0035 with a 45-day money back guarantee and one year of warranty coverage. If your battery is defective, you can return it within 12 months for a replacement at no cost.

Cons

This battery’s biggest strength — its small size — is also its biggest weakness. Although the DCM0035 is perfect for people who need a small, company battery, its small size means it’s definitely not a good choice if you need lots of deep cycle power for a large trolling motor.

Verdict

The Interstate DCM0035 is a great battery that takes up very little space, weighs far less than its larger counterparts and performs surprisingly well. If you need a small, reliable battery for your trolling motor, the DCM0035 is an excellent low-cost buy.