Boat engines require a battery to start and run, just like the land-based vehicles in your garage. The best marine battery not only provides solid, consistent power but is also protected from conditions on the water.
Marine batteries are often exposed to harsh conditions. Moisture, cold, and vibrations can all damage batteries over time. A sealed construction and rugged casing are a must to keep your boat running well, even on choppy waters.
Most boats also spend a lot of time sitting between uses. A battery that holds its charge well long-term will make sure it’s ready to go when you need it.
You’ll also need to consider how many things on your boat require power. How the battery dispenses its power is just as important as how much it has. Lights, speakers, and other electronics will put different demands on the engine than starting or trolling.
We’ve picked out our favorite marine batteries and compared them side by side to find the best options. We considered factors like portability and price along with their reliability and power. Some of the best marine batteries are surprisingly affordable. Read on to learn which ones give you the best value.
- 1 Comparison Table
- 2 Full Product Reviews
- 2.1 1VMAX V35-857 12-Volt Marine Deep Cycle Hi-Performance Battery
- 2.2 2Mighty Max ML55-12 Electric Trolling Motor
- 2.3 3Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery
- 2.4 4Optima Batteries 8006-006-FFP 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
- 2.5 5VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Battery
- 2.6 6Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
- 2.7 7Optima Batteries 8027-127 D27M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
- 2.8 8Odyssey 34M-PC1500ST TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery
- 2.9 9Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Battery
- 2.10 10Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST-M TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery
- 3 Types of Marine Batteries Explained
- 4 So which is the best marine battery?
- 5 FAQ
Optima Batteries 8006-006-FFP 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Battery
VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery for boats
|Reserve capacity (minutes)||100||155||200|
Full Product Reviews
1VMAX V35-857 12-Volt Marine Deep Cycle Hi-Performance Battery
What makes this VMAX special?
There are two main features we love about this battery: its compact size and its construction. We’ll start with the first point. The VMAX 12-volt only weighs 25 pounds and is sized to be super portable. It’s not the longest-lasting battery on the list, but at the size (and price) you can easily bring a spare.
This VMAX battery uses a shock-resistant design for the AGM plates. It’s also built to be durable in all weather conditions. Since it’s a deep cycle battery, you can discharge the VMAX pretty far without damaging it or reducing its maximum capacity.
This is the ideal battery for occasional or auxiliary use, like as the back-up propulsion in a hand-paddled raft or kayak. It’s easy to install and quick to charge, making it a convenient choice.
- Durable and well-sealed
- Proprietary plate structure is more resistant to shocks
- Lightest battery on the list
- Lots of power in a compact package
- Great value
- Relatively short running life
- Some consumers report batteries arriving DOA
What’s it built for?
Small crafts with trolling motors (canoes, kayaks, etc.)
2Mighty Max ML55-12 Electric Trolling Motor
What makes this Mighty Max special?
This is perhaps the best marine battery for trolling motor applications. You can use it anywhere, anytime, with equal confidence. Even indoors—the valve-regulated design and AGM construction prevent leaks, making it safe to use in enclosed spaces.
Mighty Max ML55-12 is just as strong for outdoor use, of course. It’s designed to run well in a wide range of temperatures. It’s about twice the weight of the model above but it lasts a lot longer, too. That’ll power your average 10’-12’ boat for 3-5 hours at a moderate speed, or 30-60 minutes at full thrust.
This battery is also easy to install and use. It’s sized to fit comfortably in most standard boat motors and charging is straightforward. You won’t need to fill or maintain it, either—a no hassle option for any small watercraft.
- Works in even extreme heat and cold
- Rechargeable and maintenance-free
- Flexible in terms of mounting options
- Can be used in enclosed spaces
- Good weight to power ratio
- Lasts up to 6 hours depending on motor speed
- Takes a while to charge (up to 8 hours for full)
- Not as convenient to install and carry
What’s it built for?
Small- to medium-sized trolling motors (30-45lbs of thrust)
3Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery
What makes the UB121000 special?
This is a spill-proof, rechargeable battery that can power larger vessels for longer. It’s actually popular in DIY solar panel grids because of its power and reliability. That consistency makes it a great choice for boaters, too.
The storage capacity of this battery is its real selling point. It’s the best deep cycle marine battery for long trips and larger craft because it’ll keep them going for hours of continuous use. You can also store it longer without it losing charge due to its efficiency and low discharge rate.
The only downside of this battery is its bulk. It’s big and heavy, and that can make it hard to use and store. If you want a heavy-duty battery, though, this will fit the bill.
- Consistent deep cycling without required maintenance
- Thick protective casing withstands most weather conditions
- Large storage capacity
- Can be stored for long periods without losing it charge
- Lasts up to 5 years with typical use
- Bulky, heavy design is tricky to mount
- Takes about 12 hours to fully recharge
What’s it built for?
Powerful trolling motors, occasional or seasonal use.
4Optima Batteries 8006-006-FFP 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
What makes the Optima 34M special?
Vibration is one of the main causes of battery damage and failure. This 8006-006-FFP 34M Optima marine battery uses a unique SpiralCell system that limits the movement of the plates inside. The fully-sealed casing also prevents spilling. Between these two features, the result is a more durable, longer-lasting battery.
This is also an AGM battery and won’t require maintenance. You’ll only need to charge the Optima 34M after use. In storage, it’ll hold a charge for up to a year between uses. With a CCA of 800A, even severe winter weather won’t keep your boat from starting.
This is the smallest option in Optima’s Blue Top line. It can handle boats with outboard motors but it’s not meant to start large vessels. If you’re looking for a compact, reliable cranking battery, it’s a great choice.
- Reliably starts engines, even in bad weather
- Won’t get damaged by vibration
- Can sit up to a year between charges
- Case is durable and completely sealed
- Recharges quickly
- On the pricier side for the power capacity
- Not enough power for large vessels
What’s it built for?
Outboard motors, auxiliary electronics
5VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Battery
What makes the VMAX MR127 special?
It really comes down to the plates. VMAX plates go through a different treatment process during manufacturing than most AGM-style batteries. This makes them stronger and more reliable, giving them a longer overall lifespan.
The low maintenance and easy installation of VMAX batteries is another reason they’re so popular. You’ll find you rarely even have to charge it. It can give you ten hours or more of continuous use, even in motors with 50+ pounds of thrust.
This is the best marine battery for long use. In some boats, you can use it for days without recharging. It’s definitely heavy—and not the cheapest option on the list—but it’s worth it if you need the power.
- Most powerful deep cycle battery on the list
- High-performance ever after repeated over-discharges
- Long life span even with extended use
- Hours of continuous use with trolling engines
- Fully-sealed so you can mount it anywhere
- One of the heaviest batteries on the list
What’s it built for?
Trolling engines of any size
6Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
What makes the Optima D34M special?
This is a very similar battery to the 34M reviewed above. Like other batteries in the BlueTop line it uses SpiralCell technology to prevent damage from vibration. The main way the D34M is different is that it functions as both a deep cycle and a cranking battery.
This battery is fairly lightweight, especially considering its power output. This is thanks in large part to the Polypropylene used for the casing. It protects the battery from extreme weather without adding much weight.
As purely a cranking battery, the Optima 34M above will give you more power. The Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M has high cranking amps for a dual-purpose marine battery, though, definitely enough for most private boats. Since it’s a deep cycle battery, too, that makes it the best value of the Optima line.
- Marine cranking amps up to 870A
- Durable, weather-resistant casing
- Versatile mounting options
- Lasts through five times as many charges as most batteries
- Quick-charging even from a full discharge
- Easy to transport and store
- Isn’t as effective at starting larger engines
What’s it built for? Pleasure craft, on-board accessories
7Optima Batteries 8027-127 D27M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
What makes the Optima D27M special?
There is a lot to love about the BlueTop series from Optima. They’re long-lasting, versatile, and efficient at powering your engine. This is the 27M-sized entry in the line. It’s a bit bigger and heavier than the options above but offers a similar power and performance.
The speed of the charge on this battery was our favorite feature. Even though it’s larger than other BlueTop options, it seems to charge back up just as fast, if not more quickly. Once you have it charged, it will power your boat for quite a few hours of trolling.
Like other Optima batteries, this model is a bit of an investment price-wise. You do often get what you pay for, though. This battery will last you a long time and the power capacity makes it worth the cost.
- Efficient battery with a long lifespan
- High cranking power, up to 800A
- Reserve capacity of 140 minutes
- Well-built with double posts and leak-free sealing
- Comparably priced with other quality type-27 batteries
- Doesn’t retain charge as long in storage
- Larger motors can drain it quickly
What’s it built for?
All-purpose use in most private watercraft
8Odyssey 34M-PC1500ST TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery
What makes the Odyssey Trolling Thunder special?
Odyssey marine batteries are considered to be the cream of the crop by many hobbyists. They have a long life, both on the shelf and in use. If you need longevity from your battery, this is worth the extra expense this brand carries.
Most batteries can only sit on the shelf for a few months. The Odyssey 34M -PC1500ST can be stored up to two years without losing charge. It’s efficient when you’re using it, too. It has the industry’s leading recharge efficiency. You’ll go longer between charges, and charge faster when you need one.
You’ll also love the Odyssey 34M if you live in an unpredictable climate. It can handle colds as low as -40°F and it’s fine in high heat, too. If you need the best marine battery for extreme conditions, this is your best bet.
- Will hold a charge for two years in storage
- Rated to work in both extreme heat and extreme cold
- Easy to install and completely maintenance free
- High cranking amp rating for a dual-purpose battery
- Most efficient battery of its type
- Pretty pricey for a 34M-group model
What’s it built for?
Occasional or seasonal use, extreme conditions.
9Optima Batteries 8052-161 D31M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Battery
What makes the Optima BlueTop D31M special?
There is a BlueTop for every size group and function. This is the one you want if you need to power a lot of creature comforts, like your onboard lights and music. It can provide more starting power than any other Optima marine battery, and it also has impressive longevity as a deep cycle option.
Another way this battery is better than other models is its heat tolerance. Even some batteries rated for harsh conditions are more focused on how they work in the cold. This is one of the few options you’ll never have to worry about even when the thermometer hits its peak.
This one doesn’t quite hold a charge as well or as long as, say, the Odyssey above. This is only a small downside, though. Since it’s quick to charge up, it’s no hassle to give it some more juice when you need it.
- Recovers well from full discharges
- Highest cranking amps of all the Optima marine batteries
- Longest reserve capacity on the list
- Lasts through three times more recharges than conventional dual-purpose batteries
- Can be used and stored in hot weather without a problem
- Drains fairly quickly in storage
- Max capacity diminishes over time more than we’d like
What’s it built for?
Trolling motors, extensive electronics
10Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST-M TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery
What makes the Odyssey 31M special?
Even the best dual-purpose batteries usually can’t provide as much starting power as a dedicated starting battery. This Odyssey marine battery bucks that trend. It’s the only option on the list that can provide over 1,000 CCA and still give you a long run with a trolling motor.
This is a long-lasting and durable battery. It’s great for cold weather and has the build quality to resist moisture and corrosion. Flame-retarding cells inside the battery prevent catastrophic damage if there is battery failure.
Now we’ll be honest with you—this kind of performance will cost you. The Odyssey 31M is the most expensive option on the list. It’s the most powerful too, though, perfect for larger boats, or ones with lots of bells and whistles.
- Twice the power of most marine batteries
- Lasts up to 10 years
- Tin-plated brass resists corrosion
- High-quality cell materials and construction
- Recharges to 100% in 4-6 hours
- Wide range of temperature tolerance
- Most expensive option listed here
- Very heavy option
What’s it built for?
Powering on-board electronics, starting and running larger motors
If you wonder What is the best rated marine battery? on this list, here is the answer: VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM DeeB Cycle Maintenance Free Battery for boats and Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah Power Boat Pontoon Electric Trolling Motor Deep Cycle Battery. Now we can continue to discover more about marine batteries.
Types of Marine Batteries Explained
When people talk about the type of a battery, they could be referring to a couple of different things. This could mean the chemistry at work inside the battery or the role it serves.
Speaking in terms of chemistry, these batteries are all very similar. They’re all lead acid batteries that use an absorbed glass mat (or AGM) construction. This is the best marine battery style because they hold a charge well even if they’re not used every day.
While they use a similar construction, these batteries do differ in their purpose. There are three type of marine batteries reviewed here: deep cycle batteries, starting batteries, and dual-purpose batteries.
1. Deep cycle batteries
They are designed to give up a greater percentage of their stored energy before taking damage. They’re designed to provide power for several continuous hours, making them great for trolling motors.
2. Starting batteries
Starting batteries put out short bursts of a high current. As you might guess from the name, marine starting batteries are designed to start a boat engine. If you use a starting battery to run a motor, you’ll discharge it too far and cause damage.
3. Dual-purpose batteries
They are hybrids of the two above types. They can be used both to start an engine and to provide long-term power. This is great if you need a battery to start the engine and power electronic systems on your boat.
So which is the best marine battery?
If we’re pressed to pick just one overall best option, we’d have to go with the Optima BlueTop D31M. All of the BlueTop options are reliable, consistent options. This size has the right power levels for most people, but we’ve included other group sizes some users will prefer.
For those looking for a marine starting battery, we highly recommend the Optima BlueTop 34M. It has high cranking amps for the price and is a reliable, compact option.
Finally, if you’re after a dedicated deep cycle battery, the VMAX MR127 is a great choice. It’s on the heavy side but has the highest amp hours and reserve capacity, important specs for deep cycle battery. The long storage life is also a selling point.
All of these batteries obviously have their own strengths and advantages (there’s a reason we’ve put them on this list!). The right option for you really depends on your boat and lifestyle. Decide how much you need to power and for how long before you buy to get the most out of your purchase.
How do I add water to these batteries?
You don’t—and you don’t need to. People accustomed to the more traditional flooded batteries are likely in the habit of adding water every couple of months. AGM batteries are sealed and don’t lose water like flooded batteries do. This eliminates the need to check the fluid levels.
Not only do AGM batteries not need extra water, adding it would actually damage the battery. The only maintenance you need to perform on an AGM battery is charging it after use.
What kind of charger is best for marine batteries?
You don’t need anything special because these are marine batteries. They use the same type of charger as any 12-volt battery. If you already have one for a land vehicle that can serve double duty. If you’re buying a charger, the right one depends on how you’ll use the battery.
Lead-acid batteries, like AGM batteries, can undergo the build-up of crystals that reduces battery life over time. Chargers with a desulfation mode can extend the battery’s overall lifespan.
You’ll also get better results with a lower amp charger (one that provides 12 amps or fewer). This will take longer to charge but will also protect the battery from heat damage.
What’s the difference between a marine battery and a deep cycle battery?
This can be a tricky question because the term “marine battery” is used by different companies to mean different things. It’s most often taken to mean a dual-purpose battery that can serve all of a boat’s power needs.
A true deep cycle battery has thicker, heavier plates than a dual-cycle or marine battery. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, though. It’s always a good idea to check the specs of any model labeled as a marine battery. This ensure you get what you need.