Trying to decide which trolling motor battery and be a little overwhelming.
There are many types of marine batteries on the market, such as:
- Flooded Lead-Acid (Wet Cell)
- AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
Don’t worry. We’ll get into the pros and cons of each type down below.
They all serve their purpose because choosing the best depends on the individual’s needs.
What’s good for you might not be good for others; that is where most people get hung up on the type of battery they need.
This post will hopefully help you make that decision easier for you. We’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of each battery type so you can decide which one is best for your needs.
4 Types Of Trolling Motor Batteries
There are four main types of batteries used for trolling motors. And like we said before, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
We’ll go over those in just a bit. But first, let’s look at the different types of batteries.
Flooded Lead-Acid (Wet Cell) Battery
The flooded lead-acid battery is the most common type used for trolling motors and the most affordable on this list.
The flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery comprises lead plates and sulfuric acid solution. The lead plates are submerged in the acid, which creates an electrical current.
This electrical current is what powers your trolling motor.
The main advantage of the flooded lead-acid battery is its low cost, and you can find them for less than $100.
The main disadvantage of the flooded lead-acid battery is that it requires maintenance. Therefore, you’ll need to fill this battery with distilled water whenever it evaporates.
If you don’t maintain the water level, the lead plates will be exposed to air and degrade. This will shorten the life of your battery.
And since it’s flooded, you risk spilling or leaking since the battery can’t handle shock and vibration, as well as the others in this list.
You’ll also need to clean the lead plates regularly to prevent sulfation.
Sulfation is when the lead sulfate crystals are attached to the lead plates, which reduces the battery’s performance.
The other disadvantage of the flooded lead-acid battery is that it’s not as powerful as other types of batteries. It can only provide about 50% of the power of an AGM battery.
Draining this type of battery over 50% should be avoided to prevent damage.
These bad boys are heavy, and the average marine lead-acid battery can weigh 60-70lbs.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) Battery
The AGM battery is a little more expensive than the flooded lead-acid battery.
But it doesn’t require any maintenance, and we believe this battery hits the sweet spot for most anglers in terms of price and performance.
The AGM battery is made up of lead plates and sulfuric acid. But the acid is absorbed into a glass mat. This glass mat separates the lead plates from the acid.
This design makes the AGM battery spill-proof, so you won’t have to worry about it leaking. You also don’t have to add water to it as you do with the flooded lead-acid battery, so it’s maintenance-free as well.
The other advantage of the AGM battery is that it’s more powerful than the flooded lead-acid battery. It can provide about 75% of the power of a lithium-ion battery at a lower price.
The main disadvantage of the AGM battery is its cost. For example, you can expect to pay about twice as much for an AGM battery as a flooded lead-acid battery.
However, performance-wise it holds its charge longer and has a longer lifespan, making it a good investment.
And like the flooded lead-acid battery, the AGM battery is about the same weight. So there are no advantages in this department.
The gel battery is similar to the AGM battery. But instead of absorbing the acid into a glass mat, it absorbs it into a gel.
This makes the gel battery spill-proof and maintenance-free. You don’t have to add water to it as you do with the flooded lead-acid battery.
The main advantage of the gel battery is that it’s maintenance-free. So you don’t have to worry about adding water to it.
The other advantage of the gel battery is that it’s more powerful than the flooded lead-acid battery. It can provide about 75% of the power of a lithium-ion battery.
If you’re fishing in harsher environments like freezing temperatures and saltwater, gel batteries are recommended as they’re more resistant to these conditions.
The main disadvantage of the gel battery is its cost. For example, you can expect to pay about twice as much for a gel battery as a flooded lead-acid battery.
Also, gel batteries require a special regulated charging system.
The lithium-ion battery is the most expensive type for trolling motors, with many added benefits.
But it’s also the most powerful.
It’s made up of lithium plates and sulfuric acid. The lithium plates are much lighter than lead plates. This makes the lithium-ion battery much more powerful than other types of batteries.
It can provide the same amount of power throughout the discharge cycle.
While most articles say you can discharge these batteries at 100%, we wouldn’t advise that.
Generally, it is recommended to discharge up to 80%.
Your smartphones have lithium batteries. You wouldn’t completely discharge your phones now, would you? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, and that goes for lithium-ion trolling motor batteries as well.
The main advantage of the lithium-ion battery is its power. It’s the most powerful type of battery available for trolling motors.
The other advantage of the lithium-ion battery is that it’s extremely lighter than other types of batteries. This is important if you use a kayak or canoe as your fishing vessel.
The main disadvantage of the lithium-ion battery is its cost. For example, you can expect to pay about three to four times more for a lithium-ion battery than a flooded lead-acid one.
|Flooded Lead-Acid (Wet Cell)|| |
|AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)|| |
Deep Cycle Battery
Whatever trolling motor you decide on, make sure it’s a deep cycle battery. A deep cycle battery is designed to give you consistent power over a long time and can be recharged repeatedly.
As mentioned, the main advantage of a deep cycle battery is that it can provide power for long periods.
Unlike car batteries that give you a short burst of power so that the motor takes over, deep cycle batteries help power your electric trolling motor.
The other advantage of a deep cycle battery is that it can be used in a wide range of temperatures. So, if you’re fishing in the cold or the heat, you’ll still be able to get power from your battery.
So What’s A Good Trolling Motor To Get?
That’s the million-dollar question, which boils down to a few factors. First, here are a couple of things you’ll need to ask yourself:
- Are you on a budget?
- Do you have a boat or kayak?
- Will you fish mostly in a small pond or large lake?
- Are you handy on maintenance?
- Do you offshore fish once a month or twice a week?
If you’re a recreational offshore angler on a tight budget and disciplined on the maintenance work, look into getting a flooded lead-acid battery.
You need to ensure your vessel has enough space to store the battery upright and not sideways.
If you’re looking for the best option in terms of performance, price, and no maintenance, consider AGM batteries, especially if you’re in the market for a spot lock trolling motor that requires a little more power to lock in your coordinates.
Suppose you tend to do more saltwater fishing or fish near freezing temperatures, look into gel batteries.
Lithium-ion is your best bet if money isn’t an issue, you are trying to minimize adding more weight to your vessel, and you want the best out there.
Whichever you choose, we highly recommend getting a deep-cycle battery designed for trolling motors.
They’re made to withstand constant discharge and recharge much better than a regular car battery. They’ll also last longer.
Regular car batteries are not made to be constantly discharged and recharged like deep cycle batteries are. So, if you use a regular battery for your trolling motor, it will die quickly.
What Does Depth Of Discharge (DOD) Mean?
In our chart above, you’ll notice we mentioned a % followed by DOD. The depth of discharge is a term used to mean at what percentage you should not surpass when discharging your trolling motor. It helps prevent damaging your battery.
Do I Need More Than One Battery?
The answer to this question depends on several factors like:
- The size of your vessel
- The weight of your vessel
- The trolling motor you’re using
- Your fishing style
The bigger the boat, the more batteries you’ll need. Also, the trolling motor you have will make a difference. You’ll need two batteries if you have a Minn Kota trolling motor that’s 72lbs of thrust or more.
We recommend getting two batteries if you tend to fish for long periods or overnight.
That way, you can always have a backup in case one dies on you, and it never hurts to have an extra battery around.
How Do I Prolong The Life Of My Trolling Motor Battery?
There are a few things you can do to help prolong the life of your trolling motor battery:
- Store your battery in a cool and dry place
- Keep your battery terminals clean
- Use a battery maintainer
- Don’t overcharge or discharge your battery
- Avoid extreme temperatures
How Do I Store My Trolling Motor Battery?
When storing your trolling motor battery, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure you store your battery in a cool and dry place.
This will help prevent the battery from corroding and prolong its life. You also want to keep the terminals clean. We recommend using a terminal protector or disconnecting the terminals altogether.
If you live in an area where it gets cold, we recommend storing your battery indoors. This will help prevent the battery from freezing and becoming damaged.
Finally, we recommend using a battery maintainer. A battery maintainer is a device that will keep your battery charged without overcharging it.
Do I Need A Battery Charger?
Yes, you will need a battery charger for your trolling motor battery. We recommend getting a 3-stage automatic charger. A 3-stage automatic charger will charge your battery faster and more efficiently than a regular 2-stage charger.
Getting a charger specifically designed for deep-cycle batteries is also important. For example, regular battery chargers are not made to charge deep-cycle batteries and can damage them.
We recommend doing it slowly when it comes to charging your trolling motor battery.
Fast charging can damage your battery and shorten its lifespan.
We also recommend avoiding extreme temperatures when charging your battery.
Can I Use A Car Battery For My Trolling Motor?
No, you should not use a car battery for your trolling motor. Car batteries are not made to be constantly discharged and recharged like deep cycle batteries are.
So, if you use a regular battery for your trolling motor, it will die quickly.
How Long Do Trolling Motor Batteries Last?
Trolling motor batteries can last anywhere from 2-5 years with proper care. Except for lithium-ion batteries that can last up to 10 years, they come with a hefty price tag. The lifespan of your battery will depend on several factors like:
- How often do you use it
- How well do you take care of it
- The type of battery you have
If you take good care of your trolling motor battery and don’t abuse it, it should last for many years. However, it won’t last as long if you’re hard on your equipment or don’t properly maintain your battery.
Finding the right trolling motor isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal.
There are a lot of factors you’ll need to consider before making your purchase like if you decide to run two trolling motors, etc. Hopefully, this article has helped clarify some things for you and made your decision a little easier.