I’m a dedicated angler, and the highlight of my not so young life was the acquisition of a fairly new bass boat which I now proudly use for my fishing expeditions. As I mentioned, the boat is fairly new, but the battery for my outboard motor isn’t. That’s when I got interested in marine batteries.
To my shock, I realized that not all batteries are created equal. There are hundreds, if not thousands of batteries out there that will make the head of a newbie in batteries like me spin. To my credit, I found the Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78, the best among the best marine batteries in my book. But, that was after an exhaustive search which led me to write this review.
Top 5 Boat Batteries Comparison From Amazon
Battery technology has gone a long way since Alessandro Volta created the first battery in 1800. In this century, we are now looking at lead-acid batteries, AGM batteries, lithium-ion batteries, nickel metal cadmium batteries, nickel hydride batteries, and so on, each with their own unique properties and application.
Did you know that a car battery differs from a marine battery? I didn’t, at first. Although you can use a car battery for your boat (can you really?), but if you want to enjoy a worry-free afternoon trolling in the lake, you better get the right battery for it, a marine battery. And don’t settle for just any marine battery. Get the best, if not the best (I did), boat battery available in the market today.
In buying a battery, the brand matters a lot. Technical criteria like cold cranking amps (CCA) or marine cranking amps (MCA) are virtually Greek to me, so I rely on known brands with established credibility and solid warranty as my benchmark for what marine battery would give me the best performance.
As a result of my search for the best marine battery for my boat, I came up with the top boat batteries for 2018. I’ll give you the list, and then I’ll explain why they are the best on the market!
1. Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78
As I mentioned earlier, I rely on the credibility of the brand and Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78 comes from a long line of superior Optima products manufactured by Optima Batteries, Inc. The company has a solid reputation of having a 40-year history of engineering and technical innovation. One of its major contribution to the world of battery technology is the introduction of the high-performance AGM automotive batteries in the 1970’s. The company also introduced the first maintenance-free lead-acid batteries for military and commercial use.
Optima also provides Optima products with the best warranties for batteries. There is a 36-month after-purchase guarantee, with an available free replacement service for non-working or defective batteries.
The Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78 is the ultimate battery for heavy-duty use. It is expected to provide a powerful cranking capability even in the harshest of weather condition. It is so reliable that it will give you a strong and energetic burst of ignition power for a powerful start-up any time of the day or night, any time of the year.
Its state of the art Spiral Cell design delivers a reliable, clean and vigorous power source that guarantees your safety and that of the environment. The reserve capacity of Optima 34/78 Red Top is quite high which accounts for a longer shelf-life so that you’ll have the power where you need it, and when you need it. It also has a very high resistance to the usual causes of battery failures.
2. Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
The Yellow Top or the Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery is from the same company that manufactures the Red Top, Optima Batteries, Inc.
To continue the illustrious saga of this company, Optima Batteries, Inc., again, change the industry radically with the introduction of the Spiral Cell Technology and the development of their first digital battery maintainer and charger. Optima added more sizes to their product line in 2017 with the launching of two DIN fitments, the H6 & H7, bringing the best-in-class material purity expected by loyal customers from Optima.
The Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery is a dual battery that can be used in small boats in lieu of two batteries on board. It belongs to the few truly dual-purpose batteries available. It possesses both a powerful cranking power and unequaled capacity to recharge, and ideal for boats and vehicles loaded with electrical devices.
The Yellow Top, as it is popularly known, is designed with the one of a kind Spiral Cell technology which enables it to provide a clean, efficient and vigorous source of electricity to ensure the safety of people and the environment. It is the perfect battery for seasonal use. This means you can store your boat all winter without having to charge the Yellow Top regularly, and when you’re ready to go into the water again, it will spring back to life with ease.
This is the most reliable battery that could provide both deep-cycle and strong starting power for commercial vehicles and heavy equipment, vehicles with loads of electronic devices and audio system, trucks with winches, and boats with both a major engine and a trolling motor. It also works well as a tractor battery, forklift battery or for other applications.
The D35 is small, weighing only 36.4 lbs, and measuring below 10 x 7 inches. That is why it’s perfect for smaller cars and boats with minimal space for a battery. Despite the size, it supplies 650 cold cranking amps (CCA), which is more than enough to crank a mid-size or small outboard motor. And, with a reserve capacity (RC) of 98 minutes, the Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery is a fairly good deep cycling battery for small trolling motors.
The Yellow Top is among the most durable batteries you can find in the market today, all because of its vibration-proof exterior and weather resistant performance. It is 15 times resistant to harsh weather condition compared to other batteries of the same category, making it the best option for use on boats.
3. ACDelco Professional AGM Battery Model 49AGM in Automotive Under the Size 49 of BCI Group
The ACDelco brand is owned by General Motors. The brand consolidates all automotive parts for vehicles manufactured by the automaker as well as aftermarket parts for vehicles not manufactured by GM. Through the years, the ACDelco brand has been recognized by several names such as United Delco, United Motors Services, and United Motors Corp.
ACDelco has always been a leader in automotive innovation as far back as 1908 when GM was founded. It has been a part of world events such as the first time a woman flew around the world and the first time man walked in the moon. The brand may have had an illustrious history, but its future is more promising. They reinforce their commitment to present the most current GM technological innovation and improvement as the bona fide brand for GM’s Original Equipment.
ACDelco 49AGM Battery Under the Size 49 of BCI Group (H8) standard automotive battery. As an ACDelco Professional Automotive AGM battery it is expected to have high cycling capabilities, is exceptionally receptive to charge and is essential for starting or stopping operations. It has an AGM design which is 100% spill and leak-proof since the electrolyte is contained permanently in a glass mat separator and not gushing around within each cell.
ACDelco Professional Automotive AGM series batteries are expected to last longer in the usual vehicle applications. The sustained strain on the plates considerably lessens the quantity of active mass lost from the conducting plates. They are the perfect choice when you need a replacement for your battery. It is maintenance free and designed to resist corrosion, and with a 36-month free replacement warranty period When it is a dependable starting power that you need, the ACDelco 49AGM Battery is the answer with its Voyager, Professional Advantage, and Heavy-Duty offerings.
4. Exide Edge Flat Plate AGM FP-AGM24F Sealed Automotive Battery
Exide Edge Flat Plate AGM FP-AGM24F Sealed Automotive Battery is manufactured by Exide Technologies, a global leader in stored electrical energy solutions with 120 years in the battery industry. Exide Technology has operations in over 80 countries and has the services and products to support the stored energy requirements of the world’s industrial and transportation market. The company has the knowledge, development competence, advanced research, and experience to render solutions to all kinds of stored energy needs,
Exide Technologies is a leading American manufacturer of automotive batteries and all types of lead-acid batteries. It has four business groups worldwide that supply stored energy products and services – Transportation Americas, Industrial Power Americas, Transportation Europe and the Rest of the World and Industrial Power Europe and the Rest of the World. But, its center of operation is in Milton, Georgia. With manufacturing plants all over the US, Australia Europe, and the Pacific Rim. It also has recycling plans in Cannon Hollow north of Forest City, Missouri.
The Edge AGM Battery (FP-AGM24F) by Exide, together with other AGM batteries of the company feature SureLife Graphite Technology that boosts available energy capacity for better, higher and longer performance. With Exide Edge, it has more protection from battery failure so that it stays strong and perform like new longer.
5. Odyssey Automotive & LTV Battery Model 65-PC1750T
EnerSys or Energy Products Inc. manufactures Odyssey batteries. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of EnerSys, a world leader in energy storage for industrial military and automotive applications. It has a century of experience in energy storage solutions, manufacturing plants in 18 countries, and service and sales locations all over the world. Its manufacturing plants in Newport, Wales, United Kingdom and Warrensburg, Missouri, USA produce Odyssey batteries under strict quality standards.
Odyssey Automotive & LTV Battery Model 65-PC1750T contains tin plated SAE automotive posts. The flat plates are made of pure lead (99.9%) to come up with thinner plates for a better fit inside the battery. It has added plates resulting in a surface area that is 15% more for more power. The state-of-the-art design provides long life and increased reliability. Like other Odyssey batteries, it combines the typical features of two batteries in one box. It can provide immense cranking power and can be recharged or deep cycle. It is of military grade and has gone through severe tests with flying colors that show their exceptional ruggedness and extraordinary tolerance of machine abuse.
Odyssey 65 delivers the enormous starting power, incredible, deep cycling capability and rapid recovery demanded by vehicles of today. It has a 5-second cranking power that is twice or thrice that of other batteries of the same size even at a low -40°C temperature. A user is assured of a fast charge since even with a simple steady voltage charger there is no limit on the rush of inflow current.
How To Choose The Right Boat Battery?
Marine batteries come in different types, sizes, and specifications, with their own advantages disadvantages and for all kinds of purposes. Understanding their differences will be a good starting point in choosing the right marine battery for your boat. The success of your fishing expedition will depend on how successful you are in making the right choice.
Marine batteries are normally lead-acid batteries. But, there are three categories of lead-acid batteries – wet cell, AGM, and cell. Knowing the differences between the three should be a big help in the selection process.
The original lead-acid marine batteries are the wet cell batteries also known as flooded-cell batteries which contain a solution called electrolyte, a liquid mixture of distilled water and sulfuric acid. Wet-cell batteries are the most commonly used marine batteries since they are much cheaper compared to the other types. But their popularity is not based solely on its price. It has other advantages but at the same time disadvantages.
● Capable to up to 1,000 recharge/discharge cycle when properly maintained and charged. This could mean .a longer life of dependable service at a cost very much less than that of an AGM or cell battery.
● Not prone to overcharging
● Lighter than the two other types.
● Its vented interior accessible design.
● Needs regular inspection and topping off with distilled water.
● Battery compartment requires good ventilation.
● Venting releases hydrogen gas which is highly flammable.
● Risk of spillage and less resistance to vibration.
● A high rate of self-discharge
AGM batteries or absorbent glass mat batteries are different from a wet-cell battery in that its electrolyte is confined in glass mats tightly packed between the battery plates, unlike in a wet cell where it is freely flowing between the plates. The glass mat is made up of thin glass fiber woven into a mat that provides more surface area adequate to hold enough electrolyte for the battery’s lifetime. With the glass matting, oxygen combines with hydrogen gas to restore the liquid content of the battery, thereby doing away with the need to top it off with distilled water. Like wet-cell batteries, AGM batteries also have their advantages and disadvantages.
● Maintenance free.
● Does not need venting, so there is no release of flammable gas.
● Vibration and shock resistant.
● Can be installed in any angle.
● Low discharge rate.
● Capable of being submerged in the water.
● More expensive.
● Heavier than wet-cell batteries.
In-gel batteries, the electrolyte is gelled using silicates before it is sealed. Similar to an AGM battery, the recombinant technology is applied to gel cells so that there is no need to add distilled water. Gel batteries are sealed, maintenance-free, tolerant to low temperature, have high resistance to vibration and cycle life is longer.
● High resistance to overcharging.
● Internal self-discharge rate of less than 1% monthly.
● Not prone to develop sulfation.
● Recharging is tricky with specific charge volt of from 13.8 volts to not more than 14.1 volts.
● Requires charger specified for gel batteries.
Who Makes The Best Battery? | Top Battery Brands
You won’t go wrong if you go with the brand in choosing the best marine battery. Popular brands gain their popularity from their well-substantiated credibility and good performance. They won’t last long in business if their product is not good. Having said that, the most reliable marine battery for you should be one that meets the requirements of your motor, performs the functions that you need, dependable and requires very little maintenance. In my book, these are the brands that are worth considering.
Optima is the brand of two out of five best batteries for 2018, Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78 and Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery. So you now know why my first choice for a brand is Optima. Its popularity is not unfounded. It has been at the forefront of the development of the battery industry and has introduced innovative systems and technology that revolutionized the energy storage industry. The brand is well-known for its color-coded tops and unique shape.
There are no Lifeline batteries in the 5 top batteries; nevertheless, Lifeline belongs to the best brands of marine batteries you can find in the market today. It is known for its long service life and first-rate quality. The expected service life of a Lifeline battery is from five to eight years. The brand pride itself on a zero defect record and their batteries are designed to endure extreme temperatures.
Odyssey is another brand that is a trusted name in the energy storage industry. It is quite well-known for producing some best dual-purpose batteries like the Odyssey 65-PC1750T. The Odyssey brand is from EnerSys, a global company with a century of experience in energy storage behind it. The brand offers a warranty for a maximum of 4 years for its products.
ACDelco is the brand of another best batteries from Amazon, ACDelco Professional AGM Battery Model 49AGM in Automotive Under the Size 49 of BCI Group. The brand is another leader in innovative energy storage solutions ever since it was established in 1908, together with its mother company, General Motors. ACDelco has a rich history of battery technology innovation and is strongly committed to continuing its research for a better and more advanced product that will benefit the users.
Different Types Of Marine Battery
Marine batteries have two fundamental functions; to start or crank the engine and to power electronic devices on the boat, including a trolling motor or engine. When choosing the right battery for your boat, determine first if what you need is a wet cell, AGM or gel battery and then choose the battery for the application it will be needed.
Starting batteries are used to crank up your outboard or inboard motor. The best example of a starting battery is the Optima Battery 8004-003 34/78 RedTop Starting Battery. A starting battery should be able to deliver a powerful burst of power in short spurts from at least 75 amps to 400 amps between 5 to 15 seconds, depending on the size of the motor. While the engine runs, the alternator recharges a starting battery.
A starting battery is made up of layers of many thin negative and positive plates insulated in between. The numerous plates are supposed to provide sufficient surface area to produce a powerful burst of current. Unfortunately, starting batteries do not allow deep cycling or deep discharges, which shorten its serviceable life. They are also comparatively more fragile for strong-impact conditions.
Deep Cycle Marine Battery
Deep cycle marine batteries are considered the house batteries in a boat. Your trolling motor, as well as the other electronic devices on your boat, are powered by a deep cycle marine battery once you are out on the lake and the boat is started by a gas powered outboard/inboard motor.
Deep cycle batteries, as the name implies are tolerant of deep cycling. In fact, they need to be discharged/charged frequently. When the battery capacity reaches 50%-70% after a prolonged used, it automatically recharges because of its thicker plates containing a high level of antimony. When the battery recharges, energy is restored into the banks, and the cycle starts again.
Dual Purpose Marine Battery
A dual-purpose battery performs the functions of both the starting battery and the deep cycle batteries. It can deliver the powerful burst of energy required for cranking an engine and still power your trolling engine and other electronic loads of the boat. This type of batteries works well with small boats such as a bass boat. For bigger boats, it is still advisable to get two batteries for better performance.
Buying A Marine Battery At Costco Is A Good Idea?
Buying a marine battery at a Costco branch near you is a convenient way to shop for your battery need. It has numerous branches all over the US, and even in other countries, the only catch is, you have to be a member of the warehouse club. You will find a wide selection of marine batteries such as Interstate Batteries available in most Costco branches that it is impossible not to find the marine battery of your choice.
● Offer reasonable prices for marine batteries.
● Fixed prices for batteries, so you don’t have to haggle or even go to the tedious process of comparing prices.
● Since there is a Costco in almost all cities and communities all over the US after sales service is not difficult to obtain.
● You need to do the personal negotiation for the trade-in or swap value.
● Prices are set by dealers, not Costco. If you want to haggle for a lower price, you will have to go to the dealer directly.
What About Walmart?
Walmart stores have their own automotive sections that carry, automotive parts and accessories, including batteries. The stores clearly specify the popular uses for the batteries, making the selection process easy. Although Walmart has a house brand, Everstart, it also carries several most popular brands such as Optima, Odyssey, UB and more.
● Free installation service.
● Helpful information available for easy selection.
● Uncomplicated warranty service.
● Easy to get help because Walmart has plenty of auto care centers around the country.
● Walmart seems to give Everstart batteries more storage space than other batteries.
This famous integrated retailer offers a huge plethora of products (including marine batteries) and services available from their own stores, affiliated stores and from their online shopping platform and specialty catalog.
● Carries a number of the finest brand of batteries.
● Sears has diagnostic centers in their store that offer free check up for batteries.
● Does not honor the warranty.
Being the largest and considered number 1 auto parts shop in the country, you are sure to find the marine battery of your choice from any of the 6,000 AutoZone stores distributed all over America.
● All stores have an inventory of everything you need in a charging operation.
● Offers free shipping.
● No problem with the return of batteries, all stores are accepting batteries purchased from other stores.
● Pickup is possible on the same day.
● Technicians and store personnel are not very accommodating.
Even if I consider the Optima 8004-003 RedTop Starting Battery 34/78 the best marine battery for my need, I still went through the selection process which I am sharing with you. Knowing what you need is basic, but choosing what the best to fill in that need is daunting, considering the huge number of products to choose from. Having an idea of the different types of battery, the best battery brands in the market and where to purchase more conveniently and worry-free is a big help.