Just like any machine, a boat needs a power source. And just like you wouldn’t put a crummy battery inside a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, you shouldn’t power your top-of-the-line speedboat or cruiser with a sub-par battery. Of course, boating is a bit more of a bumpy ride than driving, and you’ll need a battery that can withstand that extra abuse. There are other differences between car batteries and marine batteries, and we’ll get to those later. But if you’re looking for the best marine battery available to power a heavy appliance on your boat, or your boat itself, then you’ve come to the right place.
In the age of masks and social-distancing, a relaxing afternoon out on the water is one of the great ways left to spend some quality time with your family or loved ones, and we want you to enjoy that experience to the fullest extent possible. By the time you’re done with our list, you’ll have found the best marine battery for you to turn your boat into a home away from home and away from everything else.
Carry on reading to see our full list of the best marine batteries, followed by a recap breaking down what makes each product on our list stand out. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
- What are the Different Types of Marine Batteries?
- What Should You Look For in a Marine Battery?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Marine Batteries
- #1: UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery (Best Overall Battery, Best Starter Battery)
- #3: VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery (Best Deep Cycle Battery)
- #4: Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery (Best Dual-Purpose Battery)
- How Do I Replace and Setup a Marine Battery?
- Verdict: Your Best Marine Batteries
What are the Different Types of Marine Batteries?
Just as with most products, there are different types of marine batteries, and which one you buy will depend on what sort of appliance you need to power. That can sound overwhelming if you’re not an expert, but don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for. We’re going to quickly describe the three basic types of marine batteries so you can easily understand the difference and intuitively know which type of battery is best for your situation.
Marine Starting Batteries – As their name implies, starting batteries give you a short, powerful burst of electricity that’s great for quickly starting an engine or appliance and is rapidly recharged by the engine alternator. Starting batteries should not be used for powering appliances or trolling motors.
Marine Deep Cycle Batteries – If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, then you’ll definitely want a deep cycle battery. Deep cycle batteries are designed to discharge slowly over a long period of time and they can last for hundreds of charging and discharging cycles. In contrast to starting batteries, deep cycle batteries are perfect for powering appliances like audio systems, windlasses, and depth-finders, and they’re suitable for powering electric trolling motors.
Marine Dual-Purpose Batteries – If you want a starting and deep cycle battery combined into one great battery, then you’ll need to find yourself a marine dual-purpose battery. Keep in mind that a dual-purpose battery is not as efficient as a separate starter battery and deep cycle battery combination, but if you don’t want to spring for two different marine batteries or if you have a smaller boat and don’t have a lot of space, then dual-purpose batteries are a great economic option.
In addition to these three types of marine batteries, you also have to take the design of your battery into account. The two most common battery types in terms of build are flooded electrolyte batteries and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. Flooded electrolyte batteries have long been the industry standard, and they provide a solid power source at an affordable price, but they require a lot of maintenance. If you’re not careful, you could find your boat stalling the next time you try to go out into the water. They also need to be kept upright or fluids can leak, and they’re a little less durable, so some bumpy waves and vibrations can do them in.
With AGM batteries, you don’t need to worry about any leakage even if they flip over, and they can take a bit more of a punch than flooded electrolyte batteries. Of course, the downside is that they’re more expensive, so it really will come down to your budget at the end of the day.
What Should You Look For in a Marine Battery?
Now that we’ve learned about the different kinds of marine batteries, we need to learn how to spot the good batteries from the bad ones. If you’re not a serious boat junkie, that can feel a bit overwhelming, but, once again, we’re here to make all of the stressful parts of shopping a little less stressful.
Criteria #1: Type – Chances are you need your new marine battery for a specific purpose, and anything that doesn’t fit your needs is a bit of a non-starter. We can’t know what kind of battery is best for you, but we’ll make sure to list the types of all of the batteries we review. This includes both the mechanism (starting battery vs deep cycle battery, etc.) and the build (flooded electrolyte vs absorbed glass mat). We want to make sure you find the battery that covers every aspect of your requirements and is perfectly suited for your boat and its appliances.
Criteria #2: Battery Life & Recharge Time – A marine battery may feel like a big fancy appliance, but it’s still a battery. Just as if you were looking at a new smartphone or laptop battery, you’d want to assess its life and how long it takes to charge. That’s how we’ll be assessing our marine batteries. Of course, a heavy-duty marine battery will take a bit longer to charge than your iPhone, but it will also last much longer. The best batteries can give you 20 hours or more of power and can recharge in just a few hours. So as long as you plan things out a little, you’ll never be stuck waiting for your battery to charge when you could be out enjoying the water.
Criteria #3: Size – This criterion is pretty straightforward. Nobody wants a massive battery that takes up half your boat, and nobody wants a crazy heavy battery that they’ll need to call in backup just to get onto their boat. Of course, unfortunately, sometimes a heavy battery is the sacrifice you have to make for a powerful one. This criterion is lower on our list because we’ll generally prioritize performance over size. That being said, we know that some boat owners just have less space available, so we’ll make sure to include some smaller options so that you don’t have to be stuck tiptoeing around your crowded boat because a massive battery is taking up most of the deck.
Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well. Marine batteries do fall into a pretty wide price range, which means that searching for the best deal could be a bit more stressful, but it also means that everyone should be able to find something that suits their budget and what they’re willing to spend. As always, we’ll try to take the brunt of that stress for you as much as possible.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Marine Batteries
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best marine batteries” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. We also made sure to analyze the specs of our batteries to confirm that they’re up to task and will give you the power you need for the amount of time you need. Finally, we made sure to include a variety of different batteries on our list so that everyone can find the exact battery that they’re looking for and that can suit their specific needs.
And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best marine batteries.
#1: UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery (Best Value – All-Purpose)
Our list starts with the best value out there in the market of marine batteries, the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery. This high-quality, deep cycle battery is the best marine battery out there for most standard customers, as it meets all of the high-water marks in terms of specs and is incredibly cheap and affordable. Take note, if you’re looking for something a bit more specific, then you may be more interested in one of our more expensive but more specialized batteries, which you can learn more about below. But for most people, the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery will more than get the job done.
This marine deep cycle battery features an absorbent glass mat case that keeps it spill-proof. It can also hold up to those waves and be set up in any position. It comes with 35 AH (ampere-hours), which means that it can output 1.775 amps for about 20 hours. If you take proper care of this battery, you can get more than 1,200 charge cycles out of it before it’s time for a replacement. And, since it has a storage discharge rate of just 3%, you can expect to come back from a long off-season without using your boat to find that this battery still has more than half a charge left. After 12 months without use at the right temperatures, it’s said to still be at 68% battery capacity. Operational temperature ranges are 32° F. to 104° F. for charging, 5° F. to 113° F. for use, and 4° F. to 104° F. for storage.
The real selling point for this battery might be its size. In spite of its rock-solid specs and performance, this is one of the absolute lightest batteries out there. It weighs just 22 pounds, so you’ll have no problem getting it onto your boat and in place.
As we’ve mentioned, as a deep cycle battery, the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery is more of a sustained power source than a kick-starter for your boat, so you may still need to buy a starter marine battery if you don’t already have one. But our number one deep cycle marine battery is so cheap that you’ll definitely still have plenty of money left over for that endeavor.
In addition to being featured on lists and blog posts, the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery has garnered quite the fanbase on Amazon. This deep cycle marine battery has one 5-star review after another on its Amazon page. One customer exclaimed that this battery is still going strong after 6 years, while others complimented it for being both powerful and light while still incredibly affordable.
The UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Battery is the best marine battery for anyone looking for that top value purchase and the most convenient battery. It should cover the needs of most customers looking for a deep cycle battery, and that’s what makes it our number one marine battery.
#2: Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery (Best Overall Battery, Best Starter Battery)
The UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery is our best marine battery when it comes to value, but if you’re a boat owner whose tastes are a bit more refined, you may be looking for something premium, and you may be ready and willing to spend for it. If that describes you, then you’ll definitely want to check out the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery.
This starter battery is featured on multiple lists of the best marine batteries, so you can be sure right off the bat that it has the experts’ seal of approval. It costs a pretty penny, but there are a few reasons, which we’ll detail below, why you may be willing to splurge for the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery over the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Starter Battery
Our first selling point isn’t exactly a true benefit per se, but while our first battery was a deep cycle marine battery, the second battery on our list, the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery, is a starter battery. This means that it fills a completely different niche. So if you need something to get your engine revving instead of a sustained power source, the UPG deep cycle batter just won’t cut it for you.
The Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery is one of the best starter batteries out there, and you can be sure that it will help you start your boat with no problem. This starter marine battery features 1150 cold-cranking amps (CCA), which means that even in the coldest temperatures this 12-volt battery will have you enjoying the brisk ocean air in no time. With all those CCA, the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery is perfect for anyone who doesn’t believe in an off-season when it comes to boating and wants to enjoy the water all year round.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Incredible Lifespan
Our top marine battery got its own praise for having a long shelf life, which makes it even more impressive that the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery just blows the UPG deep cycle marine battery out of the water in that category. The Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery has a lifespan of somewhere between 8 and 12 years, so you won’t even have to think about replacing it for almost a decade. On top of that, it comes with a 3-year warranty for parts and a 4-year warranty for the whole battery. This battery may be expensive, but you’re getting almost all of that value back in lifespan and the warranties.
Just like the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery, the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery tolerates constant vibrations from your boat and the impact from waves. It can also handle extreme loads, long periods without use, and, of course, harsh and cold environments.
It also has the same AGM design that makes it spill-proof, so you don’t need to worry about it tipping over. On top of that, it’s even flame retardant. Finally, our luxury starter battery has an impressive battery life that boasts a whopping 100 AH, so you won’t need to worry about it dying on you any time soon.
At 77 pounds, the insane weight of this battery is definitely its biggest drawback. But as we mentioned before, it’s a crowd favorite among the experts, and the paying customers also loved it. Amazon reviewers called it worth the money, and one user said that it lasted them more than ten years. If you can afford it, and you have the space for it, then the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery is the best marine battery available to help you jump start your boat.
#3: VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery (Best Deep Cycle Battery)
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The Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery was our luxury item for anyone who needs a starter battery, but what if you need a deep cycle marine battery and the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery just didn’t quite cut it for you? Then you may be more interested in the VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery.
VMAX is one of the premier names in marine batteries, and the XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery is guaranteed to be up to your standards no matter how high they are. This 12-volt comes with 135 AH which, if your memory is good, you’ll remember is 100 more AH than our UPG AGM marine battery.
As we’ve come to expect, this battery has a durable AGM, sealed lead acid frame, and an operation-free setup. Just open up the box and you’re ready to go. You won’t need to add water or anything, and you can stand up this marine battery at any angle you like.
This lightweight has a conveniently placed handle that makes carrying it around as easy as possible, which, combined with its leak-free design, gives you a lot of flexibility in how you set up this deep cycle marine battery. Of course, it’s also shock- and vibration-resistant. All of that being said, the battery weighs about 77 pounds, so you may want to call in backup if you plan on hoisting it up onto an elevated surface.
This powerful deep cycle battery puts out 6.75 amps per hour over a 20-hour period. On top of that, it boasts a shelf life of about 8 to 12 years. Finally, it has a whopping 750 cold-cranking amps and is therefore capable of starting medium-sized motors in an emergency.
To add to the value, you’re getting a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty. If you want something that will last a bit longer (both in terms of its charging cycle and in terms of its shelf life) than the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery, then the VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery might just be exactly what you’re looking for. Of course, it’s pretty expensive, though it is cheaper than our number two pick.
If the price or the weight is too steep for you, then you may want to stick with our number one marine battery, but otherwise, the VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery is one of the best deep cycle batteries out there for any customer who wants to splurge for the premium option.
#4: Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 (Best Low Cost)
If even our number one deep cycle battery costs a bit more than you’re aiming to spend, don’t worry – there are still options available for you. Mighty Max, another popular marine battery brand, has an incredible budget option just for you. The Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 costs about as much as a full tank of gas for your car, and it’ll power your boat or your appliances for years so you can enjoy the fresh air on the water and get away from the stuffy hustle and bustle of life on land.
Our budget AGM deep cycle battery features the same 35 AH as our number one battery and the same durable absorbed glass mat and sealed led acid frame to stand up to the waves and vibrations of life on the water. This battery doesn’t require any ventilation and can be mounted at almost any angle. It weighs just 23 pounds with a pretty compact frame, so you’ll have zero problem finding room for it even in the smaller boats for which this battery is intended. The Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 boasts a calcium-alloy grid that promises great performance and extended service life.
Obviously, this battery isn’t exactly a powerhouse, though it is an incredible deal at this price point. But if you do want to use it for a larger boat, some users recommended simply purchasing two of these batteries and wiring them together. If you feel comfortable doing that, you’re still coming out on top in terms of money compared to the more expensive deep cycle marine batteries out there. It’s even solar-powered, so you’re getting a more environmentally friendly option with your efforts to save some money.
You’ve already spent enough money on your boat and everything you bought to make it perfect just the way you like it. You don’t need to add a crazy expensive battery to that list. For anyone who appreciates the value of a dollar, the Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 is the deep cycle power source for your boat and appliances.
#5: Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery (Best Dual-Purpose Battery)
I’m honestly surprised it took me this long to include an Optima Batteries product on this list. Optima Batteries is one of the biggest names in the business, and if you need a dual-purpose battery for all of your starting and deep cycle needs, then the Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery is the perfect choice for you.
This marine dual-purpose battery measures 10 x 6.88 x 7.8 inches and is fairly light at a weight of 43.5 pounds. In this small frame, you’re getting 750 cold-cranking amps for great starting power and 55 AH for fantastic sustainability. Our best marine dual-purpose battery also has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes for constant performance, and Optimata Batteries boasts that it’s “fifteen times more resistant to vibration for durability.” Just like all of the marine batteries on our list, this dual-purpose battery is spill-proof and maintenance-free.
The real big benefits of a dual-purpose battery are the cheaper overall price and the fact that it takes up less space than two batteries. No dual-purpose battery accommodates those needs better than the Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery.
We already mentioned the small and light frame, but we didn’t get around to discussing the price of this Optima Batteries marine battery. It’s significantly cheaper than both the VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery and the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery, and you’ll be pretty hard pressed to find a combination of starting and deep cycle batteries that’s cheaper than this one dual-purpose battery.
So if you’re setting up your batting situation completely from scratch or redoing everything entirely, there’s no better way to make the whole arrangement cheap and convenient than the Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery. This Optima Batteries marine battery will make setting up any boat a one-stop shopping project instead of a whole long to-do.
How Do I Replace and Setup a Marine Battery?
If you’ve never wired up your own marine battery before, then it probably sounds like something that you need real expertise for before you attempt. Luckily, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may sound. You can do it all on your own and be out on the water in no time.
First things first – check the voltage of your battery and what your boat accepts to make sure that everything goes smoothly. After that, determine which wires in your boat are positive and which are negative. That’s honestly the hard part.
Of course, before you actually get started, make sure that absolutely everything is turned off. Then, it’s as simple as connecting the positive wire of your boat to the positive end of your battery and connecting the negative wire to the negative node of the battery. The most common way to do this is with alligator clamps. There are other ways of doing this and other tools you can include in your wiring system to make your boat as safe as efficient as possible, but that’s the general idea.
If you want to take things a step further, I highly recommend further Googling the topic and reading articles and/or watching some YouTube tutorials. You’ll feel like an expert boat mechanic in no time.
Verdict: Your Best Marine Batteries
We’re reaching the end of our list, and you’re hopefully starting to get a good idea of which of our products is best for you. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, not to worry. We don’t want to rush, and we know how important it is to make sure you’re getting the marine battery that’s perfect for you. That’s why we’re going to recap all of our marine batteries, from the starting and deep cycle batteries to the dual-purpose marine batteries, and focus on their standout features. This way, you’ll be able to see the highlights and really know what each main battery has to offer for you.
If you want the best value for money, pick the UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery.
Our number one marine battery is the perfect battery for anyone who appreciates a good deal and needs a reliable battery as the sustained power source for their boat or other marine appliances. It has all of the amperage per hour you’ll need, and it’ll last you for years to come. You’re also getting all of this in a lightweight frame that won’t have you throwing your back out just to set up your new battery.
The UPG 85980/D5722 Sealed Lead Acid Deep Cycle Battery is also as durable as they come, and it can be setup any way you want without you needing to worry about any leakage. Finally, and perhaps best of all, it comes in at a great cheap price, which makes it the best value on the market and an easy choice to be our number one pick.
If you need a dual-purpose battery, pick the Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery.
I don’t know about you, but I’d almost always rather buy one product instead of two. That’s why dual-purpose batteries are such a great deal. The Optima Batteries 8014-045 D34/78 Yellow Top Dual Purpose Battery, in particular, has all of the cold-cranking amps you need for a quick start – even in cold temperatures – and plenty of AH to help you sustain that performance.
With this gem from Optima Batteries, you can save yourself some time shopping and some money by purchasing just one battery. As they say, time is money, which means you’re saving twice as much with this convenient product. On top of all that, this marine battery is nice and compact so you can use it as your one-stop power hub for even the smallest boats.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Mighty Max Battery ML35-12.
There’s always a budget option available, if you know where to look. The Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 might be the only battery out there cheaper than our number one pick, and it’s a great and reliable battery to serve as your deep cycle power source. It actually has pretty similar specs to our number one pick, and it’s about the same size.
The big hidden difference is in the reviews. Our number one pick is more of a crowd favorite, so if you prefer to go with the trusted product, then that’s the choice for you. But if you like to look at the numbers and take the best deal, then the Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 is the battery for you.
That brings us to the end of our list. We’ve shown you five fantastic marine batteries for any and every purpose, and we hope you’ve found the one that’s perfect for you. If none of the highlighted products above are quite what you’re looking for, you may be more interested in the premium starter battery that is the Odyssey 31-PC2150S Heavy Duty Commercial Battery or the VMAX XTR31-135 AGM Marine Battery, which is the best deep cycle power source out there.
Remember to think about which traits are most important to you in a marine battery. This will really speed up the research and decision phase of your purchase, as you’ll realize that even the more popular options may not have what you’re looking for.
That’s all for now. We hope we were able to help, and we hope you enjoy that relaxing sea breeze!