Best Trolling Motor Battery of 2017
Ever wished your kayak didn’t have to be paddle powered? Or maybe you’re looking for an economical way to power a small dingy on inshore waterways? Whatever the reason, paring a decent electric trolling motor with a good battery can save you from rowing.
And less time spent paddling means more time fishing, am I right?
The main thing to think about when purchasing a trolling motor, is to get one that’s designed for deep cycle, marine use. That means that your battery will be able to discharge and re-charge without worrying about the long-term performance of it, plus a marine grade battery won’t mind taking the occasional dip – something to bear in mind if you’re using a kayak!
We’ve created this guide to trolling motor batteries to help you make the right choice, and we’ve also made sure to include batteries of all prices, to help you make the right choice for your budget.
|Pros||High quality, low weight considering its design and easily performed for over 8 hours.||A cheap solution that works surprisingly well. It’s also very lightweight and comes with a good carry handle.||Cheap, powerful with a great capacity. Perfect for sit on kayaks and smaller vessels.||Lightweight and well-priced, the VMAXTANKS has everything the kayak or canoe owner would want in a trolling motor battery.||Huge capacity means you’ll be able to use this battery for days at a time.|
|Cons||That weight means you’ll need to look elsewhere for kayak trolling motor battery. It’s also an expensive beast.||The lower Ah means you’ll get 5 or 6 hours trolling tops from this budget unit.||1 year warranty gives us peace of mind, yet it would have been nice if it were a named brand unit.||We haven’t tested that VMAXTANKS customer service personally, although we’ve heard good things about them.||Too large to be moved frequently, more suited to a dedicated setup with shore power to charge it.|
The Best Trolling Motor Battery of 2017!
1. Optima Bluetop
Deep Cycle Marine Battery
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Optima are a well-known brand of batteries in both the marine and caravan section of the market. Their deep cycle batteries power everything, from small fishing vessels, right up to the largest Winnebago’s!
The 8016-103 bluetop comes in at the marine end of the range, and features a large 55 Ah capacity, more than enough to power a day’s trolling.
- Highly resistant to vibration.
- Mountable in almost all positions (handy for kayaks).
- 55 Ah capacity.
The most important thing to know about the bluetop battery, is that you need to purchase the model with a light grey case. It’s this model we’ve reviewed, and the one that can be cycled time and again with no issues.
We tested the 8016-103 on a 52 Kota motor, and found that the Optima easily lasted a full 8 and a half hours before finally dying. We were also impressed by the weight of the battery, coming in at 43.5 pounds. That’s not bad for a true deep cycle battery, and although not useful for a kayak, it should be fine in a small RIB or dinghy.
The casing of the battery is tough, just as we expect from Optima, plus the battery has more than enough juice to start an outboard motor if required.
2. Interstate Batteries
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
This battery looks far more traditional in its design. In-fact, it looks far more like a caravan/motorhome battery than a marine version.
Still, it provides a healthy 35 Ah and as it’s been manufactured by Interstate, it should provide good long term use.
- 35 Ah.
- Lead acid technology.
- Only 23 pounds in weight.
The thing that makes this battery a winner, is its weight. At 23 pounds and with a good carry handle, it’s perfect for charging at home before plugging into your boat.
We wouldn’t suggest this battery for kayak use, it’s smaller than the Optima, yet there are alternative versions that do a better job, we’ll be reviewing those later. Even so, this battery makes a good case for a low-cost trolling motor.
The only negative we can throw the Interstate batteries way, is the low Ah. At 35, we found the battery dying after 5 hours. You’ll have to decide on whether you need the extra working time of the Optima, and if you want to pay for it!
3. Universal Power Group
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
This battery interested me, as I own a sit in sea kayak and want to install a bilge pump to help me self-rescue when I capsize. The weight is starting to come into kayak territory at 22 pounds, and as a fully sealed unit, it should be able to cope with the occasional dip in the ocean!
- 35 Ah.
- Maintenance free, fully sealed battery.
- 1 year warranty.
As a kayak battery, there are two features that really stand out to me. Firstly, the carry handle is solid and well made. This is a necessity for kayak batteries as we generally carry our boats on a car roof rack, battery in the boot. The second is the Ah, which is solid for a kayak battery at 35. Sure, you won’t compete with the Optima for sheer capacity, yet for battery that weighs only 22 pounds it’s amazing.
I didn’t get a chance to use this on my kayak, but borrowed a friendly sit up fishing rig that already had a Minn Kota Endura attached to the back. With this configuration, I managed 5 hours trolling before the Wilderness Tarpon gave up.
This battery really impressed me considering its size and price. It just goes to show how far technology has come that a relatively small battery can give almost a day’s use.
Our Rating: (4.6/5)
If you’re looking for a 20-pound battery that still manages to pack in 35Ah, then the VMAXTANKS is for you. As with the Wilderness battery above, this one is a true kayak/canoe battery and will happily take a dunk if you capsize.
As always with these types of batteries, the VMAXTANKS is maintenance free and fully sealed, making it much safer for marine use.
- 20-Pounds weight.
- 35 Ah.
- Maintenance free.
- Heavy duty alloy grid technology.
This battery is more expensive than the Wilderness model above, and the thing that stands out which warrants the price is the VMAXTANKS name. You’ll get a solid warranty with this battery, and the backup of a large company if things do go wrong.
That aside, there’s not an awful lot of difference between the two batteries. They both offer 35 Ah of capacity, and both weight around the 20-pound mark, although the VMAXTANK does come in at 3 pounds less than the Wilderness model.
The carry handle once again is very good, and the slightly lighter weight is noticeable when carrying the battery down a lengthy pontoon to a boat!
On testing, we found the VMAXTANK battery to last a good 6 hours before requiring a charge. That’s not bad at all, perhaps that alloy technology is the key to its capacity, either way it almost makes this model as good as the far more expensive Optima model.
Of all the battery models tested, it’s this one we would fit to a kayak. It’s small and light enough to fit into a front locker with ease.
5. VMAX Marine
Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Another battery from VMAX marine, this time we’re looking at a huge monster of a battery with 100 Ah of capacity. It’s the sheer size and weight that put the MR127 well out of kayak territory, yet might just be the choice for a well-used vessel that can be plugged in at the shoreline.
- 100 Ah capacities.
- Similar alloy case technology as the VMAXTANKS model.
- Completely sealed and maintenance free unit.
The first thing to say about this battery, is that you wouldn’t want to move it too often. We’re not sure it’s exact weight, yet we would guess it to be at least 50-pounds. With this in mind, you’ll want to install this battery in a boat that can be charged at the shoreline, perhaps by a pontoon mains connection.
On the plus side, that 100 Ah capacity means you can power even a 30-pound trolling motor for days at a time. We tested this battery on a small tender dinghy in a marina, and found that it gave a weeks’ worth of pottering around, visits to the shop and general running about until we had to break the oars out!
In our view, this battery is not for day trip usage, it’s just too big; however, it might be perfect for a ships tender, lifted on davits and charged by the ships system. It also might suit those who can store their boat on a pontoon where it can be charged between uses.
There’s 3 batteries that make the grade in our round up, which one you choose depends on what you’ll be doing with it.
Kayakers/Canoes: Are best served by purchasing the VMAXTANKS battery. You’ll get unbeatable range and a battery that’s lighter than anything else tested.
Larger dinghy’s: The Interstate battery does a fine job, plus it’s so cheap you can purchase more than one if required. The Optima is just too expensive and not much better.
Ships tenders, Marina launches: If you have the benefit of shore power to charge your battery, then the VMAX 100 Ah will give you huge capacity. The great thing about that is you’ll be able to “get in and go” without worrying about range. For that reason, the large VMAX is perfect for tenders to liveaboard vessels, Marina launches and other vessels that will see a lot of local, daily use.