Getting the right battery for your kayak trolling motor doesn’t need to be a headache. These batteries have specific demands beyond what’s required of short cycle car batteries. Trolling motor batteries have deep cycles and deliver extreme power backup married to outstanding performance. These are also lightweight, making them easier to take on small craft like kayaks.
Before we help you choose the best kayak trolling motor battery for your needs, we’ll give you a snapshot of the different types of deep cycle battery available.
Types of Battery
You’ve got three main choices with kayak trolling motor batteries:
- AGM Batteries
- FLA Batteries
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries are sealed units made from fiberglass matting. You might also see this type of battery referred to as a valve-regulated lead-acid battery (VRLA) or sealed lead-acid battery (SLA).
If you’re hunting for a small trolling motor battery, AGMs are efficient and pack a great deal of punch even though they’re lightweight. They make great use of limited space on more cramped kayaks and smaller boats. You’ll enjoy super-quick charging and excellent runtime with AGM batteries powering your trolling motor.
Deep cycle AGM batteries need precious little upkeep and they work very well in cold conditions. On the flipside, they don’t respond as well when it’s hotter. For a durable and efficient battery tailor-made for trolling motors, an absorbed glass mat unit makes perfect sense.
Flooded lead acid batteries are the most popular and least expensive of batteries fit for use with a trolling motor. You’ll be getting an older style of battery that uses liquid acid, leading to the name wet cell or flooded cell batteries.
One of the key advantages of FLA batteries is the way they’ll stand up to sustained charging and discharging. This meshes perfectly with the needs of your trolling motor. FLA batteries are not without their drawbacks, though.
The key danger is that these unsealed units can end up leaking battery acid. Maintenance can be tedious, especially if you need to top them up with distilled water. You need to keep these batteries upright and make sure the area is well ventilated and insulated.
Ramping things up on the price front, lithium-ion batteries are extremely lightweight and return fantastic performance. Just like the battery in your laptop or cellphone, you’ll get very brisk charging combined with more than capable runtime and power. You will need to watch out for overheating, though.
Although this style of long lasting battery is becoming more popular, lithium-ions are mainly used by competition anglers at the moment for that speed of charging and small footprint.
How Long Do Batteries Last (Amp-Hours)
There are a number of variables that account for how long your battery will last on a single charge:
- Type of battery
- Style of motor
If you want to calculate how much juice you’ll get from one charge, here’s the science. We won’t expand upon this in too much detail since all the figures you need will be prominently displayed on your trolling motor battery.
An ampere hour or amp hour is the amount of charge in a battery that lets 1 ampere of current flow for 1 hour. To get a rough estimate of how long your battery will last, you first want to find out the amp draw of your motor. From here, you divide the battery’s amp hours by the motor’s amperage to arrive at your battery life.
As an example, if you have a marine battery with 75 amp hours and you’re running your 15-amp motor at a reasonable speed, you can expect around 5 hours of runtime before it needs a boost of charge.
Although there’s no magic figure here, the general recommendation is to look for a battery rated at least 100 amp hours. You need to think carefully about your needs and the demands you’ll be putting on your marine battery, and then make sure you choose a battery in line with that. Many batteries are rated at less than 100 amp hours but are still very much fit for purpose.
However long a battery lasts, you’ll need to charge it eventually, so it’s worth doubling down on what to expect with charge times.
How Long Do They Take To Charge & Lifespan
Since not all batteries are created equal, you can expect wildly differing charge times and overall lifespan. AGM batteries can take up to two days to fully regenerate, so you need to make absolutely certain that kind of downtime is no problem before opting for this type of wet-cell battery.
The other issue with AGM batteries is that overcharging brings about the risk of corrosion. Although you can mitigate this with some simple cleaning, it’s best avoided in the first place. If you don’t like the idea of constantly monitoring your battery, consider an intelligent charger that will power down when your battery is full.
Charging time is dramatically improved with lithium-ion batteries. You can expect to charge from nearly dead to full in as little as two hours. This minimizes downtime on the water and is obviously much more convenient. If you’re still not satisfied, you can get a mini charger and take it on your boat so you’ll never be cut short when the fish are biting.
As a general guideline, it pays to avoid letting your AGM battery drain completely. Letting it die fatigues the battery and reduces its lifespan. You should also make certain you deliver a full boost of charge to prevent the battery developing a memory of undercharging and then performing at that decreased level.
An AGM battery is likely to last three or four years, whereas a lithium-ion battery can easily return a decade of service. These estimates assume regular usage and charging. If this lifespan seems underwhelming, remember you’re calling on your battery for deep cycles that are far more demanding than float cycles, so it comes with the territory of trolling motor batteries.
Storage & Maintenance
How long your battery will last depends to some important extent on how you store and look after it. Store your marine battery in a cool, dry area but make sure it’s not exposed to extreme cold.
The first thing you should take care of is charging your battery as soon as you get back home with your rods. If you only head to the water occasionally and your battery spends a lot of time unused, it’s worth giving it a blast of charge periodically. If you don’t bother and leave your battery neglected, there’s a chance it won’t charge properly when you need it to.
You don’t need to go to the extremes of trickle-charging but it’s well worth keeping a close eye on your batteries so you get the very most out of them in terms of life expectancy. As we mentioned, some wet-cell batteries need topping up with distilled water.
Now that you’ve got a solid overview of trolling motor batteries, we’ll highlight seven of the best units on the market so your buying decision is even easier.
Best Kayak Trolling Motor Battery Reviews
1) Universal Deep Cycle AGM Battery
Rated at 100 amp hours, this efficient deep cycle battery is specifically designed to discharge the bulk of its capacity and is tailor made for use with trolling motors. Recharging takes 10 to 12 hours, which is pretty brisk for an AGM battery. You’ll get ample oomph for a small to mid-sized trolling motor.
Bear in mind that this is not a starter battery. However, if you’re looking for a powerhouse trolling motor battery that needs literally no maintenance and comes in at a very reasonable price point, check out the Universal and make sure you don’t run out of power again.
2) VMAX Deep Cycle AGM Battery
Stepping up in price brackets, this VMAX is a 12-volt battery rated at 100 amp hours, which is a consistent performer delivering rapid charge times. Deep cycle performance makes this the ideal battery for use on your boat or kayak.
Housed in rugged rubber, this battery is resistant to vibration and built to last. AGM technology means you’ll need to carry out no maintenance at all as long as you charge and store your battery properly. It’s a bulky battery at 68 pounds and bigger than the standard small trolling motor battery at approximately 12 x 7 x 8 inches.
3) Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M
Arguably the best kayak trolling motor battery, this sturdy deep cycle battery is another maintenance-free gem. It’s not cheap, but then, the best things in life seldom are.
The 55-amp hour rating might seem underwhelming, but this battery will go the distance, delivering three times more recharges than comparable marine batteries. Vibration-resistant and highly durable, it’s lightweight at less than 45 pounds and occupies a very small footprint at 10 x 7 x 8 inches. Mounting it is a breeze, so you can use this battery on your kayak without a hitch.
You can use this battery for starting as well as deep cycles, so it’s a versatile performer. With a rating of 750 col-cranking amps, you can fire up your boat, RV, or other equipment as well as running your trolling motor.
4) Interstate Batteries Deep Cycle AGM Battery
Size matters with marine batteries, especially on a kayak with limited space. Weighing a mere 23 pounds and measuring up at 7 ½ x 5 x 6 inches, this Interstate AGM packs a serious punch in a conveniently small package.
This 12-amp battery is rated at 35 amp hours and works well with small trolling motors. This rating translates to one or two hours of use. The size and weight of this battery allow you to safely mount it nearly anywhere on your boat or kayak, and its robust nature means it can withstand plenty of punishment on the water.
If you’re looking for a lightweight battery for a small boat or kayak, this Interstate AGM is a smart choice. If you’re looking for an abundance of deep cycle power for a bigger motor, check out one of the other batteries instead.
5) Expert Power Rechargeable SLA Battery
Expert Power serves up a pair of 12-volt AGM units, so you could potentially power a 24-volt motor. This battery’s sealed nature allows you to angle it as you see fit without worrying about leakage.
Eighteen amp hours is not going to win any prizes, so this battery is a nice choice if you’re looking for a compact and lightweight spare at an extremely keen price point. Each battery weighs 24 pounds and it will take up next to no room on deck at 7 x 6 ½ x 3 inches. For a small, stealthy marine battery, this rechargeable SLA is a wise bet.
6) Mighty Max SLA Trolling Motor Battery
The Mighty Max ML 100-12 is another sealed lead-acid unit that’s blissfully maintenance free while providing you with all the power you need for your trolling motor. Spill-proof and built to take plenty of rough and tumble, this battery has a high discharge rate and operates over an impressively wide band of temperatures.
You can easily mount this 63-pound beast just about anywhere, and you can expect many years of faithful service on your boat or kayak.
7) VMAX V35-857 Deep Cycle AGM Battery
A 35-amp hour deep cycle battery also available in kit format, this easily mountable unit is great for kayaks or small boats. Since this is a high-performance battery with a premium on build quality, you won’t need to worry about a few bumps and scrapes interfering with your fun.
For a deep cycle marine battery requiring absolutely zero maintenance from a brand you can trust, the VMAX is hard to beat.
We hope you’ve found this guide to kayak trolling motor batteries to be useful and informative. If you know the voltage of your trolling motor and the power your boat demands, finding the best marine battery is pretty straightforward.
What are you waiting for? Road test one of these hard-hitting batteries and get down to the water!