Boating

The 7 Best Marine Batteries Reviewed & Rated [2018]

A marine battery is specifically designed to start a boat engine or power a trolling motor and appliances onboard. If you own a boat or water vessel, you’ll need at least one type of marine battery.

We’ve reviewed the best models for 2018 and have put together a guide explaining the different types: starter and deep cycle batteries as well as dual purpose ones.

Please note that while some people use marine batteries in their recreational vehicle, we’d recommend RV deep cycle batteries for that.

Quick Answer: The 7 Top Rated Marine Batteries

  1. Universal Power Group Deep Cycle Lead Acid Battery
  2. VMAXTANKS AGM Marine Deep Cycle Battery
  3. Odyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting Battery
  4. Optima Batteries BlueTop Marine Starting Battery
  5. Optima Batteries YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
  6. Exide MEGACYCLE AGM-200 Dual Purpose Marine Battery
  7. Optima Batteries BlueTop Dual Purpose Marine Battery

The following guide and reviews will explain the most important factors for picking a top rated marine battery for your boat or watercraft.

Best Marine Batteries

 Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid BatteryOdyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting BatteryOptima Batteries YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery
Battery Type:AGM / SLAAGM / SLAAGM / SLA
Weight:22.5 lbs77.8 lbs36.4 lbs
Capacity:35Ah (75Ah available)100Ah48Ah
CCA:315A1150A620A
Best For:Power SourceStartingDual Purpose

Best Deep Cycle Marine Battery

#1 Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid Battery

Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 8″ x W 5.9″ x H 8″, 22.5 lbs
  • Capacity: 35Ah (75Ah also available)
  • CCA: 315A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: max 10.5A, 14.5-14.9V
  • Expected lifespan: 1,200+ cycles at 30% depth of discharge, 5 years in float mode

The Universal Power Group UB12350 deep cycle battery uses absorbent glass mat technology to provide a reliable yet affordable marine battery. This model has a capacity of 35Ah but is also available with 75Ah.

The acid electrolyte is trapped in a fiberglass mat, contained in a sealed and valve-regulated ABS case. This battery is therefore spill-proof, corrosion and maintenance free and highly resistant to vibration. It can be operated in nearly any position.

You can expect more than 1,200 cycles at a depth of discharge of 30%, or more than 250 cycles at 100% discharge. With less than 3% self-discharge in storage, the UB12350 marine battery retains approximately 64% charge after 12 months at 68°F.

Thicker plates, corrosion-resistant terminals and optimal performance as well as a smaller size and weight make this a versatile and reliable model for use with your personal watercraft. Portability is ensured thanks to the fixed handle.

In float mode, you can expect a lifespan of 5 years. The battery is compatible with many chargers and charging modes.

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. You can easily build a power bank for your boat by connecting several units. Overall the best marine deep cycle battery!

#2 VMAXTANKS AGM Marine Deep Cycle Battery

VMAXTANKS AGM Marine Deep Cycle Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 7.7″ x W 5″ x H 6.1″, 25 lbs
  • Capacity: 35Ah
  • CCA: 300A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: 3-15AA, 14.4-14.9V
  • Expected lifespan: 5-8 years in float mode

The Vmaxtanks Vmax857 is a deep cycle marine battery with a capacity of 35Ah. With a high-quality construction using AGM technology, you get a long-lasting model that is maintenance and spill free and fast to charge.

The manufacturer employs a unique physical and chemical structure for the battery plates with special treatment to deliver a strong performance and outstanding reliability. A tough tank seals the battery.

In cyclic use, the battery is able to recover full capacity with a regular depth of discharge of 60%, giving you a long service life. In float mode, you can expect 5 to 8 years of lifespan.

Thanks to an integrated handle and its light weight, the battery is portable and also resistant to shocks and vibration. You can operate it in nearly any position.

For powering a 40lb/18lb trolling motor, you can expect 4 to 9 hours of runtime with 50-60% depth of discharge. Operational temperatures for the Vmax857 marine battery are -4°F to 140°F for usage and storage and 14°F-140°F for charging.

Any quality AGM smart charger can be used. Using a vehicle alternator, voltage should be 14-15V.

Best Marine Starting Batteries

#3 Odyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting Battery

Odyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting Battery

Odyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 13″ x W 6.8″ x H 9.41″, 77.8 lbs
  • Capacity: 100Ah
  • CCA: 1150A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: max 50A, 14.1-14.7V
  • Expected lifespan: 8-12 years, full recovery up to 400 cycles at 80% depth of discharge, 70% longer cycle life compared to other models

The Odyssey 31-PC2150S is the best marine starting battery that can deliver a total of 1150 CCA, or even Pulse Hot Cranking Amps of 2150.

You can rely on rapid recovery and extreme durability, paired with a long lifespan and service life, the perfect fit for heavy duty use on boats and watercrafts.

Constant vibration, extreme loads, long idle periods and even harsh environments pose no problem for this Odyssey marine battery.

The PCS2150S uses AGM technology in a rugged construction, packed tightly with pure lead plates. This enables the battery to recover fully even after 400 cycles of 80% depth of discharge.

The manufacturer specifies a lifespan of 3 to 10 years, but experience by heavy power users proves the value to be closer to 8 to 12 years. The battery delivers stable voltage and takes 4 to 6 hours to fully recharge.

The sealed design prevents spills and allows you to use the battery in any position. The corrosion-resistant brass terminals are highly conductive thanks to plated tin. The container features a self-regulating valve for gas reabsorption and is highly flame retardant.

The construction is superior to spiral-wound batteries of equal size with 15% more battery plate surface area for 40% more reserve capacity, a total of 205 minutes.

The total capacity equals 100Ah. The Odyssey PC2150S battery does not lose its charged energy during cold storage temperatures. For off-season storage, ensure a voltage of 12.84V.

The battery cannot freeze down to -40°F and can therefore be left in the vehicle, it can be stored for 2 years or more below 77°F.

#4 Optima Batteries BlueTop Marine Starting Battery

Optima Batteries BlueTop Marine Starting Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 10″ x W 6.9″ x H 7.8″, 38.4 lbs
  • Capacity: 50Ah
  • CCA: 800A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: 10A, 13.8-15V
  • Expected lifespan: 6-8 years in float mode

The Optima 8006-006 34M marine battery is a designated starting battery with strong cranking, sure performance and strong durability.

It is able to function in harsh conditions and delivers 800 CCA with a total capacity of 50Ah, while the reserve capacity is 100 minutes.

Optimal starting even in bad weather and great resistance to vibration and shock make this a reliable model for your boat or watercraft.

Optima batteries combine AGM technology with individual spiral-wound battery cells, which consist of two pure lead plates coated in lead oxide.

Thanks to a precision-controlled construction process, these models deliver up to three times more recharges than regular marine batteries. The design is spill-proof, maintenance free and can be mounted in any position.

The compact dimensions and low weight make is a portable model in a rugged plastic casing.

With a low internal resistance, the battery offers highly efficient power output and fast recharges. You can use most AGM smart chargers with this battery. The Optima BlueTop sould be my second choice for the best marine cranking battery.

Best Dual Purpose Marine Battery

#5 Optima YellowTop Dual Purpose Marine Battery

Optima Batteries YellowTop Dual Purpose Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 9.4″ x W 6.8″ x H 7.7″, 36.4 lbs
  • Capacity: 48Ah
  • CCA: 620A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: 10A, 13.8-15V
  • Expected lifespan: 300+ discharge/recharge cycles, 6-8 years in float mode

The Optima Batteries 8040-218 D35 YellowTop marine battery is a dual purpose model. With low weight and compact dimensions, it is versatile in delivering starting as well as deep cycle power.

It has a capacity of 48Ah, reserve capacity of 98 minutes and cold cranking amps of 620A. You get good cranking power combined with impressive cycling capabilities.

The use of spiral-wound AGM technology makes this a spill-proof and maintenance free battery that is also highly vibration resistant for a long service life. You can mount it in virtually any position.

With a low internal resistance, fast recharging is guaranteed. The rugged and hard plastic exterior is designed for durability, while the model’s compact size allows use in environments where space is limited and every bit of capacity counts.

As per the manufacturer, this model works best when electrical loads are higher than average, or when the discharge cycle is more than typical engine starting, for example when you need to power multiple electronic accessories.

The battery delivers steady deep cycle power for small to mid-sized outboard motors and on-board electrical equipment. The cranking power is sufficient to start smaller engines with sufficient reserve capacity.

That’s an impressive punch for such a small battery. Paired with a three-year warranty from Optima Batteries, the 8040-218 D35 YellowTop model is the best dual purpose marine battery for a great price.

#6 Exide MEGACYCLE Dual Purpose Marine Battery

Exide MEGACYCLE Dual Purpose Marine Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 13″ x W 6.7″ x H 9.3″, 71 lbs
  • Capacity: 100Ah
  • CCA: 925A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: 25A, 14-15V
  • Expected lifespan: 8-10 years in float mode.

The Exide XMC-31 Megacycle AGM 200 is a dual purpose marine battery with both high capacity and high cranking power. This model therefore comes with a slightly higher price tag, but it’s well worth it.

The AGM engineering provides optimal gas recombination rate to avoid battery dry-out for superior performance. High cycling operation and even extreme vibration are no problems.

Even the charge acceptance of this model is far greater than for a similar flooded or wet marine battery.

925 cold cranking camps, a reserve capacity of 200 minutes and 100Ah deep cycle use capacity with a high depth of discharge rate make this a very versatile marine battery. It retains power well and recharges quickly.

In optimal conditions, you can expect roughly 3 to 4 hours of powering a mid-size trolling motor. At an average depth of discharge of 60%, you’ll get more than 1,000 cycles out of this battery.

The XMC-31 AGM 200 marine battery comes with two years of replacement warranty and provides reliable service both for starting and powering a motor or onboard appliances.

#7 Optima BlueTop Dual Purpose Marine Battery

Optima Batteries BlueTop Dual Purpose Marine Battery at a Glance:

  • Type: AGM / SLA (Absorbent Glass Mat, Sealed Lead Acid)
  • Size & Weight: L 12.2″ x W 6.8″ x H 8.7″, 53.8 lbs
  • Capacity: 66Ah
  • CCA: 800A
  • Charging Current & Voltage: 10A, 13.8-15V
  • Expected lifespan: 300+ discharge / recharge cycles, 6-8 years in float mode.

The Optima Batteries 8027-127 D27M is another marine battery for dual purpose use. It also employs the manufacturer’s spiral-wound design with tightly compressed cells for optimized vibration resistance and a long product lifespan.

The battery delivers 800A of cold cranking power and has a capacity of 66Ah with a reserve capacity of 140 minutes.

You can expect great running time and more recharges than with a conventional wet battery or a regular AGM one. This is a great marine battery for boats with trolling motors, many electronic systems and appliances that drain batteries quickly.

The deep cycle power in the 8037-127 D27M can power GPS systems, pumps, fish finders, stereos and other high-demand equipment. Yet you need not compromise on cranking power to start your engine.

With AGM technology, you can rest assured that vibration resistance, spill-proof and operation in any position are all ticked off.

The battery is compatible with many AGM smart chargers and delivers reliable power over a long lifespan, even under adverse conditions.

Marine Battery Comparison Table

Marine BatteryTypeWeightSizeCapacityCCABest ForRating
Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid BatteryAGM / SLA22.5 lbsL 8″ x W 5.9″ x H 8″35Ah (75Ah available)315APower Source 4.4 / 5.0
VMAXTANKS AGM Marine Deep Cycle BatteryAGM / SLA25 lbsL 7.7″ x W 5″ x H 6.1″35Ah300APower Source4.4 / 5.0
Odyssey 31-PC2150S Marine Starting BatteryAGM / SLA77.8 lbsL 13″ x W 6.8″ x H 9.41″100Ah1150AStarting4.6 / 5.0
Optima Batteries BlueTop Marine Starting BatteryAGM / SLA38.4 lbsL 10″ x W 6.9″ x H 7.8″50Ah800AStarting4.5 / 5.0
Optima YellowTop Dual Purpose Marine BatteryAGM / SLA36.4 lbsL 9.4″ x W 6.8″ x H 7.7″48Ah620ADual Purpose4.1 / 5.0
Exide MEGACYCLE Dual Purpose Marine BatteryAGM / SLA71 lbsL 13″ x W 6.7″ x H 9.3″100Ah925ADual Purpose4.1 / 5.0
Optima BlueTop Dual Purpose Marine BatteryAGM / SLA53.8 lbsL 12.2″ x W 6.8″ x H 8.7″66Ah800ADual Purpose4.3 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Marine Battery

You’ll need to know the purpose the marine battery will serve on your boat. Starter batteries are used to start a motor and therefore deliver a large amount of cold cranking amps (CCA) or marine crank amps (MCA) to get the engine running.

Deep cycle batteries are your onboard 12V power source for electrical appliances or an electric motor. Dual purpose models combine both use modes and offer the best of both worlds, effectively allowing you to use only one type of marine battery.

Best Marine Batteries

Usage

What is the purpose of your marine battery? Do you just need a power source to turn the engine – then you’re looking for a starting battery.

Do you want to power onboard electronics and device, you’ll need a deep cycle battery. If you require both but most compromise on space and weight, consider a dual purpose model that can serve both applications.

Cranking or Starting Marine Battery

Starting an engine requires a sudden burst of power, especially when it’s cold. To achieve this, cranking batteries feature a distinct construction with more and thinner lead plates. Deeply discharging those could damage the plates.

Deep Cycle Marine Batteries

Their main purpose is slower but steady discharge to supply power to electronics. They allow for great depth of discharge without damage, maintaining their capacity to be recharged fully. They can be used for starting an engine, but simply might not deliver enough cold cranking amps.

Dual Purpose

These hybrid models serve both as starters and steady power sources. Their main application is in situations where space is limited or weight of batteries is an issue.

Keep in mind that these constitute a compromise and cannot outperform a dedicated starter or deep cycle battery in their respective application.

deep cycle marine battery

Types of Marine Batteries

All of the batteries on our list are Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries. They are valve-regulated and are also called dry, because they cannot spill and do not leak.

This is achieved using an Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) to contain the battery acid, the electrolyte fluid. The released gases (hydrogen and oxygen) are nearly completely recombined within the battery, so there is no venting.

This type of battery has the advantage that it is maintenance-free and can be operated in nearly any mount position (except upside down). With the right charger, they are also quick to recharge.

Flooded or wet batteries are not well-suited for marine use since they can spill or vent and pose a greater environmental risk best avoided in marine use.

They are also much more susceptible to vibration and shock than AGM batteries, another disadvantage on the water.

Cold Cranking Amps

The starting power of a battery is rated in CCA, cold cranking amps. It is the amount of amperage the battery can provide for 30 second maintaining at least 7.2V at a temperature of 0°F.

With a rating of around 500 CCA, the battery can maintain up to 10V, whereas a value from 300 CCA on is the bare minimum needed to start an engine.

Looking at the specifications of our selection above, you’ll see that the deep cycle only models just about service this minimum, whereas the starter batteries feature a much righter rating.

You will often see a value for MCA, also called Marine Cranking Amps. This takes into account that for a boat or watercraft, the temperature of 0°F hardly applies.

MCA therefore specifies the amperage produced by the battery at 32°F, which will be higher than the CCA value. Look at what your engine requires for starting, then select a battery with a value that is at least equal, or better yet, higher.

Capacity

Battery capacity is measured in Ampere hours, or Ah. A capacity of 100Ah means your battery can deliver that value for one hour, or 5A for 20 hours – or 20A for 5 hours.

A higher capacity means you can run your appliances longer, which is important for deep cycle batteries. Keep in mind that typically you don’t fully discharge the battery to preserve its lifespan and only go to a value referred to as the depth of discharge. A typical DOD is around 60%.

In regular use, you will only spend 40-50% of your deep cycle battery capacity, so plan accordingly and construct a power bank of several batteries if you have high power needs.

Reserve Capacity

The reserve capacity specifies the amount of minutes a battery can be discharged at a fixed rate of 10.5V by 25A at 80°F. A higher rating means your battery will last longer under load, of course.

Keep in mind that this is a theoretical value and in real-life situations, you will probably draw less Amperage at a different temperature, resulting in longer battery life.

Dimensions & Weight

Size and weight can be an issue on a boat and you surely won’t have unlimited space available for installing batteries. Bigger batteries come with higher capacities, but keep in mind you can wire several batteries together for more power.

Portability is great if you need to move the battery – keep that in mind for the off-season time when wintering your vessel as you might move the battery into storage.

FAQs: About Marine Batteries

Q: What type of battery do I need for my boat or vessel?

A: Marine batteries have two major applications: starting batteries deliver power for starting the engine, while deep cycle batteries power up devices and appliances onboard.

These two uses have different needs, which is why there are distinct battery designs. Starter batteries serve the purpose of cracking and getting the engine running with a burst of Cold Cranking Amps (CCA).

They are then quickly recharged by the alternator, but are not meant to be discharged deeply as it could cause damage. Deep cycle batteries on the other hand serve to deliver power over a longer period of time and can be discharged far more.

They are recharged by shore power, solar power or using a generator.

Q: Can a deep cycle battery start an engine?

A: In theory, yes, depending on the engine and the battery. Typically, deep cycle batteries deliver less cold cranking amps, but might still be sufficient to start an engine with their current.

However, deep cycle marine batteries are not designed for this task and you would not be wasting a good battery. If you have room for only one battery on your boat, you should get a hybrid or dual purpose model.

Q: Do I need more than one battery?

A: If you want to power up appliances onboard, you require at least a starter battery and one deep cycle battery. According to Q: your power needs, you can add more deep cycle batteries.

Should you have limited room available on your boat, a dual purpose marine battery can serve you for both starting the engine and powering up devices.

Q: How do I store marine batteries?

A: Different types of batteries require specific handling and storage, so make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Batteries should generally not be exposed to water.

Ideally, flooded batteries should be stored and operated upright. AGM and lithium batteries can also be installed at an angle or vertically (but not upside down).

Vibration is an issue for all battery types, so try to minimize exposure to it for your marine batteries as it will shorten the lifespan.

Q: Is there any battery maintenance required?

A: Flooded batteries require more maintenance and need to be properly ventilated. Regularly check all batteries for corrosion and make sure they are not exposed to or submerged in water.

For deep cycle and dual purpose marine batteries, keeping them charged will prolong their service life.

Conclusion

We hope that our review and guide will be helpful in selecting the right kind of marine battery for your boat and vessel. Examine your power needs onboard and how much space you have available for building a power bank to deliver current to your devices and appliances.

Keeping things separate with a starter and deep cycle battery is a common installation, but if you little room or lower power needs and want to save weight, a dual purpose model could be your preferred choice.

Use our top selection to choose a reliable marine battery that’s best for you.


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best marine battery to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a battery I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

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Rich Remick

I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.

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