Just as you would with a car, you’ll need to find the best marine battery to keep your boat running smoothly. With more and more electrical equipment needed on boats these days, finding a boat battery to handle it all can be tricky.
In fact, you will likely need both a boat starter battery and one to handle the electronics. In this article we’ll look at different types of boat batteries that you can choose from. You can also check what car battery you need with our personal licence plate checker.
How To Select the Right Type of Battery for Your Boat
With boats having a lot more ‘idle time’ than cars, you will need a boat starter battery and one that can handle electronics such as a fridge, lighting and even navigation systems when the engines aren’t running.
Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries for Boats
The most traditional boat battery is the flooded lead-acid battery (FLA). These are large, heavy batteries that are cheaper to purchase, but do require some maintenance. These batteries will need to be topped up with distilled water from time to time and typically have a shorter lifespan than other batteries.
Lithium-Ion Batteries for Boats
Instead of using sulphuric acid to store energy, lithium-ion batteries use lithium salt. This gives this boat battery the advantage of being able to charge faster and also drain up to 80% of their capacity without damage. This makes it the best boat battery for those who need to power lots of electronics for a long time.
Although these batteries are more expensive, they are also lighter and more long lasting than a traditional battery.
AGM Batteries for Boats
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries have become increasingly more common in boats due to their internal construction. Unlike FLA batteries, AGM batteries are lighter and have the electrolyte absorbed into material rather than it being a free liquid. This results in a battery that requires no maintenance and can even be mounted on its side if required.
AGM batteries are often considered the best marine battery due to their ability to accept a higher charge current and a longer lifespan than other batteries. However, these are traditionally more expensive than FLA batteries.
Gel Batteries for Boats
Gel batteries are very similar to AGM batteries in the fact that the electrolyte solution doesn’t flow freely. In this boat battery, the electrolyte is a gel type solution rather than an absorbed material.
The benefits of gel batteries are being sealed, spill-proof and maintenance free. They also have a low self-discharge rate and do not release any gasses while charging.
Higher Power or Higher Capacity
Another thing to take into account is whether you need more power or capacity from your batteries. This can be achieved by connecting multiple batteries together.
If you connect batteries ‘in parallel’, you will increase the capacity of your batteries, but the voltage will stay the same. This can be achieved by connecting the terminals of each battery together with a cable - e.g. positive to positive, negative to negative.
If you connect batteries ‘in series’, you will increase the voltage output, without increasing the capacity. This is helpful for boats that require higher voltages for devices such as winches and shower pumps.