What is the best marine battery for a kayak trolling motor? When it comes to powering my kayak trolling motor, the VMAX MR127 is my go-to battery.
With 100 amp-hours of capacity, it’s enough to power your trolling motor through a weekend without needing to find an outlet for recharging. It’s incredibly durable too, and its absorbent glass mat design eliminates any risk of electrolyte leakage that could destroy your kayak or canoe.
Last update on 2020-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Trolling a kayak without a motor is no easy feat, requiring you to keep a steady pace with your paddle while also being ready to grab your rod should anything bite the line.
Finding a good battery for your trolling motor is all about figuring out what your specific needs are. Perhaps you only take a few trips per year and need something small and cheap.
On the other hand, maybe every one of your weekends has “Fishing” penciled in on the calendar. In that case, you’ll want the very best in battery technology to keep you out on the water instead of back at camp doing a recharge.
Below you’ll find some tips on how to choose your trolling motor battery along with reviews of the best models currently on the market.
Reviews of the Best Marine Batteries for a Kayak Trolling Motor
1. Optima Batteries D27M BlueTop Marine Battery
I’ll start off with a battery that you can’t really go wrong with. The BlueTop from Optima Batteries is a dual-purpose battery, which means it can be used to start a full-sized marine engine or putter along for hours at a time using your trolling motor.
It’s also an absorbent glass mat design, so there’s no need to worry about electrolyte levels if it has been sitting for long periods of time between uses. In essence, it’s the kind of battery you buy if you just need it to work every time and in all situations.
At a mere 53 lb, the Optima is fairly lightweight for a lead-acid battery, which is great for anglers using smaller boats that can’t carry as much excess weight. Unfortunately, its lighter weight comes from being low capacity: 66 amp-hours. With a large trolling motor, you could deplete this battery in less than an hour at full throttle.
While the Optima is rated as a dual purpose battery (starting and deep cycle), this feature won’t be of much use to kayakers. However, if you also own a powerboat, this would work in it and you could swap them between outings to avoid buying an extra battery.
This feature makes it cost about twice what a similarly sized deep-cycle marine battery would though, so it’s questionable whether you’ll see enough of a benefit to justify the expense.
Ultimately, this battery is best suited for kayakers that won’t be using their trolling motor very often. If it’s only running for an hour or so each day or is a smaller motor, you can just recharge the battery each night. If you’re someone that only goes fishing a couple of times each month, this is more than sufficient.
- Lightweight for a lead-acid battery
- Dual-purpose (starting and deep cycle)
- Maintenance-free design
- Low capacity
- Expensive for its size
2. Mighty Max 35Ah Gel Replacement Battery
Sometimes you just need a really good, but more importantly, cheap battery to go with your kayak or canoe trolling motor. That’s especially true if you’re only using the motor a few times a season and can take the time to properly check on the battery and charge it up the night beforehand.
This Mighty Max battery is a bit different from most of the other batteries on this list though; it’s a lead-acid battery with a gel matrix rather than an absorbent glass mat.
Like absorbent glass mat batteries, gel batteries do not have a liquid electrolyte that can be spilled or that needs replenishing. Unfortunately, they’re not as easy to charge as AGM batteries, requiring a charger designed for gel batteries.
They also aren’t as capable of releasing a lot of power very quickly, but this is less of a problem with trolling motors, with sip electricity for hours at a time.
This is a solid battery choice for smaller kayaks as it only weighs 23 lb and takes up approximately an 8x7x5 inch space. Unlike some of the larger batteries, you’ll have options for where this one goes, rather than having it relegated to the tank well’s prime real estate.
Having a lightweight battery (and presumably a lightweight motor connected to it) enhances your kayak’s portability, as it won’t be such an effort to remove the motor setup from your kayak when it’s not needed.
The 35 amp-hour capacity limits the usefulness of the Might Max to smaller trolling motors on day trips. Given this battery’s low price point though, it’s not a bad choice for your first trolling motor battery, when you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for.
- Very lightweight
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Charge doesn’t last long
- Difficult to charge
3. VMAX MR127 Marine Deep Cycle AGM Battery
If you’re looking for a lead-acid battery that can power a larger trolling motor or just need it to carry you through a long weekend, the VMAX MR127 will be one of your best options. With a 100 amp-hour capacity, it can sustain even the largest trolling motors at full throttle for a few hours or a smaller one at low power for a few days.
What really sets it apart from other lead-acid batteries though is its construction. Firstly, it has an absorbent glass mat design, which means you’ll never need to refill it with electrolyte solution or worry about corrosive fluids leaking out and destroying your kayak hull (or your clothing).
Just as important, though, is its thick plastic casing that can take a few bumps without sustaining damage. While your battery should be safe and sound inside the battery box of your kayak or canoe, the same can’t be said when it’s being transported to the put-in point in your vehicle. That stronger construction, though a bit more costly, will keep it running for years to come.
The VMAX’s biggest downside, though, is directly related to its beefy capacity and construction – it’s a very large and heavy battery. At nearly 70 lb, you’re going to struggle to lift this battery in and out of your kayak.
Unless you’re paddling a fairly large kayak with a couple of hundred pounds of capacity to spare, you will notice changes in your boat’s handling (especially since you already added the weight of a trolling motor).
You’ll also need a large battery box (group 27 size) to store the VMAX – it probably won’t fit in your existing setup if your kayak was already sporting a trolling motor battery.
Being such a large battery, the VMAX MR127 is going to be a better option for anglers with bigger trolling motors that can make use of the extra amp-hours and those that have a large enough kayak to hold a hefty piece of equipment.
It is not suitable for short recreational kayaks that only have the capacity for 50-100 lb of gear. In all likelihood, these smaller boats wouldn’t have a large enough motor to need the VMAX MR127 anyway though.
- High capacity (100 amp-hours)
- Absorbent glass mat design is maintenance-free
- Heavy-duty construction
- Quite heavy
- Moderately expensive
4. VMAX V35 Marine Deep Cycle AGM Battery
The VMAX V35 is essentially a scaled-down version of the MR127 with a smaller size, weighing less, costing less, and with lesser capacity. It’s the right battery for anglers that want a quality battery, but don’t need a full 100 amp-hours to keep their trolling motor running.
The best thing about the V35 is that it still has the bulletproof design seen in the larger VMAX battery, with an absorbent glass mat and thick plastic casing. Unlike the MR127 though, the V35 only weighs 25 lb.
The durable casing isn’t as much of a necessity on the V35 as it’s much easier to handle, but it’s still a good idea to have rock-solid construction on a battery that might bang around in your vehicle on the way to the put-in point.
Its durable construction adds a bit to the cost compared to similarly-sized batteries with thinner cases, so think about how much of a factor durability is for you before buying.
The biggest complaint with the VMAX V35 is that it doesn’t hold much of a charge. With only a 35 amp-hour capacity and the limitations of a lead-acid battery, you’ll be lucky to get a few hours out of it with a medium-sized trolling motor. Of course, if you have access to electricity each night or you’re only using it for day trips, this isn’t a problem.
To decide whether the V35 is right for you, consider how much current your trolling motor is going to draw. If you’re sporting a 30 lb thrust motor or less, this battery will give you a few hours of juice between recharges, which is more than enough for many kayak anglers. The durable construction and lightweight design make this a solid choice for kayakers with small motors.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Very lightweight
- Durable design
- Low capacity
- Somewhat expensive for a 35 amp-hour battery
5. Renogy Lithium-Iron Phosphate Battery
The lithium-iron phosphate battery from Renogy is the kind of battery you buy when only the best will do, but it’s definitely not for the bargain hunter. As this is a lithium battery, you’ll be looking at a price tag that’s five to ten times higher than a lead-acid battery.
That’s shocking at first glance, but you have to remember that lithium batteries last much longer, and in the case of the Renogy, it might survive four times as many charging cycles. In the long run, you might need to buy several replacements with a lead-acid battery, assuming it’s seeing consistent usage.
Lithium batteries typically charge faster than lead-acids and the Renogy is no exception to that rule; it will be back to full power at least 25% faster than its lead-acid counterparts.
Additionally, you get nearly the full 100 amp-hours out of it, as lithium batteries can be discharged almost 100% with no loss of power, while lead-acids are limited to about 80% with diminished power output towards the end of the cycle.
In addition to those extra charge cycles, the Renogy weighs considerably less than its competitors – a mere 28 lb. Most 100 amp-hour lead-acids come in closer to 70 lb. If you’re paddling a smaller boat that doesn’t have much capacity to spare, it might be worth it to pay extra for a lithium battery.
All those extra features don’t offset the price if they’re not things you need though. If you have a large fishing kayak with capacity to spare, the feather-light construction will be squandered on you.
If you don’t fish every weekend, the thousands of extra charge cycles that the Renogy offers just means the battery might outlive you (trolling motor batteries are not a proper inheritance either). This pricey battery is only for the most serious anglers that need the highest quality battery available.
- Charges fast
- Long lifespan
- Incredibly lightweight
- Very expensive
- Features are overkill for most anglers
What to Look For in a Kayak Trolling Motor Battery – Buyer’s Guide
How Big of a Battery Do I Need?
This is the first and probably most important question, and thankfully, it’s one that’s easily answered. The size of your battery will be determined by the size of the trolling motor that it’s attached to. The more thrust your motor outputs, the more amp hours your battery should have.
All the trolling motor batteries that you’re going to come across put out 12 volts, but some trolling motors require 24 or 36 volts to operate. This is accomplished by connecting two 12-volt batteries in series so their voltage adds together.
One thing to keep in mind if you end up using two or three batteries together is that they all need to be the same. They don’t necessarily need to be the same brand (though it might help), but they should be the same voltage, amp-hours, and design (wet cell, absorbent glass mat, etc.). Trolling motors that are attached to kayaks usually only require one battery though.
More concerning for kayak anglers is the amp-hour capacity. Most trolling motor batteries have a capacity between 60 and 140 amp-hours, with the ones intended for kayak trolling motors being on the lower end of the scale.
To determine how many amp-hours you need, look at the maximum amp draw for the motor – this is its peak power usage and gives you an idea of how long the battery will last at full throttle. For a lot of motors, that might only be a few hours, but you’re not going to run the motor at maximum power all the time. However, it is a useful way to compare different battery models and how they’ll be affected by your motor size.
Do I Need a Deep Cycle Battery?
There are two types of batteries you’ll find at an auto parts store: starter and deep cycle. Without doing a deep dive into a chemistry lesson, starter batteries are designed to start cars and crank out a lot of current in just a few seconds. Deep cycle batteries are more similar to the kinds of batteries that go into your TV remote (just a lot bigger) in that they release their charge slowly, over the course of hours or days.
A deep cycle battery is an absolute necessity for your trolling motor. While a starter battery might work for a little while, it’s not designed to be drained completely and then recharged; in just a few cycles you’ll see that it’s losing capacity. If you’ve ever left the headlights on in your car and had to jump-start it, you already know the battery is never really the same.
Some batteries are certified as dual-purpose, but there’s not a strong reason for you to get one for a kayak; they’re intended for powerboats, so one battery can be used to start the boat and operate the trolling motor. If you don’t mind swapping batteries between your vehicles though, this could save you from buying an extra one.
Should I Buy a Lead-acid or Lithium Battery?
For decades the lead-acid battery has been the standard for trolling motors, but that’s primarily because they’re cheap. They’re also really heavy, which isn’t ideal when you’re talking about a fully loaded kayak. There’s also the issue of performance – the power output of a lead-acid battery follows a curve, diminishing as the battery drains.
Lithium batteries suffer from neither of these problems, weighing about a third of what lead-acid batteries do (so light they actually float), and providing peak power output right up until the battery is completely drained.
Lithium batteries also charge incredibly fast (think of how long it takes your smartphone to go from 0% to 80%). Additionally, the warranty on a lithium battery can be as long as eight years, while most lead-acids are about a year.
For many anglers, all the extra features of lithium just don’t justify the cost though. So long as you purchase a battery with enough amp-hours, the performance curve really won’t matter.
If you’re fastidious about charging your batteries after each outing, you won’t need to worry about getting a fast charge in the morning of your trip (though it can still be quite helpful on week-long excursions if you’re charging at an RV park).
However, weight is always a factor when kayaking and you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth paying double or triple the cost to shed twenty to thirty pounds.
What’s the Difference Between Wet Cell vs. Dry Cell Batteries?
Wet cell batteries are the most common option and are also the least expensive. It’s the same style of battery that goes in your car: a set of lead plates separated by a liquid electrolyte. They do require maintenance though, like adding distilled water every few months or whenever the electrolyte levels get too low. If the plates dry out, the battery will be destroyed. They also have the potential to leak battery acid, which can highly corrosive on your kayak hull.
Dry cell batteries don’t have a liquid electrolyte; instead, they make use of an absorbent glass mat (AGM) design that conducts electricity between the lead plates. They’re more expensive, but also last about twice as long and charge faster than their wet counterpart. Since they’re not full of liquid, they function better when the temperatures drop closer to freezing.
Choosing between an absorbent glass mat battery and a wet cell design mostly comes down to cost. If you can afford an AGM, it’s the right choice, since you’ll save money in the long run not needing to buy a new battery so soon. They’re also safer, and you can’t really put a price on that.
How Do I Protect My Trolling Motor Battery?
Carrying a massive piece of electrical equipment so close to the water got you spooked? That’s totally justified, trolling motor batteries on powerboats are somewhat removed from the water, but kayaks are so much more exposed.
The solution: a battery box that creates a watertight seal around your very not-waterproof battery. Battery boxes typically come with circuit breaker technology that shuts down the flow of electricity if it senses something has gone awry (which could harm the motor or you if not disconnected).
Battery boxes come in different sizes and to keep your battery in peak condition you’ll need to find the one that fits it like a glove.
What Do I Need to Do to Maintain My Battery?
Caring for your trolling motor is more complex than you’re probably thinking. They’re not like the AA batteries in your TV remote, which can sit dormant for months without any problems. Batteries are essentially a soup of chemical reactions, and those reactions don’t stop when the battery is disconnected from a motor.
There’s the issue of self-discharge, the slow drain that occurs even when the battery is not in use. The discharge rate increases as storage temperatures go up, so be sure to keep your trolling motor battery in a cool location when it’s not in use.
Lead-acid batteries should also be connected to a trickle charger during the winter months to prevent them from discharging completely. So long as you’re using a gel or glass mat battery you won’t need to worry about refilling the electrolyte though.
Lead-acid batteries, even the deep cycle variety, really don’t like to be discharged below 20%. If you see an amp-hour listing of 100, know that that doesn’t mean you can run your 50-amp-hour trolling motor for two hours with it. Realistically, you’ll get closer to an hour and a half. It’s best to stop running the trolling motor once you start to see a drop in performance – remember, they don’t provide peak power throughout the whole charge cycle.
Neither of these problems is an issue with lithium batteries, which can be drained to near 0% and have an incredibly slow self-discharge rate. If you’re not big on maintenance tasks, a lithium battery might be worth the extra cost.
My Choice for the Best Kayak Trolling Motor Marine Battery
Fortunately, finding the right battery for your kayak or canoe trolling motor isn’t quite as complicated (or expensive) as choosing the motor itself. You select the battery based on the characteristics of the trolling motor, so there are only a few decisions to be made when picking the battery.
The best marine battery for a kayak trolling motor is probably the VMAX MR127; it’s not the cheapest model on the list, but it has a 100 amp-hour capacity and an absorbent glass mat design. It’s maintenance-free and incredibly durable, but at the cost of weighing nearly 70 lb. That extra weight won’t be a problem on longer touring kayaks that have the capacity to spare, but will be excessive on smaller recreational boats.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend and are willing to charge your trolling motor battery more often, Mighty Max’s 35 amp-hour battery is an acceptable choice. It’ll set you back a third of the money and weighs a third of what the VMAX MR127 does, but has a third of the capacity. This could be a good choice for smaller boats and infrequent anglers.
If you need the very best battery though, you can’t go wrong with the Renogy Lithium. The price is outrageous compared to the Mighty Max battery, but it’s got a lightning-fast charge and will last several times as long as the lead-acid batteries; you may never need another trolling motor battery.
Top Rated Kayak Trolling Motor Batteries
Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API