The Ultimate Guide to Trolling Motors and Trolling Motor Batteries

How to choose a reliable trolling motor battery that will keep you safely on the water and out of trouble. Q&A’s designed to give you a good understanding of what to look for.

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    Finding the right trolling motor and trolling motor battery can be a tall task as there’s a great deal of noise out there. Usually when you’re buying a boat or fishing kayak for the first time you’ll have a motor ready to go. But this isn’t always the case and eventually every trolling motor will need an upgrade, repair, or battery replacement.

    The most important thing is to understand the lifespan of trolling motor batteries so you don’t ever get stranded.

    If you’re still to get familiar with the ins and outs of trolling motors and their batteries, this brief overview will be useful.

    What is a trolling motor?

    Trolling motors are standalone units that affix to a boat, either at the bow or the stern. Every motor has controls, a propeller, and the motor itself. Trolling motors can be added to bigger boats in addition to an outboard motor or on smaller vessels like kayaks and inflatable fishing boats.

    What batteries can I use with my trolling motor?

    There’s 2 batteries commonly recommended for trolling motors. A lead acid wet-cell, and AGM battery.

    What does AGM stand for?

    Absorbed Glass Matt

    What’s the difference between a wet cell lead acid battery and sealed AGM?

    Both the lead acid wet-cell and AGM have their pros and cons. The lead-acid is a more common sight in boats because it’s cheapest.

    Lead Acid Wet-Cell Battery

    The positives:

    Negatives

    But there are downsides. Lead acid wet-cell batteries are more likely to have vibration and spillage incidents, and will need maintenance from time to time.

    AGM Batteries

    What’s a deep cycle trolling motor battery?

    A deep cycle trolling motor battery is intended to withstand the rigors of constant use and charging. This is an important consideration as many batteries fail (either immediately or over time) due to charging issues.

    What’s the difference between a deep cycle vs dual purpose battery?

    A dual purpose battery has the ability to recharge like a deep cycle battery, and also provides power to start the engine swiftly.

    Why choosing a quality battery is critical: the Noise Factor

    Buying an inexpensive motor may save a few dollars but they can sometimes be much louder. For anyone using a trolling motor in a boat for fishing, snorkeling or similar pursuits, seeking out a quieter motor is wise. A quieter motor will scare away fewer fish.

    How much power do I need in my trolling motor?

    The general rule of thumb is that you need to allow a minimum of 2 lbs (approximately 1kgs) of thrust for every 100 lbs (or approximately 45kgs) of weight in your boat. This includes you and any other people in the boat, boat weight and gear.

    You need to factor in environmental variables. If the trolling motor will regularly be used in a place where there is strong current and winds, a more powerful motor is needed.

    It’s important to keep in mind your needs over the lifespan of the battery. For example, even if right now you’re only planning to use your boat (and current battery) in a calm local creek, are you planning to go on an open ocean journey in a couple of months? Save time and money now by buying a battery that will tackle those tougher conditions.

    What’s the difference between saltwater and freshwater trolling motors?

    A motor used in saltwater has to be constructed using materials that can handle the harsh corrosive environment that saltwater imposes. Non-corrosive materials like stainless steel, marine-grade alloys, anodized metal and powder coated paints are materials used in construction.

    Generally freshwater doesn’t pose many problems to a trolling motor, but saltwater can. You need to buy a trolling motor that matches the waters the boat will (mainly) be used in. Saltwater trolling motors can be used in freshwater, but not the other way around. Freshwater motors aren’t suitable for saltwater use.

    If intending to use a trolling motor in saltwater, attention to regular maintenance is required. After every use the motor needs to be rinsed, thoroughly, with freshwater and the motor stored inside protected from the elements.

    Can I use a starting battery for an electric trolling motor?

    No, this should not be done. Starting batteries (AKA ‘cranking batteries’ and ‘cold crank amps’) do have their uses, as they provide powerful but quick bursts of energy over a small time period to start the engine, and then get recharged via the engine alternator. But using a starting battery in an electric trolling motor will cause the battery overheat.

    How long does a charge last and take to charge?

    How fast a battery will recharge can depend on the amperage rating of its charger, and the battery. The higher the amperage, the faster the battery recharges. If you use your boat heavily and require rapid recharges, a 10 to 15 amp charger is best.

    For less powerful batteries or if you don’t need rapid recharges, a 5 amp battery can suffice. Using one will charge a battery in around 12 hours.

    How does hour rating and amperage work together in a battery?

    Combining the hour rating and amperage of a battery helps determine how long it’ll run before requiring a recharge. To do this, simply take the battery’s amp hour rating, and then divide it by the amperage draw.

    Sample ID Heading 1 Check price
    Newport Vessels Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box Power Center with USB and DC Ports https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AE2TG7G?tag=pontoonboatsite.com-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1
    Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery Row 2, Content 1 Row 2, Content 2
    Optima Digital 400 12V Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger - 150-40000 Row 3, Content 1 Row 3, Content 2
    Optima Batteries 8006-006 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery Row 2, Content 2
    Universal 12v 100 AH Deep Cycle Sealed AGM Battery UB121000-45978 Row 2, Content 2
    VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery Compatible with Boats and 40-100lb Row 2, Content 2
    VMAXTANKS VMAX V35-857 12 Volt 35AH AGM Battery Marine Deep Cycle HI Performance Battery Row 2, Content 2
    Interstate Batteries 12V 35AH Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) AGM Deep Cycle Battery (DCM0035) Insert Terminals Row 2, Content 2
    Minn Kota TrollIng Motor Power Center 1820175 Row 2, Content 2
    Power Boat Pontoon Electric Trolling Motor Deep Cycle Battery Row 2, Content 2
    Mighty Max Battery 12V 35AH Wilderness Tarpon 100 Kayak Trolling Motor Battery Brand Product Row 2, Content 2
    Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah SLA Battery for MotorGuide VariMax trolling motors brand product Row 2, Content 2
    Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah SLA Battery for MotorGuide VariMax trolling motors brand product Row 2, Content 2
    Mighty Max Battery 12V 35AH Battery for Minn Kota Endura C2 - Trolling Motor - 2 Pack Row 2, Content 2
    Replacement Battery for Light Trolling Motor Sevylor Minn Kota Row 2, Content 2
    Bass Pro Shops Pro Series AGM X-900 Marine Battery Row 2, Content 2
    Bass Pro Shops Pro Series Deep-Cycle AGM Marine Battery Row 2, Content 2
    Odyssey 34M-PC1500ST TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery Row 2, Content 2
    ExpertPower EXP12180 12V 18Ah Lead Acid Battery Row 2, Content 2

    Battery

    Type

    Amp Hour

    Voltage

    Weight (lbs)

    Newport Vessels Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box Power Center with USB and DC Ports

     

    N/A

    N/A

    3.04

    Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery

     

    Starter battery

    N/A

    12 Volt

    43.43

    Optima Digital 400 12V Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger – 150-40000

     

    Battery charger

    N/A

    12 Volt

    1

    Optima Batteries 8006-006 34M BlueTop Marine Starting Battery

     

    Starter battery

    N/A

    12 Volt

    38.4

    Universal 12v 100 AH Deep Cycle Sealed AGM Battery UB121000-45978

    Battery

    100

    12 Volt

    63.93

    VMAX MR127 12 Volt 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Maintenance Free Battery Compatible with Boats and 40-100lb

    Battery

    100

    12 Volt

    N/A

    VMAXTANKS VMAX V35-857 12 Volt 35AH AGM Battery Marine Deep Cycle HI Performance Battery

    Battery

    35

    12 Volt

    25

    Interstate Batteries 12V 35AH Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) AGM Deep Cycle Battery (DCM0035) Insert Terminals

     

    Battery

    35

    12 Volt

    22.9

    Minn Kota TrollIng Motor Power Center 1820175

    Battery case (battery not included)

    N/A

    N/A

    1

    Power Boat Pontoon Electric Trolling Motor Deep Cycle Battery

    Battery

    55

    12

    38.58

    Mighty Max Battery 12V 35AH Wilderness Tarpon 100 Kayak Trolling Motor Battery Brand Product

     

    Battery

    35

    12

    23.15

    Mighty Max Battery 12V 55Ah SLA Battery for MotorGuide VariMax Trolling Motors Brand Product

    Battery

    55

    12

    38.58

    Mighty Max Battery 12V 35AH Battery for Minn Kota Endura C2 – Trolling Motor – 2 Pack

    Battery (2 pack)

    35

    12

    23.15

    Replacement Battery for Light Trolling Motor Sevylor Minn Kota

     

    Battery

    35

    12

    N/A

    Bass Pro Shops Pro Series AGM X-900 Marine Battery

    Battery

    Varies

    12

    Varies

    Bass Pro Shops Pro Series Deep-Cycle AGM Marine Battery

     

    Battery

    Varies

    Varies

    Varies

    Odyssey 34M-PC1500ST TROLLING Thunder Marine Dual Purpose Battery

    Starter battery

    N/A

    12

    49.4

    ExpertPower EXP12180 12V 18Ah Lead Acid Battery

    Battery

    18

    12

    11.4

     

    Lifespan and storage tips

    • Different types of battery should never be mixed; neither should fresh and old batteries. When not in use for long periods of time, store them in a cool, dry place – but maintain a trickle charge when doing so.
    • If you can’t find a battery with an amp hour rating, ensure you select one with at least 180 minutes worth of reserve capacity.
    • Charge batteries ASAP after each use.
    • When it comes to wet-cell batteries, check regularly the fluid levels. If need be, top them up.
    • Batteries should also be monitored for corrosion often. If any appears, clean it off promptly. Cleaning can be done with water and baking soda.

    Which trolling motor and battery is best for me?

    Choosing the right troll motor and battery for you depends on a few factors. First, what sort of watercraft you have – a kayak could need a different trolling motor and battery from a dinghy.

    Second, whether you’ll mainly be using a troll motor in saltwater or freshwater. This is important as saltwater motors will be constructed to handle that harsh environment. Some of the smaller transom motors can be used in either environment.

    Thirdly, how quickly you need to recharge a battery after each use. Whether you want to make do with a wet-cell battery and do more maintenance, or pay more for a sealed one that has less maintenance needs.

    Then there’s the weight factor.

    If you’re heading out in a kayak for example, you have weight limits to consider. It’s also important to remember a starter battery should not be used in an electric trolling motor – doing so would result in overheating of the battery. Beyond these factors, much of the decision comes down to individual needs. So take your time, do your research, and have fun out on the water.

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