Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post looking at my 3 best kayak trolling motor batteries to charge up in 2021. Recently I wrote a post about trolling motors for kayaks based on the experiences of a fishing buddy of mine and his new purchase. Well as it turns out, when you drop a battery into salt water, it tends to rust out fairly quickly. Don’t ask me how this all happened… all I know is that all of the connector terminals on his battery had all rusted and it would no longer charge so he needed a new one. The question was, what does he buy now?
So as usual, I have had a good look at his rig, did some more research and come up with 3 models that I think would work well for you on a kayak. So grab yourself a nice cold beverage and a snack and let’s see if we can get your kayak trolling motor a moving…
My 3 recommended kayak trolling motor batteries
I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:
|Trolling Motor Battery||Price||Get it|
|Mighty Max Battery Wilderness Tarpon 100 Kayak Trolling Motor Battery||$||CURRENT PRICE|
|Universal Power Group GMA Battery||$$||CURRENT PRICE|
|LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Lithium-ion Battery||$$$||CURRENT PRICE|
What are trolling motor batteries?
In simple terms, a trolling motor battery is about the same as any other 12V battery that is used in a caravan, car, boat or portable power arrangement used by campers. The difference with these however is that we need to consider a number of factors such as:
- Size – they need to be small enough to fit inside a kayak
- Weight – they need to be light enough for a kayak
- Storage position – some batteries do not like being tipped over
- Suitability – they should be ‘marine grade’ meaning they can handle salt water elements a bit more. But not submersed, as my butter fingered little friend found out – although why he was removing from the kayak whilst it was still in the water is beyond me – don’t do that!
In general, when it comes to batteries for a trolling motor, you will be looking at 12V deep cycle options – deep cycle means that they are designed for discharge small amounts of current over a longer period of time. There are three types of trolling motor batteries that can meet the criteria above – these are:
Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) – These are the old school type batteries that are long-lasting and can generally handle being discharged and recharged regularly. They are however not used too much for kayak motors as they tend to be heavy, do not like being tipped over and need to be topped up with distilled water every now and then. Oh, and they can leak which will not end well for you kayak I am sure.
In terms of batteries for a kayak, these are the cheapest option you will find however you won’t find a lot of these around these days. If you do see one in your travels though, I would probably recommend leaving it on the shelf.
Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) – AGM batteries (also known as Sealed Lead Acid or SLA), like their FLA cousins above are lead acid batteries as well however they are sealed, leak-proof and maintenance free. They are more expensive than FLA batteries although they generally last longer on a charge and have a longer life-span.
AGM batteries tend to charge quite quickly (deep cycle batteries do require frequent charging) and discharge slowly giving greater use time. They work well in rougher conditions as well. Their only downside is that they tend to not like the heat.
Lithium-ion batteries: These are a newer technology on the market and work in the same fashion as your mobile/cell phone battery. They are more expensive than the others but are also generally smaller and lighter. They will handle being charged and discharged a lot better and have a much longer cycle life (number of times charged and recharged) as well.
As with your cell phone (or laptop) however, they can overheat if you work the trolling motor for a lengthy period of time.
What should you be looking for?
Ok, so when it comes to trolling motor batteries for the kayak, there are some other things to consider. Some of these will determine the type battery that you choose and others may be personal preference.
With this in mind, here are some things to look out for:
Types of Kayaks
In terms of kayaks, there are three main types that you may be using with the trolling motor. These are:
1. Sit on Top kayak
As the name suggests, these are the style that you sit on top of as you paddle along. When it comes to your battery, it can go in one of three places:
- In one of the dry pockets
- At the back of the vessel under the elastic straps
- Attached to the trolling motor bar (if available)
This means that size will matter if it needs to fit inside a pocket or on a bracket and stability if you do have a FLA version is also a factor.
2. Sit in Kayaks
These are the ones where you site inside the kayak (via the little ‘cockpit’ at the top). The battery here will need to sit inside the vessel or again on the motor rod/mounts. Anything too bulky is obviously going to reduce the space you have for everything else inside the kayak.
3. Inflatable Kayaks
Again as the name suggests, these kayaks inflate for use and come in both sit on or sit in options. Many do come with fishing capabilities and can definitely be used in this capacity. The same rules apply here as for the sit in or sit on options above. Also, check for sharp corners rubbing on the side of the vessel wall as well.
Type of trolling motor
This shouldn’t be a big issue however before you head off to your favourite battery retailer (or click on my links below), just check the recommendations in relation to your motor. Some manufacturers will void warranties if the incorrect battery type or AH specs are used.
In addition to the three main type of kayaks outlined above, location can obviously affect the use of your trolling motor battery choices as well. This can include:
- Current – Estuaries generally are susceptible to tidal currents – if these are strong then the trolling motor may have to work a but harder meaning greater stress on the battery. Lithium-ion batteries can overheat here too.
- Distance – Same as above, if you have to travel long distances to where the fish are, then the trolling motor will definitely need a longer lasting battery (look for higher AH ratings – see below).
- Chop – If your fishing grounds have a tendency to get a little choppy, then choose a battery that is not going to have adverse reactions to potential tip overs etc. Plus they may get fairly wet if not in a protected area
There is more to this but from the point of view of fishing from a kayak, as long as none of the above are too extreme, then you should be ok with most AGM or Lithium options.
Amp hours (AH)
When you look at the specification of a battery, many will provide an ‘Amp Hour’ rating. An Amp hour is a unit of electric charge determined by the number of amps being pulled from the battery divided by the total Ah rating of the battery. Whhhaaattt? In short, this is basically the measurement of how long the battery will run for determined by the load being applied.
For example, a battery that is rated at 100AH will give 100 amp hours of power when fully charged. So if a trolling motor is running at a medium speed and pulling 10 amps of power from the battery, then running constantly at that speed will mean that the battery will last approximately 10 hours until it ‘runs out’. i.e. 100hours/10amp = 10 hours.
The higher the Amp hour rating of the battery then in theory, the longer it should run before going flat.
We have touched on this a few times however when it comes to trolling motor batteries, size definitely does matter. Before you go shopping, measure the space where your battery will go. Luckily, the size of a battery does not determine its capabilities so even if you need a smaller option, whilst you may have to pay a little more, you will not necessarily be skimping on quality and output.
What Do I use?
Ok, so I went with my mate to the shop when it came time to purchase his new battery, mainly so I could check them out for this post, but also just because well you know, it is a fishing shop. The $80 I spent on tackle whilst I was there should remain between us though…. haha.
So anyway, we discussed our needs and uses with the sales assistant (which is where I drew most of my info from for above) and based on his setup (11FT kayak with side mounted Minn Kota Endura trolling motor with battery under protective cover in back), we chose the following battery specs:
- Type: GMA – he didn’t want to spend too much on a lithium option
- Dimensions: 7 inches x 5 inches x 7 inches (roughly)
- Weight: 22 kg (about 48 pounds)
- Amp hours: 100AH
We chose this one as we wanted the higher amp hours, it is quite light and best of all, it fits in his current setup. Oh, and it will charge on his solar panel too.
He has had this battery now for about a month and we have been out about 3 times. Every time for around 4 hours under which he has used the motor at medium speed for around 2 hours at a time (which pulls around 15amps) and the battery is almost at full charge when we return.
It is light and easily movable and charges quite quickly – we just have to make sure he doesn’t take it for a swim again!
My three recommendations broken down
So based on the information above, and my own research, I recommend the following options:
1. Mighty Max Battery Wilderness Tarpon 100 Kayak Trolling Motor Battery
For the price, this first one would work very well in most kayak trolling motors being used in lakes, estuaries or even calm ocean settings close to shore. It has a long lifespan and will charge quickly making it perfect for that last minute kayaking call up. Specifications as follows:
- Dimensions: 7.68 inches x 5.16 inches x 7.13 inches
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Amp hours: 35aH
Shock and vibration resistant
Works in wide range of temperatures
Long service life and deep discharge recover
Larger size than others
35AH spec means limited use time
Harness and mounts not included
Why have I chosen it?
I like this one purely for the fact that it is a good, solid battery for a budget price. Its lower AH rating means it probably won’t suit those who wish to take it on longer excursions however for those moving around in smaller areas or for intermittent use, then this one will definitely do the job.
2. Universal Power Group GMA Battery
This next one is another decent GMA battery and my choice for those who are wanting to use their motor for lengthy periods or longer distances. Like the first option above, it gives good output with no maintenance requirements and a long life expectancy. Its specifications include:
- Dimensions: 12.17 inches x 6.61 inches x 9.16 inches
- Weight: 63.93 Lbs
- Amp hours: 100
Shock and vibration resistant
Can be mounted in any position
Long service life
A bit big and heavy
Longer charging time
Harness and mounts not included
Why have I chosen it?
This is a great one for those looking to get out on those large freshwater lakes, rivers or even the ocean with the ability to move kayaks longer distances with good power. Decently priced, it again will work well on just about any motor type and is robust enough if it happens to tip or gets bumped around. It may be a bit bulky for some and charging times are long however again, it is a good solid battery for a good price.
3. LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Lithium-ion Battery
The third unit I have chosen is a little more expensive however for those who want to move into the lithium-ion side of batteries then this is a good one for the price. there are cheaper ones on the market however I wanted one with decent AH and this was the best rated option I could find. They are maintenance free and environmentally friendly. Specifications as follows:
- Dimensions: 12.9 inches x 6.81 inches x 8.58 inches
- Weight: 23.93 Lbs
- Amp hours: 100
Small, Light and Fast charging
10-year service life
Runs at 12V for 90% of its capacity usage
Expensive compared to standard GMA batteries
Prices rises significantly for higher AH models
Why have I chosen it?
This is a great one for those looking for a little quality over price or just want to move over to this type of battery. It will work well in the kayak but also powerful enough to transfer to a caravan or boat as well. And for the price, you won’t have to worry about replacement for at least 10 years.
As we have see above, batteries are not the cheapest accessories that you can buy for a kayak however there are some addition purchases you may need to make here as well such as chargers and cabling. Here are some options for those who need them:
And there it is – my 3 best kayak trolling motor batteries to charge up in 2021. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time
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