Best Pontoon Boat Battery

OPTIMA Batteries
Harris Chain of Lakes

There are pontoon boats being sold today with twin 300-horsepower outboard engines, massive entertainment systems, fish finders, trolling motors and power poles. What do they have in common with pontoon boats being sold with 30-horsepower outboard engines? Not much beyond the general boat design. So how can anyone on the Internet give you a credible list of "best batteries for your pontoon boat?"

The truthful answer is they cannot tell you what the best battery is for your pontoon boat, unless they know what kind of of boat you have, what kind of engine is on it, what kind of accessories you have, what space is available for the battery and how you use your pontoon boat. That won't stop many sites from offering you lists of what they claim are "the best pontoon boat batteries," but those lists are often based on what the top-selling batteries are on affiliate partner websites and nothing else. Click on the link and buy from that site and they get a commission, whether it's the right battery for your pontoon boat or not. Don't fall into that trap. Instead, read on and we'll explain your options

OPTIMA offers four different BLUETOP AGM marine batteries for pontoon boats, with each serving a difference purpose. Since we don't know what kind of pontoon boat you have or how you use it, we'll give you some general guidelines that will help you select the best battery for your pontoon boat.

The OPTIMA 34M BLUETOP battery is our smallest, least expensive pontoon boat battery and it offers 1000 Marine Cranking Amps (MCA). The first thing you should do when selecting a pontoon boat battery is find out what the marine cranking amp requirements are for the engine (or engines) on your pontoon boat. A battery with 1000 MCA will have no trouble starting most boat engines, but that shouldn't be your only consideration. Some engine manufacturers require the use of AGM batteries (all OPTIMA batteries are AGM batteries). Is that the case for your engine? Do you run a large stereo on your pontoon boat or fishing equipment, like sonar or power poles? If so, you'd want a battery designed for both starting and deep-cycle use. the OPTIMA 34M BLUETOP is only designed for starting, so if you just use your pontoon boat for cruising around the lake or river, it should work just fine.

If you need a pontoon battery that can start your engine and run significant electrical accessories, then you'd want an OPTIMA battery with a light gray case, which we offer in three sizes (smallest to largest) D34MD27M and D31M. The D34M BLUETOP is only rated at 870 MCAs, but it has more reserve capacity (55Ah) than the 34M, which offers 50Ah and is not designed for deep-cycle use. That battery may work fine for smaller outboards (less than 100 horsepower) that have some deep-cycle usage, but if you have a larger engine or more electrical demands on your pontoon boat, you should look at one of our larger batteries.

Our next largest battery after the D34M BLUETOP is the D27M BLUETOP, which is a 66Ah battery that offers 1000MCAs. Remember, as you look at these larger batteries, make sure your battery storage area is large enough to hold physically larger batteries. 

The largest, most powerful pontoon boat battery OPTIMA offers is the D31M BLUETOP, rated at 75Ah and 1125MCAs. From a weight perspective, the D31M weighs in at just under 60 pounds, which is a lot more than our lightest 34M BLUETOP, that weighs just 38.4 pounds, but it does offer more cranking power and more reserve capacity to run your accessories. So which battery is right for your pontoon boat?

Start by measuring the space you have available. From there, if weight isn't a concern, we recommend going with the largest battery you can fit in your space available. The reason is because the shallower you discharge any battery, the more cycles you'll get out of it. That means you could use a D34M BLUETOP on a given pontoon boat and may discharge it down to 40% capacity on a regular basis. If you used a D31M BLUETOP on that same pontoon boat, you may only discharge it down to 80% capacity on a regular basis and you'll get far longer life out of that battery.

Either way, you can expect an OPTIMA BLUETOP marine battery to last up to three times as long as a traditional flooded lead-acid battery. You can ensure maximum battery performance and lifespan, by keeping your pontoon boat battery fully-charged whenever possible with a quality battery maintenance device. For the OPTIMA 34M BLUETOP, that means about 12.6-12.8 volts. For all the other OPTIMA BLUETOP pontoon boat batteries, that means about 13.0-13.2 volts. Plug it in as soon as you come off the water and leave it plugged in until you head out again, just in case you left an accessory on, that might otherwise discharge your battery.