What is the Longest-Lasting Marine Battery?
- OPTIMA Batteries
- Astatula, Florida
It's an obvious question to ask which marine battery lasts the longest, but the answer isn't so obvious. The reason is because there are so many different marine applications for batteries, that the most-honest answer anyone can give you to that question is that a proper marine battery that is well-maintained will last the longest. So what do we mean by that? You can buy a battery that boasts a very long service life, but if it's not the right battery for the application and/or it isn't properly-maintained, it won't last very long.
To explain further, we'll start with properly-selecting a battery. If your marine battery is going into a deep-cycle application, be sure it is designed for deep-cycle use (some batteries are designed only for engine starting). Deep-cycle applications can include trolling motor batteries, accessory batteries or house batteries. You should also make sure your marine batteries are appropriately-sized for their application.
You can get into the weeds on other websites as it relates to Peukert's law, but the Cliff Notes will tell you the more-deeply you discharge or cycle a battery, the fewer cycles you will get out of it. In simple terms, that means if your boat can accommodate larger marine batteries, you may want to spend a little more money up front and buy a larger marine battery with more reserve capacity, maybe even the biggest you can fit in the space available.
If you are running more than one marine battery in an application, whether it is engine starting or some other use, all batteries connected in series or parallel applications should be identical in age, size and type. That means if one marine battery in a bank of two or more goes bad, you need to replace all the batteries in that bank. You can still use the other good batteries in some other application, just not in one, where they are connected to any battery that differs in age, size or type.
Once you've identified the best battery for your application, your attention should turn to how you maintain that battery. Proper voltage maintenance is the key to maximizing battery performance and lifespan and the vast majority of marine batteries spend most of their existence not being used, so how they are maintained, which is how they will spend most of their existence becomes very important. Batteries stored in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, will not last as long as batteries stored in moderate temperatures. We recommend cool, dry locations.
Whenever any battery is discharged below 12.4 volts and is left sitting in that state, sulfation begins forming in the plates, which diminishes both capacity and lifespan. That makes regular use of a quality battery maintenance device a key to making a marine battery last as long as possible. Most batteries are not fully-charged until they measure at least 12.6 volts, including the 34M OPTIMA BLUETOP starting battery. All other OPTIMA BLUETOP batteries will measure at least 13.0-13.2 volts when fully-charged.
While OPTIMA offers battery chargers and maintainers designed to automatically and properly-maintain all 12-volt, lead-acid batteries, there are plenty of other options in the marketplace. The best choices will be microprocessor-controlled and have specific settings for AGM batteries (as opposed to a non-specific "gel/AGM" setting).
So when looking at options for the longest-lasting marine batteries, a consumer can know that AGM batteries, like OPTIMA batteries can last up to three times as long as a flooded lead-acid battery. However, if they aren't willing to pay more up front for a marine battery that can last up to three times as long, they should make sure the battery they choose has as much power as they need and is properly-maintained to maximize lifespan.