What Type of Battery Should be Used for Trolling Motors?

OPTIMA Batteries
Flooded lead-acid, AGM (which is also lead-acid) and Lithium-based batteries are the three most-common options for trolling motor batteries, so how do you decide which one is the best choice for your boat? We're going to look at some important considerations that you should keep in mind when shopping for trolling motor batteries.


If the upfront cost is your primary consideration, flooded lead-acid batteries are the lowest-cost option of the three. They're also the most-widely available battery out there. Just about anywhere that sells marine or trolling motor batteries will probably have some type of flooded lead-acid battery to sell you. AGM batteries, like  OPTIMA BLUETOP batteries, are more expensive than flooded lead-acid batteries, but can last up to three times as long as those batteries. They may cost more up front, but if you value your time on the water and can afford the higher price point, they might be worth the purchase.

Lithium-based batteries, like the OPTIMA ORANGETOP batteries, are the most-expensive option of the three common trolling motor batteries, but they are also the lightest and offer the potential for the most cycle life. We have to say "potential," because there are different types of lithium batteries being sold, differing levels of quality and different manufacturers producing them for an even larger number of brands. There are also different technologies built into lithium-based batteries, that may make one choice better than another.

Don't be misled by deceptive claims about where a battery is designed or engineered. The vast majority of lithium-based trolling motor batteries are manufactured in Southeast Asia and even the few that are assembled here typically use cells sourced from that corner of the globe. Lithium-based trolling motor batteries will also likely require the purchase of a battery charger specifically designed for lithium batteries.


If cost is no object and getting the lightest trolling motor battery you can find is your priority, then a lithium-based product is probably your best choice. However, it's again worth re-iterating that you should do your research on a lithium trolling motor battery, before making a purchase. Some lithium trolling motor batteries are literally being sold out of someone's house or a UPS Store address. If you can't find a battery brand's physical address (our address is 5757 N Green Bay Ave, Glendale, WI 53209) or you don't like the looks of what Google Maps is showing you for a battery brand's physical address, it's best to go with a brand that looks like they'll be around after the purchase, if you need them.


Some lithium batteries may offer faster charging rates than lead-acid batteries and the 99.99% pure virgin lead and cast straps found in OPTIMA batteries offers lower internal resistance than flooded batteries, which allows for a more efficient transfer of power, both into and out of the battery. However, charging batteries is where you really need to pay attention to things. Using an unregulated or inappropriate battery charger can have potentially catastrophic outcomes for any battery.

Flooded lead-acid batteries are basically the default option, so most existing charging systems will have no trouble charging and maintaining flooded lead-acid batteries. While special chargers are not needed for OPTIMA BLUETOP batteries, if you have a charging system that is microprocessor-controlled and has specific settings for AGM batteries, that will likely maximize AGM battery performance and lifespan. Lithium batteries will generally require the purchase of a charger specifically designed to charge those batteries, if you don't have one already.

Some lithium trolling motor batteries have integrated battery management systems, while others do not. One of the reasons many well-established battery brands have been slower to move into the lithium trolling motor battery space, is because there are so many variables that need to be understood in terms of how lithium batteries are charged by boat engines, onboard chargers and stand-alone battery chargers. If you choose a lithium trolling motor battery, make sure you have a good understanding of the requirements needed for charging and maintaining the batteries, before making your purchase


It may come as a surprise to some folks, but trolling motor battery warranties, like their automotive battery counterparts, serve more of a marketing function and are not necessarily tied to product quality. On the lead-acid side of things (including AGM batteries), if a battery is going to fail because of a manufacturing defect, it is likely to do so well within the first year of use, if not the first few weeks. Beyond that, battery lifespan is largely tied to how a battery is used and maintained. 

Unfortunately, boat owners are known to not do a great job of maintaining proper voltage in their batteries, often waiting until the night before their next outing (or the morning of) to make sure their boat battery or trolling motor batteries are properly charged. As lead-acid batteries sit in a partially discharged below state below 12.4 volts, sulfation starts forming in the plates, which not only diminishes lifespan, but also battery capacity. That's why we always recommend keeping trolling motor and boat batteries in general, connected to a quality battery charger, when they are not in use. If you go with a lithium-based trolling motor battery, you should consult that brand as to the best practices for maintenance.

OPTIMA tries to keep things simple and straightforward with our marine trolling motor battery warranty, by offering two years of free-replacement coverage. As we mentioned before, if your OPTIMA battery has a manufacturing defect, it will likely show up within the first few weeks of use, so two full years should give you plenty of breathing room. Be sure to read the fine print on battery warranties before making a purchase! You can read the full OPTIMA Battery warranty here and we don't slip in re-stocking fees, cycle limitations, minimum voltage levels, specific charger output parameters, ambient temperature requirements, hourly repair fees or pro-ration fees that essentially cover the brand's cost of replacing a battery. Other brands may include some or all of those restrictions, which can turn an 11-year warranty into an expensive and time-consuming process that you may only be allowed to use once.

Should I Just Use What the Pros Use?

The vast majority of professional anglers use either AGM or lithium trolling motor batteries. The vast majority of professional anglers also don't pay for their batteries and quite a few actually get paid by battery brands to use their batteries. Edwin Evers is probably our best-known sponsored angler and part of our long-standing relationship with him involves monetary compensation. However, Edwin will tell you batteries are too important to his job, to use a product that is unreliable. We're certainly not the only sponsor who writes a check to Edwin and he needs to keep all of his sponsors happy, so he carefully selects and endorses products he knows will work and deliver the results all of his sponsors expect.

Other professional anglers, who have not yet enjoyed the level of success Edwin has achieved, may be more willing to take a chance on some lesser-known battery brands, as they struggle to make a go of their professional careers. A paycheck for product endorsement can make all the difference in the world for an up & coming angler, who is trying to make a go of it in the highly-competitive world of bass fishing. 

However, we've talked to quite a few professional anglers, who have made their way into the OPTIMA Canal on the legendary Harris Chain and those conversations have been enlightening. More than a few of those anglers, who are running lithium trolling motor batteries have admitted to carrying spare lithium batteries in their tow rig, in case something goes wrong with the trolling motor batteries in their boat. If there is an issue with a lithium trolling motor battery, you can't go to your local auto parts store and pick up a replacement. That leaves someone with the options of either temporarily replacing all their lithium trolling motor batteries with flooded lead-acid or carrying spares. Either way, that's an expensive proposition, unless someone is giving you free batteries and/or paying you to use free batteries.

Many pro anglers running lithium trolling motor batteries are still running AGM or flooded lead-acid batteries for engine starting and other non-trolling motor use. That's because many trolling motor battery brands don't offer batteries designed for engine starting. If their contract allows, these pro anglers could probably seek out a lithium starting battery from another manufacturer, but they would be paying for that battery out of their own pocket. In many cases, the weight savings and potential cycle life advantages offered by a lithium starting battery that they have to pay for is deemed not worth their own money or not worth the potential risk of not being able to get their boat started and get back to weigh-in.

Whatever the most-important factors are in your decision-making process to purchase trolling motor batteries, be sure to do your research and contact the companies directly, if needed. Many trolling motors use three 12-volt batteries, which means this will not be a minor purchase decision. If you have questions about OPTIMA trolling motor batteries, feel free to send us an email at info@optimabatteries.com or call us at 1-888-8-OPTIMA.