Are Lithium Trolling Motor Batteries Worth It? The Undeniable Advantages Explained
Yes, lithium batteries are worth the investment. The advantages include improved performance, reduced weight, increased longevity, shorter charging time, and maintenance-free operation.
But before you go and head to Bass Pro, consider these quick points below and then read on to find out why your money will be well spent.
At a glance:
1️⃣ Lithium-ion batteries offer several significant advantages, including consistent power output for longer periods compared to traditional lead-acid batteries.
2️⃣ These batteries are generally lighter than their lead-acid equivalents, resulting in weight reduction, thus enhancing the overall performance and efficiency of the boat.
3️⃣ Notably, lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan and can charge much faster than their lead-acid counterparts.
Now let’s get into it!
✅ Advantages of Lithium Trolling Motor Batteries
One of the main benefits of lithium-ion batteries is their performance. They can maintain consistent power output for longer periods compared to traditional lead-acid batteries.
As a result, my trolling motor can operate at the same speed for almost twice as long as with lead-acid batteries of the same rated capacity.
Another significant advantage I’ve experienced is weight reduction. Lithium-ion batteries are generally lighter than their lead-acid equivalents, allowing me to reduce the overall weight of my boat.
This, in turn, enhances the boat’s overall performance because a lighter boat consumes less energy due to the reduced drag.
I’ve found that lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan than traditional lead-acid batteries. They can last up to 3-4 times longer on average, which means I have to replace them less frequently. This saves money on battery replacement costs in the long run.
Shorter Charging Time
One of the most noticeable improvements for me has been the shorter charging time. Lithium-ion batteries can charge much faster than their lead-acid counterparts.
This is particularly useful when I have limited time for fishing or if I need to charge my battery between trips.
Last but not least, lithium-ion batteries are maintenance-free. Unlike traditional flooded lead-acid batteries, they do not require regular maintenance, such as topping off with water or cleaning terminals. This saves me time and effort, allowing me to focus on maintaining other parts of my boat.
⚖️ Comparing Battery Types
In this section, I’ll compare the main types of trolling motor batteries: lead-acid, AGM, and gel batteries.
Lead-acid batteries, also known as flooded or wet-cell batteries, are the most common and affordable type of battery used in trolling motors.
|Affordable and widely available||Heavier than other battery types, which might slow down your boat.|
|Good energy storage capacity||Require regular maintenance, including checking and refilling electrolyte levels.|
|Easy to maintain with proper care||Require routine maintenance to prevent damage or leakage.|
AGM batteries, or Absorbent Glass Mat batteries, are a type of sealed lead-acid battery that utilize a fiberglass mat to absorb the electrolyte solution.
|Maintenance-free design||More expensive than traditional lead-acid batteries|
|Lighter weight compared to traditional lead-acid batteries||May not last as long as other battery types in certain conditions|
|Quick recovery time after discharge|
Gel batteries are another type of sealed lead-acid battery that uses a gel electrolyte solution.
|Low self-discharge rate||More expensive than lead-acid and AGM types of batteries|
|Potentially lower voltage capacity compared to other battery types||Potentially lower voltage-capacity compared to other battery types|
|Long service life|
Understanding the differences among these will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best battery for your trolling motor.
🦺 Battery Management Systems and Safety
Battery Management Systems (BMS) play a crucial role in ensuring safety and enhancing battery performance. In this section, we’ll dive into the importance of BMS and the safety aspects of lithium-ion trolling motor batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries feature an integrated BMS, which is responsible for monitoring the battery’s performance, regulating charging and discharging, and ensuring safety. Some vital functions of a BMS that I find particularly helpful include:
- Monitoring voltage levels and maintaining cell balance
- Protecting the battery from overcharging, over-discharging, and short-circuiting
- Monitoring the battery’s temperature to prevent overheating
- Enhancing the overall durability and life of the battery
Knowing when to charge your trolling motor battery is as essential as choosing the right battery type.
Concerns over the safety of charging lithium-ion batteries can be alleviated by using a high-quality, dedicated charger like the NOCO Genius Chargers, which are specifically designed for these batteries.
These chargers have safety features such as temperature compensation and automatic charge termination, ensuring a safe, efficient charge while maintaining compatibility with the battery’s specific needs.
📃 Cost and Warranty Considerations
Price is typically the most influential factor for many trolling motor owners. I won’t sugarcoat it; lithium batteries can be expensive!
But their performance and longevity will balance the additional upfront cost and potentially save you cash in the long term.
Good quality lithium batteries can handle 3000-5000 charge/discharge cycles, which is more than other batteries, and the amp-hour ratings remain consistent even when discharging at a fast rate.
And if you use solar panels to charge your battery, then you can save even more in the long term (after a considerable investment).
Reputable lithium battery makers (which I’ll point out shortly) also usually offer longer warranties compared to lead-acid batteries, with some stretching up to ten years.
🤝 Compatibility and Installation
Lithium trolling motor batteries offer several advantages surrounding compatibility and installation compared to traditional types.
Voltage and Power Compatibility
Voltage and power compatibility are vital when switching to lithium batteries. It’s important to match the battery voltage to your trolling motor’s requirements.
For example, a 36-volt system requires three 12-volt lithium batteries connected in series. Lithium batteries offer a consistent power supply even at high discharge rates, making your fishing trips more efficient.
Voltage is one of the factors that will affect the size of trolling motor battery you get, so keep that in mind as well.
Wire Sizing and Safety
During installation, pay close attention to wire sizing. Proper wire selection ensures adequate power delivery and prevents resistance and heat build-up.
It’s also crucial to incorporate short-circuit disconnect protection, like a fuse or breaker, in the system.
👍Popular Lithium Trolling Motor Battery Brands
In my experience, these are the lithium trolling motor battery brands that offer great performance and reliability.
Some of the top brands that I’ve come across include Dakota Lithium, Battle Born, Renogy, and ExpertPower.
Dakota Lithium is known for its 12V 54Ah Deep Cycle Battery, which is a popular choice for trolling motor setups, especially for kayaks. These batteries are lightweight and durable, making them an excellent option for anglers who need a compact yet powerful power source.
Battle Born is another top-choice brand for lithium trolling motor batteries, and their LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery 100Ah 12V is highly regarded for its performance and reliability. This battery is designed with quality components, making it suitable for harsh marine environments.
Renogy also offers reliable lithium trolling motor batteries, the 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery. This battery features a built-in Battery Management System (BMS) to protect it from overcharging, over-discharging, and overheating, ensuring a longer lifespan for the battery.
Lastly, ExpertPower is another reputable brand with their 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery. It provides consistent and reliable power to your trolling motor, and I’ve found it to be an excellent option for those who need a dependable power source for their boating adventures.
🔑 Key Takeaways
In conclusion, lithium trolling motor batteries are worth the investment for anglers who appreciate faster discharge rates, longer life cycles, and reduced weight.
You are going to need a battery for your trolling motor regardless, so why not choose one that is going to give you the best performance?
1️⃣ While lithium batteries are more expensive upfront, their superior performance, long life expectancy, and extended warranties make them a worthwhile investment. They also provide consistent amp-hour ratings even under heavy load.
2️⃣ Lithium-ion batteries often have an integrated BMS that monitors performance, regulates charging and discharging, and ensures safety. Using a high-quality charger specifically designed for lithium-ion batteries can reduce potential risks.
3️⃣ Lead-acid batteries are affordable but heavy and need regular maintenance. AGM batteries are lighter, maintenance-free, but more expensive. Gel batteries have a low self-discharge rate and good vibration resistance.