Your pontoon boat battery does a lot to keep your watercraft up and running. Heck, you might even say it’s the very reason why your pontoon starts in the first place. But just like your car battery, your boat battery can run out of juice. And when that happens, there’s nothing you can do but find a replacement.
But there’s a lot more to pontoon boat batteries than you might think. Like for instance, did you know there are three kinds of batteries for a boat? If you’re looking to get your hands on the best pontoon boat battery but you’re not quite sure where to start, this guide should steer you in the right direction.
Different Kinds of Pontoon Boat Batteries
Before you get right into the purchase, you might want to consider specifics first. There are three different kinds of batteries that you can have on your pontoon boat, and they perform differently based on what you might need:
Deep Cycle Batteries
These batteries are what you rely on for the long haul. They discharge very slowly compared to other types of batteries, so they work well to provide sustained energy to electronics and equipment that might need it. A deep cycle battery is what powers a trolling motor (if you have one), and audio system, fish finders, and other battery-operated accessories you might have on board.
As their name suggests, these batteries perform one function and one function only. They’re there to start your pontoon boat and nothing more. They charge quickly and discharge quickly, delivering a single jolt of energy when you give you stick and turn the key in the ignition. You can’t use a starting battery to power appliances, equipment, or anything else.
Of course, expect manufacturers to come up with an all-in-one solution. The dual-purpose battery works to perform both functions. They’re considered the best battery set up for pontoon boats with limited space for double batteries on board. And it’s important to point out that although they can perform the job of both batteries, they’re not going to be quite as efficient as having two separate units.
The 5 Best Batteries for Pontoon Boats
The vast selection of batteries for pontoon boats might have you feeling a little overwhelmed. So to help narrow down your choices and lead you to a battery that’s right for your boat, here are some vetted batteries to choose from:
1. Best Deep Cycle Battery - Mighty Max Pontoon Boat Battery
This maintenance-free battery from Mighty Max features spill-proof construction with a guaranteed long service life. The durable construction can be mounted almost anywhere, and boasts shock and vibration-proof design that lets you leverage the power of the unit wherever you decide to install it.
Intended to power a trolling motor, electronics, and other power intensive fixtures on board, the Might Max Pontoon Boat Battery is a reliable workhorse that delivers seamless performance for many years down the line. It also comes with a 30-day refund policy and a 1-year warranty to protect your cash out.
2. Deep Cycle Battery Runner-Up - ExpertPower LiFe PO4
Designed for everything from pontoon boats to off the grid applications, the ExpertPower LiFe PO4 deep cycle battery claims to be the number one sealed lead acid battery on the market. The battery can sustain up to 7000 cycles, which means you could get up to 10 years of service life off of a single unit.
Incredibly slow to discharge, the battery can hold its power for a longer period of time compared to other batteries. This simply means that you can be sure to get reliable, sustained energy for all of the different gadgets and devices you might have on board your pontoon.
3. Best Starting Battery - Optima 8006-006 34M Marine BlueTop Starting Battery
Taking the cake as the best starting battery for pontoon boats, the Optima 8006-006 34M Starting Battery features a reserve capacity of 100 minutes, making it one of the longest lasting starting batteries on the market. The unit was designed to give you a clean start even in bad weather, so you won’t have to worry about choking or stalling.
Allegedly fifteen times more resistant to vibration, this battery delivers solid performance a seamless starting that gets your boat going, and keeps the power on even when you find yourself in choppy waters and harsh conditions.
4. Starting Battery Runner-Up - XS Power S1600 Starting Battery
The XS Power S1600 is a spill-proof, sealed, valve regulated starting battery that provides excellent performance in any position. The vibration-proof construction helps guarantee that you won’t have to worry about cutting the power when you’re faced with less than ideal circumstances on the water.
Delivering a high surge of energy to get your boat started at the turn of your key, this starting battery provides years of reliable performance. Just make sure to install it away from moisture to keep it running in peak condition.
5. Best Dual Purpose Marine Battery - Optima Yellow-Top Dual Purpose Battery
If you’re looking for a battery that can do both, you can try the Optima Yellow-Top Dual Purpose Battery. This pick has a reserve capacity of 66 minutes, giving you more than enough time to get where you need to go on a single charge.
Designed to start in all sorts of conditions, the Optima Yellow-Top promises seamless performance even in bad weather. It also features a reinforced construction that makes it doubly resistant to the damage caused by vibrations, so you won’t have to worry about the battery dying on you when you face choppy waters.
How to Replace a Pontoon Boat Battery
You could always head down to the service center to have your batteries replaced by the maintenance crew, but that could incur steep labor fees. So instead, you could just change the batteries on your own.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Get Rid of the Old Battery
To get started, you’re going to first remove the old battery. Before anything else, you’re going to want to remove the earth connector which you should find at the back of the earth terminal. This prevents short circuits and limits the risk for sparks. Once that’s done, you can unclip the red connector and pull the whole battery out of the box.
Clean Out the Wires
Before you fit in the new battery, you’re going to want to clean up the wire connectors. These are bound to be covered in some sort of debris or corrosion. Take your wire brush and gently rub away the debris. Make sure that all of the existing debris is removed before you grease up the wires.
Work cautiously with the grease since you don’t really want to slather on too much. Instead, take a small amount and coat the ends of the wires with just enough to give it a fine layer.
Connect the New Battery
When the wires are cleaned and all greased up, you can then connect the positive connector first. Then take the earth connector and snap it back to the black terminal. Push the battery back in the box and it should be ready to go. Start your boat to give it a test and see how it’s working.
If you’re wondering what the baking soda and water were for, they’re a precautionary measure in case you spill any battery acid. Most modern day batteries are designed so that you won’t have to worry about spills. But in case your old battery leaks acid when you take it out, quickly pour your baking soda and water solution over the acid to prevent potential dangers to your health and the environment.
What About a Battery Charger?
Ever wonder how does a pontoon boat battery charge? Well, you can thank your battery charger for that. Aside from the battery itself, you might also want to consider copping a brand new battery charger. Now, these aren’t a one size fits all, so it helps to know what your battery is and what charger would work best to keep it healthy and charged.
The Optima Digital 400 Performance Maintainer and Battery Charger has often been dubbed the best pontoon boat battery charger and is pretty popular among boat owners, especially because it’s compatible with the whole range of Optima Batteries that are used for marine applications.
If your battery isn’t compatible with the Optima Digital 400, you can try the VMAXTANKS BC8S12154 Battery Charger that offers fully automatic performance so you can sit back and relax while it charges your batteries.
A Full Charge
Your marine battery plays a serious role on your boat, so make sure you pay attention to the signs of wear. When it’s time to make that replacement, see to it that you’re buying the best pontoon boat battery to serve the purpose you need. They’re not all the same, so a little due diligence and research should help you land a purchase that will deliver exactly what you’re looking for.