The best marine batteries are those that do what you need, work dependably, and require the least maintenance. Here are six of the top brands to consider:
Known for long life and superior quality Lifeline batteries typically last from five to eight years. They're engineered to stand up to the greatest temperature extremes, and the company boasts a flawless record of zero defects. A spinoff company from aerospace and military batteries, Lifeline is one of the best brands you can choose. They warranty their batteries for five years.
Another company offering five to seven-year warranties on their AGM batteries, Rolls is one of the top brands. They manufacture a broad range of batteries from marine applications to solar and more. Unlike Lifeline, however, the company has had a few minor issues with defects.
Universal Power Group (UPG) specializes in deep cycle batteries for powering accessories and appliances while the engine is shut off. They offer both AGM and a special spill-proof lead battery made with gel. Likewise, they offer sealed lead batteries that can be placed on their side. UPG has a strong reputation of reliability. Most of their batteries are made for the rigorous dependability of living off-grid and solar applications.
Using thinner lead plates, Odyssey makes some of the most popular dual-purpose batteries. Typically used for trolling and fishing boats, the company backs the batteries with up to a four-year warranty. While suitable for powering fish finders and other small accessories, separate dedicated batteries for starting and deep cycle are still recommended for yachts and larger boats.
Best known for their unique six-cylinder shape and color-coded tops, Optima is a very popular marine battery. They make both starting and dual-purpose batteries, but deep cycle batteries are not part of the lineup. While visually entertaining and a popular brand, it's a shame the warranties only extend for two or three years.
This company's marine batteries are common due to availability at many local retailers. However, warranties on Interstate batteries normally fall between two and three years, depending on the type and BCI group. While you can always take comfort in knowing your local retailer is there if the battery fails, you must still first make it back to shore.
No matter which brand you choose, make sure to understand the application. If you're deep-sea fishing in cold water, then be sure to choose reliable starting batteries. By contrast, yachts with many appliances and accessories will need a large and dependable deep cycle battery. Once you know your purpose, then choosing the brand is much easier.