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How to Choose a Marine Battery

May 25th, 2012 by

Ever feel like “walking the plank” just thinking about shopping for marine batteries?  Take a step back, anchor up, and be prepared to learn the ropes. Here’s a quick guide from Interstate to help you find a battery that best accommodates your boat.

First, there are three types of 12-volt marine batteries: starting (also known as cranking), deep cycle, and dual purpose batteries.  Starting batteries are designed to start the main engine. Deep cycle batteries are used to power accessories and trolling motors. Dual-purpose batteries, as you would expect, are a combination of both starting and deep cycle batteries.

Think we’re done? Read on as we continue to further distinguish each battery. Don’t miss the boat!

Marine Starting Batteries

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"Bwwwwaaaa" -- That's the sound of a successfully cranked marine engine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marine cranking batteries, otherwise known as starting batteries, emit lots of power in short bursts. Starting batteries are made with numerous, extremely thin lead plates with lots of surface area. This characteristic enables a faster power delivery. Starting batteries provide power for accessories while your engine is running, and the battery’s power is replenished by the alternator.

When shopping for marine starting batteries, check the engine manual for its recommended rating. Choose a battery of equal or greater power than the recommended value designated in the engine manual.

Deep-Cycle Marine Batteries


"Nice cranking battery. You'll need something with deeper cycles to catch me, though." (Photo credit: twinxamot)

Deep-cycle marine batteries, contrary to cranking batteries, discharge power at a slower rate for an extended period of time. They have fewer, yet thicker lead plates. These batteries are primarily built to provide power for your trolling motor and other accessories, like fish-finders, whether or not your engine is running.

Dual-Purpose Marine Batteries

Dual-purpose marine batteries can be used both for starting and deep-cycling, though only to an extent. Dual-purpose batteries don’t have as much cranking power as a dedicated starting battery. They’re also  unable to endure as much deep discharge and recharge cycles as a dedicated deep-cycle battery. Dual-purpose marine batteries are best for small boats that have weight restrictions or room for just one battery. Otherwise, you should install two separate batteries, one for starting and one for trolling and accessories.

Time to get on board with Interstate Batteries. Visit your local Interstate All Battery Center or authorized Interstate dealer, and before you know it you’ll be smooth sailing. While you’re there, ask about our new Pro ECL line of marine batteries, offering More Cycles, More Life.

By Kristi Rau (3 Posts)

Posted in All Battery, Marine, Tips
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. […] about a marine battery then? Are they the same as deep cycle batteries? Not necessarily. Although certain types of marine […]

About The Outrageously Dependable Blog

Interstate Batteries® sells more than 16,000 kinds of batteries—from AA alkalines and automotive batteries to critical power solutions, and everything in between. Combine professional battery services, recycling programs and the largest battery distribution network in North America, and you’ll find Interstate has EVERY BATTERY FOR EVERY NEED®. Learn more about Interstate Batteries or shop online!

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