Features to consider when choosing a battery for marine use
Features, of course, bring out the best qualities of a marine battery. If you are aware of what it means for a marine cranking battery to have a particular feature, you can make smart choices with regards to your purchase. Most importantly, you can tell which features are a must-have for you and which ones aren’t.
Each of the devices mentioned above is indicated to be either a cranking battery, a deep cycle battery, or dual purpose. Each of these will have a specific use in mind during their construction. The cranking/starting marine battery, for instance, outputs short bursts of high current energy to ensure they start up the engine. Deep cycle counterparts, on the other hand, can discharge continuously. The third option, however, is a hybrid of the two. Odyssey 31M-PC2150ST-M is the perfect example of such a kind of battery.
As to the kind of battery you end up buying, there are different options to choose from. The AGM or absorbent glass mat type is the most prevalent on our list. It seems to hold a few advantages such as spill resistance, faster charge capacity, better life cycle than with flooded batteries, and more. In addition to flooded and AGM cells, there are gel options, as well.
Flooded batteries require a lot of maintenance and can only be installed upright as they may leak toxic materials. On the other hand, they are cheaper than most other counterparts. If you buy a gel battery, you are guaranteed a more extended life since they handle more charging cycles than other counterparts. They are also safer than the flooded ones.
The CCA is also something you need to look out for in a battery. CCA stands for cold cranking amps. As the name suggests, the CCA implies the amps that the device will deliver while still at 0°F. The output is not meant to last very long, and often, gets to about 30 seconds. As such, it is more commonly used to start engines. Reserve capacity, on the other hand, refers to how long the battery can continuously emit a charge of 25 amps. An RC of 140 minutes, as depicted by the Optima 8037-127 D27F, means the device can consistently produce such a charge for slightly over two hours.
20-Hour capacity (rating)
The 20-hour capacity rating will sometimes be depicted on the packaging of the battery you buy. It indicates how many amps it will discharge over that period. The VMAX MR127, for example, is rated at 100 Ah with regards to the 20-hour capacity. As such, it will discharge 4 Ah for every hour until the 20th.
Battery group size is unique to each vehicle as they are all made by different manufacturers. You will often see a direct correlation between the group size and the dimensions that make up the battery. Also, the terminal locations may be unique to each group size. If you are using a particular group size, you should stick with it as changing it up may bring up some problems. However, if the group size you are on isn’t ideal, feel free to change it up until you find the right size. Nevertheless, there is an easier way to go about this where you can ask your boat manufacturer which marine battery group size is best. Some standard sizes are depicted as 24, 27, 31, 6D, 8D, and more.
Durability and design
The design of each marine battery also has an impact on how you can use it. If, for instance, it has AGM as the main component, you are free to install it upside down as it can function that way as well. Also, check on the durability of the casing where terms like shock resistance come into play. You can as well note the cycles that the device is capable of.
Some devices will have extra features. Those made by the VMAX company, for example, come with handles which some of the other manufacturers have left out in their designs. This will, of course, give this battery an edge over counterparts if there is nothing else separating the two.