Lithium batteries are taking the marine world by storm, and it’s no wonder. These batteries offer many advantages over the traditional lead-acid, AGM, or sealed gel batteries commonly used in boats.
The benefits you’ll experience with lithium batteries are universal, regardless of the type of boat you need powered. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using these batteries to help you decide if it’s time to make the switch.
Pros of Lithium Batteries for Boats
Whether you’re fishing on your bass boat or cruising around on your houseboat, lithium batteries will improve your experience.
The benefits you’ll get include:
- Weight Reduction
- Energy Efficiency
- Improved Technology
- Performance Enhancement
So, what do each of these actually mean for you? Let’s discuss them in a little more detail to find out.
Every boat has a weight limit, and reducing the weight on it is very important. Keeping your boat lightweight offers many benefits, such as increasing your fuel economy and your boat’s speed.
This is where lithium batteries really excel. Not only do they take up less space, which is also crucial on marine vessels, but they also weigh significantly less than other batteries. You can expect to reduce your battery weight by at least two-thirds, which can amount to a hundred pounds or more depending on your setup. In fact, lithium batteries are so light that they can float, which will provide a big boost for your boat.
When you switch to lithium batteries, you’ll automatically double the amount of power you can use. This is because you can use the total charge of your batteries, making them much more energy efficient than lead-acid batteries.
Lead-acid batteries shouldn’t be depleted below 50%. Doing so can cause damage and shorten the battery’s lifespan. Fortunately, lithium batteries don’t have this problem. They can safely be depleted down to 0% without any negative consequences.
When you’re out fishing ten to twelve hours of the day, this makes a huge difference. You won’t need to constantly monitor your batteries’ charge levels to make sure you don’t discharge them too far. You won’t even need to worry about using your generator to charge them back up because you can likely go multiple days between charges, depending on your usage.
Lithium batteries also charge more efficiently, which leads to shorter charge times. It only takes about a third of the time to fully charge lithium batteries compared to lead-acid batteries, which means you’ll be able to get back on the water quickly.
Lithium batteries do cost more upfront, but the battery’s longevity means that you’ll save money in the long run. Lead-acid batteries require maintenance to stay in good condition, and even with the proper care, they degrade much faster than lithium batteries. In fact, lithium batteries can last five times as long as lead-acids.
Lead-acid batteries only see between 100 to 500 discharge cycles. On the other hand, lithium batteries can get around 3,000 to 5,000 discharge cycles. This equates to at least ten years of lithium battery power for your boat.
Lead-acid batteries require maintenance to keep them in top condition. This includes adding water, checking acid levels, cleaning corrosion, and checking for leaks or spills. Lithium batteries don’t have acid, so they don’t require any maintenance at all. They’re also fully sealed, so you don’t have to worry about moisture or water damage.
Lithium marine batteries use LiFePO4 technology, which is inherently safe. Additionally, they come equipped with an internal BMS, or battery management system. This system monitors the battery constantly to make sure that it’s performing optimally.
You also won’t have to worry about fire or explosions because the BMS detects unsafe conditions by monitoring the temperature and charge of the battery. It has safety circuits that prevent the battery from overheating, overcharging, and over-discharging, which protects the battery’s health and lifespan. Since lithium batteries don’t have acid, you also won’t have to worry about leaks. They won’t produce gases, and they’re non-toxic, making them a much safer and environmentally friendly option.
Lithium batteries provide better performance and power than typical marine batteries. This is because they have better voltage output than lead-acids.
Lead-acid batteries will lose voltage as the charge is drained. They also lose voltage under heavier loads. This is called the Peukert effect. For bass boats, this means that your trolling motor will gradually lose thrust. Once your batteries decrease to 50% charge, you’ll no longer be able to power the motor at all.
Fortunately, lithium batteries don’t suffer from this phenomenon. They can handle heavy loads, and they won’t lose voltage or power no matter the battery’s charge level. Your trolling motor will be running at full strength whether the batteries are at 100% or 1%. This means you’ll get better performance throughout your trip. Plus, you’ll get at least twice the amount of time out on the water.
Cons of Lithium Batteries for Boats
There’s really only one downside to lithium batteries for your boat, and that’s the initial cost.
High Upfront Cost
Lithium batteries are significantly more expensive than lead-acid batteries. They cost about double the amount you’d pay for lead-acids. If you’re not planning to use your boat long-term, this could be a deal-breaker. However, if you’re purchasing a new boat or plan to use yours for years to come, you’ll save money in the long run.
These batteries can last five times as long as lead-acids, which means you won’t have to replace them nearly as often. Plus, you won’t have to pay for maintenance. You’ll also get better fuel economy over the years, saving you plenty of money there, as well.
Many lithium batteries come drop-in ready, and since they’re so lightweight, they’re easy to install on your own. This could potentially save you installation costs, but you may need to buy additional accessories, so keep that in mind.
The high upfront cost may make you think twice about making the switch. However, you’ll recoup that cost over time, especially if you’re spending a lot of time out on your boat.
More and more boaters and anglers are taking advantage of lithium batteries’ power and benefits. They have a longer lifespan, weigh less, and won’t leave you stranded on the water with a dead battery.
Longer lasting power and increased performance will make your outings less stressful and more relaxing, which is exactly what you need when you’re out on the water. If you’re ready to start enjoying all of these benefits, consider making the switch to lithium batteries. It’s well worth the investment.