Lithium vs. lead acid? How to choose the battery for a kayak trolling motor?

Lithium vs. Bleisäure? Wie wählt man die Batterie für einen Kajak-Trolling-Motor aus?

When it comes to kayak fishing, a reliable trolling motor battery is essential for a comfortable and successful experience on the water. The two most common battery types used for kayak trolling motors are lithium and lead-acid batteries.

In this article, we compare the features and benefits of lithium and lead-acid batteries and provide you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision when selecting the ideal battery for your kayak trolling motor.

What is a kayak trolling motor?

A kayak trolling motor is a device that can be attached to a kayak to provide propulsion and make maneuvering on the water easier. It consists of an electric motor, a propeller and a control system. Unlike traditional paddle-powered kayaks, a trolling motor allows kayakers to navigate more easily, cover greater distances, and save energy on long fishing trips.

The kayak trolling motor is typically mounted on the stern (rear) or bow (front) of the kayak, depending on the design and configuration. To ensure stability and safety, attachment can be done using various fastening systems such as brackets or clamps.

Trolling motors for kayaks are usually electric and run on batteries. This makes them quiet, environmentally friendly and suitable for fishing in calm and freshwater environments. The electric motor can be controlled via a tiller or remote control, allowing the kayaker to adjust the speed and direction of the motor as needed.

Kayak trolling motors come in different sizes and power levels to accommodate different kayak sizes and weight capacities. It is important to choose a trolling motor and battery combination that provides sufficient power and runtime for your specific kayak and usage needs.

Research into lead-acid batteries

Lead-acid batteries are traditionally the choice for kayak trolling motors and are known for their longevity and reliability. They are relatively affordable, making them a popular option for anglers on a budget. Lead-acid batteries come in two variants: sealed lead-acid batteries (SLA) and flooded lead-acid batteries (FLA). SLA batteries are maintenance-free and leak-proof, while FLA batteries require occasional maintenance to check the water levels in the cells. Compared to lithium batteries, lead-acid batteries are bulkier and heavier. They also have a shorter lifespan and take longer to charge.

Advantages of Lead Acid Batteries for Kayak Trolling Motors

Affordability: Lead-acid batteries are a cost-effective option that typically cost less than $200 to replace. The low purchase cost makes them an attractive choice for anglers on a budget.

Sealed Options: Sealed lead-acid batteries such as Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries eliminate the risk of spills and environmental damage associated with unsealed versions. This provides additional security and comfort.

Disadvantages of Lead Acid Batteries for Kayak Trolling Motors

Heavy weight: Lead-acid batteries are significantly heavier compared to lithium-ion batteries. The extra weight can cause the kayak to sit deeper in the water, affecting maneuverability and overall performance.

Limited Discharge: To maintain energy efficiency and prevent damage, lead-acid batteries should not be discharged below 50% of their capacity. Discharging below this limit not only reduces its lifespan but also causes the battery to discharge more quickly.

Slow Charging: Charging lead-acid batteries is a slower process compared to lithium-ion batteries. They require multiple charging cycles, including a trickle charge phase that lasts longer and uses more power. This can be a disadvantage for anglers who prefer fast loading times.

Environmental Considerations: It is important to use only sealed lead-acid batteries for kayak trolling motors to avoid acid leakage and environmental damage. Unsealed versions require careful handling and maintenance to avoid possible damage.

Understanding the lithium batteries

Lithium batteries have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their numerous advantages. These batteries are lightweight, compact and offer high energy density, meaning they can deliver more power while weighing significantly less than lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries also have a longer lifespan, allowing you to use them for multiple seasons without having to replace them. They charge quickly and hold their charge for longer periods, which is particularly useful for anglers who require longer sessions on the water.

Benefits of Lithium Ion Batteries for Kayak Trolling Motor

Lightweight: Lithium-ion batteries are well suited for kayaks due to their low weight. They provide a more balanced ride with reduced drag, improving the overall performance of the kayak.

Fast Charging: Lithium-ion batteries can be fully charged in just a few hours, saving time and allowing you to get back on the water quickly. Their fast charging capabilities surpass lead-acid batteries, which require longer charging times.

Deep discharge: Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries can be completely discharged without affecting their service life. They switch off automatically when they are 100% discharged, thereby protecting the battery from damage.

Constant performance: Lithium-ion batteries provide constant performance throughout the charging process, ensuring more consistent power consumption. This allows for a better estimate of battery life and ensures reliable power delivery from your trolling motor.

Long Lifespan: Lithium-ion batteries have an impressive lifespan, often lasting more than a decade when properly cared for. This durability makes them a long-lasting and reliable choice for kayak anglers and reduces the need for frequent battery changes.

Cost Savings:Although lithium-ion batteries have a higher initial cost compared to lead-acid batteries, they offer significant cost savings in the long run. Their longer lifespan allows you to avoid the cost of purchasing multiple lead-acid batteries in the same period.

Disadvantages of lithium batteries

The main disadvantage of lithium-ion batteries is their higher initial cost compared to lead-acid batteries. However, Timeusb offers inexpensive lithium batteries that make the upgrade more affordable.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Kayak Trolling Motor Battery

Weight: Choose a lightweight battery to minimize your kayak's drag for better maneuverability and greater efficiency.

Amp-hour meter: Consider the battery's amp-hour rating (Ah) to ensure it can provide enough current for your trolling motor. Longer rides or demanding conditions may require higher ratings.

Size and portability: Choose a battery that is easy to transport and fits well in your kayak. Bulky batteries can affect balance and make handling difficult.

Lifespan: Look for a battery with a long lifespan to maximize your investment. Consider the number of full discharge cycles it can withstand and the guarantees available for additional safety.

Timeusb batteries, for example, offer exceptional durability with an average lifespan of 4.000 full discharge cycles and a 5-year warranty.

By carefully weighing these factors, you can make an informed decision and select the ideal kayak trolling motor battery that meets your specific needs. This ensures reliable performance, improves your kayaking experience and allows for maximum fun on the water.

How long can a kayak trolling motor run on a 100Ah lithium battery?

The running time of a lithium battery for a kayak trolling motor is affected by factors such as the power draw of the motor and the speed of operation. To estimate run time, you can calculate the amp draw of your trolling motor and divide the battery capacity by that value.

For example, let's say your trolling motor draws 25 amps at top speed. To estimate the running time, divide the capacity of the battery by the ampere consumption:

100Ah / 25A = 4 hours

In this case, using a 100Ah lithium battery with a trolling motor that draws 25 amps at top speed would give about 4 hours of run time. Please note that this is only an estimate as actual runtime may be affected by environmental conditions and usage patterns.

Are lithium-ion batteries for kayak trolling motors worth the investment?

Given the information provided, choosing a lithium-ion battery for your kayak trolling motor is a worthwhile decision. Although the upfront cost may be higher, the long-term benefits make it an excellent investment.

Is it necessary to charge my batteries after each use?

In general, it is recommended that you charge the batteries after each use, even if you use lithium batteries, which are less susceptible to damage from partial discharge compared to lead-acid batteries.

By regularly charging your lithium batteries, you will optimize their capacity and ensure that they are optimally prepared for maximum runtime on your next water trip. This approach will help maintain their overall performance and reliability, ensuring you have a reliable power source for your future boating adventures.