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When Should You Consider Upgrading To Lithium Marine Batteries?

Lithium batteries are a relatively new and expensive option for marine applications. These batteries are more than just the latest trend, however. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries offer real, practical advantages for many boaters. On the other hand, their high price also means they're not suitable for every budget and every situation, even when money isn't a major concern.

Of course, that begs the question: when does it make sense to upgrade your marine batteries to lithium? Will you see benefits from an upgrade that make them worth the cost? These three questions will help you evaluate your unique situation so you can decide if the cost of lithium batteries is justified for your boat.

1. Are You Planning Future Upgrades?

More accessories mean greater power needs. Running additional gear off of one or two batteries will stress your boat's electrical system and lead to reduced runtime while on the water. Anyone who's slowly upgraded a small fishing boat over time knows that "feature creep" inevitably leads to a larger battery bank and a tighter battery compartment.

If you're planning to keep adding more power-hungry accessories to your boat, your battery requirements can quickly spiral out of control. Replacing some of your existing batteries with lighter, more powerful lithium batteries can provide you with the breathing room you need for future upgrades without occupying more space on your boat.

2. Is Weight a Concern?

Weight is always an issue for small craft. Deep-cycle AGM batteries can weigh between 60-70 lbs., with larger group sizes weighing even more. A handful of AGM batteries will quickly approach the weight of an additional passenger, which can be a significant issue for small boats or boats operating with relatively low-power trolling motors.

Weight balance is another concern. If you aren't distributing your batteries around your boat, a large bank of AGM batteries can impact your boat's handling or even create a list. Upgrading to lithium solves both problems, reducing the overall weight of your boat's battery bank and helping to deal with stability issues caused by heavy batteries.

3. Are Your Current Batteries Underpowered?

You don't need to plan future upgrades to benefit from lithium batteries. Lower weight and higher energy density mean that you can get more power from a battery with a similar size and weight to your existing AGM batteries. If your current battery bank isn't supplying enough power, a swap to lithium batteries is worth considering.

Replacing your existing AGM batteries with lithium serves the dual purpose of reducing weight and providing extra power, letting you stay out on the water for longer and spend less time worrying about the charge of your batteries.

Contact a supplier to learn more about marine batteries