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It goes without saying you need power on your boat. Whether you want to run underwater lights or a trolling motor. Battery power is essential to keep things working. Important safety equipment like your VHF radio absolutely relies on it. So how do you keep your marine battery safe and secure? You get a marine battery box. Let’s take a look at the best of the best.
Best Premium Choice
1. Newport vessels Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box
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With a built-in battery charge meter, this has great features. But the Newport Vessels smart battery box is just getting started. The LED display shows you what kind of charge you have left in your battery. Just push a button and it displays the battery status. That’s great for helping you plan the rest of your time on the water. It also features integrated 10 Amp and 60 Amp circuit breakers. You can be confident your electronics won’t be getting damaged when they’re attached. The 60 amp is ideal for your trolling motor. The 10 amp can handle your other accessories. It comes with a direct USB charger and a 12 V DC accessory port as well.
Mounting is remarkably easy. It’s also designed with non-slip rubber for an added level of security. It’s designed for series 24 and 27 batteries. If you’re using an inflatable pontoon or a smaller jon boat, this could be ideal. The box measures 17 inches x 12 inches x 10 inches.
The box remains secure and sealed when you’re using any accessories or running your motor. You can easily charge your battery in the box as well by connecting it to a charger.
Newport Vessels is based in California. Their customer service has proven to be very friendly and responsive. If you have any issues, they should be able to address them quickly and easily for you.
The box is a little pricier than some, but it’s clearly well made. It’s tough, durable, and versatile. If you want a real standout advanced battery box, this is a great choice.
Best Overall Choice
2. Minn Kota Trolling Motor Battery Box
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The Minnkota trolling motor battery box is the best in the business. This is a real standout. Featuring dual circuit breakers this trolling motor will more than meet your needs. And keep your electronic devices safe and secure.
The external battery terminals are easy access, no need to worry about opening the case. Compared to a lot of the competition, this is a simple feature that can’t be overlooked. You won’t be spending a lot of time trying to get access.
It has dual accessory ports to meet the needs of most small fishing boats. They’re 12 V DC ports so your lights or fish finder can be powered easily. It features a built-in battery meter as well so you can see how much power you’re dealing with.
The case is designed to handle series 24 and 27 batteries. It measures 14.9 inches x 8.7 inches x 15 inches. It can be transom mounted to keep it safe and secure out of the way.
The case is sturdy and durable. It can stand up to UV radiation as well as oil and more. If there is a leak inside, it’s able to handle battery acid easily.
Minn Kota is an American company with a great track record. Their name comes from where the founder used to fish near the Minnesota North Dakota border. The company actually created the first gear-driven electric trolling motor. So you better believe they know what anglers and boaters need on the water. Their customer service is second to none, as is the quality of the products they make. That’s why this is our choice for the best battery box on the market.
Best Budget Choice
3. Attwood Heavy Duty Battery Box
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Attwood has the distinction of being a brand that can merge good quality and low prices. Their heavy duty battery box is a great example of this. If you’ve used Attwood products in the past, you know they can get the job done. Then look at the price tag and heave a sigh of relief. You can buy this thing with the change in your car’s console. There’s a reason Amazon has it listed as one of their best sellers.
The box itself is simple enough but amazingly durable. From -20 F to 120 F it can handle a massive temperature range. It’s been drop tested to ensure it can handle it all. The straps are able to handle up to 350lbs of force, so don’t expect the lid to fly open and dump your battery out of the blue.
The box itself is 10.12 inches x 18 inches x 21.75 inches. It’s designed to handle series 27 batteries. The handles are large enough to accommodate some big hands. If that sounds silly to you, then count yourself lucky. If you have big hands, the little handles on some of these boxes can be a pain to deal with. The edges are rounded too, which is another nice touch.
Mounting hardware is included, but take note, you will need to drill some holes in it. The vents are also located on the top. That means you’ll need to be cautious of where you mount the box. The potential for spray or rain to get in is there if not mounted safely.
4. Elephant Cases Kayak Battery Box
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Elephant cases are tough little battery boxes. This is seriously a commercial grade battery box. It looks like a tool box and it can handle a serious beating. At the same time, it offers a lot of versatility. The box fits standard 12V-7AH / 9AH marine batteries. It also features dual 2 pin polarized connectors (25A). They’re waterproof even when the cap is off, which is a nice feature.
Your battery is more than secure inside. There’s vibration absorbing foam to keep it in place. The box even floats if you have lithium batteries inside of it. The small size and versatility make it ideal for a kayak battery box. There are three male connectors, so you can attach a number of different accessories. Things like your fish finder or navigation lights can be operated easily and safely.
The box has several tie down points if you want to secure it in place. If you’ve used a battery box on a kayak before, you know this is integral. Finding a good place to secure the box can take some creativity. But you definitely don’t want it running loose in case you happen to flip over at some point. The Elephant case takes a lot of the worry out of figuring all that out.
If you’re looking for a sturdy and reliable battery box for a smaller boat or kayak, this is a great choice.
5. Homeon Wheels Trolling Motor Battery Box
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Homeon has a very cool entry into the smart battery box category. This trolling motor battery box has some of the coolest extras you want when you look for a smart box.
The box itself can fit group 24 and group 27 batteries. It’s lightweight and even features a convenient carrying handle. The more battery boxes you see, the more you realize that’s a weirdly overlooked feature. Just remember, it’s for moving the empty box around. Use the side handles when there’s a battery inside. The weight will put too much stress on that top handle and it could break. A fabric strap and buckle keep it tightly sealed when you have it closed up
In terms of smart features, it has a lot to offer. There’s a visual voltmeter on top for easy viewing. There’s a power and reset switch there as well. There are two USB ports for plugging in things like cell phones and other accessories to charge. There are also a pair of 12V accessory plugs. The main switch operates to manually reset the circuit breaker. Your electronics are protected by a 16 A circuit breaker.
One USB charging port is 2.1A. The other is 1A. The case is made of a thermoplastic and it’s UV stabilized. That means it’s safe to sit out in the sun for a long time.
One thing to be on the lookout for is that nylon strap that holds it together. It’s not the sturdiest thing in the world. Make sure you tighten it well. And remember, don’t lift by the handle if the battery is installed.
6. Camco Standard Battery Box
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Camco has made a simple, durable, polypropylene box here. The lid just lifts off, but it has a woven strap to hold it in place when you need it closed. It meets all United States Coast Guard requirements for use at sea, so no worries about safety. The dimensions are 7 ¼ inch wide X 10 3/4 inch long X 8 inch tall. There’s also an added 2 inches for the terminals. You can get a different sized box as well if this doesn’t meet your needs. Just check with the manufacturer and see what other sizes are available. This one is meant for group size 24 batteries.
There aren’t any bells and whistles with this box. It’s just straight to the point. A tough, durable box that costs under $20. It features foot clamps as well as the necessary mounting hardware. The lid is ventilated in case there is some kind of leak. Because it’s polypropylene, it can stand up to most things you throw at it. Battery acid won’t eat through, and it can handle oil and fuel spills as well. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to transport. All in all, if you want a cheap, simple battery box, this is a winner.
7. NOCO Snap Top Battery Box
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The NOCO snap top battery box is about as simple as it gets. This is not one of the smart battery boxes so don’t look for a USB charger or anything like that. Instead, it’s just a box. And it’s dirt cheap, too.
It meets United States Coast Guard standards for safety. The snaps lock the lid in place. There are also easy grip handles to allow you to move it around. It can handle temperatures down to -20 F, which is extremely cold. It’s also durable and can handle most bumps and thumps. That said, don’t go throwing it around for kicks, of course.
The interior of the box provides a snug fit for most battery sizes. Make sure you check the size of the box against the size of your battery. There are several size options available. All standard size batteries should be covered, no problem.
In the event there is a leak, the battery acid is safely collected in the bottom. Ventilation prevents a build up of dangerous fumes inside as well. The durable plastic case is rugged and can handle anything you’re likely to throw at it on a boat. It can endure extended UV exposure as well as oil or fuel spills.
Another great aspect is how easy it is to work with this box. If you want a power box, you can modify this pretty easily. A few well placed holes and you can make it adaptable for USB cables and more.
What is a Marine Battery Box?
Basically a marine battery box is a box for your battery. Pretty simple, right? A battery box allows you to protect your battery in several ways. First, many batteries need to be kept upright. If your battery falls over, you could potentially spill dangerous chemicals. The box prevents that from happening. But also, the box protects it from the elements as well. Water, dirt and other things are going to have a harder time getting to your battery if it’s in a battery box. On a boat, you’re at constant risk of things both falling over and getting wet. So having some protection just makes sense.
A battery box has about a one inch buffer inside of it. That pads the battery to prevent it from rattling around and it can absorb any hits or blows the box takes.
The box also ensures nothing hits the battery terminals. If metal or saltwater contacted your terminals, it could cause serious battery damage. Things like radios and trolling motors won’t work long. Not if your marine battery terminals corrode.
Why are Marine Battery Boxes Necessary?
So what happens if you choose not to use a battery box? Well, to start with, if you’re up North you have a problem. Batteries don’t do well in subzero weather. A battery box can shield your battery to a certain degree against freezing temps. If you don’t have a battery box, cold weather could actually cause the battery case to break. If that happens, the battery is all but useless now. Plus, you can have a spill.
The chemicals inside a battery, what most people call battery acid, is dangerous. It can ruin most materials it’s likely to come in contact with on your boat. It’s also highly toxic for people as well. If you have a battery spill, it could be a real danger for you or your passengers. Especially if you have kids on board.
By that same token, if a battery leaks into the water, that can cause serious environmental impact. We have to do our best to be stewards of the environment all the time. That means minimizing pollution whenever we can.
Choosing the Best Marine Battery Box
You have basically two choices when it comes to a marine battery box. You can get just a literal box or you can get a power station. These smart boxes offer a number of features as you saw in our reviews. So it depends on what you need your battery box to do for you. If you need something to hold trolling motor batteries with external ports and LED battery meters, go smart. But if you just need a basic box for your lead acid battery then that’s exactly what you should get.
Simple battery boxes are going to protect your battery. They protect your boat as well. No extra features, but the price tag can’t be beat. Our best value choice is under $10. That’s pretty remarkable. You can use these if you really don’t want to use your battery for anything other than what it’s there to do. If you’re just out fishing alone on the bass boat and want to relax, this could be great. But for a little more diversity, try a smart box.
A smart battery box tries to make the most of your battery and its design. Many will offer things like a voltmeter, which is remarkably handy. At a glance, you can see how much power you have in your battery. That takes a lot of the guesswork out of knowing how much time you have left on the water.
Smart battery boxes can also let you use other accessories. You can use USB ports to charge things like cell phones. Sometimes on a boat passengers can get bored. Especially the kids. Having a spare USB port so they can keep busy can be a lifesaver.
Accessory ports are typically available as well. These are often more useful for when you are in an RV. But they can still be handy on a boat depending on what electronics you’re using.
Some of the best features of a smart box are safety features. An On/Off switch and a reset switch are so simple. Yet they can make things much easier for you on a boat. No need to worry about disconnecting cables in a pinch. Just hit the button and everything is off. Hit it again and everything is on.
These boxes will also come with circuit breakers very often. Something like dual integrated circuit breakers can be extremely helpful. Dual circuit breakers are the best for protecting all the electronics you may be running. And having two circuit breakers is obviously more efficient than one.
The big downside to a smart box is the price. You’re paying substantially more for this kind of battery box. If you know you’ll make use of the extra features they’re a great investment. If they’re not things you’ll be using often. Maybe hold off for now. We think, in an emergency, a smart battery box can really prove its worth. Being able to plug in a phone if your radio died, for instance, could be a game changer. But again, tailor your choice to your needs and budget.
The Bottom Line
A marine battery box is just a good idea. You need to keep safety as a top priority on your boat. The battery box protects both the battery and the boat. It can offer a lot of versatility as well. With the added features of a smart box, you’ll be able to see your battery life at a glance. You can also charge your phone and run other devices simultaneously. All with a simple push of a button.