When you think of power and sailboats, you may think of a stiff sea breeze helping propel you over the waves. But just about every sailboat owner also needs a different kind of power: the electricity that powers many of the vital systems that make sailing safe and comfortable. Traditionally, this power has been stored in lead-acid batteries, but new lithium technology has revolutionized the industry in the past decade. Join us as we take a closer look at the best lithium battery for sailboats and what makes them stand out. 

What Is a Lithium Battery? 

Lithium-ion batteries are a relatively new and fast-developing battery technology that produces energy through a different process than traditional lead-acid batteries. In those old-school batteries, power is generated through a reaction of lead plates in a sulphuric acid solution. 

In contrast, lithium batteries create energy as lithium ions move through an electrolyte solution from the negatively charged anode to the positively charged cathode side of the battery. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it makes all the difference when it comes to the enormous advantages lithium has over traditional battery technology. 

Are Lithium Batteries Good for Boats?

When it comes to sailboats, there’s no question — lithium batteries are the best choice for just about all boat owners. While you may primarily rely on the power of the wind to take you from point A to point B, the vital systems that make your boat comfortable to use will need a source of electricity.

While there are numerous forms of power generation and storage systems, none compare to the short- and long-term benefits of lithium batteries.

Benefits of Lithium Batteries for Sailboats 

Lithium batteries offer numerous advantages over traditional lead-acid batteries. Here are some of the most important ones.

Extended Lifespan

Compared to old-school batteries, new lithium ones will last substantially longer. Most lead-acid batteries will need replacement after two to five years, depending on usage. On the other hand, lithium batteries can last a decade or longer. Plus, they require no maintenance once installed, making them a true “set it and forget it” power solution. 

This extended lifespan helps neutralize one of the only downsides of lithium batteries, which is their higher initial cost compared to lead acid. However, over time, these costs even out due to the fewer replacement batteries needed and the lack of labor costs for those who aren’t comfortable doing their own installation. 

lithium vs lead acid diagram

Faster Charging Time

Lithium batteries take the cake when it comes to charging time, and it’s not particularly close. This is due to important differences in their battery chemistry. Lithium batteries reach a full charge two to three times faster than traditional batteries. This means that just by switching to lithium you can shorten generator run time, make solar panels more efficient or top off quicker at the marina.

Not only do lithium batteries charge faster, but they also last longer between charges. Lead-acid batteries shouldn’t be discharged below a certain level, or they may be damaged. Some lithium batteries, like our Battle Born line, have no such restrictions, allowing you to get more out of your battery capacity. These are all compelling reasons to go search for the best lithium batteries for sailboats that you can find.

Safer Than AGM

Many boaters may have seen some high-profile instances of lithium battery fires. Fires were common during the early deployment of lithium batteries, and are more common with certian chemistry types. However, the LiFePo4 chemistry that we use in our batteries is substantially safer than most older styles of battery, including the popular AGM style. AGM batteries, along with most other lead-acid varieties, need adequate ventilation away from your living or sleeping space. Improperly vented batteries can cause buildups of toxic gases or even explosions. 

Additionally, lithium batteries are completely sealed, compared to some lead-acid varieties that need to be periodically topped off with fluid. With lithium, you’ll never have any reason to come in contact with dangerous battery acid or other materials. 

Lastly, our Battle Born batteries provide safety disconnects built right into the battery to protect from short circuits, damaging charge voltages, and temperatures. Lead acid has no such protections and is a common cause of battery failures and even fires.

What Are the Best Lithium Batteries for Sailboats?

High-quality lithium iron phosphate chemistry (sometimes referred to by its chemical designation, LiFePO4 or LFP) is the best choice. At Battle Born, we work hard in our Reno, Nevada plant to offer the simplest and most reliable battery for all marine applications.  

We build stronger, safer batteries that are available in a variety of sizes and specifications. So whether you only make an occasional weekend outing or live full-time on your sailboat, Battle Born offers batteries and battery kits tailored specifically for sailboat use.  

About Battle Born Batteries

Battle Born Batteries has been operating on the cutting-edge of the lithium battery industry for nearly a decade. Based in Reno, Nev., Battle Born’s experts know batteries and the manufacturing process front to back. 

Plus, the company offers a variety of resources for users and lifetime support. In addition to sailboat-specific batteries, Battle Born also manufactures and sources many different products for use in RVs and vans, as well as off-the-grid homes. 

Our Reno-based Battle Born Team sailing with Cruisers Academy on Lake Tahoe
Our Reno-based Battle Born Team sailing with Cruisers Academy on Lake Tahoe

Power Systems for Sailboats by Battle Born Batteries 

Not all sailboat owners have the same needs and lifestyles. But no matter how you choose to enjoy your time out on the water, Battle Born has the system for you. Here are some of the best lithium batteries for sailboats for those looking to make the switch. 

Sailboat Kit (12V or 24V)

This is the standard level Battle Born kit for sailboat owners, but don’t be fooled — there’s nothing basic about it. Available in both 12V and 24V systems, buyers can choose capacities from 300 to 800 amp hours. Victron and Sterling components help fill out everything you need to get your system ready to go. Prices range from the low $5,000s to just under $11,000 per kit.

Sailboat GC2 Kit (12V or 24V)

GC2 batteries offer the physical form of a 6V lead-acid or AGM battery. However, they pack the power and features of a 12V or 24V lithium battery. This can be extremely valuable for those upgrading their sailboat who don’t want to physically modify their battery storage area. 

Aside from this small difference, Battle Born’s GC2 kit offers all the same benefits and high-quality manufacturing as the company’s other sailboat-focused offerings. These GC2 systems run from approximately $5,400 to just over $11,000.

Sailboat 8D Kit (12V or 24V)

If space isn’t a factor and you’d like to get batteries with the largest capacity and the most cold-cranking amps, an 8D sailboat kit may be the best choice for you. These batteries are physically larger, which provides additional power and storage.

They’re a great choice for sailboaters who may draw significant amounts of power at once. They’re also good for those who spend extended periods between charges. 8D kits can be found from just over $7,000 to just over $18,000.

You’re in Good Hands With the Best Lithium Batteries for Sailboats

Lithium batteries are a true game changer, even in a mode of transportation as ancient as sailing. With their lighter weight, increased capacity and safety, shorter charge time, and longer lifespan, there’s no comparison to clunky, inefficient old lead-acid batteries.

If you want to improve your sailboat’s power system dramatically, there’s no better way to do it than with an upgrade to Battle Born’s best lithium batteries for sailboats. 

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!

Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.

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