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Choosing The Best Battery Tray For Your Boat Or RV

Choosing The Best Battery Tray For Your Boat Or RV I A scenic path, forested trails, and miles of adventure in your trusty RV…sounds pretty epic, huh? Thankfully your vessel’s powered by long-lasting and durable lithium so you’re not worried about your power source as you galavant across the country. […]

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Series vs. Parallel

Batteries In Series Vs. Parallel – What’s The Difference & Which Is Better? Does your boat, RV, solar setup, or other application demand more voltage or ampere capacity than one battery can muster? If so, connecting batteries in series or parallel might be the solution. But when you’re trying to […]

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Off Grid Solar Batteries: What Type’s Best?

Off Grid Solar Batteries: What Type’s Best? Are you wanting to use solar power off grid? If so, you’re going to need off grid solar batteries–and they’d better be reliable. If you use a grid-tied or hybrid system, it’s possible to run your solar without batteries. But as soon as […]

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What’s the Best Smart Battery Charger for Deep Cycle Batteries?

What’s the Best Smart Battery Charger for Deep Cycle Batteries? So you’ve invested in a deep cycle battery. Now you need to charge it, but not just any charger will do. Like mobile phones and TVs, battery chargers are getting “smart”. So unless you’re the nostalgic type who still uses […]

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How to Charge a Deep Cycle Marine Battery

How to Charge a Deep Cycle Battery Properly Wondering how to charge a deep cycle battery the right way? You’ve come to the right place! So you took the plunge and invested in a deep cycle battery. You’re excited about spending endless hours on the water and powering your trusted […]

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What Size Battery Do I Need For My Boat?

What Size Battery Do I Need For My Boat? Finding the right size battery for your boat can be a pain. Because just like clothes, boat batteries aren’t “one size fits all”. (Of course, “one size” items do exist, but we all know there’s no way they actually fit everyone.) […]

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Portable Solar: How it Works & Who Should Use It

Portable Solar: How it Works & Who Should Use It We have smartphones, microwave dinners, and instant online payment methods. In this world of endless conveniences, there’s a quick solution for every problem. Portable power is no exception! Years ago, the only way to get electricity while camping was to […]

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How To Choose An RV Solar Battery Charger: The Basics

Wondering how to choose an RV solar battery charger? This is the post for you. They say the best things in life are free. That’s certainly true when it comes to powering your RV off grid. Instead of paying for earth-unfriendly generator fuel, why not harvest clean and free energy […]

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Eco Friendly RV Tips: RV Solar Panels, Energy Efficient Batteries, and More

Does your eco friendly RV need to be more eco friendly? If so, you’re in the right place. You wouldn’t toss a bucket of bleach on your favorite houseplant. Or doodle on your brand new car with your keys. We take good care of what we love! So why should […]

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One 36V Battery or Three 12V Batteries? Pros and Cons

Years ago, when an application required 36 volts, the best option was to connect three 12V batteries in a series. But now that 36V batteries have shown up on the market, you might be wondering if using just one battery might “float your boat” better. (Literally, for those who need […]

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Years ago, when an application required 36 volts, the best option was to connect three 12V batteries in a series. But now that 36V batteries have shown up on the market, you might be wondering if using just one battery might “float your boat” better. (Literally, for those who need them to power their trolling motors!)

Here’s an example. Let’s say your trolling motor or other application requires 36 volts and 50AH. You can swap a single 36 volt 50AH battery for three 12V 50 amp hour batteries wired in series. But is that the right way to go?

It depends on what you need to power, the type of battery you’re using, and personal preference. First, let’s take a look at how battery type might affect your choice.

Boat attached to dock with deep cycle marine battery charging.

What type of 36 volt battery are you using?

For certain battery types, choosing between three 12V batteries and one 36V might make more of a difference. For example, lead acid batteries need to be checked often and topped off with distilled water, so you might prefer keeping an eye on just one battery instead of three.

But if you’ve chosen lithium, you’ll cut out maintenance altogether. So maintaining batteries won’t be a factor when it comes to deciding between three 12 volt batteries or one 36 volt battery.

And speaking of lithium…as the latest technology in batteries, it’s superior in every way. Both three 12V batteries and one 36V lithium battery will provide power for twice as long as conventional batteries.

Here are some of the other benefits you get just by choosing lithium:

  • No maintenance needed.
  • Faster charge time than conventional batteries (2 hours or less).
  • Toxin free, won’t leak, and safe to store indoors.
  • Three 12V lithium batteries or a 36V lithium battery will weigh 70% less than a similar setups of other battery types.
  • Amperage remains consistent even when below 50% battery life.
  • Discharge rate when not in use is only 2% per month (The rate is 30% for lead acid batteries).

Three 12V lithium batteries vs. 36V lithium battery

Two fishermen fishing in a bass boat on a lake.

Ok, so you’ve chosen lithium. Now let’s get to the question at hand. Should you use a single 36V battery to power your trolling motor/other application? Or three 12V batteries?

Truth is, both options work well with lithium! So you could say the only “pros” and “cons” are based on application-specific needs and personal preference. Here’s a breakdown of the difference between using a 36 volt battery vs. three 12 volt batteries:

Pros and Cons of Using Three 12V Lithium Batteries

Pros: One argument for using three 12 batteries in a series is that if one of them fails, it’s easy to replace. Also, you have more flexibility when placing the batteries in your application. This may be useful for those who want to distribute weight in a boat.

Unlike a 36 volt battery, you won’t need a special charger for your 12V batteries. They’re also engine start assist capable.

Cons: The more batteries you have, the more connection points you have. You’ll have to mount and connect each one, and each exposed connection is a potential source of unreliability.

Pros and Cons of Using One 36V Lithium Battery

Pros: The most obvious advantage of choosing a single 36V battery is, well, it’s only one! One lightweight battery (if it’s lithium) to install and store. Just one set of cables to hook up, less connection points to worry about, and less clutter to trip over.

Another pro is the fact that 36V batteries are “plug and go”. You don’t have to figure out how to link three 12V batteries together in a series to obtain the higher voltage.

But the most important advantage for many might be the fact that using just one 36V battery saves space! That’s great for fishing boats, where every inch of space counts. It’s one reason why they’re popular for use with high powered trolling motors.

Cons: You’ll need a special charger for a 36V lithium battery. 12V chargers are more common on the market, but they won’t cut it.

Trolling Fishing Poles On The Back Of A Bass Boat.

Other considerations

What about the price of a 36v battery vs. three 12v batteries? Will one option set you back more hard-earned cash than the other? Probably not. While 12V batteries are less expensive, you’ll have to purchase three of them to get the power you need. And unless you’re needing a new charger to accompany it, the cost for a 36v battery is only slightly higher.

The bottom line is that both choices work just fine. There isn’t a huge difference between using three 12V batteries or one 36V battery as far as advantages and disadvantages go, as long as you’re using lithium. Choose the setup that works best for your application and needs.

And here’s some more good news – we’ve got both options! Shop for our new 36V lithium battery here, or check out 12V lithium batteries here.

Learn more about lithium batteries here:

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