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Author Topic:   KIRKLAND Marine Battery
nats posted 03-23-2011 03:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for nats   Send Email to nats  
Has anyone used [a KIRKLAND marine battery purchased from COSTCO] in [a Boston Whaler boat]?
Jeff posted 03-23-2011 03:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
I have used [COSTCO] deep-cycle batteries in my last three Whalers and their automotive batteries in the last three cars and trucks I have owned. Never had a problem with them and always have been very happy with them.
contender posted 03-23-2011 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
I use [marine batteries] from WALMART. The good thing about WALMART is the no-problem on the return if needed. I just took one of the batteries back about a month ago. It was one month from being out of date. [I was given] a full refund. [I] purchased a new battery with the same money [for] nothing out of pocket. [N]ow it [is] good for another two or three years, and can be returned again if needed.
frontier posted 03-23-2011 05:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
The best marine batteries are still Interstate, but Costco's Kirkland are a close second. Value prize goes to Costco as usual because of low cost.
20dauntless posted 03-23-2011 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless    
[How is] the quality of the WALMART battery? I really don't care about the return policy if the batteries leave me stranded along a rocky coast or in a secluded anchorage.
elaelap posted 03-23-2011 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
For what it's worth, I'm replacing the two almost-worn-out batteries in my 1982 Montauk with Costco "Deep Cycle 27s" on advice from the marine electrician who is used by many of the commercial and recreational charter boat skippers out here. He says the balance of quality and price can't be beat.


contender posted 03-23-2011 08:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
20dauntless--I have not had a problem with the largest marine battery WALMART have to offer that I use. The reason the last one went bad was because it sat almost for year, last year of a 3 year battery, without use while I was restoring the whaler. I have an dkeep my boat on a trailer and disconnect the battery when not in use. I feel that batteries after about 3 years in a boat it [is] time to change anyway, you can not just get out on the ocean and walk to a phone for help. Take care.
devildogs posted 03-23-2011 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for devildogs  Send Email to devildogs     
Costco's Kirkland batteries are made by Interstate.
6992WHALER posted 03-28-2011 10:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6992WHALER  Send Email to 6992WHALER     
I have four Kirkland marine batteries and one automotive. One of the marine batteries failed. Costco gave me more back then I should have received based on the prorate sticker on the battery. They never asked me for a receipt. They just looked the battery up on the computer and said, "here is what we owe you; sorry for your inconvenience."

I don't think many companies could or would do that without a receipt. With the exception of the faulty one the others have worked great.

Jefecinco posted 03-29-2011 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Buy quality AGM batteries and forget about them for the next several years. The availability of quality AGMs at your local Sears makes the decision easier.

There are a couple of disadvantages to AGMs such as higher weight, initial cost, and some older or smaller outboard engines may lack the charging capacity needed to maintain AGM requirements.

Most who have been using AGMs for several years will, I believe, recommend them. I also believe the lifetime costs may be lower than with old technology batteries. Certainly the maintenance requirements are much less with AGMs. They never require water to top up the electrolyte and in my experience with them installed in a closed space they never need cleaning. They maintain a charge more effectively when not in use. I used AGMs in my previous Whaler for about eight years and they were going strong when I sold the boat. Other than a top off charge after long periods of non-use they received no maintenance.

We all have budgets we have to contend with but I found AGMs to be a little like GPS in that once you have the technology you won't want to be without it.


jimh posted 03-29-2011 12:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is a myth that an AGM battery has a significantly lower self-discharge rate than a quality conventional flooded cell battery. I investigated this myself with careful measurements over a period of many months. I also note that in recent marine vendor catalogues the myth has been dropped as a characterization of AGM batteries compared to flooded cell batteries.

Flooded cell batteries tend to outlast AGM batteries because the electrolyte can be refilled. All batteries where long life is important tend to be flooded cell batteries which can be refilled.

Most of the battery comparisons that tend to be made which favor AGM batteries over flooded cell batteries are between a $45 cheap flooded cell battery and a $295 AGM. If you compare batteries of similar cost and quality, the AGM and flooded cell batteries compare very favorably. Of course, if there is concern about a spill, the sealed battery wins that comparison. There is no debate there. But I would not try to promote AGM batteries on the basis of significantly lower self-discharge or on longer life, because those qualities are not recognized as being inherent in the AGM compared to flooded cell.

The AGM will have a lower self-discharge than other sealed batteries which are often called no-maintenance batteries because the lead in those non-AGM sealed batteries is often alloyed with other elements to provide more strength so that the plates can be made thinner. But in a good-ol' hulk and heavy-duty lead-acid flooded cell battery the plates are thick and made with lead of high purity. It is the lead purity which affects self-discharge rate, not the absorbed electrolyte.

For more on self-discharge of storage batteries, see these threads:

jimh posted 03-29-2011 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is highly likely that the KIRKLAND brand of battery--and by the way I have never heard of this brand before--is NOT manufactured by a plant those signage says "Kirkland Battery Manufacturing Plant" and is located in the United States. KIRKLAND is just a private label brand for a particular retailer, in this case a retail club member vendor, COSTCO.

The batteries are probably made in China by the cheapest possible supplier if they're AGM batteries. The sealed nature and lack of spilled acid in an AGM also allows them to be made in China and shipped to the USA for sale. Flooded cell batteries have to be shipped dry, then filled with acid, charged, and carefully delivered to retailers.

If the batteries are not AGM they're probably made in the USA by one of a handful of actual battery manufacturers.

High-volume retailers often are able to buy and sell commodity items like batteries at low prices because they negotiate good pricing from the manufacturer and keep their overhead low by avoiding advertising for the brand. The KIRKLAND brand demonstrates the lack of advertising by the fact that I have never heard of it before its mention here. I consider myself to be well acquainted with battery brands, so to fly under the radar as it has the KIRKLAND brand must be rather obscure.

Since it is a house brand of a specialty retail-club vendor, it hardly matters what the brand name might be. The manufacturer probably insists that their product not be sold under the recognized brand names usually associated with the manufacturer so as not to create a dispute with its other outlets selling the recognized brand at higher prices.

As mentioned, saving $5 on a battery is not particularly meaningful if you become stranded in your boat when the battery fails.

Jefecinco posted 03-29-2011 06:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Your points are taken. At least you didn't say flooded cell batteries require less maintenance and attention than AGM batteries.

Not having done testing of my own I can't argue that your tests concluding AGMs do not have a better self discharge rate than flooded cell batteries. However, my experience with low maintenance/sealed flooded cell batteries which are commonly sold as marine batteries by many outlets indicates the AGMs self discharge at a lower rate.

You seem to imply that AGMs are generally manufactured in China. Did I get that right? If so, perhaps you are correct but I've only owned Optima and DieHard AGMs. I believe Optima moved to Mexico or perhaps China(?) but I believe DieHard AGMs are manufactured in the US by Odessy (?sp) but do not know this to be a fact.

I can also report that the first pair of AGMs I installed lasted me for eight years and were in use when the boat was sold. I have never had a flooded cell battery last as long. Even when operating power plants which use large banks of flooded cell batteries to provide static excitation for voltage control I found battery life frequently less than eight years. The battery banks in power plants receive a lot of maintenance and attention due to the criticality of their function.

AGMs are not the best battery for everyone's boat, but they are the best for my boat and I therefore recommend them to others.


jimh posted 03-29-2011 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re self-discharge, I mentioned that an AGM battery will have a lower self-discharge rate than a conventional sealed or no-maintenance battery. This is because the lead in most sealed batteries is not pure lead but it alloyed with certain other elements to achieve other benefits. This is not a point in dispute here.

The self-discharge rate of an AGM is mostly affected by the purity of the lead used to make it. It is not intrinsic that all AGM batteries will use high-purity lead. AGM refers to the technique of an absorbed electrolyte, not to high-purity lead. It is entirely possible for an AGM battery to use lead whose purity is no different than another battery. The only way an AGM battery has low self-discharge is if it has been made with high-purity lead. The better AGM batteries are made with high-purity lead, but then so are the better flooded cell batteries. So we are back to my point: an AGM battery cannot be said to always have a lower self-discharge rate than other batteries. It depends on the AGM and on the other battery.

Many--perhaps most--AGM batteries are made in China. Certain boutique-brand AGM batteries may be made in the USA. For replacement service in large uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices, in the past four or five years, I have purchased 120 AGM batteries in three flights of 40-batteries. All were made in China. I asked our supplier if he could furnish AGM batteries made in the USA. He could not. He told me that the AGM batteries he could get were all made in China.

The durability and life span of the China-made AGM batteries seems to be improving. Our first set barely lasted three years. The second set did make it into the fourth year. The third set is now well into its fourth year with no problems so far, other than one cell out of twenty. For our use the attraction of the AGM is its lower cost and freedom from worries about spilling and ventilation. In the long run it probably would be more economical to use high-quality flooded cell batteries, but we would need a much different and much larger enclosure to house them and we would have substantially higher initial costs.

jimh posted 03-29-2011 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To get back to KIRKLAND batteries as a brand, I guess you have to become a club member in the retailer's club to get them. I don't see that KIRKLAND batteries represent enough of an incentive to join the retailer's membership club. I suspect that a small fraction of boaters use KIRKLAND batteries. I haven't heard anything particularly special about them that would be so attractive I would want to pay a membership fee to obtain the privilege of being able to buy one.

The next boat battery I will buy will probably be a Sears DIEHARD PLATINUM MARINE battery. They periodically are put on sale at a nice discounted prices, the retailer has a huge nation-wide presence, and the battery appears to be of the highest quality.

Tom W Clark posted 03-29-2011 09:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
What red-blooded American doesn't belong to COSTCO?

The Sears Platinum Marine batteries are made by Odyssey Batteries:

Tom W Clark posted 03-29-2011 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark
Jefecinco posted 03-30-2011 09:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Well, at least I now know how to spell Odyssey.

Jim, I assume you're using two volt one cell batteries in your UPS system. I can understand going to AGM batteries in that application. As you said maintenance and ventilation for sixty plus batteries and the interconnecting cables is quite a chore. The explosion hazzard is also significant and worries over damage and injury due to handling electrolyte are present. The charging system is another source of trouble as it ages.


jimh posted 03-30-2011 10:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The UPS uses 12-volt batteries. A series connection of 40 batteries gives about 530-volts on the DC main bus.
blacksmithdog posted 04-13-2011 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for blacksmithdog  Send Email to blacksmithdog     
Man, what a bummer, my CostCo doesn't carry marine batteries. =8-(

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