The battery of your recreational vehicle is, in essence, the heart of its electrical system. Without a fully functioning battery, you would not be able to use appliances like the lights, air conditioners and stove, which not only provide comfort but also safety when you’re camping in the wild. RV batteries are trickier than your regular vehicle batteries, thus to get the best RV battery for your precious rig, there are certain things you need to know before making a purchase.
Worry not, as we have done the hard work so that you can make an informed decision and the best investment for your money. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn everything any RV owner needs to know about RV batteries, including the basics, battery’s different applications, followed by our handpicked list of the very best RV battery products and brands on the market based on RV battery reviews by professionals and full-time RVers.
Each product will come with highlighted features as well as pros and cons so that you can easily compare among different options.
In order for you to really pick out the best travel trailer battery for your needs and budget, after the best RV battery reviews, you will find more important information, including top buying factors, a list of prestigious brands, handy usage and maintenance tips so that you get the best out of your battery.
- RV Battery Comparison Chart
- Reviews Of Top-Rated RV Batteries
- 1. Odyssey PC680 RV Battery– Best Of The Best
- 2. UPG UB121000 RV Battery – Editor’s Choice
- 3. Battle Born BB10012 RV Battery – Editor’s Choice
- 4. Vmax V35-857 RV Battery
- 5. DieHard Group 49 RV Battery
- 6. Optima Batteries 8004-003
- 7. ExpertPower EXP12330 RV Battery
- 8. ACDelco 94RAGM RV Battery
- 9. Optima Batteries D34M RV Battery
- 10. UPG UB12350 RV Battery
- 11. Renogy RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 RV Battery
- 12. WindyNation BattaMax RV Battery
- 13. Renogy RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 RV Battery
- RV Battery Basics
- Types Of RV Battery
- RV Battery Buying Guide
- RV Battery Type for Different Applications
- RV Battery Brands for Lasting Performance
- RV Battery Size: Get the Right Fit
- How to Charge an RV Battery
- RV Battery Maintenance: Pro Tips to Follow
- FAQs About RV Battery
RV Battery Comparison Chart
|No||Top-Rated RV Batteries||Price||Our Ratings|
|2||UPG Solar Wind VRLA||$$$||*****|
|3||Battle Born LiFePO4||$$$$$||*****|
|4||VMAXTANKS VMAX V35-857||$$||*****|
|6||Optima 8004-003 34/78||$$$||***|
|9||Optima 8016-103 D34M||$$$||***|
|11||Renogy Deep Cycle AGM||$$$||****|
|13||Renogy Rechargeable Pure Gel Battery||$$$||*****|
Reviews Of Top-Rated RV Batteries
Even after you have grasped all the basics, picking out the best RV battery for your needs for power is still a huge challenge, considering how vast the market is and of course, how complicated battery-related businesses are.
As an excellent starting point, you could refer to our handpicked list of the best batteries for RV in order to make a wise purchase. All of these products receive raving reviews from professionals and full-time RVers, and are offered by major manufacturers that have earned their reputation over the years.
For easy comparison, each product is outlined with its pros and cons, plus notable features.
1. Odyssey PC680 RV Battery– Best Of The Best
- Dimensions: 7.15 x 3.0 x 6.65 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 15.4 pounds
Why This Is The Best:
Featuring excellent ruggedness, Odyssey PC680 is able to take on pretty much every challenge in the outdoors without much difficulty. Things such as shocks, heat, vibrations and so on shall have negligible effects on the performance of the Odyssey battery. Moreover, as it packs a fairly long cycle life, the runtime of the battery is much longer than its competitor. Once you finally have to recharge it, the battery gets back to full charge in a blink of an eye. Naturally, RVers that like to go off-grid often view PC680 to be the best RV battery on the market.
Being a non-spillable design that features tightly-packed pure lead plates, the battery of Odyssey could be readily mounted in a variety of positions. As a result, it’s going to be a breeze for you to find a good spot for the battery. In addition to that, PC680 only requires basic maintenance, a major plus for novice RVers. Regarding lifespan, Odyssey PC680 would last up to 10 years assuming that you look after it. All in all, if you want a solid high quality 12-volt deep cycle RV battery, PC680 is definitely for you.
Aside from recreational vehicles, Odyssey PC680 is also capable of supporting other applications like boats and trucks in times of need. Hence, by stocking up PC680, you have the ability to power a lot of things.
Hands down the best battery I have ever purchased. I went through 3 other batteries before finally purchasing the odyssey and I can honestly say I need to replace all of my other batteries for these. I even left my jet ski key in all night (which usually kills the battery) and I woke up in the morning very angry that I had to drop more $$ on yet another battery but sure enough this thing still had power. Just put it on a trickle charger and it was good to go the next day. I go riding in the salt water quite often and it has stood up to the salt and still works great. I went to batteries plus to pick up another one like this but saw they were 20-30$ more expensive there than here on amazon so I ordered 2 more from this site.Shared by Amazon Customer
- Well-built and tough
- User-friendly operation
- Undemanding maintenance
- Barely acceptable customer service
- Quality control needs improvements
2. UPG UB121000 RV Battery – Editor’s Choice
- Dimensions: 12.17 x 6.61 x 8.30 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 63.93 pounds
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice
While it’s a bit on the heavy side, UPG UB121000 remains a powerful battery which numerous RVers around the globe hold in high regard. Boasting outstanding voltage, the battery of UPG could run a wide range of appliances at the same time without trouble. Since UB121000 is a sealed AGM battery, you don’t have to worry too much about spilling while using it. Thanks to its flexible and versatile nature, UPG UB121000 is able to work fine in almost every RV setup regardless of how it’s mounted.
In terms of resistance, the UPG battery would be able to withstand shocks as well as vibrations in most cases. Additionally, unlike the average RV batteries, UPG UB121000 never needs electrolyte refills throughout its lifetime. That means by installing UB121000 on your recreational vehicle, you have nothing else to do besides enjoying your outdoor experience. For RVers that desire straightforward, no-nonsense batteries, the battery of UPG is by all accounts the best AGM battery.
If the RV is put into storage during off-seasons, UPG UB121000 is particularly good at preserving its power charge. Usually, once left idle, UB121000 discharges a few percentages of its power in a month.
I purchased 4 of these for a small, rarely used solar kit. I am pleasantly surprised by their reliability and consistent power. Four of these can run 100 watts all day, and I’ve pushed them up to over 1500 watts for 30 minutes without significant voltage drop. (After the 30 minutes at 1500 watts, the unloaded voltage returned to 12.9V, indicating surprisingly little drain from this activity.) They are large and heavy, but they are an excellent value for an AGM battery!Shared by John H.
This thing seems to last forever in my camper. Had a radio on most of the day and some lights intermittently and it shows still full at the end of the day. Should be able to get a week of boondocking out of this.Shared by F. Watermolen
- Highly adaptable
- Top of the line resistance
- A bit cumbersome
- Somewhat short stainless steel hardware
3. Battle Born BB10012 RV Battery – Editor’s Choice
- Dimensions: 12.75 x 6.875 x 9.0 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 29 pounds
Why It’s An Editor’s Choice
With exceptional longevity, unlimited mounting options and lightweight body, Battle Born BB10012 is recognized by multiple experts and experienced RVers as a premium grade battery. Although BB10012 indeed comes at a rather high price, its marvelous utilities justify the cost. Incorporating Lithium-Ion technology, the Battle Born battery proves itself to be well suited for most off-grid settings nowadays. As proof of confidence, Battle Born offers BB10012 along with a robust 10-year warranty which gives RVers peace of mind.
Made completely from non-toxic, renewable materials, Battle Born BB10012 lasts for a lot of cycles and recharges relatively fast. Furthermore, the battery of Battle Born contains an integrated BMS (short for Battery Management System). Due to the presence of BMS, BB10012 is reasonably safe from common causes of RV battery failures including ground faults, temperature volatilities and so on. If something happens, BMS would cut off power transfer to protect you and the battery.
As for installation, the intuitive setup of Battle Born BB10012 makes sure that even first-time RVers could get it up and running within moments. So if all you need is a battery that works without requiring complicated preparation, the Battle Born battery is going to be the best RV deep cycle battery for you.
Performance, reliability, convenience. Excellent product!
I am very pleased with this battery. I have had it for 6 months and it is great. Very reliable, zero maintenance. I have it hooked up to 300w solar system on my camper van/RV and it charges very fast. I even hooked it up to a 450/900 watt space heater and ran it for 1.5hr on the lower 450 watt setting via a 600w (1200 surge) inverter. It raised the temperate of the RV interior from 55F to 67F in 1 hour (outside temp was 52F with @ 50% humidity in the evening). This was just a test I ran to see what it was capable of. While it did discharge the battery, it performed flawlessly during that time and helped me to learn about how the battery reacts to large loads. The next day I checked on the battery @ noon and it was at full charge from the morning sun.
The battery also performed perfectly on a 3k mile, 1 week road trip. It powered the inverter, which fed to 6 LED ceiling lights, a water pump, USB outlets keeping two cell phones, two laptops, one SLR camera, one Dometic fridge running 24/7 without any drop in temperature. Food was always cold. Cold beer in the middle of the desert anytime you wanted. I plan on adding to my solar bank soon with another Battle Horn battery and a more powerful inverter so I can run a 1200w water boiler and improve the space heater’s performance (only as backup in case of extreme cold). I have not contacted customer support yet for any reason but based on other reviews I am confident that area is just as good as the battery itself. I highly recommend this product.Shared by Wojciech Wolinski
- Compact and light
- Brilliant protection
- The price is high
- Inconsistent performance between batteries
4. Vmax V35-857 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 5.0 x 7.7 x 6.1 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 25 pounds
Why We Love It
Assembled using high endurance lead-tin alloys, Vmax V35-857 is markedly superior to most other batteries in its price range once it comes to durability. From heavy snow to torrential rain, nothing could impair the operation of the Vmax battery. In use, V35-857 is able to endure rapid recharge and discharge for years without failure. Despite its rock-solid values, the battery still remains affordable. As one would expect, quite a few RVers these days often think of Vmax V35-857 as the best RV battery regarding cost-effectiveness.
In order to optimize the battery field performance, Vmax lets the plates of V35-857 undergo a special treatment that boosts strength as well as reliability. Because the plates and the electrolyte sit in a sealed tank, spilling is less than an issue in usual applications. Such a setup also makes the Vmax V35-857, in essence, immune to vibrations and shocks, important traits in RV travels. In case you don’t pull anything drastic with it, the battery of Vmax should easily last between 3,000 and 5,000 cycles.
At just 25 pounds, Vmax V35-857 is fairly light so you would have an easy time hauling it to the battery compartment of your recreational vehicle. As the Vmax battery happens to be maintenance-free, you don’t have to check up on it now and then after the installation concludes.
- Fantastic plates and rugged body
- Tolerate repeated discharge/recharge
- Non-toxic and non-spillable
- Unable to hold charges for long
- A couple of users complain about overheating
5. DieHard Group 49 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 14 x 7.0 x 7.5 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 58.5 pounds
Why We Love It:
Packing heat-sealed polypropylene case, demineralized battery acid, thru-partition connectors, … DieHard Group 49 is truly second to none once it comes to cold weather settings. Since it utilizes a spill-proof design, Group 49 possesses unmatched protection for sophisticated internal electronics. The sound setup also allows the battery of DieHard to last up to twice as long as regular acid batteries in most of the cases. By employing flame-retardant safety vents, DieHard Group 49 keeps fire hazards to the bare minimum.
Thanks to the incorporation of Enhanced Electronic Suspension System, the DieHard battery absorbs more electrolyte than other batteries around which help to secure internal components. In addition, the AGM-style flat plates of Group 49 let RVers get most of its power capacity in use. Engineered to be maintenance-free, DieHard Group 49 requires no special care throughout its entire lifetime. To reassure the customers, DieHard offers customers a free of charge 36-month replacement warranty once they make the purchase.
About compatibility, DieHard Group 49 would work well in virtually every vehicle from domestic to import. Therefore, the battery of DieHard is often called the best RV battery for those that want to replace the OEM battery.
- Excellent life expectancy
- Match a lot of vehicles
- A few batteries arrive in incorrect specs
- Quality control is sub-par
6. Optima Batteries 8004-003
- Dimensions: 10.06 x 6.94 x 7.88 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 38.8 pounds
Why We Love It:
Manufactured to be the ultimate starting battery, Optima Batteries 8004-003 is what everyone looks to if they need strong bursts of ignition power for recreational vehicles. As it’s marked to be 15 times more vibration-resistant than ordinary batteries, 8004-003 would be able to face considerable bumps and bounce without breaking apart. Also, being spill proof, the battery of Optima Batteries could be set up at pretty much whatever location you see fit. As for maintenance, Optima Batteries 8004-003 is completely maintenance-free so don’t worry about upkeep.
In terms of recharge, 8004-003 charges fairly fast which means you only need some time to bring it to full charge. Featuring up to 4 standard 1.125- inch posts, the battery is going to match the electrical systems of all common recreational vehicles. If you perform proper recharges, the battery from Optima Batteries should be able to support your recreational vehicle for years. Because of its integrated handles, many RVers deem Optima Batteries 8004-003 to be the best RV battery if handling is concerned.
Regarding runtime, the reserve capacity of Optima Batteries 8004-003 is considered to be enough to sustain constant power for 100 minutes. Once you buy 8004-003, Optima Batteries would give you a 36-month warranty, adequate for a starting battery.
- Great capacity
- Outstanding reliability
- Flexible and versatile
- Warranty coverage is mediocre
- Certain batteries seem defective on arrival
7. ExpertPower EXP12330 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 7.70 x 5.00 x 6.00 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 23.81 pounds
Why We Love It:
Due to the use of AGM technology as well as premium-grade materials, ExpertPower EXP12330 features a superb temperature tolerance. If you intend to visit locations with considerable fluctuations in temperature, EXP12330 would be among the batteries for RV available for purchase on the market. In addition to that, the battery of ExpertPower is built to have a high endurance so usual vibrations have insignificant influence on its field performance. As for installation, every RVers with basic electricity knowledge should be able to set up the battery in no time.
Since EXP12330 is a sealed battery, it’s unnecessary to perform maintenance which saves a lot of time and effort. It’s also notable that the ExpertPower battery is valve-regulated so you could technically tweak various aspects of its operations to match immediate needs. Aside from that, because the ExpertPower EXP12330 is both compact and light, it’s capable of fitting in the battery compartment of modern-day RV. Depending on the dimensions of the compartment, it’s a good idea to use something to keep the battery secured.
About the posts, EXP12330 employs 0.325 inches bolts, you would need to get a 3/8th socket in order to tighten them. The battery accepts standard automobile battery chargers so you may use what you already have instead of buying new ones.
- Highly affordable
- Modest profile
- Less than ideal lifespan
- Unresponsive customer service
8. ACDelco 94RAGM RV Battery
- Dimensions: 12.40 x 6.90 x 7.50 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 23.81 pounds
Why We Love It:
Boasting innovative negative paste, ACDelco 94RAGM is unmatched once it comes to life cycle and performance these kinds of days. The conductivity of the ACDelco battery is greatly enhanced by its calcium-lead positive as well which keeps the current resistance low in most cases. As the electrolyte of 94RAGM is completely contained within the glass mat separator that prevents free-flowing across cells, the risk of spilling is nonexistent. The separator itself happens to be puncture-resistant too so integrity is truly top-notch.
By maintaining constant pressure on all of its plates, the battery of ACDelco manages to slow down the loss of active mass from the grid. Hence, 94RAGM is able to last much longer in use than many similar market options. The outstanding life expectancy of ACDelco 94RAGM is clearly reflected through the post-purchase supports: the free replacement warranty period is available in 18, 30, 36 and 42 months. If your battery fails within the warranty period, ACDelco is going to give you a replacement at no charge.
As for the setup, ACDelco 94RAGM packs convenient built-in handles so you could effortlessly get it into the battery compartment of your recreational vehicle. The presence of standard posts should allow you to quickly hook the battery to the electrical system on your rig.
- Competitive price
- OEM compatible
- Excellent post purchase support
- Some customers notice several inconsistencies
- Quality control need overhauls
9. Optima Batteries D34M RV Battery
- Dimensions: 10.60 x 6.88 x 7.94 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 43.5 pounds
Why We Love It:
Like Optima Batteries 34/78 but you want a deep-cycle battery? If that is the case, Optima Batteries D34M is the perfect battery for you. Able to function as a starting battery and a deep-cycle one, the multipurpose battery of Optima Batteries is highly sought-after by outdoor enthusiasts. Since D34M is specifically engineered for adverse operating conditions, it delivers optimum performance in all sorts of envelopments from hot deserts to cold winters. Thanks to the stringent manufacturing standards, Optima Batteries D34M possesses a marvelous life expectancy.
Packing advanced spiral-wound cells with pure coated lead plates, the battery of Optima Batteries offer brilliant outputs without variations. Because of the tight tolerance, the vibration-resistant Optima Batteries D34M proves superior to many of its competitors. As the battery is sealed, you could mount it at whatever position you like without having to worry about spilling. Moreover, the battery of Optima Batteries requires no maintenance from the day you install it to the day it fails.
With a weight of 43.5 pounds, D34M is not exactly light but you should be able to move it around on your own during setup. Once you make the purchase, the battery is going to arrive at your doorstep in just a couple of days.
- 2 in 1
- Manageable price
- Unhelpful instructions
- Complicated warranty claim
10. UPG UB12350 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 7.68 x 5.16 x 7.13 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 22.5 pounds
Why We Love It:
Capable of holding its charge for a long time, UPG UB12350 is considered to be the best travel trailer battery for RVer that only hit the road now and then. Despite its rather humble size, the reserve capacity of UB12350 is sufficient to support a wide range of appliances simultaneously. The compact body of the UPG battery also makes it simple for you to move it from spot to spot. Unlike the average batteries for RV, UPG UB12350 arrives fully charged so you would be able to head out right after you finish installing it
Due to the fact that the electrolyte is fixed in an absorptive fiberglass mat, UB12350 eliminates the risk of spilling. Additionally, the battery of UPG releases practically zero corrosive gas in use which means it’s safe to use UB12350 around people, pets, sensitive appliances,… In terms of resistance, UPG UB12350 withstands vibration effectively and efficiently so you should have peace of mind while driving. The rugged terminals of the battery could work in most arrangements without causing compatibility issues.
About post-purchase support, UPG UB12350 is accompanied by a 1-year warranty, unimpressive but passable. In case you experience issues while using UB12350, feel free to get in touch with the customer service of UPG.
- Low cost
- Great power capacity
- Nice handling
- Unavailable in certain regions
- Some batteries come with damages parts
11. Renogy RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 13.0 x 6.8 x 9.0 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 66 pounds
Why We Love It:
Maintenance-free, spill-proof, and leak-proof, Renogy RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 is a battery that RVers from novices to veterans could put to good use. Featuring a tough case, the battery of Renogy is able to take a couple of hits and bumps without trouble. Depending on what you need at the moment, RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 may be used to power appliances on your RV, cabins, boats and so on. Due to the inclusion of safety features, the Renogy battery is fairly safe to use in a variety of applications.
As Renogy is a prominent manufacturer of goods for solar systems, RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 is naturally best RV deep cycle battery for RVers that like to draw power from sunlight. Though a single battery is barely sufficient, it’s generally a breeze for you to connect multiple batteries together to create a capable energy bank. All you need to make that happen is get yourself a couple of interconnect cables. The length of such cables varies from case to case so you have to take your RV setup into account.
Regarding life expectancy, the life cycle of Renogy RNG-BATT-AGM12-100 is usually dictated by depth for discharge, ambient temperature, discharge rate and so on. Nonetheless, if you take good care of it, the Renogy battery is going to perform admirably for quite some time.
- Hold charge well
- Well built and powerful
- Marvelous customer support
- Pretty cumbersome
- Shoddy delivery service
12. WindyNation BattaMax RV Battery
- Dimensions: 13.0 x 6.8 x 8.7 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 67 pounds
Why We Love It:
By making use of 99.995% pure lead plates, WindyNation BattaMax offers one of the lowest self-discharge rates for RV batteries. As one would expect from it, BattaMax duly retains charge for extended periods of time. Furthermore, at 25 degrees Celsius, the float life of the WindyNation battery reaches up to 10 years which makes it a wicked choice for those that don’t want to spend too much money on battery replacements. WindyNation BattaMax could be charged and discharged thousands of times in most cases without issue.
In order to facilitate handling and servicing, WindyNation design BattaMax as a tightly sealed battery. That is why if you decide to buy BattaMax for your recreational vehicle, you have no need to concern yourself with acid spills on the road. Besides that, the adaptable construction of the battery also allows it to function perfectly in lots of mounting positions. Assuming that you find the space for BattaMax and keep it securely connected to the electrical system of your RV, everything should work out fine.
As for applications, WindyNation BattaMax excels at powering off-grid setups so RVers tend to call it the best RV deep cycle battery for boondocking. Want to get away from the cities for some time? Then you must consider adding BattaMax to your travel inventory.
- Splendid compatibility
- Minimum self-discharge rate
- Plenty of values for the price
- A bit heavy
- Several batteries fail soon after being delivered
13. Renogy RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 RV Battery
- Dimensions: 12.9 x 6.8 x 8.7 Inches (L x W x H)
- Weight: 63.9 pounds
Why We Love It:
Equipped with PE compound separator, Renogy RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 is able to ensure that its gel electrolyte is distributed equally which preserves the evenness of the battery at all times. Additionally, with the integration of robust lead-calcium grids, the battery of Renogy experiences mild corrosion so it’s able to stay in top shape for more than a decade. In terms of safety features, RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 employs explosion-proof safety valves to deal with redundant gas and eliminate potential fire hazards from sparkles.
During storage, the Renogy battery packs a self-discharge rate of 3% per month at room temperature so its ability to retain charge is top-notch. Boasting a combination of valve regulated construction and triplex strengthened sealing, RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 is good at preventing leakage of electrolyte and infiltration of air. Because of that, the battery of Renogy is regarded as the best deep cycle battery for RV on the market once it comes to integrity. RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 is capable of performing in demanding setups without experiencing drops in performance.
Like many deep cycle batteries available for purchase these days, Renogy RNG-BATT-GEL12-100 is essentially maintenance-free. That means once you finish installing the Renogy battery, you don’t have to pay special attention to it afterward.
- Stable and rugged
- High level of safety
- Retain charge well
- Slightly inconstant lifespan
- Mediocre manual
RV Battery Basics
RV batteries are usually much more powerful than regular vehicle batteries. Some RV batteries can even be used for marine applications, such as in boats. This is why RV batteries will most likely be deep cycle batteries that can be a little bit pricier than your regular vehicle batteries for a car or van.
With the aid of such a battery, you have the chance of using your devices and appliances off-grid without the need for a 110-volt power supply. It’s worthy to take note that a recreational vehicle requires house batteries to power everything electrical in your rig and a starting battery for its engine.
In this guide of “the best RV battery”, we are essentially referring to “the best RV house battery”.
House batteries are different from the RV’s engine batteries as the house batteries are a “deep cycle” battery mainly designed to store substantial amounts of power. Such ability allows the battery to supply energy for a prolonged period of time, enabling long off-road trips. Engine batteries, on the other hand, supply a quick energy burst to start the engine or keep the engine going.
The house batteries could be a few cells wired together in a series as a means of supplying sufficient power required by your rig. Each cell produces approximately 2.1 volts, so a 12-volt battery with six cells in series produces a total output voltage of 12.6 volts.
Meanwhile, the battery that is needed for starting your engine is similar to your car’s battery. The only difference is that the starting battery for an RV is larger, which also signifies the need for a bigger Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) rating.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) CCA is a rating used to define a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating refers to the number of amps a 12-volt battery can deliver at 0°F for 30 seconds while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts.
The house batteries of an RV often undergo what is called “deep cycling” since they are often discharged completely before recharging again. The advantage of the best RV deep cycle battery is that it is capable of lasting four times longer compared to normal starting batteries.
How does it work?
The battery is the vital component that gets your vehicle running. Without it, you’re not going anywhere. Batteries are composed of “cells”. These cells are what contain the actual energy needed to start and run your car.
When you turn the key, a chemical reaction occurs inside the battery. The battery converts this chemical energy into the electrical energy and it delivers this electrical energy to the starter to power your car.
Power to run the car is stored in the battery and is measured in voltage. A battery is fully charged when it holds 12.6 volts or above. When a battery goes down to 12.2 it is only 50% charged, and when it is below 12 volts the battery is “dead” and needs to be replaced.
As a whole, RV batteries and electrical systems are quite complex. To make it easier for you to understand RV battery charging, learning more about voltages is highly advisable. The first thing you should know is that RV batteries operate at 12-volt direct current (DC) deep cycle electrical energy.
In most cases, this level of power is sufficient to run small RV appliances and systems. However, it cannot run the whole electrical system of your RV. In case you do not rely on the battery for power, your RV must be plugged to a shore power, which often has 120-volt alternating current (AC) power.
Each time the battery loses its power or discharges, it will not recharge itself just like a regular automotive battery. Therefore, a basic RV battery maintenance is keeping track of your battery levels to ensure that the charge does not fall too high nor too low. Once it is time for you to charge the battery, look for an outlet that runs at 120 volts AC, and plug the battery there.
Note, however, that such outlet supplies AC power, instead of the 12-volt DC power often required by the battery. Therefore, you will need to own a power converter to charge your RV battery.
This converter can minimize the risk of dealing with unwanted electrical issues. However, take note that using both the converter and shore power at the same time takes a long time to function, especially if your RV battery has a low charge or is already depleted.
Types Of RV Battery
On the market, you should see several types of batteries designed for RV with distinct purposes, operations and specifications. In order to make informed investments, it’s essential that you get to know them.
There are three main types of RV batteries. Under deep cycle batteries, you will find four types, each with their own characteristics as well as pros and cons. Before buying one, find out what makes each unique so that you can find the best RV battery that specifically suits your RV’s power requirement.
What makes starting batteries unique is that they work using a number of thinner plates, which are able to maximize the surface area being exposed to the electrolytes, providing high amounts of energy working in short bursts. They’re rated based on Cold Cranking Amps.
In this case, these batteries must not be used in substitution for RV deep cycle battery uses for the purpose of running your RV’s electrical systems.
Deep Cycle batteries
The majority of recreational vehicles today depend on deep cycle batteries to work. They supply a specific amount of current steadily over a long period.
A deep cycle battery is a lead-acid type that is specifically designed for deep discharging by using most of its intended and specific capacity. A deep cycle battery for an RV can discharge 50 to 70 percent of its full capacity. Each time you recharge the batteries, you can expect them to redeposit energy into the bank, allowing the cycle and process to begin. This battery also features thick plates with less surface area.
Deep cycle cells or batteries have varying sizes, with generally larger ones supplying more amps to your rig in most cases. So when it comes to choosing one, you must determine your power requirements as well as space available in your RV to select and install the right one.
Deep cycle types are subdivided into several groups or types that we’ll discuss in the following sections:
1. Flooded Lead Acid Batteries
- Can be used for utility purposes and applications.
- Can be used for backup power.
- It is also dependable for grid energy storage.
- Maintenance: leak is possible, which can be harmful and toxic.
- Not resistant to extreme weather conditions.
Also known as wet-cell batteries, this type of deep cycle battery is the most widely used deep cycle battery used for RV’s today. It is based on the lead-acid chemistry for operation, mainly composed of lead-oxide and lead plates and has an electrolyte that surrounds them. It is named “flooded” since it comes with electrolyte fluid, allowing the plates to be fully submerged.
Flooded batteries handle overcharging effectively and efficiently through the hydrogen venting process. In addition to that, batteries of the type have a relatively large power-to-ratio which makes them popular to most RVers.
Just as importantly, though they indeed require constant maintenance, flooded batteries possess long life expectancies. While this battery requires constant maintenance through watering, maintaining the cleanliness of the terminals, and equalizing charges, an hour annually will do just fine in keeping its good condition.
Last but not least, thanks to the highly affordable prices, the venerable wet-cell models remain in use alongside the more modern batteries.
2. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)
- Charge 5 times faster than a flooded battery.
- The depth of discharge is better than the flooded types at 80%.
- The best for use for solar panels and wind energy.
- Can be used for recreational vehicles or motor homes.
- High price.
- Discharge rate is not as good as lead acid batteries.
- No overcharging protection.
This is another type of deep cycle battery that is ideal for RV applications. In fact, it works well for the majority of applications. It is compatible not only with RVs but also with trucks, boats, and trolling motors. In comparison to the flooded battery, AGM is often tougher and stronger.
It has a lower internal resistance than flooded cells and is capable of handling high temperatures. AGM is also known to self-discharge slower than other batteries. It is different from flooded batteries considering the fact that glass mats are used in holding the electrolyte instead of freely allowing the plates to flood.
Unlike flooded batteries, AGM batteries usually don’t demand constant maintenance while the flooded lead-acid battery actually needs regular maintenance as well as a topping charge semi-annually to minimize the risk of accumulating sulfation.
AGM, on the other hand, is not that vulnerable to sulfation. With that, you have an assurance that you can easily store it for a longer period without worrying about potential damage. You can even expect it to maintain its good condition for up to a year, provided that you take care of them proper. Even after such a long period of sitting idle, you can recharge it and expect it to perform its job again without any damage.
Moreover, hydrogen or gas emission is less than an issue in AGM batteries so you have no need to concern yourselves with ventilation while charging them. Being tightly sealed, batteries of the type ensure that you never face spilling incidents.
You can expect them to stay in good condition even during extremely low temperatures. They do not freeze in such a case. Because of their sandwich construction, AGM batteries tend to boast excellent resistance against vibration.
- Leak-free design.
- Easy installation.
- Easy maintenance.
- Can be generally mounted in any way possible.
- Less likely to discharge death.
- Not cheap.
- It is still a new technology.
- Charging capacity can diminish if you overcharge it.
- Not resistant to high temperatures.
Gel batteries have some of the advantages offered by the flooded lead-acid battery, such as being easy to transform. The only difference is that it comes with gelled electrolyte, which is highly viscous.
Compared to other types of batteries for RV, Gel batteries utilize strong internal constructions which give them superb endurance.
A downside is with gel batteries, charging it too high might cause the formation of gas pockets on the plates. This might decrease its capacity as it forces the electrolyte away from the plates. Over time, the gas pockets would steadily reduce the maximum charging capacity of the batteries.
Another thing to take note of about deep cycle gel batteries is that they come with narrow charging profiles. This is the main reason why they get easily damaged through inappropriate charging.
4. Lithium-ion Deep Cycle Batteries
- High usable capacity
- Extreme temperature resistance
- Highly sustainable voltage levels
Lithium-ion batteries are popular among campers that prioritize supreme performance. For one, they are far better than AGM or flooded lead-acid batteries, which only lets you utilize approximately 50 percent of its rated capacity.
It also features highly sustainable voltage levels, making it possible for it to provide up to 99 percent usable capacity. This means lithium-ion batteries are more ideal when you prefer extended dry camping.
This type is also advantageous for those looking to use a lighter battery type offering a charging efficiency reaching up to 5000 life cycles.
The lithium battery type is also favoured because of its steady performance under extreme temperature conditions, such as cold and heat. It has a built-in safety measure against overheating. Once the battery is already close to overheating temperatures, it shuts down automatically, thereby preventing explosion or fire.
In addition, the deep cycle battery is very efficient even when running at low temperature. In fact, it can also operate safely in a place where the temperature is up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition, it offers versatile mounting, providing consistent energy flow in any direction throughout its use.
Dual Purpose or Marine
A dual-purpose battery can offer supreme starting power and in addition, cycling capabilities. It is also used with a switch system or an isolator to function as a backup for a deep cycle house battery or starting battery.
Dual purpose or marine batteries can handle starting and cycling, but then, most of them will not be able to start an engine, as opposed to a true cranking battery. When compared to a real deep cycle battery, it might not also be able to handle numerous discharges and recharges.
Take such pros and cons before deciding to buy a marine battery for your rig or deciding the purpose you intend for it.
What voltage is a RV battery?
Essentially, voltage is what makes electric charges move. It is the ‘push’ that causes charges to move in a wire or other electrical conductor.
When choosing an RV battery, know what voltage rating is available and consider the amount of power you need for your rig.
12 Volt Deep Cycle RV Battery
This RV battery system lets you operate all electrical appliances in your rig, including TV, microwave, lighting and stove. It is also used in charging other systems present in your recreational vehicle that are using 12V power.
A 12V system also works in a parallel connection in order to maintain a continued 12V connection. In most cases, you will see them with two jumper connections.
Why might you want to use a 12 volt deep cycle RV battery? Compared with the other option around, which is the 6 volt deep cycle RV battery, it gives out double the amp hours, consistent 12 volts power, easy to buy in auto parts stores, and less expensive. The drawback, however, is much less amp-hour rating for each battery.
6 Volt Deep Cycle RV Battery
In summary, 6 volt deep cycle RV battery vs 12 volt models:
- Larger amp-hour rating
- Larger discharge and recharge capacity
- Longer lifespan
- Half the amp-hours and voltage
Generally, the 6 volt is a golf cart battery, one of the most versatile and useful batteries for campers living off the grid. One key noteworthy difference from the 12 volt battery is that a 6V battery operates in a series connection to achieve a 12 volt system required for your recreational vehicle. The 6 volt deep cycle RV battery is also widely used in small home or cabin owners.
For their advantages, 6 volt batteries have greater discharge and recharge capacity, larger amp-hour rating and longer lifespan with good maintenance. The only problem is that it is much more expensive than the 12 volt models.
Another difference is that 6 volt types are larger but lighter. It is only about 45lbs versus a 12 volt type weighing about 100lbs.
In recent years, many RV owners are upgrading the 6 volt systems using parallel series connection for a single power source. The series connection of 6 volt batteries tends to last longer while at the same time supplying double the voltage. Also, 6 volt batteries systems tend to last longer because of more space for each cell and thicker plates.
Definitely, both types have their pros and cons. Which type of the two is the best RV battery all boils down to your personal preference and power needs.
RV Battery Buying Guide
Choosing the best RV battery is essential in making sure that you can enjoy comfort while being off-road as well as ensuring safety while driving and camping. You must be familiar with the following criteria in order to select the optimal RV battery for your power needs:
An RV battery’s capacity can be measured or rated in Ah, which means Ampere hours. Such indicates the specified amount of current the battery is capable of delivering over a certain period of time. For instance, a battery model with a 200Ah capacity is capable of delivering 200A for one hour.
A high-capacity battery is desirable because it means that it has the ability to store more power and supply power for longer. The higher, the better. However, you also have to check the weight and the size of the battery, as batteries with higher Ah will generally be larger. Remember that you will be needing some room for storing your batteries in your vehicle.
When figuring out the ideal capacity for your vehicle, it would be best to compute your specific daily energy requirements. Provide some adjustments by adding a bit of extra or room.
You should then choose a battery which can supply such power without going down to sixty to fifty percent of its total capacity. The good news is that it is possible for you to recharge the battery based on how much power you consumed with the help of a generator, solar power, or a campground’s electric hookup.
Having that said, if you often plan your trips around RV parks, campsites, or rest stops with electrical outlets, feel free to settle for batteries that feature ordinary capacities.
On the other hand, if you intend to go off-road with your RV now and then for several days without any chance for a recharge, you must pay attention to RV battery ratings. You should look for a battery that can supply your needs for power without getting depleted. At all times, remember that running out of power is the last thing you want to experience in the middle of nowhere.
Voltage is what makes electric charges move. It is the ‘push’ that causes charges to move in a wire or other electrical conductor. RV deep cycle and starting batteries are typically designed to have 12-volt DC (direct current). While 12-volt batteries can serve you well in the majority of cases, RV owners that need more power decide to put together or combine 6-volt batteries by wiring them in a series as a means of building 12-volt batteries for their RV.
Another thing to remember is that solar power kits are capable of working with 24-volt batteries. In such cases, you will need a power inverter to convert DC to AC current.
Another thing to consider when shopping for the best RV battery is the way you will often charge the battery. Determine whether you will mostly be using a generator, solar power, or shore power when charging the battery you plan to use.
While it is possible to combine the three, in case you do not have one of the three options yet, a smart charger or charge controller is necessary. This device will make it possible for you to supply the correct charge at the perfect time.
Even in the case that you are charging your battery using solar panels, generator, outlet or a combination of the three, the controller is also handy in adjusting the voltage and current automatically, thereby offering protection to your battery. Such is possible regardless of whether the power is delivered from.
The depth of discharge
Another aspect you have to consider when shopping for the best RV battery is the depth of discharge, a term you will come across a lot when talking about batteries. It is usually expressed in the form of percentage indicating the fraction or percentage of the battery’s capacity which has been removed from the fully charged battery.
In other words, depth of discharge is an alternative method to indicate a battery’s state of charge. The state of charge is the fraction or percentage of the capacity that is still available in the battery. The depth of discharge is the complement of state of charge: as one increases, the other decreases.
If you are planning to get a lead-acid battery, note that the cycle life and the depth of discharge are correlated. For example, a battery that is discharged only by 20% of its full energy capacity has a much greater cycle life than a battery that is discharged more deeply by 80% of its capacity.
The cycle life is the number of complete charge/discharge cycles that the battery is able to support before losing performance, or in other words, before its capacity falls under 80% of its original capacity. A complete cycle is when a battery is totally depleted and has no power left, then is recharged to 100%. So if the battery is discharged to 60% and then charged to 80% it isn’t a complete cycle.
Generally, deeper discharge or deeper cycles also means that the battery will provide fewer cycles overall. It is generally recommended that you look for a deep cycle battery with a depth of discharge that can optimize its life cycle.
Weight And Size
Batteries for RV campers come at a variety of sizes and weights. In general, the larger the battery, the larger the amp hour and reserve capacity. When shopping for the best RV battery for your specific camper, you must carefully assess its battery compartment. Usually,
in most modern-day recreational vehicles, the battery compartment is more than capable of accommodating a few additional batteries aside from the default ones. As for the weight, having lightweight batteries facilitate overall handling, inspections and maintenance.
With a quality long-lasting model around, you don’t have to worry about getting replacements in the near future. You can expect the best RV battery to last you close to 5 years with proper maintenance. Of course, many factors influence the life expectancy of your battery on the field such as charging currents, temperatures, usage and maintenance.
Typically, longer warranty periods signify that the RV battery is high quality and will provide consistently good service for many years down the road.
Another vital consideration is the overall build quality of your chosen RV battery. Note that you need a solid and sturdy build quality as this makes the battery capable of withstanding shocks and vibrations that it might encounter.
It should be shock-resistant and should be able to handle vibrations; otherwise, you might end up spending more on repairs because of the damage that the mentioned scenarios can do to the battery. Just in case, check out the customer reviews to get a general idea about the resistance of your preferred batteries.
Power at low and high temperatures
It is also advisable to check the ability of the battery to provide consistent power at low and high temperatures, as not every model can reliably offer such assurance. In case you will be camping during the winter, you will need a battery that can efficiently supply power in very low temperature.
Of equal importance, you also need to find out whether the battery is compatible for use at high temperature. Choose a battery that can sustain a temperature of at least 35 degrees.
RV Battery Type for Different Applications
When deciding for which RV battery is best, you have to choose based on the application for which you intend to use one. As there are many types of them, such as AGM or flooded types, you must check for which type will meet your needs.
For example, in the following, we’ll talk about certain types of deep cycle batteries intended for dry camping, boondocking, and best battery for travel trailer. Based on your purpose, find a guide on what to look for and what makes each battery ideal for your specific application.
RV Battery For Dry Camping
The best RV battery for dry camping should supply consistent power supply to your rig and its appliances. A good battery for dry camping is a lithium-ion deep cycle battery meant for off grid systems and other applications. It is versatile enough that you can use it from any position.
A lithium-ion deep cycle battery is also lighter than a lead acid cell and offers low voltage sag even during a high discharge. It is also quick to recharge due to high charge acceptance. The best RV battery for dry camping should also be able to support large inverters.
RV Battery For Boondocking
If you’re planning to go boondocking, you will need a substantial amount of energy stored. In this case, you might want to use up to six units of 6 volt deep cycle RV batteries.
For the best results, you should make sure that your house batteries are fully charged. When you reach the campsite, you must monitor how they’re doing to ensure they’re not draining too much and too quickly.
RV Battery For Travel Trailer
As recreational vehicles consume much more power than a typical passenger car or smaller vans, the best battery for travel trailer should be a deep cycle battery specifically made for travel trailers or motorhomes. It must be designed for repeated charging and recharging.
A travel trailer battery is a good source of backup power for solar applications and portable generators. It is compact and lightweight yet it packs much power enough to handle your electrical needs. The best ones . The best camper battery can last up to 70 times longer than other common car batteries and should be sealed with a leak-proof and spill-free design.
RV Battery Brands for Lasting Performance
If you’re not awfully familiar with RV batteries and would like to take the safest bet when shopping for the best RV battery, it is generally recommended that you start with batteries by prestigious manufacturers. Of course, browsing through customer reviews will help you identify the superstar among good options by these big brands.
1. DieHard Batteries
Recognized by many RVers as the leading brand of automotive battery, DieHard Batteries from Sears Holdings is fairly well-known for its high-quality products. If you know nothing about batteries for recreational vehicles, consider grabbing models of DieHard Batteries.
Employing the latest technologies, Odyssey is able to provide batteries for virtually every kind of vehicle as well as weather. Furthermore, compared to models of other brands, Odyssey’s batteries have markedly superior life expectancies.
Need the best AGM battery for RV money can buy? In that case, you must check out batteries of Optima. Packing fast recharge time, outstanding capacity, … these fine batteries shall bring you peace of mind.
Universal Power Group (UPG) is a prominent supplier of energy-related goods such as solar panels, charging cables, jumping jacks, …. and of course, RV batteries. If field performance is your main concern then UPG should have sublime options for you.
Capable of delivering first-class batteries at affordable prices, Kirkland is held in high regard by people that treat cost-effectiveness as the top criterion. If batteries of the brand fall short regardless of the cause, Kirkland proves more than willing to offer full refunds.
6. AC Delco
Due to the introduction of vigorous quality control, AC Delco manages to ensure that only flawless products could reach customers. Additionally, the reasonable costs of AC Delco’s batteries earn appreciation from budget-minded RVers
Featuring a brilliant combination of quality and endurance, batteries of Duralast receive a lot of praises from countless RV battery reviews. Unsurprisingly, Duralast is a favorite of people that want to have straightforward and reliable batteries.
One major advantage of EverStart’s batteries is availability: you should be able to find some at your local supermarkets. Aside from that, batteries from the brand don’t excel at any particular but they would still give a good account of themselves in use.
RV Battery Size: Get the Right Fit
Deep-cycle batteries come in a variety of sizes and have varying AH ratings. In most cases, the larger the size of a house battery, the greater the Amp Hour and Reserve Capacity.
Often, they’re measured in group sizes, including 24, 27 and 31. The group size is simply the physical dimensions of the battery housing as set by the BCI (Battery Council International). Common BCI group sizes for RV batteries and dual purpose marine batteries:
|Voltage||Group Size||LxWxH (inches)||Amp Hour|
|12 volt||Group U1||7.71 x 5.18 x 6.89||32|
|12 volt||Group 22NF||9.01 x 5.43 x 9.00||55|
|12 volt||Group 24||10.25 x 6.8 x 8.9||80|
|12 volt||Group 27||12.06 x 6.8 x 8.9||90|
|12 volt||Group 30H||12.9 x 6.8 x 9.5||110|
|12 volt||Group 31||12.9 x 6.75 x 9.27||125|
|12 volt||Group 4D||20.5 x 8.13 x 10||200|
|12 volt||Group 8D||20.75 x 11 x 11||245|
|6 volt||Group GC2||10.38 x 7.13 x 10.88||220|
|6 volt||Group L16||11.64 x 6.95 x 15.73||400|
Depending on your needs and the space available in your RV, there are a number of options, with the most common ones including:
- One 12-volt group 24 deep cycle battery that provides 70 – 85 AH.
- Two 12-volt group 24 wired in parallel that will provide 140 – 170 AH. Parallel wiring increases amp hours but not voltage.
- Two 6-volt golf cart batteries: when these are wired in a parallel series, they provide 180 – 220 AH. Series wiring increases voltage but not amp hours. In recent years, many RVers have switched from standard 12-volt batteries to exercise this option. Since the 6 volt batteries are larger, opt for this option only if you have enough room in your RV.
- Lastly, if the above options still don’t satisfy your requirements, you can build larger battery banks. Four 6-volt golf cart batteries wired in a parallel series will give you 12-volts and double your AH capacity. This is the largest battery bank available for travel trailers and motorhomes.
How to Charge an RV Battery
One of the best ways to charge the RV battery is to use your generator. Just make sure it is fully charged. You might also want to check if it is plugged into your AC outlet.
When using a generator, the battery’s charging time is dependent on the weather. Do note that you might not get full capacity if the temperature is below 40 degrees.
To avoid accidents, you should check that the RV is turned off with your emergency brake engaged. In addition, to maximize charging, you should also turn off the RV appliances.
When using this method, make sure you equip a good quality RV generator for safety and better charging experience.
With solar panels
An efficient, environmentally friendly and money saving way of charging the battery is to use RV solar panels.
If you have the solar panel, it is already connected to the battery and charging unit or inverter for a continued power source. For maximum charging, you must check that the solar panels are directly facing the sun all the time.
With Jumper Cables/ Battery Charger
Another method to charge your RV deep cycle battery is to use a battery charger. This charger is a portable device, which has both negative and positive clamps that you must connect to the battery directly. You should disconnect the battery in order to charge using a battery charger.
To ensure that charging is done, check the indicator light that turns on when the battery is fully charged. Turn off the charger and detach the connection from the black clamp.
With Converter Charger
You can also charge your RV battery using a converter. In most cases, the converter charger used for RV batteries is combined with the primary power distribution panel.
This device works by converting a 120V alternating power from an outlet into a 12V DC required by the battery. This is necessary in ensuring that your RV battery no longer has to supply DC in case you are plugged in.
Another function of this battery charging option is to charge your battery during those instances when it has an excess capacity. Rated in amps, it is capable of supplying the circuit boards of your RV’s lighting and appliances with enough power.
Alternatively, you may also choose the inverter charger, which is capable of delivering similar functions as the converter charger. It is usually used in Modern Class A motorhomes, besides a few other models of travel trailers and vehicles.
The only problem with an inverter charger is that it might not be the efficient means of charging the RV battery because such charging can only supply an average of 40 amps. It also only charges the battery at up to 5 amps. This means that if your battery is drained or depleted, you need a lot of time to charge it.
In case you need to charge your RV battery when you are driving, rest assured that you can do that safely using simple steps. The only things that you need are Anderson plugs, high-quality and high-amp cables, and VCR or the voltage controlled relay.
The VCR will disconnect automatically and parallel the auxiliary. It also works in starting the batteries. This will close the relay and cause your truck and its batteries to be parallel based on the preset level. When you turn on the vehicle, it opens the relay. You can also expect the two batteries to be disconnected in case the vehicle is off.
It will then bring the voltage to a preset level. The next step is using the high-amp cables in combining the batteries to minimize the drop in voltage. You should use the Anderson plugs as these are designed to provide an excellent connection while minimizing the loss of voltage. The plugs can also carry a high amp.
Ensure that the cables are easy to detach at the tow bar. It is also possible to get rid of any fire hazard using the circuit protection that usually comes in a 50-amp auto reset circuit breaker form. Several rubber boots can also be slipped on into the breakers as a means of insulating them, thereby preventing them from shorting. You can check out the full guide here!
RV Battery Maintenance: Pro Tips to Follow
Generally speaking, automobile batteries could last for many years assuming that they receive appropriate maintenance. Unfortunately, soon after purchasing new batteries, various RVers need to find replacements again because they fail to take proper precautions.
RV batteries can be sensitive and also pricey, and therefore, they must be taken care of properly. So if you don’t want to wreck your batteries by mistake, have to deal with premature replacement and waste your money in the process, follow the recommendations below.
Check The Electrolyte Levels Periodically
Keeping the electrolyte acceptable levels is the key to extending the lifespan of RV batteries so pay attention to that. If you find the electrolyte to be low then proceed to add more distilled water.
Don’t have distilled water? Well, mineral-free water could work as an adequate alternative. But whatever you do, refrain from adding tap water since that is going to cause calcium sulfation and kill your RV batteries in no time.
Charge in a Timely Manner
Once the charge in the batteries runs low, crystals start forming on the plates, a process that is called sulfation. This is when the sulfate material crystallizes on the discharged portions of the battery plates and therefore become effectively useless. In case you fail to recharge the batteries in time, which lets the sulfation progress pretty much unchecked, the batteries would be ruined before long.
Hence, in order to maximize the lifespan of the batteries, it’s of utmost importance that you perform recharge in a timely manner. If possible, get yourself a voltmeter to determine the ideal time to recharge the batteries. This handy and cheap tool is used to determine how much voltage your battery is currently holding.
Do not Undercharge or Overcharge
The battery’s lifespan is affected by undercharging as well, wherein a battery isn’t recharged to 100 percent before being unplugged and put into action again. Undercharging will further age your house battery prematurely, as it causes sulfation. The same phenomenon occurs when a battery is discharged for long periods of time.
Just as undercharging can contribute to battery failure, so can overcharging. Overcharging causes greater water loss and corrosion of the plates.
The Right Way To Discharging
To extend the battery’s lifespan, you should cycle the battery down to 50 percent discharge before recharging it every time. Recharging the battery as soon as it has lost only 20 percent of its charge will actually burn out the battery quicker than if it’s allowed to discharge more before being replenished.
Effectively, this means you’ll never want to make use of a battery’s full amp-hours. Essentially, if you want to maximize the battery’s lifespan, do the math and cut this rating in half.
Don’t Forget Parasitic Loads
Even if you turn off all the appliances in your recreational vehicle, certain things would continue to deplete the batteries such as gas leak detectors, antenna power booster, clocks, stereos,… To prevent the parasitic loads from discharging the batteries, it’s necessary that you set the battery disconnect switch to the “off” position if you don’t use the RV.
Consider Using Three-Stage Chargers
Your RV batteries should be best charged in three stages: bulk charge, abortion charge and float charge. The first stage brings the charge of the batteries back to 90 % then the second stage charges the remaining 10% and the third stage maintains the full charge.
Compared to an integrated or built-in charger, a 3-stage charger is more effective, especially if used during storage. The market these days offers a variety of three-stage chargers so it’s a good idea that you pick up one.
Only Add Water After Recharges
Unless the plates seem to be exposed, you must add water after charging the batteries. If the electrolyte runs so low that plates of the batteries are exposed, you need to add water to cover the plates first before performing recharges. By leaving the vent caps on batteries while charging, you could limit losses of water.
Some other important maintenance tips:
- Clean terminals regularly and coat them with a battery terminal spray to avoid corrosion.
- When preparing the battery for use after winter storage, recharge the battery to its full charge state.
- When storing a battery for the winter, check and fill it with distilled water as needed, recharge the battery to its full charge state, and store in a cool dry place.
- Keep yourself protected with the use of safety goggles and rubber gloves when checking, refilling or replacing RV batteries.
- Your trunk should have the jumper cables in case of emergencies.
- Familiarize yourself with the physical signs of RV batteries failure, such as dim lights.
- Don’t ever forget to turn off the lights when you leave your rig.
- Don’t let your batteries run out: always check it periodically or at least 2 times in a year.
- Don’t forget that the negative cable comes out first when removing an RV battery to avoid a short circuit.
- Don’t neglect your vehicle outside of a garage, as bad weather might cause difficult starting.
- Don’t put excessive stress on the battery during idle times when waiting: turn the engine on to support it.
FAQs About RV Battery
How much does a typical RV battery cost?
- Unit price: About $100
- Low priced electric storage cell: $50 to $120
- Higher quality electric storage cell: $90 to $200
- Lead acid type electric storage cell: $125 to $135
- Batteries from service providers: $75 to $120
- AGM batteries: About $200
- Installation: $10 to $100
How long do RV batteries last?
RV batteries have varying lifespans, and this is dependent on the way you use and maintain it. Car batteries last, on average, three to five years. Once your battery is over three years old, it is time for close monitoring.
One important maintenance duty is to monitor the battery’s electrolyte level. The main reason your battery might fail prematurely is that it has a low level of electrolyte. Overfilling it is equally detrimental.
To know how old your battery is, you can check the four- or five-digit date code on the cover of your battery case. The first part of the code is key and consists of a letter and a digit, for instance D11. A letter is assigned to each month: A for January, B for February and so on.
The number that follows denotes the year: for instance, 8 for 2008, 9 for 2009, 0 for 2010, 11 for 2011, 12 for 2012 and so on. So “D11” means in April 2011, the battery was shipped from the factory to local battery wholesale distributors.
How to install an RV battery?
To install an RV battery, start by turning off all of the accessories that draw power from the battery, including minor appliances like overhead lights and radio. Make a note of where the current battery is located, and then disconnect the cables — negative first, then positive.
Clean the cables and the new battery’s terminals if necessary while wearing rubber gloves for protection, and then insert the battery and reattach the cables. Install any hold-down hardware that accompanies the battery, and then give it a test run to ensure you’ve done everything correctly.
How many batteries does an RV have?
Your RV has two separate battery systems, a 12-volt DC system and a 120-volt AC system. There’s also an automotive 12-volt system for starting the engine and running basic automotive functions, just like in your car.
6-Volt vs. 12-Volt RV Batteries: What’s the Difference?
In essence, the 12 volt batteries are widely used in travel trailers and motorhomes. The 6 volt batteries are more versatile; they are used for RVs and are also used in cabins and small homes.
Which one is the best deep cycle battery for RV depends on your preference and your rig’s electrical needs. For a summarized comparison, compared to a 12 volt deep cycle RV battery, a 6 volt deep cycle RV battery has the following pros and cons:
- Larger amp-hour rating
- Larger discharge and recharge capacity
- More lightweight
- Longer lifespan
- Half the amp-hours and voltage
Is it bad for me to leave my RV plugged in all the time?
Every now and then, it’s just convenient for RV owners to leave the vehicles plugged in to power sources. That is not going to harm the batteries but as constant charges go through them, the electrolyte levels fall steadily.
Therefore, if you plan to leave your rig plugged in, remember to check the electrolyte levels on your batteries at least once a month to make sure that they are not low or have gone dry. If the electrolytes on the batteries are low you need to top them off with distilled water. If you do not monitor and top off your batteries, there is a chance that they can get damaged.
Another thing you should check is to make sure that none of your 120 volt appliances are on, such as the fridge and water heater.
Does an RV battery charge while plugged in?
Whenever your recreational vehicle is plugged in, the house battery is charged. Also, when your recreational vehicle is connected to an outlet, your batteries are charging. The RV charger/converter converts the power from the grid into the 12V DC and then channels the power to an adapter. This charger/converter is integrated into your RV.
Compared to an integrated or built-in charger, a 3-stage charger is more effective, especially if used during storage. As the name implies, a 3-stage charger charges your battery in three stages:
- Bulk charging is what the inbuilt charger will give, covering usually up to 90% of the charge.
- The acceptance charge is the second charging stage, slowly tapering off as your battery becomes fully charged.
- The final stage allows trickle charging until your batteries are fully charged. It works by keeping the trickle coming to maintain battery topping off.
This means that when your RV is plugged in, it is receiving a trickle charge. While it’s only a trickle charge, it can deplete the battery cells’ electrolyte levels. For this reason, you should maintain and check the battery monthly when your camper or recreational vehicle is plugged in while in storage.
Check out the full guide here!
Why is my RV battery draining so fast?
When you notice that your RV battery is draining fast, it’s more likely happening when your RV is not plugged into shore power and that you are not running your generator.
First, inspect to see whether there is a problem with your house batteries. You need to make sure that all battery connections are clean and tight and that the batteries have the proper amount of electrolytes.
If this is not the case, it’s best that you take your RV in and have a Certified RV Technician check out the 12 volt DC system in your RV.
They will load test the batteries to make sure that they can take and hold a charge, then check the charging system on the RV to make sure that batteries are receiving a proper charge. Last and not least, they might check for any 12-volt electrical item that might be sucking a lot of power from the batteries.
Can you plug your RV into the house outlet?
Yes, you can – sort of. An RV can be hooked up to a home’s electrical system, but there are some things you must know.
Since your RV will need at least a 30/50 Amp hookup to power the rig, you’ll be limited in what you can run connected to a home’s 15/20 Amp electrical outlet. To hook up your rig to your home outlet within safe parameters, in most cases, you will only be able to use one appliance at a time. If you use more than one at a time, you’ll risk damaging both your RV and home’s electrical system.
The following RV appliances consume a large amount of power, so be cautious when running them for long periods of time or trying to run them with other appliances at the same time:
- Air conditioning
If you are hooking up to a home’s standard outlet, you can do this via an outdoor, all-weather extension cord and 15/20 Amp adapter for your RV’s electrical hookups. Look for an extension cord that is as short as possible going from your home to your RV to prevent it from overheating.
Follow these steps to hook an RV up to your home’s electrical system:
- Ensure all electrical appliances are turned off in your rig.
- Turn off the breakers to your home.
- Plug the extension cord into your RV’s electrical hookups, if necessary via an adapter.
- Then, reset your home’s breakers.
Does RV battery charge while driving?
Numerous towing vehicles charge the batteries of the recreational vehicles they tow on the road. That being said, such charge tends to insufficient to bring the nearly depleted batteries of RV back to full charge.
The mechanism behind it is straightforward: at first, the towing vehicles charge the batteries of the RV at high rates. but as the batteries of the vehicles reach full charge, the charging rates drop dramatically. That is why if you intend to charge the batteries of your rig on the move, you need to tweak your electrical system a bit.
How to charge an RV battery while driving on the road?
In the beginning, you have to connect the batteries of your rig using high-quality and high-amp cables to minimize voltage drops, and VCR or the voltage controlled relay. It’s strongly recommended that you consider using Anderson plus here because they carry massive amperage while ensuring excellent connections.
Next, the VCR relay is going to close, the batteries of your RV would get paralleled to the preset levels. If the truck is back on the move then the relay should open once again.
How often should I charge the batteries of my RV?
In the case you actively use your RV then you have to recharge the batteries as often as possible to minimize troubles due to depletion. On the other hand, if your rig is in storage then you must charge the batteries at least 8 hours a month to top them off.
How long should you charge an RV battery on average?
To put it plainly, the charging time of RV batteries varies greatly from case to case as multiple factors come into play during the process. That means you likely need to use your voltmeter in order to decide the charging time of your batteries based on a couple of recharges. Keep in mind that things don’t exactly work in scale here: It may take 4 hours to take charge of the batteries from 50% to 80%. To get the charge from 80% to 90%, you sometimes have to wait for around 4 more hours to as long as 8 hours.
How long is an RV battery’s runtimes?
Like the time it takes to recharge them, RV batteries don’t have consistent runtimes. Usually, the time that batteries of recreational vehicles would last is dictated by storage, usage, maintenance, recharge and so on. If you prove to be good at battery preservations, a regular 12-volt battery should keep your appliances powered for 48 hours. To be on the safe side, it’s widely advised that you prepare backup powers in case your batteries run out of juice easier than expected.
You can also find our guides on how to choose the best RV surge protector, best solar panels for RV, best RV converter, best RV inverter, best deep cycle battery chargers and best RV generator with detailed reviews in RV Electrical category. In these reviews, we only include and recommend the best products with the highest ratings among highly sold products on the market.
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