5 Best Batteries for Your RV
RV batteries are expensive, so choose your next set carefully. Here are the best RV battery types and choices.
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Batteries are essential to any RV power system, and the batteries you choose can make all the difference in your RV lifestyle.
Wondering if a lithium battery is better than lead acid? Is the higher price of an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery really worth it? How much battery capacity is enough? Scroll down for the answers you need and specific buying recommendations.
Reliable Mid-Size AGM Battery
The durable Duracell Ultra BCI Group AGM Deep Cycle Battery is a starting and cycling battery that can handle all the accessory demands an RV can throw at it.
Compared to traditional flooded batteries, Duracell Ultra AGM batteries offer longer cycle life, shorter charging times and more vibration resistance. These batteries feature a spill-proof design that permits installation in any orientation except upside down.
- Faster charging;
- Better vibration resistance;
- Thirty-month replacement warranty.
- Capacity tends to shrink over time;
- Sensitive to overcharging.
Large Brand-Name Gel Cell Battery
At 200 amp-hour (Ah), the Renogy Rechargeable Deep Cycle Hybrid GEL Battery is one of the larger RV batteries, made by one of the recognized leaders in solar energy and off-grid power systems. This sealed battery has an excellent track record with RVs, off-grid energy applications and marine use.
With a rated life of 750 cycles when discharged down to 50 percent capacity, you can expect 10-plus years of service from this battery. Gel cell-type batteries like this one are best at delivering relatively low current levels, but for long periods. They do require a special battery charger for full working life.
- Delivers low current for a long time;
- No liquid to spill.
- Gel battery charger required;
- Almost double the size and weight of competitors.
Reliable Mid-Size Gel Cell Battery
Many companies make gel cell-type batteries, and this Weize Deep Cycle Gel Battery comes with a long track record of success. Just like the AGM-type batteries, gel cells won’t spill if tipped. All else being equal, a gel-type battery should last longer than a traditional lead acid battery or AGM, although operating temperature greatly affects battery life.
An RV battery operating at no more than 68 degrees can last for 10 to 20 years. That same battery operating at 104 degrees will only last two to five years before it’s garbage.
At 100 Ah, this battery is about as small as you’d want to consider for an RV. Assuming a maximum 50 percent discharge level, this battery can power six 100-watt light bulbs for an hour before recharging.
How do you know when you’re at the magic 50 percent maximum? When a 12-volt battery actually reads 12.0 volts, you’ve discharged it as much as you can without reducing its working life.
- Delivers low current over an extended period;
- No liquid to spill.
- Gel battery charger is required;
- Can be ruined if overcharged.
Big High-End Flooded Cell Battery
With deep cycle batteries, you get the most storage capacity for your dollar from lead acid batteries like this Duracell Ultra BCI Group Flooded Deep Cycle Battery.
Duracell, of course, is one of the most respected names in battery technology, so you’ll get great value from this tried-and-true product. More accurately called a “flooded” lead acid design, this Duracell is like the battery in your car. Liquid acid surrounds lead plates that work together to store electricity.
Batteries like this can spill, but not easily. There are a handful of fancier battery technologies, but good old lead acid still delivers the best bang for the buck.
- Cost effective;
- Large capacity.
- Must be installed upright to prevent spills;
- Regular maintenance required.
The Ampere Time LiFePO4 Batteries use Automotive Grade LiFePO4 cells that offer higher energy density, more stable performance and increased power. The battery’s lifespan of approximately 4,000 cycles is 10 times longer than comparable lead acid batteries, at one-third of their weight.
Ampere Time LiFePO4 batteries can discharge the full 12 volts for 95 percent of their capacity, so they can run nearly 45 percent longer than lead acid batteries. An integrated battery management system (BMS) protects it from overcharging, over-discharging, over-currenting and short circuiting.
- Weighs less;
- Battery Management System.
- Shouldn’t be charged in freezing temperatures.