The batteries in your RV are arguably one of the most important components of your rig. Not only do you have a starter battery that is needed to start the engine, but most RVs have a bank of up to six or eight batteries that are designed to run anything that requires electricity. Think refrigerator, lights, TV, radio, microwave, water pumps, maybe even your stove or oven if you don’t use propane.
As solar power and RV batteries become more and more efficient, many RVers are installing solar panels that charge their battery banks without the need to be constantly running your engine or generator or be hooked up to the power pedestal at a campground. This is really giving RVers a lot of freedom when it comes to “living off the grid” and being able to take their rigs outside of the typical campground and to more peaceful or remote locations that don’t have power hookups.
Like all batteries, RV batteries have a certain lifespan and will need to be replaced eventually. Whether you’re in the market for replacement batteries or are looking to upgrade and ramp up your battery bank, Car Bibles has you covered with our complete buying guide that will help you select the best RV battery to suit your needs.
The Best RV Batteries
Don’t let the hefty price tag scare you, we love the ExpertPower 12V 100Ah Lithium LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery. This battery is a top-of-the-line 100Ah lithium ion battery that comes equipped with the ability to provide an impressive 2,500-7,000 recharge cycles with a whopping 10-year lifespan versus 200-500 cycles and a 3-year lifespan that you customarily get with traditional lead acid batteries. Another huge plus is that these batteries are some of the most efficient on the market, meaning you can drain them down much lower than AGM or lead acid batteries.
That translates into more power in one battery, allowing you to purchase fewer batteries in order to have the same capacity. Let’s also talk about how lightweight they are. At only 22 pounds per battery, these batteries are 1/3 of the weight of other options on the market. Equipped with several safety functions, these batteries are well worth the money if you can swing the initial investment without too much pain.
- Good for 2,500-7,000 recharge cycles
- 10-year lifespan
- Ultra lightweight at only 22 pounds per battery
- Brand ExpertPower
- Model LiFePO4
- Weight 22 pounds
The Universal Power Group Deep Cycle AGM Battery is our top pick. They are hard to beat on price and come fully charged, so they are ready to go the moment you receive them. They are reliable and give a consistent amount of power. This means that RV owners can be confident that when they have several appliances running at once, the performance of each and every one of them will not be affected.
One thing we love about AGM deep cycle batteries is that they recharge quickly, but they also have the added feature of being able to be installed in unbalanced or odd positions without having to worry about leaking or malfunctioning. This is great if you have a tight space or strangely configured area in which to mount batteries. Think sailboats with rounded hulls. They’re also a great option for bumpy roads or choppy seas since AGM deep cycle batteries can absorb a lot of shock and vibration without any power cuts.
- Dimensions: 12.17 inches x 6.61 inches x 9.16 inches
- UPG #45978 UB121000 12V 100Ah
- SLA/AGM maintenance free, spill proof battery
- 1 Year Warranty
- Brand Universal Power Group
- Weight 60 pounds
VmaxTanks prides itself on specializing in the manufacturing of very high-quality AGM deep cycle batteries and the VMAX Solar Deep Cycle Battery is no exception. These recharge quickly, especially in comparison to standard RV deep cycle batteries, and more importantly, this model can power many appliances in an RV at once.
The key to this AGM deep cycle battery is the design, which has some of the strongest plates out there. They are custom made for the model and make using the battery incredibly easy. It also gives users confidence that they will be able to charge their appliances whenever and wherever they want. This RV battery also provides 125Ah, whereas other models only provide 100Ah.
This really is a heavy-duty battery that is built to last.
- 12 Volt 125Ah Group 31 AGM Deep Cycle Heavy Duty Battery
- The custom made bespoke plates are military grade
- Float service life span of 8 to 10 years
- Designed for 99% recombination capabilities
- No dangerous fumes or gases
- Brand VMAX Solar
- Model VMAXSLR125
- Weight 75 pounds
One of the biggest selling points of the Optima Deep Cycle Marine Battery is that it is incredibly light in comparison to some other deep cycle marine batteries on the market. Plus, this battery is reliable and the charge lasts an extremely long period of time.
Another bonus point, that many deep cycle battery manufacturers do not take enough care and attention to, is the fact that this model can power several appliances in terrible weather conditions. If you’re on a boat or out and about in your RV when the weather has taken a turn for the worse, this is a huge comfort. Couple that with the fact that it has a reserve capacity of 120 minutes of constant performance, and you have yourself a fantastic RV battery.
- 12-Volt, 750 Cold Cranking Amps
- Size: 10 inches x 6 7/8 inches x 7 13/16 inches tall
- Dual SAE & 5/16 inches Stainless Steel Stud Posts. 55 Ah C20 capacity
- Can be fixed into any position
- Excellent shock proof capability
- Cranking Amps – 870 Ampere
- Brand Optima
- Model OPT8016-103
- Weight 43.5 pounds
The ExpertPower Rechargeable AGM Deep Cycle batteries are known for being manufactured with high quality materials but offered at a very competitive price point. That shines through in this rechargeable deep cycle battery, which is efficient and capable of providing power to an RV that demands either a huge amount of electricity or just to power a few small appliances.
What sets this battery apart from the majority of other deep cycle RV batteries is its ease of use. Too often manufacturers take it for granted that RV drivers are far more technologically minded than they actually are and make their batteries impossible to install without the help of a qualified professional. While this battery is easy to install, it doesn’t offer a ton of power. At only 33Ah, it’s one of the lower on our list, so just double check what your power needs are prior to purchase to make sure that this battery will be sufficient.
- Makes use of absorbed glass mat (AGM) technology
- Has a wide temperature range
- 12 volt 33 amp/10 hour
- Deep cycle sealed lead acid battery with screw in terminals 7.72(l) 5.16(w) 6.34(h) total height 7.09 inch
- Brand ExpertPower
- Model EXP12330
- Weight 23.2 pounds
The Odyssey PC680 AGM Deep Cycle Battery is an RV battery that is resistant to shocks and vibrations. As a result, it can be used on land, sea or snow and it will still power whatever an RV driver or boat captain asks of it. Furthermore, Odyssey’s confidence in its battery shines through in its two-year, full replacement warranty.
In addition, it is not unusual for these batteries to last almost a decade, which is an incredibly long period of time even for some of the best deep cycle batteries on the market. Couple that with the fact that it has a 70-percent longer cycle life when compared to conventional deep cycle batteries, and the result is an extremely reliable and consistent sealed lead battery that can save you lots of money in the long run.
- Faster recharge: capable of 100 percentage recharge in 4 – 6 hours
- Ability to be mounted anywhere with a non spill design
- The non spill design protects against high impact shock and mechanical vibration
- Also resistant to high temperatures
- Brand Odyssey
- Model PC680
- Weight 15.4 pounds
The VmaxTanks AGM Deep Cycle Hi Performance Battery can hold a charge for an incredibly long time, despite powering multiple appliances within an RV. It is also designed so that it can withstand any knocks or big vibrations that an RV takes, it can withstand them with ease and without any impact on performance.
One reason why is the VMAX approach to the battery plates. They are high performance as well as thicker than the majority of other battery plates on the market. The result is a better quality battery that lasts longer.
It does mean that this battery is also heavier than most others. However, VMAX includes a handle on the hardware so that users can carry it as their needs require. In addition to the simple but effective inclusion of a handle, the tough and durable protective casing ensures that the battery remains as good as new for longer.
- Dimensions: L=7.7" W=5" H=6.1"
- Also available as a battery kit
- VMAX heavy duty lead tin alloys provide an extra margin of performance and service
- Maintenance Free Operation
- Brand VMAX
- Model VMAX857 TM
If you’re searching for an RV battery that’s powerful and effective yet long lasting, consider the Weize 12V Deep Cycle Battery for RV Camping. This 12-volt battery has a capacity of 100 AH, and it’s a sealed lead acid battery that can be recharged. You get performance that’s not only reliable but also impressive. It’s a high-performance RV battery with a long service life and deep discharge recovery that you can trust through many, many uses. This RV battery can keep you on the road without worry for drive after drive.
The Weize 12-volt battery measures 12.09 x 6.65 x 9.17 inches. It’s easy to install in place in your RV’s limited space. Its deep cycle nature means you can trust this battery to maintain its power and capacity over time. Even better, this 12-volt RV battery is versatile. If you have other items in need of a 12-volt battery, like golf cars or electric vehicles, it can be used in them as well.
- 12 volts and 100 amp hours of power
- Sealed lead acid battery
- Offers high performance with deep cycle and deep discharge
- Backed by a one-year warranty
- Brand Weize
- Model 12V100-1
- Weight 60 pounds
The Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery for RV Applications is a well-rounded, durable, and practical choice for an RV battery. You get both high performance and high reliability, and it’s a great battery to use for either standby or daily power needs. This RV battery features 12 volts and is a lead-acid AGM battery. It’s manufactured with thick absorbent glass mat and advanced valve regulation technology to prevent acid leakage. You get solid discharge performance thanks to proprietary quinary alloy plates and specially treated plate grids, which offer low internal resistance and high discharge currents. Overall, this RV battery measures 13.1 x 6.9 x 8.6 inches and weighs 66 pounds.
This RV battery really shines when it comes to long-term durability. When you’re on the road with your RV, the last thing you need is the battery to fail. With Renogy’s Deep Cycle AGM Battery, you’ll enjoy maintenance-free performance anywhere you drive. It’s also very durable thanks to its ability to perform optimally even during freezing temperatures. A leak-proof design and tough exterior materials ensure this RV battery can withstand everything it might encounter.
- Offers a long shelf life with a monthly self-discharge rate under three percent
- Can operate flawlessly at temperatures below 32-degrees Fahrenheit
- Leak-proof and spill-proof in construction
- Brand Renogy
- Model RNG-BATT-AGM12-100
- Weight 66 pounds
The Battle Born 100Ah Lithium Ion Deep Cycle Battery is the creme de la creme of RV batteries, with a price tag to prove it. Again though, if you can swing the initial investment, these batteries will more than pay for themselves in reliability, efficiency, and durability over time. Users find that they can power a handful of appliances at once with no difference in their performance versus when the appliances are connected to a fixed-line grid. Plus, it charges extremely quickly.
Remarkably, it comes with a massive eight-year, full replacement warranty, which is almost unheard of in the RV battery market. They’re a fantastic investment given how long they can run without the need for recharging, especially considering the power that they can produce. Plus, their self-discharge rate is amongst the best available. RV owners have been known to leave this battery for a year and still come back to find it almost fully charged. Even better, it comes backed by an industry-leading 10-year warranty.
- 12 volt Drop in high-efficiency lithium ion battery
- 100 amp continuous output
- 200 amp surge output – 30 seconds 1/2 second surge output for higher loads
- 3000-5000 cycles – Acceptable Charging voltages 14.4 to 14.6 volts
- Brand Battle Born Batteries
- Model BB10012
RV batteries and how they work can be pretty confusing for many of us who aren’t familiar with how batteries convert energy to electrical power. When you add in the various types of batteries being offered now, you might be wishing you paid more attention in high school physics, or that you took auto shop instead of drama. Not to worry, we’re here to make it as simple and easy as possible for you to figure out just what to look for to ensure you’re getting a rugged and reliable RV battery that will suit your specific needs.
Things to Consider When Buying RV Battery
An RV battery is your rig’s key power source. When you’re on the road or at a campsite, your battery provides the power you need to run your appliances, gadgets, and lights. That’s why it’s so important to choose an RV battery that’ll supply the right amount of power, functionality, and reliability.
Since RV batteries go by many different names, some of which are interchangeable, it’s important not to get taken in by gimmicky terminology and inflated marketing ploys. Of course, you can ask your fellow RVers which batteries they prefer and listen to them wax poetic around the campfire about how much they love their chosen brand of batteries and why. There appears to be two battery camps: the ones who would die for their lithium batteries and the ones who don’t really think they’re worth the added cost. You’ll have to decide for yourself where your loyalties lie.
Batteries being the financial investment that they are today, you probably want to get the most out of your battery life so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of replacing them each year. Most deep cycle batteries will last between 2-4 years, depending on the frequency of use. Lithium batteries can last 8-10 years, thus the reason so many RVers are switching to them. The drawback to lithium is the dauntingly large initial investment when compared to the more palatable cost of standard deep cycle batteries. Really look at how much you’re going to be using your RV. If you’re a frequent user with large power draws, lithium might be the best choice for you.
Your overall battery power is one of the most vital factors. After all, the reason you have batteries in the first place is to be able to comfortably run your appliances, electronics, and lights when you’re not hooked up to pedestal power. If you use solar panels, you need enough juice from them charging your battery bank during the day to get you through the night until they can start recharging the batteries again the next day. Otherwise, you’ll have to run your noisy generator or RV engine to power your rig when your batteries get too low.
The number of batteries you need will be based on how many appliances and electricity-drawing items you want to be able to run. That being said, don’t plan on running your RV air conditioner through battery power. It’s a huge draw that will deplete your system quickly. That’s best saved for when you’re plugged into a power pedestal at the campground. If you’re looking to be able to watch TV, charge devices, run your refrigerator, radio, and patio lights simultaneously, however, you can easily do this through a properly sized battery bank.
If you just want a starter battery to be able to drive your RV, all of this is a moot point, as that’s the simplest usage of a battery your RV will ever require.
There are many different types of RV batteries, and many different batteries are a good fit for an RV. Typically, you’ll be shopping for a deep cycle battery as these are the most common and the least expensive. Deep cycle RV batteries come in a few different forms. There are flooded lead-acid batteries, which require some regular maintenance. You can also opt for valve-regulated acid batteries, which are considered “no maintenance” batteries that don’t need much attention. Another option is an absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, which helps maintain the battery’s charge and doesn’t have fluid that is at risk of leaking all over the place. You can also go with lithium ion batteries, which are newer to the market and very energy efficient. All of these batteries can offer benefits for RV owners, so make sure to look at the specifics of each type before buying.
Don’t forget to consider an RV battery’s size. Your RV is designed for batteries of a specific size, and that can limit the options available. You want to look at both the size in terms of capacity — AH or RC — and the overall physical size. While the biggest batteries might offer more power and more perks, you might need to opt for a smaller battery to get the right quality and fit for your RV. You can look at your RV’s original battery for guidance on which size is a good choice. If you’re looking to upgrade, examine the space allotment for your battery bank carefully. Sometimes that can be your big deciding factor as to which RV batteries will best suit your needs.
Types of RV Batteries
Like we’ve mentioned above, there are a number of different types of RV batteries to choose from. Trying to understand and compare the different types, however, can be complicated. The battery type is important, since it determines how the battery actually powers your RV and functions when in use. Here’s an overview of the most common types of RV batteries to help you quickly understand each unique battery.
Deep Cycle Batteries
Deep Cycle batteries are the traditional lead-acid batteries. They’re the most common and include several different types within that category:
Flooded RV batteries are sometimes also called wet cell batteries and have been around the longest. These are some of the most common RV batteries, and they earned their name because they use water as an electrolyte that elicits the chemical reaction that pushes energy to make electricity. A flooded battery will require some regular maintenance — you’ll need to add water to top off its electrolyte supply over time. However, these batteries are so popular because they hold a charge well and are a good value for the price. A flooded RV battery can offer you the long-lasting quality you seek at a fair price. Just make sure you keep them in an easily accessible area for regular maintenance. Thanks to improvements in engineering and technology, wet cell batteries are beginning to fall out of favor as many people opt for lower maintenance options that cost only slightly more.
An AGM battery, or an absorbed glass mat battery, is a newer technology that’s gaining rapid popularity. It’s technically a lead-acid battery, but without free-flowing fluid to worry about. People like AGM batteries because they don’t require any maintenance at all. You never have to worry about what your RV battery might need. These batteries are also typically spill-proof and shock-resistant, which are two features that can be good to have on the road. AGM deep cycle batteries tend to be a bit more energy efficient and because they’re spill-proof, they can be installed in odd, unlevel spaces, unlike flooded wet cell batteries, which need to sit relatively flat at all times. One of their drawbacks is that they’re heavy, weighing upwards of 75 pounds each.
GEL Cell Batteries
Another option is a GEL cell battery. These RV batteries are completely different from both flooded and AGM batteries. GEL cell batteries actually use silica or sand instead of sulphuric acid, relying on these finely granulated products to act as the battery’s electrolyte. Despite their unique construction, GEL cell batteries can have disadvantages. They don’t deliver a quick charge, and they aren’t very powerful and because of that, they’re the least popular choice among RV enthusiasts. However, these RV batteries do have strong internal construction, which can be beneficial for some RV owners.
Lithium Ion Batteries
The alternative to deep cycle lead-acid batteries is lithium ion. These are considered by many to be the upper echelon of RV batteries, and you’ll hear from plenty of RVers how much they love their blankety-blank lithium batteries. These batteries are crazy efficient and you can drain them down to almost nothing without sacrificing battery life, unlike deep cycle batteries, which aren’t supposed to be drained past 50 percent capacity. Lithium ion batteries are also super lightweight and can weigh 1/3 of the weight of typical deep cycle RV batteries. The drawback to lithium is their initial price tag, which can be prohibitive to some RV owners, but the idea is that these batteries more than pay for themselves in terms of efficiency and lifespan.
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Installing A Battery Monitor in Your RV
Once you decide on the type of battery you want for your RV, it’s a good idea to install a battery monitor that will let you stay on top of what your power draw is at any given point of the day or night. In fact, many battery manufacturers require the use of a properly installed monitor in order to honor the manufacturer’s warranty. Not using one can void your warranty, so check to see if that’s the case prior to purchasing your RV batteries. Your battery manufacturer may even go so far as to dictate the type of battery monitor you use.
The main reason for using a battery monitor is so that you don’t overdraw your batteries and drain them down too low. Doing this too frequently can kill your batteries way before their intended lifespan. For the analytical people out there, using a battery monitor helps you to see what time of day your biggest power draws are occurring and which appliances are the greediest.
As a general rule, if you have deep cycle batteries, you should try never to let their charge drop below 50 percent. It might seem odd to have to keep your batteries charged at 50 percent or greater all the time, but trust that if you don’t, you’ll be reinvesting in new batteries well before you want to. With lithium batteries, which are much more efficient, you can drain them down routinely to 10 percent capacity without any negative side effects or damage. Whichever type of battery you go with, you definitely need to pay attention to its level of charge on a regular basis.
Luckily, battery monitors are inexpensive in the whole scheme of things and take up very little space, so you won’t be put out by installing one. It’s definitely way cheaper to invest in a battery monitor than it is to have to replace an entire battery bank, so be sure to include it in your purchase of new batteries if you don’t have one already.
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Charging An RV Deep Cycle Battery
Charging an RV deep cycle battery is obviously key to keeping an RV up and running as well as pleasurable to use. This is because every single appliance and system in an RV runs off its deep cycle battery bank so that if it is dead, you won’t be able to use it unless you run your noisy generator or RV engine. Batteries can take a little while to charge and it is a good idea to keep on top of charging them, especially if you use your RV a great deal every week or so. That doesn’t mean that you have to be glued to your battery monitor all the time, but periodically check in throughout the day to see where you’re at in terms of power.
While most RV batteries will be automatically charged by either running the engine, using your generator, or by your solar panels, there may be times when your battery is drained down too deeply to start on its own, especially your RV engine battery. The following steps will help you charge your RV battery safely and quickly.
How To Charge An RV Using an External Battery Charger: A Step By Step Process
- This might seem like a no-brainer, but before you do anything, it’s important that you turn off your RV completely and ensure that you have turned on the emergency brake. While charging your RV’s battery should not be dangerous, setting the emergency brake will help stop any unnecessary injuries. We’re big fans of safety and minimal risk when it comes to electrical issues.
- Find your RV battery. Remember that your RV could have more than just one battery, particularly if you have a larger vehicle. Additionally, the location of your battery can really vary from one model and make to the next, so consult your owner manual if you are having problems.
- By using a wrench, start to remove the battery cables from your RV battery. It is best to wear heavy-duty gloves for this and be sure to take away the negative side first. This is designated by the black cable. The red cable is the positive cable and should always be removed second. Don’t touch both sides at the same time.
- Now is a good opportunity to clean your battery and its connections of any substance buildup that could affect performance. A baking soda paste made from baking soda and water is a good cleaning solution for this. All you need to do is add the paste to the connections on your battery and then use some wire wool or a wire brush to take the paste away as well as any of the dirt. From there, remove any excess paste with a clean duster and some water. Then, use vaseline on top of the now clean connections so that they are protected from any corrosion.
- Once cleaned, refill the battery with distilled water if is needed. You can check this by opening the cap on top of the battery. Remember to use a funnel for this step so as not to get the water everywhere.
- Now attach your charger to your battery. To do this, make a positive connection initially by linking up the red sides first. Then do the same with the black, negative side. Alternatively, you can make a negative connection with a metal piece and clamp for grounding.
- Turn your battery charger on and allow the charger to do its job and recharge your RV battery in its entirety. There should be a light that will work as an indicator when the battery is full of charge once again.
- Now remove the charger by unplugging the connections.
- Start to connect the battery back to the RV. When reconnecting, it is important to remember to make the positive connection first. This will mean reattaching the red or positive cable first and using a wrench to secure it in place properly. From there, reconnect the negative side in the same fashion.
- If you have more than one battery in your RV due to its size, you will have to follow all these steps again to ensure they are charged too.
Choosing Between A 6-Volt Golf Cart or 12-Volt Deep Cycle or Lithium-Ion Battery
While we haven’t really discussed 6-volt golf cart batteries too much, these may be on your radar versus a 12-volt deep cycle or lithium-ion battery. Some RV experts argue that running two 6-volt batteries in series is a better decision, since 6-volt batteries historically have thicker plates and more space per cell, resulting in a deeper discharge allowance than 12-volt batteries.
The drawback is that now you need two large 6-volt batteries to create the same voltage and amp hours that a single 12-volt battery can generate. So if space is a consideration for you, this is likely your least attractive option. As well, with all the advances in technology, newer 12-volt deep cycle batteries have a decent life expectancy nowadays. Of course, as you now know, the lifespan of lithium batteries blows all others out of the water.
6-volt batteries do have the advantage of being lighter and easier to handle than the heavier 12-volt counterparts. Again, lithium-ion batteries take the prize here, only weighing around 30 pounds each.
How Temperature Can Affect RV Batteries
Temperature can have a huge bearing on RV batteries and their ability to perform. This is because one of the reasons a battery stops working can be due to a factor called “sulfation”.
Sulfation is the term used when sulfates accumulate on your battery plates. This is a normal and common occurrence and happens pretty much every time you use your batteries, but it becomes a problem when the sulfates accumulate too quickly.
Storing your batteries in an area that is too warm — thus causing the batteries to dispel some of their charge — is a common cause of this. Keep in mind that for every 10 degrees of temperature increase around your batteries, your sulfation rate will increase by two-fold. Try to store your batteries at room temperature — or close to it — in order to avoid this problem.
Best RV Battery FAQ:
Q: What’s an RV Deep Cycle Battery?
So what exactly is an RV battery? An RV battery, in short, is what your RV uses to run everything within your RV that you will most certainly use on a daily basis. This includes water pumps and appliances like TVs, coffee machines, or refrigerators. As they are used by so many things within your vehicle, they are designed so that a level amount is discharged to your vehicle over long bouts of time. This is in direct comparison to the starting battery which gives out large but short amounts of energy for short periods of time so that the engine starts from the crank having been activated.
By design, RV deep cycle batteries are meant to give out anything in between 50 to 60 percent of their charge and lithium-ion can give up 80-90 percent, though this obviously varies according to what brand the battery is and how it is made. RV batteries are rechargeable too so that they can be reused over and over again when their energy levels have been topped up by their owners.
In comparison, to the starter battery, an RV deep cycle or lithium battery also looks different in that it has thick set plates that are not spongy or soft like the starter battery. Instead, the plates are completely solid making them have a much smaller surface area so that they are not capable of the short bursts of power that the starter battery provides, even if the owner wanted it to. These thick plates also allow the battery to have its charge whittled down to about 20% if necessary, although it’s not recommended in terms of protecting battery life.
They can also be used to power smaller vehicles like golf carts or even electric wheelchairs.
Q: What is the best deep cycle battery for RV?
In our opinion, the best RV deep cycle battery is an AGM battery. They’re super stable, have no corrosive or dangerous fluid that will spill out, require little to no maintenance, are more efficient than flooded wet cell or gel batteries, and can be installed on uneven surfaces.
Q: What is the longest lasting RV battery?
That’s easy: lithium ion is hands down the longest lasting RV battery. They have a lifespan of 8-10 years, or 2,500-7,000 recharge cycles, whereas deep cycle RV batteries have a lifespan of 2-4 years or 200-500 cycles.
Q: What size battery do I need for my RV?
The majority of RVs require 12-volt batteries but check your owner’s manual prior to purchase just to be on the safe side. Also, check to see what your RV is already equipped with and then decide if that’s sufficient or if you might need more power.
Q: How do I install an RV battery?
Installing an RV starter battery should be relatively straightforward but requires attention and care to ensure that all the necessary steps and precautions are taken.
- Start by turning off all appliances in your RV — this includes anything like lighting or items that use the RV battery to run.
- Note down what position your battery is in when in the tray to gauge its polarity.
- Remove the old battery by disconnecting the negative cable first. At this stage, check that the carrier or battery casing and other hardware do not have any signs of rust or corrosion.
- If your battery is not maintenance-free, you will need to check as well that there is the necessary amount of electrolyte inside. If not, top up your battery with properly distilled water until the right level is reached. The acid level of your battery should never be needed to be filled by you. Clean the terminal posts.
- Place the new battery into the tray so that it is in the same position you checked in previous step two.
- Connect cables to the new battery and activate the hold-down hardware.
- Test the battery by switching on the lights.
Q: What RV batteries are made of?
RV batteries are commonly made of lead-acid that is included in the battery’s cells. They are also made up of plates as well as lead and lead oxide. The lead oxide is covered in an electrolyte that is made up of sulphuric acid and water. It is these component parts and ingredients that give RV batteries the ability to store electricity. The amount that the battery can store is determined by the size of the plates as well as the amount of electrolyte included. More and more frequently, some RV batteries are composed of super efficient lithium-ion as an alternative to lead-acid.
Q: How does a lithium-ion battery work?
A lithium-ion battery works due to the transference of positively charged lithium ions from one part of the battery to another. These are called the anode and cathode. Other parts of a lithium-ion battery are the separator, the electrolyte, and two current collectors that collect a positive and negative charge each. It is the electrolyte that transfers the positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode. This happens through the separator and back again giving an electrical current. The separator importantly stops electrons from flowing into the battery. The current collector then allows the electric current to flow through whatever device the battery has been hooked up to so it is then powered.
Q: What is an “amp hour”?
The amp hour delineates how much capacity there is in a battery for energy to be stored. Or, in short, how much energy it can provide. It is often shortened to AH.
Q: How to calculate amp usage in an RV?
Sadly, this is not an easy thing to calculate when looking at how much amp usage you will need from your RV. You need to go around every single appliance that uses some sort of electricity that is powered by your deep cycle RV battery and figures out how many amps it uses per hour.
From there, you need to tot up how many amps all the appliances use together so you come to an answer that equals how many amps your RV would be using if it had all your appliances and electrical outlays on at the same time. Obviously, this isn’t always going to be the case, but by calculating your RV’s amp usage in this manner, you are calculating the amount that it will use in the worst-case scenario.
Q: How long should an RV battery last?
This question is quite difficult to answer given that it totally depends on how much you use your RV. That being said, it is not unheard of for a 12-volt battery to last around 48 hours if RV owners use their battery power thoughtfully. This means not leaving the lights on all the time or having the heating on when no one is inside.
Q: Why does my RV battery smell like rotten eggs?
Even the best RV batteries can smell like rotten eggs sometimes. The reason being is that there is a shorted cell within it. This may have occurred due to battery fluids becoming too hot in a charger that was not suitable for your RV battery.
Q: What is Specific Gravity and how should I check it?
Specific gravity is also sometimes known as relative density. It is a way of measuring and gauging how dense or how heavy a liquid in when compared to water. It is a unitless measurement that is designated by a ratio. The temperature should also be kept in mind when checking specific gravity as this can change the density of liquids.
Specific gravity can be checked in several ways.
Using a Hydrometer
- Pour some of the liquid you want to test into a beaker and ensure that a hydrometer is able to float freely in it.
- Check that your liquid is neither too hot nor too cold to ensure that the calibrated hydrometer can take an accurate reading. This is often around 16 degrees Celsius.
- Put your hydrometer into the beaker of liquid and allow it to come to a standstill.
- Take the reading from the hydrometer that is marked out at different places for different specific gravity. The reading will either be a ratio or a decimal number. If it reads 1.3, it means that the liquid you are testing is 1.3 times denser than water at that temperature.
Using Weight to Determine Specific Gravity
- Weigh the liquid for which you want to know the specific gravity. To do so, weigh your beaker first and then weigh the beaker again once you have poured in a specific volume of your liquid. Then minus how much your beaker weighed.
- Follow the same steps with water using exactly the same volume of water to gauge the weight.
- Now calculate the ratio of the unknown liquid to water. This is your specific gravity measurement.
Q: How can I store batteries?
The best way to store your RV battery or your deep cycle marine battery is to dry it off and place it in a dry, cool spot in your house or garage that is well ventilated. You need to ensure that the temperatures of where you choose don’t go below freezing. If for some reason, your battery does freeze, it is imperative that you do not try to charge it as it could explode.
Any temperature between 0 and 27 degrees Celsius, of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit should be fine.
Our Top Pick
Our choice for the best RV battery is the ExpertPower 12V 100Ah Lithium LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery. This 12-volt battery has a solid 100 Ah capacity, which is ideal for plenty of RVs and RV owners. It’ll provide you with not only reliable consistency but also enough power to suit your on-the-road or campsite needs. This high-end battery also has a high-end price, but that’s due to the features it provides. It has a 10-year lifespan, which is considerably longer than most traditional lead acid batteries that last typically just three years. The battery is also much more efficient than the competition. In addition, it’s lighter weight than many other options currently available, and it has several safety functions. All these qualities make it worth the price.
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