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If you want to use electrical appliances while traveling in an RV, you will need a battery with adequate charge and capacity. A standard car battery won’t be up to the task. You will need to install a more powerful deep cycle RV battery. You can even fit in multiple RV batteries to power televisions, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, water pumps, and other devices with high energy consumption.
While a battery is a necessary component for any vehicle, it comes with technical specs that many buyers may find daunting. There are various questions to consider regarding battery usage. For instance, which battery will allow you to power all of your appliances simultaneously? How do you charge the battery? Also, how will it react to temperature fluctuations?
The Best RV Battery
Let’s take a look at these questions and determine some of the better options for your RV.
1. Best Overall
Battle Born Batteries 100 aH Deep Cycle Battery
This Lithium Iron Phosphate battery is the perfect lithium-ion deep cycle battery for your RV. In addition to the common 12-volt systems, the battery can work with 24, 36, and 48-volt systems. It is ideal for trailers, boats, golf carts, as well as any vehicle requiring off-grid power. We can use the battery in place of a lead-acid battery without requiring any rewiring. However, if you want to replace AGM batteries with it, you will need to carry out some minor adjustments.
The battery comes with the BattleBorn Battery Management System (BMS). It protects the battery’s lithium cells from sudden voltage changes, extreme temperatures, and short-circuits in the system. Thanks to the BMS, the battery can maintain its efficiency by reducing the charging rate for cells that have charged and by increasing the same for cells that still need charging. As a result the battery can maintain a balance between the cells.
The BMS also regulates the power output of the 100 AH battery. If any of your devices have a surge, the BMS will supply them with 200 amp for 30 seconds. It will be for half a second in case of higher loads.
- Pros: Can be mounted inside the RV. At 29 lbs, it’s lightweight. Rated to last 3,000 to 5,000 cycles.
- Cons: For monitoring battery life it requires a battery meter with a shunt.
2. Best Value
VMAX Solar 125aH Deep Cycle Battery
The 12-volt 125 Ah battery is a reliable option for storing energy from solar panels, wind turbines, and inverters. Capable of operating efficiently in all weather conditions, it can power various electrical devices in an RV as well as boats, trailers and other vehicles. The battery’s plates are of heavy-duty tin alloy grids which enhance the battery’s performance and life.
The number of charging and discharging cycles that a battery undergoes determines its lifespan. During a discharge cycle, a battery’s discharge depth indicates how much of its power has been used up as compared to its capacity. A 100 percent discharge depth shortens the life of most batteries, but the Vmaxslr125 can go on for 300 cycles. And, with a 10 percent depth of discharge, it lasts for over 3,500 of them. The battery also has a low self-discharge rate of 1 to 2 percent per month.
Ninety-nine percent of the gas created in the battery recombines, and there is a valve to regulate its excessive accumulation.
- Pros: Can be used in any position. Handles vibrations, shocks, and impacts quite well. Easy to maintain. Average lifespan of 10 years. Sealed, leak-proof construction.
- Cons: It’s heavy.
3. Best for Low Maintenance
Universal Power Group 100Ah Battery
The Universal UB121000 is a 12-volt 100 Ah battery that is adept at storing energy and deep cycling. For this reason, the battery is popularly used in RVs, boats, and home solar panel applications. It also finds widespread use in hospitals, airports, and other places where deep cycle batteries are essential.
The battery uses a technology known as the Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. In AGM, a fiberglass mat absorbs the sulfuric acid in the cells and ensures that the battery remains spill-proof. Furthermore, the AGM makes charging quicker and increases efficiency by discharging less than 3 percent of the storage capacity per month. It also boosts the battery life and improves electrical reliability for consistently powering multiple devices in the RV at the same time.
- Pros: Lightweight. Can be mounted in any position, even odd angles. Can absorb shocks and vibrations without cutting power. Requires very little maintenance. Performs well at all temperatures.
- Cons: Very heavy. Sensitive to over-charging.
4. Best for All Climates
Optima BlueTop Deep Cycle Battery
The lightweight BlueTop battery from Optima has a dual purpose. You can use it as a starting battery for RV and boat engines, and also as a deep cycling battery for powering various electrical devices. The battery’s marine cranking amp of 870 amperes and cold cranking amp of 750 amperes can power the RV in summer and winter, respectively.
The 12-volt battery comes equipped with six cells. Each of these has a fully-charged voltage of 2.2 volts for deep cycling and just over 2.1 volts for starting use. The manufacturer has used proprietary SpiralCell technology to make these cells. This means each cell has a spiral winding of pure lead plates that have lead oxide coating. All the cells are inside precisely molded cylindrical cases. Thanks to these features, the battery can deliver more power in a safe, consistent way.
If a problem arises in the charging system, the battery’s reserve capacity of 120 minutes will supply power to the electrical devices in the RV.
- Pros: Long shelf life. Durable and resistant to vibration. Can be mounted in any position. Easy to maintain.
- Cons: The casing is easily damaged. Must be installed away from heat sources.
5. Best on a Budget
Universal Power Group Sealed Lead Acid Battery
The UPG is a 12-volt 35 Ah sealed lead acid battery from Universal Power Group. Widely used as a secondary backup system, it can power emergency lighting systems, portable medical devices, security systems, electric gates, automated garage doors, UPS for computers, spotlights, and many other systems. Furthermore, the battery’s compact size and 24-pound weight make it ideal for powering small boats, kayaks, scooters, and wheelchairs.
Made with AGM technology, the battery excels at handling devices that consume a large amount of power. It has a fast recharge rate and can last for a long time when fully charged. Also, the battery’s leak-proof construction and regulated valves make it safe to operate in all weather conditions.
- Pros: Durable. Easy to install and maintain. Resistant to vibrations. Can be mounted in various positions.
- Cons: Sensitive to overcharging. Requires installation away from heat sources.
What to Look for in RV Batteries
Types of RV Batteries
Flooded RV battery
Also known as wet cell battery, it requires the addition of water to act as the electrolyte. It is the most commonly used RV battery as it holds its charge well and is affordable. Construction-wise, however, it may not be very durable.
Constructed of AGM, this is a lead acid battery that uses sulphuric acid as the electrolyte and requires no maintenance. Its design makes it both shock -resistant and spill-proof.
This battery is long-lasting, lightweight, and fast charging. It can discharge 85 percent of its capacity and can deliver full charge even at high currents. Since a full discharge is likely to damage the battery, there is a BMS to monitor and take preventive measures. Lithium batteries require no maintenance as they don’t contain liquid electrolytes meaning their terminals won’t corrode.
RV batteries consist of metal plates immersed in electrolytes that work together to store electricity. The material, size, and quantity of these components determine the amount of energy that the battery can provide. The most common plates are lead coated with lead oxide and immersed in an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water.
It may be tempting to install a larger batter to supply more power, you can’t disregard space considerations. The battery must be the right size and fit your RV.
As with size, the RV’s battery weight also impacts its power. Usually, the heavier it is the more power it will be able to generate. However, it could also make the battery installation problematic.
Since an RV requires more power than an ordinary car, you are going to need a deep cycle battery. Such batteries are powerful and efficient in energy storage. For this reason, they can power large vehicles with multiple appliances.
Before choosing a battery, it can help to research the different models online and read their instruction manuals, if they are available. That should give you an idea about the ease of installation. It is necessary to know if you can personally manage it, especially if you’ve never attempted it before. In some cases, you only have to follow a few simple instructions. Others may require more technical knowledge.
Below is a quick video from Pete’s RV going over the process. Check to see if the brand you opt for has installation videos. These are especially helpful for visual learners.
You can deduce how much power a battery will generate by its amp hours and reserve capacity (RC). The amp hours cover a 20-hour duration and inform you about the total amps the battery can discharge in this time. The RC tells you the number of minutes the battery can last when providing a 20-amp output. Ideally, you should get a battery with higher amp hours and RC.
While RV batteries can last for many years, their actual lifespan will depend on how often and how much you use them. It’s best to get a battery with a longer life span. Check the manufacture date and make sure it is current. Older ones may be close to expiration, and such batteries will hold little to no charge.
Some of the RV battery’s charge will dissipate with exposure to high temperatures and that will lead to sulfation. In this, sulfate will start growing on the battery plates, and it will eventually hamper their performance ability. The battery will stop working as a result. Maintaining the battery at room temperature can resolve this issue to some extent.
Batteries should be efficient, reliable, durable, and compact. The best options will have a high reserve capacity and a long lifespan. Even so, to keep your RV safe and functional, you should check the battery, and, if necessary, change it. With a bit of maintenance, you can travel far in the comfort of your RV.
- Header and footer images from RV With Tito on Flickr
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