5 Best Batteries for Your RV
RV batteries are expensive, so don't blow it when it comes to choosing your next set. Learn all about the five best batteries for your RV.
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Batteries are essential to any RV power system, and the batteries you choose can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your RV lifestyle. Wondering if a lithium battery is better than lead acid? Is the higher price of an AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery really worth it? How much battery capacity is enough? Click below to get the answers you need and specific buying recommendations.
Reliable, Mid-Size AGM Battery
This classic Weize 12V 100Ah deep cycle AGM RV battery offers two things you should know about. First, it’s a “deep cycle” design. That’s key for any RV battery you’re considering. Regular automotive batteries fail quickly and become useless if you discharge them more than a little before recharging again. Deep cycle batteries, by contrast, can be regularly discharged down to 50 percent of their total capacity and still keep recharging properly for years. AGM is the second thing that makes this battery a great RV choice. The letters stand for “absorbed glass mat,” meaning these lead acid batteries contain no liquid acid that can spill if tipped. This is a good battery at an economical price.
Large, Brand-Name Gel Cell Battery
At 200 amp-hour (Ah), this Renogy 12V 200Ah deep cycle 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 no more than 50 percent of total 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 of time. Gel cells do require a special battery charger for full working life.
Reliable, Mid-Size Gel Cell Battery
Gel cell-type batteries like this one are made by many companies, and this Weize 12V 100Ah deep cycle gel battery has 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 in all cases operating temperature affects battery life a lot. An RV battery operating at no more than 68 degrees F/20 degrees C can last for 10 to 20 years. That same battery operating at 104 degrees F/40 degrees C will only last two to five years before it’s garbage. At 100 amp-hours (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.
Big, High-End Flooded Cell Battery
When it comes to deep cycle batteries, you get the most storage capacity for your dollar from lead acid batteries like this Trojan 12V 175Ah J185E-AC deep cycle flooded lead acid battery. Trojan is one of the most respected names in off-grid energy technology, so you’ll get great value from this tried-and-true battery. More accurately called a “flooded” lead acid design, this Trojan 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.
Small, Economical AGM Battery
Don’t let the small size of this Powermall 12V 75Ah Deep Cycle AGM battery fool you. Based on cost per amp-hour of energy storage capacity, plus an impressive track record of reliability in the field, this is a great value RV battery. Sure, 75 amp-hours isn’t that much storage capacity. But batteries like this can be wired together in parallel to deliver the same 12 volts with as many amp-hours as you need. Connect the positive terminals of two or more batteries together, do the same with the negative terminals, and the amp-hour rating of the group is the sum of each battery. Two batteries deliver 150 Ah; three batteries, 225 Ah.