How to Determine the Right Types of RV Batteries?

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Having electricity everywhere you go, whether you’re at a fancy campground or boondocking in the bush, is one of the major benefits of RVing.

Electricity may improve your camping experience by allowing you to prepare delectable meals and illuminate your camper after the sun goes down.

Your RV batteries help to make this possible, so it’s crucial to take the time to learn how they operate, how to choose the best one for your RV, and how to maintain them.

So let’s get started; we’ll cover everything, from your starting battery to your deep cycle RV batteries.

What is an RV Battery?

The complete electrical system of your RV depends on your RV battery.

They provide direct current (DC) power to your appliances, lighting, and other essential RV parts like the water pump while you are not connected to shore power.

Batteries are crucial whether you’re boondocking or dry camping.

The flash and glamour of some of your other RV amenities may not be present in your RV batteries.

However, you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the numerous home amenities an RV offers without this silent workhorse.

However, not all RV batteries are made the same.

Different RV battery kinds have different constructional features, chemical compositions, and upkeep specifications.

We’re here to sort it all out and assist you in selecting the appropriate battery.

Suggestion reading: How to Tell If RV Battery is Bad?

What Sets a Deep Cycle Battery Apart from a Regular Battery?

An RV will often feature a deep-cycle house battery.

The engine of RVs is started by a regular automobile battery.

As its name suggests, deep-cycle batteries provide a continuous supply of power for the duration of your RV’s electrical requirements.

Deep cycle batteries must be recharged, either by connecting to shore power or by producing your own electricity using solar or wind energy devices.

However, standard vehicle batteries are made differently.

They provide the engine with a quicker start by delivering a stronger but transient surge of electricity.

These batteries are subsequently recharged by the engine’s alternator.

The Different RV Battery Types

Even after distinguishing between starting batteries and deep cycle batteries, not all RV battery types are the same.

Here are the main distinctions between the most popular styles.

Flooded Lead-Acid

These are the most fundamental and typical battery kinds.

This is mainly because of their affordable pricing and extensive experience in the RV sector.

They are made up of negatively and positively charged lead plates that are dipped in an electrolyte solution to assist in chemically producing the energy you want.

This solution will periodically need to be topped up with distilled water.

Furthermore, it is usually necessary to put flooded lead-acid batteries in an area with adequate ventilation.

AGM Batteries

Similar to flooded lead-acid batteries, absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries produce electricity from an electrolyte solution and lead plates.

AGM batteries, on the other hand, keep the mixture within the absorbent mat that gives the battery its name.

Because these batteries are totally sealed, topping up and venting are not necessary.

Extreme temperature performance is also improved with AGM batteries.

You will have to spend a little bit extra on each battery in return for these advantages.

Gel Cell Batteries

With a gel in place of the standard electrolyte fluid between the plates, gel cells are another variation of the conventional lead-acid battery.

This sealed construction eliminates the need for routine maintenance and additional ventilation, much like an AGM battery.

However, they will also cost somewhat more than flooded lead-acid models and, regrettably, are vulnerable to harm if charged incorrectly or excessively.

Lithium-Ion (LiFePO4) Batteries

Since more than ten years ago, lithium-ion batteries have been revolutionizing the field of RV battery kinds.

The most popular kind, lithium iron phosphate, or LiFePO4, produces the energy you take from the battery through a separate chemical process.

The end result is a battery that is far lighter, lasts longer, and doesn’t need maintenance or have use limitations.

The technology is often more costly since it is less widespread.

Pro Tip: Read our Deep Cycle Battery Buying Guide to find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of each battery type.

How to Choose the Right Type of RV Battery for You?

How can you choose the ideal battery type for your rig now that you are aware of all the crucial components of the widely used battery types? Here are some important factors to consider when choosing an RV battery type to guide your choice.

#1. AMP-Hour Rating

Electric current is measured in amps, which are obtained by dividing the total wattage used by the voltage.

The amount of electricity needed to provide one amp of power for an hour is measured in amp-hours.

Each deep-cycle battery will have a stated rating that will help you determine its total capacity.

Typically, this rating lasts for 20 hours.

You may calculate how much electricity you consume by multiplying the number of amps you use at one moment by the number of hours you go without charging.

Since voltage might fluctuate depending on the mechanism of your battery, amp-hours is often regarded as the most accurate indicator of battery capacity.

#2. Watt-Hours

Electric use is measured in watts.

You will either find the wattage written on every electric appliance you possess or in the instructions.

Simply multiplying the total wattage by the number of hours utilized results in watt-hours.

You may get an idea of battery capacity from this as well.

Related Also: Why Is My RV Battery Draining While Plugged In?

#3. Discharge Depth and Lifespan

This is an important factor to take into account to prevent unexpected battery damage or running out of power.

Despite the fact that your battery may have a specified capacity, you may only drain a specific percentage of it before you endanger your other batteries.

AGM, gel cell, and lithium batteries can generally utilize 80% or more of their capacity, but flooded lead-acid batteries can only discharge 50% of their capacity.

If you’re a heavy power user without frequent access to charging, this may make a big impact.

Additionally, consider how long each battery type will survive before needing to be replaced.

Gel cell batteries often have a lifespan of two to five years, which is followed by flooded lead-acid batteries, which typically have a lifespan of four to six years.

The longest-lasting RV battery types are lithium batteries, which have an average lifespan of eight years or more compared to AGM batteries, which typically last four to eight years.

#4. Remaining Level

The fluids within many common flooded lead-acid batteries must be topped up every few weeks because of their open construction.

AGM, gel cell or lithium versions are examples of sealed batteries, albeit this isn’t a significant issue for individuals who wish to save time.

Additionally, they never need maintenance.

#5. Cost

Flooded lead-acid batteries are often the least expensive option if you’re on a limited budget.

They are the most traditional and widely used battery types, and they cost less than more contemporary battery types.

On the other hand, lithium batteries often command the highest prices, at least initially.

Lithium batteries may often save owners money by necessitating fewer replacements due to their extended longevity.

Pro tip: Read 12 Volt Or 6 Volt RV Battery: Which Is Better? before looking into RV batteries.

#6. Guarantee

Nobody likes the idea of their brand-new battery dying even before they buy it.

But it’s important to remember the warranty, just in case.

Depending on the brand or style, you may be protected for a different period of time if anything goes wrong.

Even though you may never need it, having a good warranty might be the difference between having to pay for an expensive repair and getting a free new battery.

#7. How Often Will You Go Camping?

The amount you spend on your batteries should take into account how often you’ll be utilizing your gear.

A flooded lead-acid battery or another less expensive battery may be all you need if you only travel with your vehicle sometimes or just camp on the weekends.

However, it may be worthwhile to spend more money on lithium battery technology if you’re a full-time RVer or routinely go off the grid and need an off-grid power system.

Check out our installation of lithium batteries, which power our full-time RV lifestyle, as a pro tip.


What Drawbacks Do Gel Cell Batteries Possess?

Gel cell batteries are excellent choices, but their intended usage and application both matter a lot.

The following are a few of the most prevalent drawbacks of gel cell batteries:

– They must be charged more gradually and at a lower voltage than a flooded cell battery.
– A gel cell battery may sustain long-term harm if it is overcharged.

What Drawbacks Do Lead-Acid Batteries Possess?

RVs often include lead-acid batteries because they are quite versatile and perform well in a wide range of uses.

These are typical drawbacks of this kind of battery:

– They may not last as long as other varieties of deep-cycle batteries.
– They weigh a much.
– They need periodic maintenance.

What Is the Battery Life Expectancy for RVs?

Your RV batteries’ total life expectancy is influenced by the following variables:

– The battery type you use. The lifespan of some varies.
– Your consumption patterns and the frequency of your RV travels.
– How well you take care of your batteries when care is necessary.
– How batteries are depleted and recharged.
– Keeping your RV in storage.

How to Extend Your RV Batteries’ Life?

For the majority of battery types, adequate maintenance is necessary.

Lead-acid batteries may be linked in series, where the depth of the cycle during each user has a significant role in the battery life.

A battery cycle consists of a full drain from 100% to somewhere around 50%, followed by a 100% recharge.

Do the following to maintain your RV batteries:

– After usage, recharge the batteries to avoid damage.
– When your RV is plugged in, charge the batteries using the built-in battery charger.
– Keep the battery from being forced to produce more amperage than it can in an hour.
– Inspect and maintain your deep-cycle lead-acid batteries regularly if you have any.
– Make sure you have the right charger if you utilize lithium-ion batteries.

How Many Different Types of Deep Cycle Batteries Are There?

Deep-cycle batteries are available in a wide range of sizes.
Group size is used to identify some, including groups 24, 27, and 31.

Basically, you get more amp hours the bigger the battery is.

There are a number of battery alternatives available, depending on your requirements and the amount of space you have, including:

– One 12-volt, 24-group deep cycle battery may provide between 70 and 85 AH.
– When connected together, two 12-volt 24-group batteries provide between 140 and 170 AH. Your amp hours will rise with parallel wiring, but the voltage will remain the same.
– Two substantial 6-volt golf cart batteries should be connected in series to get the full 12 volts required for an RV. Their voltage will rise with series wiring while the amp hours remain constant.
– Four big 6-volt batteries connected in series may create the necessary 12 volts while doubling your AH capacity, but it is a complicated operation.

Why do RV batteries fail?

Undercharging and overcharging are two extremely frequent causes of battery failure in recreational vehicles.

Undercharging: Failure is typically the consequence of constantly draining the batteries without properly recharging them in between cycles, however other problems might be the reason.

Long-term discharge of the battery puts it in danger as well.

Many different battery types cannot withstand this treatment and will ultimately cease functioning correctly.

Without a complete recharge, the sulfate in the battery will harden and crystalize.

Sulfation is the term for this.

Your battery’s crystalline sulfate finally becomes set in situ and is impossible to change back into an active plate material.

Overcharging: Numerous problems may arise when batteries are charged for too long or with too much power.

Batteries lose water when they are overcharged, and a significant enough water loss may prevent a battery from functioning.

If the battery is overcharged, the plates may also corrode.
Your battery will become unreliable due to corrosion.

Recommended reading: How to Troubleshooting RV Battery Disconnect Switch?


The question of which kind of RV battery is best for you lacks a clear solution.

Every RVer has unique demands, from their budget to how much electricity they use.

But if you have this knowledge in mind, making your subsequent battery buy ought to be straightforward and leave you with the dependable power you want.

Which kind of battery will you pick?

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Ryan is a RV product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing RV products.

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