Have you been spending a lot of time online searching for the best RV battery? Well you’re not the first to do that as a lot of RVers do that for obvious reasons. You’ve got to make sure that all the components in your RV are in tip top condition, and that includes the battery.
But how do you choose which battery to buy? If you don’t have the time to read thousands of online reviews – and who does – I can give you a hand since I’ve picked out the top 5. I’ve used a lot of these RV batteries and can tell the difference between a good battery and a poor set, so you can be sure of the quality here.
Factors to Consider
Think not just of your current needs but also your future needs. If you think you’re going to require more power, you may want to consider getting a more powerful battery. Also compare features and prices of different RV batteries. Do this whether you buy online or not.
When shopping for RV batteries there are several more things you’ll need to go over. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the options, so what you need to do is conduct the research in advance.
Take note of your RV’’s features, what appliances you will run, how you intend to use it, what times of the year and so on. This might seem like a lot of work, but it is necessary especially if you spend a lot of time in your RV.
The research for a good set of batteries is even more important if you live in the RV. In that case take as much time as possible.
Top 5 RV Batteries
All right let’s take a look at these five products.
1. Battery Tender Plus 021-0128, 1.25 Amp Battery
The Battery Tender Plus is a versatile battery, built with smart features so it charges faster and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. The Tender Plus is ideal for RVs and is also suitable for scooters, motorcycles, ATVs, cars and lawn mowers.
The Tender Plus is an enhanced version of the Tender Junior, with 50% more power. This means it charges faster and can handle the needs of vehicles laden with electronics. With its design there is less chance of the battery draining quickly.
The Tender Plus switches automatically to maintenance/float mode after the charge is done. This cuts down the need for extra maintenance compared to other batteries. The design and software in the Tender Plus have also been upgraded for superior performance.
This battery comes with a 10 year warranty and that alone says a lot about the quality. The inclusion of the alligator clips and the ring terminals make setup easier. It is also easy to use and just needs to be attached to the positive and negative ends. Once you’ve set the red and black clamps on, plug it in and it’s set.
It takes a few hours to fully charge and then the unit is ready. Even if you’re not a mechanic it won’t be a problem getting the Tender to work. The wires are also very durable.
- Built in compensation to ensure maximum charge
- Goes to float charging and full charge modes automatically
- Alligator clips and battery tender ring terminals included
- Charges faster than a regular 3 amp charger
- Comes with a quick connect harness for difficult to reach locations
- The design makes it easy to maintain the right storage and keep a full charge
- Green and red indicator lights built in
2. Universal UB121000-45978 12v AGM Battery
The AGM battery is used mostly for solar kits but it is suitable for recreational vehicles. With dimensions of 12.1 x 6 x 8 inches the AGM isn’t as large as other batteries but no less powerful.
There is enough power in this battery pack for most cars and they’re built to last as well. Installing is straightforward so you’ll be ready to use this in no time. With its specs you’ll have no problems using this to power the appliances on your RV.
As far as versatility goes the AGM is hard to match. You can power everything from rain water pressure pump, LED lights, radios, refrigerators and so on. Even on a 650 watt solar panel the AGM gets it done without any trouble.
One of the nice things about the AGM is they arrive fully charged so you can use it right away. Just take the battery out of the box and it is ready for your RV. The washers, nuts and bolts are all included so you have everything you need.
In terms of versatility these AGM batteries are among the best in the field. In terms of power it is comparable to more expensive units, and that says a lot about how it works. The warranty coverage is extensive and that is another thing going for it. These AGM batteries are really effective and does what it should.
- Designed for use with RVs, ATVs, cars and other vehicles
- Easy to recharge on different types of vehicles
- Battery can be recharged whatever the position
- The UB121000 has anti-shock and anti-vibration built in
- The AGM battery is designed to be low maintenance
- Powerful enough for use with most kinds of RVs
- Come with warranty and customer support
3. ExpertPower 12v 33ah Rechargeable Deep Cycle Battery
The ExpertPower deep cycle lead acid battery is made from high quality materials. It is constructed from ABS plastic so it is resistant impacts and hits. The non-conductive nature of the material means it is resistant to shocks, heat and vibration.
The ExpertPower is built with durability in mind and is verified safe to use. The instructions are clear so you’ll have this up and running on your RV in no time. The compact shape also makes it easier to handle than other units.
It is tempting to dismiss the ExpertPower due to the size, but don’t let that fool you as this actually packs quite a lot of power. On an RV the ExpertPower does very well and is capable of handling the rigors of regular use.
A common misconception is you need large, expensive batteries for an RV. But if you’ve got a whole set of these then you’ll be more than fine. Not only is the installation simple but the packaging is solid as well. It is easy to remove the batteries from the box and put it to use.
For an RV owner you’ll be able to use this for long stretches without needing a replacement. What is even better is that it’s versatility allows you to use it for mobile devices, streaming applications and more.
- Batteries are valve regulated for low maintenance
- Easy to use design gets RV ready in no time
- User friendly built
- Can work at a wide temperature range
- AGM (absorbed glass technology) allows for efficient operation
- Battery functions well with emergency systems, general electronics, scooters, solar powered devices and more.
- The ExpertPower is built with durable components for long term use
4. Vmaxtanks Vmaxslr125
The Vmaxslr125 is built for durability and testament to this is that its plates have been custom made and of military grade. With a float service life of up to a decade, the Vmaxslr125 is more durable than other batteries in its range.
Setting up is quick since the installation instructions are clear, making it suitable for RVs. There is also enough power here for use in camping. There is also sufficient power here to run computers and lights at the same time.
The versatility becomes even more apparent when you look at its design. It does not contain any fluids that roam freely, and the venting is minimal so you can use this outdoors. Getting this ready for RV use isn’t difficult at all.
The Vmaxslr125 is well suited for RVs and should provide hours of use. But in addition to that the battery packs the power for off the grid use. With this there is enough power for a sine inverter, ceiling fan, LED lights and others.
The battery charges quickly so your RV will be ready right away. The capacity is superb and it provides a lot of power regardless where you use it. When used to power a 3kw inverter it’s going to last far longer than others in its range. The batter itself is bigger than others but that doesn’t change the fact that it is powerful.
- 12v, 125AH battery is suitable for RVs and various applications
- The Vmaxslr125 can be used on inverters and wind turbines
- Quick to recharge
- Built for 99% re-combination
- Certified safe to use and does not cause gas or fumes
- The Vmaxslr125 has an 8 to 10 year float service lifespan
- This AGM deep cycle battery is built for heavy duty use
5. Odyssey PC680 Battery
The PC680 has been upgraded from the previous edition and now provides more power. The rugged built of the PC680 means it is suitable for regular use on RVs. Whether you’re on rugged land in the heat of the sun or the cold snow, the PC680 holds up well.
While the PC680 is used mostly on RVs, it is versatile enough to be used on other vehicles including boats. All PC680 batteries are equipped with lead plates. It is also built with anti-shock and anti-vibration elements that enable it to withstand heavy duty use.
Its use of pure lead plates also provides more power and a longer lifespan. Compared with regular batteries you get 400 cycles when it’s at a depth of 80 percentage. This is the reason why the PC680 is one of the best for RVs, ATVs, gyrocpters, very light aircraft, personal watercraft and motorcycles.
The PC680 design also means the surface has been optimized and the AGM does away with the risks of acid spills. The sealed design ensures the terminal is resistant to corrosion and high conductivity. There is also a safety relief valve on every cell that enhances protection from vibration.
- The PC680 is built with resistance to vibration so it’s resistant to mechanical vibrations and shocks.
- The PC680 can be used at a wide range of temperatures without performance deterioration
- Recharging mechanism means it only takes 4 to 6 hours for a complete charge
- The non-spill design allows for greater mounting versatility
- Deep cycle life is up to 70% longer than a typical deep cycle battery
- At an 80 percentage depth the PC680 goes up to 400 cycles
- The PC680 is designed for use on RVs and other applications
What’s an RV Deep Cycle Battery?
An RV deep cycle battery is constructed so that 50 to 70 percent of capacity is discharged. When these are recharged, power goes back in, commencing the cycle over. The difference between a regular and deep cycle battery is the latter are solid and the plates are thicker.
Deep cycle batteries are designed for use with vehicles. Everything from cars, boats, trucks and RVs are suitable. You can also use these for golf carts, wheelchairs and other applications.
4 Types of RV Deep Cycle Batteries
Let’s take a look at the types of deep cycle batteries you can use.
1. Flooded Lead Acid Deep Cycle Batteries
Also called wet cells, these are the most widely used in RV applications today. The term flooded is used because its plates are immersed in an electrolyte fluid.
While popular, flooded lead acid batteries can’t handle a lot of vibration. Maintenance is needed as well as off-season charging. However they tend to handle overcharging better because they’re not sealed and the hydrogen venting.
Cost per amp hour is lower than RV batteries and lifespan is longer than other batteries. The drawback is it needs watering, the terminals have to be cleaned and equalizing charges are necessary. When maintained though these batteries will last 5 to 7 years.
2. AGM Deep Cycle RV Batteries
AGM batteries are ideal not just for RVs but a host of various applications. They are among the best not just for RVs but also trucks, motorcycles, boats and trolling motors. Compared to flooded batteries these are tougher, more durable and don’t need a lot of maintenance.
Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) tech were originally designed for UPS and military aircraft but it is now widely used for RVs and other vehicles. It is not vulnerable to sulfation and does not need maintenance.
The drawback with AGM batteries is they don’t handle overcharging well. Some cars aren’t compatible with AGM batteries either, and it may also be the case with some RVs. Check RV manual or the AGM product description to be sure.
3. Deep Cycle Gel Batteries
These have the same advantages over flooded lead acid batteries like AGM, but they do charge more slowly. They’re also maintenance free with a good life cycle but is more suited for low power applications.
Deep cycle gel batteries cannot be charged too much, gas pockets could appear and affect performance. They also cost more but have a good life cycle. There is also good infrastructure and a low discharge rate.
Bottom line: deep cycle gel batteries have good and bad points. The temperature range is wide and isn’t vulnerable to shock or vibration. But in terms of performance it is better to go with other types of batteries.
4. Lithium-ion Deep Cycle Batteries
Lithium ion batteries have up to 5000 life cycles and operates well in cold and hot conditions. These batteries are however, more efficient at low temperatures but can be used up to 150 F.
You can install lithium ion batteries regardless of direction. In many cases these are more efficient than AGM batteries but also cost more. There are many types of lithium ion but the one you ought to use is lithium ion phosphate as it is built for RVs.
These lithium ion batteries don’t need a lot of maintenance and can last up to 20 years. Aside from its long cycle life it also has a high current rating. These batteries are not vulnerable to overcharging and works well with different types of vehicles.
6-Volt Golf Cart OR 12-Volt Deep Cycle Battery
No discussion of RV batteries will be complete without talking about 12 volt and 6 volt types. A golf cart is a general term used for any 6 volt battery. They’re often used for cabins, small homes and even vehicles like an RV.
It might seem like 6 volt batteries are too small for an RV but they’re actually efficient. A lot of 6 volt deep cycle batteries have deeper discharges than 12 volts. Of course in some cases 12 volt batteries are better so it depends on your needs.
The bottom line is this: if most of your time in an RV is spent going from park to park, 12 volt batteries will do fine. But if you do a lot of boon docking or dry camping, you may want to try 6 volt batteries as they’re more efficient in storing energy.
Buying Guide for RV Batteries
There are a lot of RV batteries so how do you figure out which is the best option? If you’re in the market for one of these, consider the following factors.
The most powerful RV battery isn’t necessarily the best. Far more important is to determine how much power your RV needs. Your vehicle may also have specific requirements.
If your RV requirements include powering a refrigerator, lumps, lighting and other electric components then you’ll need 12 V deep cycle batteries. They’re suitable as these batteries have deep discharges and several cycles.
A starter battery is ideal if you just need one to start the engine. Another reason to use this battery is it has energy reserves that can be tapped just in case.
A dual purpose battery is the ideal option if you want to supply power for radio, lighting and a few other accessories. They’re widely available and also capable of cycling and starting.
2. Cranking Ampere
The cranking ampere tells you about the power that the battery provides when it runs at specific temperatures. Cranking amperes is important because it gives you an idea of how well the battery will do when the temperature is beyond freezing point.
There are a lot of things to look for in a battery, but the higher the crank the better. It’s more durable plus starting performance will be better.
3. Cold Cranking Ampere
The cold cranking ampere tells you how much power it will be able to supply after the starting motor pulls power at 0 F. It’s imperative you check the rating first especially if you’re going to use the RV during winter.Most RV batteries are meant to be used during summer and spring so they won’t hold up during the cold. You’ll need to look up the ratings if you’re going to run your RV in low temperature.
The rule with cold crank ampere rating is the higher the better. Look up the battery and if the CCA rating is high then that’s good.
4. Reserve Capacity
The reserve capacity varies but you’ll want to get a battery that offers as high as reserve as possible. This capacity tells you how much power the battery can give you per minutes over a particular period.
25 amp is the most commonly utilized power output. So if your battery has a 125 amp reserve capacity rating, it can supply 25 amps up to 125 minutes. Most of these units, once it reaches this level, drops the voltage to 10.5 volts.
5. Ampere Hour Rating
This rating designates the level of power the battery can provide over an interval, i.e. twenty hours. The rating is provided in the product description.
For example if it is rated at 240 AH that means the battery can provide up to 12 amperes for up to 20 hours. Whenever possible get a battery that has a high rating as it provides more power.
6. Vibration and Shock Resistant
This one is obviously very important since you’ll never know what type of terrain or environment your vehicle will go through. Just to be sure it is best to have a battery that is capable of handling vibrations and shocks.
Look for those units that have anti shock and anti vibration – this will be in the product description – or check if it has glass mat construction. Glass mat construction is ideal because it is more durable than lead acid or flooded batteries.
The need for high quality anti shock and anti absorption properties is a must if you’re going to drive that RV on rugged terrain. Without these two features those batteries won’t last or survive a difficult environment.
Where to Buy These Products?
RV batteries are available in RV supply stores and also online. If you’re going to buy one these in a brick and mortar hardware store, make sure to check the specs and requirements of your RV and that it is compatible.You should do the same thing if you’re going to buy online. Make sure that the batteries have the specs your RV needs and that it is made by a reputable company.
Here are a few more things that you need to keep in mind.
- Buy only from reputable vendors, online or otherwise. Make sure to read the terms of agreement, the return policy and so on.
- Buy RV batteries from companies with a solid reputation. Don’t buy from manufacturers you’ve never heard of.
- Do not settle for very cheap, dubious batteries. It is better to spend good money on a dependable set of batteries.
- Read the customer feedback, how the product works, durability, longevity, customer support etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do RV batteries create electrical power?
Ans: No, what batteries do is store electricity the way a tank is used to store water.
2. How do deep cycle RV batteries work?
Ans: These batteries have chemicals that react to electricity. When used, the battery releases or stores electrical energy. This process is repeated again and again in rechargeable batteries.
3. Why does my RV battery heat up when in use?
Ans: This is due to internal resistance, and this is also the reason for some loss during charges and discharges. This is changed into heat and is the reason why RV batteries get warm.
4. Can I use a deep cycle battery apart from an RV?
Ans: Yes. A deep cycle battery can be used in a variety of applications. While the most common application is RV, you can also utilize it for a boat house, traction, back up power, solar electric power and many more.
5. What is the lifespan of a deep cycle battery?
Ans: The lifespan depends on a lot of factors such as the design, usage, capacity etc. Temperature is also a factor. It also depends on what type of RV battery you’re using and for how long. You also need to consider how deep the cycle is, how often it is used and so on.
Even with all these factors, there are minimum and maximum numbers that can be expected from these batteries.
- Deep cycle: 4-8 years
- AGM deep cycle: 4-8 years
- Golf cart: 2-7 years
- Marine: 1-6 years
- Starting: 3-12 months
- Gelled deep cycle: 2-5 years
- NiCad: 1-20 years
- NiFe (alkaline): 5-35 years
- Industrial deep cycle: 10-20+ years
- Rolls-Surrette premium deep cycle: 7-15 years
6. Is it all right to use a deep cycle battery a start battery?
Ans: There is nothing wrong with it as long as you’re aware that its cranking power is lower compared to a regular starter battery. If you’re going to use a deep cycle battery as a starter, get one that is larger by 20% compared to the starter battery that you would otherwise use.
This won’t be an issue with systems that have electronic ignition and modern engines since they don’t need a lot of power to get them started. In these cases the need for raw cranking amps is not that important.
But in the case of RVs, boats and cars, they carry more appliances, electronics and heavily loaded. With stereos, refrigerators, lights, computers, etc you’ll want to use a deep cycle battery that can handle your RV’s demands.
7. What are industrial deep cycle batteries?
Ans: These are also called stationary, traction or fork lift batteries. These are frequently used when extra power is required over a long period. Industrial deep cycle batteries are meant to be discharged or deep cycled to 20%.
These batteries are often used on forklifts, RVs, golf carts, P systems and more. This may be more suitable depending on the type of RV you have.
8. Why is plate thickness so important?
Ans: It matters a lot because of this thing called positive grid corrosion. Over time, corrosion eat away at the plate, causing it to fail.
The thicker the plate, the more durable the battery is. There are a lot of factors that affect the longevity of an RV battery, but the bottom line is the thicker the plate, the longer your battery will last.
9. What are sealed batteries?Ans: Sealed batteries are equipped with vents that are not removable. While they are sealed, these batteries do allow for gas venting. Venting is important because if the unit is overcharged, it might lose water and shorten its life.
If you made it this far you’re probably asking yourself which of these RV batteries is the best. All of them are of exceptional quality and deliver the goods as advertised. However I have to say that RV owners have different needs and you have to consider that before you buy. By reading the reviews here you’ll know which one to buy.