Batteries are undoubtedly the most important part of cars and vehicles in general, and for recreational vehicles (RV) in particular, batteries are indispensable parts of the vehicle’s electrical system that keeps everything in your RV up and running when there’s no power supply. As critical as it sounds, not many people give much care about picking the right kind of battery for their RVs as they assume that any kind of batteries will do the trick.
In fact, choosing the right kind of batteries is a lot more important than you think, as a good battery will not only boost your RV’s performance but also make your RV experiences smoother and much more productive. And deep cycle batteries are no stranger to RV owners thanks to their efficiency and capacity. The question is, among dozens of different types of deep cycle battery out there, how can you find the best deep cycle battery for RV?
Rest assured, because we are to help you choose the best one for your RV. Read on to learn about our top picks for deep cycle batteries for RV with in-depth reviews so that you can make the right choice.
- What You Should Know about Deep Cycle Battery for RV
- Top Picks for The Best Deep Cycle Battery for RV
- Odyssey PC680 Battery
- 100 Ah LiFePO4 12 volt Deep Cycle Battery
- Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery
- Trojan Trojan 6 Volt Battery T-105
- Battery Tender BTL35A480C Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
- Vmaxtanks Vmaxslr125 AGM Deep Cycle 12v 125ah SLA Rechargeable Battery
- Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
What You Should Know about Deep Cycle Battery for RV
What is A Battery and How Does it Work?
Before we start presenting our list of best deep cycle battery for RV, let’s first learn a bit about deep cycle battery and how it works. The more you understand the working mechanism of deep cycle battery, the more you will be able to make the most out of the battery for your RV.
If you are from a non-technical background, it can be confusing at first when trying to grasp all of the basic notions in the battery field in general and deep cycle batteries in particular. But don’t worry, we will quickly walk you through the glossary of deep cycle batteries so that when you run into such terms in the future, you can easily figure out what they mean and how to choose the best one that fits your needs.
What is A Battery?
You may already have an idea of what a battery is, but in case you don’t, a battery is a type of storage device that stores power instead of making power. But what are batteries made of?
The most common type of batteries is the lead-acid type, and quite recently, a new type called lithium-ion batteries emerged as a competitor with a lot of superior characteristics. However, it is unlikely that lead-acid types will be wiped off the field as the lithium-ion batteries require a lot higher initial expenses and high disposal expenses compared to lead acid ones.
The composition of the acid is typically 30% of sulfuric acid and 70% of water when fully charged. There are other varieties as well, such as nickel-iron types. The nickel-iron type has impressively long battery life. However, the efficiency is considerably low with different voltages. That’s why the nickel-iron type is never a top choice for batteries.
Regarding battery size codes, there is no one-size-fit-all. Batteries come in various sizes, which are based on the physical size and terminal placement. Battery capacity should not be confused with battery sizes. In other words, the biggest batteries are not necessarily the most powerful batteries.
What is A Deep Cycle Battery?
Unlike cars, recreational vehicles (RVs) require a lot more power for their functions, including all the appliances and devices inside the RV. That’s why an RV needs to rely on house batteries instead of regular car batteries to run, and a deep cycle battery is thus an excellent power source for an RV house.
As the name suggests itself, a deep cycle battery is a type of lead-acid batteries that undergo a process known as deep cycling, in which the battery is discharged then recharged many times over. As deep cycle batteries last several times longer than normal batteries, they allow large storage of steady power over long periods of time.
How Temperatures can Interfere with Battery Capacity
Temperature plays a big role in determining the capacity of batteries. If the temperature drops, the capacity of most batteries will decrease, and if the temperature rises, the capacity will go up. Therefore, weather conditions and the temperature that you plan to have your batteries exposed to should be considered before you decide to purchase your battery.
The standard temperature for batteries is around 25 degrees Celsius, but most manufacturers nowadays have put a lot of efforts into improving the temperature tolerance of their batteries, especially the industrial deep cycle batteries.
Battery Cycle or Battery Lifespan, Which Matters more?
Some people measure the lifespan of batteries with cycles, and chances are you frequently see the number of cycles as an example of how long a battery lives. But is this true?
A battery cycle is defined as one complete discharge and recharge cycle. To be more specific, when your battery starts to discharge from 100% to 20% or 10%, you recharge your battery to go back to 100%, which means you just complete a battery cycle. As far as battery cycles are concerned, the term “Depth of discharge” is usually mentioned to refer to the state of charge of the battery. Knowing about the state of charge can be helpful when you start familiarizing yourself with the deep cycle batteries.
The number of battery cycles does not indicate the lifespan of batteries. In fact, battery life is directly linked to the depth of each battery cycle. To put it more simply, if a battery’s depth of discharge is 80%, the life of that battery will last twice as long if it is discharged to 50% every day. Many people make use of this fact to extend the life of their batteries, but we recommend that you should strictly follow the instruction of the manufacturers and perform proper maintenance and care rather than attempting to extend the battery life by yourself.
Speaking of battery voltage, all lead-acid batteries generate around 2.14 volts per cell when they are fully charged. But one thing you should know about batteries is that batteries age over time, even when you store them in ideal environments. Batteries that are not used for a long period of time will gradually lose their charge. This process is known as self-discharge.
When you look for the best RV deep cycle battery, you should take into account the self-discharge rate of the battery. New types of batteries such as AGM ones do not lose much of their charge while the older types tend to lose more (up to 15%). What’s worth noticing is that you should never leave your batteries partially discharged for more than one month as it is going to speed up the deterioration of your batteries.
The higher the temperature gets, the faster your battery will self-discharge. As a result, the battery life will become shorter under high temperatures. If you don’t think you can spend much time on regular maintenance, consider choosing new types of deep cycle batteries for your RV such as lithium ion or AGM to reduce the risk of having to replace new batteries often.
Different Types of Deep Cycle Battery
Deep cycle batteries are normally classified into two types: flooded and valve-regulated lead-acid. The valve-regulated lead-acid can be further divided into gel sealed and sealed absorbed glass mat (AGM). The most widely used battery type is the flooded type, but the best quality deep cycle battery for RV does not necessarily have to be a flooded one. It entirely depends on your needs and the conditions of your RV as each type has its pros and cons.
Flooded Deep Cycle RV Battery
Flooded, or also known as “wet” batteries consist of lead and lead-oxide plates submerged in an amount of electrolyte fluid which is composed of sulfuric acid and water. One major advantage of a flooded deep cycle battery is cost-effectiveness as it can last for a good period of 5 or 7 years at a lower price than other types. However, this type does have some drawbacks, such as loss of efficiency, restriction in installation (they should be installed in upright positions) and high demand for regular maintenance.
AGM Deep Cycle RV Battery
The second type of RV battery is the AGM batteries, which prove to be a fantastic option for those who do not like the hassle of performing regular maintenance. AGM batteries are composed of super thin glass fibers which are woven into a matt. Hence they are called absorbed glass mat batteries. Unlike flooded batteries, these AGM batteries hold the electrolyte in the glass mats.
Due to these features, AGM batteries enjoy a lot of advantages over the flooded batteries. The first advantage is that they are more flexible and can be installed in other positions than upright. The second advantage is that they do not require maintenance and cope well with low temperatures. However, they are more susceptible to overcharging and need higher voltage to be charged compared to flooded batteries. Also, they tend to be pricier.
Gel Deep Cycle RV Battery
The third type of RV Battery is the gel sealed type, which is not often recommended to RV’s owners, especially newbies, due to various limitations. Although the gel sealed batteries do not require maintenance, they are more prone to damage and failure if not charged properly. Among the three deep cycle battery types, this is the most expensive one. Therefore, it is not a popular option for RV batteries.
Lithium-ion Deep Cycle RV Battery
In addition to the three traditional options above, a new type of RV battery known as Lithium-ion deep cycle battery is becoming more and more popular. Lithium batteries offer outstanding features that surpass flooded and AGM batteries such as lightweight, high portability plus excellent and consistent performance under extreme temperatures. Though there is more than one type of lithium-ion batteries, the recommended type for RVs is none other than Lithium Iron Phosphate for optimal results.
Many people consider the lithium iron phosphate type the best deep cycle battery for RV as it is incredibly stable, safe, highly tolerant to full charging and surrounding environments while requiring no maintenance. The cost of lithium iron phosphate batteries is higher than their fellow batteries, but it will be a wise investment in the long run.
Tips on Using Deep Cycle Battery for Optimal Performance
Even the best deep cycle battery for RV may not perform as expected if not used and maintained properly. One common mistake of RV’s owners is that once they are done with installing the battery, they make few efforts in maintaining the battery, which invariably results in battery failure, premature aging or short lifespan. Before you settle on a deep cycle battery, here are a few tips to maximize it performance and durability.
For Lead-acid Battery
As the lifespan of lead-acid deep cycle battery is considerably lower than the advanced lithium-ion battery, more care is required to extend the life of this type. Of course, you can’t expect a lead-acid cycle battery to last for years, but with the right technique and knowledge, you will save yourself a lot of time and money on your RV battery.
Tip 1: Look for High-quality Battery from Trusted Suppliers
When it comes to securing a reliable power source for your RV, always choose high-quality batteries with trusted reviews. There is a lot of quality products out there, but there still exist a small number of non-authentic batteries that are poorly made. If you are on a tight budget, consider obtaining quality used batteries to restore them back to the original capacity. Reconditioning batteries should only be attempted with care by experienced users.
Tip 2: Make Sure You Know What You Have and What You Want
You need to know your system voltage and the size of your battery compartment to work out the type and number of battery you’ll need. For a 48-volt system, you can opt for eight 6 volt batteries or four 12 volt batteries. Remember to keep sufficient space between batteries to allow for expansion while avoiding friction and increased temperature.
Tip 3: Prevent Corrosion
To maximize the performance and lifespan of your batteries, it will be useful to prevent corrosion beforehand with one simple step: Apply thin layers of coating on all of the terminals, wire lugs, bolts and other items with protective substances such as non-hardening sealant or petroleum jelly before you install your batteries. Also, seal exposed wires with tapes for further protection.
Tip 4: Perform Regular Check and Inspection
Regular inspection of your batteries is an essential step in extending the life of your batteries. However, this step is usually neglected or ignored. By checking and inspecting the conditions of your batteries regularly, you can proactively prevent issues or minimize the risk of failure. Batteries should be thoroughly checked upon delivered and continue to be inspected on a regular basis.
Never forget to wear protective gears and clothing when working with batteries. During the inspection process, look out for cracks, dirt, signs of corrosion or leakage. All wiring connections should be tightly connected but not overtightened as it will do more harm than good.
Tip 5: Invest in a Renewable Energy System Digital Monitor
It’s always good to be prepared for the worst scenario, thus investing in a renewable energy system digital monitor will be a wise decision because it will enable you to detect and troubleshoot any problem that may arise, including battery issues. Trust us; when you travel on your RV to remote areas, you will be thankful for having such an energy system digital monitor.
For Lithium Ion RV Battery
The lithium battery technology is superior to the lead-acid batteries on many aspects, particularly on the lifespan. The lithium-ion RV battery is one of the top choices for large power storage with higher efficiency, and there are a couple of things you can do to maximize the performance of lithium-ion RV batteries.
The common type of lithium-ion batteries used for RVs is the lithium iron phosphate type, which outperforms all other conventional batteries. To prolong their lifespan, try to keep them operating in the appropriate temperature range so that they can have the most favorable environment to run. Secondly, just like the other types of batteries, it is never redundant to invest in an energy system digital monitor to keep tabs on the performance and conditions of your battery.
Top Picks for The Best Deep Cycle Battery for RV
Once you get to know basic facts about RV batteries, you will find it easier to determine which type works best for you. However, it is still a real challenge to find the ‘right’ one, given the increasingly high number of RV batteries available in the market. To save you from the struggle and confusion, we have compiled a list of the best deep cycle battery for RV that is guaranteed to keep you and your RV satisfied.
Odyssey PC680 Battery
100 Ah LiFePO4 12 volt Deep Cycle Battery
Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery
Trojan Trojan 6 Volt Battery T-105
Battery Tender BTL35A480C Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery
Vmaxtanks Vmaxslr125 AGM Deep Cycle 12v 125ah SLA Rechargeable Battery
Optima Batteries 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting and Deep Cycle Marine Battery
Owning and traveling with an RV can be a wonderful experience one can ever have, and more and more people are putting more care into maintaining their RVs just like their second home. Therefore, it is incredibly important to find a good deep cycle battery for RV as many appliances in the RV will have to rely on the batteries to function properly. We hope that this post has given you sufficient information to decide which is the right one for you.
Please keep in mind that there is no single battery considered to be the best. There are plenty of options that cater to different needs as listed above, therefore, check out the reviews, the pros and cons above to see which type will best fit your situation.
There are many other tips apart from installing a good battery to turn your RV experience into a fantastic one, for example, investing in an RV surge protector or a tankless water heater for RV is also a pretty good idea for energy saving and optimal performance. Thank you for your time and happy traveling!