Best Deep Cycle Battery for Camping


A good set of deep cycle batteries will help you get the most out of your RV camping experience without leaving you in the dark. There is a large difference between the cost of different battery technologies and each has their own advantages.

The best deep cycle battery for a motorhome or trailer has a low internal discharge rate, a high amp-hour rating, a maintenance free, sealed, leak proof and vibration resistant construction, and a long service life. 

The ultimate decision on which battery technology often comes down to price since the older proven battery technology is perfectly capable of powering the needs of most RV setups.

best deep cycle battery for camping

My Pick For Best RV Battery Option

If you’re in a hurry, The best bang for the buck battery option is the Renogy 200AH maintenance free AGM battery. It may not be as flashy as the more expensive LiFePO4 batteries but it’s perfectly suited to power the needs of almost any RVer.

See below for the complete write up on this battery and the benefits of AGM and other technologies for RV battery systems. Or check it out for yourself!

Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12 Volt 200Ah, 3% Self-Discharge Rate, 2000A Max Discharge Current,...
  • 【Maintenance Free & Safe to Use】 Manufactured with thick absorbent glass mat (AGM) separators and advanced valve regulated technology,...
  • 【Outstanding Discharge Performance】Proprietary quinary alloy plates and exclusively treated plate grids enable low internal resistance...
  • 【Longer Shelf Life】Made of high purity materials, Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Batteries reduce the monthly self-discharge rate below 3% at...

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries

Lithium batteries have become popular and much more affordable in recent years due to their widespread use in electric vehicles. There are many benefits of using Lithium Iron Phosphate LiFePO4 batteries in your RV over traditional Lead Acid technology.  

Lithium batteries have one of the best energy density on the market this means that they can store and supply a higher output amperage for the weight of the battery. This technology also has a longer lifespan with the ability to handle 5000+ charge and discharge cycles without suffering from loss of performance.

LiFePO4 batteries are constructed using multiple small cells instead of a liquid and plate design like lead acid. This makes the batteries maintenance free and safer to use. They also hold their charge better during storage and low use periods with less than a 3% monthly self-discharge rate.

Here’s the complete guide to storing your RV batteries in the winter.

Best Lithium LiFePO4 Battery For RVs

Ampere Time 12V 200Ah Plus Lithium LiFePO4 Battery

This high tech lithium phosphate battery uses automotive grade cells to provide a much higher energy density than most other batteries in this class. This offers more stable performance and great power to weight ratio.

It also features a built-in battery management system (BMS) system to protect it from overcharge, over-discharge, over current and short circuits with an excellent self-discharge rate.

The maintenance free waterproof design is vibration resistant and offers three times the energy density of lead-acid batteries while being 66% lighter. This makes it a great option for mounting in a lower storage compartment.

The Ampere Time LiFePO4 battery can be connected in parallel and in series to establish a much larger capacity and voltage. You can even pair it with up to four identical batteries for a total load of 10240W.

With a 95% efficiency and 4000+ charge cycles this long service life battery can power your off grid adventures for years to come. 

Features:

  • The highest energy density in its class
  • Great capacity 200Ah expandable to 800Ah
  • Made with reliable automotive-grade lithium cells
  • Has a 95% efficiency and 10 year service life
  • Handles 4000-8000 charge cycles
Ampere Time 12V 200Ah Plus Lithium LiFePO4 Battery, Built-in 200A BMS, 4000+ Deep Cycles, Max 2560W...
  • 【Reliable Automotive Grade Lithium Battery】Ampere Time LiFePO4 battery have exceptional quality since they are manufactured by...
  • 【Highest Energy Density】Ampere Time 12V 200Ah Plus is not only 3 times the energy density of lead-acid battery, but also much lighter...
  • 【Capacity Expansion & Wild Application】Ampere Time LiFePO4 Battery can be connected in parallels and in series for larger capacity (Max...

Absorbent Glass Mat AGM Batteries

AGM is a time tested and proven battery technology that comes at a fraction of the price of lithium batteries. As an advanced take on flooded lead acid batteries, AGM batteries use a fibreglass mat to absorb the liquid preventing it from flowing around inside the battery.

These batteries are leakproof, spill proof and virtually maintenance free making them a great low cost choice for your RV house batteries. AGM batteries stand up very well to temperature variation and are vibration resistant.

AGM technology lasts twice as long as flooded lead acid and operates better than lithium in temperatures below freezing.

The main drawback to any lead acid batteries is the limited depth of discharge effect on their lifespan when compared to lithium technology. To get the same output you will need more AGM batteries and avoid discharging over 50%. 

The much lower price tag is a tradeoff with space and weight when compared to energy dense LiFePO4 batteries capable of 80-90% discharge. 

Best Absorbent Glass Mat AGM Battery For RVs

Renogy 12V 200AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery

The Renogy 200AH sealed lead acid battery is built with thick absorbent glass mat separators and advanced valve-regulated technology (VRLA). The ABS container creates a safe vibration resistance and spill proof battery.

The highly reliable maintenance free RV battery uses high quality materials and advanced grid technology to reduce interior corrosion extending its standby life.

These batteries will power your trailer or motorhome lifestyle whether you’re boondocking using rooftop solar, an onboard generator or recharging with shore power.

Designed for a battery bank setup, there is no limit to the number of batteries you can wire in parallel giving your rig the deep cycle 12 volt power it requires for long off grid adventures. 

Features:

  • Absorbent Glass Mat technology
  • Maintenance-free design with spill-proof construction
  • Resists extreme vibration and temperatures
  • Has a long cyclic life
  • Store 5-6 months without charging
  • Zinc plated M8 terminal bolts
Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Battery 12 Volt 200Ah, 3% Self-Discharge Rate, 2000A Max Discharge Current,...
  • 【Maintenance Free & Safe to Use】 Manufactured with thick absorbent glass mat (AGM) separators and advanced valve regulated technology,...
  • 【Outstanding Discharge Performance】Proprietary quinary alloy plates and exclusively treated plate grids enable low internal resistance...
  • 【Longer Shelf Life】Made of high purity materials, Renogy Deep Cycle AGM Batteries reduce the monthly self-discharge rate below 3% at...

Hybrid Gel Batteries

Hybrid gel batteries are constructed using a thick silica gel to suspend the electrolytes while allowing them to move freely between the internal plates. The use of gel rather than liquid makes the batteries spill proof and allows them to be mounted on their side if space is an issue.

Being a sealed type of battery they are also maintenance free and have a better depth of charge than a AGM battery. However, gel batteries are more temperamental when it comes to low temperature operation and charging. 

Incorrect charging of a gel battery can cause gaps within the gel that lead to internal corrosion and a shortened lifespan. Gel batteries should always be charged on a low amperage charger.

Best Hybrid Gel Battery For RVs

Renogy 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Hybrid Gel Battery

Unlike your average lithium batteries, deep cycle hybrid gel models can discharge more in a shorter amount of time while also recharging a lot quicker.

These batteries also have a longer shelf life on account of their ingenious construction that involves patented gel electrolytes to bolster their overall durability.

The engineering that goes into making these batteries ensures a self-discharge rate below 3% at 77°F, which is about five times lower than traditional, flooded batteries.

You can install these batteries virtually anywhere with no risks of leakage or toxic gas discharge. As you would expect, the battery is also vibration resistant and can provide a stable performance at a fairly high temperature.

Versatile and accommodating, the battery can be installed in various systems, including RVs, vans, off-grid systems, home backup power setups, solar power configurations, and a variety of other battery-reliant systems.

Benefits

  • Guarantees up to 750 charge/discharge cycles
  • The 3% self-discharge rate per month is very impressive
  • No risk of acid leakage or toxic gas release
  • 6 sealing layers for safe charging
  • Connects with two M8 terminals
Sale
Renogy 12V 100AH Deep Cycle Hybrid Gel Battery, Over 750 Cycles, Rechargeable for Solar Wind RV...
  • 【Maintenance Free & No Leakage】This battery is comprised of gel instead of liquid, so there is no maintenance required to keep the...
  • 【Extended Service Lifetime】Corrosion-resistant grids enable a design life of up to 12 years in standby applications and more than 750...
  • 【Longer Shelf Life】Made of high purity materials, Renogy Deep Cycle Hybrid GEL Batteries reduce the monthly self-discharge rate below 3%...

Using 6 Volt Batteries For RVs

The use of 6 volt batteries in RV electrical systems is not common but a conversion that some owners like to do to their trailers and motorhomes. This saves weight and increases the available amp hours in the overall system when two 6 volt batteries are wired in series. 

6 volt batteries are traditionally designed as golf cart batteries having a high current output and last long in frequent charge-discharge cycle scenarios. 

Best 6 Volt Battery For RVs

VMAX Charge Tank 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery

The Vmax Charge Tank is constructed with absorbent glass mat technology making it one of the most reliable 6 volt batteries for RV house battery systems. 

These maintenance free batteries provide double the amp hour (Ah) rating at a fraction of the size and weight of their 12 volt competitors. Utilizing 2 or 4 of these little powerhouse’s wired in 12 volt configuration (2 batteries in series) will keep you powered off grid no problem.

Benefits:

  • Maintenance free AGM design
  • Lighter and smaller than 12V batteries
  • High output 225 Ah rating
  • 10 year service life
  • M8 terminal pattern
VMAXTANKS 6 Volt 225Ah AGM Battery: High Capacity & Maintenance Free Deep Cycle Battery for Golf...
  • 9.5"*7.3"*11"h Heavy Duty 6V AGM DEEP CYCLE BATTERY with Float Service Life span of 8 to 10 years.
  • Electrolyte Suspension system VMAX tanks utilize an electrolyte suspension system consisting AGM (Absorbed Glass Matt) of a high porosity...
  • Heavy Duty Grids: VMAX heavy duty lead tin alloys provide an extra margin of performance and service life in either float or cyclic...

What to Look For in a Deep Cycle Battery for Camping

When it comes to finding a deep cycle battery to power your devices and appliances while camping, you will have to take into consideration the type of battery, the discharge rate, the voltage, and the capacity for recharging.

Check out my recent article on running an RV refrigerator from a battery for more details.

What Are Deep Cycle Batteries?

Deep cycle battery refers to a battery design optimised to provide extended periods of slow discharge rather than quick bursts. The discharge cycle can deplete deep into the battery’s maximum capacity without degrading its performance.

When operating your RV trailer, van or motorhome off grid, your lights and appliances will often be running for minutes to hours creating a constant discharge of the batteries. This is why deep cycle batteries work best for extended charge-discharge operation.

See the top 6 reasons your RV batteries die to help get the most from your house and chassis batteries.

Depth of Discharge For RV Batteries

The depth of discharge is the percentage of power drawn from a battery from its full capacity. As mentioned earlier, different battery technologies can be discharged further than others without causing damage to the battery. 

Lead acid batteries are typically kept above 50% of charge to prevent early degradation and a shortened lifespan. On the other hand, LiFePO4 lithium batteries can achieve an 80-90% depth of discharge without causing problems. 

As a rule of thumb you should never plan on exceeding a 50% DoD regardless of the battery technology you choose. 

Battery Amp Hours Ratings

When we talk about Amp-hours, we refer to how long a battery can power the various devices connected to it. 

A 100 Ah battery can power a 1A device for 50 hours down to a 50% depth of discharge of a lead acid battery or 80 hours to a 80% DoD on a lithium battery. The performance will vary depending on operating temperature, state of charge and type of battery technology.

You will notice the RV batteries we recommend here range between 100 Ah and 225 Ah. Depending on the configuration of your RV and the power consumption you plan to draw from your batteries, a high Ah rating is generally better.

To bolster your Amp-hour delivery over extended periods, you might be required to use a battery bank containing several batteries.

Functionality and Recharging

When choosing a deep cycle battery of any type, you need to consider not only whether it can power your devices in a steady and sustained fashion but also if you’re going to have any difficulties recharging it when needed.

For the most part, you can recharge a deep cycle battery using a regular charger, or charge controller. Most RVs are designed to use a generator, solar power setup, or shore power to keep your batteries topped up. Get all the details on how we went RV solar in my recent Guide To RV Rooftop Solar

FAQs

Does temperature affect a deep cycle battery?

Yes. Extreme temperatures are well-known to cause malfunctions in batteries, especially during the winter. Make sure that your battery receives a trickle charge during the winter to stay fully charged during extreme cold and to reduce the effect of internal self discharge.

Can you overcharge a deep cycle battery?

You certainly can. Keep in mind that overcharging a battery reduces the battery’s lifespan and its overall capacity. To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your batteries, use a good quality charger to control and monitor the state of charge of your batteries.

I keep my chassis and house batteries connected up to my 4 bank battery tender whenever I’m planning to be off the road for an extended time.

Sale
Battery Tender 4 Bank Battery Charger and Maintainer, 12 Volt 1.25 AMP for Motorcycles, ATVs, Lawn...
  • 4 CHARGING STATIONS: Charge four 12 volt batteries at 1.25 AMPs simultaneously; automatically switches from full charge mode to float charge...
  • BATTERY CHARGING: Charges and maintains batteries for motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft, lawn mowers, and dirt bikes
  • BATTERY MAINTAINING: Maintains battery charge at the ideal storage voltage for cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and boats

Do I need a battery management system for camping?

A battery management system is not necessary for camping in your RV or trailer. However, most newer models come standard with a remote monitoring system inside the livingspace to help you keep track of your battery’s state of charge.

Provided that your RV or any other recreational vehicles you might own use relatively new and functional batteries, a battery management system would be no more than an additional and potentially unnecessary investment.

How long does a deep cycle battery last?

When properly maintained and cared for, most deep cycle batteries will last up to six years or more. While gel batteries have a 10-year warranty because that’s usually how long they can be expected to last.

All Things Considered

A deep cycle battery is a great source of power and an overall excellent choice for anyone who’s looking to get the most out of their RV camping experience.

For the most part, these batteries provide much better performance for storage and more sustained power delivery overall.

That’s why it comes as no surprise that people use deep cycle batteries for anything from RVs to golf carts, solar power systems, boats, and even complex security systems.

Beau

Beau is an electrical engineer with a knack for DIY repair and construction. When he's not tinkering with his projects he's on the road travelling and enjoying an exciting lifestyle with his young family.

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