Power for an RV is essential for the glamping experience most owners expect and a dependable battery is indispensable. Deep-cycle batteries power appliances and other electrical systems when the camper is not connected to a campground source.
A deep-cycle battery is designed to be regularly discharged of its capacity. Many deep cycle batteries still use lead-acid technology, but modern devices require modern power, and more campers are opting for lithium-based batteries. Because of its mobile nature, RV camping is often at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement.
Lead-acid, lithium-ion, and the new LiFePO4 (lithium-iron-phosphate) batteries have their advantages and disadvantages. Lithium batteries provide consistent power for a longer duration and provide 80 percent or more of their charge capacity. Even with the quick recharge of a lithium battery the charge-lifespan can reach hundreds of times more than an average lead-acid battery, which can last typically 2 to 5 years. Lithium batteries weigh less, which in a mobile lifestyle can save money on travel expenses in the long run.
Advanced lead-acid batteries may discharge only 60 to 80 percent of their capacity, and the initial cost is much less. LiFePO4 batteries have a much higher upfront cost than other batteries. We considered and researched deep-cycle RV batteries to find the best on the market. Our conclusions considered battery life, cost, use conditions, and customer satisfaction.
Our pick: GoldenMate 12V 100AH
The makers of GoldenMate batteries aim to provide safer, longer lasting batteries with advanced technology, which makes them our pick for the best manufacturer of deep cycle RV batteries. GoldenMate specializes in LiFePO4 batteries.
For this story we evaluated the 12V 100AH LiFePO4, which has a low self-discharge and a proven 100 percent depth of discharge (DoD). The estimated lifespan for this model is 10 years with over 5,000 cycles. The 30 lb. battery outputs 1280W. This is the battery for technology fans as it is equipped with an LCD screen displaying the battery’s statistics. These can also be accessed via a GoldenMate phone app. GoldenMate products come with a 5-year warranty, which is among the highest on the market.
Best heavy-duty battery: VMAX Charge Tank SLR 125
VMAX USA specializes in making batteries for heavy-duty applications. With reinforced internal plates and durable exterior design, the Charge Tank stands up to punishment of excessive installation and movement. The SLR 125 is a solar chargeable, maintenance free lead-acid battery with a life cycle of +3,500. It has a slow discharge rate of less than 2 percent per month. The expected lifespan is between 8 and 10 years. This 12V 125Ah battery weighs 75 lbs.
Best for extreme heat: AIMS LiFePO4
Campers who spend most of their time in hot climates find AIMS the best brand for the money. Rated to last 4,000 discharge cycles this unit provides maximum amperage without the worry of damage to the battery. The AIMS is a lighter option weighing only 27.5 pounds. It includes a built-in battery management system to protect against short circuits, overheating, and overloading. The 12V 100Ah battery comes with a 3-year warranty. The expected lifespan is 10 years.
Best for extreme cold: Canbat LT 12V 100Ah
Canadian company Canbat produces specialty deep-cycle batteries for cold weather. This cold-loving LiFePO4 battery can be charged as low as -20°C (-4°F). An advanced temperature control feature pulls power from the charger for a self-sustaining system. The battery management system disconnects from the cells to protect the battery and prior to charging and a built-in heating system draws power from the charger to warm the battery. A Bluetooth chip add-on is available for phone app monitoring.
Value pick: Electric World Marine/RV TM24
Camping World offers the TM24, which is engineered to provide reliable power over an extended period making it ideal for both RVs and boats. An affordable price point makes this a great budget option. An easy-carry handle makes it simple to install and remove this battery from tight locations on smaller campers. At 81-amp hours, this battery claims 550 cold cranking amps and comes with a 12-month warranty. It weighs 40 lbs.