When using solar energy to power your RV it is essential that you consider the battery you will need to power your devices whilst you are off-grid, as this will be the energy storage component of your green powered solar energy system. It is also likely to be the most expensive component of your solar energy system so it is important to make sure you know what you need to look out for when investing in this aspect.
In this article, we take a look at some of the best types of batteries to use when storing solar energy for your RV, and some of the best options out there on the market at the moment.
Table of Contents
- Best AGM Battery for RV
- Best Travel Trailer Battery
- Best Camper Battery
- Best 6 Volt RV Battery
- Why is it important to pick the right solar battery?
- How do I know how many volts I need on the solar battery?
- What does ‘cycle life’ mean on a solar battery?
- What are the different types of batteries?
- What is a non-sensitive battery type?
- What is great for solar charging?
Best AGM Battery for RV
Universal UB121000-45978 12v 100AH Deep Cycle AGM Battery Review
This extremely versatile deep cycle AGM battery from Universal Power Group is a great choice if looking to set up your own solar energy system for RV. As with all batteries, this is also great if you are planning off-road activities, as the electrolyte (acid) is absorbed into the fine fibreglass matt of AGM batteries, they cannot spill, even when they are damaged. This also means you can mount this battery in any position, so you will have your RV solar power storage setup in no time.
As this battery is rated from 12-volt up to 48-volt, this is also a great option if you are planning on taking your green credentials to the highest plane and relying purely on solar power in your RV. At such great value for an AGM battery for RV, there is nothing stopping you from investing in a number of these batteries to help you achieve this highly commendable aim. Just 4 of these batteries would provide you with an abundance of energy storage to have consistent off-grid power.
This is also the best RV deep cycle battery to use with solar. It will work flawlessly with a whole variety of solar powered system needs, so if you are looking for a battery for solar RV power that you can rely on, you won’t be disappointed with this product.
Q&A: Would this be a good battery to use with a 400-Watts solar panel?
A: As always, this will depend on your energy needs. However, in general, this is a great choice for any solar system as it offers 100AH, you just need to work out how much energy you be using and get the sufficient number of batteries for your consumption needs.
Q&A: What would be the minimum watt solar panel I could use to maintain charge for a weekend off-grid?
A: Depending on the sunshine you’re expecting (and energy use), you should be able to keep this charged for a weekend off just a 50-100W solar panel. 100W would give you more leeway and not cost too much more, so this would be the best bet. You would also need a power control panel to charge the battery.
Best Travel Trailer Battery
Odyssey 65-PC1750T Automotive and LTV Battery Review
If you are looking for a battery that’s built to withstand the bumpiest of rides and still keep your travel trailer powered up for the weekend, then this rugged AGM battery from Odyssey will do the trick. This respected battery brand has been around since 1888, leading in innovation throughout its history, helping to bring you a battery that lasts 70 per cent longer than conventional batteries. The solid 4-year warranty for full-replacement on this product gives added security that it will live up to these claims of life-cycle longevity.
One of the main features across Odyssey’s range is the pure lead plates, which are tightly packed creating extra surface area, in turn helping to get more power from your battery, as well as extending its life-cycle. This design also means the battery itself is kept smaller, without losing output power, but this battery won’t bring your overall travel trailer weight-load down, as it still weighs 58 pounds. But with 950 Cold-Cranking-Amps you can’t complain.
This battery also does well after long periods of non-use, has super-fast recharge speeds, and even responds quickly to trickle-chargers if you’ve accidentally drained it all the way down. This battery provides what you need in terms of both power and performance, so if you want worry-free power for your travel trailer, even after a long winter, then this battery will leave you sleeping easy for years to come.
Q&A: What is the Ampere hour rating of this battery?
A: This battery has 65 ah.
Q&A: Will this work with a standard flooded cell battery charger?
A: You will be best charging this with a charger with a microprocessor and AGM setting to avoid overcharging.
Best Camper Battery
VMAX857 AGM Battery 12 Volt 35AH Marine Deep Cycle Review
This impressively durable battery from VMAXTANKS is great for those that want a battery with minimum amount of effort to maintain and that works well even after multiple over-discharges. The maintenance-free function of this unit means you both don’t need to check electrolyte gravity or add water to the tanks and, in fact, can’t. So if you like a battery that takes care of itself, this one is for you and is sturdy enough to be your camper battery of choice.
A surprising feature of this battery is that it is small and relatively lightweight, at just 25lbs, and is also good value for a deep cycle battery with an excellent current draw. The fact that you get a lot of battery in such a small package makes this a great choice for your camper device needs, contributing to keeping your miles per gallon down for those long journeys. It also charges great off solar and will work splendidly as the heartbeat of your solar energy system for times when you are off-grid.
This battery will last well even under constant use, will recharge without any problems after discharge, and holds its charge well over time. So if you’re looking for a high-value, low-maintenance, solar compatible battery, this is an option that deserves more than a second glance.
Q&A: Could I hook this up to my music system (max output 220W)?
A: This battery will have you singing along to your music late into the night.
Best 6 Volt RV Battery
Interstate batteries Sealed Lead Acid (AGM) Deep Cycle Battery Review
If you are looking for a small, lightweight, and portable battery to power your devices in your RV, or want to hook up a couple of these in series for your camper, then these high-performing 6-volts form Interstate Batteries are what you need. Despite its size, this battery also lasts for several hours even under heavy loads.
The beauty of these batteries is that these are so transportable, can fit into the tightest nooks and crannies and also charge quicker than larger batteries. They also work great for the deep-cycle drain, charge and repeat, as they are built to keep bouncing back to bring you power needs. The thick plastic shelling also provides this battery with solid protection to help it withstand any bumps in the road and not let that impact its performance.
As this is an AGM battery it will be easy to maintain than typical lead acid batteries (with an appropriate charge of course) and has great charging speeds. It is also suitable for mounting at any angle and has no risk of spilling electrolyte, which is all absorbed into the AGM.
Q&A: Could I use this in my camper?
A: Only if you hook it up in series (and check the user manual).
Q&A: Does this work with solar panels?
A: This is a great battery for use with solar panels.
Why is it important to pick the right solar battery?
In order to make the solar setup in your RV super-efficient, it is crucial that you choose a solar battery that will sufficiently store the energy generated by your solar panels, and ensure that you have access to this power when you are off-grid. Due to the variant nature of solar energy, the battery you store this energy it needs to be able to withstand frequent cycling (charging and discharging) and be able to cope with being fully charged infrequently.
In the next section, we consider some of the factors you need to think about to purchase the best solar battery for your RV.
How do I know how many volts I need on the solar battery?
Solar batteries have different power ratings, and come in a variety of voltages – once you have a set voltage battery installed in your solar power system this is difficult to change, so it is crucial you think about your energy needs carefully, before selecting the right solar battery for your RV.
In order to work out what power rating you need in your solar battery you first need to work out your energy usage in your RV, this being your average monthly kWh use – you can easily find calculators online to work this out.
For RV use, the majority of solar batteries are rated at 12 volts, however, there are options for lower power needs (6 volts) and if you are planning on relying on solar energy completely you will need to consider a solar battery that is rated at 24V or 48V.
What does ‘cycle life’ mean on a solar battery?
The way your solar energy system functions is that the fluctuations in the availability of solar power soaked up by the solar panels means that the solar battery will repeatedly be going through a ‘cycle’ of charging and discharging. This process will gradually reduce the ability of the battery to store energy and affects the length of time the battery will be functional for. The warranty of the solar battery should guarantee the numberof cycles/years the battery should function for.
Another thing to consider when thinking about the quality of the battery you wish to purchase is something called the depth of discharge. This is the level at which it is safe to allow your battery to discharge to without risk of damaging it, so if a 20 kWh battery has a depth of discharge of 90 per cent, you should only use 18 kWh of the battery before recharging it. The higher the depth of discharge, the more of your battery you are able to use before being required to recharge it.
What are the different types of batteries?
A prominent component of solar energy systems are lead-acid batteries, also known as flood-cell batteries. These batteries have been used for decades and their continued presence on the market highlights their reliability. They also have the added benefit of being relatively low-cost. Flood cell batteries are able to withstand deep discharge cycles so are a very appropriate battery for the fluctuating nature of solar energy.
They are, however, pretty bulky and sensitive to damage needing to be kept upright (so as to not spill the electrolyte inside) and well ventilated. Maintenance is also a consideration as these batteries require close monitoring – great if you get satisfaction from this sort of job, but not if you want a worry free solar energy system.
What is a non-sensitive battery type?
Another option is a Gell cell battery. These batteries are less sensitive to damage than the flood-cell batteries and do not need to be kept as well ventilated. A good option if you need to mount the battery and if it will be kept in a space without a lot of ventilation. While more durable, Gell cell batteries are not as good at coping with deep discharge cycles like flood-cell batteries are.
What is great for solar charging?
Like the flood-cell battery, Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries are also a sensible option for use in a solar energy system as they are built to withstand deep cycling discharge. They also have the benefits of the Gell cell being less sensitive to damage than flood-cell batteries and they do not need to be kept upright so can be easily mounted.
It is a good idea to think about the environment you will be keeping your battery in and the maintenance needs of the battery so that you can select the best battery for your RV solar energy system.
Selecting the best battery for your RV’s solar energy system requires careful consideration of your power needs and the environment in which you will be keeping the battery. AGM batteries are a good option for use in RV’s due to their durability and their ability to withstand the frequent charging cycles that are a consequence of using solar energy.
You also need to think about how much energy you need the battery to be able to store so that you are not caught short when your RV is off-grid. To put it simply, the higher the voltage the more energy the battery will be able to store and will mean you can power more devices for a longer period.
The longevity of the battery is also a crucial consideration so that you can make the most economical choice before purchasing the battery. While the upfront cost of a battery might be steep, if it has a long cycle-life it is likely to save you money in the long run.