What does a campervan leisure battery, aka house battery, do?
House aka leisure batteries power all of the vans appliances, electric accessories and house lighting.
While the battery in your engine compartment is for starting your vans motor, house batteries are for powering your campervan fridge freezer, cooktop, LED lighting, roof vent fan and other accessories and appliances.
The best battery for campervan power storage allows for everything from charging your phone to boiling water for tea and coffee to running your air conditioner, powering electric water heaters and pumps…
House batteries are charged with solar panels, off the alternator, or from shore power hookup.
This post will guide you in choosing batteries that will serve your on board power storage needs.
What kind of battery do I need for my camper van?
The answer to this question depends on several factors. After reading this post, you’ll be able to choose the best battery for your camper van build.
What do you use your electrical system for?
Do you plan to spend a lot of time off grid, or will you be mostly plugged in to shore power?
Will you be doing a lot of cooking with electricity? Running an air conditioning unit, some fans or both?
How is your electrical system designed?
Are most of your appliances running off 12/24 volt DC power, or are you relying heavily on an inverter to convert 12/24 volt power to AC 110/240?
How are you charging your battery?
Are you using solar panels, a relay or plugging in to shore power to charge, or, like most people, a combination?
Read on to learn about the different types of batteries, sizes, uses and how to calculate battery size for your unique power needs.
Our Campervan Battery Top Picks
|Renogy 170 Amp Hour Renogy Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery||Renogy 200Ah Deep Cycle Pure Gel Battery|
What are the different types of deep cycle batteries?
Battery chemistry has come a long way in the last few years. While there are many exciting innovations being developed, there are basically two technologies in common use for campervans; Lead Acid and Lithium Iron Phosphate
FLA or Flooded Lead-Acid
With FLA batteries, the plates are submerged in water which needs to be checked and topped off every month or so.
FLA batteries release hydrogen and oxygen gasses that must be properly ventilated as they are very dangerous.
SLA or Sealed Lead-Acid
There are two types of SLA batteries: Absorbent Glass Mat or AGM and Gel, which have lower charge rates and output.
The advantage of SLA is that they require very little attention or maintenance. The disadvantage is that they take longer to charge and output less power.
Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFeP04
Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFeP04 is the chemistry of choice for many campervan builds.
LiFeP04 allows for more power usage before recharging and requires no maintenance or venting of gasses.
LiFeP04 batteries cost more, but the advantages add up to KW hour savings in the end, more actual use of the battery, time saved not performing maintenance and simplified power system build.
Which battery technology is best?
Battery technology gets vastly better as you spend more money.
In other words, there’s no technical advantage of lead acid batteries (the least expensive) over lithium (the most expensive).
LiFeP04 batteries require no maintenance, are easier to use, charge faster, last longer, produce higher quality power… than other commonly available technologies.
It’s a no-brainer that LiFeP04 is better than lead acid, gel, or hybrid batteries, in terms of performance.
But not everyone needs or can afford the best.
If your power needs are minimal and you’re okay dealing with the particular installation and maintenance issues of SLA batteries, you can save some money.
If you need more power, want easier installation, don’t want to deal with maintenance and can afford it, get LiFeP0 batteries.
If you’ve only got a couple hundred dollars for batteries, then lead acid or gel are best.
But if you can spring for the LiFeP04, you should, because it’s the best over all.
RV builder compares Battle Born LifePO4 batteries to used Tesla batteries
In this video, an innovative RV traveler talks about his experience with installing used Tesla Lithium Ion batteries in his RV, and why he now uses Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Batteries instead.
If the video doesn’t display below, click here to view it.
What size deep cycle battery do I need for my Campervan?
This might be the most important question of all when it comes to the best battery for campervan power storage.
If you only need a battery to charge your phone and laptop and run a string of low wattage LED lights at night, you can get away with a 100Ah (or smaller), inexpensive FLA deep cycle battery.
Of course Power needs increase as you add appliances and accessories to your campervan electrical system.
So to answer this question for your unique camper van build, you’ll need to calculate your specific power use needs based on the gear in your van.
Here’s an article that will help you calculate your power consumption and choose an appropriate battery.
What is the longest lasting deep cycle battery?
Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFeP04 battery technologies allow for thousands of more charges than lead acid, gel and hybrid batteries.
It’s our opinion that the higher upfront cost of lithium is well worth the extra power output, charging cycles, simplicity of use and longevity.
Does my campervan house battery charge while driving?
If your camper van has a “split charge relay” (aka battery isolator or relay isolator), then yes, your campervan battery does charge while you drive.
If your van doesn’t have this device, then your house battery is not charging while you drive.
Split charge relays are among the easier electrical components to install and they provide a high payoff for the initial investment.
To check if your van has a relay isolator, follow any leads from the positive side of your alternator and look for a component like that pictured here. Or ask your mechanic to check for you.
What is a split charge relay or relay isolator?
A split charge relay diverts excess power from your vans alternator to charge your house battery.
It does this without drawing down the engine battery, by delivering power to the house battery only when the engine battery is fully charged.
The split charge relay also protects your house battery from pulling power from your engine battery when the engine is turned off.
Split charge relays are available in a range of amps to match the max output of your alternator and your overall charging needs.
Our Top Picks for Best Battery for Campervan Power
Every van build is different and has different power needs.
We recommend that you choose your campervan house batteries very carefully.
Also, read the reviews carefully and look for others who use the battery in ways similar to your particular needs.
This can save you a lot of hassle with returns or other issues.
|Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) technology for excellent performance.
Valve regulated, spill proof construction allows for safe operation in any position.
|Click here for pricing and availability of the Universal Power Group 100Ah SLA Battery|
|Looking for a reliable, high performing battery with practicality in mind? Renogy’s 12V Deep Cycle AGM Battery is an excellent choice for standby or daily power needs.
Built tough with a leak-proof design, this maintenance-free battery was designed with solar energy storage applications in mind and provides optimum performance even at freezing temperatures.
Ensure that your vehicle or off-grid solar system stays powered on with Renogy’s AGM batteries.
Renogy’s AGM batteries are designed for solar energy storage. Leak-proof, spill-proof and maintenance free,
The ideal candidate for meeting quality performance whether for daily use or backup power in your campervan.
|Click here for pricing and availability of the Renogy 200Ah Deep Cycle Pure Gel Battery|
|Weighing in at a sleek 31 lbs, the 100 amp hour, 12 volt Battle Born Battery dances circles around the competition.
The Battle Born Battery also requires no new hardware to run in your boat, RV, trailer, or golf cart.
Just pull out that grungy old lead acid battery (use two hands, those suckers are heavy), drop in this elegant upgrade, and get yourself out there.
All Battle Born Batteries are designed and assembled in the USA.
|Click here for pricing and availability of the Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery|
|Take your deep cycle battery experience to the next level by investing into Renogy’s LFP Battery, combining superior lithium-iron phosphate technology to provide a better solution to solar energy storage.
Weighing at just a bit over 25 lbs, Renogy’s LFP battery surpasses expectation by being lighter, compact, and more powerful than its lead-acid battery counterparts of 100Ah.
Designed to replace conventional solar battery storage units such as sealed Sealed, AGM, or Gel batteries, utilize your LFP battery in power-sport applications, off-grid applications, solar energy storage, and more!
Take a step into the right direction by pairing your solar system with one of the safest and highest-cycle battery chemistry yet.
|Click here for pricing and availability of the Renogy Lithium-Iron Phosphate 100Ah Battery|
Okay this is a departure from the rest of this post and we have a lot to say about fully self contained portable power stations in future posts.
But I wanted to give an example for contrast.
These things are incredible and people tend to really love them.
The cost doesn’t tend to be higher when you consider 1500ah, includes it’s own BMS AND 1000 watts of pure sign output.
|The MAXOAK Bluetti EB150 is a HUGE CAPACITY portable power station with lithium ion battery capacity of 1500Wh (LG Li-ion battery cell, 101,351mAh/14.8V( equivalent to 405,405mAh 3.7V)).
1000W pure sine wave output, PD Type-C Quick Charge (Max.45W).
Two ways of recharging (solar / wall).Unlike other small capacity power station, it has broader capacity and can charge higher power device like electric drill, hair dryer, blender (make sure the max. of your device is no more than 1000W)
Once fully recharged the power station EB150, the huge capacity 1500Wh ensure your device has a much longer charge time, no need to recharge it time and time again.
|Click here for pricing and availability of the Maxoak Bluetti 1500 Watt Hour Lithium Battery Pack|
- Campervan house aka leisure batteries power everything in your van but your engine starter motor
- The kind of battery you need depends on your unique power needs
- The two primary types of campervan battery are Lead acid and LiFeP04
- LiFeP04 is the best kind of battery, all things considered
- The size of battery for your van needs to be based on power use calculations
- The longest lasting battery is LiFeP04
- A split charge relay charges your house batteries while you drive your van
Thanks for reading
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