The Best RV Deep Cycle Battery

diehard 38217 300pxDeep cycle batteries for recreational vehicles (RVs) have very important purpose - they power onboard electronics and electrical devices while the vehicle's main motor is not working, while being off the grid.

RV deep cycle batteries must tolerate deep discharge conditions and cyclic use, but they also must be resistant to vibrations, high and low temperatures, no usage for long time (sometimes for months) etc.

And since these batteries are far from being cheap, it is really important to choose them properly, according to the individual needs and requirements.

Note that RV deep cycle batteries often have very similar requirements like marine deep cycle batteries, these batteries are often used interchangeably.

RV Deep Cycle Battery vs. RV Dual Purpose Battery

For RVs using single batter system, dual purpose battery or battery pack is recommended. For RVs using dual battery system, deep cycle battery is recommended for 'house' applications, while classic cranking battery is used for starting the vehicle.

Dual purpose batteries have good deep discharge characteristics and are able to provide large currents for starting a vehicle. However, for deep discharge applications, they are not as good as deep discharge batteries and as cranking batteries, they are not as good as starting batteries.

But, using one single battery (or single battery pack) greatly simplifies electrical system of RVs.

Single battery electrical system can be found on smaller RVs, not intended for longer use without the starting of the main engine or without the mains power available. But, some people combine even smaller RVs with single battery with solar panels and wind turbines and achieve long "off the grid/no motor turned on" periods of time.

optima d34m 300pxDeep cycle RV battery or battery pack is used in dual battery electrical system.

Deep cycle batteries tolerate deep cyclic discharges (down to 20% of their capacity) without adverse effects on their longevity and reliability. However, their starting characteristics are often rather modest (to say the least) and in such situations, dedicated starting battery is used.

Both batteries share common ground, but the deep cycle battery (or battery pack) is used for powering various electric and electronic devices, while cranking battery is used for starting the RV and perhaps for vehicle's lights.

While the dual battery electrical system is more complicated than single battery system, it uses the best features of the available batteries in order to achieve the best performances.

Regardless what kind of system you have, it is vital to use the same or better batteries than they where recommended by the RV's manufacturer. If you are unsure, ask for professional electrician/mechanic to help you choose the proper battery for your vehicle.

Lithium RV Batteries

battleborn lithium 300pxSLA AGM, gel cell and lead flooded cells where common RV batteries that are slowly being phased out by lithium RV batteries.

Lithium ion batteries come in many versions and chemistries, some of them are:

- IMR batteries feature LiMn204 (Lithium Manganese Oxide) chemistry. Their nominal voltage is 3.6 - 3.7 V per cell, with maximum recommended charging voltage of 4.2 V. IMR batteries commonly have smaller capacity, but are capable of delivering larger currents.

- INR batteries feature LiNiMnCoO2 (Lithium Manganese Nickel) chemistry. These batteries are very similar to IMR batteries, since they can provide plenty of currents, with slightly lower capacity.

- IFR batteries feature LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) chemistry. Their nominal voltage is 3.2 - 3.3 V per cell, with the maximum recommended charging voltage of 3.5 - 3.6 V.

- ICR batteries feature LiCoO2 (Lithium Cobalt Oxide) chemistry. Their nominal voltage is 3.6 - 3.7 V pe cell, with the maximum recommended charging voltage of 4.2 V. They commonly have higher capacities, but maximum allowed currents are often limited to just few C.

Note: there are other chemistries on the market too, including hybrid technologies like: Lithium Nickel Cobalt Oxide (LiNiCoO2), Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2), etc.

In order to speed-up transition from AGM and other lead-acid batteries, many lithium ion batteries come with built-in electronics and are designed to be in-place replacement for lead-acid batteries - such lithium ion batteries are designed to be used requiring no changes to the RV's electrical system.

Main features of lithium ion batteries is their lightweight design (3-4x lighter when compared with lead acid batteries), which leads to the reduction in total weight of the vehicle and their higher number of charging/discharging cycles (4-6x times more charging/discharging cycles when compared with lead acid batteries).

On the other hand, lithium batteries do cost more than lead-acid batteries, making their initial purchase more expensive. But thanks to their longevity, their actual price during the use of the vehicle is in range of the price of lead-acid batteries.

Note: like lead-acid batteries, some lithium batteries are designed to be used as starting batteries, and other batteries are designed to be used for deep discharge/cycling operations.

 Following table lists the most popular RV batteries, with their most important features:

Model Battery Type Goup Size Cell Type Ah MCA RC Weight (lbs/kg)
Battle Born 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Battery Deep Cycle 31 LiFePO4 100 - - 29 lbs; 13.2 kg
DieHard 38228 Dual Purpose 48 AGM 70 950 120 -
Exide Edge FP-AGM24DP Dual Purpose 24 AGM 75 930 145 50 lbs; 22.7 kg
Exide XMC-31 Deep Cycle 31 AGM 100 1110 200 68 lbs; 31 kg
Lifeline GPL-31T Deep Cycle 31 AGM 105 750 195 69 lbs;  31.5 kg
Mighty Max ML35-12 Deep Cycle U1 AGM 35 - - 23 lbs; 9.6 kg
Odyssey 31M-PC2150 Dual Purpose 31 AGM 100 1370 205 77.8 lbs; 35.3 kg 
Odyssey 34M-PC1500 Dual Purpose 34 AGM 68 1050 135 49.5 lbs; 22.4 kg
Optima 8027-127 D27M Dual Purpose 27 AGM 66 1000 140 54 lbs; 24.5 kg
Optima 8052-161 D31M Dual Purpose 31 AGM 75 1125 155 61 lbs; 27.6 kg
Optima 8016-103 D34M Dual Purpose 34 AGM 55 870 120 46 lbs; 21 kg
Trojan SCS150 Deep Cycle 24 Flooded Cell 100 650 150 50 lbs; 22.6 kg
Trojan T31 Deep Cycle 31 AGM 102 720 177 69 lbs; 31.5 kg
Trojan T-105 Deep Cycle (6 Volts) Flooded 225 - 447 62 lbs; 28.1 kg
UPG UB121000 Deep Cycle 27 AGM 100 - - 64 lbs; 29 kg
VMAXTANKS V30-800 Deep Cycle - AGM 30 350 55 22 lbs; 10 kg
VMAXTANKS V35-857 Deep Cycle U1 AGM 35 390 75 25 lbs; 11.3 kg
VMAXTANKS MR96-60 Deep Cycle 22NF AGM 60 600 120 43 lbs; 19.5 kg
VMAXTANKS MR107-85 Deep Cycle 24 AGM 85 700 160 55 lbs; 24.9 kg
VMAXTANKS SLR125 Deep Cycle 31 AGM 125 - 260 75 lbs; 34 kg
VMAXTANKS MR127-100 Deep Cycle 27 AGM 100 800 200 68 lbs; 30.8 kg
VMAXTANKS MR137-120 Deep Cycle 31 AGM 120 900 230 75 lbs; 34 kg
VMAXTANKS SLR155 Deep Cycle - AGM 155 - 350 90 lbs; 40.8 kg
VMAXTANKS MR197-200 Deep Cycle 4D AGM 200 1400 450 112 lbs; 50.7 kg
VMAXTANKS V6-225 Deep Cycle GC2 (6 Volts) AGM 225 - 500 72 lbs, 32.6 kg

Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new windows, feel free to check them out.

odyssey 31m pc2150 300pxFor short: When replacing old RV batteries, check the compartment size, and type/size/brand of old battery/batteries. New batteries, first of all, must fit into your battery compartment and must be as good as or better than old batteries.

Some vehicles use flooded-cell lead-acid batteries, but IMHO, AGM/gel cell batteries should be used - they are spill proof and almost maintenance free.

Lithium batteries are great alternative to lead-acid batteries, but they are still rather expensive. However, their much larger number of charging/discharging cycles means that in the end, they are not as expensive as they look at first sight :)

Note: before switching from lead-acid to lithium batteries, check with your RV manufacturer (send them an email) if that switch is recommended/supported.