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How Many Batteries Does an RV Need

When you are on the road, and away from shore power, an RV relies on its batteries to power up all its appliances.

An RV’s batteries will feed everything from your cooking gear to the HVAC system.

Therefore, it makes sense to ensure you will have enough juice until you reach your next rest stop.

So how many batteries does an RV need? The answer is four, at the very least. Depending on your energy consumption, you may need six or eight. The length of your journey and the type of batteries you are using will also affect the amount and capacity of batteries you should pack on your RV.

Qty 6: VMAX V6-225 6 Volt 225Ah Group GC2 AGM Deep Cycle Battery. Capacity: 225Ah Each; Energy: 1.55kWH Each

Do You Even Need Batteries

In short, yes – at least, if you want to be able to connect anything to your RV.

Rather than simply travel with a costly and awkwardly-shaped van.

Remember that RVs have two electrical systems.

For the sake of simplicity, we can refer to the smaller, more basic one as the “car battery,” as it handles the same things as your sedan’s batteries would.

However, it also has an additional dual electrical system, which combines a 12-volt DC coach system and a 120-volt AC system.

This is what powers your appliances, so it is usually known as the “house” or “coach” battery.

Technically speaking, your RV’s engine does not need an additional electrical system.

The car batteries can power your head and tail lights.

You should also be able to start the engine without tapping into its additional electrical system.

However, the minute you step outside the front seat and try to turn on the lights, you will need either shore power or coach batteries.

Are More Batteries Needed When Boondocking

VMAX XTR27-110 Sealed Maintenance Free Battery AGM Deep Cycle Group 27 12V 110Ah

Boondocking, also known as dry camping, means living in your RV, even temporarily, without connecting it to a grounded water, electric, or sewer system.

Boondocking is the ultimate “wild” and mobile experience for those who are finally hitting the road and traveling around their RV.

When boondocking, you can rotate between spending the night at a friendly parking lot, a series of developed RV camps, and even an undeveloped campsite.

When boondocking, access to shore power will likely be sporadic at best.

This means that you may need more and better batteries when boondocking, especially if you will do it for three or more nights in a row.

Most boondockers usually pack at least two sets of DC batteries of at least 12V each.

If you want to connect any appliances that work with AC energy, you will need additional batteries, plus an inverter to transform the DC into AC electricity.

What Type of Battery is Best for RVs

When choosing the right type of battery for your RV, you want to consider which electrical system you want to feed.

Feeding your car system

To start your engine, you will be using your car battery.

These often last for years and seldom need recharging.

They eventually wear out, but you should try to replace them with the same battery type as originally sold by the manufacturer.

If you are bent on upgrading these batteries, look for one that provides the highest possible CCA number.

This stands for Cold Cranking Amps, and it indicates how many amps your battery can give even in icy conditions (of about 0° F).

Feeding your coach system

Coach batteries are usually built with thicker plates and have a much higher capacity than car system batteries.

However, they also tend to be used for more extended periods, which progressively discharges them.

They will need to be recharged more frequently whenever they approach a 50% charge.

Because of this, they are often called “deep cycle” batteries.

There are three types of coach system batteries.

Lithium batteries

Usually considered the best RV batteries, but they are also the most expensive ones.

Lithium batteries last longer and often offer a bigger capacity.

This can offset their initial cost.

Absorbed Glass Mat batteries

Also known as AGM batteries, they are a type of lead-acid battery that requires relatively little maintenance.

They are made up of sulphuric acid, held together by a fiberglass mat.

They are slightly more expensive than lead-acid batteries, but they also last longer.

Lead-acid batteries

The RV’s cheapest and shortest-lasting type of battery, lead-acid batteries, can also be recharged numerous times.

However, they discharge more quickly than lithium batteries, and you will need to check their electrolyte balance regularly.

Because of this, they may significantly increase your maintenance bill.

Are Expensive RV Batteries Worth It

ExpertPower 12V 100Ah Lithium LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery | 2500-7000 Life Cycles & 10-Year lifetime | Built-in BMS | Perfect for RV, Solar, Marine, Overland, Off-Grid Applications

The most expensive type of RV battery is lithium.

However, they can cost up to 1,000$ more per piece than AGM batteries.

Because of this, it is common to wonder whether these expensive RV batteries are worth it.

The truth is that if you only use your RV for a few days a year, you may not be able to reap the full benefits of using lithium.

On the other hand, if you enjoy boondocking for weeks on end, they will pay for themselves.

Some of the benefits of lithium batteries include:

  • They can last up to 10 years, as opposed to just 2 or 3 years
  • They are cleaner and create less pollution
  • They require almost no maintenance
  • You won’t need to pack toxic battery acid on your trip
  • They often provide more volts and available amperage than their alternatives

During an emergency, you can deplete lithium batteries down to 85% without damaging them (instead of just 50%).

That being said, before converting your RV electrical system to lithium, you will need to get your system checked by a licensed electrician.

Most RVs wired for lead-acid batteries will need some retrofits before being compatible with lithium ones.

Make sure you budget for the installation as well as for the batteries themselves.

Reading recommendation: What’s The Fastest Way to Charge RV Batteries

Conclusion

If you are wondering how many batteries does an RV need, you will need to consider the length of your trips and your consumption patterns.

Most likely, you will need between 4 and 6 batteries to power your DC system.

In addition, you will need a smaller system to power your car and boot up the engine.

Currently, the best type of RV battery is lithium deep cycle batteries.

These are expensive to install and buy, yet they last for longer and are much safer to use.

If you plan on boondocking for long periods, it may be more than worth it!