Skip to Content

What’s The Fastest Way to Charge RV Batteries

Before you embark on a camping trip into the wild, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve still got the juice to enjoy the modern appliances of your RV. 

To do that, however, you’ll first need to see to it that your battery is fully charged, which introduces a whole range of questions for beginners to boondocking.  

The fastest way to charge an RV battery is through the use of a converter and shore battery.

The higher the amperage, the more quickly you’ll be able to hit the road. 

While most home hookups cap at fifteen amps, RV travel centers have thirty or even fifty amp charging stations. 

Progressive Dynamics PD9260CV Inteli-Power 9200 Series Converter/Charger with Charge Wizard - 60 Amp

Though shore power may be the fastest way to fill your batteries, it is by no means the only way. 

Read on to find out more about how to keep your batteries charged and what you can expect once you’ve reached that point!

How Long Does it Take to Charge an RV Battery

It’s understandable: once you’ve decided it’s time to hit the road, you want to go immediately!

Unfortunately, the process of charging your RV battery might require a little patience.

The time it takes to charge an RV battery depends on several factors: what method you are using, the size of your battery, and what amperage is available or your use.

Even at the most efficient way, it can take up to ten hours to fully charge the average RV house battery.

Below, see a quick breakdown of both the fastest and slowest charging methods available:

Shore Power

Kohree Dogbone Heavy Duty RV Power Cord Plug Adapter, 15Amp Male to 30Amp Female With Twist Lock, LED Indicator

Shore power is by far the most efficient method to charge your battery, but just because you’re attached to 50 amps of power doesn’t mean that your RV is feeling 50 amps of energy at that moment.

Your converter’s job is to charge your battery using what is known as a “trickle method.” 

The shore charging station’s primary job is to power the RV as you’re plugged in. 

The converter simply allows a small percentage of that power to “trickle” into the battery.

While most campgrounds provide a 30 or 50 amp outlet, most residential homes don’t have that luxury. 

If your goal is to charge your battery at a home docking station before taking your RV out, you’ll likely need to plan on leaving that battery on the charge even longer.

Before getting discouraged, remember that as your battery charges, you’re likely sitting inside, enjoying full use of your appliances! 

This method is still likely preferable to the alternative.

Solar Power

DOKIO 160 Watts 18 Volts Portable Solar Panel Kit (22x21 inch) Folding Solar Charger Monocrystalline Include 2 USB Outputs Controller for 12v Batteries/Power Station Delta AGM LiFePo4 Camping RV Boat

While solar power gives campers the power to charge their batteries virtually anywhere, it does come with some severe drawbacks. 

For one, solar energy can take an incredibly long amount of time to fully charge an RV battery, often requiring even a full week to charge an RV battery even in the best conditions. 

Unfortunately, the best conditions are not guaranteed.

To take full advantage of solar power, the panels should face the sun for the entirety of their path across the sky. 

While this may be possible with detached panels, most RVs with solar power feature panels permanently fixed to the roof. 

This situation may work in a desert, but it’s unlikely to be fully efficient anywhere else.

This is not to speak poorly of solar power! 

It’s a fantastic, amazing technology.  It just may not be suited for a camper who is ready to hit the road.

Do Deep Cycle RV Batteries Take Longer to Charge

12V 200Ah Lithium Iron LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery, Built-in 100A BMS, 2000+ Cycles, 280amp Max, Perfect for RV, Solar, Marine, Overland, Off-Grid Application;

Deep cycle RV batteries take longer to charge due to their long-lasting nature. 

To operate effectively, a deep cycle battery needs to have eighty percent of its total power; using the battery at any less could damage the battery itself.  

This cycle is actually what gives this battery its name.

While other batteries– like those used to start the engine of your RV– depend on quick bursts of energy, deep cycle batteries are intended to release their charge in a slow, dependable manner.  

How Long do Fully Charged RV Batteries Last

The length of time that a fully charged RV battery lasts fully depends on the size of the battery in question and what it is being used to power. 

A battery with 80 amp hours is going to last far less long than one with 800 amp-hours.

When shopping for an RV battery, be sure that you investigate how much power that battery is predicted to provide, as well as for how long. 

It may also be important to keep in mind that heat can also drain a battery over time. 

If you live or are exploring a hot climate, you may want to take further steps to protect your battery’s life. 

Can You Charge an RV Battery While Driving

If you’re ready to start your adventure and already know that you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, it can be worth your time to hook that RV battery to your alternator.

You can use your alternator to charge your RV battery, but this method can be tricky without proper setup. 

If the conditions are suitable, you can also use solar power to charge your battery more slowly as you drive.

Can You Charge an RV Battery With a Generator

You can use a generator to charge an RV battery, but experts have different views of the efficiency of this method. 

While some say that generators function very similarly to shore power, others claim that this method can shorten your battery’s life and create more problems than it solves.

A generator was designed to convert propane, diesel, or gas energy into electricity used to power a home. 

Some theorize that using a generator to power your RV indirectly might create “dirty” energy, ultimately putting your battery life at risk of failure.

Using a generator also reduces many of the perks of powering your RV through a battery, including:

  • Increased smell
  • Loud noise
  • The inconvenience of carrying fuel

Ultimately, if you are choosing to take a generator with you anyway, you may find it more worth your while to simply power your camper through the generator rather than the battery.

You might also like: What Size Generator Do I Need to Run My 30 Amp RV

Conclusion

The choice of battery and how to charge it depends on the lifestyle of the campers themselves. 

The options themselves are practically limitless! 

With solid research, patience, and a bit of common sense, you should have all you need to keep those batteries charged and your RV on the road.