How to Buy RV Batteries

RV (recreational vehicle) batteries come in many different types, and what type is best depends on the useage and conditions the RV will be exposed to. Unlike cars, RV’s use multiple batteries. These batteries are used to power many different systems, both while the vehicle is running and when it is off. The most common types of batteries are the regular flooded electrolyte battery, the gel type battery, and the absorbed glass matt (AGM). There are also 6- and 12-volt battery options for RV’s. This article will give you information about the different types of batteries, and help you determine which battery fits your specific needs the best.

If you are reading this article, you most likely know you need a new battery. But if you aren’t sure if your RV batteries need replacing, check to see if your RV has any of these symptoms of a battery in need of replacement.

Part 1 of 1: Types of RV batteries and their properties

  • Note: The battery types described below can come in 6- or 12-volt options. 12-volt batteries are more common, and are are very similar to conventional car batteries - in some cases just larger. Six-volt batteries are bigger and heavier than 12-volt, but generally have a larger amp hour capacity. The 6-volt battery is also generally much more expensive.

flooded cell battery with it

Type 1: Conventional flooded electrolyte batteries. These batteries are the same type as is most commonly seen in automobiles.

They have lead plates and a suspension fluid of water, and are usually the original battery type for many RV’s

Conventional batteries require more service than other types of batteries. The electrolyte level in the batteries can drop, and must be restored by adding distilled water.

The terminals of flooded type batteries also require more care and cleaning than other types of batteries. How difficult it is to access and clean the battery should be considered when making your decision on which type of battery to purchase for your RV.

  • Warning: The fluid inside the conventional batteries can burn skin and give off toxic fumes. Care should be taken and proper protective materials used when handling them and performing any service. If you are uncomfortable performing service on your battery, have a certified mechanic come out and service the battery for you.

gel type battery shown

Type 2: Gel batteries. Gel batteries are a maintenance-free type of battery. They require no service, as they are self-contained.

Being self-contained also means that they can be mounted at various angles, and they are generally slightly tougher than flooded cell batteries.

The gel batteries use a gel to suspend the electrolytes, instead of the water used in a flooded cell battery.

Gel batteries have a great slow discharge rate, and can perform well in higher-than-average temperatures.

The biggest problem with gel batteries is that the RV must be able to charge this type of battery - there are specific requirements for the charge rate and voltage, and failing to adhere to these requirements can cause permanent damage to the battery.

AGM battery shown

Type 3: Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. AGM batteries use an absorbed glass mat to wick the electrolyte solution between the battery plates. They are the second most commonly used type of battery.

AGM batteries generally last the longest of any type of battery, as long as they are not discharged completely. These batteries do not need service, and if the battery case is broken, nothing will leak out; it is completely self-contained.

AGM batteries excel in their ability to provide high bursts of amps.

This information will hopefully help you choose what battery is best for your circumstances. RV batteries are not a one-size-fits-all choice: different types of batteries will be used depending on the conditions and requirements, which are unique to every RV owner. The certified mechanics at YourMechanic are standing by to answer any further questions on this subject as needed.


Next Step

Schedule Service Battery/cables

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Service Battery/cables. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Service Battery/cables reviews

Excellent Rating

(341)

Rating Summary
324
10
1
2
4
324
10
1
2
4

Augustine

12 years of experience
121 reviews
Augustine
12 years of experience
Ford Edge V6-3.5L - Service Battery/cables - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Very friendly, extremely knowledgeable. Solved my problem quickly. I feel confident that the repair I got from Augustine today is one of the most quality repairs I’ve received from any mechanic in Albuquerque.
Toyota Yaris - Service Battery/cables - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Augustine was extremely helpful getting my gas tank replaced. He was very friendly and went above expectations to work with me on getting the repair done in a timely manner. 10/10

Miguel

21 years of experience
189 reviews
Miguel
21 years of experience
Jeep Patriot L4-2.0L - Service Battery/cables - Belleville, New Jersey
He arrived within the time specified. He explained everything before and after the service and he worked quickly and was professional.
Ford Escape - Service Battery/cables - Paterson, New Jersey
Miguel was totally professional, honest & fast. I'm very satisfied with the service, will book with Miguel again.

Robert

20 years of experience
936 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Ford Focus L4-2.0L - Service Battery/cables - Denver, Colorado
He is timely and polite. He is also competent and noticed issues with my car I hadn't realized until he showed me.

Josh

16 years of experience
69 reviews
Josh
16 years of experience
Ford Explorer V6-4.0L - Service Battery/cables - Naples, Florida
He was very knowledgeable and honest. He did great work and explained everything he was doing and what was wrong.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

Alternator or Car Battery: How to Tell Which Part Is the Problem
When When you need to go somewhere and your car won’t start, it’s not unreasonable to think that you could have a car charging problem. A jump start might fix it in the short term and get you to work...
Alternator or Car Battery: How to Tell Which Part Is the Problem
When When you need to go somewhere and your car won’t start, it’s not unreasonable to think that you could have a car charging problem. A jump start might fix it in the short term and get you to work...
How Long Does a Car Battery Last?
The life of your car battery depends on how long it can hold its charge, and is capable of being recharged. Once it can’t...

Related questions

Car won't start, battery drain - 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL

Hello. The Chilton manual will be able to give you accurate information as to the location of the voltage regulator. This manual can tell you whether your voltage regulator is an internal or external part. It is not recommended that...

Hi I have a 2001 s10 that seems to have a wiring issue or something.

Hi there. Check the battery and make sure that it can hold a charge. Even though a battery can have 12.6 volts, it could have a bad cell causing a large draw. Place the battery on a load and see...

Alternator went out; battery won't stay charged

I would first start with having your battery/starting system checked by a certified technician. If the alternator turns out to be faulty, replacement will be required in order to get your vehicle in reliable running condition again. The technician that...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com