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What is the best RV battery: lithium, lead or AGM?

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By Cheri Sicard
Are you thinking about switching out your old lead acid RV or marine batteries to today’s new, modern lithium batteries? I know I have been. Before you pull that trigger on new RV batteries, the National RV Training Academy has some points to consider.

Lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are pricey. If you are going to make an expensive upgrade like this to your RV, you want to make sure it will be worth it.

How expensive are lithium batteries? Sticker shock expensive. Like, in the neighborhood of $1,000 expensive. Yow! My knee-jerk reaction was that’s not going to be worth it.

And for many people, it won’t be. But not everyone.

What is the best RV battery for you?

The question you should be asking: “What is the best RV battery for my needs and my specific RV lifestyle?”

Because what makes sense for you is all that matters.

The video below does a great job of breaking down all the considerations you need to take into account to accurately evaluate what kind of RV battery investment might be right for you. And it does it quickly and concisely without a lot of fluff and filler.

Factors compared between lead acid, AGM, and lithium RV batteries include:

  • Price
  • Overall life cycle of the battery
  • Weight of the battery
  • Depth of discharge, meaning how low can you drain the battery before having to recharge it without doing damage
  • Recharge rate, meaning how quickly can it recharge
  • Maintenance, meaning how much work it takes to maintain

Plus a few other miscellaneous things you need to consider about RV batteries but probably never thought about.

Check the video out before investing in any new batteries. You’ll be glad you did.

##RVDT1927

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STEVE
2 months ago

Come on, Todd. Get on the internet and look around. Even the best lithium batteries can be had for well under $1000.and decent units are a lot lower than that. Lead acid batteries, in any form, are old technology, require maintenance and can cost more in the long run.

Howard cole
3 months ago

Tried 5 x to open the video re best batteries and just get more advertisements – no video. Is anyone getting the apparent out of date video?

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
3 months ago
Reply to  Howard cole

Sorry you’re having difficulty viewing the video, Howard. I just tried it using two different web browsers and it went right into the video each time. Not sure what could be causing your problem. But here’s the link. I hope it works for you: https://youtu.be/VdS25vgfPE4 Have a good night. 😀 –Diane

tom wesrerfield
3 months ago

How many lithium batteries does it take to replace 4 lead acid batteries in a 40 foot motorhome with no solar?

Mike
3 months ago

You need to know the amp hour rating of your existing batteries to answer that. Once you have that answer, you only need about 1/2 of that because you can only use about 50% of fully charged lead acid batteries before adversely affecting their longevity.

Buckeyebutch
3 months ago

My concern is the frequency of fire with lithium batteries. It seems like I see many reports
of EV fires and the problems of extinguishing the fire.

Don
3 months ago
Reply to  Buckeyebutch

Lithium batteries have a computer chip in them and depending on how many safety features are built in affects the price of the batteries. It acts like a electrical breaker. Features include overcharge protection, to much , to fast discharge overheating , how fast it can take a charge and many other safety features. Some of the cheaper Lithium products have less safety features built in.
Outdoor life online magazine’s top Lithium battery is the Pro Guide Lithium from Battery Outfitters. It has all the bells and whistles, yes it is costly but it is worth it to get all the features.

STEVE
2 months ago
Reply to  Buckeyebutch

Modern Lithium batteries have battery management systems (BMS) built in to prevent problems. Check out Will Prowse’s channel on Youtube. He is an expert on the topic of solar and batteries.

Sherry B.
3 months ago

We changed to Lithium (200ah) almost 2 yrs ago and it was a good decision. Even though we are hooked up to shore power most of the time, we do spend nights in Walmart parking lots, rest areas or other “boondocking” locations while traveling and it is nice to be able to have lights, 12 volt fans/furnace, fridge, charge phones, and whatever 12v we need to last for a couple of days. Yes we had to change out converter, yes they are an investment, but once installed, have not had to worry about them at all.

STEVE
3 months ago

The video is out of date. A decent Lithium battery can be had for around $500 and one of the best goes for $800. The only other device to get is a new charger/ converter and they can be had for under $200, so it isn’t that expensive to change to a longer lasting, more efficient system that is lighter, safer and can be mounted anywhere. My batteries are under the bed.

Bonnie
3 months ago

What the video doesn’t address is the good possibility that if you decide to change to lithium your also going to have to upgrade other parts

STEVE
3 months ago
Reply to  Bonnie

The charger/converter is the only other thing that may need changing. Some newer chargers come with a Lithium setting.

Mike
3 months ago
Reply to  STEVE

Wrong! On a motorhome, the inverter, coach management (Firefly, multiplex) and alternator charging circuit may need to be changed / reprogrammed. Thousands of dollars before even buying the lithium batteries

STEVE
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Usually, on a motorhome, only the house batteries are changed to Lithium. The engine batteries stay old technology Lead acid. The engine alternator charges the engine battery. You can charge the lithium batteries from the alternator through a dc to dc charger. ($150 – $300 depending on size) A trailer’s battery can be charged the same way from the tow vehicle. A new lithium battery charger may cost anywhere from $30 – $300, depending on capacity.

Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  STEVE

Steve, modern motorhomes have a charging circuit from the alternator that charges the chassis battery to full charge and then automatically switches over and charges the house batteries. So, this would have to be modified because it is designed to charge LA batteries. Then there is the Firefly unit. I was quoted $1650.00 to reprogram that. Plus a new inverter.

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