These days more and more users are kitting out their caravans and motorhomes with more and more electrical items, both on the outside and the inside. If you’re adding lights or thinking about running an electric grill or barbeque using the power from your caravan, then you’ll need a battery that is up to scratch.
There are many types of batteries that can be used in your motorhome, you’ll just need to know which one is going to be the most functional for you to use for your particular needs. You’ll need to think about how many appliances you’ll be running at any one time in your camper van.
The size, quality and manufacturer of your batteries will also determine how much you are able to use them. For example, if you are disappearing off the grid for weeks on end, then you’ll probably want a battery that you can maintain, having an open lead-acid leisure battery that you can refuel as and when.
There are numerous types of battery, all of which have different options. Open and sealed acid lead leisure batteries alternate between having a battery that is high maintenance and one that requires no maintenance at all, although both have their own unique plus points and drawbacks.
You can also get AGM leisure batteries, gel leisure batteries, lead crystal leisure batteries and lithium leisure batteries, all of which have features that will be more or less beneficial to your holidaying. Some give you more power, while others are longer life, there are batteries that can be rigged up outside your caravan and ones that can be stored neatly underneath them.
But what are the best leisure batteries for your caravan and motorhome? What features does a battery need to ensure that your appliances will be able to last for as long as possible in the great outdoors? What materials does your battery need to be made out of to give you the maximum amount of power? How much will a leisure battery set you back in terms of price?
Well, campers and caravanners, we’ll be able to answer all of those questions and then some more, with our list of the best leisure batteries for caravans and motorhomes currently available on the market. Our list has been thoroughly researched and comes highly rated by both the experts and users on Amazon.
Then we’ll follow up that a buyer’s guide that will give you everything you need to know to be able to tell apart an AGM battery from a gel leisure battery, giving you a breakdown of what you’ll need to be looking for depending on the style of caravanning that you’re planning on doing.
Finally, we’ll finish up with a few frequently asked questions from motor home enthusiasts that we hope that you will be able to answer some of those nagging anxieties that you might have before splashing out on a new battery. We understand that these are not easy purchases to make if you know little about caravan maintenance, so we want to make sure that you’re as educated as possible on the subject.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s crack on with our list of the best leisure batteries for caravans and motorhomes!
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List Of Best Leisure Batteries For Caravans & Motorhomes
Our first battery is one that is very esteemed on the leisure battery market, made by a manufacturer who certainly knows how to craft a longlasting, maintenance-free unit. Banner has been manufacturing batteries for over 70 years and judging by the hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, this model is among one of their best – introducing the Banner 59201 Running Bull 019 AGM Leakproof Battery.
An AGM is built very similar to other styles of battery in that they still contain lead and electrolytes, the only difference is the construction. The electrolyte is trapped within the glass fibre, which makes it very resistant to the vibration that you commonly experience when on rougher terrain.
One of the main boons of this battery is that the fluid level won’t have to be checked that often, as it is a sealed unit. This battery can be mounted on the inside or the outside of your motor home, it doesn’t matter, as there is no valve that will give off fumes. This AGM battery will discharge a lot slower than other units, meaning it will last you a lot longer.
This is the perfect battery for a caravan owner that likes to go on long trips away from the rat race. You can also mount these units on their side, you won’t have to worry about leakages. This gives you more room to install even more batteries, which is great if you plan on using many power-sapping appliances.
- The sealed properties – you can mount this at many different angles and you can rest assured that it won’t leak. This makes it ideal to operate numerous units, which will beef up the power of your caravan.
- You can discharge around 50% of this battery’s fluid without damaging the inside, which will contribute to its overall lifespan.
- The unit itself is very durable and will not break after numerous bumps and damages – this is great if you’ll want to go off the beaten track but don’t want to be left stranded halfway up a mountain.
- This is a great battery for mounting on the inside of your caravan, as it won’t give off any hazardous fumes – if you want to use this battery to augment your existing one, then we would recommend it for its space-saving qualities.
- These are great if you have a motor mover which you’ll need to align your motor home without the need for a car.
- These batteries are often expensive, so they probably should not be considered if you have to keep within a few hundred pounds on your budget.
- These batteries do not last as long as the open or sealed lead acid leisure batteries, so if the lifespan is high on your list of priorities, then we would recommend that you select another battery from the list.
Our next battery is another similar unit to the AGM battery, except rather than using a fibreglass mat to suspend the electrolyte in, the have it made into a thick paste. This battery is one with a very low rate of discharge, allowing you to expend 80% of its energy without damage – introducing the Exide ES900 12v 80Ah Gel Leisure Battery.
If you are a camper that intends on going on long-distance trips where you won’t be near any conveniences for a number of weeks, then we would certainly recommend that you buy this battery system. These are also tilt and shock-resistant, so you can mount it vertically to boost your overall power supply.
These batteries are also very heavy duty, withstanding the repeated shocks from rough and bumpy terrain. So if you want something that won’t leak on a rough journey, then we would recommend that you purchase this unit. A gel leisure battery also doesn’t leak or let off fumes, so you can install it on the inside of your caravan.
You won’t have to top this battery up that much, as it comes in a sealed unit. This means that you won’t have to give it all that much maintenance, which might come as a relief to those that really aren’t that interested in unhooking the hood of their battery unit to refill their tank.
- This unit is highly resistant to impacts and vibrations, which will be very important for preserving the integrity of your power unit. The last thing you want is for your battery to be damaged and have to wait for the rescue services.
- This is made from a gel unit, so you won’t have to worry about unscrewing it to top it up with fluid.
- You can tilt this one at an angle or entirely vertically, allowing you to rack up two battery units for that extra juice, which will be even more reliable if you have lots of appliances that you need to power.
- This has a slow energy dispersion rate, meaning that it will simply last you longer, even if you are running extra appliances or operating a heavy-duty outdoor electric grill.
- This battery can also discharge up to 80% of its energy without suffering from any severe damage which might wreck your battery without giving you the chance to restart it later on.
- However, like our last unit, this one will not cope very well operating at higher discharge rates, probably bottoming out around the 80% mark.
- If you are operating a high load motor mover, then this battery might not be able to handle the extra weight.
This next battery utilizes a different energy system altogether, mainly harnessing lithium in a lot of the same ways as your laptop or mobile phones does. You can also find lithium in electric cars, being a longlasting substance that can be used for up to ten times longer than a lot of other cheaper batteries – introducing the KS Energy 100Ah 12V Lithium Phosphate Leisure Battery.
This is another unit that can withstand up to 80% discharge, without succumbing to the permanent damages that some of the cheaper units can experience. Lithium is also a much lighter material, so if you don’t want your overall campervan to be weighted down, taking up more fuel, then we would highly recommend a lithium battery.
This is one of the best units for high and deep discharges, giving you the ability to stay powered for much longer. This is a great battery to have if you expect to be staying off the grid for long periods of time. You can have your electric shower and cooking appliances running at the same time.
The safety elements of a lithium battery are also amazing. This battery has built-in safety features that will shut down if they are being charged at too high an intensity. One of the other upsides is that you won’t have to replace this battery for a number of years, making it one of the most cost-effective units on this list.
- One of the main plus points of a lithium battery is the amount of power you get for the weight. If you don’t want to injure yourself during installation, then we would recommend getting a lithium battery.
- The power of this battery is immense, it can be drained to almost its entire capacity without suffering from any longlasting damage.
- If you have many on-board appliances such as a kitchen unit or a shower that can drain a lot of juice, then a lithium battery would be perfect. This is also ideal if you have a family that you expect will be using a lot of mobile devices.
- This is a battery that you can store very easily, with a pro-tilt function, you can mount it vertically to save on space on the inside of your camper van.
- This battery will not leak or break due to intense vibrations, so you won’t have to worry about any noxious gasses damaging your furniture or potentially poisoning your family.
- This is another expensive unit – although if you are a casual caravan user and don’t expect to buy more that one leisure battery per every few years, then we would recommend spending the extra cash on a lithium battery.
Our next battery utilizes an advanced calcium technology to create a power source that requires little to no maintenance. It can be operated as a dual source unit, in that it can either supplement your original battery or you can use it to replace your battery wholesale – introducing the SuperBatt LM110 Deep Cycle Leisure Battery Caravan Motorhome Marine Boat.
You can refill this battery with distilled water to keep it operating at its maximum function. This is a great unit for maintenance, especially if you want to be able to adjust the power outage of your battery. If you would prefer to refuel rather than wholesale replace your battery every time, then you should definitely consider this one.
This is one of the cheaper options on this list, all you have to do it refill the sulphate in this battery, rather than replace the whole unit outright. This will be a great option for those families that are on a budget or if you prefer solo camping where you won’t be travelling long distance for more than a few days.
You can use this battery to supercharge the main unit that you have in your camper van, although make sure you have the requisite space on the outside of your camper van for installation. You won’t be able to mount this unit on the inside, as it will give off fumes that will be noxious.
- The price – this is one of the cheapest units on this list, coming in an open lead-acid model, all you need to do is make sure you’re wearing the right protective equipment to top up this unit.
- This battery gives you more control over the amount of power that you have – if you plan on having many varied excursions, going off-road for weeks on end for one portion of the year before taking the odd weekend trip the next, this is a battery that can be adapted for all different styles of holidaying.
- This is great for using as the power source for a motor mover, being a supplementary supply, you can shift your caravan as much as you like without the need for a car. This will be crucial if you’ve parked awkwardly and need some extra space near the door.
- You can refill this unit as many times as you like, this is great for those campers who might not have the room to store an extra battery.
- You can maintain battery performance during your holiday, which is a luxury that not a lot of closed-system batteries offer.
- This requires considerably more maintenance and repair work than a lot of other batteries on this list, which will certainly be offputting to holidaymakers who just want to kick back, relax and not have to worry about their battery.
- This battery experiences increased damage when discharged at around 50% capacity, so if you are planning to have a lot of energy-consuming appliances on board, then we would recommend that you opt for another battery.
Our final battery comes with hundreds of amazing reviews on Amazon, which are very important when purchasing a reliable electronic product. This product can last you for months and even years if used on a moderate setting, coming in a sealed system it requires very little maintenance – introducing the 063 Powerline Car Battery.
This unit is sealed and will operate very effectively up to 50% of its discharge capacity. It has reliable performance and can withstand intense vibrations from your caravan. This is crucial if you’re planning on travelling for weeks at a time across the grass, mud, country trail and even rocky outcrops.
If you want to go seriously off-grid, then you’ll need a battery that will provide the very best in power output, and operating at 12 volts, this unit will more than prove itself out in the open. It is also one of the more affordable of the sealed units, making it perfect for a family-orientated holiday maker that doesn’t want to spend all their time fixing batteries.
This is a great unit for a motor mover, giving you plenty of juice to align your motor home into the exact position that you want it. You’ll also want a battery that can operate up to 10 appliances at once. Despite the slightly shorter operating life, this will give you a lot of power for very little effort.
- Like a lot of sealed battery units, this one will give you fewer headaches than some of the cheaper open lead-acid units.
- This battery will be able to cope with a lot of vibrations, which will ultimately lead to a longer lifespan and result in fewer leakages in your caravan. If you have small children on holiday with you, this will give you extra peace of mind.
- The price – the sealed units are generally more expensive, although this one lies at the cheaper end of the spectrum.
- When it comes to safety, this is one of the best units on our list. It is also capable of being tilted, so you can have it as a supplementary battery for your main power device, perfect if you have a motor mover.
- You won’t have to replace the battery or open it up to refill it – when it comes to maintenance, this is very easy, all you have to do is hook it up to the mains and let it work its magic.
- This battery might still be too expensive for a lot of campers, if you really are strapped for cash, we would certainly recommend that you select one of the open lead-acid units.
- This battery is very heavy, which might not appeal to senior users who have mobility issues.
There are many types of battery available, each one will give you different features and have different charge capacities. Each one will also depend on the length that you’ll be using them and how many appliances that you’ll have them hooked up to.
There are 6 different types of leisure battery, listed below. We’ll go through each one and give you a breakdown of what they do.
Open Lead Acid Leisure Batteries
These batteries are one of the very first to be manufactured for caravans, being a simple construction of lead plates submerged in sulphuric acid. They have removable caps that can be used to maintain battery performance by adding distilled water.
If you are using this type of battery frequently, then you can expect to be topping it up a lot more than other batteries. This is one for users who want the maximum amount of control over their power output.
You won’t want to run one of these units too hard, otherwise, they charge beyond their capacity and end up corroding, which will lead your battery to become utterly useless very quickly. An open lead-acid battery will have far less of a lifespan than the other sealed units, but they will often be cheaper.
Sealed Lead Acid Leisure Batteries
If you don’t fancy dealing with the sulphuric acid that comes with using an open battery, then we would certainly recommend that you pick up a sealed lead acid unit. These are traditionally more expensive, but they last a lot longer and will require zero maintenance once they have been mounted.
Another plus point of one of these units is that, because they are sealed, you can mount them in a tilted style and not have to worry about leakage. They also won’t produce fumes and can be placed on the inside of your camper van.
If you can afford the price tag, we would recommend a sealed battery as opposed to an open unit, as they give you far more power, safety and reliability than an open model.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) Leisure Batteries
So these units are very similar to the sealed types of unit, except that these have a different construction, using a fibreglass mat instead of suspending lead plates in sulphuric acid. This stops pressure from building up in the battery, which will keep it safe from overheating and other electrical failures.
These batteries are also great for withstanding vibrations, which is great for those more adventurous campers who will be riding across bumpy trails and really shaking the foundations of their chassis. The last thing you’ll want is for your battery to leak out potentially harmful fluids across your furniture.
You can also mount these units at an angle, giving you plenty of room to experiment, with batteries being mounted vertically to save you on space. You can have two of these models, giving you that extra power boost, especially handy for larger campers with on-board kitchens and showers.
Gel Leisure Batteries
These batteries are very similar to the AGM models in that you won’t have to open them up for maintenance or to top up and they will also not leak, coming in a completely sealed unit. However, the electrolyte inside is not fluid, rather being a pasty gel that remains static even in under the most strenuous of pressures.
A gel battery can be discharged as low as 80% of its capacity without causing any damage, which is very handy for those caravanners who want their battery to run for as long as possible out in the wilderness. You won’t want to have to travel to a service station miles away to simply charge your phone.
These batteries have a very long service life if kept under 25 degrees celsius, which is probably more than capable if you’re using them in the UK, where the temperatures are generally a lot colder.
Lead Crystal Leisure Batteries
One of the main plus points for the most survivalist oriented camper is that you can run a lead crystal battery right down to zero without damaging it. You can deplete to absolute zero and then charge it right back up to full again.
This battery has three times the lifespan of most batteries, which will be very helpful for those who feel like being off-grid for maybe months at a time. This is a battery that will thrive in both hot and cold weathers, giving you the ability to use it in the summer and the winter.
The only real negative of a lead crystal battery is the price. With so many amazing features such as long life, durability, resistance to shocks and use inside the caravan, you’ll be expected to delve deep into your pockets for this one. However, if you’re serious about your camping, then you’ll want the best on the market, and this battery is one of them.
Lithium LiFeP04 Leisure Batteries
These are the same batteries that you’ll find in most electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops. The reason they are used for portable devices is their weight, that’s right, the can give you double the power for just half the weight.
So if you want to reduce the overall heft of your camper van – perhaps you have a lot of gear and are trying to count the kilograms – then this will be the battery for you. Having it so lightweight will also make it a lot easier to store and install manually. This type of battery will last up to ten times longer than your average lead-acid battery.
Lithium batteries cannot be depleted fully, otherwise, they will be irreparably damaged. However, most of these types of battery have built-in safety measures to stop this from happening. This unit will also be very handy for those for whom caravan maintenance does not come easily.
However, one of the major downsides of Lithium leisure batteries is, once again, the cost. This will set you back at least a few hundred pounds. But don’t worry, as electric cars become more popular then the price of these things should drop dramatically and make them much more affordable and available.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does A Deep Cycle Battery Do?
One of the batteries listed above is called a deep cycle battery, and basically, this is one that is designed to be discharged and recharged to a large portion of its capacity. As mentioned above, you can discharge a standard lead-acid battery to around 50% of its capacity without it receiving significant damage.
Gel batteries can withstand being depleted to around 80% of their capacity without getting damaged. A lot of deep cycle batteries utilize lead crystal and lithium so they can be discharged right back to zero without damaging the essential functions of the battery itself.
We would recommend that you buy a deep cycle battery if you want a battery that will last you for at least a few years. However, these batteries are often expensive, so be prepared to give your wallet a bit of a battering.
Will A Leisure Battery Overcharge?
Overcharging is only an issue if your battery is not compatible with the charger that you have on your caravan. You’ll need to consult the manual of your camper van or battery to see whether you can switch from one battery technology to another without damaging the essential composition of your new power source.
For example, a lithium battery might be too new for your camper, as the camper might have been manufactured way before lithium batteries were available on the market.