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How to choose a lithium battery for your RV van and campers

Do you want to buy a brand new battery for your campers, van, or RV or do you want to upgrade your current battery with a lithium battery? If yes, then you are making the right decision. However, the quality and type of lithium battery that you purchase for your RV or van matter a lot. If you don’t want to regret it later, you need to buy the right type of battery that will deliver the excellent results that you are looking for.

But with so many battery types on the market, finding one that suits your needs can be a daunting task, especially if you are shopping for the first time. Fortunately, today you have landed in the right place. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about RV and van batteries, including various types available on the market, important factors to consider when buying one, and more.

Now without further ado let’s get into the article.

What is a lithium battery?

A Lithium battery is a rechargeable battery that uses advanced battery technology with lithium ions as the main components in its electrochemistry. Lithium batteries are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries for RV, Camper, and van today because of their efficiency and ability to retain charge for a longer period. So far, lithium battery has the highest energy density of any battery technology, meaning they deliver a large amount of current which is ideal for high power application like the RV and van.

Additionally, lithium-ion batteries require low maintenance compared to other types of rechargeable batteries, meaning they don’t require scheduled cycling in order to last for long. More so, they have no memory effect. They also have a low self-discharge of about 1.5% per month and don’t contain toxic components like cadmium, making they are quite easy to dispose of. That explains why they are the ideal choice for RV, Camper, and vans.

Lithium battery vs lead-acid battery, which one is better?

Most RVs, Camper and Van usually come installed with lead-acid batteries. If your RV has a lead-acid battery, you may be wondering whether you should continue using it or if you should switch to a lithium battery. In this section, we will tell you which one between these two batteries is ideal for your RV or van.

  • Costs

When it comes to costs, lead-acid batteries are much cheaper compared to lithium batteries. They are also available in large varieties, meaning they are quite easy to access. Therefore, if you are looking for affordability, then a lead-acid battery is a better option.

  • Energy and range

Lithium batteries can achieve an energy density of between 125-600 Wh/L while the lead-acid battery can only achieve an energy density of between 50-90 Wh/L. This means that if you drive the same distance using each of these batteries, then a lead-acid battery will take up to 10 times the volume that a lithium battery would take. This clearly means that a lithium battery is by far much superior to a lead-acid battery when it comes to range and energy.

  • Charging

Charging the lead-acid battery can take more than 10 hours to be fully charged. On the other hand, a lithium battery takes between 30 minutes -3 hours to be fully charged, depending on the size of the battery. Lithium-ion battery technology accepts a faster rate of current thus allowing the battery to charge much faster compared to a lead-acid battery. So when it comes to charging, a lithium battery is by far superior to a lead-acid battery.

So what it comes to overall performance, lithium batteries deliver better performance compared to lead-acid batteries. That is why it is highly recommended that you switch from lead-acid to lithium battery if your RV or camper van came with a lead-acid battery. This way, you will be guaranteed better performance, efficiency, and convenience.

Types of lithium batteries

1. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4)

As their name suggests, lithium-ion phosphate (LiFePO4) uses phosphate as a cathode. They provide low resistance and high current, thanks to the nano-scale phosphate cathode material that they use. LiFePO4 is the most recommended lithium battery for RV, campers, and vans because it provides a higher current rating and also has good thermal stability. Other benefits include long life cycles and increased durability. When fully charged, they can be stored for a long time with minimal change to their battery charge.

2. Lithium cobalt oxide

Lithium cobalt oxide batteries are made from lithium carbonate and cobalt and are mostly used in electronics appliances such as cameras, laptops, and phones due to their high specific energy. Their anodes are made of graphite carbon while the cathode is made of cobalt oxide. One of the drawbacks of these battery types is that they have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, they are not safe compared to other lithium-ion batteries.

3. Lithium manganese oxide

Popularly known as lithium manganese, lithium manganese oxide are known for their high-temperature stability. They are also the safest of all lithium batteries and that is why they are mostly used in medical equipment, electric bikes, electric power trains laptops, and power tools.

4. Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide

Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide battery cathode is made of a combination of manganese, nickel, and cobalt. Like other lithium batteries, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries have a specific energy density and are commonly used in tools.

5. Lithium titanate

Lithium titanate batteries are known for their ability to recharge fast, thanks to the advanced nanotechnology that they use. This type of lithium battery is currently used in bikes and electric vehicles due to its ability to charge fast. The only drawback of this type of battery is that they have lower inherent voltage, which makes them less efficient.

6. Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide

Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide batteries are becoming more and more popular, especially in the consumer industry. This is mainly attributed to their good lifespan and high energy. However, they are not as safe as other lithium batteries and are also quite costly.

What type of battery is the best for RVs campers and vans?

Before we discuss the type of battery that you need to purchase for your RV, it is important to note that Vans, Campers, and RVs are equipped with two batteries. One is used to start the engine and power the car electronics such as the headlights. The other battery is known as the house battery and it powers all your RV electronics, including fridge, electric kettle, and more.

If you have installed a solar panel on your RV, then the solar panel will charge the house battery and the battery will in turn power your electronics. Most RVs come installed with lead-acid batteries because they are cheap. So, if you have just bought an RV and it has a lead-acid battery, you should consider changing it immediately because it is less effective when it comes to performance. If you want a battery that will last for a long time and deliver great performance when it comes to powering your Van or RV electronics, then lithium iron phosphate is the best option for you. The reason why LiFePO4 is highly recommended for vans and RVs include

  • They provide more power and runtime, meaning you don’t have to worry that you will run out of power at night
  • They last up to four times longer than the typical lead-acid battery meaning you will not have to replace them often as is the case with lead-acid batteries. Although quite expensive, they last for a long time, thus giving you value for your hard-earned money.
  • They weigh up to 60% less than lead-acid batteries. Less weight means less wear and tear and better and better maneuverability.
  • LiFePO4 works incredibly well even on freezing temperatures of -20 degrees C. this means that you can use your battery all seasons, including during cold winter seasons.
  • LiFePO4 battery is better optimized for solar energy with up to 50% more efficient than lead-acid batteries.
  • LiFePO4 battery rate of discharge (the amount of power the battery loses each month when it is not being used) is between 1-2%, which is about a quarter of that of a lead-acid battery.
  • Most LiFePO4 batteries come with a warranty of up to 11 years means if anything happens to the battery before 11 years it will be fixed at no extra cost. This means that once you purchase a LiFePO4 battery, then you are guaranteed that it will last for a long time.
  • With the LiFePO4 battery, you don’t need a lot of batteries because their voltage doesn’t drop when you use the battery. This means that the battery will power your fridge until the last drop. On the other hand lead, acid battery voltage usually drops as you continue draining the battery. This means that once the battery reaches halfway, then it will not be able to power some of your electronics such as an electric kettle and fridge.

Important factors to consider when buying lithium battery for your RV, Van, and Camper

If you want to enjoy your adventure or road trip, then it is crucial to purchase a lithium battery that will power your electronics both during the day and night. In this section, we will discuss important factors to consider when buying a lithium battery for your VR.

  • Consider size/weight

One of the crucial factors to consider when choosing a lithium one battery for your RV or van is its size. The size of the lithium-ion battery that you choose should depend on your energy needs. Generally, the larger the battery size, the more energy density it has. If your RV has more energy needs, then you should purchase a larger battery size with high energy density so that it powers all your electronics with ease.

Most vans and RVs usually have limited space. So choosing a large battery also means using crucial much-needed space. More weight also means more fuel consumption. If you want the best results, choose a lithium-ion battery size that is in proportion to your RV or van power needs.

  • Consider safety

Another very important thing to consider when buying a lithium-ion for your RV is the level of safety that it provides. Lithium batteries have different safety levels. The last thing you want is to find your RV in ashes because of a faulty battery. Lithium batteries have different safety levels. This means that there are some that are way safer than others. For instance, Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are much safer compared to Lithium cobalt oxide batteries. So, besides considering the power output of the battery, it is also crucial to consider its safety levels.

  • Consider maintenance requirements

Nobody wants to buy a battery that will give him a hard time maintaining. When it comes to RV battery, the easier it is to maintain, the better. The time and attention you spend monitoring and maintaining your battery will lower your overall relaxation and the quality of your trip. A good battery for your van or RV is one that requires little to no maintenance like Lithium iron phosphate. Minimum maintenance of your RV battery also means reduced costs.

  • Consider the battery’s lifespan

This is a very important factor that many people usually overlook when buying a lithium battery for their RVs and Vans. The lifespan of a battery is one of the most important things to consider when buying a lithium battery for your van. Lithium batteries generally have a higher lifespan compared to lead-acid batteries with a vast majority of them having a lifespan of more than 5 years.

However, some lithium-ion batteries such as Lithium iron phosphate have a lifetime of up to 14 years. If you don’t want to worry every time about your battery’s condition because of its low lifespan then it is advised that you purchase a battery that will last for long. Before you make your final decision, check the manufacturer warranty to know how long the battery is likely to last.

  • Consider charge time

A battery that takes forever to be charged is not ideal for RVs and Vans. This is because most RVs and vans batteries are usually charged by a solar panel, which is at the mercy of the sun. Buying a battery that has a faster charge time guarantees that even if the sun rays only appear for a few hours, you will have sufficient power to last you through the night because the battery charges fast.


If you thinking of buying a battery for your RV or van, we recommend that you buy a lithium battery. Although they have a high upfront price compared to lead-acid batteries, they are cheaper in the long run because they last for a long time and deliver excellent performance. They also consume less space, require less maintenance, charge fast, and are more energy-dense.

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