If you’re setting up your campervan electrical system for the first time, a key part is finding the best leisure batteries.
Because your battery will form the hub of your entire system.
But choosing the right one can be confusing.
You’re probably wondering …
The world of batteries can certainly be overwhelming.
We’ve been there!
But don’t worry, we’ve put together this guide so you don't have to deal with the headache of a dozen open tabs and unfamiliar terms.
Without further ado, let’s dive in…
Want a quick answer? Go for Roamer batteries.
These are the six most common types of leisure batteries:
Lithium or LiFePO4 batteries are usually used in phones, laptops, and electric cars. It’s possibly the single best type of leisure battery for campervans and RVs, mainly because they offer the best energy density while being lightweight.
This battery also lasts a long time and handles discharges more efficiently; it features electronic controllers to prevent discharge damage. The only drawback is that they’re currently quite expensive, especially compared to lead-acid batteries.
We opted for one of these (as you will see below) to allow us more capacity and less weight. Meaning we can power things like our Zero Breeze air con unit for hours on end without running out of charge.
Read more about this unit and how to install in your van, in our Zero Breeze Mark 2 air con review.
An AGM battery is named for how it works: by absorbing electrolyte in glass fiber for storage. What’s best is its means to handle shock and vibration, which makes it great for campervans navigating rough terrains.
This battery type won’t leak, is easy to maintain, and can be mounted on the side. Plus, they also can be discharged below 50%.
While AGM batteries are cheaper than lithium, they’re still more costly than the sealed and open lead-acid varieties.
Famous for being the best maintenance-free option, sealed lead acid is quite literally a sealed battery unit that is easy and safe to use. We also love that it can withstand a wider range of temperature, so it’s great if you’re driving your RV through changing climates
Compared to its open lead acid counterpart, the sealed battery has a shorter lifespan and can be a bit more expensive. There’s also the risk of damage if you discharge it to below 50%.
On the other hand, an open or flooded lead acid is one of the first types of leisure batteries. They come with a removable top and need to be refilled with electrolyte solution to keep running, which does mean they require more maintenance.
They also don’t cope well with extreme climates and the water can easily evaporate, so good ventilation is important for an open lead acid battery. The good news is that this is a long-lasting alternative, and the cheapest yet!
Gel batteries work kind of like AGM as they’re leak-free and require no maintenance. But instead of glass fiber, this battery stores its electrolyte in a gel form.
This type of leisure battery can handle up to 80% discharge, which makes it a really good choice if you’re planning to travel off-grid. They’re also perfect for use in warmer temperatures as the lifespan can increase at 25 C or higher.
Lastly is the lead crystal variety, which uses lead crystal technology for a maintenance free and high performing battery. It’s best known for being fast-charging and able to be fully discharged without permanent damage.
Better yet, this leisure battery boasts a lifespan up to three times of the standard sealed lead type. It can also withstand both hot and cold temperatures, while the main disadvantage is, of course, its high price point.
If you are switching out your existing leisure battery, then going for the same as you have is quite straightforward.
But if this is your first time converting a campervan, then there are a few things to consider when choosing the right leisure battery size. This includes:
You will ultimately need to assess your overall power needs.
Consider how often you will be using them, how much time you will spend hooked up to shore power (for recharging), as well as whether you will be charging via alternator or solar power.
In short, the absolute best leisure batteries are Lithium ions as these are the lightest, smallest and most flexible in terms of discharge and charging cycles.
We have a much more detailed explanation of camper batteries and how to choose the right size for your needs in our guide to building an off-grid DIY campervan electrical system.
Battery type: Lithium
Charge cycles: 6500 cycles at 50% DOD
Voltage: 12v & 24v
Capacity: 100 - 460Ah
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation and the single best leisure battery to use in your RV or campervan, then we highly recommend Roamer batteries.
This is who we use, so we really put our money where our mouth is with these guys!
They make a range of Lithium batteries in various capacities, as well as 12v and 24v varieties. This means you can find the perfect battery for your motorhome or boat, no matter the size.
Yes, lithium can be more expensive than the other battery types, but Roamer actually offers a fantastic value for money. They cost nearly half the price of comparable lithium ion batteries.
All of their models also come with an advanced Battery Management System (BMS) and Roamer app with Bluetooth monitoring. This is a great and convenient way to track the charge level and current draw of your battery.
In terms of size, the smallest one is the 100 SMART2, which is 12V 100Ah and weighs only 12kg. You can even connect up to 4 batteries in series or parallel to maximize your power system.
Meanwhile, their flagship product is the 460 SMART2 with its 12V 460Ah capacity. At just 38kg, this is an extremely powerful battery you can use to power your off-grid motorhome for days!
The other models are just as light, weighing around 10% of the typical AGM battery, and as compact, at nearly half the size of comparable AGM batteries!
For reference, we recently swapped out our old 2 x 230ah AGM deep cycle batteries for a Roamer 300ah lithium ion. Our new setup is:
Another thing we adore about this brand is their professional and helpful support team, making it so easy to address issues or questions you may have with your order.
The battery life is also super decent as you can get up to 6500 cycles at 50% discharge! Plus, the low temperature charge protection prevents your battery from damage.
Roamer batteries are compatible with most campervans, motorhomes, and boats. They use M8 steel bolts, which you’ll get with your purchase along with washers and spring rings.
And for those currently in the UK, they offer free shipping to mainland addresses!
More info: Our in-depth Roamer batteries review
Battery type: Lithium
Charge cycles: 4000 cycles at 80% DOD
The 12V 100Ah Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery by Renogy is one of the best high-end 12v camper batteries you can find today.
It features high-quality battery cells that can charge up to 4000 cycles at 80% discharge, which is one of the advantages of using a lithium battery. This also includes 100A continuous discharge current and a wide operating temperature range.
You can also enjoy an excellent BMS with dual processors that can prevent short circuit, over-charging, and over-temperature for a long-lived battery and balanced voltage.
Meanwhile, there’s an activation switch for manual access to shelf mode, which puts the battery to a low self-discharge rate and protects it from damage when you’re not using it.
Some other protection features that we like is the low temperature function, so that the battery can automatically stop charging when the temperature drops to below 0 C and stop discharging when it’s below -20 C.
Finally, there’s the RS485 communication port to allow connection with other batteries and external devices. This means you can track the charge status on the Renogy DC Home app.
Battery type: AGM
Charge cycles: 350 cycles
If you want to find the best AGM battery, look no further than the Platinum AGM 12V 100Ah, which is also more affordable than the previous lithium options we’ve mentioned.
Certified by the NCC as a class A premium leisure battery, this is a fantastic battery for wild camping and motorhomes.
Its construction holds electrolyte by absorbing them so that there won’t be any leakage or acid spillage.
This battery can be installed in any position and orientation, which makes it super useful if you have limited space in your campervan.
We do recommend recharging after every use and trying to keep it fully charged when not in use, as this will help boost the lifespan of your battery.
Whereas the Automatic Intelligent Connect & Forget feature means that you can leave the battery plugged in for long and the system will keep it at a stable and the correct level.
In terms of weight, at 25kg this battery sits on the middle range as it’s not too heavy nor too light.
Battery type: Sealed lead acid
Charge cycles: 160 cycles at 50% DOD
Capacity: 100Ah at 20-hour Rate
There is a slightly even more inexpensive option if you want to go for a sealed lead acid battery, and the L36-100 by Yuasa has got to be our favorite for this category.
It’s a maintenance free battery that can be perfect for campervans used on road trips, as you won’t have to worry about spills or leakage.
This Yuasa battery comes with added safety features for peace of mind, including an integrated frame arrestor and carry handle for easy transport and portability.
The design has been improved for repeated charging and discharging, while its NCC Verified Class C is a great alternative for those on a budget.
This is the cheapest category and ideal for campers who need minimal usage, for example for occasional lights and mobile charging.
It also offers 1200 watt hours of electric charge, which is a pretty decent amount!
Although when installing it inside a confined space, it’s always best to fit it with a breather pipe that connects to the exterior of your RV.
Battery type: Gel
Charge cycles: 1500 cycles at 50% DOD
When it comes to gel leisure batteries, none can compete with the EXP12-110C by Expedition Plus.
This is an excellent battery using functional activated carbon and graphene for faster charge, a longer lifespan, and up to 1500 charge cycles!
The addition of carbon to a traditional gel battery is a new technology thanks to recent research, and this boosts its longevity.
Moreover, the lead carbon gel battery is known for being super fast to charge as it can enter a true deep cycle. This means you can recharge it up to 10 times faster than the average lead acid battery!
Like other dry-cell models, it’s also maintenance-free and unspillable, which makes it much safer to use in a moving RV.
Anothing benefit to the EXP12-110C is that it can withstand relatively extreme temperatures, while the high power and capacity it offers come in a small footprint.
Not to mention that this battery comes with a 5-year manufacturing defect warranty.
Battery type: Lead crystal
Charge cycles: 6000 cycles at 80% DOD
Many people nowadays prefer lead crystal batteries over lead acid and gel batteries, especially because of their faster charging, wide temperature tolerance, and ability to discharge up to 20% without damage.
The 6-CNFJ-100 can be charged below 0 C, which is a rare characteristic for leisure batteries. This makes it the perfect battery to have if you are planning to visit colder climates.
You can safely store this battery for up to two years without risk of permanent damage or having to handle it in any specific way. Plus, there is no need to provide ventilation or cooling.
It’s resilient and high performing, and can withstand an astounding number or recharge cycles even in extreme temperatures.
The unique lead crystal technology incorporates a super absorbent mat with high-purity lead calcium selenium plate and electrolyte solution that can solidify when charged and discharged.
On the downside, this battery may not be the most budget-friendly option, especially for the capacity it offers.
But considering its much longer lifespan and ability to withstand storage, this price can pay off in the end.
Best of all, lead crystal batteries are actually 99% recyclable, which makes it perhaps the most eco-friendly leisure battery. They’re completely safe and non-harmful for our environment!
Battery type: Open lead acid
Charge cycles: Deep cycle at 80% DOD
The SuperBatt DT120 is the best dual purpose leisure battery. It also happens to be an open lead acid, which means it’s quite affordable.
A dual purpose battery simply refers to its dual function, which is for starting and auxiliary. This means that you can use it to start up an engine and keep the motor running at a consistent rate.
Meanwhile, as a deep cycle battery it has the ability to provide stable and continuous power for a running motor over longer periods of time.
The 12v voltage and 120Ah capacity is powerful enough to sustain a little bit of off-grid camping and road trips.
Remember when we said that all batteries will self discharge even when not in use? This one has a 4% self-discharge rate per week, which is an important detail to know so you can ensure the battery never discharges completely.
Lastly, this battery also comes with a 2-year warranty.
One more thing to note is that you should remove the plugs immediately after you receive the battery, even if you’re still storing it first. These plugs are only for transporting and may damage your battery if left there.
Battery type: Sealed lead acid
Charge cycles: 150 cycles at 50% DOD
This Expedition Plus Battery features an innovative hybrid technology and European manufacturing standard. One of its biggest advantages is its long-term discharge application.
Its semi-traction construction comes with envelope separators, which allows it to deep cycle when needed and for better cranking ability.
In addition, there are also additional plate fittings for more stable and efficient electricity flow, as well as a Glass Mat separation.
The battery itself has been designed with optimal energy consumption, which means it can be more efficient with its capacity. And you can use it in your boat or caravan!
Not to mention the central venting using KAMINA technology that makes it safer to use and prevents your battery from overheating.
There are also a couple of other safety features that we appreciate: the anti-vibration system and fire protection.
Battery type: AGM
Charge cycles: Deep cycle at 80% DOD
The charge cycle of a battery is an important factor in gauging its expected lifespan, and a higher number equals a longer-lasting battery.
The Lucas LX31MF 105Ah is another AGM leisure battery that we can recommend for use in RVs or motorhomes.
It features a floating charge indicator that can tell you the current status of the battery discharge and recharge.
This is also a dual purpose battery, which means you can use it for both starting and auxiliary. Its 740 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) is quite high and makes it ideal for use in colder temperatures too.
A lot of users have testified that this battery can last you a long time, which is often the case with an AGM battery, so this can be an ideal option if you’re planning to travel long term!
Finally, you can enjoy the 3-year warranty that comes with this battery too.
Battery type: Sealed lead acid
Charge cycles: 4000 cycles at 80% DOD
Last but not least is the Numax LV22MF, a sealed lead acid leisure battery that can also be a fantastic option for those on a budget.
This battery also offers a 75Ah capacity at 12v, making it one of the smaller batteries we have featured today. You can get this if you don’t need anything too heavy-duty or powerful.
With that said, 75Ah is still very much sufficient for a small RV or campervan, as long as you’re not planning to go off-grid for days on end.
Moreover, the modern construction gives a better and more reliable overall performance.
We also love the sealed design as it means one less thing to worry about on a road trip. No acid spills or leakage!
As a NCC Verified Leisure Battery, this battery product has gone through a series of rigorous testing processes, so you don’t have to worry about its quality and safety standard.
If you’re looking to buy the best leisure battery for your campervan, RV, or motorhome, these are some of our top tips!
If you can afford it, we highly recommend going straight for lithium ion as they will last you so much longer than any other type, as well as being far easier to maintain.
The problem we had with our original AGMs is that due to our heavy usage and sporadic charging nature (due to being off-grid so much) they did get abused.
It would have been better for us to spend a little more and benefit immediately from Roamer’s AGMs, which are 90% lighter, more powerful, 50% smaller and can be abused far more.
Read up on your chosen type of battery and be sure to charge your batteries properly and regularly. Using a good charger will also help your battery last for longer.
A good rule of thumb is to charge it once the battery hits 50%, although some types like lithium and gel can withstand up to 80% discharge without getting damaged.
When you’re not using your batter for a few months at a time, it is a good idea to still properly recharge your batteries in order to preserve their battery life. And never leave the battery fully drained!
Note that all leisure batteries will also slowly discharge even when you don’t connect it to anything. Factors such as temperature can affect the discharge rate.
If you are installing your own campervan system, be sure to properly secure your batteries so that, in case of a crash, you don’t have a 50kg+ box flying towards the front of the van.
Not only that, but securing your leisure battery properly may also help boost its lifespan and operate more safely. If you’ve chosen an open lead acid battery, try to give it good ventilation too.
There are several factors that can determine whether or not a leisure battery is good, including its construction, voltage, and capacity. We believe that Roamer makes the best leisure batteries for campervans, motorhomes and RVS, both in terms of quality and power-to-size ratio.
Some batteries, like the Renogy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery, can spend a year or two unused on the shelf and remain intact. However, it’s generally recommended to recharge your battery every three months when in storage.
The age of your leisure battery and how long it can last depend on many factors, including the frequency of usage, how well you maintain it, and the charge cycle of the battery.
But remember, no matter how meticulously you take care of your battery, it’s natural for them to self discharge when not in use. So, don’t panic when it does that!
Yes, lithium leisure batteries are good. They’re in fact one of our personal favorite battery types as they are much more lightweight, can last longer, and come with automatic controllers to prevent over discharge.
Yes, it’s possible to overcharge a leisure battery and this can cause excess heat that will eventually damage the internal system. This may also trigger a reaction that can damage the electrolyte, which is fixable with an open lead battery, but not with a sealed battery.
Unless your battery comes with an overcharging protection, never leave it connected to a charger for more than it’s required to fully charge.
All in all, there are tons of options for batteries to use in a motorhome, but we hope these top 10 picks can help narrow down your choices.
Don’t forget to consider details like the space in your van and the orientation you can attach the battery to so it can run properly.
Have we missed any excellent leisure batteries in our roundup?
Which of these do you think you’ll get?
Leave us a comment below - we’d love to hear your thoughts!
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