Which RV Battery is best for you? 

Ingrid Feagin RV Tech Tips

Welcome to another Todd’s Two Minute Tech Tip Tuesday, brought to you by the National RV Training Academy. The largest hand-on RV training academy in America. 

So you’re considering moving from your standard Lead Acid batteries over to lithium or AGM? Let’s look over a couple of things you need to consider before making that change. 

Cost

In order to replace your standard lead acid battery in your rig, you’re going to pay anywhere from $75-$120. If you want to switch it over to an AGM you’re looking at $180-$250, and if you decide to go lithium you’re looking at $950-$1050.

Is it worth it? Let’s break it down.

Weight

A standard Lead Acid battery is anywhere between 60-70 pounds, AGM is going to put you at 80-100 pounds, while Lithium is 20-30 pounds. So if you want to put in multiple batteries but weight is a consideration, especially on the tongue, lithium does help out. 

Lifecycles 

If you’re looking at lithium, it costs almost 10 times as much as a lead acid battery but can last 10 times as long. A standard lifestyle on a lead acid battery is anywhere between 300 and 500 cycles. By the time you have it fully charged down to about halfway and then you recharge it, that’s a full cycle. On your AGM you’re going to more than double it at about 1000 to 1200 cycles, and on lithium you’ll get anywhere from 3000 to 6000 cycles just depending on how much you can discharge it. 

Depth of Discharge 

Can you take a standard lead acid battery and use it all the way up to zero? No, you’ll damage it and you’re going to shorten the life of your cycles. What’s recommended by most battery manufactures is you can drain it to about 50% and then you need to charge it. Some manufacturers say with AGM you can get down to about 70% but with lithium you can technically drain it all the way down. You’ve already doubled your useful life that you can have as well as having your total life cycles.

Recharge Rate

Recharge rates are set up based on how big of a charger you have and how many amps the charger can send over. That’s what’s going to be your recharge rate for most of your batteries but a common rule of thumb is you can recharge lithium 4 times faster than a standard lead acid battery.

Consideration 

You need to take care of your lead acid batteries so once a month you need to pop the caps and look at the fluid levels and if they’re low you need to add distilled water. Secondly, you need to clean off the terminals and make sure they’re tight. When lead acid batteries are being charged or when they’re under heavy load, they off gas.AGMs and lithium do not need to be maintained and do not off gas. The only thing you need to be concerned with lithium is the temperature outside. They’re not very good to be charged up if it’s below 40 degrees. With a lead acid battery that’s fully charged you’re going to get your 12.6 volts coming out but as it begins to die you’re going to see it dip down to about 10. With lithium you’re going to get far more linear. It’s not until you get down to that 85-90 percent that it’ll drop down. The final consideration is if you want to add a second lead acid battery, you need to change both of them out or else the older battery will make the newer one weak. With lithium, you don’t have to worry about the age, you just add a new battery.

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