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One of the biggest learning curves when it comes to RV life is the electrical system. A deep cycle battery charger can keep your system running optimally, but some RVers aren’t even aware of this handy device. Let’s see if a deep cycle battery charger could work for your vehicle.
What is a Deep Cycle Battery Charger?
A deep cycle battery charger helps optimize the charging process of the deep cycle batteries most often used in your RV’s battery bank. Your vehicle’s battery will lose charge just like a cellphone or any other device. These chargers help give those units a boost, so you don’t have to replace them when they lose charge.
Do Deep Cycle Batteries Really Need a Special Charger?
You don’t have to use a deep cycle charger, but they can significantly increase the effectiveness of each charge and the lifespan of your batteries. A typical 12-volt car battery charger charges quickly at one rate by design. That works great for a vehicle battery, which is intended for a quick, shallow burst to start the vehicle. However, a deep cycle battery serves a different purpose and has different needs.
A deep cycle battery should deplete slowly, delivering a steady amount of energy over time. A regular charger will charge a deep cycle battery, but not fully and not efficiently. A deep cycle battery charger charges in stages. This keeps your batteries healthier, providing steady power over a longer period of time.
Pro Tip: Looking for the best deep cycle battery to pair with your charger? Check out our Complete Guide to Deep Cycle Batteries.
What Is the Best Deep Cycle Battery Charger?
What makes the best deep cycle battery charger depends on what you need. If you’re willing to spend the money, it’s pretty easy to take a look at something like the NOCO Genius G15000 and just jump right in. A deep cycle charger like that covers a lot of ground. It optimizes your batteries’ charging and maintenance and provides some other features to extend your battery’s life. It can even jumpstart your vehicle if your battery dies.
You should ultimately decide based on how you’ll use the charger and your specific set-up. For example, many of the less expensive charger models only work on lead-acid 12-volt batteries and won’t meet your needs if you have a lithium-ion battery. Some chargers are also limited in their amp-hour capacity, so watch out for that if you have larger capacity batteries or a bank of batteries that total a larger capacity.
1. NOCO Genius G15000
- A powerful, professional grade battery charger and battery maintenance tool designed to recharge all types of batteries...
- Perfect for keeping your vehicles fully charged and maintained during year-round battery maintenance or long-term...
The NOCO Genius G15000 is compatible with just about all 12-volt or 24-volt batteries, including wet, gel, and AGM. It also works with any common automotive, deep-cycle, marine, or maintenance-free battery up to 400 amp hours in capacity. Additionally, it can handle lithium-ion batteries that have built-in battery management systems.
It’s great for year-round charging. Just plug it in and let it go to work without worrying about overcharging or overheating. The nine charging modes can meet most RVers’ needs. Plus, it charges about twice as fast as many other chargers.
It can even help with repair and maintenance thanks to its diagnostics function and progressive repair mode. The spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection will leave you feeling secure, even beyond the five-year warranty. It can even help jumpstart your vehicle.
Of course, all of these features come at a price. The NOCO Genius G15000 is on the pricier end of the spectrum.
2. NOCO Genius 10-Amp
- Meet the GENIUS10 - Similar to our G7200, just better. It's 17% smaller and delivers over 115% more power. It's the...
- Do more with Genius - Designed for 6-volt and 12-volt sealed lead-acid automotive, marine, RV, powersport, and...
Like the more robust Genius G15000, the NOCO Genius 10 deep cycle charger works on all sorts of batteries. That includes flooded, gel, and AGM, or any common automotive, deep-cycle, marine, or maintenance-free battery. The Genius 10, however, is meant for lower 6-volt or 12-volt batteries up to 230 amp-hours.
It’s an excellent option for the price, as it offers a battery charger, battery maintainer, trickle charger, and battery desulfator. The NOCO Genius 10 has an internal sensor that keeps it from overcharging in hotter climates or undercharging in colder ones. It can even revive a dead battery from as low as 1 volt, accomplishing quite a bit for its lower price point.
3. CTEK 4.3 Amp Deep Cycle Battery Charger
- Battery Charger: MXS 5.0 is a fully automatic 8-step battery maintainer that provides an outstanding charging experience...
- Improved Charging: MXS 5.0 is designed to optimally charge in all conditions. Whether it's marine, car, bike, RV or...
The CTEK 4.3 amp deep cycle battery charger isn’t one of the most robust chargers on the market, but it does the job. It has temperature sensing capabilities to help keep from overheating, an optimized eight-step charging process, and a reconditioning mode for seriously discharged batteries.
The safety features include spark-proof technology and reverse-polarity protection. The CTEK 4.3 amp charger also comes with mounting holes, so you can mount it right on your battery if you like.
4. ADPOW 5A Battery Charger
- Intelligent Charging Mode: 7-stages automatic charging process [ Desulfation - SoftStart - BulkCharge - Absorbtion -...
- Wide Application: Charge fully drained 12V Pb/SLA/GEL/AGM/VRLA/sealed lead-acid batteries and WET/FLOODED for...
The ADPOW 5 amp is another deep cycle battery charger that works on most 12-volt lead-acid batteries. That includes flooded, AGM, gel, and sealed maintenance-free batteries.
It utilizes a seven-step optimized charging process, which includes a reconditioning mode. You’ll also get a multi-faceted protection system to safeguard against short-circuiting, overheating, reverse-polarity issues, and more. The ADPOW 5 amp charger is lightweight and compact and also comes with mounting holes.
5. Battery Tender Plus
- STAY CHARGED: Provides a full charge to your powersports vehicle’s battery before switching to float mode to maintain...
- EXTEND BATTERY LIFE: Compatible with all 12V lead-acid, flooded, AGM, and gel cell batteries. Complete 4-step charging...
The Battery Tender Plus lacks some of the bells and whistles of other chargers on this list. However, it does offer straightforward deep-cycle charging for most 12-volt lead-acid batteries, including flooded, AGM, gel, and common maintenance-free batteries.
It has a four-step smart charging system that charges to the appropriate level, whether in charge or storage mode. It doesn’t provide as much feedback as some of the other chargers here, but it gets the job done and includes the usual safety measures, such as being spark-proof and providing reverse-polarity protection.
6. Schumacher SC1281 Battery Charger
- POWERFUL PERFORMANCE: The Schumacher SC1281 delivers 100A engine start, a 30A boost, and 6A2A charge/maintain rates;...
- 30A BOOST MODE: The boost modes quickly bring deeply discharged batteries back to life
Like most of the chargers here, the Schumacher SC1281 battery charger works with most 12-volt lead-acid batteries, including flooded, AGM, gel, and deep-cycle batteries. It also has the typical protective measures, including guarding against reversals in polarity that can cause shocks and short-circuiting.
What makes the SC1281 a great find for its mid-range price is that it automatically detects the correct battery voltage and maintains optimum battery charge. It also has a battery and alternator tester built-in, which provides charge level and helps diagnose problems.
This charger is also a powerful jump starter. It has a 30-amp quick boost and a 100-amp jumpstart that should be powerful enough to start a car, SUV, truck, or other large battery. The SC1281 packs a lot of features for the price. Its only significant drawback is that it’s not compatible with lithium-ion batteries.
7. BLACK+DECKER Deep Cycle Battery Charger
- 2 amp battery charger and maintainer is compatible with any AGM, GEL, or WET automotive or marine 12V battery
- Fully automatic high frequency charging; AC low-voltage compensation ensures maximum performance when used with...
You can set and forget this rugged deep cycle battery charger. It’s fully automatic; it can read the level of charge on the battery and then maintain a maximum charge on it. Plus, it works on wet, AGM, and gel 12-volt batteries.
The BLACK+DECKER BC2WBD has a sealed outer casing that protects it from dust, oil, and moisture. However, like many other chargers on the lower end of the price range, it lacks a conditioner and doesn’t work with lithium-ion batteries.
When it comes down to deep cycle battery chargers, you’ll find quite a few options on the market. Primarily, you’ll pay for compatibility and capacity, how much maintenance they can do beyond simply keeping the charge topped off, and added features like jump-starting.
Whatever route you go, a deep cycle battery charger is an excellent investment to maintain the health of your batteries, as replacing batteries can be a significant expense. Do you have a deep cycle battery charger for your RV?
Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API