Table of Contents Show
- Deep Cycle Battery Types
- Pros and Cons for Each Deep Cycle Battery Type
- Deep Cycle Battery Maintenance
- How Long Will Deep Cycle Battery Last?
- Average Deep Cycle Battery Charging Time
- Solar Charging Option
- Best Deep Cycle Battery Brands
You’re probably wondering what is a deep cycle battery?
Deep cycle batteries are designed to be charged and recharged many times. Rather than offer a burst of energy for tasks like starting a vehicle, a deep cycle battery provides a steady stream of power over a long period of time.
Deep cycle batteries aren’t for starting your car, truck, motorhome, or bat so you won’t be looking at ratings like cranking amps or cold-cranking amps since they’re meant to be used for longer periods of time. However, there are dual-purpose batteries, that serve the purpose of a deep cycle battery and a cranking battery in one. That’s for another post, though.
Deep cycle batteries come in four basic types, so let’s get into it!
Deep Cycle Battery Types
In a lithium battery, the electrons move back and forth from anode to cathode to create a charge in a solution of lithium salts. This battery can be almost completely discharged without consequence and its recharge rate is the fastest of any battery type.
They are about half the weight of lead-acid batteries. All these points make them some of the best RV batteries for boondocking.
Meet the 100 Ah 12 V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle battery, the pinnacle of deep cycle lithium-ion battery technology for your RV!
This battery weighs only 31 pounds but is capable of providing you up to 100 Amp of continuous current or 200 Amp of surge current for its whole life expectancy of 3000-5000 cycles.
It's made in the U.S.A. and comes with a 10-year warranty.
Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries
Flooded lead-acid batteries deep cycle batteries are built with lead plates that create “cells.” Distilled water fills each cell and is used as the transfer substance, which needs to be topped off monthly.
Charging lead-acid batteries takes place over stages, leaving room for problems like overcharging or undercharging. They are usually the least expensive option for a house battery and can be recharged numerous times. However, lead-acid batteries sometimes have a shorter life than AGMs and lithium batteries.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
These deep cycle batteries have fiberglass between the plates in their cells for the electrolytes to pass through. It is considered a “dry” battery, and therefore, maintenance-free, as you won’t need to add distilled water. Their recharge rate is much faster than a lead-acid battery but not as fast or efficient as a lithium one.
Like AGMs, these batteries are maintenance-free. They transfer electrolytes through a gel substance created by sulfuric acid and silicate.
Gel deep cycle batteries don’t emit gasses, so ventilation for the batteries isn’t necessary, but their charging rate is very slow. You will find these batteries used in electric wheelchairs and scooters.
Pros and Cons for Each Deep Cycle Battery Type
- Usable capacity 80% to 100%
- Extremely high charge rates
- No battery memory
- No maintenance necessary
- Light weight
- 2,000 to 5,000 charge cycles
- Most expensive deep cycle battery option
- Cannot be charged at low temperatures
- Must have battery maintenance system (usually internal)
- Tolerant of overcharging
- Can deliver high current
- Sold worldwide, easy to find
- Indefinite shelf life
- Usable capacity 30% to 50%
- Very heavy
- Require monthly maintenance
- Discharges gasses
- Charge efficiency of 70% to 85%
- Does not spill
- No maintenance
- No off-gassing
- Tolerant of heat
- Charge efficiency of 85% to 90%
- More costly than lead-acid or AGM
- Cannot tolerate fast charging
- Can be ruined by overcharging
- Has its own profile/setup
- Usable capacity 60% to 80%
- Charges at much higher rates than lead-acid or gel
- Does not spill
- No off-gassing
- No maintenance
- Charge efficiency of 95%
- Not affected by cold temperatures
- More costly than lead-acid
- Can be ruined by overcharging
Deep Cycle Battery Maintenance
All deep cycle battery types, with the exception of lead-acid, do not require any maintenance.
Distilled water must be topped off in lead-acid batteries monthly to keep the plates in each cell submerged. Failure to do so will render the plates useless and the battery will have to be replaced.
If you will not be using the batteries for long periods of time, a trickle charger can be attached to lead-acid and AGM batteries to keep them charged. You do not need to use it on lithium batteries, as they have their own internal battery management system.
With deep cycle lead-acid, gel, and AGM batteries the installation is all the same.
Just attach the positive terminal with the positive wire from your coach and the negative terminal with the negative or ground wire from your coach, or if you have two or more batteries, you’ll need to wire them in parallel or series, depending upon the battery size (12V or 6V).
Lithium batteries are attached in the same way (positive to positive, negative to negative or ground), but you will need a lithium-specific converter charger installed in your RV.
Your rig may already have a convertor installed, but make sure it can be used with lithium batteries. Most standard convertors will not be able to charge the lithium battery to a complete 100% due to the voltage required but will be able to charge to around 80% full.
Pro Tip: Getting ready to install multiple deep cycle batteries? Read Wiring RV Batteries In A Series VS Parallel: What You Need To Know first.
How Long Will Deep Cycle Battery Last?
Good lithium batteries usually last 3,000 to 5,000 charging cycles. So depending on the frequency you recharge, they may last 3 to 20 years.
Lead-acid batteries, if maintained correctly, can last up to 6 years, and AGM batteries will last 6 years, as well. Because they have their own charging profile, gel batteries can last 10 to 20 years.
Average Deep Cycle Battery Charging Time
- Lithium charging time: 2 to 3 hours
- Lead- charging time: 8 to 16 hours
- Gel charging time: 5 to 10 hours
- AGM charging time: 5 hours
Solar Charging Option
You can charge any type of deep cycle battery with solar panels. Solar systems usually involve a solar charge controller between the panel and the batteries to regulate the charge.
Most installations also include a solar monitor, as well, so you can see how much energy is being created by the solar panels and how much is left in your batteries.
Pro Tip: Don’t want to do a full solar panel installation? Check out the 6 Best Portable Solar Panels to simplify the process.
Best Deep Cycle Battery Brands
When shopping for the right battery, customer reviews are always great to review. Here are the top deep cycle RV batteries on Amazon:
- 【Maintenance Free & Safe to Use】Manufactured with thick absorbent glass mat (AGM) separators and advanced valve...
- 【Outstanding Discharge Performance】Proprietary quinary alloy plates and exclusively treated plate grids enable low...
- Deep Cycle Battery 12V 100 Amp Hour Sealed Lead Acid Rechargeable ; Parcel: 1 x Battery (screws included, but no wire...
- Dimensions: 12.99x 6.73x 8.43 inches (Replace UB121000, Renogy 100 AMP Hour). This sealed lead acid battery has a...
- BUILT-IN BMS: BMS stands for "Battery Management System" - the brain of our deep cycle lithium batteries. Our BMS...
- LITHIUM ION TECHNOLOGY: Unlike Lead Acid batteries, Battle Born's deep cycle lithium ion batteries have unlimited...
- 10 YEAR WARRANTY: As the No.1 lead acid battery brand on Amazon, Weize newest Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries are...
- BUILT TO LAST: Our 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Batteries live more than 2000 cycles at 100%/8000 cycles at 50%(Suggested) depth of...
- Includes 2 pcs 100 amp-hour, 12 Volt batteries + 1 pair of 2/0 gauge, 9-inch battery interconnect cables rated at 320...
- Ideal for all types of off-grid power: Solar Systems, RV's, UPS, Off shore Marine power, Telecommunications, Portable...
Last update on 2022-07-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API