RV Battery Price Vs Performance
Millions of car starting battery are produced each year and it is the lowest priced 12v battery, but typically lasts only about or one season in RV use.
Marine batteries aren’t much better, typically 1-2 years of use, but are low priced. Deep cycle types will last 4-10 years with reasonable care but will cost anywhere from 2x to several times as much, depending on the technology (flooded vs AGM or Gel).
They cost more simply because they are made in much lower production volumes than starting batteries and there is less price competition as well.
Flooded cell deep cycles give excellent performance and life but require periodic maintenance; AGM or Gel deep cycles cost more than flooded cells but are essentially zero maintenance.
One of the best combinations for price-performance is a flooded cell golf cart deep cycle – their price is relatively low and they typically give 6-7 years of use.
What’s the Best RV Battery for My Situation?
Your best choice depends on budget and your style of RVing. A deep cycle RV battery will always last longer than a marine battery, but at somewhat greater cost.
If you are seldom without shore power, maybe just driving from home to a campground, you don’t need a lot of capacity (AH or RC) so there is no need to pay for larger sizes of deep cycle RV batteries.
For that usage, a common size 24 or 27 12v RV battery will serve you adequately.
Get a 12v marine type if low price is your priority, but a quality 12v deep cycle like the Trojan 24TMX or 27TMX will give you many years of service and make it’s higher initial cost a bargain in the long run.
However, if you frequently camp without being plugged to shore power (boondocking), you want both high capacity and good deep cycling capability, so a quality deep cycle is best.
The best combination of capacity, life and price comes via a flooded cell, golf cart deep cycle, but you have to be willing to give it some attention occasionally.
The top golf cart deep cycle is the Trojan T105 or the slightly larger Trojan T125. An alternative is the Interstate GC2-HD. Private label brands from Sam’s or Costco are also good alternatives. These should give you 6-8 years of use with reasonable care.
For those who tend to be forgetful about monitoring the electrolyte in flooded cell batteries or cleaning the terminals, an AGM battery provides freedom from those chores while also delivering excellent performance and long life.
Both 6v golf cart and 12 deep cycle batteries are available in the AGM technology. Lifeline battery is the premier name in AGM batteries for RVs, but Trojan also makes excellent ones.
Consider your needs and then shop around for prices on the various RV battery types. Prices on deep cycles can vary immensely, so don’t give up on them if the first price quotes are high.
Sam’s Club and Costco warehouse stores are often an excellent source for deep cycle batteries at a reasonable price as mentioned above.