Best Batteries For Camper Vans: The Only Batteries That Won't Leave You Stranded
Whether you live in a camper full-time or are vacationing occasionally in it, it’s crucial to have a solid battery. The space is limited, which you may love, but that will change if the camper van falters. If you want to avoid power issues, the most important thing to be aware of is the electrical setup.
You need a battery setup you can rely on when you are on the road. If you can’t find a hookup and end up boondocking with your van, you’re going to want to make sure you have the best batteries for your camper van. There are hundreds of van batteries available for campervans and regular vans alike. However, not all batteries are created equal.
Below are the best batteries for camper vans. At Nomadic Cooling, we live the van lifestyle so when we say we’ve tested these batteries, we really mean we’ve tested these batteries. The list below includes the only van batteries we would trust in our camper vans.
The Basics About Van Batteries
There are two types of batteries necessary for a camper van. The first is the starter battery for the engine. This is its battery and will come with the van. Unless you need to replace it, you won’t need to add a starter battery to your camper van.
However, you cannot run the electricity, refrigerator, and water heater off the starter battery. A standard battery wasn’t created to take that strain and will wear out if you hook up your vans electricity to it. You’ll need to install a second battery for the back end of your van. This is generally called a house battery.
The house battery provides electricity for lights, electronics, and appliances. It is crucial to get the right kind of house battery, because a sub-par one will leave you sitting in the dark, have cold water, or unable to run your microwave and television at the same time. The size and power of the battery you’ll need will depend on you and how many amp hours your electronics use.
For example, if you have a television constantly running and it uses four amps, a battery with 20 amp hours will be able to run your TV for five hours before shutting down.
Of course, most appliances do not take that many amps, and most are not running all the time. Batteries range from small to large, and many camper vans have more than one to double the amp hours available. With two batteries, you can run lamps and lights for longer. The appliances that take higher amperage, such as the microwave, never run for long.
Many basic types of batteries go beyond the amp hours available. You can calculate battery size depending on the type of liquid within the batteries. Lithium iron phosphate, lead-acid, and lithium-ion batteries are the most famous. The main difference is the price and how long the batteries last.
Before we dive into the reviews, two more distinctions exist. Some batteries have an absorbed glass mat (AGM) built to prevent leakage or spills. These are generally more expensive but can prevent damage if the battery cracks. The AGM batteries are listed below.
The second thing you should know is what kind of battery management system you will use. The battery management system (or BMS) is the system that monitors the battery's life, charging, and performance. If your battery includes a BMS, it’s smart, and the battery needs a special charger. You will likely need to install a BMS as well.
Review of The Best Batteries For Camper Vans
Now that you understand how camper van batteries work and why you need an extra battery, let's dive into the best batteries for your camper van. Even though this is a list of the top-performing batteries for camper vans, you may not know where to start in choosing the right one for your camper. If so, just give us a call at Nomadic Cooling and we’re happy to help you choose the best fit.
In this review, we will talk about multiple models by our two favorite brands.
Victron is a less expensive brand that focuses on larger batteries. Many of these batteries are Smart Battery enabled, which means they can connect to an app on your phone. Lithionics, the other top-tier brand, is more expensive, but the batteries are customizable which make them ideal for specific needs.
Victron Energy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery 12.8V 100AH-330AH
The Victron Energy Smart Battery is a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery. This means that it lasts much longer than regular lithium-ion batteries while being a more affordable option for a long run time battery. If you’re looking for a top-quality battery that will do it all in one place, this might be your best choice.
With a range of 100-330 amp hours, you can power multiple appliances for a long time before you need to charge the battery. The odds of this battery running out of charge before you can charge it up are extremely low, and it is why customers love it.
There are several size options available for the Victron Energy Smart Battery. The smallest has 100 AH and measures 197 X 321 X 152 millimeters (or 7.75 X 12.65 X 6 inches). If you want a slightly longer battery life, you can choose the 200 AH option, which measures 9.3 X 12.65 X 6 inches. The largest size is 330 AH and 265 X 359 X 206 mm (10.5 X 14 X 8.1 in).
To charge this battery, you will need an external BMS. Five smart BMSes work with the Victron energy battery - if you are in a camper van a small BMS might be the right choice. The battery will connect to Bluetooth and show you the percentage and charge on your phone.
Victron Energy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery 25.6V 200AH
Although the 12.8 Volt Victron Energy Smart Battery is an excellent choice for many camper vans, you might want something that can power even more. If you use air conditioning units, multiple large electronics, and power heavy currents, you might be looking for something like the Victron Energy Smart 25.6 volt battery.
This battery is massive. It has a maximum current discharge of 100 amps, twice what an average motorhome can power. Although it is more expensive than the average battery, it lives up to the Victron Energy name. You will not have to replace this battery once you install it.
The battery weighs about 90 pounds (or 39 kilograms) and is not for an average campervan. However, if you are building a bus or a larger camper trailer, it might be the right choice to meet your battery needs. While there is only one size available, we guess that if you’re looking for a battery this big, this is the size you want.
The Victron Energy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery 25.6 Volt is heavy, big, and performs well. It has an AGM in case of cracking and has a great history of battery life. If you are looking for a battery to end your battery search, this is the one.
Victron Energy Lithium SuperPack Battery 12.8 Volts 100 Ah (High Current)
A high current battery means that it lets out a high amount of energy for a smaller battery pack. This Victron Energy SuperPack battery only weighs 33 pounds (15 kg), but it allows for 50-100 amps of discharge. A single battery can charge an entire camper with no issue. If you're building a campervan and want an easy-to-install battery, this is a great choice.
The Victron Energy SuperPack comes with a BMS installed. It will automatically shut down if the battery runs out of energy and won't damage the battery or connections. This is extremely convenient for a house battery because it's expensive to replace a dead battery. However, it can't be used in the engine of a car because the automatic shutdown will fry an alternator.
If you are looking for a back-of-the-house battery for your campervan and don't want to install more than one pack, the SuperPack is a great choice. You can pair it with another SuperPack for parallel battery running and let one battery charge while the other one is providing electricity. Series connection isn't permitted with the SuperPack.
The Victron SuperPack is approximately 13" X 6.7" X 9.25" and weighs a little over 30 pounds. It costs around $1,000 and is extremely easy to install, requiring no extra parts. The integrated safety switch and BMS make it extremely convenient for trailer livers - if you're looking for an easy choice, this is it!
Check out our most recent test with this battery charging an AC unit:
Lithionics 12V 315 AH E2107 GTX Battery with Built-in Heater
If you are building a campervan with the intent of boondocking (living off the grid), you will need a strong battery capable of providing internal heat in the winter. The Lithionics battery has a built-in heating system that permits charging in temperatures as low as -4℉ (-20℃). Where another battery might die and not recharge until the weather heats up, the Lithionics GTX will continue working throughout the coldest of nights.
Unlike many camper van batteries, this battery is made to order. If you know exactly what you want but haven't been able to find it, contact Nomadic Cooling for size, output, and your specific needs. The price will vary depending on how you customize your battery, but you'll end up with a high-quality battery made for your exact needs.
In addition to this, every model of the Lithionics GTX battery has an on/off switch for safety and a Bluetooth connection. You can download an app on Android or iOS and monitor your battery life and charging performance. With 315 amp hours on only 12 volts, this battery can outperform many of its competitors.
Lithionics 24V 630 AH F41 GTX Module
Lithionics specializes in made-to-order batteries. With a customizable battery, you can decide how you want the battery made and what specifications you need. On this model, the voltage and amp hours are decided for you, but the rest is up to you.
A Lithionics 24V 630 AH F41 can be an investment, depending on the customizations you put into it. However, you get a lifetime warranty and continued customer support on any Lithionics battery, especially if you've had it customized. The company focuses on reliability and creating the perfect battery for your lifestyle.
With 630 AH, you'll be able to power pretty much anything in your campervan. There's not much that goes over this, even if you're running an air conditioner and microwave at the same time. You will also be able to recharge the battery when it's not in use, and it will hardly ever (if ever) run out of power.
The one downside to this battery is that an external BSM is required. The specific BSM that works for this battery is also built by Lithionics and must be purchased separately. Once you have the completed set in your camper, however, you won't need to worry about your battery giving out.
Lithionics 12V 600 AH 8D GT Module
If you're interested in the Lithionics brand but don't want to spend that much money on a personalized battery, there are several options available for you that are less expensive. Although any Lithionics battery will be expensive, the fewer customizations you put in, the less they ultimately cost.
One of the less expensive options is the Lithionics 12V 600 AH module. Although it's smaller than both of the previous modules, it's also about half the price making it a great choice if you’re looking for a top-tier battery. An external BMS (sold separately by Lithionics) is required for this battery as well.
If you're looking for a quality battery that will charge the basics on your campervan, this is a great choice. It has customization options, Bluetooth capability, and 600 amp hours (which is an impressive amount for 12 volts). You can pair it with a smaller battery to have power while you charge.
Lithionics 12V 630 AH F24 GTX Module
As the batteries on this list get smaller, the price goes down. Although the customizations and extreme capability of any Lithionics battery will raise its price, this Lithionics 12V GTX module is one of the least expensive Lithionic batteries you will find.
One of the smaller Lithionics batteries, this module measures 11X13x24 inches. Lithionics specializes in large batteries for larger camper vans or buses that have been remodeled. The BMS is sold separately, but you can purchase two batteries on the same BMS and run them as parallel batteries.
On 12 volts, this Lithionics battery runs for 630 amp hours. It charges quickly, especially if you add customizations to increase the charging speed and battery life. The base price for this unit is around $7,399, with additions for any specialized customizations. This will help a ton if you’re on a budget but want a high-quality battery.
Lithionics 12V 300AH 5D GTR Module
Lithionics doesn't go below a 12 Volt, but the cheapest battery they offer still has 300 amp hours and 3,840-watt hours. With this battery, you can have all the benefits of a customizable Lithium battery at about half the price of the next most expensive model. Prices start at $4,299.
Although you can customize this battery according to your and your trailer's needs, you don't have to. The Lithionics 12V GTR is a compact version of the bigger Lithionics batteries. It has all the features of a larger battery but doesn't weigh nearly as much and will work in a smaller trailer or camper van.
If you're building a camper van from a regular van like a Sprinter and want a house battery that will last forever without breaking the bank, this Lithium Phosphate Iron battery pack by Lithionics is an excellent choice. It is Bluetooth enabled, like its larger counterparts, and is small enough to fit in the back of any camper van.
Like other Lithionics batteries, you'll have to purchase a battery management system separately. However, Nomadic Cooling makes it easy to choose the right BMS for your battery. Just give us a call and our team can help you outfit your camper van with the right battery and BMS.
Lithionics 51V 315 AH f21 GTX Module
Although we just talked about the smallest Lithionics module, it's time to jump back up to one of the larger ones. This Lithionics 51V GTX module leaps from 12 to 51 volts. While it's still about 12.85 inches tall, the battery is 41 inches long, making it one of the largest models offered.
Lithionics specializes in keeping all their models a manageable size. Although this battery is long, it is thin and can slide under a seat or the hood of a car with no issues. The lithium phosphate iron gives it a long battery life, and there are customizations available for every model.
The iconic red color of a Lithionics battery means that you will be getting the best quality of battery life. Although it's a more expensive brand than Victron or many others you'll be able to find, Lithionics will provide you with a battery that will last throughout all your camping adventures and you’ll never have to worry about a lack of power or battery life.
Best Camper Van Batteries Buying Guide
All of these camper van batteries are great choices. However, you’re probably wondering which one is right for you. It may seem like a difficult question to answer, but you just need to think about a few key factors before committing to a camper van battery. Before you buy a battery, think about these factors.
Of course, you want to purchase a high-quality battery (or two). It's not worth trying to save money only to have to replace a dead battery within a few months or get stuck in the middle of nowhere without power. You should always read user reviews and reviews from people who live in campervans to see what the quality of the battery is. At Nomadic Cooling, we’ve tested all of these batteries in a litany of tests. We use them in our own camper vans and we constantly run tests with our Nomadic Cooling AC units. In short, when it comes to selecting a battery, the quality of the above batteries in this list is unparalleled.
The most important thing to consider is how much electric power you need. What appliances do you have, and how often will you be using them? What runs on propane, and what will run off your battery? How often will you be able to recharge your battery or plug the camper van in? Each of these questions is crucial to buying a battery. If you’re not sure where to start, just give us a call and we can help you figure out your power requirements.
Even the best batteries must be recharged. If you plan on living in your camper van, you should consider how fast a battery recharges and how long the battery life is. This is why many van lifers use two batteries or install solar panels on their roofs.
You might have your heart set on an AGM lithium iron phosphate battery, but your budget simply can't handle it. After figuring out what voltage and energy you need, make sure that you can find one with a decent price range for you.
The Bottom Line
With all of this information and these battery options, you should be able to choose the perfect battery for your camper van. If you ask us, the Victron Energy Lithium SuperPack Battery 12.8 Volts 100 Ah (High Current) is a great choice for several reasons.
For a small battery, it packs a ton of power, so much so that you only need to install one battery. You also don’t have to worry about the difficulty when installing it as it’s one of the easiest to install to your camper van. It isn’t heavy and you can buy it at a fraction of the cost of the other batteries. Taking into consideration all the important points, this one meets all the standards.
With that said, when you choose a camper van battery, make sure you're looking at your needs and how much you will be using it. The most expensive or longest-lasting battery might not be what you need. And if you’re not sure what to choose, just give our team a call. We’ll help you pick the best battery for your camper van and power requirements.