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Starting, Deep Cycle & Dual Purpose: Breaking Down Your RV Battery Options

Batteries Plus Blog - Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 7/14/2020

Group of people sitting around a camp fire

RVs are built for adventure. Whether you enjoy the serenity of a low key camping trip or taking to the highways for a bit of cross-country travel, an RV provides you with the comforts of home when you're on the go. Those comforts though require some serious power and can leave you stranded if your battery's not up to the task. Need a little help? No problem, just follow our handy RV battery guide for tips on finding the best battery to fit your RV's needs.

Unique Power Requirements

Since RVs can double as both a vehicle and a living space, it requires different types of batteries for each of these applications. As an RV owner, it's important to understand the differences between starting, deep cycle and dual purpose batteries.

Starting Batteries

Starting batteries deliver the short, intense bursts of energy needed to turn over your RV's engine. A 12-volt Duracell starting battery is a great choice. While starting batteries are vital to your RV's engine, they are not built to accommodate additional applications like air conditioners and TVs, making them a poor choice to use as an RV house battery. If you plan on using a number of extra devices, you’ll want to invest in a deep cycle or dual purpose battery.

Deep Cycle Batteries

Deep cycle batteries are specifically designed to provide smaller, more reliable amounts of power over a longer period of time and are often used in applications such as boats, golf carts, floor scrubbers and RVs. They feature long-lasting power capabilities, which make them perfect for powering your RV's radio, clock or fridge.

An average deep cycle will last somewhere between 4 to 10 years. The Duracell Ultra Platinum AGM battery is an ideal choice. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries contain a special glass mat which gives it a longer battery life and enables it to run more accessories. They're also resistant to vibration and able to stand up to extreme temperatures, both of which you're likely to encounter on the road.

Another option that many RV owners choose is to wire together two 6-volt deep cycle batteries. Doing this is an easy way to extend the battery life between recharges, since the amp hour rating (Ah) of 6-volt batteries exceeds that of 12-volt batteries.

You may be asking do I even need a deep cycle battery for my RV? Well that depends. If you have a smaller RV with a minimum amount of battery-reliant gadgets, you may be able to get away with just a starting battery. However, if you're planning on being off the grid for long periods of time or using a large amount of additional appliances, you’ll probably want to consider using both a starting battery and a deep cycle battery. Of course, if you don't want to go that route, you can always split the difference by investing in a dual purpose battery.

Dual Purpose Batteries

Dual purpose batteries provide you with the strong starting power you need to run your engine, together with the cycling capacity to power things like radios, clocks and more. The lifespan of a dual purpose battery is similar to that of a deep cycle option, however, you should always be careful not to discharge a dual purpose battery too deeply as this can lessen the life cycle. We suggest the 12-volt AGM battery by X2Power. X2Power dual purpose batteries are specially designed to provide the deep cycling capabilities to power devices, while delivering the cold cranking amps you need to start your RV reliably time after time.

As you can see there's a lot to keep track of when shopping for an RV battery. Fortunately we're here to help. Stop into any Batteries Plus Bulbs location for help finding the best battery for your needs. Or, check out our selection of RV batteries online.

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