2024 Lithium-ion Batteries for RVs and Boats

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized the way we power our devices, from smartphones to electric cars. But they’re not just for small-scale use. These batteries have become increasingly popular for in the mobile applications, such as powering recreational vehicles (RVs) and boats as well as lighting up off-grid cottages. With the power of lithium-ion batteries, you can have more freedom to take your boat or camper anywhere you want, at any time. Whether it’s all-day fishing, weekend camping or a week-long adventure, LiFeO4 batteries can keep your boat or RV running strong. Unlike traditional lead-acid batteries, this chemistry offers greater energy density, longer lifespan, and faster charging times. They’re also more compact and lightweight, making them an ideal choice for those who want to travel light. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of lithium-ion batteries for RVs and boats, as well as considerations for choosing the right battery for your needs.


lithium ion battery for van
Off-grid RV lifestyle

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Battery Voltage

A typical starting point when choosing the appropriate battery is to determine the voltage system of the battery that best suits your needs. Manufacturers design most RVs to operate on a 12V system, and many appliances and accessories run on 12V power. For example, LED lights, water pumps, and fans are often rated to run on 12V power. A 12V system is a more common choice, as it’s simpler and less expensive to set up. However, a 24V system can have some advantages. Firstly, it can be more efficient, handling higher loads with less current, reducing energy loss due to resistance. Additionally, a 24V system can be better suited for larger RVs or those with more power-hungry appliances. For instance, a 24V system may be more suitable for powering a high-powered air conditioning unit.

Overall, both 12V and 24V systems have their pros and cons. A 12V system is more straightforward and common, while a 24V system can be more efficient and better suited for larger RVs. The final decision relies on your specific needs and the appliances or accessories you intend to utilize.


Battery Capacity/ How long it lasts

When it comes to sizing a battery system for your RV, it’s important to consider your everyday power needs. A good rule of thumb is to measure this through the Amp*hour metric or Watt*hour. It refers to the amount of energy a battery can store over time. To calculate, simply multiply the number of amps used by the number of hours the battery will be running.


For example, let’s say you have a fridge that draws 5 amps per hour and you want to run it for 24 hours. You would need a battery with a capacity of at least 120 Amphours (5 amps x 24 hours = 120 Amphours). For those who prefer calculating battery capacity in Watt-hours, understanding the power consumption of each device over time is essential. For example, if you have a device that draws 50 watts and you want to use it for 4 hours, you would need a battery with a capacity of at least 200 Watt-hours (50 watts x 4 hours = 200 Watt*hours)


To convert from Amphours to Watt-hours, you multiply the Amphour value by the system’s voltage. For example, if you have a 12V battery with a capacity of 100 Amphours, the total Watt-hour capacity of the battery is 1,200 Watt-hours (100 Amphours x 12V = 1,200 Watt-hours). To convert from Watt-hours to Amp-hours, you divide the Watt-hour value by the voltage of the system. For instance, if you have a device that consumes 500 Watt-hours and you have a 12V system, the total Amphour consumption of the device is 41.67 Amphours (500 Watt-hours / 12V = 41.67 Amphours).


To size your overall battery system, you’ll need to add up the Amp*hour or Watt*hour requirements for all of your appliances and electronics that you plan to run. You’ll also need to consider the number of days you want to be off-grid before recharging your batteries. For a typical RV, a battery system with 200-400 Amphours should suffice for weekend trips. A larger battery bank of 600-800 Amphours or more may be necessary for longer off-grid adventures. Additionally, it’s essential to choose the appropriate voltage for your battery system, either 12V or 24V, as mentioned above. Note, when sizing your battery system, choosing a larger capacity is always better than you think you’ll need. By ensuring sufficient power, you can comfortably operate all your appliances and electronics during off-grid adventures.


The options we consider to be the best

Look no further than our top 5 picks! First up is the Battle Born LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery, which offers unbeatable durability and impressive performance. Next, we have the Renogy Smart Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery, which has advanced safety features and a compact design. Third on our list is the Lion Energy Safari UT 1300, which offers impressive capacity and a long lifespan. And finally, we recommend the Hypery LiFePO4 Battery, a high-capacity battery perfect for powering even the most energy-hungry RV appliances. If you’re on a tight budget, we’ve got you covered with the LOSSIGY 12V 100Ah. This option is a great choice for those looking for an affordable solution. Regardless of your chosen lithium batteries, trust in their reliability and durability for all RV journeys.


Battle Born Battery

Renogy Lithium

LOSSIGY Battery

MPPT Settings High performance with 10 years warrantyMPPT SettingsMultiple layers of battery protection MPPT Settings More affordable
MPPT Settings The cost is on the higher sideMPPT Settings Only 1-year warrantyMPPT Settings Brand new to the market
Capacity: 100A 12V (1280Wh)
Weight: 29 lbs
Capacity: 100A 12V (1280Wh)
Weight: 26 lbs
Capacity: 100A 12V (1280Wh)
Weight: 24.7 lbs
View Product View ProductView Product

Enerwatt Lithium

Lion Safari UT 1300

Hypery LiFePO4 Battery

MPPT Settings 3-year warranty, made in CanadaMPPT Settings Lifetime warrantyMPPT Settings The cheapest, waterproof with built in meter
MPPT Settings Most likely a white-labeled productMPPT Settings Harder to get due to limited volumeMPPT Settings Brand new to the market
Capacity: 100A 12V (1280Wh)
Weight: 27 lbs
Capacity: 105A 12V (1344Wh)
Weight: 23 lbs
Capacity: 100A 12V (1344Wh)
Weight: 22 lbs
View ProductView ProductView Product

Can I just put a lithium battery in my RV?

At Sunnywell, we understand that many RV owners are interested in upgrading to lithium batteries. Before transitioning to lithium batteries as a replacement for lead-acid ones, it is crucial to consider several important factors. Select lithium batteries compatible with your RV’s charging system and have proper charging equipment. Since lithium batteries have different charging requirements than flooded lead-acid batteries. Good news: Lithium-ion batteries can use the same charging profile as sealed lead-acid batteries. There are no problems with AGM and GEL batteries.


Most RV converters support the sealed lead-acid battery profile, making switching to lithium batteries easy. In fact, upgrading to lithium batteries is a “no-brainer” for many RV owners. They offer numerous benefits over lead-acid batteries. By doing so, you can enjoy the increased lifespan, faster charging times, and higher energy density that come with lithium batteries, all while maintaining compatibility with your RV’s existing charging system.


Safety tips

However, it’s still important to ensure that you choose the right type of lithium battery and have the appropriate charging and protection equipment in order to ensure proper functionality and safety. Therefore, we have a few safety tips listed below that you may find helpful and worth considering.


1. To ensure safety and protection, we recommend using either an MRBF Terminal Fuse or Class T Fuse Blocks on the primary positive input of the battery terminal for your first option. Alternatively, you can use it in-line between the main battery positive and bus bar or switch for your second option. Click here for diagrams to provide a more straightforward visual representation of this advice.


Check MRBF Terminal FuseCheck Class T Fuse

2. When using lithium-ion batteries with a car alternator, it’s crucial to have the proper equipment to ensure safe and efficient charging. One example is using a battery isolator such as Victron Energy Battery Isolators to regulate the charging process and prevent overcharging. Another example is installing a DC-to-DC charger, which can convert the voltage output from the alternator to a level suitable for charging the LiFePO4 battery. A DC-to-DC charger such as the 30A Victron DC-DC charger is designed to draw a maximum of 30A from the alternator, which helps prevent overloading the alternator system. By limiting the amperage output, the charger ensures that the alternator is operating efficiently and does not experience unnecessary strain.


Check Victron DC-DC chargerCheck Victron Battery Isolator

Is It Worth Switching To An RV Lithium Battery?

The answer is yes, and let us give you some facts about it:

The first factor to consider is the size. Most lithium batteries are smaller than typical group 27 or 31 AGM/lead acid batteries. This may allow you to fit an extra battery in your battery box.

The second factor is weight. Traditional lead acid batteries can weigh more than 60 lbs, but our lithium batteries weigh around 25 lbs or even less. This can greatly impact when you need to go on a trip or carry the battery around.

The third factor is usage. LiFeO4 allows camping up to 2x longer than with a lead acid battery, as you can use more energy stored in a battery. In contrast, it is only possible to use about 50% of the energy stored in a lead acid battery. On top, these batteries can be positioned in any orientation without the risk of acid spillage or toxic fumes.


What are the cons to lithium RV battery?

Lithium RV batteries offer several benefits over traditional lead-acid batteries, including longer lifespan, faster charging, and greater efficiency. However, there are also some cons to consider when it comes to lithium RV batteries. Here are a few:


Cost: Lithium RV batteries are typically more expensive than traditional lead-acid batteries. While they can save you money in the long run due to their longer lifespan, the initial investment can be significant.


Operating and storage temperature: Most lithium batteries have a recommended temperature range for charging, usually between 0 and 45 Celsius Centigrade. Suppose you need to charge your lithium battery in cold temperatures. In that case, you should ensure that it is brought to a warmer environment and allowed to warm up to at least 0 Celsius Centigrade before attempting to charge it. A temperature over 45 Celsius centigrade is as bad for lithium as cold weather. It is advisable to store them in a heated location during the winter months.


To ensure your battery stays cozy and toasty, or if you need to give it a little extra warmth, check out these handy products 12V RV Heater Pad or Lion Energy Battery Warmer!

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