Types of motorhome batteries: which one do we need?

The first question to ask when dealing with this topic is: 'What battery do I need for my motorhome?'

As motorhomes we need batteries that accumulate a lot of electricity to be able to use it when we are stopped. We need it for various things such as interior lights, television, water pump, heating motor, some refrigerators and other consumptions such as computers, inverters from 12 to 220V to use microwaves (an important topic that we will talk about on another occasion ), satellite dishes, razors ...

We need that our batteries, in addition to storing a lot of current, can supply it to us when we need it. That is, they can be downloaded a lot, because it would be useless for us to store a lot but then we could only use a 15% of the accumulated energy. The batteries that meet these conditions are called deep discharge batteries. In turn, we need is that load quickly when we start the motorhome engine through the alternator or any other system that we have. Combining these two requirements is a bit complicated if we do not know why and what types of batteries exist on the market.

For the first requirement (that they discharge a lot) we need deep discharge batteries. These batteries are characterized by having very thick lead plates, so we have a lot of lead available to transform into lead sulfate in discharge. However, the mechanical system to hold these thick plates and that they do not deform means that there is a lot of separation between them and this separation makes the load slow.

Simplifying, we can say that the more together the plates are, the less internal electrical resistance the battery has and the less internal resistance, when charging, the battery admits a greater load intensity and they recharge faster.

Therefore we said in a previous article that putting two batteries in parallel, instead of just one, was better. Because two batteries in parallel charge in the same time as a single one, and thus we would discharge them at half of what we would discharge a single one.

Types of batteries for motorhomes

#1. Automotive Batteries

They are the most typical and all those that our cars carry. They are made to give a lot of momentary power (when starting the car) and they recharge quickly, but can not be downloaded much, which is precisely what we need in our motorhomes, that they store and deliver a lot of cargo, so they are not useful to us.

conclusion: motorhomes are not interesting to us.


#2. AGM batteries

The acronym stands for Absorved Glass Mat. They were invented in the USA in the 70s / 80s mainly for military use. These are indeed sealed batteries: the hydrogen and oxygen gases they produce are reconverted into water again. They are watertight and, therefore, can be placed under the driver's and passenger's seats without any risk of explosion. They are reconversion batteries.

The plates are thicker, so they allow a greater discharge, approximately between 40 or 50%. In addition to being thick, the plates are very close together, with a separation of fiberglass and boron silicate, which makes them have a small electrical resistance and, therefore, recharge more quickly. They have a low discharge rate, longer life span, accept more vibrations, and have a greater tolerance for charging higher currents.

conclusion: highly recommended features for us.

batteries for motorhomes

#3. AGM Spiral Batteries

They are the best for our needs, but also the least economical. They are ideal for applications with extreme vibrations, they have a very low electrical resistance allowing loads of high current, which makes the load the fastest and they admit discharges of up to 70% without problems.

They are smaller in size and last at least twice as many cycles as a good non-coil battery. We have personally tested them for years, without any problem and they are just like the first day.

conclusion: they are the most suitable for motorhomes.


#4. Gel Batteries

They were invented many years ago for the nautical sector. Instead of having liquid sulfuric acid like all others, it is in gel form, so even if they lean a lot there is no risk of liquid leakage.

They are totally watertight like AGM and, therefore, without risk of explosion. This allowed the manufacturers of motorhomes to be able to put them under the seats of the driver or passenger without having to put them in closed chests as they did before.

They became popular as "very good", although they are more expensive than normal. They have lower load capacity than AGMs (about 80%). They require charges at lower currents and take significantly longer to charge than AGMs. They also admit deep discharges but at not very high temperatures, the ideas between 22º and 24º. They need an "ideal bearing" of at least 10 cycles to perform well, which is never said when purchased.

conclusion: they are suitable for motorhomes.

As a final summary, the batteries indicated for our motorhomes, from most suitable to least, are:

  • Spiral Batteries
  • AGM batteries
  • GEL batteries

With the previous article about batteries We have tried to give an overview about motorhome batteries, which is very important to us.


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Comments (33)

Josep Ta. Bo

Thank you very much for all the information and recommendations on the Battery models.
A greeting.


Good afternoon, I am looking for a radiator and battery for a 22 m2 work shed. The idea is that I can take the battery home to charge it in the current. What do you advise me? Thanks a lot

Francisco Sanchez

Hello, good afternoon from Tenerife, I spend this Saturday that I observe that the water pump begins to fail and the television to blink at the same time as the Led light that I have installed inside the caravan, the Gel battery is new from a year or so ago and the car is fine because it starts up and when I start it everything works fine, in the time that the car's alternator charges something, the Gel one goes well with the engine stopped but to the retreat Everything fails again, what could it be? I do not think that the photovoltaic panel is wrong and I do not know well the operation or installation of the regulator, thank you very much

Patricia Fan

Better can not be counted, thanks for sharing. Regards.

Adrian Gonzalez

Hello how are you
I am from Mexico and I am currently starting a project in which I need to have a caravan battery bank to supply 4kWh per day, how much ah do I require and what would be the battery repair recommendation?
Greetings from Mexico

Paco Ramos

Good morning, it happens to me that I charge the passenger compartment batteries to the 100%. I have diesel heating but when it has been running for about 3 hours with the fans it turns off and both batteries run down. What type of batteries should I put in to last me all weekend? Thank you very much in advance. Regards.


Good afternoon.
I have bought a second hand motorhome and the starter battery is failing me.
My question is, for starting is it necessary to put 2 batteries in parallel?
Greetings and thank you.


Hello, I have put two 95ah batteries in parallel in the interior of a motorhome, connecting cable 10mm total 190ah but I never have the two batteries charged, their duration is the same as one of 95ah, with the same daily consumption after supposedly having charged with a charger automatic cbe 516 of 16ah and the controller cbe 110 kn and solar panel of 140w gives me everything full at 20 hours I disconnect the charger and at 15 minutes it marks 1/5 less, the two batteries lasting the same as one (can this the I fail to place 2 in parallel of 95ah instead of one of 190ah or 200ah), which I can place to regulate the charges and discharge of both, a greeting and thanks for everything.


Great topic and clarification but I still have to know what opinion there is about lithium batteries.
Greetings and thanks.

Marià Ríos

Can I charge an AGM battery with my ctek XS 25000 charger for lead acid batteries?

Thank you

Jose Manuel Navarro Villanueva

good evening. I have to change the battery in the cabin of the motorhome, I had thought of a spiral agm. how many there should be. My car has everything except air conditioning. Thank you


Hello, we are equipping a vw kombi, which has a conventional 80 ah battery. And we have a 100 ah gel battery to install it as an auxiliary, how should I connect them to each other? Can I put them to charge with the truck's alternator? If not, can I use an automatic battery charger? Or a conventional one at 220? Thank you in advance!

Luis Alfonso

Good morning I wanted to know if my campim would work with a single battery I use it as a static house connected to the network, thank you very much

pedro j

Can AGM batteries be charged with a conventional charger? and what voltage range is adequate so as not to spoil it, charge it with a solar panel at what voltage is the appropriate to adjust the regulator,

Juan Martin Pacheco Santos

Good Morning.

I'm new in this forum. Let's see, I want to ask you for advice since I have a Bustner caravan, 4-seater Flipper. I would like to buy a battery so that, on the weekends I go out, it has light and can use the refrigerator built into it, as well as, if it is summer, to be able to put the air conditioning, if necessary.

What type of battery do you recommend? Do I need any specific amperage for it?

I am waiting for your proposals or suggestions.

Mérida, April 10, 2019


Good… .very good articles. I am a newbie (1 year with a 2 hand camper) I would like to put more battery on it. I put an agm battery 7 months ago of 150 ah and it falls short because everything is electric. Can I put another battery equal to 150 in parallel or is it dangerous due to the use given at that time ??? I have to put two new ones in parallel ??? thank you and greetings


First of all, congratulations on the article. I am looking to put two batteries inside the motorhome. According to the article that you put, the best, as understood in it, would be two AGM Spiral batteries. But I do not know if it is better to place them in parallel, because of the video that accompanies the article, or if to place them online. It would also be to know, which of them would give me more autonomy, so that the batteries last longer and charge faster and the percentage of use is as high as possible, do you recommend the gel or the spiral AGM?
Thank you very much in advance and I look forward to hearing from you


Hello good, I have two gel batteries in my motorhome and I have to change them, could I replace them with two AMGs if I have to do nothing? (I mean for each other) or something would have to be modified

Josep Roige Aldeguer

Good afternoon.
After a long period of not using the vehicle, I have had to change the vehicle's starter battery, I have a 220v accumulator from the waeco house that supplied me with current for two days while standing for a citrus juicer, coffee maker, microwave and sporadically hand dryer. From the change, the first day I have to start the vehicle if I want to get to the cafe. My question is if you have to see the amperage of the changed battery.
Many thanks.

Comercial Caravaning

Good morning Lorenzo!

The batteries must always be installed, if we are going to connect them in parallel to each other, in exactly the same conditions. That is, same brand, same battery, same capacity and same level of charge, even so, two batteries are never identical, they will have different internal resistances and there will be small (unimportant) derivations from one to the other. In this case you should change both, put them the same and connect them when both are fully charged.

You can change only one but you run the risk of having large derivations from one to the other, even having a certain danger due to a rise in temperature that causes the batteries to swell or burn ... in addition, the performance is worse because the battery is badly we will affect the battery that is good.

Thank you very much for your comment.

A greeting!


I have a question, I have two subjects in the car, one is wrong and I want to change it, the other still performs a little well.

My question is the following. They tell me in the store that you have to change both, because otherwise the solar panel will only charge at the lowest level, that if one is half bad, the battery charges would always be at the same level and the good one will never charge the 100% , but it would charge at half charge.

Thank you


Hi. I have a question ... I live in the motorhome and I am always plugged into the current ... this can harm the batteries ????
And I also have the problem that when I disconnect the batteries they go down a lot… ..it's because I already have to change them… I have a solar panel too… thanks


Good recharging the IA battery with a 12v mains charger

Comercial Caravaning

Hello Pepi, if you send us an e-mail to info@comercialcaravaning.seryson.es colleagues will answer the questions you need to solve.


Hello, thank you very much for your article, it is really clarifying and easy to understand. However I still have an unresolved question. Like most camper or van users, I need to use battery power to charge computers. We have seen that the different types of battery provide us with more or less charge and discharge cycles as well as their durability over the years. My question is, does any of the previous technologies allow without problems, for example, charging two computers without going below 10V? both during the day while the solar panel charges the battery and at night. we can notice a big difference for example between slow download and agm »?

Thank you very much and greetings.

Comercial Caravaning

Good morning Willy!

For the first question you ask us, you could use any of the batteries, although the most recommended would be AGM and we always ask and recommend that lead batteries not be used because they can produce gases inside the vehicle.

To answer the second question we would need you to clarify what you mean by slow download.

Thank you very much for your comment.

A greeting!


If the second battery is only going to be charged by a photovoltaic panel and a regulator, which battery would you recommend?
If we take into account that a panel produces little charging current (eg: 2A for a small 60W one) but for a long time, in relation to an alternator, it seems reasonable to think that a gel battery is better, starting from the description of batteries that you do. as you see?

Comercial Caravaning

Good morning David,

The second battery is not only charged by a photovoltaic panel, the second battery is placed in parallel to the 1st living area battery, with which, more or less, what we get is a single battery, of the same voltage but with twice the capacity .

This second battery being in parallel to the first one charges the same whether we go with the alternator, or if we connect to 230V or with the solar panel.

What is important is that a battery equal to the first is placed so that more or less the internal resistances are similar and we do not have large fluctuations from one to another.

To recommend, I recommend AGM for quality price. It is very similar to a gel but cheaper and lithium is still very expensive. On the other hand, the normal ones such as the engine are cheaper but are not recommended for the passenger compartment.

A greeting.


Hello good, I wanted to ask if the Agm start stop batteries are suitable for use in caravans or camper. Would they be different from normal agm?

Comercial Caravaning

Good morning, we are very happy to have been able to help you with this matter. The normal thing is that you have a sticker that informs you about the type of battery you have.

Thanks a lot.


Thanks for everything, it helped me a lot to decide which battery to buy, thank you.


I can install a Gel battery in AC 12v and 315ah. Ultracell?

What solar panel do I have to install to supply that battery?

Thank you

José Benigno Pérez Argüelles

You clarified my doubts, thanks for the article. Just one detail, how do we physically distinguish the three types of battery? I ask because I bought one three years ago and I don't remember if it is gel or agm, and outwardly it seems the same to other normal ones !!!. I repeat, thank you.

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