The Best RV Battery Chargers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON December 13, 2020
When you own an RV, you have quite a bit of maintenance to perform. Whether you’re frequently hitting the open road and heading to new or favorite campsites or camp just a few times each year, you need to give your RV some solid TLC every so often to keep it functioning at its best. And when you think about maintenance and camping-ready preparations, you’ll want to think about your RV’s battery. When not in use, your RV battery can lose its charge — which can put you in a tough spot when you’re already at a campsite or trying to head out of town. Fortunately, if you have an RV battery charger handy, you’ll be able to properly care for, jump start, and charge your battery easily.
Available in many different styles, capacities, and sizes, you can carry an RV battery charger with you wherever you go. Check out some of our favorite options right here.
A smart, precise battery charger that works on a wide variety of battery types and delivers efficient charging.
- Compact yet delivers 115 percent more power
- Can detect and charge batteries as low as 1 volt
- Optimized for any temperature with thermal compensation
- Instructions can be a bit unclear
- May get hot to the touch while charging
A quick-working battery charger with multiple smart charging modes and an affordable price.
- Four-stage smart charging that shuts off automatically when battery reaches full
- Offers multiple protections for increased safety
- Lightweight and perfectly portable
- Charger can get hot when charging some batteries
- Water-resistant, not waterproof
A reliable, dependable battery charger that can deliver jumpstarts and maintain your RV battery over time.
- Maintains any AGM, GEL, or WET 12 volt battery
- Uses high-frequency smart charging to automatically adjust charging speed
- Built to last a long time and many charges or uses
- May not be able to refresh older batteries
- Can struggle to recharge batteries that are completely dead
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Benefits of RV Battery Chargers
- Extend your battery’s lifespan. Using an RV battery charger can help your current battery last for a longer period. You can go years without needing to replace your battery, which saves you money in the long run.
- Get more convenience at campsites. If you have an RV battery charger, you’re free to run all of your RV’s appliances without worrying while you camp. You can easily recharge — or keep a charge — no matter what items you’re running or powering up.
- Increase flexibility and freedom. An RV battery charger gives you more options when you hit the road. You can recharge your battery at any time, without worrying about how long your trip is, how many appliances you’ll be running, and how you’ll find a charging station when or if you need one.
Types of RV Battery Chargers
A converter charger is the most basic type of RV battery charger. This kind of charger converts 120 volts of shore power to 12 volt DC power, which means your RV battery won’t need to provide DC power when it’s plugged in. A converter charger also works to charge the RV battery when it has excess capacity available, which can help you avoid overcharging and its potential damage. A converter charger can be either a single-stage or multi-stage charger.
An inverter charger is the type of charger that most modern RVs rely on. This type of battery charger includes all of the very same features as a converter charger, but with one primary difference: an inverter charger produces 120 volts of alternating current from a 12-volt battery when there’s no shore power available. Inverter chargers are typically always multi-stage chargers as well.
Another type of charger you can consider is a solar-powered charger. A relatively new option, solar-powered RV battery chargers can provide a constant stream of power — and they do it with sunlight alone. These chargers feature solar panels that absorb sunlight and convert it into energy that can be used to offer you and your RV battery varying amounts of power. The charger’s wattage will determine how much power it can offer; for example, a solar-powered charger with a 150-watt solar panel should be able to power your RV and its appliances for a full day.
If you’re looking for an RV battery charger, it’s hard to ignore Noco. Since 1914, Noco has been innovating and creating premium battery chargers, jump starters, and portable power devices that are built to last, including products like the Noco Genuis10 Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger and the Noco Genius5 Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger.
As one of the best-known names in tools, Stanley is found in many household toolkits and garages. With a history of creating durable, effective tools since 1843, this brand has an impressive name built on over a century of quality and reliability. Stanley’s battery chargers, like the Stanley Smart 12V Battery Charger, build on that reputation and offer lasting effectiveness.
PowerMax is a brand that’s built around providing battery power for RVs. Since 2005, this Florida-based company has created powerful and efficient RV battery chargers, converters, and other products for campers’ power supply needs. Products like the PowerMax Power Supply Converter Charger for RV ensure you’re getting the right kind of charger made just for RV use.
RV Battery Charger Pricing
- Under $50: For under $50, you’ll find RV battery chargers that can do the basic work of charging up your battery. These battery chargers tend to offer the fewest extras.
- $50 to $100: In this price range, you’ll find upgraded battery chargers that can also maintain your RV battery. They may offer additional features and perks if they’re more expensive.
- $100 and up: For more than $100, you’ll get a combination of high power and extra features from an RV battery charger. This price range typically includes the most premium options.
Above all else, the battery capacity is a critical feature to consider when you’re picking out an RV battery charger. Your battery’s capacity is measured by the number of amps it offers per hour. Higher capacity batteries can deliver a lot more power — and you’ll need a charger that can meet that increased power and capacity. The larger the battery, the more powerful the charger will need to be.
Voltage is another key feature you need to think about. You need an RV charger that can match the voltage of your battery; otherwise, it won’t recharge it. While most RV batteries are 12 volts, it’s important to double-check that the voltage of your battery and the voltage of the chargers are compatible.
You should also look at whether an RV battery charger offers any kind of vibration absorption. Whether you’re on the road or using your battery charger at a campsite, vibrations can interrupt or disrupt the charging process. Features like cradles or cushioning can help prevent damage and potential problems while the charger is in use.
- Different Charging Speeds. Make sure to look at the amps of any RV battery charger as well as the types of batteries it can charge. Some can charge at 10 to 15 amps while others use just 2 amps. These factors will determine the charging speed, or how long it takes to reach a full charge once again.
- Cooling-off Period. Keep in mind that not all RV battery chargers can be used repeatedly. Certain types, like deep cycle battery chargers, will need to cool off for a bit before they can be used again to prevent potential damage, overheating, or other problems.
- Regulating Charging Power. If you’re on the fence about whether smart charging is worthwhile, it can be a great benefit. Smart charging means the charger can regulate while it works — it can assess how much power the battery needs and adjust accordingly. These chargers can also stop when a battery is full, preventing overcharging.
Best RV Battery Charger Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Avoid moving your RV battery charger while it’s in use. This prevents potential problems and dangers that could happen to both the battery and the charger.
- Understand whether you need to monitor your RV battery charger and battery. Some chargers will automatically shut off when the battery is full; others won’t, which can cause overcharging issues.
- A dual-purpose option, like a battery charger and maintainer, can help extend the lifespan of your RV battery. These can be a worthwhile investment to help you get more out of both your charger and current battery.
Q: Deep cycle vs. regular battery charger: What is the difference?
The primary difference between a deep cycle charger and a regular battery charger is the charging speed. A deep cycle battery charger will deliver a faster, more efficient charge. A regular battery charger will work more slowly, and it may not be the best option for your RV’s battery.
Q: How long does it take to charge a deep cycle battery?
This depends on the number of amps your RV battery charger can provide. High amp chargers, which can use as much as 30 amps, can deliver a full charge in hours. Lower-amp chargers, like those that use 2 or 3 amps only, will take a much longer time to charge.
Q: Should you leave your RV connected to the charger all the time?
You can leave your RV connected to the battery charger all the time — but if you do this, you need to monitor the battery to make sure its electrolytes aren’t being depleted. If you have a trickle charger, you won’t have to worry as much, since these chargers are designed to be used for long, consistent charging.
Our pick for the best overall RV battery charger is the Noco Genuis10 Fully Automatic Smart Battery Charger, a device that uses smart charging technology to work quickly and power all different types of RV batteries. If you want to spend less yet still get excellent value, the BMK 12V 5A Smart Battery Charger is a more affordable option with quality results. Let us know which RV battery charger is your top choice below.