What Size Battery You Need For Your Camper

Author: Your RV Good Guide   Date Posted: 13 January 2023


RV batteries can be a confusing topic for many motorhome owners. There’s not just the battery that runs your engine, but there’s also a second ‘house battery’ that runs everything else. To add to that, there are many different types of house battery. Each works a little differently, and each has its pros and cons. So how do you know which one is right for you? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the various types of RV house batteries. We will also look at what factors you need to think about when choosing which one is right for you, including:


The types of batteries found in a camper

Most campervans and motorhomes have two different batteries – the chassis battery and the house battery.

Your campervan’s house battery is typically a deep cycle battery – sometimes referred to as a 12V battery. It provides power to all the non-automotive needs in your motorhome. This includes your RV fridge, TV, hob and cooker, and so on. These batteries are specially designed to be regularly charged and discharged many times over, without being damaged or losing storage capacity. House batteries come in different types, including lithium-ion, lead-acid, and AGM batteries.

Your chassis battery (this is also known as a starter battery) sits in your engine and operates just like the battery in a car. It provides power to start your engine, as well as things like the headlights, radio, and minor electrical loads, when the alternator isn't running. Unlike your deep cycle battery, your chassis battery is designed to use large currents over short bursts.

TOP TIP: There is lots of handy information available online to find out more about how batteries work.


Why battery size is important for campers

Choosing the right-sized battery for your campervan is important. Here are a few considerations to factor in when you’re thinking about which 12V battery is right for your campervan:


Avoid running out of power 

If you like to take longer trips, freedom camp, or travel to remote areas in your campervan, you will need a battery that can go the distance. The last thing you want is to run out of power when you’re halfway through your holiday!

As a general rule, the bigger your 12V battery, the more power it can hold. If you regularly travel off-grid for lengthy periods, it may be worth considering installing solar panels to augment your power supply. Solar power is free (excluding set-up costs), environmentally friendly, and gives you more freedom. RV Super Centre’s range of fixed, flexible, folding, and portable solar panels offer a variety of solar solutions. You can choose the solar set-up to suit your needs – from 80w panels right through to 390w panels.


Save money 

Deep cycle house batteries are designed to be drained and recharged time and time again. However, no matter the type of battery, it will deteriorate over time the more you need to drain and recharge it. If you have a larger battery, you may not have to do this as much. Therefore your battery will last longer.


Saving space 

Motorhome house batteries come in many different shapes and sizes. Some batteries are smaller than others which can be beneficial if you’ve got limited space.


How camper battery size is measured

There are several factors that determine a battery’s size. These include:



Technically speaking, voltage is the amount of electricity your battery can hold. Motorhome house batteries are generally 12V, meaning that they can supply 12 volts of electricity on a nominal load.



The amp hours (Ah) rating of your battery determines how long it will run before it needs to be recharged. It measures how many amps your battery can deliver for a given number of hours until the battery has discharged. For example, if your battery is rated at 100 Ah, this means it can provide a one-amp current for 100 hours.


Dimensions and weight 

The size and weight of your house battery are also very important. It is worth noting that large or heavy batteries may not be ideal for the room available in your camper. Heavy batteries may add to or even exceed your vehicle's gross vehicle mass (GVM). Your GVM is the maximum allowable weight your vehicle can carry and includes things like passengers, the water in your tanks, gas bottles, and personal supplies such as food, clothing etc.

When viewing RV Super Centre’s range of batteries, you’ll also notice that we provide dimensions and weight.

How to choose which size battery is right for your camper

So now that you know a bit more about why battery size is important, let’s take a look at how you can narrow down your choices.


The type of accessories you use 

Not all campervan accessories use power from your battery equally. For example, most modern RV entertainment appliances are very energy-efficient and won’t drain your battery very quickly. In comparison, compressor fridges or 12-volt cooler boxes do require more power, especially as you normally run them 24 hours a day. A few other points to consider include:

Any appliances that generate heat, such as hair dryers, toasters, and electric kettles are also very power thirsty. If you use some appliances regularly, for example, you make a morning smoothie with your blender each day, a larger battery and/or a solar set-up could be a good idea. Inverters can also be hard on batteries because you lose energy in the process of converting from 12-volt to 230-volt.


How many devices you regularly use 

If you regularly travel with a large family and you know that every power point is going to be used, e.g. for phone charging, tablets, hair dryers etc, this will drain your house battery more. In this case, a larger battery may be preferred.

If you expect to travel for long periods with a large family or group of friends, you may wish to consider supplementing your power supply with a generator. RV Super Centre’s recoil and electric-start generators range from 2000w to 8000w. Our brands include EcoFlow, Powertech, Camec, Dometic, GT Power, and more.

How long you normally use these devices 

Appliances that run for long periods of time such as your motorhome fridge are constantly using power. Likewise, if you like to use the oven and electric elements to cook meals each night, watch the TV daily, and have kitchen appliances that are used for long periods of time, you may wish to consider a larger battery.


How often you’re plugged into shore power 

Shore power is also known as mains power. It means you’re plugged into a power point at a campground. If you like to regularly stay in campsites or holiday parks, you may not need such a big battery.



RV batteries are available in a range of prices, from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Different types of batteries are valued differently as well. For example, lithium-ion batteries are more expensive but last longer. Conversely, lead-acid batteries don’t last as long but are cheaper up front. That’s not to say that a more expensive battery is better for you – it really depends on your needs and your travel style. The good news is, RV Super Centre has a battery to fit every budget. Our friendly team can talk through the different benefits of each and then help you find the best battery for your needs.


The range of batteries at RVSC

RV Super Centre is your one-stop shop for your RV 12V battery needs. We stock a full range of AGM batteries, including Champion, Century, Betta, and AA Champion. We also stock the Enerdrive, Powertech, and Artemis Gold range of lithium-ion batteries.

With a long battery life and faster charging, lead crystal batteries are another great alternative to lead acid, lead gel, and SAM batteries. Our Betta lead crystal 12V batteries are ideal for your motorhome or caravan and include a three-year warranty.

Know which battery you need? 

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the best RV battery for your needs. Size, weight, level of use, and your budget are all key factors. If you’re still unsure about which battery is right for you, the good news is that the team at your local RV Super Centre can help. There’s an expert on hand at each of our branches throughout New Zealand who can ask you all the right questions to find the best battery for you. We can also install your battery to ensure it is running optimally and safely.

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