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Will Lithium Batteries Work in My Travel Trailer RV?

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A travel trailer RV is one of the most accessible options for getting into the RV lifestyle. Whether you’re purchasing an RV for camping trips, long-term travel, or a permanent living solution, travel trailers are one of the least expensive options. They’re relatively lightweight, and you can pull one with an SUV or truck that you might already own.

Travel trailers have one glaring drawback: the stock house battery. It powers everything on your RV’s interior and some exterior devices. As electronics and appliances are becoming standard in RV camping, the stock battery’s power just isn’t enough anymore! 

That’s why numerous RVers are upgrading to lithium batteries. But is that a realistic option for your travel trailer RV? We’re here to say an emphatic yes, it is! And we’ll tell you why. 

Will Lithium Batteries Work in My Travel Trailer RV?

Lithium batteries work wonderfully in a travel trailer. You should be able to use a 12V lithium battery to replace almost any deep-cycle 12V battery, such as the house battery for a motorhome, fifth wheel, or travel trailer. More and more RVers are replacing their lead-acid house batteries with lithium-ion options.

You wouldn’t use a lithium battery as a starter battery, though. A starter battery, which gets your motor running, sends a quick power burst to start the engine. A lithium battery is designed to discharge over long periods and has a higher capacity, so a lead-acid battery is better for starting. A lithium-ion battery would simply be underutilized and over-priced as a starter battery. 

The long-term discharge component is part of what makes these power banks perfect for travel trailers.

What Batteries Typically Come in a Travel Trailer RV? 

Most travel trailer RVs typically come with a single 12V, deep cycle, lead-acid battery. It looks a lot like the starter battery you usually see under the hood of a car, but being a deep-cycle battery, it can withstand repeated cycles of charging and discharging.

travel trailer rv on a mountain road in Canada

Travel Trailer Standard RV Battery Limitations

The house battery in a travel trailer RV powers 12V devices, such as interior lighting, water pumps, refrigerators, furnaces, overhead fans, etc. It might also power the exterior tail lights, marker lights, and electric brakes if your trailer is so equipped.

When dry camping in a state park or boondocking at a dispersed campsite, the house battery is vital. It’s what keeps the lights on and your refrigerated food unspoiled.

But a standard deep-cycle lead-acid battery doesn’t last very long––both in daily usage and lifespan. While the housing may say it’ll last 80 amp-hours, you can only discharge it to 50% capacity (or 40 amp-hours) before you must recharge it. 

If you discharge a lead-acid battery below 50%, it’ll cause permanent damage, shortening its life span. A lead-acid battery typically lasts three to five years, but it degrades faster if you frequently deplete it below the halfway point.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Travel Trailer to Lithium Batteries

We’ve already mentioned that lithium batteries last longer than their lead-acid counterparts. That’s just one of many benefits of upgrading your travel trailer RV from a standard lead-acid to a lithium deep-cycle battery. Let’s look at a few more. 

Install Anywhere

Because travel trailer RVs are smaller than many RVs, smaller vehicles can tow them, and weight distribution becomes very important. The weight distribution of storage, added propane tanks, holding tanks, gasoline tanks, and other heavy items is critical to safe handling while towing.

Lithium batteries weigh about half that of lead-acid batteries. This means that you have much more wiggle room for where you want to place the battery. In reality, lithium batteries are light enough that they shouldn’t upset the overall weight distribution of the trailer.

Less Weight

Not only does this 50% weight reduction come in handy regarding weight distribution, but it can also be significant if you want to further upgrade a single battery to a bank with multiple batteries. 

A single lead-acid battery might weigh 70-80 pounds, while two lithium batteries would be around 60-70 pounds. So even by upgrading to multiple lithium batteries, you’re still saving some weight over a single lead-acid battery.

travel trailer interior

Lasts the Life of Your Travel Trailer RV

Given that most RVers sell or upgrade their travel trailers within 10 years of buying them, the lithium battery within could last the lifetime of your trailer. 

A well-maintained lead-acid battery that you never discharge below 50% capacity might last 500 to 800 charge/discharge cycles. Letting a lithium battery dip below the 50% threshold won’t cause damage. 

In fact, you can repeatedly discharge a lithium battery to 20% capacity, and it’ll still last up to 5,000 cycles. That’s about 10 times the lifespan of a lead-acid counterpart! 

No Maintenance

A lithium battery is basically maintenance-free. Most come with a battery management system that maintains optimum levels.

By comparison, you must monitor a standard lead-acid battery for its charging state and electrolyte levels. You might have to occasionally open it up to maintain water levels for the battery’s health. This can be dangerous if you don’t know how to do it properly, so many RVers must schedule a battery service regularly. 

Even if you have a sealed lead-acid battery, you must monitor the charge state constantly to ensure it doesn’t dip below 50%.

More Efficient Power

Efficiency is where lithium batteries truly stand out. As mentioned, you can discharge a lithium battery below 20% without damaging it. This is a tremendous boost in available power per charging cycle! 

So if you have both a lead-acid battery and a lithium-ion battery rated for 80 amp-hours, you’ll get more hours from the lithium version in a smaller package. Not to mention you can efficiently run larger power loads, including 120V appliances with a suitable inverter. 

Most Cost-Effective Battery Over Time

You might get sticker shock when looking at the initial cost of lithium batteries next to lead-acid batteries. But if you consider the overall picture, lithium wins almost every time.

Under heavy usage, lead-acid batteries may only last a few years, or less if you discharge them below 50% more than once. By comparison, lithium batteries can last beyond 10 years thanks to their superior chemistry, battery management systems, and more durable construction.

So, while the cost of a quality lead-acid battery might be a third of our lithium batteries, lithium can last more than three times as long with virtually no maintenance. If you do the math, you’re saving money when you buy lithium! 

Safety

Lithium batteries are notoriously safe for RVers, despite what you may have heard. 

Since the early years of lithium technology, manufacturers have made incredible improvements–especially in the RV world. The most popular lithium technology for RV batteries is lithium iron phosphate (or LiFePO4). It utilizes a lower energy density than other lithium-ion batteries along with a battery management system for improved safety. 

LiFePO4 batteries are also non-toxic, making them easier to dispose of than lead-acid batteries.

family with travel trailer
Increased safety gives you peace of mind when camping with your family!

How to Upgrade Your Travel Trailer RV to Lithium Batteries

If you’re ready to upgrade from lead-acid to lithium batteries, you can contact a professional or do it on your own if you’re comfortable with do-it-yourself electrical projects. 

If you want to try installing without a professional’s help, Battle Born Batteries provides tremendous support when installing their batteries. From tutorials to custom-tailored assistance for your specific application, you’ll have all the information you need for a successful install. 

Our Recommendation

We have many options in our inventory if you want to upgrade to lithium, but this is the one we recommend for travel trailers.

Battle Born 100AH 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery

The Battle Born 100 amp/hour, 12V LiFePO4 deep-cycle battery is a drop-in replacement for similarly sized lead-acid batteries. It measures 12.76 x 6.86 x 8.95 inches (L x W x H). 

Though it’s a drop-in replacement for your old battery, it’s not necessarily a plug-and-play option. It may require specific components and programming to run in certain applications, but we’ll provide you with the support you need for installation, whether you hire a pro or do it yourself.

100 Ah 12V LiFePO4 Battle Born Battery pictured on a dock

This model comes with a built-in battery management system, making it hassle-free. It also weighs just 31 pounds and comes with a 10-year warranty (eight-year full replacement manufacturer’s defect warranty and two years prorated).

It can last 3,000 to 5,000 cycles, at which point the battery will still hold 75 to 80 percent of its energy capacity, which should put most users beyond the 10-year mark.

Are You Ready to Upgrade to Lithium for Your Travel Trailer? 

When considering whether or not to upgrade a travel trailer RV battery from standard lead-acid to lithium, there’s very little reason not to. You can solve many limitations of your current lead-acid battery with this simple upgrade! 

Even if the up-front cost is a significant concern, consider it a long-term, no-hassle investment. Upgrading from a single lead-acid battery to a single lithium battery will provide for many more hours of uninterrupted enjoyment and additional years without worrying about how much longer your battery might last.

Two people camping on a beach with a travel trailer
You can get out there and stay out there much longer with lithium in your system.

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!

Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.


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26 thoughts on “Will Lithium Batteries Work in My Travel Trailer RV?

  1. Would like a battery bank with 3 game changer 270Amp hour batteries, 4 solar panels of al least 190w each, victron 3000 inverter, monitoring system, etc. Can you build a package for us with these specs?

    1. Hi Justo! Thanks for reaching out. If you give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 they certainly can get a package built for you and everything you need.

  2. Hello, I’ve asked my RV dealer to upgrade our 2021 Rockwood Lite 5th wheel 2621ws with a 1000watt solar panel & 12vlt refrigerator electrical system for lead acid batteries. I’ve ordered a LiFePo4 100ah 12vlt from you (delivery 10/19/21). Everyone is telling me that the current charge controller/inverter system will only charge the new battery to 80%, along with the tow vehicle not being able to charge the LiFePo4 with its current set up. RV Dealer (A&S RV Sales, Auburn Hills, MI) is scratching their head as to what charge controller/inverter management system they need to go to. They state they’ve done this for class A vehicles, but since Rockwood started offering the 1000watt Solar panel and 12vlt refrigerator systems this year, this is new territory for them.

    What advice if any can you provide?

    Respectfully – Philip Santoro

    1. Hi Philip, thanks for reaching out! We are so glad to hear that you will be getting a fun delivery from us today! As for charge controllers and inverter/chargers, we are a master dealer of plenty of Victron components and know that they work excellently with our batteries. You can check out our component options here: https://battlebornbatteries.com/product-category/battle-born-solar/lifepo4-solar-charge-controllers/

      If there’s any additional advice you are looking for when it comes to components and installs, our technical team is always available to help. You can reach them at 855-292-2831 or send an email to [email protected].

    2. Hi Philip, I purchased from A&S, were they able to figure out installation for the lithium battery? Did they have to install a new inverter? I have the solar panel and 12 V Fridge also. Thank you in advance.

  3. Come springtime I will be changing my 2016 Cougar 337FLS fifth wheel over to Lith batters. I want to put two in to replace the two lead batteries I have now. Which batters and converter do you recommend for this?

    Thank you for your time on this matter.

    Tom Walker

    1. Hi Tom, that’s great to hear! Please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 and they will be able to assist with a system assessment. Thanks for reaching out!

  4. Hi, my name is Carlos, my wife & I just purchased a 2022 Imagine 2600rb. It came equipped with one 165 watt solar panel & 2 12v batteries. I’m a novice, but I am very interested in adding additional solar panels &
    switching to Lithium batteries, will you be able to advise on what exactly I will need to upgrade in order to be able to run both the DC and AC appliances. Thank you.

    1. Good morning Carlos! That’s great to hear. Please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 for any assistance with the specs of your system.

  5. You recommend your Battleborn 100 amp hour battery for a travel trailer install. Why not your GC3? I own a Jayco Jay Feather 25RB and I’m looking a possibly installing one your systems under the bed. Thank you.

    1. Hi Michael, thanks for reaching out. Space can play a factor in determining what battery models to use. Our sales team can explain more if you give them a call at 855-292-2831 and take advantage of our Black Friday sale.

  6. I just bought a gently used 2021 airstream caravel 20FB with a Zamp 90 watt solar package and want to upgrade to your lithium batteries (2) to place the oem agm batteries. It has a Victron blue Solar MPPT 150/35 charge controller and a 1000W pure sine wave ineverter. Can I just plug and play with the battleborn 100Ah 12v blemish lithium batteries or do I need to reprogram anything? Also, do you sell capability to add Bluetooth monitoring? I live in Montana so do I need to remove the batteries during winter storage due to cold conditions? Finally, will a Schumacher ship and shore 15A rapid charge 3A maintain battery charger work on lithium? Thanks. Hoping to take advantage of the sale.

    1. Hi Jonathan, thank you for reaching out and thank you for your patience at this time. Please give our technical sales team a call at 855-292-2831 and they will be able to assist with placing an order and any additional questions you may have.

      1. It sounds like many of us have the same issue. If I replace my lead acid battery with a drop in Lith battery should I also replace my factory onboard charge that is Oem to my 2012 camper? I don’t want to call tech support right now , just wanting to know if the charger/inverter normally gets changed as well???

        1. Hi Keith! You can use any standard charger, solar or wind charge controller to charge our LiFePO4 deep cycle battery. There are some chargers and controllers that are programmable to ensure full usage out of your battery, but most will have an AGM setting which normally bulk charges about 14.4 volts and float at 13.6 volts. These levels are great for your Battle Born Battery.

  7. Considering a lithium upgrade to my travel trailer. My converter/charger is advertised as lithium ready with a simple switch adjustment.
    Questions:
    Is it still OK to have the battery charged by the tow vehicle during towing?

    My tow vehicle (GM) has an auxiliary AGM battery that is connected to 7-way plug to help provide power to trailer during stops and travel. Is there any problem with the two batteries basically being connected in parallel when the 7-way is connected?

    I completely disconnect the trailer battery when not in use and currently keep it hooked up to a BatteryMinder maintainer. Is there a need to keep a maintenance charge on the Li battery when not in use (no parasitic drains)?
    Thanks

  8. I am absolutely limited by group 24 box dimensions. I currently have a group 24 battery/box, resting between my trailer tongue frame, tight. The dimensions of a group 24 battery are (10 1/4 X 6 13/16 X 8 7/8 in.). Your 100ah recommendation shows 12.76 X 6.86 X 8.95 inches. Outside dimensions for group 24 box look to be 14 X 10 X 10.7 in. Does the standard group 24 battery box really fit your 100 ah LifePo4? Assured?

  9. We just bought a brand new Airstream, International 27FBTwin. We are going to upgrade to littium battle born batteries.

    Can you help advise on the best location to place the batteries? We are deciding between the outside battery box, or go with the dealer recommendation to install inside the trailer. In our model that means putting the batteries under the bed, which makes me nervous.

    Should I be concerned sleeping on top littium (from an off-gassing and fire risk). Thanks!

    1. Hi Ashley! Our batteries use the safest lithium chemistry on the market and can be safely mounted in any position and anywhere in your rig, including under the bed! Our batteries are sealed and do not contain acid, so there are no concerns of off-gassing. Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries do not easily undergo thermal runaway and our BMS will prevent our batteries from operating in any condition that could be dangerous.

  10. We don’t live near Reno. How can we get your batteries. Also the fw trailer we’re thinking of buying already has slot panels just no batteries for it. Problem for purchasing

  11. Looking to purchase 4 12 V 280 ah batteries. Currently living in Northern Nevada. Would like to travel to a location to pick up in person. Any ideas on a possible location for this. Thanks!

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