What Are Batteries Used For On Travel Trailers? (Explained)

Batteries serve several purposes on travel trailers that we’ll dive into below.

We want to share with you what batteries in your travel trailer are used for so that you know why they are so important when traveling wherever your journeying soul takes you.

Here’s How Vital Your Travel Trailer Battery Is:

No matter what type of travel trailer you have, your RV battery is an incredibly important component because it is your batteries that power your travel trailer’s electrical functionality. After all, nearly every electrical part in your motorhome can be connected to and powered by a battery.

What Are The Different Types Of Travel Trailer Batteries?

If you have recently purchased a new travel trailer or are considering replacing your original batteries, you’re likely wondering about the different battery types.

Before we delve into what an RV battery is used for, we want to discuss the different battery types so that you know which one works best for your motorhome and your lifestyle.

There are four main types of travel trailer batteries: AGM, lead acid, gel, and lithium batteries. 

Below we have briefly spoken about each type:

AGM: 

AGM batteries are a popular choice because they can be discharged up to 80% and don’t require much maintenance, especially compared to lead-acid batteries.

Yet, they have a significant downside. If you use an AGM battery in your travel trailer, you should be wary because they can overcharge easily.

Lead-Acid:

The cheapest RV travel trailer battery type is lead-acid batteries.

Yet, although they are the most affordable, they have the shortest lifespan out of all the RV battery types. In addition, they require significant maintenance if you want to prevent damage from leakage and sulfation.

Moreover, many don’t like that these batteries are incredibly difficult to move and that they often can’t be drained past 50% capacity.

Gel: 

Although gel travel trailer batteries charge very slowly, they are a preferred choice by many.

This is because they are sealed to prevent leaks (unlike lead acid batteries) and perform well in extreme temperatures, making them ideal for hot and cold weather camping.

Lithium: 

Those with limited space in their travel trailers and larger budgets should consider lithium travel trailer batteries.

This battery option is the lightest and smallest, but this does not mean that you should expect them to be inferior.

In fact, according to many, they are the ideal choice. This is because lithium batteries offer superior efficiency and stability alongside being the fastest charging battery type and the longest lasting.

What Are The Four Things Batteries Are Used For On Travel Trailers?

 Now that you know more about the different travel trailer batteries, we’re going to look at the four things these batteries are used for on travel trailers.

The more you know about what they are used for, the better you’ll understand why they are crucial, even if you only travel to places that supply electrical hookups. 

Power Other Electrical Components in Your Travel Trailer:

A travel trailer battery is a power source for various electrical components in your motorhome. You might be quite surprised by just how many electrical components there are that your battery will power when needed. 

Without a battery, you will experience many issues in a motorhome because crucial electrical systems will be unable to operate or function as they should. For example, your travel trailer battery will power your motorhome slide-outs, electric wheel brakes, tongue jacks, and power awning.

Various problems could negatively affect your travel plans if these components are not powered:

Power Light Systems in Your Travel Trailer:

 One of the most common uses for a travel trailer battery is powering the light systems in your motorhome.

This means your battery will power interior and exterior lighting systems to ensure you’re not left in the dark while camping. 

Essentially, if you don’t have a battery powering the lighting in your motorhome while camping off-grid, you won’t be able to cook, read, or complete other nighttime tasks easily. 

Power Smoke & Propane Detectors:

 Many people don’t realize that travel trailer batteries also power smoke and propane detectors. Since leaks and fires are incredibly hazardous in a motorhome, these detectors are a crucial safety feature.

Ultimately without a battery equipped and linked to your smoke and propane detectors, you won’t have a necessary functioning safety feature, thus placing your life at risk. 

Power 12 Volt Appliances:

Arguably the most important aspect of having a travel trailer battery in your motorhome is that these batteries power your appliances.

A battery will provide 12-volt DC power to your motorhome, allowing you to power various appliances, including your water pump, furnace, fridge, and microwave. 

Without batteries, you won’t be able to power your appliances effectively when camping off-grid, making life incredibly challenging, especially if you rely heavily on your appliances.

What Size Battery Do You Need For Your Travel Trailer?

After learning about what can be powered with your travel trailer batteries, you’re likely curious to learn more about the different size batteries you can use.

There are primarily two sizes: 6V and 12V. Let’s look at these two sizes to know which is best suited for your travel trailer. 

6V Battery

Often 6-volt batteries are great for those with a smaller travel trailer type and those who participate in remote camping and off-grid living.

However, only those with few appliances and fewer power needs can get away with using a 6-volt battery. 

6-volt batteries are popular because they have more space between their storage cells, which means they have thicker plates and an increased lifespan. In addition, 6-volt batteries are known for sustaining significantly deeper discharges while supplying a higher amperage output.

These key selling points are beneficial to those participating in boondocking and camping.

That’s why in many instances, a travel trailer owner who aims to explore remote destinations often will choose to install two 6-volt batteries instead of a singular 12-volt battery.

12V Battery

Those who plan to travel and camp in a remote location (including a Walmart or Cosco parking lot) should choose a 12-volt battery for their travel trailer. Since you’re not planning on much remote camping, you won’t need anything more than a singular 12-volt. 

These batteries are a great choice because they will only discharge to the level of the weakest cell. However, there is a downside as 12-volt batteries have less ability to withstand deep discharges.

This means they also have a reduced lifespan which can be problematic in certain instances. 

How Many Batteries Does Your Travel Trailer Need?

Another frequently asked question by many campers is how many batteries they will need to install in their travel trailer. Unfortunately, the answer to this RV question isn’t as straightforward as one would believe.

This is because how many batteries you will actually need will depend on the size battery you choose to equip in your travel trailer.

Those who camp often and have moderately sized travel trailers must purchase four to six 6-volt batteries if they want maximum amperage. If you choose to install 12-volt batteries instead, you will need two to accommodate your travel trailer’s electrical needs if you have a medium-sized to a large-sized travel trailer.

If you want maximum amperage output from your 12v batteries, you’ll need to install them in a parallel configuration.

Moreover, you should be aware of the fact that there are many configurations in which you can install your batteries. Yet, it’s usually best to seek professional assistance to ensure you install them as you should.

Citations:

Do You Need An Battery For Your Travel Trailer?

Travel Trailer Battery Guide

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