Camping is great fun and enables you to explore different parts of the country, travel overseas and discover places you wouldn’t normally visit. However, in order to fully make the most of this freedom, getting your hands on the highest capacity leisure battery really helps keep things comfortable.
Leisure batteries are not created equally, so don’t just go and buy the cheapest one you can find. Pretty much all leisure batteries output 12v so that’s one thing you can tick off the list while doing research. You should generally looking out for lithium batteries (the ones you will find in all modern electric cars) as they last the longest, are much lighter than their acid or lead crystal counterparts, and have longer cycles of charge and discharge, however they usally cost a lot more! So if you spend most of your time hooked up to power at a camp site, then a cheap and cheerful lead-acid battery is the way to go. Our research shows you should pretty much always choose a lithium over any other though, as you don’t want to replace the thing every couple of years and worry about damage if you discharge below 50% by accident. Most camper vans/motor homes come installed with lead-acid batteries and need to replaced after around 4 years of use; sometimes much sooner if they are regularly used and are taken below 50% charge.
Unlike a car battery, a lithium leisure battery provides a low current over a long period and is capable of being discharged and recharged – models vary wildly, so research is essential – we have foud that large leisure batteries should have around two to three thousand recharge cycles . A leisure battery allows you to maintain your electrical power when at a campsite without an electric hookup or when wild camping. It is a vital piece of equipment as it powers all of your 12v appliances, in addition to ensuring that your caravan or campervan has an uninterrupted power supply.
Choosing a leisure battery for campervan holidays can be a tricky task and some thought is required as to how you intend to holiday to ensure that you get the battery that best suits your plans. Class C batteries are the cheapest. They have the lowest capacity but are ideal for those who only tend to use campsites with electric hookups. Class B batteries are slightly more powerful and will suit campers who need to move their vehicle with motor movers. Class A batteries have the greatest storage capacity and are the ideal leisure battery for motorhome owners who frequently stay at service stations or have a preference for camp sites without electrical hookups.
Weight is also a big factor here, some batteries can weigh up to 100kg, so if you are short on horse power and are only on a short trip and don’t have many devices to keep going, then it may be an unecessary addition. There’s some rough guidance to how long a battery will last depending on what you are using it for, but it gets quite technical and there’s a lot of different factors at play that may lead to different experiences. Always check out a batteries data sheet for exactly what can be loaded.
Leisure batteries work best when they are kept charged, so it is recommended that any battery is charged at least once a month. They should be kept secure to prevent damage, both when in use and when being stored. Many people choose to have a second leisure battery for camper vans on hand whenever they go away, provided that they have the space to store it safely. This covers a potential situation where you run out of power away from a mains power source.
We have found that one of the best all-rounders on the market is this:
However it is always a good idea to read the reviews and find out exactly what you will be running and for how long. Read more about how you work that out here.
With a little thought and preparation and the right leisure battery camping holidays in your caravan or motorhome can be an absolute joy. Getting it wrong, however, can ruin a holiday, so it is important to plan ahead, know what facilities will be available at the campsite at which you plan to stay and if you are in any doubt as to how much you will use the leisure battery, it is always better to go for a more powerful one than a lower capacity model. You will never regret having too much power but buying an underpowered battery that will need replacing will cost you more in the long term. Check out our range of leisure batteries here.