You may have already heard your fair share of RV battery talk from fellow RVers or boondockers. Some people swear by 6-volt RV batteries, while many find the 12-volt models much more reliable. To understand which of the two is better, we’ve made a comparison guide between 12V vs 6V RV battery units.
If you are out in the market to buy one and can’t decide whether to get RV house batteries 6V or 12V, this guide will help. Note down your requirements for the battery and combine these facts to make your final decision.
12V vs 6V RV Battery Units: The Main Differences
The most glaring difference between 6 volt and 12 volt batteries lies in their names. The names suggest that their power output, performance, and other features will differ. Also, one lasts significantly longer than the other, so it could be an important determining factor too.
Check out a detailed comparison between 12V vs 6V RV battery units:
The term ‘voltage’ here measures the battery’s strength, while amp-hours (Ah) indicate the stored energy. A battery’s performance depends on the voltage it can push out and its amp-hour limit. As an RVer, you need enough power from your battery to power up all devices, lights, and appliances.
The voltage and ah explain the distinctions between 6V vs 12V battery because the latter has fewer amp-hours than the former. But that issue can be compensated if you buy two 12V batteries and wire them together. This way you can get more Ah.
Related: Everything About an RV Battery Disconnect Switch
You should always use a compatible charger to charge the batteries. A 6 volt charger is the best option for a 6V unit, and the same applies to a 12V battery. However, you can also use a 6V charger to charge a 12V unit, although the charging time will be unusually long.
On the other hand, you should never plug a 12 volt charger into a 6V unit because it will create excessive internal heat and damage the battery.
A 6-volt battery has a longer lifespan than a 12 volt because it utilizes heavier plates in each cell. A 6 volt deep cycle battery for RV will last up to 6 to 8 years if used in deep charge and discharge cycles.
When used in deep cycle applications, 12V batteries tend to wear off because they have thinner plates. However, a 6-volt can easily withstand the abuse caused by deep cycles because of its thicker plates.
So, comparing the longevity between 6 volt vs 12 volt RV batteries, the former is the clear winner.
For an RVer, it’s important to keep the rig as lightweight as possible for maximum efficiency on the road. Comparing a 12V vs 6V RV battery, it’s clear that a 12V unit is the heavier one.
It can weigh up to 114 Ibs while two 6-volts weigh 71 Ibs, which makes carrying an extra 12V battery in emergencies inconvenient in many situations. Contrary to that, bringing an additional 6-volt unit is a much better option.
All RVs must have a box to accommodate the battery, which grows in size with more amp-hours. So, the more Ah a battery has, the bigger its size will be.
The dimensions of a 12V unit are bigger than a 6V unit. However, if your RV needs more power, it’s better to use a 12V battery for RV instead of two 6V units. It’s because two 6V batteries will take up a much larger space than one 12V unit. In that case, you may even need to install a new battery container.
Price and Availability
In terms of price and availability between 6V battery vs 12V battery units, 12V is the winner. They are available in most garages or auto supply stores both offline and online. They are affordable compared to a 6V battery and easily replaceable even when you are camping out.
On the other hand, it’s hard to find many brands that manufacture 6V batteries. They are usually available in large automotive supply or speciality stores. Which makes it hard to find in case you need an emergency replacement. On top of its scarcity, it is way more expensive than a 12V battery.
Is 6v or 12v Better: The Verdict
The answer to this question needs to be addressed from a different perspective considering various factors. Let’s say you are a boondocker or a dry camper who only camps in RV parks/campgrounds with no hookups. If you camp only for a few days, one or two 12-volt deep-cycle RV batteries will be enough for your needs.
But you’re often going off the grids for a long time, then 6V deep cycle batteries would be a superior choice as it can provide more constant power for a long period of time. This make 6 Volt units the best RV battery for dry camping.
When we are talking about amp-hours and batteries, a 6-volt and a 12-volt both have their application based on the requirement.
Between two 6V batteries and two 12V batteries, 12V is the best option to choose. Because if compared to a 6 volt, 12 volt is much more manageable, affordable, and fits in regular RV storage.
The only way for a 6-volt to be a better option is if you carry at least four of them. However, using 6-volt batteries does not save enough space.
Last but not least, you need to be sure about the ampere requirement of the RV that you want to run with the battery, irrespective of its voltage power. Your device won’t work if you use a low ampere battery when the appliances demand a high amperage power source.
The comparison between 12V vs 6V RV battery units should give you a clear idea of which will be better for your rig. Suppose you consider all the factors, like price, availability, weight, durability, and longevity.
In that case, your personal preference will determine the best battery type to choose from.
However, the 12V unit seems to be the better and more common choice for normal camping needs, but you may have a use case for the 6V units too.