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Best RV Battery Chargers

The Best RV Battery Chargers (2022)

A good battery charger is a crucial part of RV camping, whether you primarily stay at campgrounds, boondock in the great unknown, or combine the two for the ultimate camping experience. If you're operating with the outdated single-stage converter-charger (also known as a "dumb" charger) that came stock on your RV, you're missing out on the numerous benefits of an upgraded multi-stage ("smart") charger. A smart battery charger will:
  • Bring your battery's charge to a full 100%
  • Maintain a charge without overcharging, even when your RV is in storage (overcharging is bad news for batteries)
  • Allow you to camp away from hookups as long as possible
  • Extend your battery's lifespan by keeping it healthy and charged
Below, I've laid out the 4 best smart battery chargers money can buy. All are multi-stage "smart" chargers, and all are great at what they do. Which one is right for you? Check them out below to find out, then read on for additional tips on choosing the perfect battery charger for your adventures.
RV Battery Charger Comparison Chart
Redarc Manager30

1. REDARC Manager30 Battery Management System

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Ideal for campgrounds and off-grid use
  • Great for large RVs with multiple batteries
  • Power input: AC/DC (shore power, solar, vehicle alternator)
  • Power output: DC
  • 6 products in 1
  • Inverter NOT included
This is For You If:This holy grail of battery management is for the serious camper who needs versatility above all else. If you're the kind of RVer who spends one week boondocking with solar power, the next week hooked up to shore power at a campground, and a good amount of time on the road in between, the Manager30 was made for you.Why? The Manager30 is not one, not two, but SIX products in one: auxiliary battery charger, 110-volt charger, solar regulator, battery isolater, load disconnect controller, and remote battery monitor. This means that no matter what power source is available (shore power, solar power, or alternator power), this device can use it. If you're running off an AC shore connection at a campground, the built-in 110-volt charger will use this connection to charge your batteries. When you're off grid and living on DC power (from solar power, your tow vehicle's alternator, or both), the Manager30 prioritizes solar energy before ever pulling power from your truck or SUV in order to minimize strain on your vehicle. Because the Manager30 also acts as a solar regulator and battery isolator, it saves you from having to buy these products separately to distribute your solar power or protect your tow vehicle battery. There's even a remote monitor to help you keep track of all the power going in and out of your batteries, so you're always informed about their state of charge.This is NOT For You If: One quick note—the Manager30 is pretty heavy duty. That's not to say you can't use it if you only have one battery in your RV, but the Manager30 is built to handle multiple batteries, so this is where it shines. If you don't need the full might and magic of the Manager30, check out the BCDC at #2 below for a DC-powered option (for boondockers), or the Progressive Dynamics Converter Charger at #4 if you tend to stay at campgrounds with shore power.And keep in mind that the Manager30 can only output DC power, so in order to power equipment like your refrigerator, laptop, or microwave when you're off grid, you'll also need an inverter to convert DC power to AC power. (For an inverter/converter combo, check out #3 on our list.)
Redarc BCDC

2. REDARC BCDC Charger

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Ideal for off-grid campers and charging while driving
  • Power input: DC (solar, vehicle alternator)
  • Power output: DC
  • Inverter NOT included
This is For You If:The BCDC is built for RVers who spend most of their time away from campgrounds. Unlike the Manager30, the BCDC isn't compatible with shore power. However, it does a fantastic job of charging your batteries via DC input from solar panels or your vehicle's alternator. This makes the BCDC a great choice for boondocking—charge up while you drive and make sure your RV is ready to use at the campsite, then kick back and enjoy your sun-powered freedom once you get there. If you're one of those campers who tries to stay charged with a 7-way connector while driving and regularly deals with dead batteries, the BCDC is the answer to your problems.The BCDC's built-in Green Power Priority means that, like the Manager30, it will pull power from your solar panels before ever touching your alternator, thus sparing your vehicle unnecessary stress. The built-in isolator also prevents the charger from draining your tow vehicle battery when your engine is off, so you won't have the nasty surprise of a dead battery next time you try to start your vehicle. This is NOT For You If: The BCDC is primarily for off-grid campers. If you mostly stay at campgrounds, you're better off with an AC to DC charger like the Progressive Dynamics charger at #4. If you often mix it up by staying at campgrounds and boondocking off grid, and you want the most efficient charger for both situations, the Manager30 is more your style.
Go Power Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger

3. Go Power Industrial Pure Sine Wave Inverter Charger

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Ideal for campgrounds and off-grid camping with AC appliances
  • Great for large RVs with multiple house batteries
  • Power input: AC/DC (shore power, pre-charged house batteries)
  • Power output: AC/DC
  • Inverter included
  • 3-in-1: Inverter, converter charger, and automatic transfer switch
This is For You If:Unlike the other chargers on this list, the Go Power Inverter Charger has a built-in inverter, so you can run your AC appliances even when you're not hooked up to shore power. In particularly, it's great if you either: a) don't have an inverter yet and want to save money with a combined inverter/charger, or b) want to save valuable RV space with a combined inverter/charger.Basically, this all-in-one device ensures you have the type of power you need everywhere you go. When you're off grid, charge your batteries using a separate solar panel setup or vehicle alternator, then enjoy AC power with this inverter charger. (Note that this charger is NOT a DC to DC charger, so you'll still need a reliable way to charge your house batteries off grid. For instance, if you already have a solar setup to maintain your batteries, this charger is perfect for turning that DC power into AC power.)When you're hooked up at the campground, the efficient converter-charger will turn your AC shore power into DC power to keep your batteries fully charged. The included transfer switch automatically changes from your inverter to shore power when you hook up at the campground to conserve battery life. If you want to monitor the charger from inside your RV, you can add on the fixed-mount remote so that you can monitor all the functions and even customize the settings.This is NOT For You If: If you already have an inverter or you only plan to use DC power when boondocking, you won't need the inverter included with this charger. Save yourself a few dollars and check out one of the REDARC chargers above.If you have a small RV with very few AC appliances, it may be less expensive to purchase a smaller inverter and battery charger separately. It's a good idea to add up the cost of any battery charger, inverter, and converter you plan to purchase to make sure this Go Power bundle is saving you money. Also note that this is NOT a DC to DC charger. It won't be able to tap into solar power or your vehicle alternator to charge your batteries. If you're already using one of these reliable methods to charge your batteries, the built-in inverter will invert the incoming DC power to AC power so you can use appliances like your television, 120V outlets, etc.
Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power RV Converter

4. Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power RV Converter and Smart Battery Charger

IN A NUTSHELL:
  • Ideal for campground use and storage
  • Power input: AC (shore power)
  • Power output: DC
  • Inverter NOT included
This is For You If:If you typically stay at campgrounds with electrical hookups and don't go off grid, the Progressive Dynamics Smart Charger is the perfect battery charger for you. This charger converts AC power to DC power to keep your batteries fed, and it does it much more efficiently than your single-stage stock converter-charger.This device's 4-stage charging process also includes an "equalization" mode, which actively helps prevent battery damage during extended storage (such as during the off season). So if you're looking for a charger that will take care of your battery all year long, you've found it.This is NOT For You If: If you don't frequent RV parks and use AC power, this converter charger won't do you much good. If you're a boondocker who relies on solar power or a vehicle alternator, you'll want to stick with one of the options above that can handle a DC power input.

How to Choose an RV Battery Charger

1. Determine the Size of Your Battery Bank

Which battery charger you should use depends on the total number of amp-hours in your battery bank. In order to find your battery's amp-hours, multiply the number of amps (A) it provides by its discharge time in hours (h). So, if your battery provides 10 amps of current for 10 hours, that would be 10 amps × 10 hours = 100 Ah battery.Once you find your battery's amp-hours, we recommend using a converter charger rated at about 30% of your total battery amperage. Going slightly over won't harm the batteries (it will actually charge them faster). However, it's best not to choose a charger that is too high above that 30% marker, or you risk damaging your batteries and having to replace them sooner rather than later.
  • Amps x Hours = Amp Hours (Ah)
  • (Ah) x .30 = recommended converter charger size
Example:
  • 10 amps x 10 hours = 100 Ah battery
  • 100 Ah x .30 = 30 amp charger

2. Decide What Function(s) You Need Based on Your Lifestyle

Battery chargers come in many forms, as you've seen above. It's important to know what you'll be using your charger for before you make a purchase. Do you spend a lot of time hooked up to shore power and want a quick way to charge your batteries at the campsite? Get a charger with a converter like the Progressive Dynamics converter at #4. Do you plan on staying off grid and want to power your AC appliances? Get an inverter/converter charger combo like the Go Power inverter at #3. Are you pulling a towable camper and want to keep your big battery bank juiced up and ready to go while you tow? Get a DC to DC charger like REDARC's Manager30 or BCDC.
Related ArticlesRelated ProductsUpdated: 11/30/22

Dave M.

11/2/2020

As I've used solar power in my motorhome and wintered in Yuma Arizona for the past 5 years, my power bills were always below $10.00 a month, so that's what I'm trying to duplicate without going through all the cost of setting up a complete solar system on my 38' trailer. So my question is because of all the sun in Yuma can I run my motorhome mostly with solar, like I want, using shore power at night or during cloudy days to keep my batteries topped up.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

11/3/2020

You definitely can run your motorhome purely on solar panels - you just have to have a large enough battery bank and enough solar panels to do so. Here is a link to our helpful articles on solar panels that I believe will give you a lot more insight into what you're needing to know.

Chuck S.

10/29/2020

What do I need to do to store a single battery. I have the RV hooked to 50amp service. Do I disconnect the power for winter. In the past I have disconnected the battery and just stored on the shelf. Charge it back up in spring. Chuck USA Ret

Dave M.

10/29/2020

We purchased a 38" 90's Holiday Rambler that is permanently set up in Yuma AZ. I was wondering if the manager 30 would allow us to put panels on the roof and run the wires down to the manager and hook the wires directly to it. Then use solar and shore power to manage my batteries, with the ability to switch between each one as a source, and switch back and forth as required?

Dave M.

11/1/2020

@JonG I was hoping to add in solar so I could monitor it and run on solar only until I would need to switch to shore power. Or could an inverter be added to the manager 30? and make it work for what I want.

Dave M.

11/1/2020

@JonG Maybe I should explain better what I want to do. Put solar panels on my 38 ft fifth wheel Holiday Rambler trailer, and without the normal kit required to make it a complete working system, hook it to the Manager, then use it in conjunction with shore power to keep my batteries charged, by having control over both systems and the ability to switch back and forth as needed by adding an inverter. Will this work?
Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

11/2/2020

@DaveM If this is strictly for keeping your battery bank charged then you just need The Manager30 # RED88FR (as well as some solar panels). The Manager30 can draw power from your vehicle alternator, solar panels, as well as shore power using a standard 3-pronged socket like what you have in your house. Since your batteries only use DC power you don't need to worry about having anything else to charge them.


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