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5 Best 12v Lithium-Ion Battery Options For Van Life

Looking to power up your campervan? Here are the 5 best 12v lithium-ion battery options for van life with pros and cons for each.
Man drilling a hole in a campervan buildout.
Designing your campervan build or need to upgrade your power system?

Looking to power up your campervan? Here are the 5 best 12-volt lithium-ion battery options for van life.

If you want to hit the road and go off-grid, you’re going to want the best batteries possible in your van. Your batteries are responsible for powering all your essentials like lights, appliances, air-conditioners, and 12-volt fans, as well as any personal devices like laptops.

The need for more power has led to many van lifers making the switch to 12-volt lithium-ion batteries. 

What’s a Lithium-Ion Battery?

12-volt lithium-ion batteries use the same battery technology found in devices like cell phones. They have deep-cycling capabilities which means they can be drained and recharged continuously without major issues.

Compared with traditional lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries provide more power for longer periods of time. Plus, they recharge faster to boot. And while they’re more expensive upfront, they last much longer than traditional batteries. Because of this, they can save you money on replacement costs over time. 

The kind of 12-volt lithium-ion battery used in RVs is a lithium iron phosphate battery – commonly referred to as LiFePO4 batteries. These batteries are designed to be extremely safe and stable. (They won’t catch fire or explode in response to things like collisions). These batteries will usually also include a battery management system – or “BMS” – to make them even safer. 

With so many benefits, it’s no surprise to see 12-volt lithium-ion batteries becoming more and more popular. But with so many options available (and such a big investment), it can be hard to choose which battery to buy.

That’s why we’ve made this list of the top 5 best 12v lithium-ion batteries for van life.

5. Mighty Max LiFePO4 Battery

Our 5th best 12v battery is one of the best options for those on a budget. Mighty Max Batteries was established in 2006 and make batteries at a competitive price point. Their 12v lithium battery line is a popular choice because they’re some of the most affordable on the market. And, they still have plenty of great features. 

Mighty Max 12v lithium-ion battery
Mighty Max 12v lithium-ion battery. Photo from Mighty Max.

Pros

  • One of the lowest-cost options on the market.
  • Still includes a BMS and has a warranty.
  • Low cost.

Cons

  • The warranty is only for 2 years. This is significantly less than other batteries on this list.

4. Renogy LiFePO4 Battery

Renogy is a manufacturer of batteries and solar tech that has a strong focus on renewable energy and off-grid living. Their 12v lithium batteries are highly regarded and fully featured while still being fairly affordable. An included BMS and a few other bells and whistles make this battery a great option for any van lifer. 

Pros

  • A lower-cost option for a 12v lithium ion battery.
  • Features a special activation switch to manually place the battery in “shelf mode”. This helps to save power and extend the battery’s lifespan.
  • Communication port so the battery can communicate with external monitors.
  • App you can use to monitor the battery (as well as any other Renogy products).
  • Includes a 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • The warranty is shorter than some other 12v lithium batteries on our list.

3. Dakota Lithium LiFePO4 Battery

Dakota Lithium manufacturers lithium batteries for a wide variety of applications including boats, wheelchairs, and of course: RVs. Their 12v lithium-ion battery is a great, middle-priced option that’s high-quality and reliable. And as a bonus, Dakota Lithium includes a LiFePO4 compatible charger with their batteries. 

Pros

  • A high-quality 12v lithium battery that’s not too expensive. 
  • Includes a compatible battery charger. 
  • Features an 11-year warranty. This one of the longest warranties on our list.

Cons

  • This is a fairly heavy battery at 31.9 pounds.

2. Battle Born Batteries

If you go looking for information about 12v lithium-ion batteries for your van, you’re almost guaranteed to hear about Battle Born Batteries. This Reno, Nevada-based company engineers and manufactures all its products in the US. They’re one of the best 12v lithium-ion battery options on the market and it’s no surprise they’re such a popular choice. 

Pros

  • 100% designed and built in the US. 
  • Offer heated battery kits for those who will be operating in below-freezing temperatures.
  • Offer a wide range of batteries in various designs, power ratings, and form factors.
  • Features a 10-year warranty.

Cons

  • While not the most expensive option out there, these batteries are at the upper end of the price range.

1. Lion Safari LiFePO4 Battery

Lion Energy is a manufacturer of power solutions such as batteries, solar panels, and home energy storage systems. Their 12v lithium-ion battery has a ton of features that set it apart from other options on the market.  And their batteries even come with a lifetime warranty!

Lion Energy 12v lithium-ion battery
Lion Energy UT 1300 battery. Photo from Lion Energy.

Pros

  • Rated for 105Ah, which is slightly higher than other batteries on this list.
  • Can be stored for up to 2 years and still maintain its charge.
  • Lifetime warranty for this battery that covers any defects in materials and workmanship.
  • Weighs only 23 pounds! This makes it by far the most lightweight battery on our list and one of the lightest on the market. 

Cons

  • These batteries are an investment, with some of the highest prices on the market.
  • While most manufacturers offer a wide range of 12v battery options, Lion Energy currently only offers three. 

It’s Time To Make The Upgrade

It’s time to dump your AGM (absorbent glass mat) or lead-acid battery and upgrade to a lithium-ion battery bank. While you definitely need to be prepared for an initial investment, the pros outweigh the cons of lithium versus AGM. The lower weight, increased amount of usable energy, and overall lifespan (10-15 years vs. 3-5 years) make them a worthy investment.

If you’re looking for a 12v lithium-ion battery for your van, these are the best options available to you. Whether you’re on a budget or want all the bells and whistles, one of these batteries is sure to be just right for you. Whichever battery you pick, upgrading to a lithium-ion is a great choice for anyone living the van life. It’s time to make the change and bring your van into the 21st century!

5 comments

  1. Costco has Lion batteries on sale regularly two for $1400. At $700 each this makes them an awesome option.

  2. A “lifetime warranty” is, at best, only as good as the lifetime of the company making the promise — if it goes out of business, so does the warranty… Reputation is more important than company marketing promises.

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