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Stay Charged with a SMART Battery Charger for RVs (2024)

| Updated Dec 28, 2023

The trickle charger has a new name & safety features. Maintain & protect your RV battery from overcharging with a smart battery charger… 

Many RVers are familiar with ‘trickle battery chargers' that recharge an RV battery if it sits unused for a while. They're a great tool for gradually restoring a low or depleted battery to full charge. 

However, old manual chargers and tricklers have a few safety risks to you and your battery. They could spark if connected improperly, which could shock you or cause an explosion. Plus, if left on too long, they could overcharge and destroy your battery… also potentially leading to an explosion. 

These dangers have led to improvements over the past decade or so, and now these types of batteries are referred to as “smart battery chargers.” Long-time RVers tend to still call them tricklers, but what you're really searching for (and want) is a smart battery charger. It does more than just trickling, too.

We're gonna tell you more about them, and give you a few good options to use for your RV.

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What Does a Smart Battery Charger Do?

Stay Charged with a SMART Battery Charger for RVs (2024) 1

A smart battery charger keeps your battery healthy when it's not in use by monitoring and charging as necessary. It is designed to be left on your RV when parked or stored for an extended period of time. Thus, a smart battery charger is a trickle charger and battery maintainer all in one.

It has additional smart safety features that prevent sparks and overcharging. When connected improperly, they won't emit a charge & thus not emit a dangerous spark. This is called reverse polarity protection. Some even alert you on an LCD display or with light indicators if connected improperly.

Plus, it automatically shuts off when your battery reaches full power, and the best even adjust based on charging conditions. Meaning it won't overcharge in hot climates or undercharge in cold climates.

It can do even more…

The best smart battery chargers do even more. For instance, the most popular smart battery charger that tops our list below is an all-in-one battery charging solution. In addition to trickling, it works as a charger, float charger / maintainer, and desulfator. 

If you don't know what any of that means, don't worry, the smart battery does. These smart batteries are designed for even those who are completely ignorant about batteries. 

Will a Smart Charger Charge a Dead Battery?

Smart chargers can charge nearly dead batteries, and the best options can charge a fully depleted battery. So, in most cases, the answer is yes. A smart battery can charge a battery that's down to a few volts. And the best battery charger can do it at 0 volts with an additional function called a “force charge.”

Does RV Battery Type Matter?

Yes, RV battery type does matter.  Some smart automatic chargers support a few different battery types, like lithium, AGM, and lead-acid batteries. However, less versatile battery chargers only support one type. So, you must make sure the intelligent battery charger you buy supports your type of RV battery.

3 Great Options for an RV Smart Battery Charger

There are several quality smart battery chargers on the market for RVs. We've narrowed it down to 3 great options to make it easier for you to choose from. Which of the 3 you need depends on your needs and battery system.

1. Noco Genius 10 All-in-One Battery Solution

SMART Battery Charger

The Noco Genius 10 is a versatile, all-in-one universal charging solution designed to charge and maintain various types of 6-volt and 12-volt batteries. It is an upgraded version of the G7200 and is 17% smaller yet delivers over 115% more power. It functions as a battery charger, battery maintainer, trickle charger, float charger, and battery desulfator.

It's designed for 6-volt and 12-volt sealed lead-acid batteries, and deep-cycle batteries, including flooded, gel, AGM, SLA, VRLA and maintenance-free, plus lithium-ion batteries (lifepo4). This versatility makes it ideal for use in various applications, including RVs.

It is fully automatic and worry-free, allowing for 24/7 use with zero overcharge. It has a digital thermal sensor that alters the charge in inclement climates. This smart function promises even more extended battery life.

Plus, it can automatically charge batteries as low as 1 volt, or you can switch to “force mode” to manually charge a completely dead battery.

2. Schumacher SC 1280

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The Schumacher SC 1280 is a fully automatic battery charger that is designed to detect both 6V and 12V batteries. The unit features multi-stage charging and float-mode monitoring, which optimizes battery health and extends battery life. 

It is compatible with 6V and 12V standard, AGM, gel, and deep-cycle batteries, making it a versatile option for a wide range of battery types. It also has reverse hook-up protection in case you connect the alligator clip incorrectly.

3. Battle Born Blue Smart IP65 Charger

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If you're like us and use Battle Born batteries, then you may want the Blue Smart IP65 charger. It is a professional-level 12 volt, 15 amp charger that's smart technology includes built-in bluetooth.

It is a bit pricier than the other two options, but it's endorsed by Battle Born Batteries to use on their products. It's also worth noting that their batteries deplete at a much slower rate than normal, so you may not even need a smart charger. Their lithium batteries experience 1-2% loss per month, whereas lead-acid batteries discharge 10-15% per month. 

If you're not familiar with Battle Born Batteries and why we recommend them, read an RV Upgrade That’s Actually Worth It: Battle Born Batteries. Or, watch the following video…

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-05-08

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “Stay Charged with a SMART Battery Charger for RVs (2024)”

August 11, 2023at1:16 pm, Bruce B said:

Seriously? You call a Victron battery charger a Battle Born charger.

BTW it should be the number 1 choice.


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