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.
Hey, if you buy something through my links, I might get a little something-something as a thank you. No extra cost to you, promise! Read our full affiliate disclosure here.
What Does a Smart Battery Charger Do?
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.
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.
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.
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…
Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!
Get the Home Study Course today and worry about the road, not the repairs!
Every time you move your RV it's like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.
We recommend Hollywood Racks for your RV Lifestyle…
The RV Rider bike rack for RV's, motorhomes, and fifth wheels carries 2 E-Bikes (up to 80 lbs. each) on the back of an RV Motorhome, a 5th wheel, or a flat towed vehicle. A 2″ hitch is required for this rack. Special features include universal heavy-duty wheel holders for heavy load carrying capacity. These wheel holders can fit any tire up to 5″ wide and include a ratchet wheel strap. Locking frame grabbers secure the bikes in place. This bike rack is not compatible with bumper pull, travel trailers or bumper mounted hitch receivers. Enter the promo code RVLIFESTYLE to save 10%
If you want to look at everything they offer, not just the RV Rider rack — go here and explore all the options!