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What is the BEST charger for your camper van battery?

If you are a regular user of campers or are looking for a way to charge your battery when other methods are not enough, maybe you need a charger for your battery! There are a few criteria to keep in mind so you don’t make the wrong choice, but don’t worry! In this post we’ll help you decide which charger is best for your battery, so that its lifespan isn’t harmed 👍

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Comparison of chargers for auxiliary batteries 2022

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What criteria to follow to choose the right charger for your battery?

There are many brands on the market that market different models of battery chargers. Below we tell you what criteria we took into account when choosing the best charger for our battery:

What type of battery do you want to charge?

The first thing to consider is the type of battery to be charged. In the camper world the most used batteries are gel and AGM batteries. Why is it important to take this into account? Because not all types of batteries are charged at the same voltage.

For example, in our case, we have a gel battery. Gel batteries have lower charging voltages than AGM batteries. If a gel battery were to be charged with an AGM battery charger, it could suffer damage that could shorten its service life.

Nowadays, many chargers allow you to select the type of battery to be charged. This can be very useful if you ever need to charge the main battery in your van.

Charger with phased charging algorithm – is it useful?

Our answer to these two questions is a resounding yes. A charger that offers the possibility of charging the battery by adapting its voltage to the different charging phases, depending on the type of battery, will help to perform optimal charges that will extend the battery’s service life.

What voltage and how many amperes should the charger output be?

The answer to this is It depends Depending on how you look at it…. 🎵? Noooo, it depends on the working voltage and capacity of the battery you want to charge. The charger, logically, has to charge at the same voltage as the battery works. If the battery is 12V, the charger must be 12V. On the other hand, for the amperage it is usually established that a suitable charger must load to 10% of the capacity of the battery.

For example, as our gel battery is 12V and 316Ah, the charger we bought is a Victron Energy 12V 30A blue smart charger (see on Amazon)

What is the available budget?

Another factor you will have to take into account is the money you can or want to invest in the charger. Perhaps this can help you a little, we apart from assessing our economic possibilities, we always ask ourselves the following questions before choosing an item that we need to buy:

  • what frequency of use will we give, in this case, to the charger?
  • will we really take advantage of it or do we really need it?
  • what are the advantages and disadvantages of having it?

We personally make this balance to narrow down the price ranges of the components we buy.

We do not invest the same in a device that we will use very occasionally, than in one that we will use on a daily basis. Nor in one that seems to us superfluous or a whim, than in one that is essential for our life, that saves us work or can “save our life” on occasion.

Carefully assessing the pros and cons and establishing an approximate budget before buying will help you to better plan the camperization. And remember that a van has very limited space.

Do you want to buy a battery charger on Amazon?

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Do you really need a battery charger?

To be honest, we believe that a battery charger is not an indispensable element of the electrical installation of the van, but it can be very important depending on the type of use you are going to give to your camper. For example:

  • Overnight camping: A charger can be essential if you usually spend the night in camping areas. You can leave the charger plugged in overnight and in the morning you will have your battery at 100%, ready to start a new day. Guaranteeing that it will never drop too much its charge %.
  • The camper as a regular home: If you live in the camper, as we do, we believe that having as many charging options available as you can is a good idea. Depending on where you are and the time of year, a solar panel may not be enough or you may not move the van enough to keep the battery charged with the alternator.
  • Weekend getaways without a solar panel: If you use the van for short periods of time, you may not need to install a solar panel and simply charging the battery to 100% with a charger before leaving home will keep the battery charged during the trip.
  • If you use the van occasionally, you will have noticed that the battery suffers from self-discharging. A battery charger will help you keep the charge at an appropriate level.
  • Weekend getaways with a solar panel: If you use the van regularly for weekend trips and you have a solar panel installed, you probably do not need the charger if the battery does not have time to self-discharge between trips.

Opinions and final conclusions of the chargers for batteries and its price

As we have already reflected throughout the entry, our opinion on the need to have a battery charger varies greatly depending on the user you are. As a general summary we could conclude that, due to the low cost of most chargers and that you also have the possibility of using it without any kind of fixed installation, it could be useful to have a charger if you spend long periods in the van or need to charge the battery at home between outings.