If you’ve spent any time traveling off the grid, you’ll understand the importance of a long-lasting, durable battery. But while many van lifers invest a lot of time and energy into researching different RV batteries, they often forget to buy one simple tool to help prolong the life of their battery – the battery monitor.
A battery monitor tells you all the ins and outs of what’s going on with your campervan battery, such as battery voltage, state of charge, temperature, and current. They also allow you to see how much power is being supplied by the solar panels in your solar system, so you won’t have to worry about running out of electricity during your trip.
Battery monitors may not be the most exciting or flashy piece of equipment you’ll ever purchase, but they can be one of the most useful. Battery monitoring is important, no matter if you’re spending one night or living on the road full time.
You can find yourself lost when shopping for battery monitors. We’re saving you a lot of time and stress by sharing our top recommendations below!
TOP RECOMMENDED RV Battery Monitors
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
VICTRON ENERGY BMV-712
RENOGY 500A BATTERY MONITOR
AILI RV BATTERY MONITOR
BAYITE DC 6.5-100V 0-100A BATTERY MONITOR
BUNKER INDUST 12V BATTERY MONITOR
DROK DC 0-300V BATTERY MONITOR
QWORK BATTERY MONITOR VOLTMETER AMMETER
SIMARINE PICO BLUE PACKAGE - SMART MARINE AND RV BATTERY MONITOR
The Best RV Battery Monitors
When deciding on the best RV battery monitors, it’s important to take into consideration the accuracy, durability, and ease of use.
With those factors in mind, we found a couple of noteworthy products that you should look at when researching battery monitors.
Victron Energy BMV-712
When it comes to battery monitors, the Victron Battery Monitor BMV-712 is one of the best.
It’s easy to install and comes with everything you need to get started, including a battery shunt, connectors, and a power supply cable.
Even if you’ve never owned a battery monitor before, the Victron Energy BMV-712 is incredibly user-friendly. That’s because this high-tech device has built-in Bluetooth technology that allows you to monitor all the information from your smartphone or laptop. However, there’s also a screen on the battery itself in case you’re more old school.
In addition to the basic monitoring system, you’ll also be able to read about your battery’s state of charge, power consumption in watts, and time to go. It can also be connected to a second battery for those traveling with larger rigs or more devices.
|* Easy to install|
* Bluetooth technology
* All accessories included
|* Expensive price point|
Renogy 500a Battery Monitor
With its large, LED-backed screen, the Renogy 500a Battery Monitor is just as easy to read as it is to use.
The intuitive buttons on the side allow you to scroll through voltage, current, battery capacity, and other useful details about your RV battery.
It also has the ability to store past information even with the system shuts off. And it can connect to monitor the state of charge of your solar panels as well.
While it’s an affordable option for most small to midsize batteries, it noticeably lacks a few accessories it needs to operate, which can add to the overall cost of the monitor set up. It comes with a shunt but doesn’t provide cables or a temperature sensor.
|* Easy to read|
* Easy to install
* Includes battery shunt
|* Does not come with cables or sensors|
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AiLi RV Battery Monitor
With the ability to connect to lithium, lead-acid, lithium iron phosphate from 8w to 100w, the AiLi RV Battery Monitor is a versatile tool that can be used with most campervans.
In fact, you can also use it to measure other devices you have, including e-bikes, instruments, and other pieces of electric equipment.
The screen is large and bright, which makes it easy to read from a distance. And it shows you the information in a picture form like a fuel gauge so that you can understand the exact information levels and life span.
|* User-friendly fuel gauge style monitor|
* Compatible with many battery types
* Can be used with other devices
|* Hard to read instructions for setup|
Bayite DC 6.5-100V 0-100A Battery Monitor
If you want a heavy-duty battery monitor that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then consider the Bayite DC 6.5-100V 0-100A.
At a fraction of what other monitors cost, this product tells you everything you need to know about your battery status, including energy, voltage, and current.
Its simple design isn’t anything flashy, nor does it come with high-tech bells and whistles that other battery monitors might have. But it is made from durable materials that will provide an accurate reading, which at the end of the day, is all you need when monitoring your battery capacity.
|* Bright display screen|
* Very affordable
|* Does not come with wires or extra accessories|
BUNKER INDUST 12V Battery Monitor
If you’re traveling with more than one battery then you’ll need a sturdy device that can help you keep track of each individual system. That’s where the BUNKER INDUST 12V Battery Monitor comes in handy.
It has the ability to four batteries at a time, without using lots of power itself.
The one big difference between the monitor and others on this list is the lack of a digital display. All monitoring is done completely through an app your iOS or Android device. While it’s shouldn’t be a problem to get the data on your phone, it’s obviously a problem for those who are traveling off-grid.
|* Affordable price point|
* Smart-phone monitoring
* Can connect up to 4 batteries
|* No built-in display monitor|
DROK DC 0-300V Battery Monitor
The simple and easy-to-use DC 0-300V is one of DROK’s most popular battery monitoring systems.
This versatile product can be used as a dc amp meter, digital voltmeter, power meter, and battery capacity monitor, all of which can help you measure the health of your electric battery.
It also comes with a practical safety feature that alarms and flashes to warn you if voltage is too high or low. This is a useful benefit that we haven’t see with many other systems.
Size-wise, the battery monitor is small and compact. And thanks to the bright LED screen, you can get an accurate reading from anywhere in your RV.
|* Easy to read|
* Versatile uses
* Safety warning feature
|* Only comes with short wires and cables (longer wires must be purchases separately)|
QWORK Battery Monitor Voltmeter Ammeter
You can’t go wrong with a battery monitor like the QWORK Voltmeter Ammeter. This small and compact system shows you voltage, current, consumed power and battery capacity while also having the ability to store past data so you can compare electrical power from last time.
It can be connected to multiple types of battery systems (lithium batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, lead-acid batteries, and nickel-metal hydride batteries) as well as other device types like e-bikes and cleaning machines.
As an added bonus, the display screen is bright and user friendly, which means you should have no problem reading or understanding the information.
|* Intuitive display screen|
* Affordable price point
|* Instructions for set up can be confusing to some|
Simarine PICO Blue Package – Smart Marine and RV Battery Monitor
For when only the best will do! The ultra-sleek Simarine PICO Blue Package is one of the most high-tech battery monitors we’ve seen. It tells you practically everything wants to know about your electrical system and solar panels while displaying the information on a small screen (much like an iPad or tablet).
Besides the basic settings like voltage and amp-hours, the PICO can also tell you about fuel, water, levels, and power draw from AC units or refrigerators.
It can connect to up to six batteries (the most we’ve seen for a battery monitor) while offering 14 levels of temperature monitoring. It even has the ability to detect equipment malfunction, which can come in handy if you’re traveling for extended periods of time.
Of course, all these nifty features do come with a hefty price tag. But if you’re willing to shell out some money for a full battery monitoring system, then you’ll probably be quite impressed with teh Simarine PICO.
|* Smart display screen|
* Handful of useful monitoring measures
* Ability to connect to 6 batteries
|* Expensive price point|
* More difficult to install and program
Choosing the Best RV Battery Monitor
From smart high-tech battery systems to simple, no-frills battery bank monitors, there are numerous brands, companies, and models of battery monitors.
If you’re still trying to decide what type of battery to get, check out our comprehensive blog post on AGM vs lithium technologies.
The price of a battery monitor varies depending on numerous factors, including capacity, accessories, features, and built-in technology. On average, a decent battery monitor might cost anywhere from $50 to $100.
On the lower end of the spectrum, you can find an RV battery monitor for around $20 to $40, although it probably won’t come with any extra features. But if you’re looking for a tool that simply tells you the battery voltage and current information, then a cheaper model might be sufficient for your RV.
More expensive battery monitors can cost upwards of $200. They might have built-in Bluetooth or smart phone capabilities so you can monitor all the information on a mobile app.
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Ease of Installation
Although it’s generally not the most time-consuming piece of equipment to install in your campervan, it is useful to buy a battery monitor that isn’t too complicated to set up.
Having good instructions and all the required parts (like cables, switchplates, and a shunt) will make the installation process smooth and seamless.
Some batteries come with extra accessories so you can utilize your battery to its full potential. You might find that some have all the necessary cables, cords, and plates needed for set up, which makes the installation process a breeze.
On the other hand, other models might require you to purchase these parts separately.
An easy-to-read display monitor is crucial to understanding how your RV battery is working. The larger and more detailed the display monitor, the better idea you’ll have about everything that’s happening inside.
Although some options are nice to have, all decent RV batteries should at least be able to show the charge level, temperature, and voltage.
The best RV batteries should come with a battery shunt, which is crucial for operation. The shunt measures the current to flow from the negative terminal while also providing the date to your display monitor.
We recommend looking for a battery that comes with its own shunt, so you won’t have to worry about finding another connector that is compatible.
VICTRON ENERGY BMV-712
As you know now, a battery monitor is one of the most useful things you could install in your RV.
Not only does it let you keep tabs on everything that’s happening, but it also helps you extend the life of your battery bank and solar system by making sure that nothing is overheating or using too much power.
And while you can’t go wrong with any monitor on this list, we highly recommend the Victron Energy System. It’ll keep things running smoothly so you can worry less about battery consumption and focus more on the great outdoors.
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