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Scenic roads, beautiful views, and freedom. Van life comes with many exciting perks for those who wish to embrace a life of simplicity and adventure. Solar batteries are one of the most vital necessities for van life, as they power your fridge, water pump, heater, lights, and air-cooling system.
The best solar battery for van life is the Battle Born LiFePO4. It has a long lifespan, a 10-year warranty, a broad operating temperature range, and a built-in battery management system that monitors and regulates current, voltage, and temperature volatility.
Battle Born batteries, however, will not be suitable for you if you are looking for the following:
- Water-resistant solar batteries that you can use outdoors. Consider Ampere Time 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 (available on Amazon).
- Solar batteries that are light in weight. Consider ECO-WORTHY 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 (available on Amazon).
- Solar batteries that last for more than 5,000 cycles. Go with ExpertPower 12V 100Ah Lithium LiFePO4 (available on Amazon).
- Low-priced solar batteries. Take a look at CHINS 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 (available on Amazon).
This article will take a more in-depth look at why Battle Born LiFePO4 batteries are the best overall solar battery for van life. It will also present four alternative batteries that are suitable in other circumstances. But first, let’s quickly go through the factors to consider when purchasing a solar battery.
Factors To Consider
When purchasing a solar battery for van life, there are three things to take into consideration:
Let’s look at how each of the five solar batteries measures up.
More info: How many batteries does a campervan need? A guide to the best batteries for on the go solar How to extend the life of your van solar battery system
|Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||3,000 – 5,000 cycles||8 / 10|
|ExpertPower 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||2,500 – 7,000 cycles||9 /10|
|Ampere Time 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||4,000+ cycles||7 / 10|
|ECO-WORTHY 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||3,000 cycles||4 / 10|
|CHINS 12v 100Ah LiFePO4||2,000+ cycles||3 / 10|
Winners: ExpertPower LiFePO4 and Battle Born LiFePO4
The very first thing everyone wants to know about a battery is how long it will last.
ExpertPower and Battle Born have the longest lifespans. ExpertPower is capable of running for 2,000 more cycles, while Battle Born can initially operate for 500 more cycles at full capacity. A cycle is when a battery is used until it is completely drained and then charged back up to 100%.
Depending on the electrical appliances and equipment connected to a battery, a cycle may last about a day, give or take a few hours. Therefore, 3,000 cycles may last a minimum of about 8 years. However, the battery’s depth of discharge (DOD) often decreases after that.
DOD is the percentage of power that can be withdrawn from the battery relative to its total capacity.
For the Battle Born battery, the DOD decreases from about 100% to 75%-80% after 3,000 cycles, while ExpertPower’s DOD drops to 80% after 2,500 cycles. At the 7,000-cycle mark, the DOD for the ExpertPower battery is 50% of its total capacity.
|Solar Battery||Size (Length x Width x Height)||Score|
|Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||12.75” x 6.88” x 9”(32.4 x 17.5 x 23 cm)||9 / 10|
|ExpertPower 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||13” x 6.8” x 8.4”(33 x 17.27 x 21.3 cm)||7 /10|
|Ampere Time 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||13” x 6.82” x 8.48”(33 x 17.32 x 21.5 cm)||7 / 10|
|ECO-WORTHY 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||13” x 8.46” x 6.77”(33 x 21.5 x 17.2 cm)||6 / 10|
|CHINS 12v 100Ah LiFePO4||12.95” x 6.77” x 8.43”(32.9 x 17.2 x 21.4 cm)||8 / 10|
Winner: Battle Born LiFePO4
Given that van life involves living in a limited space, the size of items stored inside the van can considerably impact comfort levels. For this reason, batteries that take up less space are preferable.
Although the size differences between the five batteries may not seem significant when considering a single battery, it adds up when you need to connect several batteries to expand capacity.
|Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||31 lbs (14 kg)||6 / 10|
|ExpertPower 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||22.6 lbs (10.25 kg)||9 /10|
|Ampere Time 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||24.3 lbs (11 kg)||7 / 10|
|ECO-WORTHY 12V 100Ah LiFePO4||22.3 lbs (10.1 kg)||9 / 10|
|CHINS 12v 100Ah LiFePO4||23.8 lbs (10.8 kg)||8 / 10|
Winners: ECO-WORTHY LiFePO4 and ExpertPower LiFePO4
The weight of the cargo that a vehicle has to carry has a significant bearing on its fuel efficiency—the heavier the weight, the more fuel that the vehicle consumes. Therefore, batteries that weigh less are more advantageous.
Looking at the size and weight comparison tables, however, lighter doesn’t necessarily mean smaller. The ECO-WORTHY LiFePO4 and ExpertPower LiFePO4 batteries are longer and wider than the Battle Born LiFePO4, which is the heaviest on the list.
Therefore, you may have to decide for yourself whether size or weight matters more to you and your van life setup.
Best Overall: Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4
- Built-in BMS
- Lightweight and versatile
- Proudly designed and assembled in Reno, Nevada
- 10 year warranty
With the unbeatable combination of a long lifespan, compact size, and an industry-leading 10-year warranty, the Battle Born LiFePO4 is one of the most popular solar batteries for van life for a reason.
Battle Born’s renowned warranty is one of its most attractive features. The warranty guarantees that all the batteries and other products that Battle Born or its authorized distributors and dealers sell are free from defects for 10 years.
If any problems occur within the first 8 years of purchase, Battle Born will credit, replace, or repair your battery. Any defects detected after that until the 10-year mark after purchase, Battle Born will either repair the battery or give you a discount of 30% on a new similar item.
Unfortunately, Battle Born does not offer refunds on purchases.
Another popular aspect of the batteries is that they charge exceptionally fast, reaching a full charge in an average of 5 hours. Their in-built Battery Management System provides robust protection against temperature, current, and voltage fluctuations, including a vital low-temperature safety cut-off.
- Long-lasting: Battle Born batteries provide a minimum of 3,000 cycles, after which they can last for a further 2,000 cycles at 75%-80% capacity.
- Compact size: Given that space is precious for van life dwellers, this battery’s smaller size means they can readily incorporate it in their setup.
- 10-year warranty: One of the key selling points of the Battle Born batteries is its industry-leading warranty.
- Reliable battery management system: Battle Born’s robust BMS allows you to use it worry-free with the knowledge that it will safely regulate fluctuations of any kind.
- Fast charging: This battery takes approximately 5 hours to fully charge, which is relatively quicker than other LiFePO4 batteries.
- Free ground shipping: Battle Born ships all orders made within the continental United States for free.
- Expensive: It is the most costly battery on this list, and its hefty price tag means that it falls out of many budget-conscious van dwellers’ price ranges.
- Weight: As the heaviest battery on this list, its weight may impact its relative portability and possibly affect the van’s fuel consumption.
- Larger Ah size batteries are not immediately available. Battle Born only has the 100Ah battery on offer on Amazon, which may be limiting for those who require other sizes.
- No refunds: Unlike other solar battery manufacturers, Battle Born does not offer refunds on purchases, which may be highly inconvenient for some customers, especially given their prices.
Best Battery for Outdoor Use: Ampere Time 12V 100Ah LiFePO4
Are you traveling to and through rugged terrain that may involve a wide range of temperatures and wet conditions? Then the Ampere Time LiFePO4 is the best battery for you.
With features such as vibration resistance, IP65 level water resistance, and the capability to perform within a substantial temperature range of between -40°F and 140°F (-40°C and 60°C), these batteries are perfect for use on far-flung adventures.
For van life dwellers with high-energy demanding electrical equipment, Ampere Time’s 12V batteries also come in 200Ah and 200Ah Plus Size, which are bigger and slightly more expensive. Ampere Time’s Battery Management System (BMS) protects it from overcharging and over-discharging.
It also regulates against current surges and potential short-circuiting; however, it doesn’t provide low-temperature cut-off.
- Water and vibration-resistant: You can go off the beaten path, down dirt roads, and in damp conditions without worrying about the battery’s performance.
- Broad discharge temperature range: This battery’s ability to operate in temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C) makes it a versatile choice for van life.
- Easy to install: Ampere Time provides bolts and nuts in its shipment to assist with installation.
- Low cost: At about $200 – $300 cheaper than the average industry price, this battery is easy on your pockets.
- 5-year warranty: Ampere Time’s warranty involves analyzing and troubleshooting any battery issues within 24 hours, and if they can’t solve the problem, they will send you a new replacement battery.
- No low-temperature cut-off: Although you can use this battery in low temperatures, you should not charge it, or any other lithium-ion batteries in general, when temperatures are below 32°F (0°C) because it may permanently damage their cells. One of the functions of the BMS is to guard against this by automatically shutting it off if temperatures fall below 32°F (0°C).
- Bulky: Longer and taller than the other batteries on the list, you might have a bit of trouble finding adequate space for this battery.
Best Solar Battery for Weight and Space Savings: ECO-WORTHY 12V 1000Ah LiFePO4
One of the lightest and shortest batteries on this list, the ECO-WORTHY 12V 1000Ah LiFePO4 is the best option for van life dwellers looking to save on space and weight in their rig.
The ECO-WORTHY battery can provide 3,000 life cycles, after which it will operate at a capacity of 80%. Its comprehensive in-built BMS prevents it from overcharging, overheating, overloading, and external short-circuiting. Additionally, should you require more power, its batteries are also available in 150Ah size.
- Lightweight and compact: Weighing in at 22.9 lbs (10.4 kg) and with a height of only 6.77” (17.2 cm), the ECO-WORTHY is well designed for the space-conscious van life dweller that prefers to travel light.
- Comprehensive BMS: Its BMS system protects against a wide range of fluctuations, which improve the battery’s performance and lifespan.
- Accommodation returns policy: The ECO-WORTHY brand’s 30-day No Reason Return policy allows you to return the battery for any reason and gives you a partial refund. However, you bear the return shipping costs. Additionally, its 14-day Dead on Arrival (DOA) Product Guarantee gives you a 14-day window to return the battery if you receive it in an inoperative condition, and you will receive a replacement or a full refund.
- Short warranty: Given that ECO-WORTHY states that its batteries have a 3,000 life cycle, which means it may last for about 8 years, its 1-year warranty seems relatively short in comparison.
Best for a Long Lifespan: ExpertPower 12V 100Ah LiFePO4
The ExpertPower LiFePO’s capability of lasting for 2,500 cycles at peak capacity, 3,600 cycles at 80% capacity, and 7,000 cycles at 50% capacity makes it one of the more longer-lasting solar batteries on this list.
Lightweight and easy to install, it is also available in a 200Ah size to give you more juice if you need it. You can store this battery for as long as 12 months at 77°F (25°C), and its internal BMS protects it from voltage fluctuations, overloading, and overheating.
It also prevents an excessive low self-discharge rate and short-circuiting.
- Lightweight: At 22.6 lbs (10.25 kg), the ExpertPower LiFePO4 is the lightest battery on this list, enhancing its portability and van life suitability.
- Robust BMS: Effectively designed to protect the battery against all types of voltage, temperature, its BMS allows you to use it without worry.
- Long lifespan: With the capability of providing 7,000 cycles at 50% capacity, you can take this battery on many trips and adventures before needing to replace it.
- Free ground shipping: The manufacturers help their customers save money when ordering their products from anywhere in the contiguous United States by providing free shipping on all items regardless of the purchase price.
- Refund policy: The brand offers a refund for faulty products returned within 90 days of purchase.
- Short warranty: The 1-year warranty isn’t long enough for a battery that can run for as long as 7,000 cycles.
- Pricey: As the second most expensive battery on this list, the cost of the ExpertPower 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery may be out of reach for many van life dwellers.
Best for a Tight Budget: CHINS 12V 100Ah LiFePO4
For budget-conscious van dwellers, the CHINS LiFePO4 battery is the best way to go. Available at a fraction of the price of some of the popular LiFePO4 batteries, the CHINS LiFePO4 battery endeavors to give you value for your money.
Solidly built, this battery delivers a minimum of 2,000 cycles at peak capacity, and its operating temperature is within the standard range of -4°F and 140°F (-20°C and 60°C). Unfortunately, the CHINS LiFePO4’s battery management system does not have a low voltage or low-temperature cut-off, which leaves the battery vulnerable to potential damage.
- Low cost: The CHINS 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 offers its customers the best bang for their bucks with its low-priced batteries.
- Extensive support services: The manufacturers offer free advice and support to their customers for as long as 10 years after purchase.
- A 90-day refund and 3-year free replacement policy: This brand’s refund and free replacement policies mean that you can purchase their batteries with confidence.
- No low voltage or temperature cut-off: The CHINS battery’s BMS does not provide cut-off protection against low temperatures or low voltage, leaving your battery at risk of cell damage.
- No website: There isn’t a dedicated website that provides more information about the manufacturer and its products.
Although it faces stiff competition from other more affordable and high-performing batteries, the Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 is the best overall solar battery for van life. What sets it apart is its:
- Extensive and reliable BMS protection
- Compact size
- Long lifespan at peak capacity
- Unmatched 10-year warranty
Whether you are about to embark on a van life adventure or you are a seasoned van lifer who wants to upgrade their power set up, check out the Battle Born 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery on Amazon today.
Here are some of my favorite van build tools:
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you build your own campervan. Here are some tools that I use daily while living on the road that made my life easier. I hope you’ll also find them as useful as me. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to purchase any of them, I’ll earn a commission.
But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my closest friends and family.
Electricity: When I first started my van life journey, I was using the Renogy 200W RV Kit, and I’ve recently upgraded my setup to the Renogy 400W RV Kit. I’m fully autonomous regarding power now, thanks to this upgrade. I don’t know why I didn’t choose this option from the beginning.
Quick Fixes: Whenever I need to fix something inside my van, I use my multitool from Victorinox. It’s compact and comes with a leather pouch that lets you store it wherever you want. Whenever I need more tools, I get my Cartmann toolset out.
Power tools: If you’re converting a van, you’ll need some serious tools for the building process. I can assure you, good power tools can make a huge difference. You’ll save time and avoid a lot of frustration while having some professional-looking final results. I personally went big with the full combo set from Dewalt.
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations about van build, check out this resource that I made for you!