A hot cup of coffee and a warm meal. A hot shower or an electric blanket. Without a cold weather battery, these camping trip comforts would be impossible to enjoy. Unless you don’t mind staying tethered to a campsite spot with an electrical outlet.
Same goes for those who want to power golf carts, UTVs, or bass boats in winter. Or maybe you need a reliable battery for commercial use–like powering floor scrubbers and sweepers.
Either way, you want to make sure you have the best battery for cold weather possible. But with all the different options on the market, that can be a challenge. So we’ll explain what you should look for in a cold weather battery, here in this blog post.
How To Choose The Best Battery For Cold Weather
Ever start your car on a freezing winter morning, only to be met with resistance? Cold weather affects batteries. You might recall your father insisting you warm up the battery first before heading out on the road.
It’s not just dad being nit-picky. Frigid temps do increase a battery’s internal resistance. The result? It can’t retain a charge as well or release energy the way it would in warmer weather.
The cold can reduce a battery’s capacity as well. This means you’ll have to charge it more often. And batteries can only be charged a limited number of times before they kick the bucket. So how can you make the most of your battery’s lifetime, but still keep the heat on your RV?
The answer is simple. You need a battery that’s built to handle the cold. Choose a battery with the following characteristics:
- Rated to last a large number of charging cycles. The larger the number, the longer the lifespan.
- Won’t discharge at a high rate when stored away in winter.
- Has protection against cold weather charging damage. (Prevents battery from charging if the temperature is too low).
- Has a heater. This will get your battery to an acceptable temperature for charging, even if the weather stays below freezing.
Why Ionic Lithium Is The Best Cold Weather Battery
There are four main deep cell battery types:
- Lead acid
- Lithium (LiFePO4)
Lithium has by far the longest lifespan of the four. It offers 3,000-5,000 partial cycles, which can translate to 10+ years, depending on how often you use it. On the other side of the spectrum we have lead acid batteries. They run for an average of 400 cycles. Not even close!
So lithium is the clear winner when it comes to longevity. But it also outruns the competition by miles when it comes to performance in extreme temperatures. It’s more efficient with energy use. This reduces the “wasted energy” effect that forces you to charge your battery more often in the cold.
In addition, lithium’s ideal for the cold for other reasons, like:
- Has the lowest discharge rate while in storage of any battery type. (About 2% per month). By comparison, lead acid discharges at a rate of around 30% per month.
- Leakproof, acid-free, corrosion free. While lead acid batteries are the cheapest, they’re also the messiest. No one wants to shiver out in the cold, wiping nasty build-up off a battery. Lithium batteries are made up of entirely different chemistry, and it’s acid-free. That equals mess free and hassle free.
- Most reliable cold weather battery type. Thanks to its acid-free chemistry, lithium batteries are much more stable in cold weather. So there’s no need to worry about your battery copping out on you at the worst time. (Like when it’s 0 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re boondocking far from campsite hookups.)
Best Battery For Cold Weather: Heated Options
You’ll get top-graded cold weather performance out of your boat, RV, or commercial battery just by choosing lithium. But for a little extra credit, try a heated cold weather battery.
No battery can take a charge below 0°C. But a built-in heater can warm your battery up until it’s safe to accept a charge. Check out these lithium batteries that feature an automatic, seamless heating system:
12 Volt 125Ah Lithium Deep Cycle Battery w/ Heater
LithiumHub offers heated cold weather batteries in two sizes. The 125 amp hour version is ideal for boats, RVs, floor sweepers, lift gates, UPS systems, and solar energy storage. You can also use it as a starter battery for 250 hp Yamaha or Mercury motors. Anyone up for some ice fishing?
12 Volt 300Ah Lithium Deep Cycle Battery w/ Heater
Want to use your camper year round? This cold weather battery can make it happen. Link it to an additional 300Ah battery for a total of 600 amp hours and you’ll have enough power for everything in your RV. Hook it up to solar panels so you can recharge anywhere, and stray far from campsites. And don’t forget this battery’s star quality: a built-in heater. Let the snow camping adventures begin!