12v vs 6v For RV House: Why Use 6-Volt Batteries in RVs?

The same voltage but other advantages. You will come across many RV owners that swear by using 2 6-volt batteries over 1 12-volt model. They may be correct as using two smaller batteries can have advantages over using 1 big battery. Other RV owners have the opposite viewpoint.

One advantage you get by using 2 6-volt batteries is that you can get double the watt hours over the 12-volt model. You may also save on the weight side of the issue as well as 2 6-volt batteries can be lighter than one 12-volt model.

To learn more about this debate and which is better for you, just keep reading our article. There are advantages on both sides of the issue that make it difficult to decide which way you should go. Either way, you are still getting 12 volts to power your RV.

6-Volt Battery vs 12-Volt Battery in an RV


When it comes to voltage, there is no advantage to either option. You will get 12 volts with one battery and you will get 12 volts with 2. This is a non-issue with most RV owners.

However, the different owners look at other issues that help them decide which way to go. One of those issues is space. The 2 6-volt options are generally smaller than 1 12-volt battery. This gives them more space to work with.

Then some people point to the thicker plate construction and the fact that 6-volt batteries were made to be recharged frequently. This is kind of misleading as there are many 12-volt batteries made with thicker plates that can be recharged frequently.

Finally, there is a weight issue here. The 2 6-volt batteries' combined weight is often lighter than the weight of 1 12-volt battery. The lighter weight makes it easier to handle and some RV owners are getting up there in age and their physical capabilities are not as they once were.

That means that going with lighter batteries makes their RV life a little easier and safer for them.

Which is Better For RV 6 Volts Or 12 Volts?


There is relatively little difference between using a 12 or 6-volt battery over the other one. They both perform the same duties and if you hook them up right you can get the same voltage and amp hours.

Sometimes you get more amp hours with 2 6-volt batteries over 1 12-volt one. The recharging is a non-issue as are the thicker plates, as you can match the 6-volt battery with specific 12-volt options and get the same construction and abilities.

What may be best for your RV is the lifespan of both batteries. The 6-volt batteries are said to last between 6 to 8 years while some 12-volt models only last between 3 and 5 years.

This will be better for your pocketbook and it may help your RV electronic components last longer as well. This may be a case of 6 of one and a half dozen of another.

Unless you get a really cheap 12-volt battery that does not work very well, installing 2 6-volt batteries is not going to be any better than using one 12-volt model. The extra amp hours may give the 6-volt batteries a slight edge for being better for your RV.

Why Use 6-Volt Batteries in RVs?


There are lots of reasons why you can and should use 2 6-volt batteries in your RV. One is space. You get more room using two over using 1 larger battery. RVers can always use extra space for something.

Then you can save on weight which is always an issue. It may only be an extra 30 to 40 pounds that you save but that is 30 to 40 more pounds of cargo or supplies you can pack into your RV.

Next, you can get more amp hours by using 2 6-volt batteries. If the 12-volt option only provides 100ah and you connect a second battery, then you only get 200ah. Two 6-volt batteries connected correctly provide you with 225ah. Many RVers like that extra amp hour rating.

On top of those advantages, the 2 6-volt batteries can last longer than one 12-volt battery. That will depend on the brand of the battery and how well they were made. You may find some 12-volt batteries lasting as long as a 6-volt one will.

To get even better power, you can always add 2more 6-volt batteries to bring your total to 4. That way you will have more power over 2 12-volt batteries. You still save on weight using 4 over 2.

How Long do 6v RV Batteries Last?


There is the ideal lifespan and the actual lifespan. The ideal lifespan is easy to measure and most battery companies will provide that information for you on specific batteries.

Generally speaking, the 6-volt battery is supposed to last 5 to 7 or 8 years depending on the brand, the construction, and so on. As technology improves on the battery, that lifespan may get longer.

The problem for those RV owners that prefer 6-volt batteries over 12-volt ones is that the lifespan argument is moot. There are 12-volt batteries, AGM & lithium, that last for a long time.

The AGM is said to last up to 10 years under current technology, while the lithium is made to last over 10 years. The problem here is that their cost may be prohibitive to some RV owners.

These batteries are not like the regular RV batteries you can buy and their price tag can get very high. You will need to check to see if AGM and lithium are being used for the 6-volt batteries and if so, how long they are supposed to last.

The other problem for those RV owners who like the 6-volt option is that they are not sold at every outlet. They may be hard to find as they are specialty batteries made for golf carts.

Can You Mix 6-Volt And 12-Volt Batteries Together?


This is possible to do and it is more of a last-ditch effort than a go-to option. When you connect batteries to run parallel or in series, it is recommended that you use like batteries. That will avoid any issues that can arise if you don’t.

If you are going to do this because you do not have room for 4 6-volt batteries, make sure the 6-volt ones are the same as the 12-volt battery. If the 12-volt is a flooded cell model, then the 2 6-volt batteries should be flooded cell models as well.

How you connect them is that the 12-volt has to be connected n parallel to the 2 6-volt batteries and the 2 6-volt models must be connected together in series and not in parallel.

If you have room, it would be best to replace the one 12-volt battery with 2 additional 6-volt batteries if space and weight are a concern. There are people who say to get rid of the 6-volt batteries and just stick with the 12-volt models. They do have a valid point as the advantage is minor.

How do You Hook Up 4 6-Volt Batteries In An RV?

There are two wiring options you can use. One is if you want the batteries to work in series and the other is if you want to use them in parallel with each other.

In series, you can see by the following photo how to make the connection:


Image taken from https://www.rvwithtito.com/articles/how-to-connect-six-volt-batteries-to-create-a-12-volt-battery-bank/

Then if you want to connect them to be in parallel, then you simply connect the positive of one battery to the positive of the next one in line, and so on down the line. The same goes for the negative side of things.

To do this safely, make sure to disconnect any power source to your RV before connecting or disconnecting your batteries. Then, make sure your fuses and breakers are large enough to handle the extra power running through them.

Then make sure your battery cables are thick enough to handle the load you are going to send through them. Once you are set up, your RV should be fully powered.

The thing is not to get caught up in this debate. There is little advantage gained by using 6-volt batteries over 12-volt ones. So go with the size of battery you prefer and you are not harming your RV in any way.

Some Final Words

Getting your RV the right amount of power means making sure you have a 12-volt power supply. The easiest way to do that is by using a 12-volt battery. There is no mess and installation is easy.

Using 6-volt batteries may be a bit more expensive and harder to wire but they will give you 12 volts when wired correctly. You are not losing anything by using one over the other.

The things you gain will be space and weight but those are minimal and may not make a great impact on your camping situation.

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