The Best RV Battery Monitors in 2020
Comparisons and Reviews
RV life often relies upon your battery’s performance. People tend to focus on the battery itself or the method they use to charge it. Or they think that the solar charge controller and monitor built into their inverter-charger is sufficient. However, you can’t afford to take a guess as to whether or not the batteries are charged or charging. This is where RV battery monitors come in. We will share our list of recommended battery monitors so you can choose the best rv battery monitor for you. But first, let’s learn more about these critical devices.
Top 3 Best RV Battery Charge Monitors - Comparison
4.7 out of 5
4.6 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
Here are Top 7 Best RV Battery Monitor Full Reviews
Here, We reviewed top 7 best battery monitor for RV use. For making this list, we spent a long time to find them and research from the current market. It is not our one time work but we update new correction and add better new item when they come on the market. So you can depend us to get the latest information and honest reviews.
As the hope, Our review will guide RV owners to choose the right battery monitor. Let's continue reading...
01) Bayite DC 6.5 to 100 Volt, 0-100 Amp LCD Display Multimeter with 100A Current Shunt
Editor Rating: 4.5 Out of 5
This may be the best rv battery monitor for those who need an easy to use product, once you have it installed. It has a large digital display.
Furthermore, it has a built-in multimeter. It can read the amps and volts, so you have more accurate information on the energy stored and energy consumption.
The test range is 6.5 to 100 volts. It can measure current from 0 to 100 amps. It can measure power up to 10 kilowatts. It can store information when the power is off, so you can compare the current reading to the last one.
On the other hand, the unit may reset whenever there is very high current going through it. Furthermore, it has an over-load alarm. This takes some of the guesswork out of battery monitoring.
The backlighting makes it easier to read in low-light conditions. You can turn the backlight on and off manually. This extends the battery life.
What is the downside in it?
The biggest downside is that the unit only includes the digital display and the shunt. You may need to find wires to connect the multimeter to the item you want to test.
Unfortunately, you could ruin it if you miswire it. Nor is there any warning if you do this until it malfunctions. The shunts and wires are a complex setup if you permanently leave it in the battery box. However, that’s not much worse than the average battery monitor.
Note that it cannot measure current in both directions.
Is this water resistant?
The unit isn’t water resistant and isn’t considered suitable for outdoor use, but that’s not unusual in this product class. A more serious issue is the mediocre quality. These multi-meters sometimes die after a few months of usage.
The mounting tab itself is surprisingly fragile.
02) Victron Model BMV-712 Battery Monitor
Editor Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
This Victron battery monitor is part of an expensive product line. Its models include ones that can handle high voltage or have built-in temperature sensors, but that is overkill in an RV battery box.
One concern with this model is that it wants to connect with your smartphone and relay data to the company’s app.
The issue is that the app requires location to be turned on to work properly. You have to pay extra to be able to connect via Bluetooth.
Conversely, the ability to use an app makes it easier to check historic data while sitting inside the RV or monitor the battery without standing above the battery array.
Is this app necessary?
This app is necessary to update the firmware on the device. The instructions on using the app are as bad as the instructions for using the device. Fortunately, the hardware itself is easy to install, if you have the wires and connectors for it.
The unit is supposed to save multiple readings, but it saves inaccurate readings as well as accurate ones. You have to buy a separate cable to connect the negative battery post to the Victron battery monitor’s shunt. The digital display uses a basic seven segment system to show letters and numbers. This is not as easy to read as more modern digital displays.
It has a biggest concern
The biggest concern is that it is only effective when you’re relying on a battery array. It does not work when you are connected to shore power, such as when you’re plugged into a power pedestal. This means you can’t monitor charging accurately when connected to thirty amp service.
How much It does milliamps?
The battery monitoring system pulls about 4 milliamps of power when running. The Bluetooth dongle that connects to your phone pulls another one milliamp of power. This is equal to pulling one amp every eight days.
This means the battery monitoring system will slightly reduce the available power when you’re off the grid, but it will drain the battery in a few weeks if they’re sitting on the shelf.
03) MICTUNING Brand Multimeter with Shunt
Editor Rating: 4.6 Out of 5
This is a four in one multi-meter made for direct current (DC) applications. It can measure current from 0 to 100 amps. It can measure voltage from 6.5 to 100 volts. It can measure energy levels. And it can power levels.
The MICTUNING multi-meter automatically saves the last reading. You can reset this by holding down the function button for several seconds. You can also adjust the range measurement.
It has a built-in voltage alarm. That alone is a good reason to consider this unit. It has built-in trigger points, but you can set a custom level.
The unit also comes with a 100 amp, 70 millivolt current shunt. This is a higher threshold than the shunts that come with other battery monitors.
Another point in favor
Another point in favor of the Mictuning brand multimeter is the fact that it can display multiple values at once. See both the current battery voltage and the amps flowing out it as you’re discharging it. (It often only lets you track current when discharging, not when charging.) Hold down the button on the back to turn on the back light.
What is the downside?
One issue with this unit is that the screen LEDs can burn out at any time, rendering the unit useless. This may happen after a few weeks of continual usage, and it is more prone to happen when the alarm goes off. And there’s no customer support or warranty service.
04) DROK Brand Battery Monitor / RV Battery Power Indicator Panel
Editor Rating: 4.3 Out of 5
This battery monitor by Drok can monitor voltage anywhere from 10 to 100 volts. It is unusual in being suitable for everything from traditional lead acid batteries to lithium ion batteries.
The DROK monitor is compatible with marine batteries, car batteries and RV batteries. And it is easy to install.
This is the first battery monitor on our list to include a temperature monitor. That’s in addition to a simple battery power level indicator that’s perfect for basic monitoring.
It shows the voltage capacity in a percent full as well as a blue battery fill icon that’s hard to misunderstand when you’re checking it early in the morning. You can switch from battery capacity monitoring to a traditional voltage reading at the push of a button.
This unit has reverse connection protection. That’s not common in battery monitors. Furthermore, it will flash a red warning and buzz if the voltage is too low.
It has one downside
One downside is that this unit sometimes needs calibration, especially if you switch between battery types. This will throw off readings. Then you get an 85 percent full notice on a fully charged battery. And the instructions on how to calibrate it are difficult to understand. Programming it is almost impossible.
05) Utipower Brand Multifunctional 12V LCD Battery Monitor for Lead-Acid Batteries
Editor Rating: 4.4 Out of 5
Utipower’s unit is the perfect example of a simple, easy to use interface. It shows you the battery’s storage capacity in a battery-style icon. You don’t have to remember what the voltage is of a full battery.
Just look and know it is half full. It can flip between showing you the percentage full or the voltage, though it is always showing the status bar.
This unit is more water resistant than average. It also offers reverse polarity protection. Furthermore, it warns you when the voltage is too low.
The unit is small and lightweight. That makes it less unwieldy than the competition. It can easily fit on the top of the batteries. It draws roughly 0.5 milliamps while working, so it has a lower than average power draw when working.
Some battery monitors pull 5 milliamps when they’re monitoring your battery, something that can drain the battery in two or three weeks if it is sitting on the shelf.
What is the downside in this Utipower?
One downside is that it is only suitable for use with 12 volt lead acid battery. Another concern is the voltage reading. It can be off by as much as fifteen percent. That’s enough to know if it is almost full or almost drained, but it prevents you from closely tracking the battery when it is charging.
Another issue is the mediocre quality. The back wire sometimes comes off. Tighten the mounting connections, and that connector can come off. You could argue the unit is falsely advertised, because it is not a multi-meter.
It won’t tell you how many amps are flowing through the unit. You can’t verify that it is properly charging beyond seeing the battery icon slowly creep up.
06) WATERWICH Brand Waterproof 12 Volt DC Voltmeter
Editor Rating: 4.3 Out of 5
This is another unit with a relatively easy to read display. However, the Waterwich brand battery monitor is best rv battery monitor if you have a wide range of devices and vehicles.
It can read motorcycle batteries and car batteries, if you choose the right model of battery monitor by this company. For example, this model is made to read 5 to 40 volts, whereas motorcycle batteries can hit 48 volts.
You have to set it to the type of battery you’re monitoring. For example, a 12 volt battery should trigger an alarm when the voltage is over 15 volts, while a 30 volt reading is dangerous on a 24 volt battery.
On the other hand, it isn’t very accurate. The voltage measurement could be off by 0.3 volts. That’s not a problem on a 24 volt battery but can ruin a 12 volt battery. And you cannot calibrate it at all.
Switch between various types of batteries regularly, and you could end up with very inaccurate readings.
A viable choice for monitoring marine batteries
This unit is unusual for being water resistant. This makes the Waterwich unit a viable choice for monitoring marine batteries. It won’t die because it got splashed, though dropping it in the water will kill it. The problem is that it is advertised as water-proof.
It has basic reverse polarity protection. The lighting lets you read it in low light conditions, while the orange and red lights make it easy to tell when things are approaching the danger zone.
The green lights are brighter than the red and orange lights. This can make it harder to read in direct sunlight.
How is Its power draw?
This battery monitor’s power draw is worse than average. It pulls about 10 to 15 milliamps when connected to a 12 volt battery. That’s ten times the power draw of the Utipower battery monitor.
It also means you shouldn’t use this battery monitor unless you’re constantly recharging the batteries.
07) AiLi Model Battery Monitor by Hengshan
Editor Rating: 4.2 Out of 5
This is a basic battery monitor. It resembles a fuel gauge, so it is easy to read. The small display can show you the amp hours, the voltage and the estimated battery capacity.
Flip between “80 percent full” and “12.2 volts” at the push of a button. One point in favor of this unit is that you get a cable in addition to the battery monitor and current monitor. (You can’t get a second one or longer one from the manufacturer.)
On the other hand, the instructions are in poor English. I hope you are already familiar with how to mount and attach a battery monitor.
It can be used on a variety of battery powered devise. This includes e-bikes as well as golf carts and RVs. This unit is rated for 8 to 80 volts, a somewhat narrower range than other battery monitors on our list.
It draws 10 to 12 milliamps of power when you have the display on. If it is simply monitoring the battery, power consumption is a more modest 0.5 milliamps.
The AiLi has a great accuracy
This unit has slightly better than average accuracy. The manufacturer says it can read both voltage and current plus or minus one percent of the actual value. In reality, it is plus or minus a few percent, but that’s better than units we said were up to 15 percent off.
The voltage reading is more accurate than the current reading. One issue with the current monitoring is that it can’t read more than 100 amp hours. Only the Victron can read higher amp hours.
What is the downside in it?
The unit doesn’t monitor temperature, but it does have a temperature range of zero to 35 Celsius. Don’t put it in a hot storage container or let it freeze.
It has a back light. That’s good in and of itself. However, the back light blinks while the battery charges. That is bothersome if you’re trying to sleep and the monitor is located in the cab/RV.
One problem with this model is that the mounting flange is too small. The bracket is hard to mount on a panel, and it can come loose over time.
What is the Best RV Battery Monitor?
Batteries are not a set-and-forget technology. This is true whether you’re dealing with house batteries charged by the RV coach motor or you use solar panels to charge the 12 volt batteries for your camper. The batteries need to be charged so they are ready to be discharged. They need to be maintained. And they need to be monitored, if you’re going to keep them running at peak performance. This is where RV battery monitors come in.
You can’t tell when the battery is fully charged, and you don’t want to see it boil over because it has been over-charged. This is where battery monitors come in. Every battery monitor monitors battery charge. This allows you to track the voltage of the battery.
Depending on the model, it may just let you know when the battery is fully charged, or it may disconnect your charger so that you don’t overcharge the battery.
Is the battery’s energy level 100% accurate?
Many battery chargers use amp-hours to track the battery’s energy level. This isn’t 100 percent accurate, because the efficiency of most batteries vary based on the temperature, their age, and their discharge rate. That’s why battery chargers are fairly reliable for telling you when the battery is “topped off” but may not know the difference between one quarter empty and totally discharged.
More expensive battery monitors, sometimes called battery monitoring systems, may take these variables into account. That’s easier with units that can track the battery’s temperature. This may provide the added benefit of a battery monitoring system that warns you when the battery is overheating.
How does an RV battery monitor work?
What does the battery monitor actually monitor? They primarily look at the voltage of the battery, and that is a good proxy of how full the battery is. Lead acid batteries should be around 12.7 volts when fully charged. The voltage will fall to around twelve volts when half discharged.
The level might fluctuate 0.1 or 0.2 volts if you’ve been drawing a heavy load from the battery. And you can let the battery rest before you retest. That’s why battery monitors are best used as warning indicators when the charge is too high or too low.
For example, batteries shouldn’t go below 11.8 volts. This low of a voltage could damage the batteries. You could also damage the battery voltage over 13 volts. If the voltage is over 14 volts, something is wrong unless the car’s alternator is running.
Normally, the lead acid battery, whether it is sealed or open celled, won’t go above 12.8 volts unless charging. If you’re charging the batteries, the battery monitor should warn you when the voltage is so high it may damage things or so low that the batteries are not charging.
The difficult to measure AMPs
Batteries may measure the amps. It is difficult to measure amps over a period of time. However, a battery monitor may track the amps of current flowing through wires.
Some battery monitors will warn you when a dark solar panel is drawing power from the battery, essentially discharging it when you thought it would be charged. When the battery monitor tracks total system amp use, it gives you an idea of how fast the battery will be used up or how quickly it can be charged.
Remember that your charger can't do everything
Note that a battery charger cannot do everything. If you have flooded batteries, you’ll probably want a hydrometer to measure the quality of the liquid inside the batteries. Then you don’t add water to batteries that don’t need it.
Safety systems like fuses and reverse polarity protection systems are invaluable. We’d also recommend carrying a voltmeter or multi-meter to monitor your electrical system, even if you have a high-end battery monitor.
Battery monitors can help you track the charging and discharge of your batteries. The best battery monitors warn you of problems before they literally burn up the battery or put your safety at risk. Choose a battery monitor that is suitable for the batteries you’re working with while being easy for you to work with.
Fortunately, all you have to do is select from one of the battery monitors on the list we curated for you.