Choosing the right leisure battery

However you enjoy the great outdoors, whether you’re a fan of wild camping far away from civilisation or if you prefer a fully serviced campsite with all the mod cons, a reliable source of power is a must. That’s why it’s vital that you choose the right leisure battery before you set out on your journey. With various types and sizes now available, we’ve put together a handy guide that will help you make the right decision and enable you to have a stress-free holiday. 

What is a leisure battery?

Leisure batteries are used in caravans, motorhomes, boats and other modern leisure vehicles to power 12V appliances and equipment, including your lights, oven, kettle and TV. As well as powering your creature comforts, they correct any irregularities in the power supply, keeping you (and your appliances) safe.

Can I use a standard car battery instead?

No, while it may be possible to use one in an emergency, it is not recommended. They not only differ in design, but produce energy differently too. Leisure batteries are designed to release a low level of energy over long periods of time to power appliances, but car batteries give a short burst of energy intended to start your car.

Types of leisure batteries

Lead-acid batteries

The most commonly used type of leisure battery. It comes in three types: standard starter batteries (aka calcium, or cranking batteries), standard leisure batteries (aka auxiliary, or deep-cycling batteries) and traction, and semi-traction batteries (aka deep-cycling batteries).

AGM batteries

Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries use lead-plated and compressed glass fibre. AGM batteries can be used as both starter and leisure batteries. They can have a much longer lifespan than the commonly used lead-acid battery if maintained correctly, but as they cost more to make, they are more expensive to buy.

Gel batteries

Most commonly used in vehicles like quad bikes and jet skis with a high accident risk, these batteries contain gel which reduces risk of corrosive acid leaking, even when damaged. Some imported caravans and motorhomes will come with gel batteries for extra protection during transport.

Maintenance-free batteries

Unlike conventional batteries, which have removeable caps to allow top ups, maintenance-free batteries come sealed for life from the factory. There’s no need to worry about monitoring electrolyte levels, you just need to ensure they’re kept clean and fully charged. 

Choosing the right battery

Using the wrong battery will result in a reduced service life, so always make sure you choose a battery of the correct specification and technology to meet your needs.

The main factors to consider when choosing your battery are:


Make sure you choose a battery that will fit in the space physically available in your caravan or motorhome.

Watt hours

This is the amount of power the battery can supply when fully charged. You can calculate your consumption by multiplying the consumption of your appliance(s), multiplied by the length of use, for example: 10 light bulbs rated at 20 Watts run for 3 hours – 10 x 20 x 3 = 600-Watt hours.

Make sure you add a safety margin of 20% to the total once you’ve added all usage of all of your appliances together to make sure you’re covered if the usage increases.
Motor movers use large amounts of power over a short time, so will require a battery of much higher capacity.

Cyclic life

This simply means the number of times the battery can be part discharged by 50%, then fully recharged. The more cycles a battery can do, the longer it should last.


Measured in Amp hours (Ah) this means the amount of power the battery has to run your appliances, so the higher the Ah rating, the longer it runs.

 Find the right leisure battery for you here.