Who wants to have a dead battery bank in the middle of camping nights? Oh, I bet you don’t. Think about the food in the fridge, the cold night without the heater on, and the lights, for goodness’ sake. Without any gauges to check if the batteries are charging, you’re likely to be in for a surprise!
Such an incident would not only spoil your vacation, but it may also lead to battery damage in short order. If you have a generator, then luck is on your side, however; it would still probably take three or more hours to get a full recharge.
The good news is, these undertakings are avoidable by making sure that your batteries are functioning properly, if you know the charge status and how much energy is running in and out of the battery bank.
In a nutshell, you need to have a reliable battery monitor system to check your battery’s current state. This RV essential is something you don’t want to miss. To help you make the most of your camping trips, here are some factors to consider when looking for the best RV battery monitor.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best RV Battery Monitor Reviews 2020
- 1. Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor
- 2. bayite LCD Display Digital Multimeter
- 3. Hengshan AiLi Battery Monitor
- 4. Bunker Indust’s Battery Monitor
- 5. MICTUNING Digital Energy Meter
- 6. TN TONNY Car Battery Tester
- 7. DROK Display Digital Multimeter
- 8. CPTDCL Battery Capacity Voltage Meter
- 9. ANCEL Battery Monitor Bluetooth Voltmeter
- 10. Proshopping Battery Capacity Monitor
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Battery Monitor
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best RV Battery Monitor Reviews 2020
1. Victron BMV-712 Battery Monitor
You can rely on the heavy-duty battery monitor from Victron due to its incredible functionality. If you were like me, having a 40-foot motorhome which requires a lot of power supply from the battery banks to run the LED lights, water pump, and the fridge, you would want a device showing the accurate state of your battery.
Many users have likely heard many great things about Victron from the RV community, and this induced me to try it out. After using it for a few months, I am very impressed! The unit makes a big difference compared to my rig’s stock battery monitor.
One of the features I like is the built-in Bluetooth which allows me to monitor my battery status anytime and directly from my iPhone. Additionally, the technology works on my kid’s tablet, and my wife sometimes uses it on her MacBook.
Besides, the free Vitron Connect application is convenient as it lets me see what is specifically going on with my battery system. For example, the figures show how many amps used or how fast the battery is charging.
Furthermore, I also like that this Victron battery monitor shows the amp hours, which are very crucial when we are off-grid since the vehicle is not connected to any utility. No more reckoning when to charge the battery and our gadgets! Convenient, right!
Also, it is effortless to mount using the accessories coming in the package. In fact, the simple diagram outside the box helped me install it in a few minutes.
The set also comes with a substantial battery shunt which communicates with the monitor display. With this, it’s clearer to see how much current is going in and out of my batteries. The accurate read-out is worth noting and proves Victron’s reliability.
One minor downside is the price tag. It is a bit costly compared to other battery monitors. But then, it’s definitely worth it!
2. bayite LCD Display Digital Multimeter
If your rig runs a 12-volt DC electric power system, you might love the Digital Multimeter from bayite. Such a well-made RV can help you prevent overvoltage on your battery bank and any mishaps on your travels.
I can’t imagine being stuck on the road due to a dead battery. After reading numerous positive feedbacks about this bayite RV battery voltage monitor, I purchased one right away. What I like about this product is the basic and upfront features which my family can easily use and read even when I’m not around.
The LCD is a bit bigger compared to the previous monitor I have used. Its size is convenient for me because I’m farsighted, and I can manually control it. Best of all, the unit also serves as our night light because of the lit blue display. The backlight also flashes when the energy is higher than the capacity is.
And most importantly, it only consumes very little power, roughly three milliamps. Also, the 100 amp shunt is enough for my trailer.
Installation of this 12-volt battery monitor for RV was fairly easy, and the wiring diagram would be a big help for some who do DIY and have no electrical background.
Another notable feature is how it functions as a powerful energy meter, ammeter, voltmeter, and multimeter at the same time. So far, this has been working well for me, and I don’t have to spend any dime for separate meters. With this, I can always track the loads and how much power was used on my RV appliance such as the fridge, LED lights, and air compressor.
I am overwhelmed that it stores energy data when the device is turned off, making it more useful. Also, it can be reset to zero anytime. The overload alarm function was extra sweet for out of tolerance situations.
Beyond that, one downside is the pen button. It is sunken so I have to make a small extension to easily reset the meter every time I’m in the boondocks.
3. Hengshan AiLi Battery Monitor
The Ali Battery Monitor is a perfect pick if you want an upgrade on your batteries as you install solar into your RV. The unit is a quality yet affordable battery monitor for such an application.
Just like its lavish counterparts, this RV monitoring system does a fantastic job without the hefty price tag. I love that it has been pre-programmed and very functional. More so, conserving my battery bank’s health is relatively easy because it shows the number of amp-hours, current-voltage, and percentage of my battery life.
I am also impressed that this RV power monitor gives how many amps are flowing in and out of my battery bank. This allows me to monitor which appliance is drawing too much power.
Furthermore, the monitor has a charging status indicator and shows the percentage, which is very similar to what we see when our smartphones are charging. To improve the user experience, the set is packed with a round display unit that has three buttons to set up, a high-quality shunt with a hundred amps max, and instructions for installation.
Trust me, this one is not complicated to install and use. I didn’t have a hard time because it is as simple as reading the battery bank like a fuel gauge at a glance. It’s a bang for the bucks since there’s no need to purchase separate meters to make it work as a current meter, an ammeter, and a voltmeter.
This Aili battery monitor is also flexible in terms of automobiles and other applications. It can be used in boats, cars, and caravans. Some even have used this model on their portable equipment and instruments.
However, you might not like the screen light which pulsates when charging. This can be a bit annoying at night-time.
4. Bunker Indust’s Battery Monitor
The next worthy purchase in the list is the Bunker Indust Battery Monitor. It is a reliable product that helps to extend the life of my two deep cycle batteries and ensure that both will provide a top-quality performance.
The model has been a part of my RV essentials for quite some time. It was challenging to determine the remaining capacity before but nowadays, reading the state of my batteries is more manageable. It only takes me a couple of minutes to install it and yes, without cutting holes or running wires in my rig.
Also, it is incredible that I can swiftly monitor my batteries’ health and voltage straight on my iPhone. For that, you only have to scan the QR code on the little black box to install the application. It works effectively and helps you avoid overcharging and deep charging, particularly in sub-zero weather.
Furthermore, the device will automatically notify users for any battery failure when they get into the Bluetooth range. Indeed hassle-free!
Another cool thing about it is the history feature. It allows me to see how many times the heater cycled during the night, the fridge in electric mode, and records everything that consumes and wastes the battery power. These records would be useful in troubleshooting and display monthly data.
The majority of users appreciate its safety protection for short-circuit and incorrect polarity connection. Besides, I am relieved that the materials used on this model are made of high temperature-resistant material and extra fireproof, which prevents its damage.
What bothers me sometimes is the battery life indicator showing in percentage.
5. MICTUNING Digital Energy Meter
When your solar batteries for RV need to maintain an extra charge at all times, you should get a multimeter to make an exact calculation on how much power it consumes and the power rating. That’s where the MICTUNING Digital Energy Meter comes in the picture.
I love that there is a precise drawing of the wiring diagram at the back, which made the installation super easy. You can mount it on the eye-level to see with the blue backlight.
You might love that the vendor includes a free 100A shunt in the package which can be used for a wide gauging range. You only need to flip the two wires at the shunt to monitor the state of charge and discharging current on your battery bank.
And I am thrilled that it reads great as the readings are accurate and matched my older voltmeter. I love the large LCD screen, which brightly displays the voltage, current, power, and energy measurement at the same time.
Another notable feature is the distinct alarm which alerts me every time the voltage goes beyond the alarm threshold. This can be set so the backlight will flash to warn that it has exceeded the target. Such a function is helpful to prevent any damage on high-end lithium batteries.
The data storage is automatically saved to offer the information for unexpected power failure and can be reset anytime. Also, the design of this model is pretty compact and lightweight compared to numerous battery monitoring systems in the market.
Still, I have to use a pointed tool to press the function button to set it up and for turning the backlight on and off.
6. TN TONNY Car Battery Tester
The TN TONNY Car Battery and Charging System Tester can be an ideal choice of a charge controller to your RV batteries.
The product comes in handy during travels in the countryside due to its dimensions. In truth, this tester is pocket-sized, which makes it very handy and portable.
I love that it’s a plug and play device, completely wire-free. Aside from that, it is effortless to use, saves me time and monitoring is quite simple. I don’t have to worry if the battery is running out or the car will start in the morning or whatnot.
It accurately shows the status of my battery levels, and the engine alternator’s charging voltage through a bar graph. Best of all, it comes with an easy to read screen display. And thanks to the eye-catching blue backlight; I can still see the numbers even when the lights are dim or off.
Apart from that, you might adore its swivel head design since it allows users to see the readings at an angle while driving easily. Furthermore, it is adjustable, so hitting the shifter is no longer a major problem.
I have no regrets about investing in this efficient product. Such a well-made monitor can keep my engine computer and 12-volt equipment safe from power surges during a jump start or recharging. Also, it alerts users on bad test results via a red LED light and a yellow LED when there’s a potential issue or low voltage. Fewer headaches and repairs, right!
At first, I had a hard time putting the tester into the socket, but after a few tries, it fits right in. It is super snug, and I’m glad I was able to pull it out.
7. DROK Display Digital Multimeter
The DROK Display Digital Multimeter will surely spare you from a nightmarish power black-out in an RV camping trip. The device offers what a basic battery tester cannot tell about what is exactly going on with the batteries.
This multifunction meter from DROK can indeed do its job efficiently with almost all battery types. It allows me to monitor my battery bank’s charging currents, discharge currents, and the state of my two six-volt batteries.
I appreciate the screen’s soft blue backlight and full angle view which makes it easier to get a read-out, even if the sun’s too bright and the lights are off. More importantly, this device does not consume a considerable amount of power from the loop, and you can manually power cycle it.
One more interesting feature is the precise bi-direction current. That means it can monitor both charges and discharges at once. Not only that, but it also measures the percentage and remaining capacity of my battery, DC voltage, the positive and negative DC power. Also, you will know the battery voltage inputs and the accumulated bidirectional electric energy of positive and negative DC.
Another advantage is it takes two-wire and three-wire system connection. Hence, the set-up and maintenance are a whole lot easier, safer, and low cost.
Using modern battery technology, it also sports an alarming function. I find it convenient to see the flashes when the voltage exceeds and gets lower than the preset alarming voltage. It also flashes when it’s running out of juice or the capacity is deficient.
Plus, I don’t have to worry about losing my electric data. This battery monitor stores the date when it powers down.
One little drawback is the cable which connects the hall sensor to the unit. It is way too short, so I used a long shielded cable.
8. CPTDCL Battery Capacity Voltage Meter
The CPTDCL Battery Capacity Voltage Meter is a perfect replacement for the old and inaccurate stock battery voltmeter on your rig.
Using this multi-functional product, You can monitor the temperature readings such as temperature sensor input and other indications. Though it only measures Fahrenheit, it is still useful and prevents my batteries from overheating and overcharging.
The RV battery gauge shows the temperature so that I can monitor the energy storage capacity. Together with some preventative measures, my battery temperatures didn’t fall below recommended levels, about 80% because I was able to charge it in time.
You will be able to install it with ease because it’s very straightforward. All we need to do is connect the main positive and negative terminals. Since this battery monitoring kit has reverse connection protection, it’s quite easy and safe to install even if you don’t have any electrical background.
It’s also a plus that it is designed with an on and off switch and does not draw a whole lot of power. Aside from that, we can monitor the current-voltage and battery level on the clear LCD screen.
When entering harsh weather conditions, we can rely on this one for long-lasting use. The black protective case is dustproof and waterproof and can be used on other equipment. And yes, it also has an alarm function. A red indicator flashes when the voltage is pretty low and the buzzer alarms. Hence, I’m sure it will be easy for you to monitor the battery’s condition.
One thing I find a little disappointing is the flimsy wires. They already frayed after four months, so I had to replace them with a high-quality wire.
9. ANCEL Battery Monitor Bluetooth Voltmeter
If you have a pretty busy schedule and want a battery monitor for easy access just in the palm of your hands, look no further than the ANCEL Battery Monitor Bluetooth Voltmeter.
Monitoring my battery condition with this functional device is stress-free since it is wireless. I just scan the QR code and connect it via Bluetooth on my smartphone and hey presto! It automatically connects and relays the battery charge status, battery voltage, and the current battery percentage.
There is also an option to see historical data up to 31 days like when it is last fully charged. Hence, you can track how quickly the battery discharges and even create your RV battery voltage chart for breezy control.
The cranking voltage test is also included, and it’s constantly looking good. Yes, all the battery information was transmitted in real-time, and the transmission range is within 30 feet max. Thank God the password is not needed since my forgetfulness is too much! Also, it notifies me when there is unusual cranking, and the power alarm works when the battery is at 50% and critically low.
The system set up is convenient enough for me, and I love how well-designed this little 12v battery monitor is. It means no more complicated buttons for programming.
Its versatile use might surprise you as the BM300 monitor can work well with AGM batteries, GEL batteries of a travel trailer, car, SUV, solar panel and many more. You name it.
Also, what makes most users stick to this monitor is its ability to withstand unfavourable conditions such as high temperature.
One drawback is you will lose the data if the battery dies and there’s no option to retrieve them on the app. You’d have to be conscious about when it’s about to die out and replace it before you lose your data.
10. Proshopping Battery Capacity Monitor
The last entry of battery meters for the RV in this list is the Indicator from Proshopping. It can spare you the inconvenience and horrors of a sudden black-out due to batteries running out without warning.
The model comes with a unique flash alarm which I find very useful. The feature alerts me to recharge the batteries when it drops to 20%.
Another thing I like about the product is the digital screen which is very easy to read due to the green backlight. And with this, I can always keep an eye on my batteries any time of the day from any angle. Furthermore, the LCD digital screen of the device is ultra-sensitive shielded by a protector made of PVC so water will not enter and ruin its function.
Furthermore, the unit also sports a waterproof screen protector which is convenient during winter weather in a deep freeze. The on and off switch located in front is pretty handy too.
Another cool feature is the reverse polarity protection; this guarantees that it is safe to use on different vehicles. Other than your RVs, this piece works incredibly well with golf carts, marine boats, trucks and so on.
I appreciate the lightweight and portable design of the unit as it doesn’t require too much space. Best of all, it doesn’t consume a whole lot of power and helps me diagnose would-be battery problems.
Still, there are some complaints about the manual which is challenging to understand due to the language translation. Good thing I have enough knowledge of electrical stuff and it was correctly programmed.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Battery Monitor
The sheer convenience most RV owners get on battery monitors makes it as one of the necessities on RV travelling. Let’s dive into every little nook and cranny of this simple gear of equipment so you will have an idea on how to pick the right one and eliminate the threat of a system fiasco.
You have a lot of options to get a decent battery monitor without breaking the bank. But if spending is not a concern for you, there are trusted brands that offer top-notch units equipped with advanced and innovative features. Inexpensive units still do the job of checking your battery status; however; the features may be limited. It will still depend on how much money you are willing to spend.
- Ease of usage and installation
No one wants a complicated system, right! A good battery monitor should be easy to use and install. Look for products that include RV battery monitor install instructions or diagrams for easy mounting. Also, some monitors have a digital display that allows the users to read charging status at a glance. For more reliable feedback, you may refer to RV battery monitor reviews from known and trusted shopping sites.
- Bluetooth connectivity and mobile app
It is shutting off the tech when camping may be idyllic for some. However; this is not always a good idea for seasoned travellers. Remote monitoring is one of the key features of newer BMS models today. The Bluetooth connectivity makes it easier to check your battery’s level, remaining power, and power-hungry appliances drawing too much power.
Also, it automatically relays accurate information to your smartphone or tablet. A free application keeps you updated with the most recent software too. Moreover, this becomes a solution for those who don’t want to run too many cables and wires since you only need a shunt to set it up.
- LCD and LED screen display
Though some use basic numeric displays, most units come with LCD and LED screens that can be mounted in your RV. You would appreciate reading the voltage, power, and current at the same time in a glimpse. Simply effortless, right! You can easily program the settings to track the remaining battery capacity and other metrics.
Another effective model carries an attractive display and provides a read-out of solar charging. This is ideal for those who own a pricey solar battery or controller. Screens also vary from blue to neon green hues for a more readable display. Also, it can be used as a night lamp because it only draws a minimal charge.
- Temperatures sensors
Temperature plays a vital role in your battery’s performance and can take a toll as well. With the temperature sensors, you can avoid undercharging and overcharging on low and high temperatures.
More so, some models can take and show temperature inputs. For more convenience, you can read the thermal temperature via Fahrenheit or Celsius depending on the model. Having a read-out of the correct temperature, you can easily identify potential thermal runaways.
Likewise, if you can maintain them within the appropriate temperature window, expect a higher life expectancy and optimal performance from your batteries.
- Alarm and notifications
Alerts will be received on your mobile app when your batteries are running out of juice. Some models use the mounted screen display to flash the voltage value when it exceeds. It is sometimes used to turn the equipment on and off when a certain threshold is met.
For example, it will alert you to start the generator when the battery gets below 50%. This capability gives you an edge to prevent power failure.
- History of data
This is another feature that is deemed to be useful in diagnostics and to evaluate if your battery needs replacing. It is easier to make decisions using the facts and data generated by the battery monitoring system.
This also allows you to see the culprits exhausting your electrical power, total discharges, and the number of charging cycles.
Let’s face it; maintaining your batteries diligently is often overlooked. In reality, all batteries fail, and it’s just a matter of time before you know it. But with the help of a reliable and efficient battery monitor, you can quickly spot inadequacies and take timely measures to eliminate further harm.
Hence, given the valuable features and benefits above, you can go right ahead and take advantage of the information. Weigh your options wisely to get the most befitting battery monitor for your RV.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a battery monitor for RV?
Living in an RV means you have to rely on battery power. Whether you’re a weekend/holiday RVer or a full-time RVer, you still need to run on batteries, and being able to monitor your battery status is always helpful.
An RV battery monitor is a device that helps you keep track of the amount of power that goes into and leaves your RV battery. Without a battery monitor, knowing how much power you have left in your RV battery often requires regularly checking how many Amp-hours are used. This is a rather tricky and inconvenient means.
Battery monitors make it easy to know what goes on with your battery; how much power you’re using at any given time and how much energy you have left, through a simple screen. Most of them have the option to let you connect to your smart devices, making it easy to monitor your RV battery wherever you are. RV battery monitors work like a fuel gauge for your batteries. It is an essential device for every motorhome owner.
How do RV battery monitors work?
An RV battery monitor works by measuring the exact current flowing in and out of your battery.
It does this through a very accurate shunt. The shunt is what regulates the current flow, and is kept in between your battery bank’s negative terminal and everything connected to it.
It usually has a small data port to allow you to plug in the cable that runs to the monitor, along with a small power wire that supplies power to the monitor. The battery monitor is a small display screen.
Once the monitor detects that your battery is full, it keeps a record of every amp of current outflow and displays to you in the form an easy to read empty to a full bar graph, a percentage of battery power remaining.
This information then gives you a utilizable ‘gas gauge’ view of the condition of your batteries. RV battery monitors usually come with a mobile app that makes it easy to monitor your RV battery very conveniently.
What are the different types of RV battery monitor?
There are two kinds of battery monitoring devices for RVs. One is commonly known as a voltmeter and works by measuring only the voltage—the other kind measures, both voltage, and amperes.
While voltmeters are more straightforward and cheaper, its readings don’t tell you anything about how much power is drawn by your RV system. It also doesn’t tell you whether your battery is charging or not when you use solar power or alternator charge methods. Not knowing this means that you could miss out on faults and end up with a damaged battery, which can be frustrating considering how expensive RV batteries are.
Buying an RV battery monitor that reads amperes is always more convenient. This type comes in different kinds, most of which can be installed into your RV battery system. Most modern RV battery monitors of this nature include an LCD and other new upgrades. Some come with temperature sensors and Bluetooth as well.
Why do you need a battery monitor for RV?
Having all an RV battery monitor gives you all the benefits of having a battery monitoring device and more. An RV battery monitor allows you to estimate battery capacity, prevent over-discharge, know when your batteries are charging, and be aware of any faults your battery may develop.
Investing in a good quality RV battery comes with many extra benefits such as text alerts when something goes wrong. This feature alone could save you a lot of stress and money because knowing about a fault as quickly as possible always helps in solving it.
Having a modern RV battery monitor can also help you protect your food. For instance, with the help of the information given by these devices, you could find out beforehand if your fridge is not working. It could also notify you if the temperature of your fridge drops or remains constant for too long. This helps you stay ahead and take care of little refrigeration problems right away.
Models that come with temperature sensors help you to maintain the interior temperature once you set it. You could go out and leave your pets in your RV, rest assured that your pets are safe from extreme temperatures. If the temperature rises, you also receive a notification to help you fix the problem right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are good RV battery monitor brands?
You might be seartching for a good quality RV battery monitor that will work as a fully functional information system for your RV and help keep your vehicle in a perfect working condition but don’t know which brands to buy from.
In that case, it would be best if you considered buying your RV battery monitor from one of the following makers; Victron, Simarine, Bogart Engineering, Blue Sea System, Magnum, Xantrex, Bayitr, Drok, Mictuning, or Utipower.
They have excellent options for RV battery monitors to choose from, which are sure to perform their functions perfectly well and last long.
How to install and use?
Installation methods for RV batteries may differ according to the product. Every product comes with installation instructions in its package. Nevertheless, most RV battery monitors follow a universal principle.
The first step is to install the shunt close to the negative side of your RV battery. Afterwards, connect every negative connection to the shunt if they can fit. If they can’t all fit in, you should use a bus bar. Nothing else should be connected to the negative side of your battery apart from the shunt.
Next, you have to connect the control cable and the monitor, and that’s it for the most basic installation. To use, you can view information about your battery on the display screen, or by using the device’s app, or Bluetooth (for types that come with it).
Models that come with temperature sensors would require you to set a preferred temperature that the system would consider ‘normal’ and alert you if gone over or below. Once it’s all set, you can relax while the system monitors your RV.
Where to buy an RV battery monitor?
RV battery monitors are easily accessible. You could get them from local electronic stores or online stores such as Am Solar, Solar-Electric, Keoghs Marine, Rv World Store, Camping World, AA Solar.
You could also get excellent battery monitors for RV from popular multipurpose stores such as Amazon, eBay, and Aliexpress. Feel free to check your favorite local or online stores too.
It is always better to prevent any miscalculation, especially if you are dry camping or in the wilds regularly. Typically, your battery will only last two to three days while boondocking, and since you will not be connected to any utility, you need to find another way to keep your batteries from running out.
Whether you are an RV newbie or a veteran, if you want to know what is going on with your battery bank, you better have a battery monitor installed soon for a safer and tranquil vacation.
It is advised to be in control of your RV batteries, extend their lifespan, and save money over time. Hopefully, after reading the article, you can choose the best RV battery monitor that should be good enough to do its job efficiently.