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6 Volt vs 12 Volt RV Batteries: Which One Should You Use?

Fact checked by Ronal Dowens

6 volt vs 12 volt rv batteries

Figuring out which battery to use for your RV can be very confusing, and it’s important to know what to use between a 6-volt and a 12-volt. A 6 Volt battery is usually used by a series circuit. In comparison, a 12 Volt battery is used for parallel circuits.

However, making the decision on which battery to use isn’t just as simple as that. You need to know the differences between 6 Volt vs 12 Volt RV batteries; scroll down below to learn more about them.

The Pros and Cons of a 6 Volt Battery


Before deciding which battery to pick, it’s essential to know the pros and cons of each battery to know what choice is better for you. Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of a particular battery will help give you more knowledge in picking the right one to use.

To start, here are the pros and cons of using a 6 Volt battery for your RV.


  • 6 Volt Batteries have a longer lifespan: Since 6 Volt batteries have thicker plates, you can discharge and charge them more frequently than with 12V batteries. Because of this, 6 Volt batteries generally have a longer lifespan.
  • 6 Volt Batteries are lighter: 6 Volt batteries have half the number of plates of 12 volts, so they understandably weigh less. Having a much lighter battery can benefit your RV’s fuel efficiency.
  • Easy to add more volts: Since 6 Volt batteries are better used in a series circuit, adding a few more volts is easier.


  • One battery is not enough: Most RVs need 12 Volts to operate, so you would require two 6 Volts batteries compared to one 12 Volt battery.
  • 6 Volt Batteries are more expensive: Although 6 Volt batteries are generally a better choice, they are usually more expensive than using a 12 Volt battery since you need to buy two or more 6 Volt batteries.
  • 6 Volt Batteries are hard to find: One of the disadvantages of using 6 Volts batteries is that they are rare since they are only sold at big stores like Costco and several auto parts stores.

The Pros and Cons of a 12 Volt Battery


Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of using a 6 Volt battery, it is now time to learn about the pros and cons of using a 12 Volt battery.


  • 12 Volt Batteries are less expensive than 6 Volt batteries: The most significant advantage of using a 12 Volt battery is that you would only need one. Because of this, using one 12 Volt battery is generally less expensive than using two or more 6 Volt batteries.
  • 12 Volt Batteries have no limit: 12 Volt batteries are used for parallel circuits, so there is no limit to how many 12 Volt batteries you can connect to add more amp hours. You can keep adding 12 Volt batteries, but it’s important to take note of the size and space that they will occupy.


  • 12 Volt Batteries don’t last long: 12 Volt batteries have lower amp hours, so they don’t last as long as 6 Volt batteries. When you use 12 Volt batteries, chances are you will be changing them more frequently than two 6 Volt batteries.
  • 12 Volt Batteries are heavier: Since they carry twice the number of plates compared with 6 Volt batteries, 12 Volt batteries are significantly heavier.
  • 12 Volt Batteries may not fit into your compartment: If you choose a 12 Volt battery with higher amp hours, this battery is usually larger in size. One of the main problems it has is that it may not fit like a glove into your compartment.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right RV Battery

After knowing the advantages and disadvantages of both 6 Volt and 12 Volt batteries, it is now time to understand the things you need to consider when choosing the correct battery for your RV. Please note that you can never have a thoroughly perfect situation where everything is a win-win, so it’s better to find the right balance of properties.


It would be best if you considered the circumstance of charging your batteries. If you put two 6 Volt batteries in a series, you’ll be able to get 12 Volts of power, but it will only charge up to the lowest amp-hour capacity.

On the other hand, if you put two 6 Volt Batteries in parallel, you’ll only get 6 Volts of power, but their amp hours will be added together.


If you have no issues with cost, weight, and size, you should go with 12 Volt batteries since they have a higher amount of power.


6 Volt Batteries are significantly lighter than 12 Volt Batteries because of the lower number of plates inside the battery. Having lighter batteries is always a good option for any RV owner.


Another critical factor to consider when choosing the correct battery for your RV is how long it will last. When it comes to longevity, it’s better to choose 6 Volt batteries as this type of battery can last for about four to eight years, depending on how well you take care of it.

Parallel Battery Configuration: 12 Volt Batteries

If you choose to keep your RV’s electrical system, you need to choose 12 Volt batteries as they are better to be used in parallel circuits. This is the most common battery configuration for RVs.

All you need for hooking this up are two small jumper cables to connect positive to positive, negative to negative, and the RV main wires on both ends.

If you haven’t made any changes to your RV’s electrical system, it must still be in parallel because dealers typically install the batteries this way.

One of the best advantages of connecting 12 Volt batteries in parallel is that you won’t experience any voltage drop even if your battery’s capacity is lower than 50%.

Series Battery Configuration: 6 Volt Batteries

Some longtime RV owners like to upgrade parts of their RV now and then, and the battery is no exception. For experienced owners, getting two 6 Volt batteries on a series is much better than 12 Volt batteries in parallel.

6V batteries may require new battery boxes, as those in RVs are often meant for 12V batteries.


Knowing the importance of choosing the correct battery for your RV is essential for every RV owner, whether old or new. Finding the best battery and battery configuration will help ensure that your RV will work well.

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