What is the Best Battery for RV & Boats with Air conditioning?

The best battery for RV solar panels and air conditioning

Lithium batteries and solar panels give you the freedom to camp anywhere, allowing you to live a life without limits.

The Best Batteries for RVs with Air Conditioning

Air conditioning appliances draws a lot of power and require a large battery bank when not connected to shore power. For most RVs and boats you will need a minimum of 400 Amp Hours of battery capacity or more to run air conditioning. The size of the vehicle you are cooling and how often the AC unit will be running determines how many batteries you will need. For example, if you are running the AC intermittently, mostly at night, you may only need 3-4 hours of run time. If you are camping in a very hot climate and the AC is running continuously all night you may need 8-10 hours of run time. Smaller vehicles usually result is the AC unit running for less time each night.

Size of RV / Van  |  Hours a Day AC is On  |  Recommended Battery 


Solar Panels vs Generators for RVs with Air Conditioning

If you are running air conditioning in your RV, van, or camper you need a way solar panel and battery system . To meet the high energy needs of an air conditioner many nomads use a generator or solar panels to power their air conditioner when off grid or RV camping. Here’s the strengths and weaknesses of generators vs solar panels.



  • Charges fast
  • High watt output, so you can turn on AC immediately
  • Low up front costs


  • Expensive to maintain
  • Requires diesel to run
  • Runs out of gas
  • Loud
  • Gas is expensive
  • You have to set it up and turn it on before use
  • You need to carry extra gas cans
  • Exhaust is toxic and dangerous if not well ventilated (if using a generator make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector in your living space).

Solar Panels


  • Always running during the day
  • Silent
  • Low maintenance
  • Free to run
  • 25 year output warranty
  • Lower cost over time
  • Safe & non-toxic
  • No diesel needed.


  • Seasonal differences in energy output (less in winter)
  • Higher upfront costs
  • Installation required

Solar Panels for RVs & Boats with Air Conditioning

To unshackle from shore power and the need to run a generator RV owners and nomads living the #VanLife are increasingly choosing to install solar panels and batteries that are large enough to power an air conditioner without the noise, smell, or health risk of a generators. The result is greater freedom to camp and boondock anywhere, increased health and safety, and more time in your day. You do some work to install the system once and then its maintenance free. No need to buy gas and refill the generator gas tank each day. No need to start an engine. No need to apologize to the neighbors for running your generator all night.  Just free power from the sun keeping you nice and cool at night.

Determine the size of the power system you need by the size of the space you are cooling and the size of the air conditioner needed. Air conditioner size is measured in BTUs.

Size of RV  | BTUs of Air Conditioner | # of Batteries  |  Recommended Solar Panel Capacity | Recommended Off-Grid Power System


Learn More:

Solar Panel Size Chart for RVs, Vans, Campers

How To Choose a Lithium Battery for RVs, Campers & Vans

How to Upgrade Your RVs Electrical System for Lithium

Why You Should Upgrade to LiFePO4 Batteries for Your RV: Richard’s Story

Who Makes the Best Lithium Batteries?

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