Leisure Battery Buying Guide

Looking to take the pain out of buying your next leisure battery? Our leisure battery buying guide covers everything you need to help you select the correct battery for you requirements.

What type of Leisure Battery do I need?

The answer to this question isn't always straight forward, but if you're looking for a quick reference there are some hard and fast rules to help you select the right type of leisure battery for your intended use.

Occasional Usage

Light leisure battery usage is almost always defined as occasional weekend caravan, boating and motorhome holidays, usually where fixed power points are available. If that matches your requirements then a dual-purpose leisure battery should suit your needs and you'll find they're often competitively priced. If you need to power a motormover or a large assortment of devices then opt for a 110AH leisure battery or larger to match your power needs.

We'd Recommend:

Xplorer 110AH Leisure Battery

Xplorer 125AH Leisure Battery

Xplorer 135AH Leisure Battery

For occasional usage we always recommend our own brand Xplorer range, it offers amazing value and peace of mind with long 3 & 4 year warranties depending on the model you select.

Regular Usage

For anything other than occasional weekend holidays, such as prolonged or frequent breaks, in situations where a fixed power supply is not available or for those living on narrowboats and in caravans, then you're almost always going to require a more expensive semi-traction leisure battery. The construction of these batteries is different to provide the consistent performance over a prolonged period of time required in these situations.

We'd Recommend:

Xplorer AGM 110AH Leisure Battery

Banner 110AH Leisure Battery

Banner 135AH Leisure Battery

Whilst we also offer an AGM option here, when you need something a little more robust you can't go wrong with Banner. With high quality construction and performance it's a brand that's highly recommended.

How do I select a new Leisure Battery?

Whilst the application types often vary, leisure batteries themselves often follow similar sizes and power outputs, regardless here are a couple of things worth checking before you head straight to the checkout.

Check the Existing Battery

If you're not sure what type of battery you need, then our very first suggestion would be to check the existing battery you're intending to replace.

There's no certainty that the current battery will be the right fit for your needs, but it's a good starting point giving you something to work with in terms of capacity and physical battery size.

Measure Your Battery Tray

The problem with replacing like for like is that the current battery might not actually be correct in the first place, hence the need to replace it!

If you're in any doubt it's always worth measuring the battery tray or the space your battery needs to fit into as this will provide you the widest option of available replacements.

Consider Your Requirements

If replacing your battery has become all to frequent an occurrence then you may not be selecting a battery that's suitable for your needs.

Take into consideration how often you use the battery, for occasional use a dual-purpose battery will suffice, but for anything else you'll need to invest in a semi-traction battery instead.

If you're only looking for a battery to support occasional weekend trips and the use of a caravan motor-mover, then you'll be fine with a dual-purpose leisure battery. If you have a few different appliances to run then make sure you select something 110AH or above just to be on the safe side.

Leisure Battery Usage Calculator

The only way to be certain that you're selecting the perfect battery for your needs is to work out your combined watt value to determine your requirements. We've made the process easy with our leisure battery calculator.

Step 1

This is the total number of AH for the leisure battery / batteries you've selected.

Step 2

Add up the wattage of every appliance you want to power at the same time and enter it here.

Step 3

Time to discover how many hours of operating time this battery setup should provide.

Calculate

Dual-Purpose Leisure Batteries

If you're looking for a battery that will provide light usage for weekend caravan, boating and motorhome holidays, then a dual-purpose leisure battery should support your needs and is a great value option.

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Xplorer is our own value leisure battery solution. By working with International manufacturers we’ve created a brand that represents a budget leisure battery that you can rely on.

We'd Recommend:

Xplorer 125AH Leisure Battery

Ideal for occasional usage this 125AH leisure battery battery is flexible enough to be used for running on board equipment as well as starter engines and motor movers.

Platinum Leisure Batteries

Platinum Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

An industry leading brand that is often used as the original manufacturer equipment in many leisure applications. Platinum is a solid brand that wont let you down.

We'd Recommend:

Platinum 110AH Leisure Battery

This low height model is ideal for tight spaces but still offers huge performance and you may even find it’s an exact match to your original manufacturer equipment.

Lucas Leisure Batteries

Lucas Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

With a huge range of batteries available Lucas are an iconic battery brand with a long history in the industry, that today focuses on striking a strong balance between quality and value.

We'd Recommend:

Lucas 110AH Leisure Battery

A classic 110AH leisure battery from an iconic battery brand. This sealed option is even strong enough to turn over marine engines too.

For anything more intensive than occasional holidaying you're most likely going to require a semi-traction leisure battery, especially for those living on narrowboats or in caravans. They're more expensive, but far more capable, have appropriate warranties and will save you money in the long term.

Semi-Traction Leisure Batteries

Developed for regular leisure use a semi-traction leisure battery is designed with performance in mind, with increased baseline performance and up to 50% more recharge cycles than a dual-purpose battery.

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Xplorer is our own value leisure battery solution. By working with International manufacturers we’ve created a brand that represents a budget leisure battery that you can rely on.

We'd Recommend:

Xplorer 110AH AGM Leisure Battery

The AGM version of our Xplorer 110AH battery has a sealed construction and is designed for regular use in the most demanding of applications.

Banner Leisure Batteries

Banner Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Banner are arguably the current leading brand of performance leisure batteries, with strong independent testing helping to cement their position as an industry leader.

We'd Recommend:

Banner 110AH Leisure Battery

Quickly becoming a leading leisure battery brand the 110AH Banner leisure battery is a reliable solution for both wild camping and live aboard situations.

Trojan Leisure Batteries

Trojan Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Developed for use in specialist, high power situations Trojan offer reliable deep cycle batteries that last, earning them a reputation as one of the most reliable manufacturers today.

We'd Recommend:

Trojan 105AH Leisure Battery

Made in the USA and a go to choice for those who know their batteries. This 105AH option is a heavy duty performer and ideal for marine use.

Exide Leisure Batteries

Exide Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Another strong performer in independent testing, Exide offer a range of powerful semi-traction leisure batteries in a robust and reliable package complete with European capacity ratings.

We'd Recommend:

Exide 140AH AGM Leisure Battery

This huge 140AH capacity battery from Exide is ideal for situations where a reliable battery is needed to cope with those applications with high power demands.

Varta Leisure Batteries

Varta Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

Bringing their strong reputation in the commercial battery market to the leisure battery space has resulted in a battery that excels in both standard lead acid and AGM models.

We'd Recommend:

Varta 110AH AGM Leisure Battery

Another solid 110AH AGM leisure battery, this time from Varta. A flexible battery that benefits from years of manufacturing expertise from a leading brand.

Leoch Leisure Batteries

Leoch Leisure Batteries

Manufacturer Website

As the World’s largest producer of AGM batteries Leoch are an experienced manufacturer with a huge catalogue of products suitable for a wide range of leisure applications.

We'd Recommend:

Leoch 120AH AGM Leisure Battery

Typically used for live aboard situations this 120AH AGM battery from Leoch has a large capacity winner with excellent recharge cycle rates.

Leisure Battery Chargers

To keep your leisure battery in peak condition you'll need to invest in a reliable leisure battery charger. We recommend using an 'intelligent' charger as it will automatically apply the correct amount of charge.

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Xplorer 10 Amp

The Xplorer range of leisure battery chargers are the perfect go-to for most users to keep your leisure battery in tip top condition.

This 10 Amp charger will support battery capacities up to 135AH and can charge either traditional lead acid or AGM batteries.

Xplorer Leisure Batteries

Xplorer 20 Amp

If you need a solution for charging larger capacity batteries, then the 20 Amp version of our popular Xplorer chargers will let you do just that.

With increased support for up to 230AH this charger is ideal for everything other than highly bespoke battery setups.

Numax Leisure Batteries

Numax 10 Amp

If you're looking for a branded product, look no further than the Numax range of intelligent leisure battery chargers.

The charging specification is the same as our Xplorer 10 Amp, with support for batteries up to 135AH from a leading battery accessory brand.

It's a myth that car batteries can't be used in leisure battery applications, prior to the coining of the term 'leisure battery' car starter batteries and even old World War 2 batteries were used for leisure applications. A modern leisure battery will just do a much better job!

Leisure Battery Terminology

Selecting the correct leisure battery isn't made any easier by the range of terminology applied to leisure battery products. We've covered some of the common terms to make sure you're well prepared.

Voltage

The voltage is essentially what moves the current around the battery and the majority of our leisure batteries are 12v which will match most if not all modern leisure battery applications.

A small number of semi-traction batteries, such as those by Trojan, also come in a 6v range allowing for the creation of large battery banks.

AH

AH stands for Ampere Hours and relates to the battery's ability to provide power over certain periods of time, the higher the AH then the longer the battery will be able to provide power.

Battery AH typically increases with actual physical battery size and it is important to strike a balance between the right size battery in terms AH with your actual power requirements and physical size restrictions.

CCA

CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps and relates to the battery's ability to turn an engine over. If you don't intend to turn an engine over then you can safely ignore the CCA rating and focus instead on AH.

If you intend to use your battery for starting as well as general leisure use then then look for a higher CCA rating, dual-purpose leisure batteries tend to lend themselves better for this application.

Capacity

Ultimately capacity refers to how long a battery will last for, but with no formal requirement to list capacity in an universally accepted way, a new European system is being championed by a number of leading manufacturers and this is a system we have also adopted.

The rating is based on three different power ratings over different time periods, for example:

  • 85AH @ 5 Hours
  • 100AH @ 20 Hours
  • 110AH @ 100 Hours

Effectively the above ratings indicate that this product would produce 110AH over a long discharge period, but only 85AH over a shorter space of time.

Cycle / Deep Cycle

A cycle is the number of times a battery can be part discharged by 50% then recharged. The more cycles a battery can do then the longer the battery should last in the long term, with these products usually termed 'deep-cycle' batteries.

To help with discharge levels here is the relation to the percentage of charge and voltage:

  • 12.69 Volts or above = 100% Charged
  • 12.5 Volts = 75% Charged
  • 12.2 Volts = 50% Charged
  • 12.00 Volts = 25% Charged
  • Below 12.00 Volts = 0% Charged (Discharged)

The above can be particuarly useful if you have a battery tester to hand.

Calcium Technology

There is a great deal of mis-information associated with Calcium Technology, to put the record straight the technique is used in most, if not all, modern battery production.

The technology is based upon strengthening the lead plates with Calcium and other materials to make them stronger. They do not require different charging voltages and should always be treated as standard lead acid batteries.

Lead Acid

This is the most common type of construction in both dual-purpose and semi-traction leisure batteries. Inside the battery is a solution of water and acid which cover the internal lead plates and they come in sealed and semi-sealed options.

Sealed variants have no function to access the cells and require no topping up sometimes referred to as 'maintenance free', semi sealed batteries provide access via six caps on the top of the battery which can be removed to top up the acid levels. Under normal conditions you will never need to access the cells on a leisure battery, however frequent use and deep discharging will cause the solution to evaporate.

Lead acid batteries need to breathe and should never be kept in airtight boxes, they will always have a breather hole on the side which you can attach a vent pipe to for peace of mind.

AGM

AGM stands for ‘Absorbent Glass Matt’ and they have the acid solution soaked into material between the lead plates rather than a traditional flooded construction. This results in a battery which is totally spill proof and produces excellent recharge cycles.

These batteries were first used by airlines in the 1970's to provide onboard power and to replace the wet lead acid systems which had proved unsafe. As manufacturing costs came down this technology was applied to mass produced leisure batteries and they are now popular options.

As with standard lead acid batteries these AGM batteries come in both dual-purpose and semi-traction options with some types requiring venting.

GEL

GEL based batteries have the acid solution contained in a gel type paste rather than flooded or soaked on matt.

Generally they tend to be more suited to electric vehicle applications but are ideal options for the most demanding situations such as for solar and other backup power systems.

GEL batteries offer the most recharge cycles of the typical leisure battery technologies, but the range is limited to only a small number of manufacturers and battery types.