12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (2023)

We all use batteries in typical day-to-day life. Whether it be in our remote control, watch, car, or RV, batteries are a part of our lives. Most of the time, we don’t need to think about the voltage of a battery. However, when working with DC power systems for RV’s boats or off-grid applications, a serious decision needs to be made between 12V vs 24V.

This article will discuss 12V and 24V systems and the differences in 12V vs 24V batteries. Let’s get into it!

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (1)

What is the Voltage of a Car, RV, or Boat Electrical System?

Most cars, RVs, and boats utilize a 12-volt electrical system, although there are some exceptions. So, when are 12V vs 24V batteries used?

To understand more about batteries, we must first understand what volts or voltage is. Voltage is the amount of electrical pressure it takes to push an electrical current. Take a look atwhat volts areto get a better understanding of this concept.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (2)

What Does “12V” Mean?

12V tells us that the battery supplies 12 volts under a nominal load. The same principle holds for a 24V battery bank in that it provides 24 volts.

As we discussed before, most car and RV batteries are 12V.

12V batteries are used in most vehicles because the electrical components such as the starter, lighting, and ignition systems are designed to operate on 12 volts.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (3)

We sometimes use 24V battery systems in larger trucks and busses due to the vehicle’s higher power needs and long cable runs. You can also see 24V used in larger boats and some RVs with elaborate solar systems.

Another typical application for a 24V system is on trolling motors for fishing boats.

(Video) Why run 24v instead of 12v

How is a 24V System Made?

A 24V system is where you produce 24V under nominal load. There are a couple of ways to create a 24V power system. One way is to purchase a 24V battery. The other is to use two 12V batteries in series to create a 24V system. Let’s take a look at these options in a little more detail.

What is a 24V Battery?

One way to create a 24V system is to use a 24V battery. 24V batteries are less common than their 12V counterpart and are harder to come by. 24V batteries are also relatively expensive.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (4)

However, they do take up less space than running other batteries in series. So, if space is a concern, a single 24V battery may be a better choice for you.

↳ Click here to check out our 12V and 24V Battle Born Batteries product specs.

How Do You Connect 12V Batteries In Series?

The most common method for building a 24V system is to run batteries in series.

Running batteries in series means they have a single electrical path equal to the sum of the system’s volts. So, if you have two 12V batteries wired in series, then 2x12V=24V.

To create a 24V system using two 12V batteries, you would wire the first battery’s “+” positive terminal to the “-“negative terminal of the second battery. The remaining negative and positive connections get wired to the component you want to power just as you would if you were using a single battery. You can accomplish the same thing using four 6 volt batteries.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (5)

To make this easier to digest, let’s look at something we are all familiar with, a flashlight. Many flashlights use batteries that are running in series. Suppose you have a large flashlight that uses four “C” size batteries.

When you install the batteries, they are in a single row with negative touching positive. This is a series circuit. Each of the “C” batteries is 1.5V. We learned earlier that when batteries run in series, then the output voltage is the sum. In this case, the flashlight runs off 6 volts.

(Video) 12 volts VS. 24 volts for Off-grid Solar Power Systems

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (6)

Comparing 12V vs 24V – Benefits of Each

When looking at 12V vs. 24V systems, there are some pros and cons to each system type. Let’s take a look at some of the pros of each.

12V System Benefits

As we talked about earlier in the article, 12V systems are relatively common. Most vehicles use 12V systems as components used in vehicles are designed to operate on 12V. The alternators generate 12V to charge the battery.

When it comes to RVs, most appliances such as RV refrigerators and all the lighting work on 12V as well. 12V systems only require one battery and work well for low-power applications and short wire runs.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (7)

24V System Benefits

24V systems are beneficial because you can use smaller diameter wire and reduce amperage by two times. Using smaller diameter wire can reduce wiring costs and decrease the space needed to run wiring. This is especially important where long wire runs are required.

But wait, how can you run a smaller wire with more voltage?

You can actually run a wire 2x smaller than an equivalent 12V circuit. This is because the higher voltage requires less current to produce the same power. Since we are running less current or amps, we can use a smaller wire. This is the same reason power is transmitted on power lines at very high voltages. The wires can be much, much smaller and carry lots more power!

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (8)

In addition to smaller wires, 24 volt systems operate more efficiently in motors and inverters. Often, the same solar charge controller operating on 24V vs 12V will handle twice the solar input.

Comparing 12V Vs 24V Cons of Each

As there are pros of 12V vs 24V systems, there are also cons to each type of system. Some of the pros of one system can become a con of the other.

Downsides of 12V

12V systems require massive wires when pulling large loads because the current (amps) are higher. As we have already learned, 24V systems reduce the current or amps two times, then a downside of a 12V system is the amperage is double that of a 24V system at the same power.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (9)

Because 12V batteries use two times the amperage at a given power draw, they are less efficient than a 24V battery due to resistive losses.

Downsides of 24V

If you are using a 24V system in an application with 12V appliances, you will need a converter to reduce the voltage to 12V. The variety of components and devices that run on 24V are not as plentiful as what is available in 12V.

(Video) 12V vs 24V vs 48V (For Camper Electrical Systems)

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (10)

Although you can charge a 12V battery with the alternator of a vehicle, you won’t be able to do that with a 24V system if the chassis is a 12V system. Additional DC-DC converters are needed to accomplish this task.

When To Use A 12V vs 24V System

Now that we have learned a little about 12V vs. 24V systems, we need to understand when we should use one over the other.

When building a DC (direct current) battery system, it’s crucial to understand your power requirements to run the appliances you need. The energy that is consumed by a device is measured in watts. Once you know your wattage requirement, you can determine what system is required.

If your requirements are below 3000W, you can generally get by with a 12V system.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (11)

Many recommend 24V systems when your power needs are above 3000W or generating 3000W of solar or more. When you get to this point, the benefits of a 24V system outweigh the cons because you can run smaller and increase the system’s efficiency.

If your power consumption is even higher, above 6000W, you can benefit from an even larger DC system and consider stepping up to 48V.

24V DC Benefits For Solar

Many DC MPPT solar charge controllers have higher voltage capabilities to handle higher panel voltages. They, however, have a hard current limit.

When using a 50 amp rated charge controller on a 12V battery bank, you can use the controller with 700 watts of solar. If you use that same charge controller on a 24V battery system, it can connect to 1400 watts of solar panels. This means that half the number of solar charge controllers is needed. They will also operate more efficiently at 24 volts.

12V vs 24V: What's The Difference In Battery Systems? (12)

12V vs 24V, Which Is Right For Me?

It isn’t always a clear-cut decision. There are many variables to consider when determining which one is the best choice.

Now that we understand these systems better, they are not as intimidating as we originally thought them to be. Whether you end up with a 12V or 24V system, you now understand the differences. You can assess your needs and make an educated decision.

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

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(Video) 12V vs 24V Trolling Motors - 3 reasons why 24V is more efficient

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What is the advantage of 24V over 12V? ›

24 Volts: Advantages

Using a 24 volt supply instead of a 12 volt supply greatly reduces the wiring cost to almost half the original cost. This is so because increasing the voltage of a system causes a reduction in the current through it, and in turn reduces the size of the wires you need .

Is a 24 volt battery better than a 12 volt? ›

The heat wasted is proportional to the square of the current multiplied by the resistance. Other things being equal, that would cause losses on 24v to be half those on 12v. so a 24v system is always better than a 12v system – provided you can physically fit two batteries.

What is better 12 volt or 24 volt solar system? ›

If your energy needs are around 1,000 to 5,000 watts, go for a 24 volt system. If you're looking to build a smaller, DIY system for your RV, van, or tiny home, go for a 12 volt system.

What is the difference between 12V and 24V inverters? ›

As far as performance, features, and functionality are concerned, THERE IS NO NOTABLE DIFFERENCE between 24v and 12v pure sine wave inverters. The only thing that makes them different from each other is the type of battery you want or need to run your power inverter on.

What happens if I use 24V instead of 12V? ›

12V systems require massive wires when pulling large loads because the current (amps) are higher. As we have already learned, 24V systems reduce the current or amps two times, then a downside of a 12V system is the amperage is double that of a 24V system at the same power.

Can I use a 24V battery on a 12V system? ›

Charging from a 24 volt system to a 12 volt system

Using a split charge relay (VSR) would just send the alternator's 24V charging voltage to the 12V battery which would cause damage. Instead, you would need a 24 volt to 12 volt DC-DC charger.

What is the best voltage battery? ›

The ideal car battery voltage with the engine running is between 13.7 and 14.7V.

Does adding a second 12v battery equal 24v? ›

Two or more 12-volt batteries wired in series—the positive terminal of one battery connected to the negative terminal of a second battery—develops 24 volts, but amperage doesn't change.

What is considered as the best voltage charge of any battery? ›

12.6V volts or above - Your battery is healthy and fully charged. No further action is required. 12.5 volts - Your battery is at a healthy state of charge, but we'd recommend re-checking it within a few days to ensure the voltage hasn't dropped any further.

Is 24V stronger than 12V? ›

The 'V' in 12V and 24V stands for 'volts'. It's a unit to measure electrical power and refers to the power needed to run the car's motor. The concept is simple, the higher the number of volts, the more powerful the car.

How many solar panels can charge 24V battery? ›

Since off-grid solar panels are usually setup for 12 volt charging system, if you have a 24 volt battery system, you will need to wire two panels in series, or get a single high voltage solar panel, in order to generate enough voltage to charge a 24V battery.

How many solar panels do I need for a 12V battery? ›

Charging your battery at 12 volts and 20 amps will take five hours to charge a 100 amp hour battery. By multiplying 20 amps by 12 volts, 240 watts is how big of a panel you would need, so we'd recommend using a 300w solar panel or 3 100 watt solar panels.

How long will a inverter last on a 12V battery? ›

In general, you can expect your inverter battery to last anywhere around 5 to 10 hours when it is fully charged. However, you can easily calculate the accurate battery backup time with a simple formula or use a battery backup calculator.

How many batteries can be connected to 12V inverter? ›

So, a 12V input inverter will require one 12V battery in each parallel set, a 24V input inverter will require two 12V batteries in each parallel set, a 48v input inverter will require four 12V batteries in each parallel set and so on.

How many amps does a 24V inverter use? ›

For a 12 V inverter such as a Mass Sine 12/1200, consumption will be 400/10 = approx. 40 amps. For a 24 V inverter, say a Mass 24/1500, the corresponding figure is 400/20 = approx. 20 amps.

Can you charge a 24v system with a 12v system? ›

By using a voltage regulator, a 12-volt alternator can charge a 24-volt system. This works because the voltage regulator controls the input voltage and the voltage output, maintaining a safe level of electrical current so that it doesn't overload the system and damage the battery.

What batteries last the longest? ›

Lithium: Lithium batteries work even better than alkalines. They last much longer, have an epic shelf life, don't discharge as much power when not in use and can cope with extreme temperatures.

What voltage will damage a battery? ›

The truth is that any lead acid battery, be it a Gel Cell, AGM or flooded batteries such as DCBs, should be cut-off at 11.6 volts. Not doing so increases the risk of damage to the battery and if taken down deep enough into the batteries charge, will ruin the battery.

Which battery is the most powerful? ›

The Saft Ni-Cd battery comprises 4 strings of 3,440 high- rate cells, each rated at 920Ah. Operating up to 5,230V on high-rate charge, not only is this the world's most powerful battery, it is also by far the world's highest voltage battery.

Is it better to hook up batteries in series or parallel? ›

Connecting in series increases voltage, but wiring in parallel increases battery capacity. The total voltage doesn't change. This means that two 12V 30Ah batteries in parallel would give you a total capacity of 60 amp hours.

Can 12V and 24V share a ground? ›

Yes, no reason why you can't use a common ground but you don't have to either (unless you expect to use both in the same circuit and expect them to be relative to each other).

Does doubling batteries double voltage? ›

Connecting a battery in parallel is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the amp-hour capacity. With a parallel battery connection the capacity will increase, however the battery voltage will remain the same.

What voltage is trickle charge? ›

Trickle chargers are designed to maintain a charge equal to the self‐discharge rate of the battery ( 2.23 to 2.25 volts per cell) and it is recommended they be disconnected from the battery to prevent the possibility of overcharging.

What is the full charge voltage of a 24v battery? ›

Full voltage is 28.7 volts on a 24 volt system.

What voltage is lead-acid trickle charge? ›

Lead-acid batteries can be safely charged by supplying a continuous float voltage of typically 13.7 volts, a method often referred to as trickle charging. This is enough to steadily and safely charge the battery, and maintain the charge, keeping the battery topped-up and ready for use.

Which is brighter 12V or 24V? ›

There is no difference in brightness between a 12v and 24v LED strip light; the voltage does not determine the light output. (Other things do, such as the quality of the LEDs.) Longest run in series: The 24v strip suffers less voltage drop than the 12v type.

What is the difference between 12V 200Ah battery and 24V 200Ah? ›

Difference between a 12V 200Ah battery and a 24V 200Ah battery. The difference between a 12V and a 24V 200AH battery is the voltage across their terminal and the power stored in them. Hence the amount of power stored in a 24V, 200Ah battery will be 24V x 200 Ah = 4800 Watt-hour (4.8kWh).

How many batteries do I need for a 200 amp solar system? ›

Depending on the battery type and capacity, a 200-watt solar panel can charge 100Ah of battery capacity every 2.5 hours. On a sunny summer day with 7.5 hours of direct sunshine, a 200-watt solar panel can charge three 100Ah batteries, two 150Ah batteries, or one 300Ah battery.

Can a 100w solar panel charge a 24V battery? ›

You need around 610 watts of solar panels to charge a 24V 100Ah lithium battery from 100% depth of discharge in 5 peak sun hours with an MPPT charge controller. You need around 760 watts of solar panels to charge a 24V 100Ah lithium battery from 100% depth of discharge in 5 peak sun hours with a PWM charge controller.

Can I use a 24V solar panel to charge a 12V deep cycle battery? ›

Yes, you could do it. The voltage isn't too much of a concern, it is the current the panel can provide.

How long will a 200 watt solar panel take to charge a 12V battery? ›

The short answer is that a 200-watt solar panel that generates 1 amp of current takes between 5 to 8 hours to completely charge a 12-volt car battery.

How long will it take a 25 watt solar panel to charge a 12-volt battery? ›

As a 25-watt panel produces 25 watts at 12 V, this translates to around 2 Amps of power to store. With 6 hours of sunlight, it takes that amount of time for your panel to charge a 12 V, 12 Amps battery.

How long will it take a 20 watt solar panel to charge a 12-volt battery? ›

So, while a 50W solar panel can recharge a 20Ah 12-volt battery in 8 hours, a 20W solar panel will do it in 17 hours. That said, make sure the battery can handle the wattage output of the solar panels. Too much wattage can overcharge the batteries, and even damage them permanently.

What is the best battery to use with an inverter? ›

500 Watt and larger Inverters: We recommend you use deep cycle (marine or RV) batteries which will give you several hundred complete charge/discharge cycles. If you use the normal vehicle starting batteries they will wear out after about a dozen charge/discharge cycles.

How long will a 12V battery last with a 2000 watt inverter? ›

If you max out the inverter at 2000 watts, you are pulling 2000 watts /12 volts = 166.6 DC amps per hour. If you use a 200-amp 12-volt battery, you would divide the 200-amp battery / 166.6 amps = 1.2 hours of run time.

How many batteries do I need to run a 3000 watt inverter? ›

If the battery banks you want to purchase are also 50Ah, you will need six of them for a 3000-watt inverter. If your batteries are rated 100Ah, you would only need three, and with 170Ah rated batteries, only two would be required.

How many 12V batteries do I need for a 1500 watt inverter? ›

One battery will support a 1,000 watt inverter, two can support a 1,500 watt to 2,000 watt inverter, three will support a 3,000 watt inverter.

How long will a 100Ah battery run a 2000 watt inverter? ›

A 100Ah battery can last anywhere from 120 hours (running a 10W appliance) to 36 minutes (running a 2,000W appliance).

Do inverters drain battery when not in use? ›

Inverters will draw power from your batteries when not in use, and the unit is turned on. This can vary from around . 02 amps right up to 2amps depending on the unit and design of their standby systems.

Can a 1000W inverter run a TV? ›

If you're using a 1000 watt inverter on the go, you'll likely have more than enough capacity for anything you could possibly need. You could charge nearly 20 cellphones at once or run at least ten laptops. You could even run several large televisions simultaneously.

What size inverter can I run off a 100Ah battery? ›

For example, a 100Ah lithium battery will power a 1000W inverter which is perfect for running laptops, televisions, blenders, power tools, and phone or camera chargers. A 1000W inverter is often the ideal size for most simple setups.

Is 24 volt faster than 12 volt? ›

Ride-on toys with 24v batteries can run a speed of up to 6 mph, while those with 12v can reach a maximum of 5 mph.

Is 24V safer than 12V? ›

At a very basic level, this suggests that 12 volt LED systems would have the lowest possibility of causing an electric shock, while 24 volt would be slightly higher but still relatively low, and 120 volt line voltage would be much higher in terms of the possibility of causing an electric shock.

Does adding a second 12V battery equal 24V? ›

Two or more 12-volt batteries wired in series—the positive terminal of one battery connected to the negative terminal of a second battery—develops 24 volts, but amperage doesn't change.

Can a 12V battery charge a 24V battery? ›

But just like the other charging methods we looked at, a 24-volt battery cannot be directly charged with a 12-volt battery charger.

What is the strongest battery voltage? ›

Charge is carried by an insulating belt from a lower electrode to another at the top, accumulating across a metallic dome. They can be strapped together to form tandems for even higher voltages. A tandem at Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced the highest ever at 25.5MV (a megavolt is 1 million volts).

Can 24 volts DC shock you? ›

24V is certainly enough to feel, and some people feel it more than others. Sweaty skin, sharp electrodes, and he nature of your skin all affect it.

Can I run 12V lights on a 24V system? ›

Q: Are 12V And 24V strip lights compatible? A: No, 12V strips can get excessively hot within a few seconds of being connected to a 24V power supply unit. Simply put, connecting 24V to the 12V LED strip copper pads could cause the LEDs to burn out due to over-voltage.

How far can a 24V signal travel? ›

24V AC Power Max Wire Distance Chart
24 AWG20 AWG
20 VA (833mA)52 feet142 feet
30 VA (1,250mA)34 feet95 feet
40 VA (1,667mA)26 feet71 feet
50 VA (2,083mA)20 feet57 feet
1 more row
Aug 30, 2022

Can 12V and 24v share a ground? ›

Yes, no reason why you can't use a common ground but you don't have to either (unless you expect to use both in the same circuit and expect them to be relative to each other).

How many 12 volt batteries can you run in parallel? ›

There is no limit to how many batteries you can wire in parallel. The more batteries you add in a parallel circuit, the more capacity and longer runtime you will have available. Keep in mind that the more batteries you have in parallel, the longer it will take to charge the system.


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