Best Gel Leisure Battery (UK Reviews)

At Off Grid Power Geek, one of our specialist subjects is batteries. So today, we’ll look at the Best Gel Leisure Battery.

We’ll let you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about batteries in general, and why Gel batteries are able to solve some of the problems that traditional lead-acid batteries have.

And we’ll dive into which aspects of Gel batteries make them suited for motorhomes, caravans and campervans.

best gel leisure battery

Introducing Best Gel Leisure Battery

Let’s talk about leisure batteries, and we’ll see why Gel batteries are the best fit for this application.

Which Battery Do I Need?

Since you’re here, you’re at least considering a Gel battery.

So who needs a Gel battery and who doesn’t?

Well, firstly if you’re a car driver, there are probably other batteries, like EFB and AGM batteries that are more suited to your needs. Why? Because the purpose of Gel batteries, their raison d’etre, is as a deep cycle battery.

Gel batteries are true deep cycle. They’re actually made for this purpose and, for several reasons are ideal for it.

What is deep cycle? Well it means the battery is ideal to provide a slow, steady charge over a long time. And can cope with deep discharge and still recharge fully.

That’s unlike traditional lead-acid batteries, which are designed to provide a sudden burst of power to start the engine.

So who needs deep cycle batteries?

Leisure vehicle users – that is motorhomes, caravans, campervans, RVs and suchlike. As well as boats and yachts. It’s also good for solar and UPS, and backup power.

Which Is The Best Gel Leisure Battery?

Let’s check out the basic specifications of the best Gel leisure batteries on the UK market.

100Ah Photonic Universe Gel Battery 12V

200Ah Photonic Universe Gel Battery 12V

BATTERY (12V)100Ah Photonic Universe Battery200Ah Photonic Universe Battery
WEIGHT30.3kg 61.5kg
LIFE CYCLES1200-1300 (at 30% DoD)1200-1300 (at 30% DoD)
DIMENSIONS33.1 x 17.3 x 21.7cm (13.0 x 6.8 x 8.5in)52.3 x 23.9 x 24.3 cm (20.6 x 9.4 x 9.6in)
TERMINALSF13F24 (nuts and bolts included)

Gel Leisure Battery Reviews (UK)

Now we’ll review these models, let’s check out what we liked, what we didn’t like. And which model is right for your specific battery needs.

100Ah Photonic Universe Battery 12V & 200Ah Photonic Universe Battery 12V

This is the best LiFePO4 200Ah 12V battery.

We’ve reviewed them together since they’re the same manufacturer, same materials, components, construction. The 200Ah simply has more cells inside it, and so has higher capacity. That’s the only difference.

Here are our likes and dislikes in our testing.

What We Liked
  • Excellent longevity, far superior to an equivalent Lead-acid battery. 10 years if you treat it right!
  • Handles deep discharge really well
  • Vibration resistance is strong, suitable for off-roaders.
  • High solar charge acceptance
  • Faster charging than other Gel batteries on the market
  • Low self-discharge at less than 1% per month
What We Didn’t Like
  • It’s heavy, at 31kg (100Ah) and 61.5kg (200Ah)
  • Relatively expensive, compared to a lead-acid battery (but remember it can last 2 to 3 times longer)
  • Doesn’t cope well with heat

Full Specifications:

100Ah model

  • Weight: 30.3kg
  • Dimensions: 33.1 x 17.3 x 21.7cm (13.0 x 6.8 x 8.5in)
  • Nominal Voltage: 12V
  • Nominal Capacity: 100Ah at 10 hour rate / 108Ah at 20 hour rate
  • Self-discharge rate: Less than 1% per month
  • Cycle life: 1200-1300 at 30% DoD
  • Maximum Charging Current: 20A
  • Terminals: F13
  • Operating Temperature: -10°C to +50°C
  • Pressure Control: By Safety Valve

200Ah model

  • Weight: 61.5kg
  • Dimensions: 52.3 x 23.9 x 24.3 cm (20.6 x 9.4 x 9.6in)
  • Nominal Voltage: 12V
  • Nominal Capacity: 200Ah at 10 hour rate / 205Ah at 20 hour rate
  • Self-discharge rate: Less than 1% per month
  • Cycle life: 1200-1300 at 30% DoD
  • Maximum Charging Current: 40A
  • Terminals: F24 (bolts and washers included)
  • Operating Temperature: -10°C to +50°C
  • Pressure Control: By Safety Valve

Verdict: Why is it our No.1? Because it’ll last you a really long time, won’t suffer as much as other batteries if you discharge it too much, and self-discharge rate is so low. It’s heavy and more expensive than a standard lead-acid battery. But well worth it, we reckon.

Here’s the best place to buy the 100Ah, on Amazon.

And the 200Ah model is on Amazon, here.

Here’s our full review of the Photonic Universe battery:

What We Liked


It has an excellent reputation for longevity, even when it gets deeply discharged. That’s not an easy thing, certainly not for most type of battery, they can’t handle it.

It’s not the lowest cost battery, compared to other lead-acid batteries. But you have to remember that other kinds of battery are not made for deep cycle. So they won’t last as long, and will suffer more harshly if they ever get deeply discharged.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this Photonic Universe battery can last easily twice as long as an equivalent lead-acid battery.

And it will provide more reliable power during that time (with other lead-acid batteries, you can get quite steep reductions in power, after it has been deeply discharged or when it’s spent too long in a discharged state.

How long? 10 years is possible, if you treat it kindly (100% discharges? No thanks!).

High Ability to Handle Deep Discharge

As mentioned above, the Photonic Universe battery can cope much better with deep discharge than other lead-acid batteries.

That’s just inherent in this kind of Gel battery. As it’s designed for deep cycling, it doesn’t suffer the way that other batteries do.

Excellent resistance to vibration

Typical lead-acid batteries are not built to handle shock or vibration, their internal components don’t like it.

With this, the best Gel leisure battery, it’ll comfortably handle all you can throw at it. That’s just another reason why it lasts much longer.

Extremely low self-discharge

This battery’s self-discharge rate is less than 1% per month. That’s phenomenally low. Other types of lead-acid batteries can self-discharge at around 5-10% per month.

This is a key area. You probably don’t use your campervan or motorhome all year round, right? Most people don’t.

Typically, lead-acid batteries will develop sulfation on their plates when they’re left in a discharged state, for example if you leave them unused for several months over winter.

Sulfation is when lead sulfate gathers on the battery plates. It prevents the battery from being able to store charge, and therefore also blocks the power delivery. Sulfation is always happening, with all lead-acid batteries but typically, it can be (mostly) removed when you charge the battery.

However, if you leave the battery unused for too long, the lead sulfate hardens, crystallizes, and so even when you charge the battery it can’t be removed. This is the beginning of the end for your battery, and in the end, 84% of batteries are killed by sulfation.

This Photonics Universe Gel battery however, does not sulfate so easily as other lead-acid battery types. That’s because it’s self-discharge rate is very, very low.

High charge acceptance

That means it takes in charge more easily than other batteries.

This is a good thing. It means it’ll fill up faster, giving you more power availability with less charging time.

This benefit is partly related to its resistance to sulfation (lead-acid batteries’ charge acceptance is hindered by their plates being sulfated).

By the way, you can charge it even more efficiently with a DC DC charger, like this CTEK D250SE. With this device, your vehicle alternator, as well as solar input, can charge your auxiliary / leisure battery, making the most of the energy produced by your vehicle and solar panels.

What We Didn’t Like?

More expensive than lead-acid

As mentioned, it’s not cheap, you’ll cerainly be able to get a lead-acid battery for cheaper.

Though the advantages of quality Gel battery far outweigh that, since it’s likely to last at least twice as long as a lead-acid battery, and give you better power.

It’s heavy

It’s also pretty darn heavy, at 30.3kg for the 100Ah model and 61.5kg for the 200Ah model.

That’s not that much heavier than a Lead-acid battery, but you can get a Lithium battery that is less than 12kg.

Decide yourself if that’s okay for your application.

Longevity suffers if it gets too hot

If you let this battery get too hot, it can be damaged. This is true of all Gel batteries, and indeed most batteries.

Overall Verdict

With the possibility of up to 1300 cycle life, this battery could potentially last you 10 years or more. Technically, that’s true of other batteries but with this Gel battery, it’s more likely.

That’s because these Photonic Universe batteries can handle deep discharge so much better, and have very little self-discharge. If you’re ever going to leave the battery unused for several months, you need a battery with low self-discharge, it’s crucial.

That’s it for our review of the best Gel leisure battery.

Now we’ll explore Gel batteries and look at whether they’re right for you.

Gel Leisure Batteries

A Gel battery is a lead-acid battery.

What Is A Lead-acid battery?

All lead-acid batteries have within them lead plates and an electrolyte (which is a mixture of sulphuric acid and distilled water). 

It’s the reaction between the lead and the electrolyte that allows the battery to become a store of charge and hence be able to deliver power to your car.

Most of the batteries on the market are, and have been for many years, flooded (wet) batteries (like this Superbatt DT120 leisure battery). That means the sulphuric acid-water solution is in free-flowing form.

In other words, the mixture is in liquid form, free to move around the battery and in contact with the battery plates.

The advent of Gel and AGM batteries

Gel and AGM batteries were developed as a solution to some of the problems that arise with flooded batteries.

Those problems were:

  1. sulfation
  2. acid stratification
  3. vibrations effect on battery
  4. safety (spillage of harmful battery acid)
  5. can ONLY be installed in an upright position

Both Gel and AGM batteries completely fix the problems caused by acid stratification and safety (spillage of harmful battery acid).

And they significantly improve the problems incurred due to sulfation and vibrations effect on the battery.

Why are AGM Batteries different?

With AGM batteries, instead of being free-flowing, the electrolyte is absorbed onto glass mats (AGM stands for Absorbed Glass Mat). 

The glass mats are placed in between the battery plates, and allow the contact required for the battery’s chemical reactions to take place.

Why are Gel Batteries different?

With Gel leisure batteries, the electrolyte has Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), also known as silica, added to it. The result is that the electrolyte forms a gel.

The silica is a thickening agent, and it means the electrolyte has been immobilised. It looks a little like petroleum jelly.

As with all lead acid batteries, it’s the contact between the lead plates and the electrolyte gel within the Gel battery that allows the chemical reactions to occur. Therefore, the battery can store charge and provide power.

Advantages of Gel Batteries

    1) Install in any position (not just upright)

This much thicker electrolyte means that the battery can be installed in numerous positions, not only upright. 

Since they are maintenance-free, they don’t leak, and the electrolyte doesn’t move as a liquid , it doesn’t matter which way up you store Gel batteries.

This makes them ideal for motorhomes, campervans and other kinds of leisure vehicles, which may require the battery to be in a particular position.

    2) Safer (no risk of spillage)

Since the electrolyte is immobilised in the form of a thick gel, there’s no risk of spillage. 

That makes it safer than lead-acid batteries, which have the electrolyte free-flowing around the battery. Even though they are sealed, there’s still a possibility that acid could leak if the plastic casing is compromised or damaged.

Leaked battery acid is a dangerous and significant clean-up process, as well as the damage to anything it came into contact with. With Gel batteries, there is no risk of this happening.

Gel batteries have a valve to release pressure. With the immobilised electrolyte and valve to release pressure, there’s nowhere for the electrolyte to go.

As a result, Gel batteries are safe enough for transport by air.

    3) Vibration Resistant

The internal structure of Gel batteries make them far more resistant to the impacts, jolting and extreme vibrations that occur when a vehicle is moving, particularly if the vehicle is ever off-road.

The gel form of the electrolyte provides a cushioning effect for all the internal components of the battery, so they’re less likely to be put under strain due to impact.

Normal flooded (wet) batteries can’t handle these vibrations anywhere near as well. 

     4) Cope better with deep discharge

Flooded lead-acid batteries will have their lifespan shortened if you let them discharge too much too often.

 In fact, too much deep discharge and leaving them in a discharged state can lower their usable capacity, until they stop working completely.

Gel batteries are deep cycle batteries. They’re designed to allow for deep discharge and then you can fully recharge them.

No lead-acid battery, including Gel batteries should be allowed to completely discharge, it will damage them all. But Gel batteries allow for more deep discharge than Flooded batteries. They have less capacity loss after deep discharge.

     5) No acid stratification

Acid stratification is when the battery’s electrolyte (which is a sulphuric acid and distilled water mixture) becomes a poor mixture – that is, it separates into layers. The sulphuric acid, which has higher density, gathers more towards the bottom of the battery. Which leaves more water at the top of the battery.

Acid stratification of a battery

This is very bad for the battery’s health and leads to the battery having less ability to store charge, and therefore less ability to deliver power. That’s because batteries need as much contact as possible between the lead plates and the electrolyte, as this produces more chemical reactions, which in turn produce more excess electrons (ie. electrical power).

 In stratified batteries only the middle part of the electrolyte will still be a good mixture, the top and the bottom cannot produce chemical reactions.

Gel leisure batteries do not have this problem, acid stratification, at all. That’s because the electrolyte is in gel form. So it cannot become separated in the same way that a free-flowing liquid can.

    6) Slow rate of self-discharge

The nature of Gel batteries internal components mean that they have much slower rates of self-discharge than Flooded batteries.

Therefore, they’re much better suited for leisure vehicles, which can sometime be left unused for several months.

    7) Cope better with charging variations

Application such as leisure vehicles (campervans, motorhomes, caravans) and solar may have different charging capabilities at different times.

Gel batteries are very tolerant to deal with different charging regimes, and variations in state of charge at different times. So gel batteries are ideal for leisure vehicle and solar use.

    8) No Fumes

As a result of the electrolyte being in gel form, no fumes can be produced. Unlike Flooded batteries, where the battery acid can potentially produce fumes.

In Gel batteries, the hydrogen and oxygen produces as part of the charging process do not need to be released out of the battery (that’s why older Flooded batteries needed vents, and then to be topped up with distilled water). Instead the hydrogen and oxygen can move through the cracks and spaces in the electrolyte gel. 

What size of Gel battery do I need?

Add up the Ah consumed by each of your electrical devices per day. Consider how long you’ll need to be able to power devices off-grid.

For example, if you’ll use up 50Ah per day, and you need a maximum of 2 days completely off-grid (assuming no solar input or DC-DC charging from your vehicle alternator), then you’ll need a battery with usable capacity of 100Ah. If the usable capacity of the Gel battery is 60%, then you’ll need a 200Ah battery – since that’ll give you 120Ah of usable capacity.

Need more detail? We’ve gone in-depth on how to calculate the size of leisure battery you need.

Summary of Best Gel Leisure Battery

Hope you enjoyed reading our analysis about Gel batteries.

We checked out the best gel leisure battery on the market, the Photonic Universe 100Ah and 200Ah batteries. Its excellent charge acceptance, likelihood to last a long time, and ability to deal with high discharge and long periods unused make is the reason for its position in the market.

A worthy investment, then. But keep in mind the weight, some people will find it too heavy. If that’s the case, check out a Lithium leisure battery (which has a ton of additional benefits).

We deep dived on exactly how Gel batteries work and how they differ from typical lead acid leisure batteries (how long do they last?). And therefore, how they solve some of the drawbacks to those batteries.

If you do decide to go with the Photonic Universe battery…

Gel leisure battery review UK

If it’s for you, here’s the best place to get the 100Ah model, on Amazon.

And the 200Ah model, is here.

100Ah model

200Ah model