This is my hands-on review of the Victron Energy SmartShunt 500A battery monitor.
I spent over 2 months testing the SmartShunt alongside 3 of the best battery monitors for RVs and 12V-48V solar batteries. I connected the SmartShunt to a 12V battery bank, performed charging and discharging cycles, familiarized myself with its mobile app, and tested its Bluetooth range.
After all that, the SmartShunt ended up being my favorite battery monitor. It works with virtually every type of RV and solar battery, has built-in Bluetooth for remote monitoring, and is one of the most customizable and accurate battery monitors I’ve used. Plus there’s a water-resistant version with an IP65 rating for wet or marine environments.
Victron Energy SmartShunt 500A
An excellent battery monitor for RVs, boats, and 12-48V solar batteries
After testing 4 of the best battery monitors, the SmartShunt was my favorite. It’s easy to install, has built-in Bluetooth, and works with 12-48V lithium and lead acid batteries.
|Battery voltage range:||6.5-70V||Bluetooth?||Yes|
|Shunt current rating:||500A (1000A, 2000A models available)||Max battery capacity:||9,999Ah|
|Claimed accuracy:||± 0.01 A, ± 0.01 V, ± 0.1 Ah, ± 0.1% SoC||Operating temperature:||-40 to +50°C (-40 to +120°F)|
Victron SmartShunt vs Top Battery Monitors
If you’d like to know how the SmartShunt compares to other top battery monitors — such as the Victron BMV-712 Smart and the Renogy 500A Battery Monitor — check out my full review of the best battery monitors, or watch the following YouTube video I made of my testing.
Victron SmartShunt Review
The SmartShunt is by far the easiest battery monitor to install. It doesn’t have a screen, so all you have to do is mount the shunt, which can be done in 2 ways:
- Use double-sided mounting tape to tape the shunt directly to your battery
- Use a drill and 2 screws to mount the shunt to a wall
Once mounted, you follow the instructions for connecting the SmartShunt to your system, which you do in the same way as any other battery monitor.
Tip: Charge your battery bank to 100% before connecting a battery monitor. It makes setup much easier.
The SmartShunt powers up automatically once you’ve connected everything properly. To set it up for your system, you download the free VictronConnect mobile app and open it up on your phone. The SmartShunt has Bluetooth built-in, so you interface with it and adjust settings entirely through the app.
Locate the SmartShunt in the app’s list of devices and connect to it following the instructions. Once you’ve connected, you’ll see the SmartShunt’s “Status” screen that displays important specs such as battery percentage, battery voltage, current, and wattage.
To complete setup, you need to input your battery settings. Tap the gear icon in the top right corner to go to the settings menu and tap on “Battery”. Here you’ll see a lot of battery settings, most of which make no sense the first time you see them.
Of course, like any battery monitor, the SmartShunt has the basic settings, like battery capacity and state of charge. But then there are plenty more, things like Peukert exponent and charge efficiency factor, that you can tweak to make the monitor even more accurate for your system.
Fortunately, Victron gives us a detailed product manual that has guidance on each setting based on battery type. Also, a quick YouTube search for “victron smartshunt” will yield plenty of excellent videos that will help you dial in the right settings for your battery.
Once you’ve input all your settings, your battery monitor is customized for your battery and ready to start monitoring.
The Victron mobile app is quite robust — and it’s the way you use the SmartShunt — so it’s worth covering it in a bit more detail.
Once you connect to the SmartShunt, which must be done every time you open the app, you’ll be taken to the SmartShunt’s “Status” screen. It shows you a lot of information at a glance, such as voltage, current, state of charge, wattage, and estimated time remaining. I spend most of my time on this screen.
If you want to dig in further, there are history and trends tabs that show you historical information about your system, such as total amp hours charged and discharged. The trends reports will delight the battery nerds out there: they show things like voltage, current, and state of charge over time.
And then there’s the settings menu, which includes the aforementioned battery settings and settings for some extra features. I’ll cover the extra features a little later on, but know that this is where you go in the app to set those up.
Charging & Discharging
Since my 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery was 100% charged when I set up my SmartShunt, I proceeded to connect a 2000W inverter and perform a discharge test. I discharged the battery at a 0.2C rate (i.e. 20 amps) and monitored its performance.
While the battery was discharging, I set a low-capacity alarm in the Victron app to go off when the battery’s remaining capacity hit 10%. This is one of the SmartShunt’s extra features.
Everything worked as expected during the discharge test. I was able to monitor exactly how many amps and watts my inverter was using at any given moment. The state of charge told me exactly how much battery percentage I had left. And the time remaining feature is a nice touch when you’re using more or less a constant amount of power.
Once the battery percentage dropped below 10%, I expected to hear an alarm coming from the SmartShunt. But it didn’t make a sound. I checked the Victron app and that’s where I saw an in-app alert telling me that my battery capacity was low.
I looked into it and learned that the SmartShunt is not equipped with a buzzer. Victron says itself in the product manual that “the generated alarms are only visible on the VictronConnect app while connected to the SmartShunt or are used to send an alarm signal to a GX device.”
I didn’t even get a push notification on my phone. It certainly feels like a stretch to call this in-app alert an ‘alarm.’
I disconnected the loads from the battery at around 5% and then started charging my battery bank, first using a lithium battery charger and then using a 300 watt solar array. The ‘alarm’ turned off at the set capacity, and I was able to use the Status screen to monitor the charging process. The battery monitor performed as expected throughout.
One of the main criticisms of the SmartShunt is its Bluetooth range. So I set about testing it.
First, I tested its uninterrupted Bluetooth range in a backyard without any obstructions. I measured a range of 90-100 feet.
Then, I put the SmartShunt in the battery compartment of my dad’s RV and tested its interrupted Bluetooth range, when the SmartShunt was surrounded by walls and electrical equipment. I measured a range of 30 feet — a drop of roughly 70 feet.
30 feet was enough range for me to connect while walking around the outside of the RV. But I couldn’t venture very far away or else I’d lose connection.
If your battery bank is far away from where you spend your time, such as in another building on your property, I’d recommend looking at the Victron BMV-712, whose interrupted Bluetooth range I measured at 100 feet.
Like I mentioned, the SmartShunt has an ‘alarm’ feature for low capacity and low and high voltages. The alarm is really just an in-app alert. There is no sound emitted by the shunt.
If you want, you could connect the SmartShunt to a Victron GX device and have the alarm signal sent there. But that’s only a solution for advanced users who are ready to spend the extra money to set up a system like that.
The SmartShunt can monitor the midpoint of your battery bank, or the voltage of a starter battery, using the auxiliary port. It can also do temperature monitoring if you buy Victron’s temperature sensor.
These extra features are all nice to have, but by no means necessary. If you have a large, expensive battery bank I’d recommend considering a battery monitor that does midpoint monitoring — which helps you better monitor the health of individual batteries — but otherwise I don’t think it’s needed.
What I Like
- It’s easy to install. Installing the SmartShunt can be as easy as taping it to your battery. It’s by far the easiest monitor to install.
- It has Bluetooth built-in. Bluetooth lets you monitor your system from your phone, which is a great feature in my opinion. It’s still uncommon on battery monitors, and the SmartShunt is one of the cheaper options that comes with it built-in.
- It’s highly customizable and comes with some nice extra features. Victron’s battery monitors have the greatest number of settings to adjust to help you dial in the monitor for your battery bank. The customization options are a bit confusing at first, but they help improve the monitor’s accuracy. Plus, the SmartShunt has some extra features like midpoint and starter battery monitoring.
What I Don’t Like
- It’s expensive. The SmartShunt is the second most expensive battery monitor I’ve tested.
- The Bluetooth range isn’t great. When the SmartShunt was in the battery compartment of my dad’s RV, I measured a Bluetooth range of 30 feet. That was enough to still connect while walking around the RV. But I couldn’t venture too far away.
- It takes a few seconds for the app to connect. Every time you want to check on your batteries, you have to open the Victron app, click on the SmartShunt, and then wait for the app to connect. It can take around 5-7 seconds on average. That sounds trivial, but compared to monitors with screens you can glance at, it becomes a minor, but ever-present, frustration.
Who This Battery Monitor Is for
- You want a great battery monitor with Bluetooth. After testing 4 battery monitors side by side, I liked the SmartShunt best.
- You prefer the Victron brand and quality. I own a few different Victron products and have always been happy with the quality. Their devices can also often be connected together to give you even more information about your system.
- You want the most customization and data. The SmartShunt lets you adjust a whole slew of settings and stores historical data and trends.
Who This Battery Monitor Isn’t for
- You just want a simple, cheap battery monitor. In that case, I’d recommend the AiLi 350A Battery Monitor which is a no-frills battery monitor at a very affordable price.
- You want a screen. Most other battery monitors have screens, so you’ve got lots of alternatives to consider. You could consider the Victron BMV-712 Smart if you’re loyal to the Victron brand. And I’d also recommend looking at the Renogy 500A Battery Monitor. It has my favorite screen of those I tested.
- Victron BMV-712 Smart. The BMV-712 is a premium battery monitor at a premium price. For the price, you get the best of both worlds: Bluetooth and a screen, which is a rare combo in the world of battery monitors. It also has an audible alarm and a programmable relay. For more, check out my full Victron BMV-712 review.
- TBD SmartShunt. I haven’t personally tested this battery monitor, but it’s a knockoff version of the SmartShunt at around half the price. You don’t get the peace of mind that comes with the Victron brand, but I think it’s worth a look if you want a Bluetooth battery monitor without paying top dollar.
The Bottom Line
After testing 4 of the best battery monitors over the course of a couple months, the Victron Energy SmartShunt 500A ended up being my favorite. It works with 12-48V lithium and lead acid batteries, which covers virtually all types of RV and solar batteries.
It’s easy to install, has Bluetooth with decent enough range for my purposes, and is highly customizable. It’s the monitor I reach for first when filming videos, testing solar equipment, and building DIY solar projects.
It’s an easy recommendation for those looking for a good battery monitor.
A small ask: If you found my Victron SmartShunt review helpful and are planning to buy one, please consider buying through one of my affiliate links below — I’ll get a small commission which will help fund more reviews like this one. Thank you! 🙏