Lithium Batteries vs Lead Acid

Lithium (LiFePO4) Advantages

There are many different types of batteries available on the market, but which one’s right for you? Better yet, which one’s equipped with the latest and greatest technology? To keep things simple we’ll talk about today’s two top contenders: lead acid and lithium. Most of us have heard the adage, you get what you pay for. Batteries are no exception to that rule.

No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road or on the water without a paddle, that’s why choosing the right battery is so important.

Benefits of Lithium (LiFePO4) Batteries

  • Cell Cycle Life: 20,000 shallow cycles or ~10 year
  • Longer Life Cycles: Exceed 2,000 full cycles, 5 times better than Lead Acid with 80% capacity left. Other companies claim higher full cycles with 50% capacity left that ours achieve as well.
  • Higher Discharge Power: 6.6 times of Lead Acid
  • Less Charging Time: Less than 2 hours
  • Less Self Discharge Rate: Less than 2% monthly, Lead Acid is 30%
  • Less Weight and Size: 50% of Lead Acid
  • High Temperature: Can operate at 70°C without life degradation
  • Low Temperature: Can operate in -30°C with slight performance degrade
  • Maintenance Free: Flooded Lead Acid need constant distilled water maintenance
  • Lithium does not Freeze
  • Safer: No Explosion, No Fire
  • Non Toxic to the Environment
  • 98% Energy efficient
advantage

Efficiency

Houses are kind of like batteries when it comes to efficiency. Some houses are well insulated and warm, while others are drafty and cold. And some batteries are more efficient than others and lend to a better overall experience. That’s the case for lithium, which can use 95% of the energy stored. Lead acid, on the other hand, can only use 80%.

Efficiency not only affects the amount of time you can use your battery, but also how quickly it’ll charge. Lithium takes less than 2 hours to charge, while lead acid can take 8-10 hours on the fast end. Huge difference. It wasn’t until relatively recently that lithium batteries were even available. But the good news is that they’re now available and at a lower price than ever before. Armed with the most innovative technology, lithium is leaving competitors laps behind.

Depth of Discharge

A battery’s depth of discharge is basically how much of the battery’s power you can use. What’s the use of a battery if you can’t use it, right? So a lithium battery can be drained to 85% of while lead acid can only be drained to 50%. Half of the energy, wasted. Meaning you won’t have power for as long as you should and you’ll be charging your battery more often. Lithium also has a higher discharge power; approximately 6.6x of lead acid.

Performance

Perhaps you’re concerned about the longevity of your battery in extreme temperatures. Whether your battery’s in use or stored, one option fares far better with extreme temperatures.

Lead acid batteries are easily damaged by high and low temperatures. When exposed to temperatures over or under 77 degrees fahrenheit, they lose their capacity by up to 50%. And that’s only after a few hours. Lithium batteries won’t see a decrease in performance until temperatures reach over 120 degrees fahrenheit. And even then, the decrease in performance will only be around 20%.

Environmental Impact

Every battery affects the environment in some way, but the goal is to make the carbon footprint as small as possible. Both options require mining for the materials used in their products, but a lead acid battery requires much more.

In addition, depending on how you’re using your lead acid battery, lead acid poses a real risk of battery leakage. If your battery is being used in the water, for example, leakage can pollute surrounding ecosystems and waterways. Lithium is leak-free and a much safer choice for the environment. Lithium helps you keep nature as pristine and healthy as possible.

Lifespan

The lifespan of a lithium battery is about 9-10 times longer than a lead acid battery. A typical lead acid battery can be charged around 300-400 times, which means if completely drained once a day, it’ll last about a year.

A lithium battery can be recharged up to 5000 times, which means if it’s completely drained each day, it can last up to 14 years. So while the initial price of the lithium battery may seem hefty, just remember how many years you'll be able to use it!

Capacity

The capacity of a battery is essentially the amount of energy it can store. To give you an example of what this means, let’s paint a picture: If you took two batteries, each identical in size and dimensions, the lithium battery could carry almost 7x as much energy as its competitor. 7x!

So instead of having a clunky lead acid battery, you can have a lithium battery that’s smaller in size with more capacity. It’s like choosing between a flip phone from the 90’s and an iPhone. Lithium (even more specifically the LiFePO4 battery) is lightweight, versatile, and a newer, more advanced technology.

Size & Weight

When comparing the size and weight of the lithium LiFePO4 battery and lead acid batteries, it’s important to note that lithium batteries are about 50% lighter than lead acid.

Thanks to their lightweight design, lithium can actually save you money on fuel costs. So if you’re choosing your battery for a boat, for instance, the added weight of a heavier battery could increase the drag and resistance. This means a higher cost in gasoline. Lithium will not only allow your boat to travel more smoothly, it’ll also save you a lot in fuel costs.

Another thing to keep in mind is how you store your battery. Is your space small? Would you free up space if the battery could be stored on it’s side? Lead acid requires an upright position while lithium can be stored any way you want...on its side, on its back, even vertically. More flexibility makes room for more space.

Weight is another thing to consider. Lead acid batteries are known for being heavy and clunky. It’s like lugging around 30lb free-weights. Unless you need a workout, skip the back pain and frustration by choosing lithium, which weighs about 50% less.

Maintenance

Lead acid batteries require a considerable amount of upkeep. They’re actually submerged in water, and need to be refilled every 1-3 months. Without consistent maintenance and a watchful eye corrosion may occur, function halted, and the battery’s life won’t last as long.

One of the biggest perks to lithium is that they’re maintenance free. Zero maintenance gives lithium a real edge. Time is money after all.

Sure, lead acid is cheaper short term, but if you have to replace the battery time and time again, is it really? If you want a battery that’s going to last for years to come, lithium is where it’s at.

Safety

Safety is always a top priority and fortunately both batteries score well in this category, and are considered safe. Both lithium and lead acid batteries can be used regularly with little to no safety concerns, and factories inspect batteries closely to eliminate safety issues and concerns.

Lithium is considered one of the safety batteries on the market and is easy to use and store without concern. Lead acid is considered safe as well, but they do require a ventilation system making their upkeep and storage more difficult.

Ionic 12 Volt 50Ah Deep Cycle Lithium Battery

The Lithium Advantage

As you can see, the lithium LiFePO4 battery is well worth the initial investment. It edges out the competition in every category except initial cost, which becomes a moot point over the long term. All things taken into consideration, the bottom line is this. Cheaper up front doesn’t mean cheaper long term.

Thanks to new advancements in technology, lithium outperforms every other battery type on the market. It’s a battery far superior to the competition and in a league of its own, checking all of the boxes and then some:

Lithium is more powerful, efficient, safer, lighter, longer lasting, and more cost-effective long term (among other things). Choosing a higher quality product like lithium leads to less headaches and frustration; a much better overall experience and peace of mind. Whether you’re powering your boat, RV, or some other toy, pick the battery that keeps your adventures alive!

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