Lead Acid Vs Lithium Ion Batteries
Which one has better value for money?
When purchasing a deep cycle battery for a car, 4WD, truck, motorcycle, boat or golf buggy many people question whether to buy a lead acid battery or a lithium ion one. Typical questions we receive run along the lines of ‘which battery will last longer’, ‘which battery has more storage capacity’, and ‘which battery is more suitable for my situation’? Questions we may not always get asked where the answers are essential to point out, when comparing both lead acid and lithium batteries, are … which battery is more efficient, has a higher discharge capacity and has a better charge time/rate/ability.
Without getting into a lot of technical jargon here are some comparisons between the two.
Battery efficiency is pretty much the first thing on people's minds when buying a battery that is going to last the longest. Most lead acid batteries sit at around 80-85 percent efficiency, whereas its lithium counterpart will output up to 95 percent. This means once the charge/discharge process is complete the lithium battery will give out 95 percent of its energy consistently, as opposed to the lead acid battery which only outputs 80 percent. This also highlights that a lithium battery, even though it is much smaller in size, stores more usable power over a longer period of time … but that’s not all.
Here are some other key differences between lead acid (L.A) batteries and Lithium ion (L.i) batteries:
Lithium Ion Battery:
- Longer Cycle Life: 20 times longer cycle life, means the battery can be charged more and still maintain high performance in comparison to L.A
- Longer float / Calendar life 3-4 times longer than L.A
- Lighter Weight: 30-40 percent of the weight of a comparable L.A battery with a no-fuss ‘dropin’ replacement
- Higher Power delivering twice the amount of power than a L.A battery, as well as a higher discharge rate, while maintaining high energy capacity
- Faster Charging Time 8-10 times shorter than L.A
- Wider Temperature Range: -20c - 60c
- Superior Safety: Lithium iron phosphate chemistry eliminates the risk of explosion or combustion due to high impact, overcharging or short circuit situation. Buying a reputable battery is advisable.
- Less reusable components than L.A
- More expensive up to twice the price than lead acid.
- Longer Warranty: 3-5 years depending on the type of battery compared to L.A
Lead Acid Battery:
- Shorter Life Cycle e.g., Lead Acid (L.A) 400-1,500 charges reducing to 50 percent depth of discharge output, compared to Lithium ion (L.i) 2,000-4,000 charges reducing to 80 percent depth of discharge
- Shelf life is shorter than L.i batteries by at least half
- Heavier in weight three times higher than L.i
- Lower power output where the voltage will consistently drop over its discharge compared to the stable voltage holding capabilities of L.i
- Longer charging times 6-8 hours compared to 1-2 hours for L.i
- Most parts can be re-used
- Far cheaper where the cost of buying two lead acid batteries can still be cheaper than buying a Lithium ion one.
- Safety concerns thermal runaway is more likely, due to not having heat control systems and emissions can be toxic; therefore it’s important to buy a sealed lead acid battery with specific safety features
- Shorter warranty 12-24months
After weighing some basic comparisons when it comes to whether or not you should install a lithium battery over a lead acid battery, it appears that even though lead acid batteries are cheaper and very robust … lithium batteries are far more efficient. When weighing up the efficiency levels, it is clear that the value in purchasing a lithium battery works out cheaper in the long run, as it’s high cycling capability and low maintenance requirements, reduce the cost per cycle over many other types. In addition, the demand for lithium batteries has risen considerably due to their modern technology and features i.e., high energy density, ability to hold voltage at a higher constant capacity over a longer period of time, more lightweight, and the ability to recharge quickly.
Looking for a super compact lithium battery that has maximum output and is ideal when space is limited?
Batco 12V 110 Slimline Lithium Battery
The Batco Slimline Lithium battery is revolutionising how we go off-road. Manufactured utilising lithium iron phosphate cells within a hard metal case it boasts a Battery Management System (BMS), which means this battery is designed to charge and maintain the battery by incorporating AC, DC and solar inputs. This little beauty is particularly ideal for Caravans, RV’S and 4WD’s and Marine Boats when space is valuable.
Other features of the BT121100SL: