Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Batteries - Part Two

Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Batteries - Part Two

Batteries are a necessary and needed part of our lives. They power cell phones and computers to flashlights, vehicles, and tools and lots of things in-between. So which type of battery is best and gives you the superior value for all these needs: lead-acid or lithium?

By the end of this two-part guide, you’ll have the knowledge you need to choose the best option. 

In part one, we discussed the overall advantages to lithium-ion batteries and outlined a chart - “Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Batteries At a Glance.” In part two, we’re covering all the essentials of each like lifespan and maintenance!

Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Efficiency

When you go to buy a battery, you want to make sure that the electricity it generates isn’t wasted. As you research batteries, you’ll want to check how much power the battery will give when used compared to how much it takes to charge it in the first place. When a battery can generate near-equal levels of energy as it receives, it is an efficient battery.

Unfortunately, lead-acid batteries are not considered particularly efficient. The fact is, they aren’t 100% efficient. Their energy efficiency is actually about 70%. With a lead-acid battery, you never get as much power out of it as you put into it. The reason for this is that, if not constantly used, a lead-acid battery will self-discharge over time, so the ability to generate power drops.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, are considered highly efficient. Though still not 100% efficient, they come in at a close 99% energy efficiency, making them almost 30% more efficient than lead-acid batteries. This efficiency comes from the lithium-ion battery’s ability to hold its charge for longer periods of time. For example, if you’re using a lead-acid battery for auxiliary power for a RV, trailer, fishing boat or motor home, you can only “use” about 50% of the energy in the battery before it starts to damage the battery. In a lithium-ion battery, you can safely use all the energy or 100% of the battery and recharge it again and again and again.

So if you’re looking for a battery that can give you the most energy efficiency, the lithium-ion battery is going to be your best option. 

Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Lifespan

Many batteries are made to last only a few years. Lead-acid batteries are typically designed to last 3-5 years. It can be charged and sit for a few months at a time, but it will eventually lose some of its charge and ability to charge. You can, of course, recharge it often to keep the chemicals active inside the battery. Using a lead-acid battery often will help it function well, but it will wear out relatively in a short period of time. Typically, you’ll find that after about 250 charges, these batteries need to be replaced.

Some smaller lithium-ion batteries have similar life spans to lead-acid batteries, just a few years. However, there are others that are designed to last much longer. At Lion Energy, we have higher quality or grade lithium-ion batteries that can be drained and recharged 3,500 - 5,000 times, outlasting any lead-acid battery on the market by several years. Staying with our previous example, if you use your RV every single day of the year, a lead acid battery may not even last one year. However, the Lion Energy Safari UT1300 Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, would last nearly 10 years and still have 80% of the battery capacity left. That’s a huge difference!

Lifespan is a big deal when it comes to buying a battery. After all, if you’re going to spend a few hundred dollars on a good battery, you want it to last as long as it can. A lithium-ion battery will give you a much longer lifespan so you don’t have to replace your battery often. 

Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Maintenance

Did you know that some batteries require maintenance? It may seem a little weird, but it’s true. In some cases, it may be necessary or worthwhile to put up with a battery that needs maintenance, and if you’re using a lead-acid battery, that’s what you’re signing up for. Lead-acid batteries do work well when you give them proper care, but their lifespans can be significantly shortened if you don’t care for them properly.

For example, a lead-acid battery needs to stay charged. If it is completely drained of charge when used, its lifespan will be shortened. It shouldn’t sit for more than a few months at a time without being used, and in some cases, you may need to add water to the battery to help it continue functioning properly. If you want to know all of the maintenance that goes into a lead-acid battery, you should check maintenance manuals to get the specifics.

Lithium-ion batteries from Lion Energy are different - they require zero maintenance. They can lciterally sit on a shelf without being used for a long time, and they’ll still work when you go to use them. You don’t need to worry about fluids or maintaining charges. These lithium-ion batteries are designed to use all its energy and then recharged without damage to the product. 

Lead-acid vs. Lithium-ion Affordability

Of course, affordability always comes into play when you’re buying a battery that has lots of energy. There can be a huge cost difference between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Lead-acid batteries are typically cheaper, costing a few hundred dollars, whereas lithium-ion batteries can cost several hundreds of dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on what you’re using it for (auxiliary power for a RV vs energy storage for your home). 

However, before the price of a lithium-ion battery may scare you away, take into account the value you get for what you pay for: less weight, longer battery life, no maintenance, efficient energy usage, better technology, and reliability.

So, while in many cases you may find that lead-acid batteries may cost less up front, lithium-ion has much greater value as previously indicated. Lead-acid batteries don’t last nearly as long and have to be replaced much more often than lithium-ion batteries. 

Contact Lion Energy for More Information 

For additional information about our lithium-ion batteries, contact us today at 801-727-9270 or info@lionenergy.com. We look forward to helping you choose the best portable power solution for your unique situation.