About Lithium-ion Batteries – If you’ve been shopping around for a lithium-ion battery or portable power unit, then you’ve probably come across a lot of questions that people are asking about these. Most people have heard of lithium-ion batteries, but that doesn’t mean that they know a lot about them. So what should you know about lithium before you buy it?
About Lithium-ion Batteries – Common Questions
As a consumer, let’s hit pause and take a look at some of the most common questions people ask about lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and generators.
Are Lithium-ion Batteries Safe?
One of the top questions people ask about lithium batteries is whether or not they are safe to use. A lot of these concerns come from stories of these batteries exploding unexpectedly, but rest assured that these are extremely rare occurrences. Lithium-ion batteries are actually considered relatively safe compared to other batteries. And not all lithium is the same. Lithium iron phosphate batteries are the highest quality and safest type of lithium. Lithium polymer is the type of lithium in cell phones and hoverboards.
That being said, there is always the possibility of a random battery malfunctioning or operating incorrectly. Some things to watch for are weird smells, overheating, swelling, or leaking. Again, these are rare things to see in these batteries, but it’s best to know what to look for in case there is a risk of fire or explosion.
Something you should be careful of with lithium-ion batteries is air travel. You can take these batteries on airplanes safely, but you can only take up to a certain size of the battery onto an airplane. Check the restrictions on lithium-ion batteries for your airline before flying and you should be safe from battery malfunctions as you fly.
Why Choose Lithium-ion Over Lead-acid?
People sometimes buy lead-acid batteries when they need portable power. While lead-acid batteries can work, there are actually several disadvantages to choosing lead-acid batteries over lithium-ion batteries.
The biggest advantage of lithium-ion batteries over lead-acid batteries is the maintenance. Lead-acid batteries require a fair amount of maintenance the whole time you have them. They need to be cleaned and stored at proper temperatures for safety and longevity. And you can only use about half the stated energy of lead-acid batteries, not to mention they are much heavier. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries typically need no maintenance, can use all the stated energy, and are lighter weight.
Another advantage of lithium-ion is its ability to hold a charge. When you use a lead-acid battery you have to be careful with the level of charge left in the battery. If you completely drain the battery, it can damage it. Lithium-ion batteries can be completely drained and recharged over and over again without damage. Additionally, if a lead-acid battery sits on a shelf fully charged, the charge will drain out in a couple of months. But a good lithium-ion battery can maintain a full charge for up to a year or more.
Lead Acid VS Lithium Comparison
|Lead Acid Batteries||Lithium Batteries|
|Lead-acid batteries have been around a long time and they come in various shapes and sizes including “golf cart” and AGM to Deep Cycle and more.||Lithium batteries are a newer, more advanced technology than lead-acid. They come in different shapes and sizes too. For RV use, they commonly are Lithium Iron Phosphate and provide several advantages over lead-acid batteries.|
|Usable Energy. The energy in the battery is expressed in terms of Amp-hours (Ah). Lead-acid batteries often state its Ah as one thing but what is actually usable is another. For example, it may say it has 100Ah but lead-acid batteries typically only use approximately 50% of that so you are really getting 50Ah of usable energy out of the battery. And if you drop much below that depth of discharge, you stand to damage or lose the use of the battery altogether. And that means replacing it.||Useable Energy. Lithium can use all of the stated Ah so if the battery says it has 100Ah, it means you can use 100Ah and do that over and over again. Most lithium batteries also have a Battery Management System (BMS) that regulates and protects the battery from things like overcharging and over-discharging. In practical terms, this means you’ll get about 2X the camp time using a lithium battery vs a lead-acid battery. And that allows you to enjoy more time on your adventure and with family and friends.|
|Length of Use. The number of times you use or discharge the battery and then recharge it for use again is called Life Cycles. Lead Acid batteries, using the 50% discharge capacity mentioned above, will have approximately 250-350 life cycles before they need to be replaced. And that’s assuming you take good care of it.||Length of Use. As we discussed, the average Life Cycle of a typical lead-acid battery is about 300 cycles. A lithium battery is more than 10X that or 3,500 if you completely use the energy in it each time and then recharge it again. It can last over 5,000 times if you don’t always completely discharge it each time you use it. That means if you use all the energy in the lithium and recharge it — every single day — it will last almost 10 years and still have about 80% of its capacity left. Try that with lead-acid batteries—not!|
|Maintenance. Taking care of a lead-acid battery is important to extend its life. Some require fluid to be added, cleaning the terminal posts from chemicals, and have some type of trickle charging on the battery so they don’t go dead after a few months of not using it.||Maintenance. With the chemistry makeup of a lithium battery, there is virtually no maintenance needed. You can disconnect the wires to the terminals during the off-season and simply leave the battery in your RV. When you’re ready to use it again, reconnect and you’re ready to go. You may want to top it off with a charge and then go.|
|Weight. Because you have to handle a lead-acid battery from time to time, weight becomes an issue. Lead-acid batteries range from 45 lbs or so to nearly 120 lbs or more for some deep cycle batteries. That’s a lot of weight… and strain on the back.||Weight. Lithium batteries are much, much lighter than lead-acid batteries, especially deep cycle lead-acid ones. The Lion Safari UT™ 1300 lithium battery weighs only 23 lbs. Other lithium batteries are just over 30 lbs. So, you can move them around easily and remember, they have 2X the useable energy than lead-acid too.|
|Value. This includes the initial purchase price and the cost of maintenance and replacement. Lead-acid batteries purchase prices range from just under $100 to over $300 depending on type and quality. Then you need to figure in maintenance and replacement costs as most lead-acid batteries, even if maintained properly, last 3-5 years at most. That’s why their warranties are usually only for that timeframe and are also prorated so you don’t get as much use or value. Most people don’t remember to do the proper maintenance so they have to replace the batteries every year, over and over again.||Value. When you take into account the initial cost, no maintenance, longer use and more usable energy, lighter weight, and longer warranties, lithium is a much better value. It’s more upfront but worth every penny.|
What Can You Use Lithium-ion Batteries For? How Long Can You Use Them?
Lithium-ion batteries can be used for a lot of different things. Smaller batteries or portable power units can be used to charge phones and laptops and even run lights for several hours. Larger units are capable of much more, powering things like TVs, refrigerators, and even RVs.
Because these batteries are so versatile, it’s hard to say exactly how long the charge will last. Much of that depends on the size of the battery, how much power is needed to run or charge the device you’re using, and how long you have the battery attached to the device. However, most batteries are able to run a device or appliance for several hours at a time.
How Durable Are Lithium-ion Batteries?
The durability of lithium-ion batteries depends a lot on the brand of battery you purchased. Some are designed for affordability over durability. That doesn’t mean the batteries can’t be effective but they may not last as long as more durable batteries.
The best lithium-ion batteries are built with a rugged, durable design that lasts a long time. They’re made to be taken anywhere – camping, hiking, fishing, tailgates, road trips, and who knows where else – without being damaged. These batteries can last years if they’re well-built.
How Do You Dispose of Lithium-ion Batteries?
Because lithium-ion batteries are built with a variety of valuable materials and potentially hazardous chemicals, you can’t just throw them into your municipal trash or recycling. If you do, they could cause fires or contaminate the environment. Instead, you need to make sure that they are disposed of properly.
To dispose of a lithium-ion battery correctly, you need to take it to a collection point for battery recycling or hazardous materials. This ensures that it is disposed of properly and not mixed in with the municipal trash. It’s also a good idea to put the batteries in plastic bags or to cover the battery terminals with tape or plastic. Doing so will keep the battery from coming into contact with other metals and reduce the risk of fire.
If you choose to purchase a high-quality lithium-ion battery, you should be able to have it for several years at least before needing to dispose of it. But as the battery wears out, then it needs to be disposed of in a way that is safe for everyone and the environment. You’ll need to check local guidelines for battery disposal to ensure that your batteries are disposed of properly.
Rely On The Best Batteries
If you’re looking for a reliable and powerful portable battery or generator, then check out the options at Lion Energy. Lion Energy has a wide variety of options, as well as solar panels that you can easily connect to the batteries and generators for constant clean energy. With a lightweight, rugged design to the flexibility of the portable power units, Lion Energy’s products are ready to go with you on any adventure. Check out our inventory to find the right battery for you today. www.lionenergy.com