Sealed Lead Acid VS Lithium Iron Phosphate

Lead Acid:

Pros:

  • Use of lead-acid batteries is widespread globally because they are relatively inexpensive to produce.

  • These batteries are reliable and can withstand harsh conditions with little or no maintenance.

  • Although people view the materials inside as dangerous, the battery is almost 100 percent recyclable. Sulfuric acid is safely neutralizable, and the lead and polypropylene case can make other batteries.

  • Traveling with a device that utilizes a lead-acid battery is far less complicated.

  • Very affordable - a Group 31 size deep cycle lead-acid battery with 100ah of capacity will cost $150 - $300, depending on type and quality.


Cons:

  • The batteries are too heavy and bulky for a given capacity.

  • Lack of proper recycling of the materials could be hazardous to the environment.

  • They have a limited lifespan.

  • Spillable lead acid batteries are classified as dangerous goods under Class 8 regulations, controlled by UN 2794. This is because of the risk of fire if shorted.

  • Shorter lifespan and cycle life than LiFePO4 batteries, especially when they're deeply discharged.

  • Discharging deep-cycle lead-acid batteries below 20% (and sometimes 50%) permanently reduces the battery's capacity.

  • High current loads rapidly diminish rated capacity...most deep-cycle lead acid batteries are designed for slow, steady discharge over a 20+ hour period. if the time frame is reduced, the capacity rating drops.



Lithium Iron Phosphate:

Pros:

  • Long life span (5-10 years) vs lead acid (1-3 years), depending on depth of discharge and assuming that the cycle limit doesn't kill the battery first

  • Longer cycle life, as LiFePO4 batteries last 1,000 to 3,000 charge and discharge cycles, compared to similarly sized lead-acid batteries, which can range from 200 - 1000 cycles (again, assuming depth of discharge is within recommended limits for both battery types).

  • LiFePO4 batteries are less susceptible to problems caused by depth of discharge...a LiFePO4 battery can be dropped to 20% of charge without long-term damage. Most lead-acid batteries lose capacity or cycle life if they're discharged more than 50%.

  • Lighter than lead-acid batteries.

  • Arguably, LiFePO4 batteries are more environmentally friendly than lead acid.

  • Very safe - the odds of a "thermal runaway" (aka battery fire) are very low. The same can not be said of other lithium ion chemistries.


Cons:

  • As mentioned, LiFePO4 batteries are costly.

  • LiFePO4 batteries are hard to find. Most must be purchased online.

  • Susceptible to damage via overcharging (it's very important to use a charging system that's designed for LiFePO4 batteries if you want to maximize their life).

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