Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery – Which is Better?

Lead acid batteries have been in use for a very long time in various sectors and industries. But Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more popular nowadays. If you are looking to select between these two batteries, you need to know their differences. In this guide, I will share all the differences between lithium vs lead acid battery based on various factors. It will help you make the right choice

Let us get started.


1. Charging Time

Charging time is an important factor that you must consider. The charging time is more for lead acid batteries when you compare with lithium batteries. The charging time for a lithium battery is almost 3 to 4 times faster than a lead acid battery. Lesser charging time also ensures more operating hours for the lithium battery.

Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -2
Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -2


2. Battery Lifespan

All types of batteries come with a certain lifespan. The lifespan of a battery is expressed as the number of charge and discharge cycles. The lifespan is also affected by the charging and discharging configurations. Generally, when you compare lithium vs lead acid batteries, lithium battery has more cycles. Hence, the lifespan is more for lithium ion batteries.


3. Energy Density

Energy density shows the relation between the weight and capacity of the battery.

Battery Energy Density = (Capacity of Battery x Battery Voltage) / Battery Weight

The energy density is more for lithium when compared to a lead acid battery.

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Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -3


4. Battery Capacity

Battery capacity is the amount of energy stored in a battery. This energy will be discharged to provide the required power. Both lead acid and lithium batteries are available in different capacities. But the fact that lithium batteries come with a higher energy density makes it possible to store more energy inside the lithium battery. If you have lithium and lead acid batteries of similar dimensions, the lithium battery will have more battery capacity.


5. Battery Weight

There are many applications that demand a lightweight battery, especially portable mobile electronic devices. Lithium batteries are around 50 percent lighter than lead acid batteries. If you are looking for a lightweight solution, a lithium battery will be a better choice.


6. Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery – Safety Aspects

Safety must be your top priority when you use a battery in any application. If you overcharge any of these batteries, they can explode. Lead acid batteries contain sulphuric acid. When you overcharge a lead acid battery, an explosion occurs due to the formation of oxygen and hydrogen gases. If the temperature around the battery exceeds the safety threshold limit, it can explode.

There is no gas release from a lithium battery. Also, reputed lithium battery manufacturers will place the necessary safety circuitry inside the battery that will ensure the safety of the battery to an extent. But you need to use the battery according to the guidelines from the manufacturer.

Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -1
Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -1


7. Constant Power Delivery

The amount of power delivered over the entire discharge cycle of a lithium battery is constant. But the power delivery rate is not constant for a lead acid battery. During the initial phase, the amount of power will be more, and it reduces over a period of time. If your application demands constant power all the time, a lithium battery will be a better choice.


8. Discharge Depth

Discharge depth is the amount of charge that can be drained from the battery without causing any damage to the battery. The discharge depth is in the range of 85 to 90 percent for a lithium battery. It is around 50 percent for a lead acid battery. If you plan to use any of these batteries in your design, you need to ensure not to discharge the batteries above these values. It can result in permanent damage to the battery. The higher discharge depth percentage of lithium batteries helps to provide more energy. Thus, the effective battery capacity will be more for a lithium ion battery.


9. Cost Factor

In many applications, the cost of the battery is one of the main factors you need to consider. The cost of the lead acid battery is very less when compared to the lithium one. It is one factor where lead acid batteries have a slight edge over lithium batteries.

Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -4
Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -4


10. Battery Efficiency

An important parameter you need to consider while choosing a battery type is its efficiency. The efficiency of lithium batteries is always higher than 95 percent. The lead acid batteries come with an efficiency of around 85 percent. So, lithium batteries gain the upper hand when it comes to the efficiency factor.


11. Series Vs Parallel Battery Arrangement

In many applications, one battery alone may not be enough. Thus, you need to connect multiple batteries at a time to meet the power requirements. These batteries will be either connected in a parallel or series fashion. It will depend on the current and voltage requirements.

In the case of lithium batteries, the number of batteries that can be connected together at a time depends on the circuit board integrated with the battery. You can use more batteries if this circuit board comes with electronic components with higher current and voltage ratings. You must check with the lithium battery manufacturer to know the number of lithium batteries that can be connected together in a series or parallel fashion.

But you can connect more lead acid batteries in series or parallel arrangements when compared to lithium batteries.


12. Performance at Extreme Temperatures


The working temperature range of your application is another factor that you need to consider while choosing between lithium and lead acid batteries. You may have to use the battery in hot and cold conditions. So, you need to ensure that the performance of the battery is good in these conditions.

When it comes to higher temperatures, the performance of lithium batteries is better than the lead acid ones. If the temperature goes to 55 degrees Celsius, the cycle life of a lithium battery is almost twice that of a lead acid battery.

Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -5
Lithium vs Lead Acid Battery -5

Another problematic working condition for any type of battery is the cold temperature. Almost all batteries will see a reduction in capacity at cold temperatures. It is not possible to charge a normal lithium battery below 0 degrees Celsius. But you can charge lead acid batteries at low temperatures. Here, the charging time for the lead acid battery will be more since the battery draws less current for charging.

If you look at the discharge capacity of a lithium battery at cold temperatures, it is more than that of a lead acid battery. The only limiting factor at a cold temperature for a lithium battery is the charging. But the charging too can happen at cold temperatures if it is done immediately after discharging. It is due to the fact that there will be a slight increase in temperature in the battery after the discharge.


13. Ease of Installation

There will be vents in the lead acid battery. These vents are provided for the escape of residual gases. So, you need to ensure not to install the battery in an inverted position. Otherwise, it will block these vents. In the case of lithium batteries, it comes in a sealed pack. Thus, you can install a lithium battery in any orientation. So, when it comes to ease of installation, lithium battery is a winner.

Final Thoughts

Now you know when you compare lithium vs lead acid battery, lithium battery seems to be a winner in most scenarios.

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