LiFePO4 batteries are often confused with Lithium Ion. In reality, LiFePO4 is a step up from lithium-ion, known as lithium iron sulfate. LiFePO4 incorporates iron sulfate for the positive side of the battery and graphite carbon for the negative side.
These batteries feature an improved energy density, even though they are technically lithium-ion themselves. If you’re looking for a LiFePO4 battery, the only differences you’ll run into are brands and how well these brands manufacture their LiFePO4s.
In general, all LiFePO4s should offer around 3,000 cycles and as many as 10,000 for the super-premium versions. “Cycles” refers to the number of discharges and charges a battery can take before it drops below 80% efficiency. With that being said, which LiFePO4s are worth a second look?
- BMS protection from overload, over-discharge, overheating, short circuits, overcharge, and over-current
- High quality, M8 Terminals
- ABS Plastic casing
- Companion App
- 4-year warranty and 24-hour service included
Whether you need a battery for a four-wheeler or a deep cycle battery for running the electronics on your boat or RV, Digi Marker manufactures them all. In addition, they market their LiFePO4 batteries as entirely maintenance-free.
Digi Marker manufactures ten different batteries, and in ascending order, they run from 12.8v, 60Ah, and 768Wh small batteries to 12.8v, 300Ah, and 3840Wh batteries. With that many batteries, Digi Marker has you covered for every eventuality.
The additional four-year warranty is a nice touch as well. In addition, it’s 40% of the battery’s lifespan, which is a good deal more than many of the lithium-iron sulfate battery manufacturers out there.
The ABS plastic casing isn’t the best protective shell out there, but it’s pretty good. It will protect your battery from small impacts, water splashes, and corrosion so that you can use these batteries for a number of applications.
Another advantage of these batteries is that they support 4 series and 4 parallel, a must-have feature if you’re living off the grid or boondocking in an RV for an extended period of time. A series set-up with some solid solar panels can keep you juiced up for days, if not indefinitely.
- Wifi connectivity
- Supports 99% of loads
- UL-Certified Grade A LiFePO4 Cells
- 5-year warranty
- High energy density
- 4000 to 15000 cycles
- Space-saving design
Li Time has built its reputation on a 2 to 7-day delivery service, its 5-year warranty, 24-hour customer service, and hassle-free returns and replacement. In addition, their batteries cover a wide range of applications, as the aforementioned “99% load support” insinuates.
Plus, Li Time markets three separate series of batteries, including the 12v, 24v, and 48v series. The 12v series includes five batteries, while the 24v and 48v series include 2 batteries each for a total of 9.
Their biggest and most expensive battery is the Lithium 51.2v, 100Ah, 5120W, while the smallest is the 12v, 100Ah battery. All of the Li Time Batteries support up to 16 series connections so that you can build massive powerbase with them.
Throw in there the fact that Li Time placed a big focus on maintaining power superiority in a smaller package, and you can build a series of batteries without taking up as much space or creating as much weight as you might think. That’s an enormous advantage, especially if you’re talking about Li Time’s larger batteries.
Plus, Li Time offers a 5-year warranty, which covers 50% of the lifetime of the battery, a staggering amount compared to other competitors. Like Digi Marker, Li Time has 24-hour customer service, but these batteries are solid enough that you may not need them for years.
If you own a huge RV or a boat with a combo of fishing electronics (finders and transducers) and trolling motors or other wireless integration motors, Li Time should be at the front of the options line. Li Time batteries also include complete BMS protection systems built into each battery.
- BMS protection system
- Bluetooth compatible
- Integrated self-heating system
- ISO 9001 or ROHS Environmental Certifications for every battery
- 2500 to 7000 cycles
- Very low self-discharge
- ⅓ the weight of similar batteries
Expert Power is based out of Los Angeles, California, and they’ve been in the business of manufacturing batteries since the mid-1980s. Not only are their batteries top rated on the market, but they’re also not quite as expensive as much of the competition.
It’s a relief to find exceptional batteries that don’t cost insane amounts. The only drawback is that Expert Power’s highest-end battery can’t match the 10000 and 150000 cycles of the Digi Marker and Li Time, high-end batteries respectively.
So, there’s a little bit of a trade-off, though the batteries manufactured by Expert Power are excellent, and even the low-end of 2500 cycles is still an incredible amount. In addition, all of the Expert Power batteries are integrated with Bluetooth technology, so you can monitor the diagnostics and any series you put together from the companion app on your smartphone.
Expert Power markets 12 batteries in their LiFePO4 lineup, starting from the smallest (12v 5AH) to the largest (12v, 200Ah). The batteries feature a flat discharge curve, which is barely a curve at all since the discharge rate is so minimal. If you like ice fishing in an ice house or toy hauler RV, you’ll love the integrated self-heating system, which keeps it warm in the cold.
Like the batteries above, Expert Power includes the full suite of integrated BMS protections, and you can set them up in a series as well, though Expert Power isn’t clear on the allowable extent of the support.
Last but not least, Expert Power sells several lines of solar panels that are designed to hook up with their inverters and deep cycle batteries easily. So if you’re looking for some long-lasting, hardcore, off-grid equipment, consider shopping entirely in-house.
Why Choose LiFePO4 Batteries?
Firstly, LiFePO4 batteries have a longer lifespan compared to other types of batteries. They can last up to five times longer than lead-acid batteries and two times longer than lithium-ion batteries. This means that they require less maintenance and replacement over time, which saves you money in the long run.
Secondly, due to their stable chemical composition, LiFePO4 batteries are much safer than other battery types. As a result, they do not produce toxic gases or acids when charging or discharging and are less prone to overheating or catching fire.
Thirdly, LiFePO4 batteries offer more consistent performance throughout their life span compared to other battery types. They maintain a steady voltage even under heavy loads, which makes them ideal for high-performance applications such as electric vehicles and solar power systems.
Choosing a LiFePO4 battery offers numerous advantages, including safety, longevity, and environmental responsibility, making them an excellent choice for any application requiring reliable energy storage solutions.
Pros ; Cons
- Safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries
- Longer shelf life (up to 10 years)
- Lower self-discharge rate (so they can be stored for longer)
- More expensive than other types of lithium-ion batteries
- Shorter lifespan
- Lower specific energy
While the pros and cons of investing in a LiFePO4 battery will vary depending on the individual’s needs, they’re overall considered to be a safer and more reliable option when compared with other types of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, higher upfront costs may be counterbalanced by their longer shelf life and lower self-discharge rate.
LiFePO4 batteries have completely separated themselves from lead-acid, standard lithium-ion, and AGM batteries. Lithium-iron sulfate is clearly the newer and superior technology. However, you will pay a higher price point, at least until the tech ages for a time and the price naturally drop.
However, if you’re looking for an outstanding battery (or several batteries you can install as a series), you can’t go wrong with any of the above three brands. They all manufacture exceptional LiFePO4 batteries that will last for years.
Butler, S. (September 7, 2022). What Are LiFePO4 Batteries, and When Should You Choose Them?
Retrieved from: https://www.howtogeek.com/822326/what-are-lifepo4-batteries/
Beck, A. (September 20, 2019). LITHIUM IRON PHOSPHATE VS. LITHIUM-ION: DIFFERENCES AND ADVANTAGES