We’ve talked a lot about batteries over the years and provided our readers with several options to help them set up the ultimate off-grid solar systems, but technology has brought us to a place where today, the best option in almost all cases is going to be deep-cycle lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.
Deep-cycle lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries
Lithium-ion technology has had a significant impact on how we power our electronic devices. The technology is now used in everything from consumer electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, and drones to electric cars and off-grid solar power systems.
In testing, Lithium batteries outperform every other type of off-grid battery when it comes to storing energy from a solar system. In addition, they’re more efficient, charge faster, require no maintenance or ventilation, and last significantly longer. While they are more expensive up front, the operating cost over time makes them the most cost-effective option on the market.
Lithium-Ion Batteries are Great for Inconsistent Solar Charging
One of the most significant drawbacks to using older lead-acid-based batteries in solar systems is the way they operate and charge. Because of the nature of solar, charging conditions can be inconsistent due to weather, location, and time of year. This is brutal on lead-acid-based batteries, and inconsistent charging can damage your battery system.
Inconsistent charge cycles are not a big problem with lithium solar batteries. Lithium batteries are also great when it comes to handling irregular discharge cycles.
How long do Lithium-Ion Batteries last compared to typical lead-acid batteries
Typical lead-acid batteries can last anywhere from 250 to 900 charging cycles. Under perfect conditions and with proper maintenance, that means they will last a few years at the most with daily solar charging. However, you should also keep in mind that, in most cases, you will only be able to use about 50% of the capacity of a lead-acid battery before the voltage drops too much to power your system. But even worse, draining a lead-acid battery below 50% of its capacity causes damage and shortens its lifespan.
On the other hand, good lithium batteries can last over 5000 charge cycles and maintain consistent power and voltage during discharge until you fully drain the battery. Furthermore, fully discharging lithium batteries does not harm them like it does lead-acid batteries, meaning that your 5000 charge cycles are actually full discharges, giving you a possible 10+ years of use. And with the better brands, even after that 5000 charge cycles, your lithium batteries, 80 percent of the battery capacity will still be available.
The Best OFF-Grid Lithium-Ion Batteries
Battle Born Batteries are great for people looking for reliable and long-lasting lithium-ion batteries for their RVs, boats, and off-grid setups.
Long-lasting: Battle Born Batteries are designed to last up to 3,000 cycles or more, making them a durable and reliable option for those who want to avoid the hassle of constantly replacing batteries.
Lightweight: Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, Battle Born Batteries are significantly lighter, making them easier to transport and install.
Safe: Battle Born Batteries use advanced technology to prevent overcharging, overheating, and other safety hazards commonly associated with lithium-ion batteries.
High performance: With a high discharge rate and a low internal resistance, Battle Born Batteries can deliver consistent power output even under heavy loads.
- High-quality build: Battle Born Batteries are built with high-quality components and undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality and reliability.
- Easy installation: With a simple drop-in design, Battle Born Batteries can be installed easily, without requiring any special tools or expertise.
- Eco-friendly: Battle Born Batteries are environmentally friendly and do not contain any toxic or hazardous materials.
- Cost-effective: While Battle Born Batteries may have a higher upfront cost than traditional lead-acid batteries, their long lifespan and superior performance make them a cost-effective investment in the long run.
- Price: The biggest downside of Battle Born Batteries is their upfront cost, which can be significantly higher than traditional lead-acid batteries. However, it is important to keep in mind that their longer lifespan and superior performance offset the higher upfront cost.
Battle Born Batteries are made right here in the U.S., and are one of the top Lithium batteries on the market. From RV and vanlife to powering off the grid homes and cabins, Battle Born Batteries has multiple form fitting options that allow for endless mounting capabilities.
You can buy Battle Born Batterie right here on Amazon.
LiTime Batteries batteries are a relatively new brand for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
- High capacity: LiTime batteries come in various sizes and capacities, ranging from 2600mAh to 3400mAh, providing ample power for various preparedness and at-home devices.
- Quick charging: The batteries charge quickly and have a low self-discharge rate, meaning they hold their charge for more extended periods of time.
- Safe: According to the manufacturer, the batteries have built-in overcharge, over-discharge, short-circuit, and overheat protection, ensuring safe and reliable use.
- Affordable: LiTime batteries are priced competitively, making them an attractive option for those seeking a cost-effective battery solution.
- Good performance: LiTime batteries are reported to perform well, with long battery life and quick charging times.
- Versatile: LiTime batteries are compatible with a range of devices, making them a versatile option for those with multiple electronic devices.
- Safe: The built-in safety features are a plus for those concerned with battery safety.
- Lack of brand recognition: LiTime is a relatively unknown brand in the market, which may make some users hesitant to purchase their products.
- Limited warranty: The batteries come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year limited warranty, which may not be as extensive as some other battery brands.
- They are made in China!
LiTime makes several deep cycle Energy Storage Battery systems targeting the RV and off-grid lifestyle communities. The company rates their batteries at 4,000 – 15,000 discharge cycles, they are also one of the cheapest on the market with 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 Lithium Batteries selling for under $300.
Renogy is a well-known brand in the market for solar products, including batteries and has been in the off-grid battery market for sometime now. They offer a full line of Lithium-Ion Batteries including ones that offer real-time monitoring via built-in Bluetooth modules.
- Multiple sizes and capacities: Renogy batteries come in various sizes and capacities, ranging from 12V 100Ah to 12V 200Ah, providing ample power for a range of applications.
- Lithium-iron phosphate chemistry: Renogy batteries use lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry, known for its safety, reliability, and long lifespan.
- High cycle life: Renogy batteries are rated for up to 2,500 cycles at 100% depth of discharge (DoD), meaning they can be discharged fully and recharged multiple times without significantly impacting their performance.
- Multiple safety features: Renogy batteries have built-in safety features, including overcharge, over-discharge, over-current, and short-circuit protection, ensuring safe and reliable use.
- High-quality build: Renogy batteries are built with high-quality components and undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality and reliability.
- Auto-balancing Function: With the Auto-balancing Function, you can conveniently connect multiple batteries in parallel, which helps to enhance the average charging efficiency of your batteries over the long term.
- Lightweight: Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, Renogy batteries are significantly lighter, making them easier to transport and install.
- High performance: With a high discharge rate and a low internal resistance, Renogy batteries can deliver consistent power output even under heavy loads.
- Long lifespan: Renogy batteries are designed to last for up to 10 years or more, making them a durable and reliable option for those who want to avoid the hassle of constantly replacing batteries.
- Price: The biggest downside of Renogy batteries, just like all the others featured in this article, is their price, which can be significantly higher than traditional lead-acid batteries. Again, their longer lifespan and superior performance will offet the cost in the long run.
Dakota Lithium Batteries are another extremely popular brand in the market for lithium-ion batteries, known for their durability and long-lasting performance. They are built with high-quality components, offer multiple safety features, and use lithium-iron phosphate chemistry for superior performance and long lifespan.
- High capacity: Dakota Lithium Batteries come in various sizes and capacities, ranging from 12V 10Ah to 12V 100Ah, providing ample power for a range of applications.
- Long lifespan: Dakota Lithium Batteries are designed to last for up to 11 years or more, making them a durable and reliable option for those who want to avoid the hassle of constantly replacing batteries.
- Lightweight: Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, Dakota Lithium Batteries are significantly lighter, making them easier to transport and install.
- Multiple safety features: Dakota Lithium Batteries have built-in safety features, including overcharge, over-discharge, over-current, and short-circuit protection, ensuring safe and reliable use.
- Versatile: Dakota Lithium Batteries are compatible with a wide range of devices, including trolling motors, fish finders, and other outdoor equipment.
- High-quality build: Dakota Lithium Batteries come equipped with advanced Battery Management System (BMS) technology, which is responsible for regulating cell balancing, low and high voltage cutoff, and protection against short circuits.
- Great customer service: Dakota Lithium’s customer service team was responsive and helpful in addressing any questions I had.
- Long-lasting performance: With a high discharge rate and a low internal resistance, Dakota Lithium Batteries are capable of delivering consistent power output even under heavy loads. All Dakota Lithium Batteries are backed for 11 years.
- Environmentally friendly: Dakota Lithium Batteries are free from Cobalt or Rare Earth elements and are built using Non-Toxic materials. This unique composition allows for an exceptionally long lifespan of over 2000 cycles, ensuring reliable performance for a prolonged period of time.
- Price: They are more expensive compared to traditional batteries.
Dakota Lithium Batteries last 4x longer than traditional batteries, providing lasting value and reducing e-waste and the impact on our planet.. The company prides itself in its 11 year warranty, ISO 9001 certified engineering and quality control systems, and lifetime technical support. All Dakota Lithium Batteries include Battery Management System (BMS) technology that controls cell balancing, low and high voltage cutoff, short circuiting, as well as high temperature protection for increased performance and longer life.