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the 4 12v lithium-ion batteries that are worth the price tag


If you’re considering forking over the cash for a 100ah lithium deep cycle battery, then you might already know the pros and cons of these handy little power nuggets. But if you don’t, we’re going to walk you through all the factors you should consider when shopping around.

Chances are, you’re looking at Lithium batteries for an off-grid, solar, RV, or boating application. Generally, the vast majority of people in your shoes have traditionally chosen SLA (sealed lead-acid) or the slightly more advanced AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) deep cycle batteries to house their power supply. But why?

Well, a 100ah deep cycle AGM battery (still technically a SLA) is pretty affordable, and it simply gets the job done. They’re proven to be reliable, have become quite safe from leakages, and are largely maintenance-free – no longer fussing with adding water, like you needed to do with older models.

But there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to battery technology – Lithium Ion (as well as Lithium Iron). Up until recently, this technology was too expensive to warrant it’s use for the average solar setup. But the price of 12V lithium ion batteries has been falling in recent years, making them more and more attractive for the average consumer. There are a good number of benefits to using Lithium ion batteries, including safety, longevity, allowable discharge levels, and more. Let’s take a deep dive before getting to the batteries that WE recommend.

A 12v 100ah lithium ion deep cycle battery is a common size to provide power to a range of appliances, lights, and other electronics. But why spend the extra money for a lithium battery? Well, here’s why it might be worth the investment. At a top-level view, 12V Lithium-ion batteries are:

Much lighter in weight
A 100ah 12V lithium battery weighs around 26lbs. Compare that to a 60lb lead-acid deepcycle battery, and you have something that’s much more manageable to work with.

Significantly more energy-dense
With lithium batteries, you’re looking at a Specific Energy level of around 150 Wh/kg, versus the 30-40Wh/kg that you’ll find in a normal 100ah AGM battery.

More forgiving in acceptable discharge levels
If you aren’t already aware, your normal SLA deep-cycle 12V battery should never be drained past 50% charge, or else you risk losing a significant number of lifetime recharge cycles. Depending on your daily amperage consumption, this might mean that you’d need a larger SLA battery to match your needs. However, a LiFePo4 12v battery can comfortably be drained to 20% without any damage to its lifespan. So it’s very possible that a single 12v lithium ion battery could take the place of 2 SLA’s in meeting your daily demand.

On the topic of cycle count, you’d be lucky if you get 400 charge cycles out of a normal AGM battery. But the advancements in Lithium ion battery technology have changed the game, offering up to 3,000+ cycles without issue!

Fast to charge
In terms of charge times, a 12v Li Ion battery dominates an AGM. Maybe you don’t need this, because you have plenty of daylight to capture in a day. But depending on your usage and charging setup, this might be a lifesaver. A 100ah Lithium ion battery will charge up to 3-4X faster than a traditional, sealed lead-acid battery.

Everything comes at a price, right? Well, yes, sort of. There are a couple reasons why you might not want to make the jump to Lithium:

More expensive
This is the real kicker. The best 12v 100ah Lithium Ion battery will run you between $800-$1000. *Gulp*. But when you consider the positive features listed above (and the fact that it’s lifetime is about 6X that of a normal AGM battery (~$200), it might be worth the expense.

Ultimately, you should consider the cost benefit of its intended use. If this battery is going to be used daily in your campervan/RV/off-grid site, then Lithium is a great choice and will save you good money down the road. But if these batteries are going to sit unused most of the year, then a run-of-the-mill AGM battery is probably the better choice.

Safety concerns
ALL batteries come with inherent risks. With AGM/SLAs, theres the risk of the contents spilling, or gases leaking. Although these risks have been greatly mitigated with really any modern battery, each of which will vent small amounts of gases to avoid build up. It’s important to have these in a somewhat ventilated area.

A 12V lithium battery does not require venting, which is a plus. However, like all batteries, there are dangerous risks if the cells are punctured or damaged, which can result in a rapid escalation of heat. Keep Lithium batteries away from sharp edges that might slam into it, and consider placing it in a battery box for good measure.

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