In 2023, the cost of lithium batteries like LiFePO4 is going down while their durability is increasing. Now is the perfect time to replace your lead-acid battery and upgrade your solar generator or solar system.
Lithium batteries are the most versatile electricity storage available. They are:
- Offer great energy density (3-4 times higher than lead-acid).
- Powerful (up to 2.4kW).
- Perfectly fitted for solar energy storage.
- Long-lasting (up to 10 years).
The cost of lithium batteries is primarily related to their capacity, expressed in Amps. hour (Ah) or watt.hour (Wh).
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Cost of lithium batteries: A breakdown
The main lithium battery technology available on the market is LiFePO4. If you dissect them, you will find a few components that greatly dictate the overall lithium battery cost:
- Battery management system (BMS).
- Prismatic lithium battery cells.
- Electrical connections, sensors.
Let’s take a closer look at the two main components:
Battery management system (BMS)
A lithium battery cannot work without a BMS. This essential electronic component has 3 functions:
The BMS is connected to each prismatic lithium battery cell. It ensures they’re all balanced and equally charged/discharged by controlling the charging and discharging current.
Additionally, It protects the battery from over-discharging and overcharging and ultimately prevents it from overheating by disconnecting the battery cells if needed.
Note to our readers: All lithium battery brands featured in our article include a built-in BMS.
Prismatic lithium battery bells
Prismatic lithium battery bells are the basic building blocks of all lithium batteries. They have a standard voltage of 3.2V, and their capacity varies 50Ah, 100Ah, 200Ah, etc.
The quality of their material and manufacturing process affects their durability (number of cycles), robustness, and fast charge/discharge abilities.
Four prismatic lithium cells are connected in series resulting in a 12V lithium battery pack (4 x 3.2V = 12.8V).
Currently, LiFePO4 prismatic cells constitute 80% of the total lithium battery cost.
How to choose the correct lithium battery: 4-step process
Use the following four steps to help you choose your lithium battery:
1. The Capacity
Capacity is expressed in Ah. 100Ah means that your battery can provide a current of 100 Amps for one hour at a minimum voltage of 12V.
This discharge rate is called 1C: 100% of the capacity discharged in one hour. This is also equivalent to 10 Amps during 10 hours (10 amps x 10 hours = 100 Ah), a discharge rate of 0.1C: 10% of the total capacity discharge per hour.
A more accurate and absolute measurement of the capacity is the Wh. For example, a 12V, 100Ah battery has a capacity of 12*100=1200 Wh.
Note to our readers: A 12V, 100Ah battery and a 24V, 100Ah battery both have the same Ah, but the 24V stores twice as much energy:
24 x 100 = 2400Wh.
In this article, we mostly use Ah because the batteries we selected are all 12V.
2. The Continuous Charge/Discharge Current
The BMS pilots the charge and discharge current. The higher, the better. Most BMS accept charging/discharging currents from 50 amps to 100 amps.
Lithium batteries allow for quick charging. A 100Ah battery can be charged in an hour with a current of 100 amps. However, in practice, a one-hour charge will give 80% of the total capacity, and the remaining 20% might last one more hour.
3. The Peak Discharge Current
Depending on your application, you may require a battery with large peak discharging currents. For example, to start heavy equipment such as a solar water pump.
4. The Total Life Cycles
This is your battery’s durability. The most modern lithium battery models can reach up to exceed 5,000 charges/discharge cycles with a 10 years life duration.
15 Best lithium battery brands
Note to our readers: These prices were pulled from the respective manufacturers’ websites on 2023/02/01 and consider on-going sales prices. Prices on our Amazon links continuously fluctuate. As such, you may find a slightly different price after clicking through our links.
1. Li Time
Li Time (formerly Ampere Time) is one of the most trusted brands for lithium batteries. Its products are versatile, powerful, and ready for a quick charge, and the company has served more than 30,000 customers worldwide.
All in all, the cost of Li Time lithium batteries is very competitive.
JITA’s lithium batteries are built with high-quality materials. The company’s batteries are undoubtebly one of the go-to options for solar generators, marine applications (certified IP65, waterproof), as part of off-grid solar systems.
They can deliver more than 1 kW of power continuously and are certified to last up to 5,000 cycles or 10 years.
ExpertPower is a U.S. company based in Los Angeles. Its newest lithium battery line benefits from its 30+ years of experience in battery manufacturing.
Its current range of products are reliable, powerful (1.2kW discharge), robust (low and high-temperature tolerance), and extremely durable (10 years lifetime, up to 7,000 cycles). All of that at a competitive price.
RENOGY is a U.S.-based company, founded by a team of scientists in 2010, that has strong expertise in domestic solar energy production. Its products are built to the highest quality standards and combine state-of-the-art components. The company’s lithium batteries are extremely durable (4,000 cycles, 10 years) thanks to the intelligent BMS used in its batteries.
5. Power Queen
Power Queen is a company with more than 10 years of experience in the battery industry, specializing in LiFePO4 tech.
Its products are well worth the price tags, as you’ll see in our review of its 12.8V 100Ah LifePO4 battery.
CHINS battery is a Chinese Company with its own manufacturing site. But it also offers U.S.-based customer service.
Additionally, its products are certified to last 10 years and more than 3,000 cycles.
Redodo was founded in 2020. Since its foundation, the company has been working hard to bring quality and robust LiFePO4 batteries to the market.
It’s website also offers a range of budget-friendly “like new” offerings, making its quality products that much more accessible.
8. Fly Power
Flypower is a Chinese company established in 2005. They specialize in designing and manufacturing NiMh–NiCd and Lithium batteries.
The company is a major player in the market, with two production sites and two research laboratories in partnership with local universities.
Therefore, their lithium batteries are up to the highest standard, offering robust and powerful BMS and LiFePo4 battery cells with the highest life duration (10 years).
Weize is a Chinese company specializing in the production of batteries, specifically LiFePO4 batteries, for use in various applications such as backup power systems.
In addition to LiFePO4 batteries, Weize offers related products and accessories, including battery chargers, solar panels, and inverters.
With a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, RELiON is a leading provider of lithium batteries for a wide range of mobile and off-grid power needs.
Moreover, the company is a big proponent of helping the environment, giving 1% of its net revenue annually to fund eco-friendly causes and organizations around the globe.
11. Lithium Hub
Founded in 2018, LithiumHub has become a global leader in the field of LiFePO4 batteries that won’t empty your wallet.
Its lithium batteries help revamp solar systems, RVs, boats, and numerous commercial applications.
Additionally, the company has expanded its offerings by introducing its one-of-a-kind “Emergency Start” product. This permanently-mounted jumpstarter is the first of its kind. It can jump dead batteries in boats, SUVs, UTVs, and more.
12. Battle Born
Battle Born is a U.S.-based company, specializing in power systems for off-grid solar generators.
It provides top-of-the-line lithium batteries, that last long (more than 5,000 cycles), and are resistant to water and extreme temperatures.
Additionally, the company offers a real 10-year replacement warranty.
13. Rich Solar
Since 2005, RICH SOLAR has maintained its position as a leader in the off-grid solar sector. It provides everything from complete solar kits to individual components such as solar batteries, charge controllers, panels, and more.
Over the years, the company has established solid and long-lasting relationships with its customers, suppliers, and vendors, mirroring its family-oriented values.
14. Dakota Lithium
Dakota Lithium, founded in 2008, is a U.S. battery manufacturer based in Seattle, Washington.
The company is confident in its products’ quality and reliability, which is reflected in its best-in-class 11-year warranty.
As a tribute to its customers, Dakota Lithium made its 11-year warranty retroactive. This means that all of its present, past, and future customers will be covered by this warranty, offering peace of mind for many years to come.
Established in 2007, ECO-WORTHY is a global company that specializes in the integration of new energy technology, product development and production, worldwide sales, and service.
With a sales network that spans over 60 countries and regions, the company has provided its innovative products and services to over half a million customers.
15 best lithium batteries: Brand cost comparison
Note to our readers: These prices were pulled from the respective manufacturers’ websites on 2023/02/01 and do not account for sales prices. Prices on our Amazon links continuously fluctuate. Therefore, you may find a slightly different price after clicking through our links.
While the cost of lithium batteries has decreased significantly over the past few decades, it’s still a significant factor that affects the adoption of these batteries for various applications.
However, despite their initial higher cost compared to other battery technologies such as AGM and GEL, the overall cost of ownership is often lower due to their longer lifespan, higher energy density, and better performance. Additionally, advancements in battery technology and production processes are expected to continue to drive down the cost of lithium batteries in the coming years.
If you have any further questions related to this topic, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments section below!