Lead Acid vs Lithium Ion Batteries: Which One is Best?

Lead Acid vs Lithium Ion Batteries: Which One is Best?

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You’re an avid collector of toy trains. You purchase lead acid batteries regularly to power your trains. Then, a friend recommends that you try lithium ion instead. Your friend said that you can save money over time by using lithium ion batteries instead of traditional ones.

You’re not sure. You know about standard batteries and very little about lithium ion choices.

Which is the best choice?

When it comes to lead acid vs lithium ion batteries, lithium ion batteries are the best choice. Lithium ion batteries can provide more power efficiently.

Even though lithium ion batteries are more expensive, they house more energy within a single battery. However, lead acid batteries are cheaper. This article will weigh the pros and cons of lead acid and lithium ion batteries. Read further if you wish to know more.

Lead Acid Advantages

Lead acid batteries will save you money in the short-term. If you don’t need excess energy to power gadgets, then lead acid batteries are sufficient enough. Additionally, they require less maintenance and care when compared to lithium ion batteries. Compared to other battery types, lead acid batteries have no complications in the form of electrolyte filling requirements or memory features.

Since lead acid batteries have been around longer, they are generally reliable and durable. The durability also allows the battery to absorb abuse without causing instability or damage. When handling these batteries, you don’t have to worry about leaks or damage if you drop them.

Lead acid batteries are also the preferred choice for certain types of equipment, such as wheelchairs or emergency lights. These batteries also work best with hospital equipment or golf cars.

Lithium Ion Advantages

What are the best rechargeable batteries? If talking about gadgets, lithium ion is among the best on the market because they can power high-tech equipment. The secondary battery is more suited for powering gadgets and equipment, such as:

  • Laptops
  • Solar panels
  • Appliances

You’ll also find lithium ion batteries in electric cars. Due to its vast energy capacity, these types of batteries can provide more energy to tech products than the lead acid variety. Ion batteries have higher energy density than standard batteries.

Because of its ability to store more energy within a physical space, it can discharge more energy and power items longer. When dealing with recharging, lithium ion types can recharge faster than the lead acid counterpart. Standard batteries can also overheat during the charging process and degrade the performance of the battery. The lead battery could also explode or leak if overheating occurs.

Lithium ion batteries also have longer life cycles that force you to buy additional batteries. As a result, you cannot power devices for longer periods. When it comes to discharging depth, lead acid batteries shouldn’t discharge beyond 50 percent.

The discharge depth is the percentage in which the battery drains without damaging the battery. On the other hand, a lithium ion battery has a discharge depth of 85 percent, which means it has additional capacity to discharge energy in a single cycle.

Lithium ion batteries also surpass lead acid types in terms of energy consumption. Ion-based batteries can utilize 90 to 95 percent of energy, whereas lead acid alternatives can only use 80 to 85 percent. A battery with greater efficiency translates into the following:

  • Faster charges
  • Higher capacity
  • Greater discharge depth

Overall, lithium ion batteries can generate more energy in a single battery, which can benefit the environment in the long-run.

Environmental Impact

In addition to energy efficiency, lithium ion batteries require fewer manufacturing materials than lead acid batteries. Conventional batteries require more raw materials, hence more mining activity that consumes additional resources. Moreover, mining activity generates more pollution into the atmosphere.

Further, lead is a poisonous substance that can harm human health. Also, the lead itself is damaging to the environment, along with the electrolyte levels. With that, the manufacturing process that produces lead acid batteries makes them less harmful overall.

Lithium ion batteries can also harm the environment. For instance, lithium ion batteries require the following mining resources:

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Lithium carbonate
  • Iron ore

Lithium only comprises a small portion of the battery itself. The battery requires additional resources like aluminum and copper to function properly.

This means that lithium ion batteries consume additional raw materials than lead acid types. The mining of lithium is also damaging to the environment because miners often devastate entire mountains to procure the resource.

Another problem is that lithium battery ion battery recycling is only in its early stages, resulting in the widespread dumping of these types of batteries in greater numbers. This is especially true of the electric car industry and the alarming amount of discarded batteries.

However, experts expect the lithium ion batteries recycling industry to grow in the coming years and rival lead acid battery recycling.

Personal Safety

When it comes to consumer safety, both batteries can harm individuals via overheating. Known as thermal runaway, both battery types can generate electrolytes and flames that can burn the user. Since lithium ion batteries have more energy, the chance of a thermal runaway is higher. However, a quality lithium ion battery should include safety barriers that can stop overheating.

Even though lead acid batteries have less energy, they are still dangerous, especially when damaged. Touching a damaged battery results in sulfuric acid and lead exposure. Lead is a toxic metal that can cause brain and organ damage in the event of long exposure. Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive substance that can burn the skin and cause blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. Moreover, thermal runaway can occur in lead acid batteries if you charge them improperly.

Lead Acid vs Lithium Ion: Which is the Better Long-Term Battery?

Overall, you’ll save more money with lithium ion batteries over time. Lithium ion batteries have more energy than lead acid batteries. Lithium ion batteries can store more energy and produce energy at a greater output. They can also power equipment and gadgets for longer periods.

The main drawback of lithium ion batteries is that they’re more expensive upfront. Lead acid batteries are less expensive, and they don’t require much maintenance.

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