Deciding which type of battery you should get can be overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to help with your decision.
First: Determine what you are using the battery for. Is it just for a backup situation, or will this be for an off-grid home? Is this for a mobile application, like an RV or boat? Do you plan on using this battery everyday?
Second: What is your budget? The batteries that last the longest cost more upfront, but over time will cost the least. Knowing your long term goal with the battery will help.
Third: Will there be another way to access power if the battery dies? If you go with a cheaper battery, will you have a generator or the grid to help out if the battery quits working?
Fourth: Will battery maintenance be an issue? Some batteries require watering, while others do not. Knowing what type of person you are will also help with this decision.
Now that you have answered the above questions, let's take a look at the different battery types below, starting with the cheapest AGM, and ending with the most expensive Nickel Iron.
AGM/ GEL Lead Acid: This is the cheapest type of sealed battery, so this battery is maintenance free. Great for RV’s, Mobile Applications, and for small backup. I do not recommend this battery for someone who lives off the grid and plans on using this battery everyday. With everyday cycling, this battery will normally last about 3-5 years at 50% depth of discharge.
Flooded Lead Acid: This battery is a good option for a person that is on a budget, but is living off the grid and needing to use the battery everyday. I would not recommend this battery for mobile applications since it is large, heavy, and off gasses hydrogen. At 30% depth of discharge you can expect about 8 years of battery life, and at 50% depth of discharge this battery will last 5-7 years. This battery does require watering and equalizing maintenance, and does need to be kept at above freezing temperatures.
Carbon Foam : This type of lead acid battery is sealed and requires no maintenance. Even though this is a lead acid battery, due to the new carbon foam technology at 50% depth of discharge, this battery will last for 14 years with daily cycling. I like to recommend this battery to people that want a longer lasting battery, but might not have the money to purchase a lithium or nickel iron.
Lithium Iron Phosphate: This battery is small, sealed and requires no maintenance. Plus this battery has a 10 year warranty and is rated for 20 years with daily cycling. This battery works well for off-grid, grid backup, or mobile applications.
Nickel Iron Battery: This is the longest lasting battery on the market. This will last 30+ years, but is also the most expensive. This battery performs well in cold climates and is recommended for people who live off the grid. Also, in any survival situation, this battery will not die on you. The nickel iron battery does require watering. I would not recommend this battery for mobile applications since it is large, heavy, and off gasses hydrogen.
Hopefully this quick overview will help when trying to decide which battery type is right for you.
by Iron Edison Design Team
category: 4LiFe Batteries
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