Why Quality Matters When Choosing a Lithium Battery
Table of Contents
In recent years, Lithium batteries have become the preferred choice for RV owners. Their many benefits compared to traditional lead-acid batteries see them quickly becoming the core component to efficient mobile power systems.
If you have already started shopping for a lithium battery, you may have noticed a flood of products to choose from. LiFePO4 battery providers are popping up everywhere. While they may offer competitive pricing, are they a case of “too good to be true”? And if so, how do you choose the right supplier and avoid buying a low-quality product?
It’s no secret that a well-engineered Lithium battery can offer an incredibly reliable energy source. Compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, they offer more power while still being lightweight and compact, making them ideal for recreational vehicle use. Not only do lithium batteries last well beyond the life of a lead-acid battery, but they are also much safer and easier to handle since no liquid or hazardous waste disposal is required. But how do you determine the quality of this new technology of battery?
A good RV battery is designed to be durable and can withstand the rigors of travel – temperature fluctuations, vibrations, and rough terrain. Finding a battery that is tested to UNDOT standards means the battery can handle life on the road.
Ensure the battery being purchased can deliver the advertised power. Performance figures on some products are not tested independently and are often grossly overstated. Working with a vendor who has their products tested and verified by third parties helps remove any misleading specifications from the product.
High-quality RV batteries have a longer lifespan compared to lower-quality batteries. They are designed to last longer and provide consistent power throughout their lifespan. A good quality RV battery will save you money in the long run and give you peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to replace your battery frequently and will not fail prematurely.
A good indicator of a battery’s lifespan is the manufacturer’s warranty. While a 5-year warranty is commonplace, a high-quality product will come with a 10-year warranty.
Quality lithium batteries are also safer than their lower-quality counterparts. They are designed with safety in mind, and feature things like an internal Battery Management Systems (BMS) and prismatic cell construction.
Safety certifications are also a good indicator that the manufacturer has followed proper protocols. Products being tested to UL and CSA standards are the most common labels relevant in the US and Canada.
Be wary of the standards your battery is tested to. It’s not uncommon to have companies claim they have a UL-certified product, but that have tested it in a non-certified lab. This is much cheaper for the company to achieve, but for a reason. A certified lab is audited regularly to make sure they are following best practices to ensure the test results are accurate such as calibrating their equipment and testing using standard methods.
Quality RV batteries also provide efficient charging, meaning they can be charged quickly and easily. Lithium batteries can charge up to 60% faster than their lead-acid counterparts. This not only helps keep your plug-in time to a minimum, but also helps with other charging sources, such as solar and alternator charging.
When choosing a lithium battery, it is important to ensure the product comes with its an internal Battery Management System (BMS). The BMS monitors several essential data points, such as temperature and voltage. It also keeps the cells operating in healthy conditions and maintaining them (balancing them) ensuring optimal performance and longer lifespans.
One of the best tips when shopping for lithium batteries for an RV is to look at the reputation of the company that you are buying from. Companies without a track record are usually short-lived and will likely not be around to honor their promises concerning reliability, performance, and warranties.
Look for vendors that engineer their own products and apply scrutinized standards and testing for mobile applications. Buying from a company experienced in the RV industry ensures that your product is suitable for use in an RV. There is also a great benefit in buying all the components of your off-grid energy system from the same supplier. Battery, charge controller, inverter, and solar panels work best when the equipment has been engineered and fine-tuned to work as a coherent system.
Sustainability Have you ever tried to file a warranty claim with a company abroad? It’s usually not the best customer experience, especially when looking at a highly technical product like a lithium battery. It’s hard to take photos and make your case in explaining what exactly went wrong and why it should be considered a warranty case. Ensure you choose a provider who will stand by their product and honor the warranty.
But there are also challenges with compliance. In Canada and the USA, we have sophisticated testing and certification requirements for batteries. By buying a product from a domestic supplier, you can rest assured that testing and certifications follow the applicable high-quality guidelines. This is often not true for imported products without physical representation in North America.
By choosing a domestic company, you can also ensure you receive proper after-sale support.
Sustainability & Ethics
We live in a world where we can no longer ignore sustainability as a core aspect of doing business. Whether it is fostering social responsibility or reducing our carbon footprint, companies are being scrutinized under the sustainability lens by the public, investors, and their business partners. Reputable companies release regular sustainability reports to keep stakeholders up to date.
Most RVers are outdoor enthusiasts and feel deeply aligned with the values of protecting nature and combatting climate change. Mobile living presents a unique opportunity to make a meaningful, positive difference. Choose a battery supplier that strives to reduce its carbon footprint and is committed to sustainability.
Don’t skimp on the battery, as it is one of the most critical components of an RV’s mobile power system. Investing in a quality lithium battery offers a consistent and reliable power source, so you can focus on making memories and exploring new places.