With the summer season already starting in some parts of Pakistan, many are looking for the best batteries for UPS, solar inverters, vehicles, etc. However, many people don’t know the different types of batteries. Do you know that there are batteries that don’t need to be maintained (pouring water/acid frequently)? Also, many don’t know that there are many types of lithium-ion batteries (dry batteries).
Before you make buying decision, it is important to know the different types of batteries available these days. So, we have gathered some of the most popular ones for you to help you choose the best one as per your requirements.
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Let’s start with the most popular battery type.
Lead Acid Batteries
Lead acid batteries are one of the commonly used battery types for UPS and vehicles in Pakistan. Despite the low energy-to-weight ratio and low storage-capacity-to-volume ratio, they are still popular. It is mainly due to their low initial cost (price) which makes them an attractive choice for customers. Let’s see some of the common lead acid battery types.
Simple Lead Acid Battery (Flat Plate)- Open Vented (VLA)
Most of us are familiar with the simple lead acid batteries technically known as Open Vented (VLA). They contain plates which are flooded with the acid-electrolyte. As they are not sealed but contain vents, they need to be regularly maintained (by adding more distilled water or acid).
Tubular Battery – Open Vented (VLA)
Tubular batteries are again technically known as Open Vented (VLA) batteries. But they have some differences in structure compared to the simple ones. They have larger plates and modified plate structures. It consists of a negative plate and a positive tube (that’s where the name came from). They are known for their durability, applicability in high-end applications, ability to bear high-temperature fluctuations, and faster charging*. However, their price is higher compared to simple or flat plate lead acid batteries.
Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) Batteries
Valve-regulated lead acid battery (VRLA) also known as the maintenance-free battery is among the best batteries you can buy. They generally have the acid-electrolyte sealed within the body. There is a valve which releases excess gas (when produced due to overcharging or any other problem). Some of them have the same acid-electrolyte as used in normal batteries while others have a special one. They are more expensive than Open Vented (VLA) batteries.
Let’s see VRLA battery types here.
A gel battery is a type of VRLA battery having a pre-determined electrolyte inside. The gel inside is simply the sulphuric acid mixed with the silica fumes. This mixture forms a gel-like formation that doesn’t need to be maintained regularly. Yes! You don’t need to monitor their water level and refill frequently. However, you need to keep them in a place where the temperature doesn’t become too hot as it can turn the gel hard affecting the battery performance.
The AGM batteries are also sealed batteries that are commonly confused with gel batteries. Although they both have sealed structures, spill-proof nature, are safe in limited ventilation places, etc., they have some differences as well. The AGM batteries use an absorbed glass mat material (thin glass fibers) to suspend electrolytes within the plates. These batteries work fine even on high voltages, unlike the Gel batteries which are sensitive to higher voltages.
As the name suggests, the dry batteries don’t need the acid electrolyte to work. They have a smaller volume but have more capacity than the same volume lead acid batteries. The electrolytes of dry cell batteries are in a low moisture paste compared to the liquid electrolyte of wet cell (lead acid) batteries. They may have single or multiple cells within the body. They can be transported safely compared to wet cell batteries. Their lightweight is also one of their main advantages.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular dry batteries. So, here are the details and types of lithium n batteries.
Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular battery type all over the globe. It s due to their suitability for numerous product types including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, toys, headphones, electric vehicles, solar systems, UPS, medical devices, etc.
A lithium-ion battery has lithium-ion cell(s) along with a protective circuit board. As it doesn’t has liquid electrolyte unlike a lead acid battery, it is known as a dry cell battery. It is far more expensive than wet plate batteries.
Types of Lithium Ion batteries
There are many types of lithium-ion batteries depending on their characteristics. Let’s see them here.
Lithium Iron Phosphate
- Good safety
- Low specific energy
- Better thermal stability
- Long life cycle
- High specific power
Lithium Cobalt Oxide
- Poor thermal stability
- Limited specific power
- Shorter lifespan
- High specific energy
Lithium Manganese Oxide
- Improved safety
- Medium specific energy
- High thermal stability
- Moderate specific power
- Limited lifecycle
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide
- Impressive specific energy
- Low self-heating rate
- Better specific power
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide
- High specific energy
- Better specific power
- Moderate safety
- Better lifespan
- Superior safety
- Long lifespan
- Lower specific energy
- Better charging speed
When searching for batteries, you will come across many battery types. It can be confusing especially when you have to make a quick or on-the-spot decision. So, we have shown the most popular types of batteries to help you make an informed buying decision.
Which battery type do you think is the most suitable for you and why? Tell us in the comment section below.