Detailed comparison of lead-acid battery and UN3480 battery


Lithium batteries (UN3480) are dangerous goods and, as such, require special packaging for transportation.

All domestic and international shipments containing lithium batteries are subject to transport regulations on hazardous goods according to ADR RID, ADN, IMDG, and ICAO / IATA Regulations.

The batteries UN3480 are lithium-ion batteries, rechargeable, without equipment.

The lithium ion batteries UN3480 are classified as:

Class 9 – UN3480 – Lithium ion batteries – Batteries that are not packed with or installed with the equipment.

For each model of battery, there are different requirements to be verified:

– Type of battery.

– Weight of the battery.

– Dimensions of the battery.

– Capacity of the battery.

– Mode of transport.

Maxworld UN3480

As an industry and a service, energy storage is becoming more and more popular. There are many factors that have led to the widespread popularity of energy storage in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. One of the main reasons is that people are paying more and more attention to the huge impact of fossil fuels on the environment. If you are looking for a home or commercial energy storage solutions in the market, you have many options. If you are considering a battery solution, you have many options. The two most common battery options include lead-acid batteries and 12v lithium-ion batteries.

lead acid battery vs lithium ion

Compare lead-acid battery and 12v lithium ion battery

Although the lead-acid battery has long dominated the market with its low-cost and mature manufacturing bases, the rapid popularity of the UN3480 battery in the past few decades has made them a strong competitor. In fact, lead acid and lithium iron are the two main batteries currently used for commercial and residential purposes.

Both lead-acid batteries and 12v lithium ion batteries are effective and popular energy storage solutions. However, there are significant differences between the two in terms of chemistry, cost, and performance.

Depth of discharge (DOD)

The depth of discharge of a battery is a measure of the percentage of energy that can be safely discharged without causing any damage to it. Simply put, it refers to the total capacity of the battery that can be safely consumed before it needs to be recharged.

For lead-acid batteries, up to 50% can be safely discharged. Continuing to use the battery beyond this point in time will have a negative impact on the battery’s service life and effectiveness. Lithium iron batteries usually have a higher depth of discharge value. 80% to 85% of the energy capacity can be exhausted before it needs to be recharged.

For solar applications, the best lithium battery chemistry is lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). They do not require the routine maintenance or a well-ventilated environment required by the FLA batteries.


The efficiency of the battery is one of the most important indicators to consider when buying. The higher the efficiency of a battery, the more energy it releases is related to its consumption.

For example, in the case of solar panels, the efficiency rating of lead-acid batteries is 80% to 85%. This means that for every 1000 watts of solar energy absorbed by the battery, only 800 to 850 watts are available. Compare this to a lithium-ion battery with an efficiency rating of over 95%. For every 1000 watts, you have more than 950 watts of usable power.

For the solar panel system you set up, this may also mean you can use fewer solar panels, a relatively small backup generator, and a lower battery capacity.

Charge rate

More importantly, a higher efficiency rating means that the battery can be charged faster than a low-efficiency battery. This is because they are designed to handle more current from the charger. More amperage means more current. Taking into account the higher rated efficiency of lithium ion batteries, their charging speed is also faster.

Due to the relatively limited amount of current that lead-acid batteries can handle, they often overheat when charging with higher amperage chargers.

Charge rate

Energy density or capacity

The capacity or energy density of a battery is a measure of the energy it can store (including discharge) in a given physical space. The capacity value of the battery usually varies by manufacturer and model.

Generally speaking, lithium-iron battery systems tend to have higher energy density values than lead-acid batteries. This means they can store more energy in the same size. For example, to power a 5.13 kW system, you need eight lead-acid batteries, but only two lithium-iron batteries can do the same job. If your energy needs are high, you can also install the 12v lithium ion battery system in a smaller, more compact space.

Energy density or capacity


In terms of upfront and installation costs, lead-acid batteries are a more affordable option. Compared with a standard lithium iron device of the same size, the cost of a lead-acid battery system is usually hundreds or even thousands of dollars lower. The cost depends on the size of the battery system and its installation requirements.

However, while lead-acid batteries may be more affordable on the surface, the long-lasting life cycle and effectiveness of lithium-iron batteries offset these costs. Taking into account that the replacement of lead-acid batteries does not require immediate replacement of lithium-ion batteries, the price is not expensive.


Of course, over time, all batteries will depreciate and lose their effectiveness. The life of the battery is measured by the number of charge cycles it can go through. A charging cycle starts when you use it to fully charge it. Life is the number of charge cycles that a battery can perform before it is expected to expire.

The lead-acid battery generally has a long life cycle-more than 200 charging cycles per year to 100 charging cycles in 5 years, but lithium iron batteries tend to have several more charging cycles than a lead-acid battery.


Lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries are generally safe to use indoors. They are designed to provide safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to generators. However, there are no safety risks for any equipment or appliances. Both types of battery can overheat the battery, causing electrolyte and possible flame emission.

Taking into account the higher energy density of lithium-ion batteries, that is, more energy can be stored in a smaller volume, so the battery is more likely to overheat. Most high-end manufacturers have taken important measures, including a built-in circuit breaker to cut off the charging current when the voltage reaches its maximum value, overheating occurs, or the internal pressure is too high.

Environmental impact

In terms of environmental protection, lead-acid batteries rank significantly lower than 12v lithium-ion batteries. This is because they need more raw materials to achieve the same level of energy storage. This leads to a greater impact on the environment during the extraction of raw materials. More importantly, the lead processing industry consumes a lot of energy, leading to higher pollution levels.

As far as lithium iron batteries are concerned, although they are obtained through mining, their carbon footprint is much lower. They are more environmentally friendly than lead-acid and nickel-cadmium options. Mercury, lead, and cadmium are highly toxic heavy metals that have been used in battery manufacturing for decades. Over the years, inefficient and improper disposal has caused considerable environmental damage.

Lithium-ion batteries have high recyclability and recyclability, which makes them a valuable environmental choice.

When to use lead-acid battery and when to use 12v lithium ion battery

If you need to install a backup battery system in your home, store, or workplace, both lead-acid battery and lithium-ion battery are effective, efficient, and cost-effective alternatives to traditional gasoline generators. By taking into account the many advantages of lithium iron technology-longer life, higher efficiency, less impact on the environment, higher safety in use, higher energy density, faster-charging speed, and deeper discharge depth, it’s more meaningful to it.

However, if the relatively high upfront and installation costs are a deal for you, you can choose the lead-acid battery option. In addition, the lead-acid option is more suitable for off-grid solar installations with lower frequencies. For example, it is recommended to use a lead-acid battery as a backup power source in a motorhome or boat, because you will not use it often. More importantly, the lower usage rate can prevent the more typical shortcomings associated with lead-acid technology, such as a shorter lifespan.

When to use lead-acid batteries and when to use lithium-ion batteries


Lithium iron batteries provide significant benefits for home and business owners. Although it is one of the newer battery technologies in this ancient market, it has been proved that lithium iron has its own advantages in terms of efficiency, energy storage capacity, performance, durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

On the other hand, lead-acid batteries have a longer service life in games and continue to play a vital role in shaping the global energy storage landscape. They are a significantly more affordable option and provide huge benefits to consumers who are not looking for heavy-duty options. If you want to know more bout lithium batteries, please contact Maxworld Power.

How to ship lithium ion battery: UN3480, UN3481 & IATA regulations

After comparing it with lead acid batteries, we found the benefits of lithium-ion batteries. We illustrate how lithium ion batteries are transported through UN3480, UN3481, and IATA regulations.

Many people erroneously believe that shipping lithium-ion batteries are secure. However, this is untrue.

There are several laws and regulations in place to safeguard the safety of those shipping them, therefore it is simply not viable to put them in any old box and send them.

When attempting to decide what packing and method to employ when shipping lithium-ion batteries, a lot of variables come into play.

Several UN laws, including UN3480, UN3481, and UN3090, as well as guidelines established by other transport organizations, notably the International Air Transport Association, govern these.

Problems with lithium ion

So why is it such a big issue to export lithium-ion batteries? And why is this covered by so many UN regulations, such as UN3480?

Simply put, lithium batteries have a high potential for harm, making them technically regarded as hazardous commodities.

Lithium batteries catching fire while in flight have been blamed for a number of mysterious aircraft mishaps (including the Asiana Airlines 747 near South Korea in July 2011, a UPS 747 in Dubai, UAE in September 2010, and a UPS DC-8 in Philadelphia, PA in February 2006).

Specialized packaging designed for these products can help to contain these incidents, which are typically ascribed to battery short circuits and can result in flames. Touching unprotected cells can result in an electrical short, which can propagate into a chain reaction that can release a tremendous amount of energy.

Thermal runaway is another potential problem with lithium batteries.

This basically means that an increase in internal temperature may happen if the internal circuitry is disturbed. The battery cells start to release hot gases at a specific temperature, which raises the temperature of nearby cells. This will ultimately result in flames and ignition.

As a result, shipping huge numbers of batteries by air presents a particularly serious safety concern. A comparatively little occurrence can result in an out-of-control fire.

Lithium batteries are therefore regarded as hazardous products or dangerous commodities and must be handled, stored, and transported in accordance with this classification (as set out in UN3480 and the supporting regulations).

Affected products using lithium ion batteries

The popularity of lithium batteries is another factor that has attracted more attention.

Lithium batteries provide an exceptional mix of performance, lightweight, and efficiency and are now widely used in electric automobiles, E-bikes, power tools, mobile phones, and a vast range of consumer goods (anything from computers to children’s toys). Furthermore, mass-producing them is quite affordable.

Higher risk is, however, a side effect of increased use. While returning damaged or used batteries for repair, recycling, or disposal poses a major risk, transporting brand-new batteries inside items is reasonably safe (albeit still subject to tight regulations).

Additionally, the risk has compelled regulatory agencies to take action because of the continued market expansion of a number of products and sectors that use lithium batteries (with electric car sales likely to soar over the next decade and beyond).

UN3480 Regulations

Tightening of the rules on shipping lithium ion batteries

The regulations governing the shipment of lithium batteries (both types) were updated as a result of the rising use, which also increased the risk.

The risk associated with exporting lithium batteries is their ability to short-circuit, as was mentioned earlier in this article. As a result, the majority of the new legislation focuses on packaging and shipment regulations designed to lessen the potentially disastrous effects of this.

Here is a very high-level summary of this:

Using packaging and shipping techniques that prevent batteries from touching one another.

Using packaging and shipping techniques that prevent batteries from coming into contact with metal or conductive surfaces.

Ensure that all batteries are wrapped tightly to prevent movement (within the packing) during transport that can result in the terminal caps coming free or accidental activation.

UN3480, UN3481, UN3090 and UN3091 classifications

Four sections of UN legislation essentially govern the shipping of lithium batteries, but there are many details within each that can affect the precise steps you need to take to ensure safe delivery (or at least minimize the risk as far as possible).

Lithium batteries are currently considered “miscellaneous dangerous commodities,” which is the classification for Class 9 materials.

The following are the specific UN laws that apply to the shipment of these batteries:

Lithium metal batteries, UN 3090 (shipped by themselves)

Lithium-ion batteries, UN 3480 (shipped by themselves)

UN 3091, Equipment packed with or containing lithium metal batteries

Lithium-ion batteries packed with or contained in equipment, UN 3481

Further info on UN3480 / UN3481 regulations

Regulations that apply; UN-No. 3480 (UN3480) or UN3481 Lithium-Ion Batteries, Lithium-Ion Batteries Packets, and Lithium-Ion Batteries in Equipment

Any lithium-ion batteries being shipped must be of a kind that has been demonstrated to satisfy the conditions of each test outlined in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3

The manufacturer of the battery or battery pack shall make available (upon request of the Competent Authority) the evidence that a Quality Certification program is in place in its Lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in accordance with the requirements of the UN Model Regulation, Chapter 2.9.4.

Lithium-ion batteries and lithium-ion batteries packaged with or inside of equipment fall under UN-No. 3480 or 3481.

Transit by road

Packing Instructions P903, P903a, and P903b as well as Class 9 Packing Group II, Tunnel Category E ADR/RID-Labels 9, Proper Shipping Name Lithium-Ion Batteries, and UN 3480 ADR Special Provisions 188, 230, 310, and 636 will be used.

Please contact your National Competent Authority if you have damaged or defective batteries.

Transit via sea freight

IMO-Labels for Class Packing Group II 9

Lithium-Ion batteries, UN 3480 IMDG Code: Special Provisions 188, 230, and 310, and Packing Instructions P903 EmS: F-A, S-I

Stowage class A

Please contact your National Competent Authority if you have damaged or defective batteries.

Transit via air freight

Lithium-Ion batteries, UN 3480, proper shipping name, Class Packing Group II ICAO-Labels 9, IATA: Unique provisions A88, A99, A154, A164, and the packing list P945–P964; P965–P966; P967–P968; P969–P970

Waste batteries and damaged and flawed batteries: Not permitted for air transportation.

Who is responsible for safe shipping

You, the business or person shipping the lithium batteries, are entirely in charge of the cargo. If an accident occurs as a result of the batteries being shipped incorrectly or not in accordance with UN3480 and other requirements, you or your company will be held legally liable.

This is why it’s crucial to not only choose the right packing for your shipment or shipments but also to collaborate with a packaging supplier who can assist and provide advice on this specific need.

Aluminum cases can go through the necessary testing before being properly protected, providing you peace of mind that your shipments will adhere to all rules.

The importance of UN3480 / UN3090 regulations

If you don’t transport lithium batteries in the proper, UN3480-compliant packaging, it could have disastrous effects on your company. This may include hefty fines, jail terms for members of your organization, and reputational harm from having caused a (perhaps tragic) accident.

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