Detailed comparison of lead-acid battery and UN 3480 battery

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 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 battery and UN3480 battery.

lead acid battery vs lithium ion

Compare lead-acid battery and UN3480 battery

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

Both lead-acid battery and UN3480 battery 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 battery, 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 battery 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 FLA battery.


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

For example, in the case of solar panels, the efficiency rating of lead-acid battery 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 battery can be charged faster than 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 iron battery, their charging speed is also faster.

Due to the relatively limited amount of current that lead-acid battery 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 battery. 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 battery, but only two lithium iron battery can do the same job. If your energy needs are high, you can also install the UN3480 battery system in a smaller, more compact space.

Energy density or capacity


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


Of course, over time, all battery will depreciate and lose their effectiveness. The life of battery is measured by the number of charge cycles they 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.

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


Lead-acid battery and lithium-ion battery 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 battery, 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 battery rank significantly lower than UN3480 battery. 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 battery 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 battery have high recyclability and recyclability, which makes them a valuable environmental choice.

When to use lead-acid battery and when to use UN3480 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 battery 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 battery 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 battery, please contact Maxworld Power.

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