Photo by welcomia via iStock
Lithium-ion batteries are much newer technologies for RVs and overlanding rigs than AGM batteries.
And while newer technologies can be a little scary simply because of the unknown, there are far too many reasons to upgrade to lithium-ion than there are reasons to keep your AGM batteries.
But not all lithium-ion batteries are alike…
In this quick guide, I’ll go over a few things to look for when upgrading to lithium-ion batteries. To illustrate each point, I’ll use my Briter Products lithium-ion batteries as examples. These batteries are installed in my Turtleback Expedition trailer and I have used them in the field and have experienced the benefits of lithium-ion power firsthand.
Why Upgrade to Lithium-Ion Batteries?
I’ve talked about the advantages of lithium-ion batteries versus AGM batteries in the past, so let’s just quickly review them:
- Better depth of discharge
- Longer lifespan
- Smaller and lighter
- Improved energy density
- No discharge memory
These benefits are universal to all lithium-ion batteries. But there are some variations from one brand to the next in terms of features and other benefits that you should be aware of before making a purchase.
Upgrading to Lithium-Ion Batteries: Check the Warranty
Most lithium-ion batteries come with a warranty, but the terms of the warranty and the length of the warranty can vary widely.
In some instances, you might find that you get just one year of warranty service. In others, it might be three years.
In the case of my Briter Products lithium-ion batteries, I get a five-year warranty. Not only that, but the warranty is unlimited. After the five-year period expires, parts can be replaced and the batteries can be reset, so there’s no need to buy a new battery.
Needless to say, this is an excellent warranty that gives me peace of mind that if something goes wrong, I’ll be covered, and if the batteries need new parts after the warranty is up, I can simply have the parts replaced and continue to use the same batteries. It will save me a lot of money in the long-run and will do the same for you!
Upgrading to Lithium-Ion Batteries: What is the Lifespan?
Yes, lithium-ion batteries as a whole have a longer lifespan than AGM batteries. But not all lithium-ion batteries have the same lifespan.
Some lithium-ion batteries can be expected to get you up to 2,000 cycles. Others offer up to 3,000 cycles. Yet others clock in at 4,000 cycles.
But my Briter Products batteries are rated up to 5,000 cycles, which gives me the possibility of very long-term use. One of the knocks against lithium-ion batteries is that they are expensive, but while their up-front cost might be more than AGM batteries, the sheer longevity of them means that you will spend less in the long-term.
Besides, as I noted a moment ago, these batteries are fully serviceable, so really, I won’t have to buy batteries for my trailer again! Now that’s one heck of a lifespan!
Upgrading to Lithium-Ion Batteries: Is It Easy to Monitor?
One of the best features of my Briter Products batteries is that they are easy to monitor.
For starters, there’s an LCD display on the battery that allows you to quickly double-check the battery’s charge and the DC power system.
Additionally, these batteries are Bluetooth compatible, so I can monitor their levels from my smartphone. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Not all lithium-ion batteries come with these options, so when you’re shopping for new batteries, certainly consider how easy they are to monitor.
What Power Sources is the Battery Compatible With?
Be sure to check what power sources a lithium-ion battery is compatible with before making your purchase.
In the case of my batteries, they are optimized for solar, which is ideal for me since my trailer has an on-board solar power system.
However, it’s a good idea to get lithium-ion batteries that can be charged in a variety of ways, like from your vehicle’s alternator, another battery, or a generator. After all, it’s not a bad idea to have that kind of flexibility when you’re overlanding or off-roading!
Whenever you buy accessories for your overlanding or off-roading setup, it’s important to do your due diligence – whether it’s for batteries, suspension components, rooftop tents, or something else.
I can tell you that my Briter Products batteries have been everything I could want and more. But you need to determine if they are right for you by comparing your options and considering your specific needs.
I know one thing, though – I’m exceptionally happy with these batteries, and I’m looking forward to a long, long lifetime of use!