Which Is The Best Lithium Leisure Battery
I own a 2010 Fait Hymer 594 Motorhome and a 2004 VW T5. I am in the market for new car batteries for the Hymer as I have a weight limit of 3500 kgs that has been reduced from 3850 kgs. The motorhome weighs in at 3175 kgs. That leave a measly 325 kgs to play with.
However with todays battery technology I can scrape a few kilos back just by replacing both of my AGM batteries in the Hymer for the new Lithium batteries.
Time to look at the best options out there in the United Kingdom. If you are looking for one in the USA then we would recommend this battery here.
AGM batteries have been in use in cars, trucks and vans for years. They are a good relitavely cheap option and normally last 2 years or more depending on usage and weather.
AGM vs Lithium Batteries Comparisons
The main differences between lithium and AGM batteries are:
- Lithium batteries use lithium metal or lithium compounds as the cathode and intercalated carbon as the anode.
- AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries are lead-acid batteries that use absorbed electrolyte technology and have the electrolyte contained in fiberglass mats.
- Lithium batteries are much lighter weight than comparable AGM batteries. A lithium battery can weigh 60-70% less than an AGM.
- Lithium batteries have a much higher energy density, allowing them to store more energy and provide more power. They experience almost no voltage drop as they discharge.
- AGM batteries offer good power density but less than lithium, and the voltage does drop as they discharge.
- Lithium batteries charge faster than AGMs. A lithium battery can charge in 1-2 hours compared to 8-16 hours for an AGM battery.
- Lithium batteries are more expensive than AGM batteries, often 2-3 times the upfront cost.
- Lithium batteries generally last over twice as many cycles as AGM batteries. Lithiums average 2000-3000 cycles versus 500-800 cycles for AGM batteries.
So in summary, lithium batteries are lighter weight, store more energy, deliver more power, charge faster, and last longer. But they have a higher upfront cost compared to the more affordable AGM lead-acid batteries.
They are much lighter and cost quite a lot more but have many benefits over their AGM rivals.
Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are a total game-changer for powering motorhomes, caravans, campervans and other leisure vehicles. Compared to old fashioned lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries provide transformational advantages in capacity, longevity, charging speed, weight and cold weather performance.
With the recent major drop in lithium battery prices, they now deliver far higher value and lower long-term costs than lead-acid batteries.
In this in-depth guide, we'll explain everything you need to know about upgrading to lithium, and review the best lithium leisure battery options for UK motorhomers and caravanners.
Why Lithium Batteries Are a Breakthrough
Lithium iron phosphate batteries with advanced battery management systems (BMS) have effectively solved all of the pain points of lead-acid leisure batteries. Let's quickly summarize the key benefits:
– 10x Longer Lifespan – Lithium batteries last for a staggering 7,000+ cycles versus just 400 cycles for lead-acid. You'll get 15-20 years of daily use instead of just 2-3 years before replacement.
– 2x More Usable Capacity – Lithiums can be safely discharged to 90% versus just 50% for lead-acid. So you effectively double your usable battery capacity.
– 3 Hour Recharging – A 100Ah lithium battery can fully recharge in 2-3 hours from alternator charging or 220V hookup. Forget overnight charging sessions.
– 50% Lighter Weight – Lithium batteries weigh about half that of an equivalent lead-acid battery. Your motorhome or caravan will benefit from improved fuel efficiency. This alone is one reason many can make good use of these batteries, especially if you are close to your weight limit in your motorhome.
– Superior Cold Weather Performance – Lithium batteries work efficiently even down to -20°C. Lead-acid batteries struggle badly in cold conditions.
– Zero Maintenance – Lithium batteries require no manual inspection or maintenance over their lifetime. Lead-acid batteries need frequent checking and topping up.
– Safe and Recyclable – LiFePO4 lithium battery cells are proven safe. They contain no acid or toxic lead. BMS systems prevent issues like overcharging.
With this revolutionary leap in performance, lithium batteries enable a new level of freedom and convenience for motorhomers and caravanners. As we'll explain, they can effectively eliminate any need for noisy petrol generators or expensive diesel fuel cells.
Choosing The Best Lithium Battery
Let's now dive into reviewing the best lithium leisure battery options on the UK market right now. We've extensively tested the top models to help you choose the right lithium battery for your motorhome or caravan.
Eco Worthy 100Ah LiFePO4 – Best Budget Lithium Battery
The Eco Worthy 100Ah lithium iron phosphate battery is our current top pick as the best value for money lithium leisure battery in the UK.
While not the cheapest lithium battery you can buy, the Eco Worthy 100Ah offers a sweet spot between price and quality. You get genuine long-lasting lithium performance at an affordable cost.
Eco Worthy 100Ah Key Features
- 100 Ah capacity
- 12V output
- LiFePO4 lithium cells
- Built-in BMS for safety and performance
- Very lightweight at 11kg
- Dimensions 326 x 173 x 223mm
Eco Worthy 100Ah Pros
- Great value lithium battery – Approximately 3x the cost of a 100Ah lead-acid battery. But delivers 10x longer lifespan.
- Up to 3000 cycles – Supported cycle life of 3000 cycles equates to 15-20 years of real-world usage.
- Advanced BMS protection – Protects against over-charging, over-discharging, short circuits etc. High quality BMS is vital for any lithium battery.
- Full power delivery – Eco Worthy batteries maintain voltage consistently even down to 90% discharge. No frustrating voltage drop-offs.
- Super lightweight design – 50% lighter than a comparable lead-acid battery. Saves weight and improves fuel efficiency in your motorhome or caravan.
- Fast charging capability – Can fully recharge from flat in as little as 2-3 hours on 220V hookup or via DC alternator charging while driving.
- Very low self-discharge – Loses just 3% charge per month. Holds charge for long periods when stored.
- Excellent after-sales support – Eco Worthy are very responsive to customer questions and concerns.
Eco Worthy 100Ah Cons
- No built-in heater – Must not be charged below 0°C as BMS won't function properly. Not optimal for winter camping unless battery is kept warm.
- Max 2 batteries can be parallel wired – Eco Worthy batteries cannot be connected in series. But up to 2 can be installed in parallel if more capacity is needed.
Overall, for motorhomers and caravanners seeking their first lithium battery upgrade, the Eco Worthy 100Ah LiFePO4 battery represents outstanding value.
While it lacks premium extras like a built-in heating system, the fundamentals are very solid. Eco Worthy use high quality LiFePO4 cells and a proper BMS to deliver the core benefits of lithium technology at an affordable price.
Considering its 3000 cycle supported lifespan, the Eco Worthy 100Ah battery should provide reliable power for 15-20 years of regular motorhome or caravan trips. That's 8-10 times longer runtime than you'd get from an equivalent 100Ah lead-acid leisure battery before it dies.
For most users, the Eco Worthy 100Ah battery will be perfectly sufficient on its own for typical weekend and holiday motorhome or caravan getaways when paired with 100W+ solar panels.
If you require longer durations off-grid, 2 x 100Ah Eco Worthy batteries wired in parallel will supply 200Ah total capacity to cover 5-7 days of autonomy. That's still much cheaper than a single 100Ah lithium battery was just 1-2 years ago.
So for anyone seeking to unlock the lithium advantage on a budget, the Eco Worthy 100Ah LiFePO4 battery is an easy first choice. You get virtually all the benefits of lithium technology at an affordable price point.
Where to Buy Eco Worthy 100Ah Lithium Battery
The Eco Worthy 100Ah LiFePO4 leisure battery is available from Amazon UK at the link below:
Renogy 100Ah LiFePO4 – Best Premium Lithium Battery
If budget is no concern and you're seeking the highest quality lithium leisure battery for your campervan, caravan or motorhome, look no further than the Renogy 100Ah LiFePO4.
Renogy are one of the most trusted brands in lithium batteries. The Renogy 100Ah battery offers premium construction and components for uncompromising performance and longevity.
Renogy 100Ah Key Features
- 100 Ah capacity
- 12V nominal voltage
- LiFePO4 lithium cells
- Advanced BMS for monitoring and protection
- Compact and lightweight
- 5 year warranty
Renogy 100Ah Pros
- Ultra high quality construction – Renogy use top tier LiFePO4 cells and precision engineering for reliable performance. Expect a long service life.
- Best-in-class BMS – The Renogy BMS offers complete protection against over-charging, over-discharging, short circuits, reverse polarity and more. Preserves battery health.
- Up to 4000 cycles – Renogy rate the 100Ah battery for 4000 cycles at 80% depth of discharge. That could equate to 20+ years of real-world use.
- 5 year comprehensive warranty – Peace of mind from one of the best warranties in the industry. Renogy's after-sales support is highly regarded.
- Advanced safety features – Additional safety extras like an activation switch to prevent discharge during storage make this battery incredibly fool-proof.
- Rapid recharging – Can charge from 0-100% in around 2-3 hours on an appropriate 220V mains hookup.
- Minimal self-discharge – Loses just 3% charge per month when stored. Holds charge for 1-2 years with no issue.
- High power draw capability – Copes with high discharge loads without voltage drop. Perfect for inverters.
- Lightweight – Weighs just 11kg making it easy to install and reducing payload.
Renogy 100Ah Cons
- Higher cost – As a premium lithium battery, the Renogy 100Ah costs approximately 2x more than the Eco Worthy 100Ah LiFePO4 battery. But you're paying for the highest quality components and construction.
- No parallel wiring – Cannot be combined in parallel to add capacity. But can be stacked in series up to 4 units (48V).
In summary, for motorhomers and caravanners who simply want the best lithium leisure battery money can buy, the Renogy 100Ah LiFePO4 battery delivers.
You pay a premium, but the first-rate materials, construction and battery management result in exceptional performance, safety and working lifespan. If you're looking for a fit-and-forget lithium battery from a top tier brand, the Renogy 100Ah won't disappoint.
Where to Buy Renogy 100Ah Lithium Battery
You can buy the Renogy 100Ah LiFePO4 lithium leisure battery in the UK via Amazon:
Lithium vs Lead-Acid Batteries – Key Differences
Now that we've covered two of the best lithium leisure battery options, let's examine how lithium batteries differ from traditional lead-acid batteries in more detail:
Lithium batteries can be safely discharged to 80-90% of capacity, compared to just 50% for lead-acid batteries before damage occurs. This gives you 2x usable battery capacity from a lithium battery of the same Ah rating. A 100Ah lithium actually delivers nearly 200Ah of usable energy.
Lithium batteries support 5000-7000 cycles. Lead-acid batteries manage just 400-500 cycles before dying. You get over 10x longer runtime from a lithium battery before replacement is required.
Lithium batteries can charge at 5-10C safely. That means a 100Ah battery can absorb a 100A charge current to recharge in 1 hour. Lead-acid batteries need to be charged slowly over many hours.
Performance in Cold
Lithium batteries work efficiently even in sub zero temperatures down to -20°C. Lead-acid batteries quickly lose significant capacity in cold conditions.
Lithium batteries lose just 3-5% of charge per month when stored. Lead-acid batteries self-discharge by up to 20% per month.
Lithium batteries weigh about half that of an equivalent capacity lead-acid battery. A 100Ah lithium battery weighs just 11-13kg. A 100Ah lead-acid is over 25kg.
Lithium batteries are over 90% recyclable. They contain no dangerous lead or corrosive acid. Lead-acid batteries require more complex recycling.
Upfront cost is higher for lithium batteries. But the 10x longer lifespan means far lower lifetime cost than repeatedly replacing lead-acid batteries.
Reputable lithium batteries utilize advanced BMS systems to prevent issues like over-charging. Thermal runaway incidents are extremely rare. Lead-acid batteries can leak dangerous acid.
As you can see from these comparisons, lithium batteries outperform lead-acid batteries across the board when used for motorhomes and caravans. The move to lithium for leisure vehicles is now a no-brainer.
Key Features to Look For in a Lithium Leisure Battery
Lithium battery technology offers clear advantages. But there are still some key factors to evaluate when selecting a lithium leisure battery for your motorhome or caravan:
Battery Capacity – Consider your typical power usage needs. Choose an appropriate Ah capacity lithium battery that can provide 1.5 to 2 days of power autonomy. More capacity equals longer off-grid endurance.
Battery Chemistry – Only choose lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry batteries from quality brands. Other types like lithium cobalt oxide lack safety and stability.
Integrated BMS – An integrated battery management system is absolutely vital in any lithium battery to monitor individual cells and prevent issues. Prioritize an advanced BMS with temperature sensors and redundancy.
Maximum Discharge Rating – Check what depth of discharge the battery allows. Look for at least 80% DoD capability for maximum usable capacity.
Cycle Life Rating – Target batteries warrantied for at least 3000 cycles, ideally 5000+ cycles at 50% discharge for optimal longevity.
Recharge Rate – Faster is better. A 1C charge rate means the battery can recharge fully in 1 hour. Look for batteries supporting at least 0.5-1C charge current.
Operating Temperature – Lithium batteries work fine down to -20°C. Some pricier models feature built-in heaters to enable charging at sub-zero temps if needed.
Warranty Coverage – Look for at least 2 years. Premium batteries offer 5+ years. Longer warranties give more peace of mind.
Weight – Lighter lithium batteries make installation easier and improve fuel efficiency. 100Ah units range from 11-15kg.
Safety Certification – Reputable manufacturers will have UL, CE, UN38.3 and other safety certifications.
Use this checklist when comparing lithium leisure battery options to select the right model for your motorhome or caravan's needs and budget.
Lithium Leisure Battery Frequently Asked Questions
We'll finish this guide by answering some common questions about using lithium batteries in motorhomes and caravans:
How long do lithium batteries last in leisure applications?
Quality lithium batteries support 5,000 to 7,000 charge cycles. In real-world leisure usage, you can expect 10-20 years of service life before reaching 80% capacity, far longer than lead-acid batteries.
Can lithium batteries get charged from the alternator?
Yes, lithium batteries can charge very efficiently and rapidly from your alternator while driving. A B2B lithium charger is recommended for optimal performance.
What charging voltage is required for lithium batteries?
14.2-14.6V is the ideal charge voltage range for 12V lithium iron phosphate batteries. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended charge settings.
Is it OK to buy cheaper no-name lithium batteries?
We don't recommend no-name lithium batteries. Stick with established brands using genuine LiFePO4 cells and proper BMS systems to ensure safety, performance and longevity.
How do I know the state of charge of a lithium battery?
Quality lithium batteries feature a built-in state of charge indicator or Bluetooth app connectivity to display the current charge percentage.
Can lithium and lead-acid batteries be combined?
It's not recommended to mix different battery chemistries. Stick to all lithium or all lead-acid.
Is cold weather charging possible with lithium batteries?
Most lithium batteries cannot charge below 0°C. Premium models feature built-in battery heaters that allow charging down to -20°C.
Are lithium batteries safe to use?
Modern LiFePO4 cells with advanced BMS systems are proven safe. Billions of lithium cells are used in consumer devices. Follow the manufacturer guidelines.
Do I need ventilation for a lithium battery installation?
Lithium LiFePO4 batteries are sealed. No outgassing occurs so ventilation is generally not required in motorhome and campervan installations.
We hope this guide has provided you with a comprehensive overview of upgrading to lithium batteries for your campervan, caravan or motorhome. Lithium leisure batteries deliver a huge real-world performance advantage and are now very affordably priced. If you're still using old lead-acid batteries, now is the time to switch to lithium!