AGM vs Lithium Battery: What's the Difference?
Not sure of the difference between AGM vs lithium battery technology? We break down all of the pros and cons so you can make an informed purchase decision for your battery bank needs!
Are you struggling to decide between AGM and lithium batteries for your specific needs? With various factors to weigh, such as performance, lifespan, and cost, it can be daunting to make an informed choice.
In this post, we’ll dive deep into the world of AGM versus lithium battery technology, exploring their distinct technologies, advantages and disadvantages compared to each other as well as to other 12V battery types.
Join us on this comprehensive journey to help you make the right decision for your unique power requirements.
- Understanding the differences between AGM and lithium batteries is essential for selecting the best option for specific applications.
- Lithium batteries offer superior energy density, extended lifespan, and increased efficiency compared to AGM batteries. But they have a higher initial cost.
- When considering battery type for an application such as RVs, fishing or golf carts it is important to weigh factors like size/weight, capacity & cycle life in order to make an informed decision.
Understanding AGM and Lithium Batteries
AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) and lithium batteries are two popular types of batteries used to power devices, equipment and vehicles in various applications. They are most commonly used in recreational vehicle, golf cart and fishing applications - but are becoming much more common in other applications as well.
While both offer significant advantages over standed lead acid batteries, they differ significantly in their technology, performance and applications.
AGM batteries are a type of sealed lead-acid battery, usually used in applications where maintenance-free operation and safety are crucial. Because they are sealed, they are maintenance free so you do not have to worry about either the dangers of battery acid or the annoyance in dealing with battery terminal corrosion.
On the other hand, lithium batteries, specifically lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), are a more modern technology associated with higher energy density, longer lifespan and improved performance.
In comparison to other lead acid batteries, these two types offer unique advantages for specific use cases. Grasping the distinct attributes and characteristics of AGM and lithium batteries is an important step towards making a well-informed decision about the battery type that best fits your needs.
The subsequent sections will delve into the primary considerations when deciding between AGM and lithium batteries, as well as their specific applications in various domains, such as:
AGM Battery Technology
- Employ glass fiber separators soaked in a gel electrolyte so there is no spilled liquid
- Provide a balance between traditional lead-acid and gel batteries
- Have improved efficiency and extended life, up to 60% depth of discharge
- Are more economical than gel or lithium batteries
- Charge at a notably slower rate than lithium batteries
It is advisable to avoid discharging AGM batteries below 60% of their capacity., as this can lead to decreased performance and reduced potential lifespan.
Overall, AGM batteries offer a compromise between performance and affordability, making them a suitable choice for certain applications. But absorbed glass mat technology also makes them heavy lead acid batteries worthy of consideration when adding to your battery bank.
Related: Learn more about AGM batteries.
Lithium Battery Technology
Lithium batteries, particularly the LiFePO4 variant, boast several advantages over AGM batteries, such as higher energy density, longer lifespan and superior performance. These batteries demonstrate improved efficiency, steady discharge voltage and can be completely discharged without causing harm to the battery.
Additionally, lithium batteries have several advantages over AGM batteries:
- They can be discharged more deeply without causing long-term damage, contributing to their extended cycle life.
- They have a higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in the same size and weight as AGM batteries.
- This makes them an attractive choice for mobile applications and other space-conscious scenarios.
At Enduro Power Batteries we ONLY manufacture lithium (LiFePo4) batteries because we believe that our batteries are absolutely the best value for any application. Be sure to check out our batteries and battery chargers for any of your battery needs!
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between an AGM vs Lithium Battery
When deciding between an AGM and lithium battery, several factors come into play, such as:
- Energy density
- Depth of discharge
- Cycle life
- Charging efficiency
- Long-term value
These factors significantly influence the selection of the battery type that best aligns with your specific application and requirements. Hence, it makes sense to scrutinize and juxtapose the advantages and disadvantages of each battery type prior to finalizing your decision.
The following sections will delve into a detailed discussion of these factors., highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of AGM and lithium batteries to help you make an informed choice.
Size and Weight (Dimensions)
Lithium batteries primarily stand out for their smaller size and lighter weight compared to AGM batteries and all other lead acid batteries for that matter. This makes them ideal for space-constrained applications or situations where weight is a critical concern.
For instance, a Group 31 AGM battery can weigh approximately 69.5 pounds, whereas a lithium Group 31 battery weighs only 28.2 pounds, less than half the weight of its counterpart.
The weight disparity can be considerable, with lithium batteries weighing approximately one-third to one half of AGM batteries on average. This weight saving can be particularly beneficial in mobile applications, where reducing weight can lead to improved fuel efficiency and overall performance such as in fishing boats, RVs and golf carts.
Energy density, which indicates the amount of energy that can be stored in proportion to the battery’s weight and space, is a key determinant of battery performance. Lithium batteries offer a significantly higher energy density than AGM batteries, providing more power per unit of weight or volume.
This means that a lithium battery can store more energy in the same size and weight as an AGM battery. This higher energy density is particularly advantageous for mobile use cases, where space and weight constraints are often present, allowing for more efficient use of available space and resources.
Battery capacity is another important factor to consider when choosing between AGM and lithium batteries. A lithium battery with a capacity of 100Ah can provide approximately 90 -100Ah of usable capacity, whereas an AGM battery may offer only around 50 - 60Ah of usable capacity.
This higher usable capacity of lithium batteries means that they can provide more power for a longer period of time, making them ideal for applications where constant, reliable power is needed.
Nonetheless, it’s noteworthy that the enhanced capacity of lithium batteries usually implies a higher initial cost, making it important to balance short-term expenditures against long-term advantages.
Depth of Discharge and Cycle Life
Depth of discharge (DOD) refers to the amount of energy that can be discharged from a battery without causing long-term damage, while cycle life is the number of charge-discharge cycles a battery can undergo before its capacity is significantly reduced.
For AGM batteries, it is generally recommended to discharge them to approximately 50% - 60% of their capacity to maximize their cycle life. Continuously discharging an AGM battery below this level can cause damage to the battery’s components, ultimately reducing its potential lifespan.
In contrast, lithium batteries have several advantages over other types of batteries:
- They can be discharged more deeply without causing long-term damage, contributing to their extended cycle life.
- They exhibit consistent performance up to 98% charge, as well as when the charge is reduced to 10%.
- This greater depth of discharge and longer cycle life make lithium batteries an appealing choice for applications where the battery is frequently and deeply discharged, such as off-grid solar systems or power-hungry equipment.
The battery’s lifespan emerges as another significant consideration when deciding between AGM and lithium batteries. In general, AGM batteries have a shorter lifespan, typically between 2 and 5 years, while lithium batteries can last between 5 and 10+ years.
This longer lifespan of lithium batteries can translate to better long-term value, as they may require less frequent replacement and maintenance over time.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the initial cost of lithium batteries is often higher than AGM batteries, so it’s essential to balance the upfront expense with the long-term benefits when making your decision.
Maintenance Requirements and Ease of Use
Consideration of maintenance requirements and ease of use is important when deciding between AGM and lithium batteries. Both battery types are maintenance-free and do not require regular maintenance or watering, making them easy to use and manage.
However, lithium batteries have distinctive voltage limitations and charging requirements compared to AGM batteries, which may require additional consideration and planning when integrating them into your system.
Ultimately, both AGM and lithium batteries offer simplicity and convenience for users, but it’s essential to understand the unique characteristics of each type to ensure they meet your specific needs.
And they can both be mounted in any orientation (except upside down) and can withstand bumps and vibrations common in many applications.
Charging Efficiency and Charging Time
It’s important to consider charging efficiency and duration when selecting a battery type. Lithium batteries exhibit higher charging efficiency and shorter charging time compared to AGM batteries, allowing them to store more energy in a shorter period. On average, lithium batteries can charge approximately four times faster than AGM batteries.
This faster charging rate can be particularly beneficial in solar panel systems, where capturing and storing energy efficiently is crucial for maximizing your system’s performance. A battery charger can help ensure that the stored energy is readily available when needed, and using battery chargers can contribute to this efficiency.
Further, lithium batteries are unable to be charged below freezing temperatures. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time where your batteries may be exposed to sub-freezing temperatures, then you must either invest in keeping the lithium batteries warm or go ahead and purchase AGM batteries.
Costs must be carefully evaluated when deciding between AGM and lithium batteries. Here are some factors to consider:
- AGM batteries have a lower initial cost compared to lithium batteries.
- However, lithium batteries have a significantly higher initial expenditure.
- Lithium batteries provide a more beneficial return in the long run due to their longer lifespan and higher energy density.
On the other hand, AGM batteries are more affordable upfront, making them a more cost-effective option for those with budget constraints. It’s essential to weigh the short-term expense against the long-term benefits when deciding which battery type is best suited for your needs.
Long-Term Value and Return on Investment
Long-term value and return on investment constitute significant considerations when evaluating a battery purchase. The long-term value of a battery is determined by its longevity, energy density, and other factors.
Lithium batteries, specifically LiFePO4 batteries, offer better long-term value due to their longer lifespan and higher energy density. A lithium ion battery can generate greater power over an extended period, making it a more cost-efficient option in the long run.
They can experience more charging and discharging cycles and have more usable energy with a significantly higher depth of discharge, making their actual value substantially higher in the long run than AGM batteries.
Assessing the long-term value and return on investment of a battery can help you make a more informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and budget.
Applications: RVs, Fishing, Golf Carts and Solar Systems
The distinct traits of AGM and lithium batteries render them appropriate for a range of applications, such as:
- Recreational vehicles (RVs)
- Golf carts
- Solar panel systems
Each battery type offers distinct advantages and disadvantages for specific uses, so it’s essential to consider how the battery will be used in your particular application and the unique requirements of that application before deciding on a battery type.
We will discuss the unique advantages and disadvantages of each battery type for these particular uses.
Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
In the context of RVs, lithium batteries provide superior long-term value, compactness, and lighter weight, making them an attractive choice for those who prioritize performance and efficiency. Lithium RV house batteries will provide you with the best long-term value and peace of mind for all of the key categories mentioned above.
On the other hand, AGM batteries could offer more affordability initially, making them a cost-effective alternative for those on a tight budget.
It’s important to consider factors such as initial cost, performance, and lifespan when deciding between AGM and lithium batteries for RV applications to ensure that you find the right balance between cost and performance to meet your specific needs.
SHOP OUR BAJA SERIES LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR RV APPLICATIONS
In the realm of fishing, lithium batteries offer extended run times and quicker charging, allowing you to spend more time on the water and less time waiting for your battery to charge. They also deliver constant voltage, ensuring that your trolling motor battery operates smoothly at all times on the water.
On the other hand, AGM batteries may be more budget-friendly, providing a more affordable option for those looking to power their fishing equipment without breaking the bank.
Ultimately, the choice between AGM and lithium batteries for fishing applications will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences, as both battery types offer unique advantages and disadvantages.
SHOP OUR PROCONNECT SERIES LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR MARINE APPLICATIONS
Golf Cart Applications
In golf cart applications, lithium batteries deliver superior performance, extended lifespan, and lesser weight, making them an ideal choice for those who prioritize efficiency and performance.
However, AGM batteries may be more cost-effective initially, providing a more budget-friendly option for those looking to power their golf carts with a battery bank without a significant upfront investment.
When selecting a battery type for golf cart applications, it’s essential to consider factors such as initial cost, performance, and lifespan to ensure you make the right choice for your specific needs.
SHOP OUR GOLF CART LITHIUM BATTERIES FOR GOLFING APPLICATIONS
Solar Panel Systems
For solar panel systems, lithium batteries, with their enhanced capacity, efficiency, and lifespan, are more apt for prolonged off-grid usage. Their ability to charge faster and more efficiently makes them ideal as a battery system for storing energy generated by solar panels.
On the other hand, AGM batteries may be suitable for backup power or situations where a more affordable option is needed potentially due to the number of batteries and total capacity required.
When choosing a battery type for solar panel systems, it’s crucial to consider factors such as the system’s size, energy requirements, and budget to ensure you select the right battery type for your specific needs.
In conclusion, the choice between AGM and lithium batteries is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Each battery type offers unique advantages and disadvantages, depending on factors such as initial cost, performance, lifespan, maintenance requirements, and specific applications.
AGM batteries may be more suitable for those seeking a more affordable, maintenance-free option, while lithium batteries offer better long-term value, higher energy density and longer lifespan for those prioritizing performance and efficiency.
By carefully considering the factors discussed in this blog post and assessing the specific needs of your application, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision between AGM and lithium batteries.
Ultimately, the best battery type for you will depend on your unique requirements, preferences, and budget, ensuring that you find the perfect balance between performance, cost, and longevity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is AGM battery better than lithium?
Overall, lithium batteries have a much higher depth of discharge than AGM and they last up to six times as long, providing an exceptional long-term value over AGM batteries. Additionally, the upfront cost is often offset by the longer lifespan, making them more economical in the long run. Therefore, lithium batteries provide far superior performance than an AGM battery.
What is the difference between lithium and AGM?
Lithium batteries offer significantly higher depth of discharge than AGM batteries, with up to 95% vs. 50% depth of discharge. Additionally, lithium batteries have a longer lifespan and greater energy density, making them a more cost-effective option despite their higher upfront cost.
What are the disadvantages of AGM batteries?
AGM batteries are more expensive than other lead acid battery options due to their higher manufacturing costs, and they can be damaged if exposed to overcharging or high voltages. Furthermore, they require full recharging between uses, making them unsuitable for certain applications. They are also heavier that lithium batteries and cannot be discharged below 60% of their capacity.
Are AGM batteries more affordable than lithium batteries?
AGM batteries are more affordable than lithium batteries upfront. However the latter offers better long-term value due to their longevity and higher energy density. Lithium batteries can last up to five times longer than AGM batteries, and they have a higher energy density, meaning they can store more energy in a smaller package. This makes them ideal for applications where space is at a premium
Which battery type is better for long-term off-grid use in solar panel systems?
For long-term off-grid use in solar panel systems, lithium batteries are the best option due to their increased capacity, efficiency and extended lifespan. They are more expensive than other types of batteries, but the cost is offset by their superior performance and longer lifespan. Lithium batteries are also lighter and more compact, making them easier to transport and install. Additionally, they require less maintenance and are overall the best in most of the key categories covered in this post.