Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, BC

How do Lead Acid and Lithium Iron Phosphate Compare when it comes to Charging?

How do Lead Acid and Lithium Iron Phosphate Compare when it comes to Charging?

How Should I make my Decision upon Batteries when it comes to Charging and Discharging?

  • Lead Carbon vs Lithium Iron Phosphate
  • What Are the Differences between LiFePO4 and Lead Carbon?
  • CanBat 12 volt 100 Ah LiFePO4
  • CanBat 12 volt 100 Ah Lead Carbon
  • Charging and Discharging
  • Conclusion


Lead Carbon vs Lithium Iron Phosphate

In the evolving landscape of off-grid energy storage, two frontrunners have emerged in the race to power the future: Lead Carbon and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. Lead Carbon batteries are chosen as the closest counterparts to lithium off-grid batteries, as we no longer sell traditional flooded versions, favoring maintenance-free options. These two types are the most popular in our inventory, and if we sell any battery besides lithium, it is typically Lead Carbon due to their extra capacity and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, from very hot to well below freezing temperatures.

As the demand for efficient, reliable, and sustainable energy solutions grows, understanding the nuances of these advanced battery technologies becomes crucial. Both Lead Carbon and LiFePO4 batteries represent significant advancements over traditional energy storage systems, each bringing unique strengths and characteristics to the table.

What Are the Differences between LiFePO4 and Lead Carbon?

  1. Charging Efficiency:
    • Lead Carbon: Lead carbon batteries improve on traditional lead-acid technology with enhanced charge acceptance and reduced sulfation, resulting in higher efficiency. However, their charging efficiency is still lower than that of lithium batteries, generally around 85-90%.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries exhibit high charging efficiency, typically around 95-98%. This high efficiency means more of the energy used in charging is effectively stored.
  2. Charge Time:
    • Lead Carbon: These batteries charge faster than traditional lead-acid batteries but are still slower compared to LiFePO4 batteries. Lead carbon batteries can often be charged in 4 to 8 hours, depending on the charge current and capacity.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries can be charged much more quickly, usually within 1 to 4 hours. They can handle higher charge currents without significant degradation, allowing for rapid recharging.
  3. Charge Cycle Life:
    • Lead Carbon: The addition of carbon enhances the cycle life compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, typically offering 1,000 to 1,500 cycles at 50% Depth of Discharge (DoD).
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries have a much longer cycle life, often between 2,000 to 5,000 cycles, and can sometimes exceed 5,000 cycles with proper care and optimal conditions.
  4. Charging Voltage and Profiles:
    • Lead Carbon: These batteries require specific charging profiles to optimize performance and longevity, similar to lead-acid batteries but with better tolerance to partial state of charge (PSoC) conditions. Their charging typically includes bulk, absorption, and float stages.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries generally follow a simpler constant current/constant voltage (CC/CV) charging profile. They are less sensitive to overcharging, but a Battery Management System (BMS) is important to manage safety and longevity.
  5. Temperature Sensitivity:
    • Lead Carbon: These batteries perform better in a wider temperature range compared to traditional lead-acid batteries, down to -40 C and F or and up to + 65 C and 149 F but they still experience reduced performance in extreme temperatures, particularly cold conditions.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries are known for their stability and excellent performance across a wide temperature range. However, very low temperatures can affect their charging performance and speed. Without an integrated battery warmer, these batteries will shut off their charging function when temperatures drop below freezing. While they can still discharge in such conditions, they will not accept a charge until the temperature rises above freezing. This built-in protection mechanism ensures the longevity and safety of the battery, although it does necessitate considerations for cold-weather applications.
  6. Maintenance:
    • Lead Carbon: Lead Carbon batteries offer a significant advantage in terms of maintenance compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. Their sealed design, similar to AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries, reduces the need for regular maintenance. This means users don’t have to worry about checking water levels or adding distilled water, as is often required with flooded lead-acid batteries. The sealed construction enhances convenience and reliability, making Lead Carbon batteries a practical choice for various applications.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries are maintenance-free, which is a significant advantage for applications where regular maintenance is impractical or undesirable.
  7. Cost:
    • Lead Carbon: These batteries are more expensive than traditional lead-acid batteries but are generally cheaper than LiFePO4 batteries.
    • LiFePO4: LiFePO4 batteries are more expensive upfront, but their longer cycle life and higher efficiency can make them more cost-effective over the long term.

CanBat 12 volt 100 Ah LiFePO4

In this article, we will discuss the CanBat 12 volt 100Ah battery as our example. While this is a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, it is important to note that different brands have varying charging and discharging capabilities, so you must be aware of these parameters when choosing your battery for specific purposes. We sell many CanBat batteries in various chemistries, and we chose this brand for our article today.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries offer a range of significant advantages, making them an excellent choice for reliable and efficient energy storage. These batteries provide up to 100% usable energy, allowing for full discharge without damage, and are 60% lighter than traditional lead-acid batteries, facilitating easier installation and transportation. The integrated Battery Management System (BMS) monitors and adapts to battery conditions, optimizing performance and ensuring safety. With less than 3% self-discharge per month, LiFePO4 batteries retain more power when not in use, offering greater availability when needed.

Moreover, these batteries provide increased flexibility; up to four LiFePO4 batteries can be installed in series to increase overall voltage or in parallel to increase amperage, providing versatile energy solutions. They also charge significantly faster than conventional sealed lead-acid batteries, delivering reliable power more quickly. Designed as drop-in replacements for sealed lead-acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries simplify the installation process.

CanBat 12 volt 100 Ah Lead Carbon

The CanBat 12V Lead Carbon battery boasts a range of impressive features that make it an exceptional choice for various applications. It offers excellent Partial State of Charge (PSoC) cyclic performance, delivering 2050 cycles at 50% Depth of Discharge (DoD). Designed for longevity, the battery has a life expectancy of over 12 years at 20°C (68°F), aligning with the EUROBAT definition of “Very Long Life” (12+ years). One of its standout features is its superfast recharge capability, complemented by a shelf life of up to 24 months, which ensures reliable performance even after extended storage periods.

The battery enhances power output and reduces sulfation, which is particularly beneficial in hybrid generator applications where fuel savings are crucial. It operates efficiently in extreme temperatures, ranging from -40ºC to +65ºC (-40ºF to +149ºF), making it suitable for a wide array of environments. The premium three-stage terminal design guarantees spill-proof technology, while the female M8 brass terminals provide optimal performance. The non-halogenated, thermally sealed PPOI plastic casing and cover are flame retardant (UL 94 VO) with a Limited Oxygen Index (LOI) of at least 28%, ensuring safety and durability.

For ease of installation and maintenance, the battery features a front access terminal design. Additionally, it is approved as non-hazardous cargo for ground, sea, and air transport, enhancing its versatility and convenience for global shipping. With these robust features, the CanBat 12V Lead Carbon battery is a reliable and high-performing choice for diverse energy storage needs.

Charging and Discharging

The CanBat LiFePO4

When examining the charging specifications for the Canbat 12V 100Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, it is crucial to understand both the recommended and maximum charge currents. The recommended charge current is 50 amps, which ensures optimal efficiency and longevity of the battery. This current level is ideal for maintaining the battery’s health and performance over an extended period.

The battery can also handle a maximum charge current of 100 amps, allowing for faster charging when necessary. However, it is advisable to use this higher current level sparingly to avoid potential stress on the battery and ensure its long-term reliability.

In terms of discharging, the battery supports a maximum continuous discharge current of 100 amps, with a peak discharge current of 350 amps for up to 3 seconds. This capability provides flexibility for high-demand situations.

Additionally, Canbat offers an impressive 11-year warranty on its Lithium batteries, reflecting their confidence in the product’s durability and performance. These specifications highlight the Canbat 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery as a robust and reliable choice for various energy storage needs.

The CanBat Lead Carbon

When discussing the CanBat Lead Carbon 12V 100Ah battery, it’s important to highlight its specific characteristics as a lead-acid battery. This 100Ah battery has a recommended charge current of 30 amps. Typically, in off-grid applications, you would connect multiple batteries in series, parallel, or both to achieve the desired voltage and capacity. While this increases the total charge current, it still doesn’t match the faster charging and discharging capabilities of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.

The key advantage of LiFePO4 batteries, such as those offered by CanBat, lies in their ability to handle significantly higher charge and discharge currents. For example, a LiFePO4 battery can manage a recommended charge current of 50 amps and a maximum charge current of 100 amps, resulting in much faster charging times. Furthermore, LiFePO4 batteries support higher discharge currents, enabling them to deliver power more efficiently and handle larger loads.

Additionally, when properly connected and set up, LiFePO4 batteries typically have a longer lifespan compared to lead-acid batteries. This longevity, combined with their superior charge and discharge performance, makes LiFePO4 batteries a more efficient and durable option for many off-grid energy storage solutions. While the initial cost of LiFePO4 batteries may be higher, their extended life and enhanced performance can offer better value over time.

New Brands We Offer

When considering a new brand for our inventory, we note some differences in specifications, price, and warranties compared to our existing offerings. Although we haven’t completed our business negotiations yet, they are progressing well and will be finalized very soon.

This new brand offers competitive pricing, with costs around half that of our current lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. The specifications include a maximum continuous charge current of 100A, a maximum continuous discharge current of 100A, and a peak discharge current of 280A for 5 seconds. The warranty provided is 5 years, which, while shorter than some of our current options, still reflects a commitment to quality.

Despite the shorter warranty, this brand has a strong reputation for reliability and customer satisfaction. The lower price point offers an attractive option for customers seeking the power advantages of LiFePO4 batteries at a cost similar to lead carbon batteries.

Ultimately, the choice will depend on the customer’s priorities—whether they prefer a longer warranty and potentially higher reliability or a lower cost with adequate performance.

At IOTG Solar, we provide various brands and battery chemistries, each with distinct specifications and price points. While we can offer detailed comparisons, the best approach is to research these options thoroughly and make an informed decision based on reviews and specific project requirements. Feel free to contact us for personalized guidance and to explore the options that best suit your needs. We are always here to help.


In conclusion, both the CanBat 12V Lead Carbon and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries offer distinct advantages tailored to different energy storage needs. The Lead Carbon battery excels with its long cycle life, excellent performance in partial state of charge conditions, and robust operation in extreme temperatures, making it a reliable choice for demanding environments and hybrid applications. On the other hand, the LiFePO4 battery stands out with its high energy efficiency, lightweight design, rapid charging capabilities, and minimal maintenance requirements, providing an efficient and versatile solution for modern energy storage systems. Both batteries represent significant advancements in battery technology, offering durable and reliable performance for a wide range of applications.

However, it’s important to note that the market is constantly evolving, with competition driving down prices. This price variation often reflects differences in manufacturing processes and quality. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the customer’s specific needs and preferences for their project, weighing factors such as cost, performance, and reliability. At IOTG Solar, we strive to provide a range of high-quality options to meet diverse requirements and are always here to help guide you in making the best choice for your energy storage needs.

Here at IOTG SOLAR we sell both of these batteries and also other brands so if you are looking to upgrade or create your own system and are looking for a good long lasting brand we have what your looking for just give us a call or contact us

For individuals seeking consultation, education, or assistance in system designs related to off-grid solar applications, IOTG Solar stands ready to help. Our team is available to address questions, provide valuable insights, and offer support at every stage of the solar energy journey. Feel free to reach out to anytime for expert assistance and comprehensive solutions tailored to your specific needs.

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