For Canadians and other countries with a cold climate, one of the most concerning issues could be choosing a battery for boats, RVs and motorhomes that performs well in harsh conditions. In Canada, winter usually lasts from mid-December to mid-March, and it's crucial to find the best battery bank which can last longer in this condition. In this article, we will review which types of batteries can be an ideal solution among the top types of batteries, such as Lead Acid, LiFePO4 and AGM Batteries.
Get to know AGM, Lead Acid and LiFePO4 Batteries.
First and foremost, let’s start with some basics about AGM Batteries. Absorbent Glass Mat or AGM Batteries, in contrast to conventional flooded batteries, include glass mats that protect the fragile lead plates. An AGM battery is made to provide robust starting amps and run for an extended period of time. AGM batteries can retain electricity for a long period of time because they include valves that control how much hydrogen and oxygen gas escapes during charging.
A Lead Acid battery utilizes lead and sulfuric acid to operate. In order to facilitate a regulated chemical reaction, the lead is soaked in sulfuric acid, and the battery generates electricity from this chemical process. Then, to recharge the battery, this reaction is reversed. Lead Acid batteries are one of the common battery types in solar power systems.
They have a fair lifespan and inexpensive cost despite having a low energy density, only modest efficiency, and high maintenance needs.
The last 25 years have seen the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are a considerably more recent invention. Lithium technologies have grown in acceptance throughout time as a result of their success in supplying power to portable electronics like laptops and cell phones. But as you may know from a number of recent news articles, lithium-ion batteries also developed a bad reputation for igniting. This was one of the primary reasons lithium wasn't frequently used to build sizable battery banks until recently.
However, lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is a more recent kind of lithium solution with a little lower energy density but was by nature non-combustible. In addition to being safer than other lithium chemistries, LiFePO4 batteries have several advantages, especially for high-power applications. For more information about LiFePO4 batteries, check our previous article.
Performance Comparison in Cold Climate: AGM, Lead Acid and LiFePO4 batteries
AGM Batteries Performance in Winter Season
RV, marine, and other deep cycle batteries cannot be stored and forgotten about when not used over winter. AGM batteries can function well below freezing, although all batteries can freeze if it gets cold enough. AGM batteries need to be examined and maintained while they are stored over the winter, even though they are maintenance-free and perform well in cold conditions.
The cold cranking amps (CCAs) rating of AGM batteries is higher than that of a typical battery. Your RV or boat's AGM battery will start up more quickly in cooler weather than a regular battery. AGM batteries can withstand frigid temperatures since they have a low self-discharge rate. Additionally, compared to other batteries, AGM batteries can be stored for extended periods of time before requiring a charge.
Golden tips for AGM Battery owners in winter
The worst thing you can do is store an AGM battery without first charging it because all batteries naturally self-discharge. During winter, you have two options for keeping your batteries. Make sure your boat or RV AGM battery is fully charged before you totally disconnect the battery. Second, you can continue using the AGM battery in your boat or RV as long as you switch it to maintenance mode. By doing this, your battery won't be drained by your boat or RV.
How well do Lead Acid Batteries perform in Winter?
Understanding how temperature affects the chemistry and capacity of Lead Acid batteries can be helpful during winter for its owners. Lead-acid batteries lose capacity in normal to cold weather by about 20% and in temperatures as low as -22°F(-30C) by about 50%.
To help you better understand, let's talk about more details. Around -80°F, the electrolyte in a fully charged flooded battery will freeze (-62C). A drained battery will freeze at roughly 20°F, but you'll probably never see that (-7C). Remember that these figures refer to the electrolyte's freezing point, not necessarily the permitted operating temperatures. A battery is probably lost forever once it physically freezes.
So it is clear that by most standards, Lead Acid batteries are not performing well in cold weather. If the temperature is below 32°F, several manufacturers advise against charging these batteries at all (0C). Of course, this is a significant issue for many off-grid applications.
LiFePO4: The Winner of the Winter Battle
LiFePO4 or LFP batteries are suitable for almost all conditions(temperatures ranging from -4°F to 140°F(-20C to 60C)). Lithium batteries are an excellent alternative for continuous, dependable power for off-grid solar, RV, and Camper Van owners who live or travel in extremely cold climates. This is great news for countries that experience harsh weather conditions, such as Canada or those who want to live or travel with their motorhome during winter.
Lead-acid batteries operate at 70–80% of their rated capacity at temperatures below 32°F, significantly reducing their efficiency and useful capacity. On the other hand, Lithium batteries can function with relatively little loss at the same temperature, delivering 95–98% of their capacity.
Moreover, a lead-acid battery typically becomes weaker in colder weather the more you draw from it. Conversely, LFP batteries warm up when you use them, which reduces the battery's resistance and raises its voltage.
It is clear that cold weather can adversely impair the health and lifetime of conventional batteries in general. Even with lithium batteries, the effects of cold weather on battery life exist. However, when it comes to comparison and finding the best battery that performs well in harsh conditions, LiFePO4 performs way better than other competitors.
Recommendation From our Experts in Volts Energies
There are many LiFePO4 batteries on the market from different brands designed in different parts of the world, such as Victron Energy, Pylontech, Lithium Battery Solution, Relion, BattleBorn, Renogy and many more.
If you're looking for the best LiFePO4 batteries to endure the harsh and cold weather conditions of Canada, our experts at Volts Energies suggest five top-tier brands: Battle Born, Pylontech, Victron Energy, Volts Energies and Relion.
These brands have established themselves as industry leaders, providing batteries that excel in performance, reliability, and durability, making them ideal for the challenging climate of Canada.
Over the past few years, Battle Born has emerged as a trailblazer with its cutting-edge lithium-ion batteries in Canada. Among its standout offerings, the Battle Born BB10012 and its heated version BB10012H have become the epitome of innovation, addressing the demands of industries and individuals alike. With a steadfast commitment to sustainability and reliability, Battle Born has crafted these powerhouses to redefine the way we approach energy storage and consumption.
The 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery and its heated counterpart, the BB10012H, share a common mission: to provide a robust and long-lasting power solution for various applications. These lithium batteries boast a 100Ah capacity, making it an ideal choice for marine, RV, and off-grid setups.
Meanwhile, the Battle Born heated version steps up the game with enhanced capacity and durability, catering to the more demanding power needs of larger vehicles and industrial applications. Both batteries feature cutting-edge lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology, ensuring not only a longer lifespan but also remarkable stability and safety.
These batteries are designed to withstand the harshest conditions, from extreme temperatures to rigorous vibrations, making them a reliable choice for those who seek power solutions that can truly endure the test of time and usage.
Pylontech stands out as a premier option for harsh winter conditions due to several features embedded in their cutting-edge lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology. One of their flagship models, the Pylontech US3000C series, embodies these characteristics, making it an excellent choice for Canadian climates.
The exceptional energy density of Pylontech batteries ensures that they can deliver sustained and reliable power even in extremely cold temperatures. This is crucial for applications in Canada, where winter conditions can be severe.
High efficiency is another hallmark of Pylontech batteries, ensuring that a significant portion of the stored energy is efficiently converted and utilized, minimizing energy wastage and optimizing performance.
Pylontech's commitment to longevity is evident in the long cycle life of their batteries. The US5000 series, for instance, is designed to endure a high number of charge-discharge cycles without significant degradation. This feature is particularly important in harsh weather conditions, where the battery may experience frequent charging and discharging cycles.
An intelligent Battery Management System (BMS) is a standout feature of Pylontech batteries. This system actively monitors and manages the individual cells within the battery, ensuring they operate within optimal parameters. The BMS plays a crucial role in safeguarding the battery against overcharging or discharging, which is vital in extreme weather conditions where battery stress is heightened. This level of protection contributes to the overall reliability and safety of Pylontech batteries.
Moreover, Pylontech's modular design is a key advantage, allowing for scalability to meet varying energy storage needs. This flexibility is essential for adapting to the dynamic energy requirements of different applications, from residential setups to large-scale commercial projects. The modular design also facilitates easier installation and maintenance, providing an added convenience for users in the challenging Canadian landscape. Read more about Pylontech on our comprehensive review.
Victron Energy is renowned for its comprehensive energy solutions, and their LiFePO4 batteries are no exception. The Victron Smart Lithium batteries, for example, come equipped with an integrated Battery Management System that actively monitors and balances cells, ensuring longevity and reliable performance even in extreme temperatures.
Additionally, Victron's batteries are designed to seamlessly integrate with their broader ecosystem of solar charge controllers, inverters, and monitoring devices, providing users with a holistic and interconnected energy solution. This makes Victron Energy an attractive choice for those looking for a well-integrated and adaptable system to tackle the challenges of Canadian winters.
Among the top-tier brands recommended by our experts at Volts Energies, the Volts LiFePO4 Smart Self Heating 12V/100Ah Battery stands out as a stellar choice for Canada's challenging winter conditions. Engineered with utmost lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology, this battery boasts an innovative self-heating feature.
This feature ensures that the battery maintains optimal performance even in freezing temperatures, making it an ideal solution for the harsh Canadian winter. The Volts LiFePO4 Smart Self Heating Battery is designed to deliver reliable and sustained power, providing peace of mind in the most extreme weather conditions.
In the realm of enduring Canadian winters, the Volts LiFePO4 Smart Self Heating 12V/100Ah Battery emerges as a resilient champion. Crafted with a forward-thinking approach, this battery fuses innovation and durability to tackle the toughest weather conditions. Its adaptive self-heating mechanism ensures unwavering performance in freezing temperatures, providing a reliable power source when it's needed most.
Moreover, the battery's intelligent design, characterized by high energy density and a seamlessly integrated modular structure, not only caters to diverse energy storage demands but also streamlines installation and maintenance. Navigating the rigors of Canadian landscapes has never been more efficient and reliable.
Relion batteries have earned a reputation for ruggedness and resilience, with their LiFePO4 batteries designed to withstand demanding environments. The Relion 12V 100Ah, for instance, is a lightweight and compact battery known for its high energy density and consistent power output.
What sets Relion apart is its focus on safety, employing advanced technologies such as a built-in Battery Management System with cell-level balancing. This ensures the longevity of the battery by preventing individual cells from becoming overcharged or over-discharged. For applications in remote locations or off-grid setups in Canada, Relion's commitment to reliability and safety makes them a standout choice
Winter is almost approaching, and it's time to ensure that your RV, Van or battery banks in your off-grid house are also ready and equipped for the snowy days.
If you are looking for new batteries or replacements for your current batteries, which can perform well in any weather, we strongly suggest Lithium batteries. Our experts in Volts Energies in Canada are more than happy to answer if you have any further questions.