Best Lithium Battery 2023 • 6 Lithium Batteries Reviews
The benefits of lithium batteries have evolved and improved since their first appearance on the market in the 1990s. Today, they are essential as an energy source for all those daily products and vital in our work and professional life. Lithium batteries are also used by the car industry.
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What is a lithium battery and how does it work?
A lithium battery, also known as a lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery, is an electrical energy storage device. In other words, it is an energy accumulator that allows its use by a device it is attached or connected to. Once consumed, it can be recharged and reused in a limited way.
The operation of the lithium battery is based on the use of lithium salts as an electrolyte that eases the reversible electrochemical reaction between the cathode and the anode. Lithium ions flow from cathode to anode, sending this current and feeding the device to which the battery is attached at that time.
What types of lithium batteries are there?
There are different types of lithium batteries.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide
Lithium cobalt oxide batteries have a very high specific energy. Because of that, they are used for mobile phones, laptops, and cameras.
Lithium Manganese Oxide
Lithium manganese oxide batteries are very temperature-stable. They are safer in comparison to Lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Iron Phosphate
Lithium iron phosphate batteries have low-resistance characteristics. They make sure that the battery is safer and more stable.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide
They have a high specific power or a high specific energy density.
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide batteries become of importance in electrical drivers and electric power trains.
The lithium titanate battery charges really fast. It is used for public transportation like electric busses.
Advantages and Disadvantages Lithium Batteries
Lithium batteries are very popular and mostly used by manufacturers to power electronic devices. This is due to their undeniable advantages over other types of batteries. But in our opinion, they also have some notable disadvantages.
- Light and compact
- Not prone to the memory effect
- Charging stability
- High voltage per cell: 3.7 V
- Sensitive to external conditions
- Overheat easily
- High production cost
Shopping Criteria for Lithium Battery
Before buying the best lithium battery, as with any other product, we must test some variables. Failing to pay attention to these key aspects will lead us to making the wrong purchase. Next, we will try to detail and specify each of them in an understandable and enlightening way.
- Use and compatibility
- Physical characteristics
- Power and voltage
- Charging time and autonomy
- Lifetime and charge cycles
Use and Compatibility
In our opinion, the first thing we have to be clear about is why we need a lithium battery. Certain electronic devices share features and power parameters. Thus, the same battery can be used in the TV remote, a wireless mouse, or a toy car, for example.
That is not always the case. Each device will withstand a different voltage, and if we use the wrong batteries which don’t fit best for the device, two things can happen: the power will be insufficient (the device will not work), or it will be excessively high (burning the device). Hence the importance of using the best-fitted battery, to avoid accidents and frustration.
In addition to technical or energy characteristics, in our opinion, we also have to identify the best format from a physical point of view. Lithium batteries have very varied geometric shapes: flat, rectangular, cylindrical, or rounded. Each one will fit in certain devices, but not in any or all.
Beyond compatibility and physical fit, there are other variables that we can assess. Then, if the format we need is rectangular, we will seek within the range of rectangular lithium batteries and test the ones that have the exact size.
Power and Voltage
Voltage can basically be defined as the force or pressure at which power goes out from the battery to the device. Each device will have a different voltage and, using the wrong battery can cause your device to not function properly (or at all), or may even damage it. This means it is critical to use the battery with the correct power and voltage best fitted for your device. The output voltage range of lithium batteries is very wide, depending on the device to be powered. In our opinion, it is the basic feature we must test before buying a lithium battery.
Charging Time and Autonomy
The first lithium batteries took more than 12 hours to fully charge and only offered a few hours of use. Today, charging times have been greatly reduced while hours of use after fully charged were proportionally extended. But in comparison, there are still differences.
Therefore, we must test the milliamps per hour (mAh), which determine the battery life. More mAh means more duration. For example, the lithium batteries of mobile phones are today above 3000 mAh, which a few years ago barely reached 2000. Do not overlook this feature.
Lifetime and Charge Cycles
Another important technical aspect has to do with how long a lithium battery will last. It is hard to determine time duration without associating it with the use, expressed as loading and unloading cycles. Lithium batteries are sensitive to the number of times they are recharged, and the stored energy is consumed.
In comparison, the more charge cycles the technical specifications indicate, the longer the service life. Normally, they exceed 500 and can even exceed 2,000, but it is a very variable parameter depending on the type of battery and utility. Tests have shown the longer the useful life, the more profitable the investment made.
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What are lithium batteries used for?
Lithium batteries power most small electronic devices for everyday use. Around us, and without leaving our home, we can find the TV or air conditioner remote control, electric toothbrush, among many other examples of devices powered by lithium batteries.
Over the years, other uses for lithium batteries have been developed. Currently, they are also used to power hybrid or electric cars, although their battery life remains very limited. Today, lithium batteries are the most common and marketed device in the technology market.
What is the “memory effect” and why don't lithium batteries have it?
The memory effect is a phenomenon that reduces batteries charging capacity when they are recharged without being completely empty. If the recharge is premature or incomplete (without reaching 100%), crystals are formed by an internal chemical reaction. In lithium batteries, this problem (which reduces performance) does not occur.
This is one of the biggest advances of lithium batteries over other types of batteries that were on the market and more popular some years ago, such as lead-acid and nickel ones. That is why lithium has easily gained ground in recent times over other types of batteries because they are not subject to the memory effect, which causes many problems and inconveniences to users.
What are charge cycles and how many does a lithium battery offer?
We saw that one of the main problems with lithium batteries is their short life. It is tested to be about three years for those of frequent use, which sometimes means the end of the service life of the device they feed (if their compatibility is low) or unforeseen maintenance costs due to early battery replacement.
The life of the lithium battery is also linked to their charge and discharge cycles. Each cycle is understood as the time it takes to the energy accumulated in the battery from fully charged to discharge. Tested lithium batteries have an average life of 500 to 1,200 cycles.
What maintenance does a lithium battery need?
We must not forget that a lithium battery is a perishable technological product. Although they do not suffer from the memory effect, they can present other problems arising from their use. Therefore, it is important to follow some guidelines to maximize their useful life.
Among others, the main tips we can provide for proper maintenance are: avoid extreme temperatures, store them with a medium charge during non-operative times, and do not keep them with 100% of the load for long periods of time.
What is the cost of a lithium battery?
Not all lithium batteries are the same, so their prices differ. The most basic ones—the ones to feed remote controls—are generally the cheapest on the market. On the other hand, if we look for a lithium battery with a greater number of milliampere-hours (mAh) or output voltage (V), prices will be higher.
Also, you must consider that some lithium batteries are universal and will be compatible with any device, regardless of the manufacturer, while technical specifications allow it. Others, however, are of exclusive use, more specific, complex, and unique features.
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