What Brand of Lithium Battery is Best?
- OPTIMA Batteries
- Milwaukee, WI
Lithium batteries are becoming increasingly popular and as a result, more people want to know which brand of lithium battery is the best. While that seems like a simple, straightforward question to ask, the Internet has a way of complicating the answer. Here are the big issues we see with why it will be difficult, if not impossible for just about anyone on the Internet to provide a truthful answer to that question:
Affiliate spammers care about one thing- getting you to click on their affiliate link to an online retailer. As a result, they will post anything they believe will lead to that action, so they can be paid a commission, based on the purchases you make on that retail site. Affiliate spammers are everywhere too. They have their own websites, YouTube channels and some of them rank very well in search results.
Most of these affiliate spammers "rank," "test," or "review" lithium batteries based solely on which batteries are the top-sellers on the retail sites that pay them an affiliate referral commission. Nearly all of these affiliate spammers have no background in lithium battery technology and no specific education or expertise in that field, which could allow them to speak on the subject with any semblance of authority or knowledge on the subject.
Right before they published their "Best Lithium Battery" content, they probably posted "Best Gas Grille" content. Right after that, they probably posted "Best Garden Hoses of 2022" content. Unfortunately, there is no financial incentive for search engines to really crack down on this behavior, so it continues to proliferate across the Internet, making it very hard for consumers to get meaningful information.
Lithium Battery Brands vs Lithium Battery Cells
There are lithium battery brands and lithium battery cells and often the name of the lithium cell manufacturer is not the same as the name of the lithium battery brand. This is especially true in automotive, marine and powersports lithium batteries, where multiple lithium battery cells are connected to make a single lithium battery. You will probably never know which lithium cells are inside your lithium batteries, unless you were to physically open (and probably ruin) the case of your lithium battery to see the actual cells inside.
Unfortunately, many of the brands selling these lithium batteries are equally clueless. Most lithium battery brands do not manufacture batteries of any kind, but simply buy lithium batteries from either a manufacturer or a third-party supplier. Most either take their supplier's word as to what type of cells are inside the lithium batteries they are selling or they just don't care. Some may attempt to make claims about their lithium batteries having "A" quality cells, but OPTIMA's engineers have found such claims to be dubious at best.
They have examined many of these cells and found many to be lower quality and far lower capacity, than what was being claimed by the manufacturer or website that was selling them. For instance, one 16S2P lithium battery pack was advertised as having 20Ah capacity (16 cells in series to get to 60V, two in parallel to get to the capacity rating), which would mean each cell would need to have 10Ah of capacity.
The problem is that the cells being used in that pack are all rated at less than 3.5Ah. So even if that pack were using the best cells money could buy, that pack would have 10.5Ah capacity at the most. When our engineering group bought and tested similar packs, they found the actual capacity ranged rom 1.6Ah per cell down to 1Ah per cell.
So What Brand of Lithium Battery Should You Choose?
We've watched lithium battery brands enter and exit the marketplace for years now, some with nothing behind the brand beyond a rented mailbox or some labels to stick on someone else's batteries. Lithium batteries are often an expensive option over other types of battery technologies, so more research is definitely warranted on the part of consumers before they make a purchase.
Purchasing a lithium battery from a trusted brick and mortar retailer is a viable option, but ask that retailer about the warranty process, before you make your purchase. If you are buying a lithium battery direct from a brand or manufacturer, look up their physical address on Google's street view. You should be able to find a commercial building with a sign out in front that identifies their business. You can see the world headquarters for OPTIMA's parent corporation, Clarios, here.
If a lithium battery brand isn't committed enough to being in the battery business, to operate out of a commercial building with a sign out front, how much confidence can you have in the quality of the products they are selling (which they probably bought from someone else) or the chances they will still be around to honor whatever warranty terms they are promising?