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How to Select A Jump Starter: Lithium Iron Phosphate vs Lithium Ion Batteries

LiFePO4 Jump Starter

There are so many choices when it comes to selecting a portable jump starter. One of the most important factors to consider before making your purchase is what kind of batteries are inside.  In the compact jump starter category, two types of batteries are most commonly used.  Both are high powered and lithium-based (lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) and lithium-ion (Li-ion)) but one type has distinct advantages over the other when it comes to safety, performance, reliability, and cost effectiveness.

Safety
Safety is the first concern for any battery used in portable devices; it should not overheat or catch fire in case of overcharging. Lithium-iron batteries have an edge over Li-ion batteries because of their superior chemical and thermal stability. The lithium-iron battery remains cool at room temperature while the Li-ion may suffer thermal runaway and heat up faster under similar charging conditions. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is a nontoxic material, but lithium cobalt dioxide (LiCoO2), a Li-ion-based compound, is hazardous in nature, an allergen to eyes and skin, harmful if ingested, and not considered a safe material. Disposal of Li-ion batteries are typically a big concern for the manufacturer and user.

Performance
Performance capability is a major criteria when choosing a battery. Batteries that will experience daily use should have a long lifespan, slow discharge rate, and are light in weight. Lithium iron batteries tend to be slightly heavier and more bulky in size than their LI-ion counterparts, which is why Li-ion batteries are more commonly used in portable devices. A Li-ion battery’s discharge rate also increases over time and are more energy-dense when brand new, which means they deliver a better performance in the initial few days. Lithium-iron batteries, on the other hand, have a lower self-discharge rate and are more ideal for devices that are used intermittently. Jump starters are (hopefully) pulled out only a couple times a year and stored in the car during the rest of the time. Because of their occasional use, it’s better to choose a jump starter with lithium-iron batteries because they will maintain a charge longer than those with Li-ion batteries.

Durability, Reliability, and Cost Effectiveness
Battery life is defined by the number of charge/discharge cycles a battery can survive. Lithium iron is more durable than Li-ion as the former lasts for around 2000 cycles while the latter survives up to only 1000. Batteries also have a “shelf-life”, which is how long a battery can be not in use before it starts losing its charge. For lithium iron batteries, this shelf-life is around 350 days and about 300 days for a Li-ion battery. Cobalt, commonly used in Li-ion batteries, is also more expensive than iron or phosphate. In summary, lithium-iron phosphate batteries cost less (and safer materials make it less expensive to manufacture and recycle) than the Li-ion battery.

So what do we recommend when you’re picking out a jump starter? The Energy Power EP-JB300 is second-to-none. It is constructed with lithium iron phosphate cells and is safer, better overall performing, more durable, and cost-effective than other competitive products in the market. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries are the best choice when considering a compact portable jump starter. Order yours today at completebatterysource.com.