Most electronic devices, including portable power stations, have employed lithium-ion batteries as their energy source, which are commonly known for their usage in laptops, phones, and smaller power banks. However, the latest and greatest battery for consumer devices is lithium iron phosphate. This might at first seem like an insignificant spelling change, but it's an innovation that makes a world of difference. Read on to understand why.
What Are Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries?
The most basic battery type we're all familiar with is the lead-acid battery, which has been around since the mid-1800s. Having no benefit for modern, portable devices, this antiquated tech has been gradually phased out and replaced with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
For the sake of this guide, we will lump every classic type of Li-ion battery together for easy comparison to LFP batteries. This will also simplify things for you as the consumer, because when it comes to portable power stations, there's LFP batteries... and then there's everything else.
Now that you know what to look for, let's dive into why LFP batteries are the essential element for reliable, portable power.
LFP batteries on the other hand, like the ones found in Anker portable power stations, will last for at least 3,000 charge cycles. This means that under everyday use, you can expect a PowerHouse to reliably serve you for the next 10 years—and likely far beyond.
A common misconception with LiFePO4 is that you’re paying a higher premium compared to traditional batteries. Despite the fact that LFP batteries are now comparatively the same price, let’s entertain that notion anyway and say that lithium iron phosphate does cost a premium. However, when you factor in the greater lifespan, durability, and dependability of LFP, it becomes clear that you’re actually saving money in the long run.
Let’s put it this way. Say you’re comparing an LFP portable power station to one that’s Li-ion. All the features, specs, and price are exactly the same. Yet, one of these will last 10+ years; the other may last, at best, 3 years. Which one would you choose? Exactly.
If you try to operate the portable power station far outside this temperature range, the battery management system (BMS) will cleverly decide to shut the system down in order to protect the batteries. If this safety measure wasn't in place, then the batteries would be at much higher risk of failing—or even combusting. A well-designed BMS, paired with LFP batteries, therefore greatly adds to a portable power station's overall durability.
Battery efficiency is important for a number of reasons. The hope is that the product you buy will perform as you expect it to. Compared to the abysmal 80% efficiency of lead-acid batteries, LFP batteries operate at 98% efficiency—meaning if 10 amps go in, then 9.8 amps will discharge.
This applies to recharging as well. Due to recent advancements in efficiency with LFP batteries, recharge times are now drastically reduced, to where a huge-capacity Anker 757 PowerHouse can be recharged in just over an hour. Talk about a major quality-of-life improvement!
The benefits continue when we consider a battery’s state of charge. In layman’s terms, this determines how well a battery stays charged under workloads. When a lead-acid battery is discharged, its voltage simultaneously lowers in a mostly linear fashion. This means that, as the energy requirement increases, its capacity lowers along with it. LFP batteries have an almost completely steady state of charge, so the voltage stays the same no matter what it’s charging. Essentially, you’re getting the exact battery capacity as advertised, no matter the situation.
But can there be too much of a good thing? Certain Li-ion battery chemistries like LCO and NMC actually offer a higher energy density than LFP. This comes at a trade-off, however. When delivering high currents, their chemical makeup is more volatile and prone to overheating in small enclosures, leading to serious safety concerns—an issue we'll get to shortly. For the perfect balance of size, efficiency, and reliability: LiFePO4 is the way to go.
A scenario like this might seem incredulous and rare, but questions of safety are indeed a legitimate concern for us all. That's why it is critical that the portable power station you buy must be trustworthy and offer reliable peace of mind.
Not to stoke your fears too much, but the Li-ion batteries commonly found in many brands are quite susceptible to this type of worst-case nightmare. While the aforementioned battery management systems have built-in fail-safes to help prevent a situation like this, the unavoidable culprit here is battery chemistry.
When a battery crosses this danger zone, a chain reaction occurs called thermal runaway. Here, the stressed battery releases heat, which causes a rise in temperature, which in turn causes the battery to heat up even more... on and on until this volatile cycle reaches a climactic meltdown.
Luckily, LFP batteries do not contain cobalt—nor any flammable materials for that matter. They are highly resilient to oxygen loss, and they won't enter thermal runaway conditions until well past 300 degrees Celsius. So unless you're camping on Venus, you can sleep soundly next to an LFP portable power station.
In conclusion, LiFePO4 is one of the most stable battery chemistries available. Combined with strict testing standards performed by a reputable company – and you have a portable power station that's perfectly safe for your home or RV.
CLEAN & GREEN
For a portable power station built with the cleanest and most renewable materials: you owe it to yourself, your family, and the planet to go with LiFePO4.
LiFePO4 for Any Situation
And for power that's long-lasting, valuable, durable, efficient, safe, and clean: there's an Anker PowerHouse for any need.