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How To Pick Out The Best Battery For a Solar Panel System, Battery Bank, or Off-Grid System

Have you ever wondered how to pick out the best battery(s) for your solar panel system (or off-grid energy system)? Or have you wondered what makes one deep cycle battery better than another?  If so, this report will answer these questions and provide you specific things to check on before buying your new battery (to make certain you get the most bang for your buck)!

When picking a battery (or batteries) to your solar panel system, there are 3 categories of batteries that work best.    We will do this in two parts:

Part 1)   Quickly compare the three main types of solar batteries (lead acid, saltwater, and lithium).   And,

Part 2)   Compare the components of batteries, such as: depth of discharge, capacity and power, efficiency, battery life, and maker.

By the end of this article you will know exactly how to pick the best battery for your own solar panel system!

So let’s get started…

There are three battery types that work exceptionally well; however, each battery type has pros and cons. So the first decision to make is the sort of battery that will fit your system.

Lead Acid Batteries

They’re also one of the longest-used and most reliable batteries in existence.  Compared to the other batteries we will discuss in this report; they’re the cheapest option but you exchange cost for some battery life and depth of discharge.  But for homeowners needing lots of storage for a lesser cost, or whether you are simply making the move to a solar panel system, lead acid batteries might be an excellent option.  They’re the sort of battery we use in the majority of the battery banks in our solar panel systems.

Saltwater batteries are more expensive than lead acid batteries, but also have a better lifespan.  Contrary to lead acid batteries, saltwater batteries are basically brand new to the market and stay both somewhat untested and more difficult to come across.  Of the 3 kinds of batteries, saltwater has the greatest depth of discharge, which means you’ll get the most output per charge before needing to recharge.

Lithium batteries are the most expensive and the longest lasting of the three types of solar batteries.  Their depth of discharge is less than that of a saltwater battery, but more than that of a lead acid battery. Comparing all three choices, the lithium battery may be the highest rated, but also the most expensive.  An example of a lithium battery is the Tesla Powerwall.

Part 2) Assess the components of batteries.  As soon as you’ve chosen the best battery type for your solar panel or off-grid system (that meets your system’s needs), there are components to explore to find the ideal battery for your system.  

Cost

Cost is probably one of the more obvious elements.  But the old saying,”you get what you pay for” holds true when purchasing batteries also.  In some instances though, certain batteries could be overkill for your system so the most expensive battery might not be the best choice always.

Battery Life and Warranty

For most systems, a battery will cycle every day, meaning it is going to drain and charge regularly.  With every cycle, the battery’s ability to hold the same charge lessens slightly.  So 1 component to consider is the guarantee on the battery that guarantees a certain number of cycles of useful life.  But keep in mind that if you use the maintenance and reconditioning methods we teach you in the EZ Battery Reconditioning program, you can extend the life of your batteries.

Length of Discharge

Length of release is how much you can drain the battery down before needing to recharge the battery without damaging its life.  Particular solar batteries can be depleted further than others, allowing for more use between charging.  Essentially, a battery with a 90% depth of discharge per cycle will provide more battery power per charge than a battery with less.

Ability and Power

The more capacity a battery has, the more power it can store.   Power is how much energy a battery can provide at a certain moment.  A battery with both a high capacity and high power can run a large system for many hours; a battery with low capacity and high power can operate a large system but only for a short time.

Efficiency

Efficiency is the amount of energy used compared to the amount of energy it took to store energy.  Batteries require power to control and efficiency compares the energy taken to control a battery together with the amount of energy which the charged battery produces.  The higher the efficiency, the more cost-effective the battery.

Manufacturer

This might not be a part most would consider, but it’s something to pay attention to.  Like other technology, there are both reputable brands and startup brands.  A trusted brand comes with known flaws and benefits; a start-up brand can perhaps have better technology, but could also have unknown technological difficulties.  Based on your system needs, you may decide to go for a well-reviewed firm or one that is brand new to the market.