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Gel battery vs lithium battery - How to choose solar power system Battery?

Gel battery vs lithium battery, do you know how to choose for your solar power system?

Before you purchase an off-grid solar power system for a backup power storage station on rainy/cloudy days or at night, there are many factors to think about.

And battery type is very important part in an off-grid solar power system.

INK PV here will tell you the difference and how to pick one that right for your house.

Gel battery vs lithium battery

INK PV prepared a short reference about the most popular batteries types to help you pick the right one. 
Product Gel battery

The number of cycles

DOD (Depth of discharge) 70%  cycles 1500 times

In order to protect battery life, only 70% discharge is allowed

DOD (Depth of discharge) (Depth of discharge)100%  cycles 3000 times

Can be 100% deep discharge

Capacity comparison

100AH gel battery = 70AH lithium battery capacity one time

Service life



System installation picture


Large volume

heavy weight

 high freight

Small volume

light weight

saving freight costs


Series and parallel connections are more complicated and require large space

Connect one wire each for the positive and negative poles;

easy to install and save space

Actual installation picture

(See the battery section)

Free warranty time

2 years

Ship the new for service

3 years

Ship the new for service




Which one is better?

Decide according to your budget and usage requirements, the one that suits you is the best


What is a gel battery

Gel batteries have been used almost 40 years history it’s very mature technology. This low discharge rate makes them work good for the back up power.Gel batteries are very resistant to vibrations due to the gel protection.

Applications of a gel battery

Electric equipment

Gel batteries can be used in electrical equipment for CCTV, solar street lights, and appliance need very small current.
gel battery vs lithium
Gel battery vs lithium battery

Off-grid energy system

Like solar power system and wind turbine system, gel battery can store energy for long period. If you have enough battery, your system can be 100% off grid.
gel battery vs lithium
Gel battery vs lithium battery

On and off grid solar system

In this system, gel battery is for back up use. This system working mode is very suitable for a place where can sell solar to local power company, but the grid stop often. You can find more information here.
off-grid solar power systems
Gel battery vs lithium battery

The advantage of gel battery

No maintenance

to electrolyte by plates. It doesn't need to refill water and balanced charge, which makes maintenance free.

Safe operation since no liquid inside

Because inside is full of gel, it makes the encasement leak-free and easy to keep.

Price cheap

Contact us for getting 12V 200Ah, 150Ah, 100Ah gel battery price. 

The disadvantage of gel battery gel battery

It need long time for charging

It takes long time for the charging, because in side is gel battery. And cannot charge by large current. That' why we need the solar charge controller to contract the charging current from the solar panel.

And never overcharge the gel battery in long time, it can damage the battery in irreversible.

Short cycle life

Gel battery is short cycle life compare to the lithium battery.
When you discharge a battery (use it to power your appliances), then charge it back up with your panels, this is we call it one charge cycle. Click here to know what is cycle of the battery and the life span 12v deep cycle gel battery.

gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium-DOD
We measure the lifespan of batteries not in terms of years, but in how many cycles they can handle before they expire.

Just like a car, when you evaluate the condition of a second car, you take notice of the mileage than the production year. This idea is same as the battery.

Lithium battery

In recent five years, the price of lithium battery drop a little bit. That's why the application of lithium batteries has increased.

There are three main types of lithium batteries: ternary, manganate, and iron phosphate. Iron phosphate can provide the ideal solutions for the off grid system like solar and wind power system.
It's convenience for installation and transport because of the low weight and low maintenance.

Based on lithium technology, they have an energy density three times higher than gel battery, for the same dimensions. This good space makes it possible to have large current in small spaces.

To make it easy understand, 4pcs 12V 200AH gel battery can be replace by 48V 200Ah lithium battery. Lithium battery size and weight is 0.5 time than gel battery. It's do great help for the shipping transportation.
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

Applications of a lithium battery

Electric equipment- Solar street light

It’s small size have great performance for street lights, it makes it possible to be 100% off grid. And do great help in a place cannot reach city grid or high price using city grid.
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

Off-grid energy system

This is same for the gel battery. We can use lithium battery in the off-grid solar system. To keep the power in the battery, and supply power when needed.
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

High voltage battery used as power battery

In the EV industry, the lithium battery cycles can be 2000 to 3000 charge cycles. They use particularly adopts the high voltage lithium battery for unique charge cycles.
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

The advantage of lithium battery

1.Longer life cycle

The life span of lithium battery is much longer than gel battery.
Because there are over 4000 cycles, and gel battery is about 500 cycles.

 That's means if you use one cycle per day, and lithium battery can last 10years and gel is about 2years.

2.Weight less

Gel battery weight is 2time than lithium battery when they come in same capacity.

3.DOD can be 100% use

Lithium battery can do 100% DOD (Depth of discharge) (Depth of discharge), but gel battery cannot. We suggest 80% max for the gel battery. To protect the gel battery, never 100% use.

4. Lithium battery have BMS protection

To make it easy to understand, the voltage for charge and discharge lithium battery is already sent before it leave factory. Due to the BMS system, you will never need to worry about over charge or over discharge.

But gel battery does not have the BMS system. So it will need inverter and charge controller to protect it.

Click here to know what is cycle of the battery and the life span 12v deep cycle gel battery.

Last word

Gel battery – While it may seem like lithium is the better option, gel batteries are still a good consideration.

Here’s why:
1. Can be used as starting batteries (most lithium batteries cannot)
2. Can work in cold place
3. Ling history
4. Can be wired in series, assemble as you need
5. Cheap

Lithium battery- Its benefits are as follows:

1. Up to 15% higher charging efficiency
2. Up to 50% lighter than gel battery
3. Cycle time is more than gel battery
4. DOD (Depth of discharge) (Depth of discharge) (Depth of discharge) is deeper
5. While more expensive up front, they make up for the difference over time
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

Our Advice

Ink PV will re command you battery according to your idea.
And gel battery is the best for testing and for home solar power system. Lithium battery is for long-time installation avoid frequent replacement.

Related questions

Can you charge a gel battery with a regular charger

Yes, you can charge a gel battery with a regular charger. As long as the charger voltage is match the gel battery. Never get overcharged.

Are gel batteries good for solar

Of course. In the past 10 years, gel battery are most common use in the solar system. Lithium battery as backup power is seen by recent year.

Can gel batteries explode

It’s won’t. Because there a gel inside the battery, gel is very stable, it won’t get explode.

As there is no liquid acid, it cannot explode.

And the chemical make-up of the battery differs from that of the lead acid type, that means no hydrogen gas is generated.
So there won't be any risk for explosion.

How to charge gel battery with solar panel

Here is the connection drawing the battery.
Battery can be charged by solar panel via a charge controller.
And click here to know more about the different between PMW controller and a MPPT controller.
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium
gel battery vs lithium

how long does a gel battery take to charge

For example, if your gel battery is 12v 200ah. And your system voltage is 48V dc.

That’s mean you will have 4pcs 12v 200ah gel battery in series.

And now, if you put a 10A charger the battery. You will need 200ah÷10A=20hrs to get fully charge a 0 power gel battery.

But never run 0 power for the gel battery, it will hurt your battery and effect the life span of your whole solar power system.
Ben J
Ben is a researcher, and data analysis expert who has worked for clients in the solar power system. He knows the battery very well.

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