Difference Between Lead Acid And Tubular Battery

Okay, let’s get down to answering this million-dollar question what exactly is the difference between lead-acid and tubular batteries used with home ups and inverters in India? Spoiler alert! A tubular battery is actually a type of lead-acid battery. You’ll soon find out how.

Choosing the right battery for your inverter can be a task and we hope to clear some of your doubts through this article!

If you are looking forward to buying batteries for your home then you must check out our article on 5 Best Solar Batteries in India.

Battery for Home UPS and Inverters in India

Difference between lead acid and tubular battery

Let’s start with some basics. A battery is essentially a storage device that stores power. We need batteries with home-ups or inverters so that inverters can draw out stored power from batteries in event of power cuts. The inverter charges the batteries when power is available. The source of power could be either solar (in the case of solar inverters) or mains/grid (in the case of normal inverters).

And there can be different types of batteries that will give different kinds of backup depending on their make and internal structure. You need to choose the right one based on your needs and the money you can spare! Okay, let’s just get down to it.

What Are The Different Types Of Batteries?

We can broadly categorize batteries as:

  • Non Rechargeable batteries (Also called Primary battery)
  • Rechargeable batteries (Also called Secondary battery)
  • Batteries made for Specific applications

Primary batteries are batteries that get irreversibly altered after one use and hence cannot be reused whereas secondary batteries can be recharged many times. For the sake of this article, we’ll be talking about rechargeable batteries since that is the type most widely used as inverter batteries and are also the most common type of batteries!

What are Rechargeable Batteries?

All rechargeable batteries have two major components; Electrodes and electrolytes. Electrodes are essentially 2 types of solid plates dipped inside an electrolyte which can be of a liquid or gel nature. For example in a lead-acid battery, we have 2 plates made up of sheets of lead and the electrolyte here is Sulfuric acid.

A chemical reaction takes place between the electrodes and electrolytes inside each battery which causes the formation of a DC current. This chemical reaction is reversible thus making these batteries ‘rechargeable’.

Different combinations of these two components result in the making of different types of batteries that we use today. There can be many types of rechargeable batteries depending upon their electrode and electrolyte material. For example, Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Lithium-ion(Li-ion), lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride(NiMH) batteries, etc.

The most common type of rechargeable battery is a Lead Acid Battery.

What exactly is a Lead Acid Battery?

Like I told you, a lead-acid battery has two electrodes one is lead (Pb) and the other is lead dioxide (PbO2) and the electrolyte here is sulfuric acid. Without getting into the detail of their chemical reaction the important thing here is there can be two major types of lead-acid batteries which have different applications and frankly it can get pretty confusing since there are many many nomenclatures out there. But here is all you need to know.

  • Flat Plate Batteries
  • Tubular Batteries

What is the Difference Between Flat Plate & Tubular Batteries?

Tubular batteries universally are stronger batteries. They last longer, store large amounts of energy and have greater run times which is why they are also called deep cycle batteries. Let’s see how!

Both these batteries are lead-acid batteries but the difference here lies in their making! We now know that batteries have 2 plates. One is positive and the other is negative. The difference is in the structure of these plates.

Also Read: How to increase battery life

Technically speaking the positive plate of the battery is the weaker plate, so the life of the battery essentially depends on the positive plate and so the structure of the positive plate is where the difference lies between the two batteries.

As the name suggests in a flat plate battery both plates are essentially an ‘open flat’ plate structure, here the lead oxide material is pasted on either side of the plate. In tubular batteries on the other hand the positive plate is a ‘Tube’ (made of cloth that holds the electrode inside it). The negative plate remains the same flat structure.

The question here is how does that make a difference?

Well practically speaking as we use and reuse these batteries the material on these plates sheds and falls to the bottom of the battery. This reduces the life of the battery. In the tubular battery on the other hand the tube helps to keep the material intact thus prolonging its life.

Another major difference is that flat plate batteries have thinner plates and tubular batteries have thicker plates which are one of the major reasons why tubular batteries have a larger number of discharge cycles.

Apologies for the detailed explanation but now we are well equipped to understand why a tubular battery is long-lasting and how a tubular battery is different from a flat plate battery.

Another thing to know here is that batteries, in general, can be either Sealed batteries (Maintenance-free) or Flooded batteries. We can have either of these in any type of battery. So basically as the name suggests in a sealed battery there is no need for water topping as the electrolyte material of the battery need not be replenished in its entire life cycle. This makes it hassle-free unlike its counterpart a flooded battery. A flooded battery like you must have guessed needs frequent water topping and are cumbersome to maintain!

That’s it. That was all the difference between lead-acid and tubular batteries. Welcome to the world of battery professionals!

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