How to choose a LiPo battery brand?
First and foremost, how much are you ready to pay? Some brands are more expensive than others. While the adage “you get what you pay for” is generally useful, we ask you to hold on before deciding to purchase the most expensive LiPos out there just because they are expensive. Though we don’t endorse buying cheap Chinese knockoffs off eBay, don’t fall for the “appeal to wealth” fallacy. From our research and experience with different LiPo brands, it is hardly useful.
This is an important consideration. How long will the battery last before puffing out and becoming absolutely useless? (This is assuming you have taken care of your LiPos well of course) We’ve found out that some battery brands tend to last longer than others. This is true in terms of number of cycles and also when used in rough conditions like putting them through large power draws.
Availability in different configurations
Another thing to note is that not all battery brands manufacture the exact same configuration you are looking for. If you are looking for a specific battery with a specific capacity and C rating, you may have to sacrifice your freedom of buying from a specific brand.
However, if you are tad bit more flexible with your builds, most manufacturers offer batteries that fall under similar categories anyway, with slight differences.
The most important difference you may encounter with different brands is the type of connector. If you can’t connect the battery, what’s the point? X-T60 and deans are some of the most common types of connectors that come with LiPo batteries these days.
It is possible to work around this problem by making your own connectors. Cutting and soldering the type of connector you want to any battery brand is a good solution. Nevertheless, it can be a pain. Choose a LiPo brand that can get you up and running with minimum hassle.
Performance? Yes! Different brands may manufacture batteries with the exact same configuration and yet, the batteries may perform different. What does “performance” mean in this context? Let’s be specific:
How much flight time or run time the battery will offer, with each charge?
How much power the battery is capable of generating? Two batteries from different brands may have the same C rating, but you would often notice that your craft performs better on one instead of the other.
Note: Performance is especially important if you are planning on doing competitive RC racing.
Best LiPo battery brands: The list
The Gens Ace batteries definitely top our list of the best LiPo battery brand. In terms of durability and performance, these ought to be the best batteries out there, based on our experience. It is not just us, most people in the community have mostly positive things to say about this brand.
They come in almost all variations and last pretty long. These come with a dean’s connector. Note that they are not the cheapest of the lot though, so if you want something cheaper, read on.
Next up, we have the Turnigy batteries. In terms of durability and performance, we think it is pretty close to the Gens Ace. Overall life cycle of the battery though, is not be as good as the Gens Ace. Nevertheless these are awesome, especially considering you can get them for cheaper.
One major benefit we found with the Turnigy is that the brand manufactures pretty good battery chargers and other battery related accessories. So if you want to pick a brand that offers everything LiPo battery related and stay with it for consistency, we recommend Turnigy!
Here is a Gens Ace vs Turnigy test someone else did (Back in 2012). Our observations were quite similar but we feel the Gens Ace has better benchmarks vs the Turnigy relative to his findings. It may have to do with the year in question:
ThunderPower batteries deserve a spot here because we think that it may be the best in terms of performance. It is probably the most popular among competitive RC enthusiasts. We found it to fall short when it comes to durability, however.
Do note that these are some of the most expensive batteries out there so if you think might will crash a lot, it might not be worth getting these.
Zippy batteries are great, especially when it comes down to value for money and best when it comes to price vs performance ratio. It is one of the cheapest and will get the job done. Though not as great as the brands listed above, they are good at delivering good performance and are pretty durable too, for the price.
We’d recommend zippy batteries to newbies just getting into RC or those who want to build a cheap craft on their own.
In summary, consider the following before purchasing:
- Price vs performance and durability trade-off. Gen Ace tops here.
- The particular configuration you need (the capacity, C ratings and the type of connector)
- Overall reputation of the brand in the community – research thoroughly! Again, Gen Ace tops here.