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Unmasking Leisure Batteries: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Unmasking Leisure Batteries: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

If you're considering investing in a leisure battery, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of choices available. But there's more to buying a leisure battery than simply choosing the one with the most attractive price tag. There are several crucial aspects you need to understand before pulling out your wallet. Your understanding of what you're buying can significantly impact the longevity and reliability of your battery, and ultimately, the satisfaction you derive from your purchase.

Unveiling the Truth: Not All Lithium Leisure Batteries Are Created Equally

When you're looking for leisure batteries; you've probably noticed the vast differences in prices, specifications, and brands across the UK. This might have led you to wonder, "Why is there such a disparity across the industry?", and justifiably so. Let's delve deeper into the intricacies of leisure batteries to help you make an informed decision. 

The first thing to understand about lithium leisure batteries is that no two are the same. Every aspect could—and often does—differ significantly between brands, from the Battery Management System (or BMS) and internal wiring, to the overall build quality and the cells used inside the battery. All of these factors play an important role in the safety, longevity and performance of your battery.

Battery Management System (BMS) and Internal Wiring 

The BMS - a crucial component of any lithium battery system that takes care of the charge and discharge cycles - varies considerably across different batteries. Some batteries may come with a high-quality BMS capable of efficiently managing your power flow, while others we've encountered in the marketplace were surprisingly lacking a BMS altogether. All of our Drift batteries use a quality JBD BMS - this brand of BMS is so reliable, it’s used in critical medical devices all across the World. 

All Fogstar Drift batteries contain a JBD BMS

Similarly, internal wiring quality and busbar connections also differ. In some cases, the included wiring might not even be capable of handling the battery's stated specifications. Busbars may be screwed rather than securely laser-welded in place. 

Those UK-based companies who have failed to have any input into the manufacturing process may find themselves at the mercy of third party overseas manufacturers, and are at a significant disadvantage. Here at Fogstar, we fully control our manufacturing process. Our dedicated team oversees every detail of the battery build - from component sourcing and assembly, right through to quality control, ensuring an end product that meets our stringent standards. This team is an integral part of Fogstar, employed directly by us, to ensure that customer satisfaction and product quality remains at the forefront of all endeavours.

Why LiFePO4 Cells Matter 

Keep in mind how important the choice of LiFePO4 cells is when evaluating which lithium battery to choose. Reputable manufacturers like EVE produce the very best Grade A cells that form the central pillar of our Drift batteries. 

All Fogstar Drift leisure batteries contain Grade A EVE Cells

Those battery providers who remain vague about the cell brand (and cell grade used) are often found to be incorporating unbranded and less reliable cells in their assemblies. This is exactly why at Fogstar, we have always been completely transparent and honest. We make it a point to explicitly state that EVE Grade A cells are used in all of our batteries, empowering our users with the knowledge they need to make an informed choice during the purchasing process.

Added Features and Specifications 

Some batteries might sport attractive specifications or seem cost-effective, but closer inspection reveals inadequate features. For example, if a battery lacks heating, its performance will falter in colder climates. Lithium batteries should never be charged in freezing conditions. This is precisely the reason we include heating in all of our batteries.

Also, batteries without Bluetooth capabilities won't enable you to remotely monitor the battery's performance, possibly necessitating an expensive shunt for the task. Again, this is why you'll always find Bluetooth as standard in our Drift batteries. 

The Dangers of Buying Cheap Leisure Batteries from Unknown Manufacturers

Walking into a marketplace flooded with leisure batteries, you might be tempted by the sight of a cheap, next-day option. A quick decision based on cost savings could lead to regret later, though. Buying a battery without knowing its origin, components or manufacturer is a dicey course. Yet, why does this matter? 

Quality is the first word that comes to mind. Manufacturers with a good reputation, such as Fogstar, invest heavily in quality assurance and excellent quality components. This could impact the reliability and durability of your battery. A high quality leisure battery can withstand harsh conditions and prolonged use, where a cheaper model may not give you the capacity, discharge or cycle life you believe it will.

Consistency is another area of concern. There is always a chance that an unknown brand might provide an excellent product. But the real question is, can they deliver the same quality consistently? A reputable manufacturer ensures regularity and uniformity in their products because their reputation depends on it. On the other hand, unidentified or lesser-known manufacturers might not have these standards in place. 

Purchasing from a trustworthy UK brand that maintains consistent oversight of the entire production process - from component purchase to product design and comprehensive manufacturing - invariably guarantees you a high-quality product.

Aftercare and Support

It's a common tale - countless leisure battery users reach out to us after facing unsatisfactory experiences with 'other' brands. Often, they find themselves stranded, left to solve problems and issues without guidance or support. 

Interestingly, many online shops, though appearing UK-based, don't actually have any on-site or UK-based support staff. This absence can escalate post-purchase queries into full-blown dilemmas. It's disheartening to see customers, who, after making significant investments in their lithium leisure batteries, are left without the much-needed after sales support. 

This is precisely why we prioritise customer service. Since 2016, we have, and always will, maintain a UK centre dedicated to customer care and quality assurance. Rest assured, our team is here to support you, both pre and post-purchase of our lithium battery products - you’re always welcome to pop into our facility in Redditch for a cuppa!

We conclude...

You may be asking: How do I avoid the pitfalls and ensure that I'm buying a good quality leisure battery? Here are some suggestions;

Understand exactly what components are used in the battery; do you know the type of cells and BMS used in your battery? If not, ask!
Contact the company beforehand; want to understand how responsive they are? Drop them an email or pop in and see them.
Beware of very cheap products; these products often include unbranded and unreliable cells, or BMS.
Do your research; take a look at the Google reviews and see what real-life customers have to say about the products and service.

In conclusion, resist making hasty purchase decisions based solely on price or promises of next-day delivery. Take your time to comprehend the 'why' and 'what' of leisure batteries, and make an informed choice accordingly. It just might save you from unpredictable performance, unnecessary expenses, or even hazardous incidents in the future.

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