Whether to go for a flat plate battery or a tubular battery, is an age-old debate. Both of them look almost similar and have a basic working method. So, are these batteries really that different from each other?
Intriguingly, the answer is a straight ‘Yes’. Changing the shape of a positive plate and adding a few advancements can lead to a great difference among the batteries. This is why picking a robust battery for your home becomes more crucial.
This article will surely help you pick the right product and will answer all your other doubts as well. So let us dive into each battery and decide who’ll be the best pick for you. And don’t worry if you’re not good with science concepts, everything mentioned below will make sense to everyone.
Flat Plate Battery:
The flat plate batteries are the first face of domestic-use batteries that came in the early ’90s. They were considered the best in their era because their power was just fine for domestic and small purposes. Moreover, almost every common person was able to afford a flat plate battery for himself.
These batteries are also known as lead-acid batteries, as the electrodes here are made of lead and lead oxide respectively. The sulphuric acid is also present to maintain the flow of electrons. Not only this but, the flat plate batteries are comparatively light weighted than other choices.
Despite being the oldest, the flat plate batteries are still the most powerful in providing a sudden burst. Their ignition power is greater than any other battery types. This is why a flat plate is the first choice for Starter Lighting Ignition (SLI) applications. For instance, the batteries available in vehicles are flat plate batteries to ensure powerful ignition. Unfortunately, these batteries fail to produce such high power constantly.
But, the above fact doesn’t convey the whole story. Besides being budget-friendly and easy to lift, these batteries require constant caring and provide low efficiency in today’s world. Let’s have a deep look to understand the pros and cons of flat plate batteries.
The water consumption of flat plate batteries is significantly higher than tubular batteries. You’ll need to refill them every three to six months according to the power consumption. By doing so, you’re ensuring the optimum health of the battery. Any delay in the refill process will shorten the battery’s life. Moreover, their lives are the shortest among all.
Toxicity is another major concern of the flat plate types, especially in small and closed houses. Lithium ions on burning produce toxic fumes, which aren’t healthy at all. Consuming them in a regular period can turn out to be fatal as well. This is why you should store the battery in the most ventilated area of the house. Nevertheless, there’s no point in considering a flat plate if there’re small children or elder people in your family.
The disadvantages mentioned above are one of the reasons why the inverters (for domestic uses) are slowly abandoning flat plate batteries.
Here are some of the salient features and benefits of a flat plate battery;
- They can provide a large burst of energy but cannot sustain this for a long time
- They have a good lifespan but it is not as long as the tubular plate batteries
- These batteries charge faster
- They are cheaper than tubular plate batteries
- They are appropriate for places where the power cuts happen frequently but they happen for a short duration
Suitability: These are more appropriate for smaller duration power cuts that happen frequently as they cannot sustain prolonged overload. Since they cannot handle heavy machinery, they are recommended for light usage.
So, if you experience power cuts frequently for a short duration of 15-30 minutes and do not intend to operate appliances such as refrigerators, ACs etc then this should be your choice.
Here comes the favourite of everyone, tubular battery. The tubular batteries are the advanced versions of flat plate batteries. So advanced, they eradicate most of the drawbacks of flat plate batteries. Less care and long life are the primary pros among them.
The tubular battery too has an advanced version called, tall tubular battery. They’re a bit large in height and slim in design than the regular tubular battery. We’ll still talk about the regular tubular battery as there’s nothing exceptional in the working mechanism of tall tubular.
The major difference between a tubular battery and a flat plate battery is simple but effective. Here, the manufacturers use thick tubes and a layer of fabric (that acts as a shield) instead of cubical positive plates.
However, these batteries are also members of lead-acid batteries. So, the tubular batteries also release toxic fumes? Fortunately, no, these batteries are completely safe. The fabric that acts as a shield prevents fumes from rising. Additionally, there’s also a protective coating on the tubes that helps in the process.
This whole process is beneficial in the life cycle of the battery as well. Thus, you got both durable and non-toxic products at a bit higher price.
Here’s a curious fact that might benefit you later. Solar batteries are also a kind of tubular battery. This implies they come with a long lifespan and don’t demand much care.
Let us look at some of the main features and benefits of tubular plate battery;
- It has thicker electrodes that allow it to produce current for a longer period
- They are larger and will occupy a decent floor space
- They are durable and can operate for a long time with high efficiency
- These kinds of batteries need little to no maintenance
- They also tend to be expensive than other types of inverter batteries
- They generally come with a long battery life
- They can be used for heavy and sensitive electrical appliances
- They come in different sizes to suit your energy requirement and space availability
Suitability: This type of battery is suitable for operating heavy machinery for a long duration. Although this battery can work smoothly for a long time, they cannot do it frequently.
So, if you experience power cuts rarely but for hours at a time, then this type of battery should be your choice.
Difference Between Tubular Battery and Flat Plate Battery:
Let us now compare the two on the basis of some major factors;
|Basis||Tubular Plate Battery||Straight Plate Battery|
|Price||These are generally expensive||They are cheaper than the straight plate batteries( Rs.4000 - Rs.5000 lesser)|
|Space Needed||They are bigger in size and require more space||Require less space compared to tubular plate batteries|
|Warranty Period||They come with a longer warranty period||They have a lesser warranty period|
|Electronics Compatibility||They can handle heavy and sensitive machines||They are suitable for smaller electronics like fans, lights etc|
|Lifespan||4 to 5 years||3 years at most|
|Maintenance||This does not require a lot of maintenance||It requires frequent maintenance|
|Operational Duration||Can work for a longer duration||Suitable for smaller duration|
Why is a Tubular Plate Battery Better than a Flat Plate Battery?
- They have 20% more electrical capacity than the flat plate battery which allows them to operate for a longer duration.
- Since they release a slow burst of energy they are safer for heavy and expensive electronics like ACs, refrigerators, geysers etc
- They have a long-lasting operating life and require minimum maintenance.
- They are great for cities falling under tier 2 or 3.
- They are more reliable and efficient than the flat plate batteries
Ans: The tubular battery no doubt has significantly longer life as compared to the flat plate battery. One of the main reasons behind this is- the flat plate battery shed their active material faster in the form of fumes. On the other hand, the tubular battery prevents the rise of fumes.
Another reason for a small life in a flat plate is its vulnerability. The weak lead wires are more likely to be attacked by acid over time. This is when grid corrosion occurs on electrodes and ultimately results in battery failure.
Ans: Again, considering a tubular battery over a flat plate battery will ensure zero toxic-fumes production. The flat plate battery generates toxic fumes over time. These fumes don’t only affect the health of the battery but can also harm your health.
Ans: Considering a battery for infrequent uses or an emergency purpose? A flat plate will be the best pick here. They’re inexpensive and can last for more than four to five year in such situations.
Another major application of flat plate batteries is where you’ll need the power supply for the ignition only. The batteries in the vehicles are flat plate only. The battery helps in the ignition process, weighs less and doesn’t cost as well.
Ans: There’s no doubt, a tubular battery will play an emerging role in this situation. They are just meant for deep cycle applications. And here’s a short explanation, why it is so?
The surface area of the tubular plate is always larger than the flat plate. Thus, resulting in up to 20% more electrical energy.
Considering a battery for domestic use is a one-time long investment. And picking the most powerful and durable should be your choice for a worry-free living experience. This is why you shouldn’t be worried about a bit more investment because it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Until and unless you are dealing with a strict budget issue, or need a battery for non-frequent uses- a tubular battery should be your first preference.