When we built our camper van in 2019, lithium batteries were expensive! If you wanted one (100Ah @ 12V), you had to spend at least $800. Our three Battle Born batteries cost $950 each! But now in 2023, budget lithium batteries are becoming increasingly popular with brands like Li Time and Redodo flooding the market with cheap LiFePO4 power storage units.
“Budget” used to mean inferior build quality and specs. But now you can get Chinese-branded lithium batteries with built-in battery monitoring systems (BMS), internal heating, marine environment protection, professional packaging, and English-speaking customer support. And all for less than $350 for a standard 100Ah 12V battery.
But are these budget lithium batteries worth it? Should you take a chance on them?
For this comparison post, we received an Li Time “TM” (Trolling Motor) lithium battery and a Redodo Mini battery. Our goal is to do a full comparison review to show you what you are getting for your money. Specifically, we’ll compare the following areas:
- Basic battery specifications
- Dimensions & weight
- Construction differences
- Packaging outlook
And in the end, we’ll give our verdict and assessment of which budget lithium battery comes out on top.
If you’re ready, let’s dive into it.
1. Final Assessment (Spoiler Alert)
Below, we give our final recommendations based on our Li Time and Redodo battery review.
#1 Recommendation: Li Time TM (Trolling Motor) Battery – Although designed for boats, the TM battery excels in mobile home situations. The battery’s BMS includes the critical low-temperature protection feature, which is crucial if you plan to expose the batteries to sub-freezing temperatures.
Additionally, the battery casing provides superior shock resistance and improved sealing against the intrusion of moisture & dust.
And lastly, the TM battery comes with larger terminal contact plates than the Redodo Mini, for improved power transfer efficiency.
Runner Up: Redodo Mini Battery – The one feature we like about the Mini is how compact the unit is. At over 39% smaller than the Li Time TM battery, the Redodo Mini is a great choice if you prioritize maximum space efficiency above all else. But because the Mini lacks the low-temperature cut-off protection, we would not recommend the Redodo Mini if you plan to travel in sub-freezing environments.
2. Battery Introductions
2.1 - Li Time TM
The TM “Trolling Motor” is one of Li Time’s newest batteries and although this unit can serve the camper van and RV communities, it’s specifically intended for marine use on boats (hence the name “Trolling Motor”). The battery is marketed as having improved shock absorption and additional protections against salt spray and moisture, which is useful for those intending to use the battery on boats.
2.2 - Redodo Mini
The Redodo Mini is one of the most popular batteries in the company’s product lineup. With its remarkably small footprint, the “Mini” is provides one of the highest “Watt-hours per square inch” of battery space. This fact alone makes the Mini an appealing choice for camper vans, RVs, and tiny homes.
3. Battery Specifications
In this section, we’re looking purely at the listed marketed specifications and characteristics of both the Li Time & Redodo batteries. We’ll first compare the “basic battery specs”, then we’ll compare the battery monitoring systems (BMS) for each unit.
3.1 - Basic Specs
Below is a table listing the most important “basic battery specs”. Unsurprisingly, the Li Time & Redodo lithium batteries market the exact same specs.
100Ah x 12.8V
100Ah x 12.8V
4,000 @ 100% DoD
4,000 @ 100% DoD
Max Continuous Discharge
Max Discharge (5 Sec)*
* Note: The max discharge current (5 seconds) is the only notable difference. This is because the Li Time battery we reviewed was designed to better serve boat customers with trolling motors.
3.2 - Battery Monitoring System (BMS) & Protections
Lithium cells are finicky. They don’t like extreme temperatures, shouldn’t be overcharged, and have a potential to overheat. That’s why its critical for a lithium battery to come included with a BMS to manage and shut down the charging/discharging process, if necessary, to protect the battery.
Both the Li Time and Redodo batteries we reviewed have a BMS that protects the battery during charging & discharging situations. However, the Li Time battery appears to have several additional battery protections against external environments.
Superior Shock Resistance?
Yes (10Kw TVS)
Most notably, we like to see that the Li Time battery BMS provides low temperature protection and superior shock resistance. These are critical features to have not only on boats, but in mobile homes as well.
3.3 - Specs Winner: Li Time TM
It’s clear that the Li Time TM battery is a more rugged battery designed for boaters in mind. The TM battery better resists moisture, salt spray, physical impacts, and extreme low temperatures.
The low-temperature protection is an important feature because we do expose our camper van to sub-freezing temperatures at times, and we want to take every precaution to protect our batteries in these situations.
4. Dimensions & Weight
If you’re going to live in a camper van or boat or tiny home, prioritizing space efficient design and products is essential. Below, we list the TM and Mini battery dimensions and weight. We ignore the listed specs on the product info sites and do the measurements ourselves.
13" x 6.85"x 8.65"
10.25" x 5.25" x 8.75"
770.28 cu. in.
* Note: The final length measurements in the table above do not match the picture measurements, because we measured the batteries at their widest point, which was at the top, not the bottom, of the batteries.
4.1 - Dimensions Winner: Redodo Mini
We love the Redodo Mini for it’s compact design. It’s significantly shorter in length & thinner. By volume, the Mini is 39% smaller than Li Time’s TM battery. The space savings you would get with Redodo is amplified if you decide to get two, or even three, of these 100Ah batteries.
5. Construction Differences
When we compared the physical battery enclosure, we found no discernible differences between the two. The lithium batteries are packed in a nice, sturdy case and come with strong-enough straps to help you carry the battery.
The only physical difference between the two batteries was the size of the terminal post contact plates, with the area of Li Time’s contact plate being ~44% larger than Redodo’s.
This is an important difference because we want to maximize the contact area between the terminal place and the lug, which will be connected to our electrical wire. The more contact area, the more efficiently electricity can flow.
Does this mean the Redodo battery should not be used? Not necessarily. But we do like the fact that Li Time’s TM battery uses better quality materials (e.g. larger metal components).
Construction Winner: Li Time TM
6. Packaging Outlook
In this section, we look at the packaging and presentation of the product. While this isn’t the most important element of a lithium battery, we like to see the quality at which the brand promotes themselves and if they pay attention to tiny details.
6.1 - Li Time TM Battery
6.1.1 - Box & Initial Packaging
This is how the Li Time battery arrived. Nothing fancy, just a standard brown box with the Li Time logo, company information, and the motto of “Life & Discovery”.
When we open the box, we immediately found the information packet (more on this later).
6.1.2 - Bolts & Included Accessories
The M8-sized bolts are located in a cavity inside the Styrofoam to the left of the indicating sticker. Inside are two pairs of bolts and protective caps to cover the bolt heads.
6.1.3 - Information Packet
Li Time does a fantastic job with their information and marketing material, which is perfectly designed and comes in a nice plastic zip folder. Again, this kind of stuff might be considered superfluous, since it’s the battery that’s important, but we like to see this kind of quality and attention to detail. It means the company takes pride in their brand and prioritizes customer experience.
Included inside the folder are:
- Product manual
- Service card (with operating precautions)
- Product catalogue & customer service pamplet
- Social media pamplet
- Stickers (very cute!)
6.2 - Redodo Mini Battery
6.2.1 - Box & Initial Packaging
This is how the Redodo lithium battery arrived to us, also a simple cardboard box with the Redodo logo, company information, and a cool flying cat!
When we open the box, we are also met with the product information package laid out on top (more on this later).
6.2.2 - Bolts & Included Accessories
Two pairs of M8 bolts (1 pair as backup) and protective caps are also provided and you can find them underneath the sticker, inside the Styrofoam.
6.2.3 - Information Packet
Just like Li Time, Redodo’s information manuals come in a plastic zip folder. It’s 100% the same as Li Time’s. The contents are slightly different, which includes:
- Product manual
- User precaution card
- Stickers (semi-cute!)
6.3 - Packaging Winner: Li Time (Slight Edge)
The packaging style of these two brands is too similar to be a coincidence. Clearly, one of the brands copied the other. We don’t know who but we’re not in the business of shaming, we’re just reviewing. So in the end, both Li Time and Redodo have fantastic product packaging designs and we give both a two thumbs up.
However, we give the edge to Li Time as the graphic design is slightly more refined and the provided stickers are cooler (although just our personal preference).
Which Lithium Battery Would We Choose?
If we were converting another camper van, we would go with Li Time’s TM (Trolling Motor) battery. Although the battery isn’t as compact as Redodo’s Mini, we are willing to sacrifice space for the TM’s superior shock resistance and improved battery protections against freezing temperatures, moisture, and dust.
The TM’s larger terminal contact plates (44% larger) also allow for greater power transmission efficiency and give us more reassurance that the TM is manufactured with higher quality parts.
If you have any questions about these two budget lithium batteries, please send us an email to the address listed in our footer.