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As the heart of every UPS system, it is crucial to understand the different battery options available for UPS applications. A commonality among all batteries – they all require maintenance and they will all eventually fail. Each battery type differs on the amount of maintenance required, and how long it should last. The three main UPS battery types are: VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead Acid, Wet Cell (Flooded, VLA) and Lithium-Ion.

Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA)

Commonly referred to as “maintenance-free”, the VRLA battery is the most common battery used in UPS applications today. VRLA batteries have a lower up-front cost when compared to other UPS battery options, however, they have a shorter lifespan – roughly 5 years. Calling them “maintenance-free” is also a bit of an overstatement – they do require regular maintenance visits to check for signs of aging, but they require much less maintenance than wet cell batteries. The optimal environment for these batteries is a dry, cool area (around 77 degrees F), as heat is detrimental to the health of these batteries.

Wet Cell

Also known as Flooded or VLA (Vented Lead Acid), wet cell batteries are a highly reliable form of UPS battery. Composed of thick lead-based plates placed into an electrolyte fluid, the batteries have a lifespan of roughly 20 years. They require regular maintenance and special care, as the fluid contained within the batteries is corrosive and poses safety concerns. While they are more expensive and require more maintenance than their VRLA counterparts, they are a highly reliable source of power for critical power applications.   


The lithium-ion battery has matured over the past few years and has noticeably grown in popularity for UPS applications. Industry leaders such as Eaton and APC are offering UPS applications developed specifically for use with Lithium batteries. They have the advantage of being both low-weight and small, and they offer a long lifespan (up to 15 years). Lithium-ion batteries also require less maintenance than their VRLA counterparts and can safely operate at higher ambient temperatures.  While VRLA batteries are still often the product of choice for UPS applications, Lithium-ion has shown that it can compete with its many benefits.

With more than 35 years of field experience and leadership in power protection, SEPS is well qualified to perform all UPS battery services. SEPS offers a full suite of UPS services and all technicians are trained and certified to manufacturer standards, assuring a thorough job.  For more information, please contact us, or speak with one of our Power Protection experts at 630-283-2399 or

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