South Africans can buy a plug-and-play inverter trolley capable of running several appliances through bouts of load-shedding from R7,495, a MyBroadband comparison has found.
We looked for the cheapest inverter trolleys with lithium-ion batteries available in South Africa.
While more expensive than their lead-acid or gel counterparts, we chose lithium-ion trolleys as they offer several benefits, including increased depth of discharge and more charging cycles.
The depth of discharge effectively determines the battery’s usable capacity. Lead-acid units can only discharge to 50% without degrading, while lithium-ion batteries can discharge fully.
However, it is recommended that lithium-ion batteries aren’t depleted to less than 80%.
To put this into perspective, a lead-acid battery with a total capacity of 1,000Wh effectively only offers 500Wh of usable capacity, while a lithium-ion unit would provide 800Wh to the full 1,000Wh.
However, affordability is likely of more significant concern to many South Africans.
While requiring more investment upfront, lithium-ion batteries work out cheaper in the long run as they can be depleted and recharged far more than lead-acid units.
According to Geewiz, lead-acid batteries used in backup systems only last around 150–200 charge cycles when discharged to 50%.
Under stage 4 load-shedding, households typically get slapped with twelve slots of 2-hour power cuts over four days.
Four weeks (28 days) of continuous stage 4 power cuts would mean the average household gets load-shed around 84 times.
Assuming the battery dropped to around 50% of its capacity during each load-shedding slot, it would only last approximately two months of Stage 4 load-shedding before it needs replacement.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries offer up to 6,000 cycles before needing replacement.
Before buying a backup power system like an inverter trolley, it is essential to work out the usage of the appliances you want to use during a load-shedding session.
This will help you determine how much battery and inverter capacity you require.
Cheapest lithium-ion inverter trolleys
We found ten lithium-ion inverter trolleys with capacities from 768Wh to 1,520Wh available, with pricing from R7,495 to R16,999.
The most affordable option is Geewiz’s 1,000Wh lithium-ion inverter trolley for R7,495.
However, South Africans could get an extra 280Wh of capacity for under R500 more by opting for Geewiz’s 1,280Wh unit.
It should be noted that the 1,000Wh appears far more compact and may be more suited to those with smaller living spaces.
Lalela, a prominent backup power provider, has two options: its 768Wh unit for R8,012 from Makro and its 1,072Wh trolley for R8,999 from Takealot.
Navasolar also has two options listed, and the design of its power trolleys might be more attractive to some residents.
They feature a more compact and premium design than the rest.
South Africans can grab the Navasolar LiFePO4 960Wh unit for R9,499 from Takealot or its 1,280Wh power trolley for R10,999 from Leroy Merlin.
Ten of the most affordable lithium-ion inverter trolleys in South Africa are listed below with pricing.