Current efforts on lead sulfide quantum dot (PbS QD) solar cells are mostly paid to the device architecture engineering and postsynthetic surface modification, while very rare work regarding the optimization of PbS synthesis is reported. Here, PbS QDs are successfully synthesized using PbO and PbAc2 center dot 3H(2)O as the lead sources. QD solar cells based on PbAc-PbS have demonstrated a high power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 10.82% (and independently certificated values of 10.62%), which is significantly higher than the PCE of 9.39% for PbO-PbS QD based ones. For the first time, systematic investigations are carried out on the effect of lead precursor engineering on the device performance. It is revealed that acetate can act as an efficient capping ligands together with oleic acid, providing better surface coverage and replace some of the harmful hydroxyl (OH) ligands during the synthesis. Then the acetate on the surface can be exchanged by iodide and lead to desired passivation. This work demonstrates that the precursor engineering has great potential in performance improvement. It is also pointed out that the initial synthesis is an often neglected but critical stage and has abundant room for optimization to further improve the quality of the resultant QDs, leading to breakthrough efficiency.