Lithium vs alkaline batteries where the differences and which is better…

Which Battery is Better Alkaline or Lithium-ion? 12 Key Differences

Alkaline batteries are the highest sold batteries among primary batteries and lithium batteries are the most popular among secondary batteries. While alkaline batteries are used in consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries are mainly used in the industrial field as well as in gadgets and devices.

Both these battery technologies are not usually replaced with each other due to the difference in their chemistry and performance. Although alkaline batteries are also available in rechargeable versions, they too are used in consumer electronics. Let’s see the prominent differences between alkaline batteries and lithium-ion batteries in this article.

Note: There is no comparison between a rechargeable Alkaline and Lithium-ion battery because an Alkaline battery can be recharged only 20-30 times whereas a Lithium-ion can go up to 500 charge cycles.

Which battery is better Alkaline or Lithium-ion?

There are several differences between alkaline and lithium-ion batteries. Alkaline batteries are the most common type of battery on the market. They’re inexpensive and have a long shelf life. Lithium-ion batteries are newer, but they boast a number of advantages over alkaline batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are typically lighter and smaller than alkaline batteries, making them more portable. They also have a higher energy density, meaning that they can store more energy in a given space.

lithium, alkaline, batteries, differences

In addition, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, while most alkaline batteries are not. Finally, lithium-ion batteries tend to be more expensive than alkaline batteries. However, they also have a longer lifespan, making them a more cost-effective option in the long run.

These factors should be considered when choosing between lithium-ion and alkaline batteries for a particular application.

  • Which battery is better Alkaline or Lithium-ion?
  • Difference between Lithium-ion and Alkaline battery
  • Difference in Chemical Composition
  • Battery Capacity- Alkaline VS Lithium-ion
  • Which battery has a better Shelf life?
  • Which battery last longer Lithium-ion or Alkaline?
  • Lithium Ion has a higher Energy Density than Alkaline
  • Weight – Alkaline vs Lithium-ion
  • Operational Temperature Range
  • Which battery cost more Alkaline or Lithium Ion?
  • Alkaline Batteries are easily disposable
  • Which battery is safer Lithium-ion or Alkaline?
  • Which battery is better Alkaline or Lithium-ion? Conclusion

Difference between Lithium-ion and Alkaline battery

A comprehensive comparison between the two is given in the table below.

Alkaline batteries consist of zinc and manganese dioxide as cathode and anode. It uses potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte.

The major composition of lithium-ion batteries is lithium metal. The cathode is lithium cobalt oxide and the anode is lithium dropped with graphite. An organic compound with lithium ions is used as the electrolyte.

Battery Capacity- Alkaline VS Lithium-ion

The maximum energy delivered by the battery is termed battery capacity. Lithium-ion batteries show higher capacity than alkaline batteries under specific temperature conditions. The maximum capacity of alkaline batteries is 2500mAh whereas that of lithium-ion batteries is 3842mAh.

Which battery has a better Shelf life?

Alkaline batteries are well known for their shelf life(kept unused). The alkaline batteries have a shelf life of 5 – 10 years while the shelf life of lithium-ion batteries is 2-3 years. But the lithium-ion batteries are capable to provide strong discharge throughout their life, whereas the capability of alkaline batteries reduces through their lifetime.

Which battery last longer Lithium-ion or Alkaline?

In general, lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan than alkaline batteries. This is because lithium-ion batteries are designed to be recharged, while alkaline batteries are not. When properly cared for, a lithium-ion battery can be used for 300 to 500 charge cycles. On the other hand, even a rechargeable alkaline battery will only last for a handful of discharge/recharge cycles before it needs to be replaced.

Lithium Ion has a higher Energy Density than Alkaline

Energy density is considered an important parameter for every battery technology. It is the energy carries by the battery relative to its weight. Lithium is a highly dense metal. It is also a lightweight metal. Thus lithium-ion batteries show a high energy density which is about 160 Wh/kg. The energy density of alkaline batteries is approximately 100Wh/kg.

Weight – Alkaline vs Lithium-ion

Battery weight is an important factor of concern when they are used in some applications. Some applications like the automobile sector prefer lightweight batteries. Hence electric vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Alkaline batteries of the same capacity are bulkier than lithium-ion batteries. Thus lithium-ion batteries are now replacing the other batteries in portable devices.

Operational Temperature Range

Both lithium-ion and alkaline batteries support a good operational temperature range. Alkaline batteries perform well in the temperature range of.18°C to 50°C and lithium-ion batteries, it is 10°C to 55°C. Both the battery technologies are capable to withstand extreme hot as well as extremely cold temperatures.

Which battery cost more Alkaline or Lithium Ion?

It depends on a number of factors. For example, alkaline batteries tend to be less expensive upfront, but they also have a shorter lifespan than lithium-ion batteries. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries typically last longer but cost more initially.

When it comes to cost, it is important to consider not only the upfront price but also the long-term costs associated with each type of battery. In general, lithium-ion batteries tend to be more expensive in the long run, but they may be worth the investment if you need a battery that will last for several years.

Alkaline Batteries are easily disposable

Alkaline batteries do not demand careful disposal. They do not contain any hazardous material. Since most of the alkaline batteries available in the market are non-rechargeable, they are thrown away once drained out.

Note: Since the batteries have chemical compounds, it is a good practice to dispose of them separately. It is recommended to handle the electronic devices separately from the regular garbage.

Lithium-ion batteries are usually recycled. Since the demand for lithium-ion batteries has remarkably increased, the source of lithium metal is being depleted. Thus the recycling of lithium-ion batteries is largely encouraged in the current scenario.

Which battery is safer Lithium-ion or Alkaline?

Alkaline batteries do not raise any safety issues so far. The only issue regarding alkaline batteries is the leakage of KOH but it is very rare.

Thermal runaway is a serious concern for lithium-ion batteries. Overcharging of batteries increases their temperature and gradually causes fire. Some electric vehicles have exploded and caused life hazards due to this reason. An intelligent battery management system is installed in these batteries to rectify this issue. This system continuously monitors the voltage, current, and temperature levels and disconnects the charging in case of any issues.

Which battery is better Alkaline or Lithium-ion? Conclusion

Both battery types have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the right type of battery for your needs. Alkaline batteries are inexpensive and widely available, and they work well in a variety of devices.

However, they don’t last as long as lithium-ion batteries and they’re not rechargeable. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than alkaline batteries, but they offer several advantages.

They’re lightweight, long-lasting, and rechargeable. They also work well in high-drain devices such as digital cameras. So, which type of battery is better? It depends on your needs. If you need a battery that’s inexpensive and widely available, go with alkaline. If you need a battery that’s long-lasting and rechargeable, go with lithium-ion.

Lithium vs alkaline batteries. where the differences and which is better

In simple terms batteries are devices that have the ability through the cells to convert and store chemical energy into electric energy. Batteries are now a basic house hold staple as they are used to power most of the devices at home.

The most common cylindrical batteries available in the markets are lithium vs alkaline batteries:Alkaline batteriesLithium batteriesThey are further grouped intoSingle use batteries Rechargeable lithium batteries

These two types of batteries lithium vs alkaline batteries differ in voltage and the chemical compositions. However, each of these batteries has their own unique advantages and how they function to take into consideration.

A lithium battery contains four key parts; A cathode, anode, a non-aqueous electrolyte and a separator. Alkaline batteries on their part have different varieties as will be discussed later.

In this article, we will look at the differences between lithium vs alkaline batteries and how to choose a battery that best suits you.

A detailed comparison between lithium vs alkaline batteries

Power generation

Alkaline batteries are made of steel with a mix of graphite, zinc, paper and plastic. The cathode is made of magnesium oxide, its anode made of zinc and a potassium hydroxide based electrolyte. Today’s alkaline batteries include carbon in their cathode combination.

On the other hand, lithium batteries contain four key parts. A cathode, anode, a non-aqueous electrolyte and a separator.cathode – lithium Anode-graphiteSeparator- Polyethylene and other plasticsElectrolyte – contains lithium salts in an organic solvent.

Types

Both batteries come in different types dependent on their function. Lithium batteries are mostly in two types:Lithium iron phosphate battery Ternary lithium battery This battery technology is the most popular in the market for its high performance traits. As opposed to alkaline batteries, The same type of lithium battery are available in:9 voltsAAAAACoin shaped cell batteries.18650, 21700, 14500

Alkaline batteries are still used today, albeit a little less than some years ago. They dominated the market prior to the introduction of lithium batteries. These batteries are also available in AAA, AA and 9-volt battery sizes. The type of battery is categorized by specific chemistries within the battery.

Price of lithium vs alkaline batteries

Compared to lithium-ion batteries, alkaline batteries are cheaper. This is because of the inclusion of organic compounds in lithium batteries’ composition. Lithium ion batteries also possess features that are more suitable to newer technologies like electric vehicles and digital devices.

This has also increased the demand of these batteries making them pricier.Lithium-ion devices last longer in less demanding environments. An example of this is they will last longer in toys as compared to alkaline batteries.

This then reduces the cost of replacement as would be incurred in alkaline batteries. In this instance it is safe to say that the lithium battery is more cost effective compared to its alkaline counterpart.

Voltage

When we come to the voltage of lithium vs alkaline batteries, an alkaline battery contains 1.5 nominal voltage per cell while a lithium battery operates at a voltage of the nominal voltage of lithium primary batteries is 1.5V and 3.0V.

Lithium ion batteries are suitable for higher functioning equipment’s as they have a voltage of about 3.6v/3.2v per cell. Lithium ion batteries can form 72v lithium ion battery pack or even higher voltage battery pack, This means a lithium battery will offer better performance compared to an alkaline battery.

Life span of lithium vs alkaline batteries

When comparing the lifespan of these two batteries lithium vs alkaline batteries, that of a lithium-ion battery quadruples that of an alkaline battery. Alkaline battery 300 cycles, lithium battery 4000 cyclesAn alkaline battery’s life span is relatively shorter because they lose at least 5% of life daily and degrades even when idle.

However, there are non-rechargeable types of alkaline batteries that can last longer than the traditional batteries due to their higher shelf life.

Operating temperature

Operating temperatureof lithium vs alkaline batteries, when exposed to cold temperatures, alkaline batteries function poorly. This is because low temperatures will slow the chemical reactions within the battery.

Alternatively, lithium ion batteries function the best in cold temperatures. This makes these batteries best suited for use outdoors But the operating temperature of the lithium battery is.20 to 60 degrees, exceeding this range will affect the performance.

lithium, alkaline, batteries, differences

Recharge

Recharge of lithium vs alkaline batteries,Alkaline batteries are not designed to be rechargeable. An attempt to recharge an alkaline battery can lead to an explosion.

Lithium batteries are available in both rechargeable and non-rechargeable models. Lithium ion batteries offer more life compared to alkaline batteries. For alkaline batteries, leakages and short circuits are a potential hazard to explosions and overheating during recharging.

About uses of lithium vs alkaline batteries, alkaline batteries are used mostly in low application devices like remote controls, toys and flashlights because of their low voltage output.

On the other hand, lithium batteries are used in high level equipment like medical devices, cameras. These lithium batteries are also preferred in new-age devices due to their light weight as well as density.

Alkaline batteries may appear bulky and there not suitable for some equipment. For example, mobile phones, especially Smart phones nowadays use lithium ion batteries as opposed to alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries in a series can be used generate the desired energy output.

The light nature of a lithium ion battery makes it suitable for use in electronic vehicles because its power to weight ratio means that a car can survive for longer periods of time on a one charge. Lithium is however not flown as they are a Potential risk to catching fire.

Resistance

Resistance of lithium vs alkaline batteries, alkaline batteries have a higher inner resistance as compared to lithium ion batteries. A high internal resistance within a battery reduces its power output because it decreases voltage.

This is why lithium batteries are more preferred for applications that require consistent energy levels for a longer period of time. Varying Inner resistance in these two types of batteries is also why you cannot mix both batteries as it will affect the battery’s performance.

Capacity

The capacity of a battery is the amount of energy it can store. Lithium ion batteries have a higher capacity than alkaline batteries. This way lithium batteries can deliver consistent high volumes of energy for a long time compared to alkaline batteries because they lose strength during use. A lithium battery has a slower self discharge as well with a capacity of a 1200mAH.

Disposal of lithium vs alkaline batteries

Non rechargeable alkaline batteries are not toxic to the environment because they do not contain mercury in their composition. Alkaline batteries contain ingredients that are recyclable. Dead alkaline batteries can be disposed with house hold waste.

Potassium hydroxide contained in the battery can cause irritation hence disposal should be done carefully. Lithium batteries on the other hand decay when exposed to high temperatures and are hazardous to the environment and are also susceptible to fires. Legal disposal of lithium battery requirements will vary for different states. Lithium batteries should be stored in designated areas.

Safety precautions

When replacing batteries, it is vital to check compatibility with the help of the battery manufacturer’s guide.Avoid over discharges of the batteries at all cost whether they are in use or kept for storage.Do not charge disposable alkaline or primary lithium batteries.Keep batteries away from flammable materials.Use the right charging methodLithium ion batteries should be stored at room temperature.Lithium batteries do better with partial discharges than deep discharges because they do not have charge memory.

Which battery is better

When choosing a battery, take into consideration the performance and capacity of lithium vs alkaline batteries and how it serves the purpose you intended it for. Both of these battery have their peculiar features, advantages and disadvantages.

A lithium battery offers efficiency and longevity while alkaline batteries larger capacity than other dry batteries but lose their strength over time. A lithium ion battery can be considered a better alternative to alkaline batteries except that they go for a higher price.

Choosing the right battery

Size

Every gadget operates on a specific type and size of a battery. This information will be available on the manual. When replacing a replacement battery, check the previous battery operating on the device.

Mostly the battery size is indicated in alphabets for example, AA as you advance in size. This is different in button battery cells. These batteries indicate the chemical components and shape followed by the size.

Type

Depending on your intended purpose you are able to choose between buying a reusable or a single use battery. Both types have their pros and cons.

Advantages of single use batteries

They are budget friendlyThey have a longer shelf lifeThey are readily availableThe major disadvantage to using single use batteries is lack of longevity.

Rechargeable batteries

These batteries are more expensive than single use batteries. However, the cost issue reduces over time considering the many times you can reuse these batteries. These batteries offer more long term value compared to one time use batteries.

Conclusion

Batteries are a necessary need and part of our lives. This is why the it becomes even harder when choosing lithium vs alkaline batteries. Both types of batteries vary in chemistries and features.

An ideal battery will offer a good balance on its pricing, energy output and longevity. Using batteries right and with care can boost life and performance to outlast its life span. The best battery is one that fits your need and serves the intended purpose as you would require it to.

Lithium vs. Alkaline Batteries: What’s the Difference?

In this article, we will discuss the features of alkaline and lithium batteries, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. They are mostly represented on the market by AA (or R6) and AAA (or R3) cylindrical models, but in fact, there are many more sizes. You can also call C (R14), and D (R20). There are not only cylindrical but also disk (CR) or prismatic. Their differences are not in shape and size but in the type of electrochemical system, which determines their advantages and disadvantages.

We will explore the differences between alkaline and lithium batteries and which one you should use based on your own needs or preferences.

Alkaline Batteries

These are standard alkaline batteries. It is a manganese─zinc galvanic battery with an alkaline electrolyte. In most cases, alkaline batteries have a cathode of manganese dioxide (MnO2) with graphite-containing material and an anode of zinc paste (Zn). Less frequently, silver oxide (Ag2O) or nickel-metal hydroxide (NiO(OH)) is used as cathode material. Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is used as the electrolyte.

The inside of the cylindrical element contains zinc powder, which is impregnated with an alkaline electrolyte (anode mass). To remove the negative potential, there is a brass rod in the center that contacts the steel plate at the bottom. Closer to the outer part is the active mass, which is a mixture of manganese dioxide and graphite (soot). From it, the positive potential goes to the nickel-plated steel cup. The cathode and anode are separated by an electrolyte-impregnated separator.

The cathode is insulated by a sheath that prevents short circuits. In the lower part, you can also see a special gasket. Its role is to take the gases generated in the element during operation. If the pressure exceeds the allowable limit, the safety membrane develops and the battery is depressurized. As a result, the electrolyte may leak from the alkaline power source.

Shelf Life

The shelf life of alkaline batteries is usually 3 to 5 years. To increase this life, manufacturers add organic corrosion inhibitors to modern models. There are little-used alkaline cells with the possibility of recharging. They are called RAM (Rechargeable Alkaline Manganese), which translates as rechargeable alkaline manganese. But they are not rechargeable batteries and have a maximum of 25 charges.

Areas of Application

The following are the main applications.

  • Flashlights.
  • Minor electronics.
  • Portable tape recorders.
  • Flash units for cameras.
  • Radio-controlled models.
  • Electronic watches.

As you can see, these are devices that draw relatively high currents for short periods of time, as well as those that require low power for long periods of time. If too high a load is applied, the voltage may drop and it will take some time to recover.

Lithium Batteries

In the case of lithium batteries, there are several common types of construction. Cylindrical and disk current sources are discussed below.

For cylindrical models, bobbin and coil designs are used.

In the center of the bobbin design is an electrode sealed with a metal-glass junction. The second electrode of the opposite polarity is made in the form of a cylinder, and between them, there is a separator.

The coiled construction consists of ribbons of anode and cathode and a separator between them. All of this is rolled up and placed in cylindrical housing. In this case, a fairly large electrode area is achieved. Due to this the discharge current increases. In addition, the self-discharge also increases.

In the case of coiled batteries, it is important to take care of safety, since in the event of a short circuit, the current in them can reach up to 20 amperes. If a short circuit occurs, the power cell could explode due to the intense heat. To prevent this, a fusible thermistor, also called a fuse, is included in the design. When the current exceeds a certain value, the thermistor heats up, the resistance of the material increases and the short-circuit current decreases.

When the short circuit is eliminated and the temperature decreases, the resistance of the fuse decreases, and the battery can be used again.

Some manufacturers provide an additional type of protection in the form of a special notch at the base of the negative terminal of the cell. If the pressure inside the case exceeds a certain value, this notch will open and release the pressure. This prevents an explosion. Once opened, the lithium battery is no longer usable.

Disk batteries, like models of bobbin design, have a smaller electrode area than in the case of a roll. However, they have more interacting materials. Because of this, they have a larger available capacity. But they produce a lower discharge current. Therefore, tablets and cylindrical batteries of bobbin design are suitable for use in devices with low to medium current consumption, which work for long periods of time in standalone mode. Lithium batteries are installed in devices that are short on battery life but draw high currents.

Shelf Life

Lithium batteries are known to have a relatively long shelf life of 10-12 years, even if they are unused. Manufacturing defects and usage patterns can also impact the lifespan of these batteries.

Areas of Application

  • Digital cameras.
  • Car remote controls.
  • Clocks.
  • Calculators
  • Motherboards.
  • Other small to medium-sized electronics.

Which is Better – Lithium or Alkaline Batteries?

At the end, which is better – lithium or alkaline batteries? As in other such cases, there is no unambiguous answer to the question here. The choice must be made depending on the device where the battery will work. We can only outline the advantages and disadvantages of both types.

  • Long shelf life and low self-discharge.
  • Slight voltage drop as it discharges.
  • Greater capacity compared to saline current sources.
  • Shows good performance at negative temperatures.
  • Withstands considerable discharge current without voltage sag.
  • No electrolyte consumption.
  • Negligible outgassing.
  • High power capacity. This means that they have the same size as alkaline batteries, but have a higher capacity.
  • Lithium power supplies have a higher voltage and higher discharge current.
  • No or only a small amount of gas is released during discharge.
  • Holds voltage well under high loads.
  • Contains more toxic materials than alkaline cells.
  • Requires more careful handling during operation. There is a risk of fire when short-circuited.
  • Service life is longer than that of alkaline but also costs more.

It can definitely be said that lithium batteries should be chosen when you want to power devices with high current consumption. But it will cost more than alkaline batteries.

FAQ

Are lithium and alkaline the same?

Alkaline and lithium are two different types of batteries. Alkaline batteries use manganese dioxide in the negative electrode, while Lithium batteries use lithium in the positive electrode.

Why are lithium batteries better?

Lithium batteries are better because they produce more power, last longer, and weigh less than other types of batteries. They are also rechargeable and can provide maintenance-free service for about two decades. This makes them perfect for things like flashlights or smoke alarms that need to have electricity available steadily without interruption or depletion.

What is a disadvantage of lithium batteries?

One of the disadvantages of lithium batteries is that they are not safe at high temperatures.

Final Words

Lithium cells retain their capacity at negative temperatures much better and have a smoother discharge curve than saline and alkaline batteries (at the same time, saline and alkaline batteries simply freeze the electrolyte). This means that they can be used in devices that work in freezing temperatures.

I would like to thank you for reading this article and I hope it has given you a better understanding of the role of alkaline and lithium batteries.

All AA batteries are the same size, but performance can vary dramatically. Here’s how to choose the right type for your devices.

Most of us come into contact with gadgets that use AA batteries every day. They keep clocks, flashlights, smoke alarms, cameras, toys, and more running. It’s also likely that when they eventually go flat, you simply swap them out for whatever you have stashed in a drawer.

But although all AA batteries are the same physical size, they don’t all deliver power in the same way. So just grabbing what’s convenient will often mean losing out on performance and value. We com the most important features the important details so you know the best AA batteries for all the different devices you use.

How We Picked The AA Batteries

We researched all the main battery manufacturers, and a few less well-known brands, so we had an in-depth understanding of the key factors that differentiate AA battery performance.

Chemistry: AA batteries are usually defined by their chemistry. They are either alkaline, lithium (various types are available), or nickel metal hydride (NiMH). We cover how this impacts choice in the considerations section below. Our top picks showcase the best of each type.

Performance: Devices use the power stored in an AA battery at different rates, so it was important that we offer batteries that suit as wide a variety of equipment as possible.

Value: Cheap AA batteries are readily available but performance can be disappointing in some gadgets. On the other hand there’s little point putting expensive AA batteries in clocks or TV remotes. Our selection provides options from across the price range.

The Best AA Batteries: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: The Energizer Ultimate lithium AA battery is currently the clear market leader in terms of performance and reliability, and has the ability to handle extreme temperatures.

Specs — Chemistry: Lithium Iron Disulphide — Capacity: 3,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, six, eight, 12, 24

Pros: — Reliable high performance — Extreme temperature range — 20-year shelf life

Cons: — Comparatively expensive — Counterfeits are common

The decision over which are the best overall AA batteries has to be primarily about power output, and at the moment the Energizer Ultimate Lithium is the clear market leader. It is not just a question of outlasting alkaline alternatives — most lithium batteries do that — but the Energizer Ultimate outperforms other lithium rivals too.

The main reason is the lithium iron disulphide (LiFeS2) chemistry. Usually found in batteries of 3V (volts) and larger, Energizer has produced a 1.5V AA version. In fact the open circuit value (when no power is being drawn by a device) is 1.8V. This, in combination with the class-leading 3,000 mAh capacity, produces consistent power levels for longer than any competitor. These Energizer batteries are an ideal choice for high-drain digital cameras, handheld games, and some of the best flashlights.

Other impressive statistics are a 20-year shelf life, and a working temperature range from.40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re guaranteed leak proof (in normal use), and Energizer claims it is 33 percent lighter than AA alkaline batteries.

It’s expensive for a disposable battery, and we are aware of a number of counterfeits so always buy from reputable sources.

Best Rechargeable: Panasonic Eneloop AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: Panasonic’s Eneloop rechargeable batteries are packed with features that deliver consistent performance, and solve the common problem of charge draining away when not in use.

Specs: — Chemistry: Nickel metal hydride — Capacity: 2,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 16

Pros: — Recharge up to 2,100 times — Pre-charged using solar energy — Maintains charge well

Cons: — Slow charging — Expensive

It’s not unusual for NiMH batteries to be recharged several hundred times, but eventually the conductive surfaces wear down. Panasonic have dramatically improved this aspect of their Eneloop AA battery. which is rated for up to 2,100 cycles. As a result, while initial investment is comparatively high, these batteries can eventually work out better value than many alternatives.

One of the drawbacks with rechargeable batteries is that when not in use the charge drains away. They often need to be charged before first use, which can be frustrating, and many will go flat over a period of months. Panasonic Eneloop batteries are different in two ways. First, they are supplied ready-to-use, having been pre-charged using solar power. Second, while they do lose some charge, they can retain as much as 70 percent for up to 10 years (when stored according to manufacturer instructions).

For convenience, we recommend the Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries with charger, which automatically shuts off when batteries reach full capacity. However, bear in mind that charging can take up to 7 hours.

Best Budget: Amazon Basics High-Performance AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: The Amazon Basics offer cheap AA batteries that nevertheless provide good shelf life, and perfectly acceptable performance for a whole host of common electronic devices.

Specs: — Chemistry: Alkaline — Capacity: 2,200. 2,500 mAh (see below) — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 10, 20, 48, 72, 100

Pros: — Competitive performance — 10-year shelf life — Low price

Cons: — Variable durability — Leaks are rare, but possible

Some people like the simple convenience of having a packet of cheap disposable AA batteries tucked in a drawer or cupboard. For them, the Amazon Basics alkaline version offers a good compromise between price and performance. Larger pack sizes provide particularly good economy.

When compared with lithium AAs, the capacity is modest, but it’s perfectly acceptable for household items like clocks, toys, TV remotes, and small flashlights. However, we would not recommend them for high-drain devices. Shelf life is 10 years, and the design is intended to prevent leaking.

Amazon Basics does not provide technical information, so the 2,200 to 2,500 mAh rating is taken from online sources who have made their own measurements. The challenge is that different devices draw different amounts of power so this is only an approximate guide.

While the vast majority of those who commented are happy with their purchase, a small percentage have complained of batteries running flat more quickly than expected. Leaks have also been reported though not in significant numbers.

Best for Smoke Detectors: Rayovac High-Energy AA Batteries

Why They Made The Cut: Rayovac’s US-made, high-energy batteries are a direct competitor to well-known premium brand alkaline versions but at a more competitive price.

Specs: — Chemistry: Alkaline — Capacity: 2,000 mAh — Pack Sizes: 12, 30, 42, 60, 72

Pros: — Consistent power delivery — Good value — US-made

Cons: — Not best in high-drain gadgets — Occasional leaks

The Rayovac High Energy AA battery is targeted at the gap in the market between expensive lithium batteries for high-drain equipment, and cheap alkaline batteries for low-drain gadgets.

They’re designed for mid-range devices like large toys, wireless computer mice, personal grooming equipment, and smoke detectors. These don’t need absolute power, but do require consistent delivery over an extended period. Rayovac’s High Energy AA batteries deliver that long-term reliability, at a price that’s around 30 percent lower than big-brand competitors.

Rayovac batteries are made in the US, and use ‘power preserve’ technology to provide a shelf-life of 10 years. They’re designed to be leak-proof, which can be a problem with some cheap AA batteries.

Rayovac’s High Energy alkaline AA batteries are very popular. We have seen a few reports from dissatisfied buyers, but almost all are from users complaining about poor recharging. This is odd, because these are single-use, disposable AA batteries. They are not rechargeable.

Best for Trail Cameras: EBL AA Batteries

Why It Made The Cut: EBL’s NiMH rechargeable AA batteries provide a cost-effective solution for powering both high-drain devices, and those that need steady power over long periods.

Specs: — Chemistry: Nickel Metal Hydride — Capacity: 2,800 mAh — Pack Sizes: Four, eight, 16, 28

Pros: — Long-lasting performance — Operate at temperatures below freezing — 1,200 recharge cycles

Cons: — Not pre-charged — May not be compatible

While researching the question of which AA battery is best for trail cameras came up quite often. Many people choose high-power lithium disposable AAs for the job, but this can be expensive. The EBL NiHM is one of the best rechargeable batteries for this purpose, offering stable power in all conditions, and saving money in the long term.

These batteries have an operating range from.4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so they keep providing charge in all but the most extreme weather conditions. A capacity of 2,800 mAh gives impressive durability in high-drain devices, and they can be recharged 1,200 times. Although they aren’t pre-charged they hold power well, and can retain up to 80 percent of capacity for three years (when stored according to directions).

However, NiMH batteries are not compatible with some trail cameras made before 2011. This is a technical issue with all 1.5V NiMH, not just those from EBL. In use, battery voltage can drop to 1.2V, and some trail cameras will shut down at this level. Fortunately modern trail cameras don’t shut off until below 1V per cell, so for them the EBL rechargeable AA is a reliable and economical choice.

Things To Consider Before Buying

The key feature of AA batteries is their chemistry though it is also worth checking capacity, when details are available.

Alkaline: Alkaline AA batteries have been around for well over 100 years. They are a proven, low-cost option. They are ideal for low-drain devices, and have good shelf life. They can leak, particularly if left in a gadget after they have gone flat. They don’t perform well in high-drain equipment.

Lithium: Lithium AA battery descriptions can be confusing, because three types are now common: lithium; lithium-iron disulphide (LiFeS2), both of which are disposable; and lithium ion, which are rechargeable. Ordinary lithium batteries are by far the more popular type, and are usually specified for high-drain gadgets. LiFeS2 offers even better performance. However, both are significantly more expensive than alkaline AAs.

NiMH: Most rechargeable AA batteries are nickel metal hydride (NiMH), which usually out-performs lithium-ion alternatives. While initial cost is comparatively high, they can be recharged hundreds of times, so frequently save money in the long run. However, NiMH AA batteries are self-discharging when not in use so may need recharging if left for several months. They typically have a shelf life of five to seven years.

Capacity: All batteries are rated at 1.5 volts (V), though actual output can fluctuate between around 1.2V and 1.6V, depending on chemistry. In most cases this makes little difference to the device being powered.

lithium, alkaline, batteries, differences

Batteries also have a mAh (milliAmp hours) rating. This can be compared to fuel. If you have two AA batteries, one rated at 1,500 mAh, and the other at 3,000 mAh, then the second example will run for roughly twice as long when used in the same gadget.

FAQs

Q: Are all AA batteries the same?

No. They’re all the same physical size, but there are differences in performance. Our descriptions of the picks above will help you choose the best AA batteries for a variety of uses.

Q: What’s the difference between AA and AAA batteries?

An AA battery (also called a double a battery) is physically larger than an AAA (triple a) battery. Although they are both rated at 1.5V, they are not interchangeable. Additionally, because an AA battery is larger, it’s normally capable of supplying charge for longer than a AAA version.

Q: Are lithium AA batteries better than alkaline?

Lithium AA batteries are more expensive than alkaline versions, but maintain performance for longer. They are definitely the better choice for gadgets that need a lot of power. However, for low-power devices, AA alkaline batteries are fine, and are significantly cheaper.

Q: How long do AA batteries last?

Most manufacturers give the shelf life of AA batteries as between five and 10 years, though up to 20 years is possible. How long they last in use varies tremendously, and depends on the device being powered. In a high-drain device like a digital camera they might last just a few hours. In a smoke detector, these batteries should last six months or more.

Final Thoughts on the Best AA Batteries

The Energizer Ultimate Lithium is an easy pick as the best AA battery. The LiFeS2 chemistry makes them more powerful, for longer, than any rival. They’re expensive, but if you need to rely on a battery for your digital camera, or other important equipment, they’re worth the investment. The Amazon Basics alkaline is what everyone likes to keep in a drawer for when the clock stops or the TV remote isn’t working. They’re cheap and perfectly adequate for low-drain devices.

Why Trust Us

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Online shopping is hard. Search for any product and you’ll be confronted with dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of choices. Our mission at Futurism, where we cover the latest technology, is to simplify this experience by researching, testing, and continuing to evaluate products so we only recommend choices that are actually worth your time.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

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