Understanding the various types of batteries

In the past ten years or more, batteries have emerged as a major energy source. They played a significant role in our life even before that by powering a variety of portable devices including transistor radios, Walkmans, handheld games, cameras, etc. However, with the advancement of high-tech cellphones, tablets, laptops, solar energy, and electric cars, research into strong batteries that can last longer and give the required energy has reached its pinnacle.

In fact, three scientists—John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino—were given the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on lithium-ion batteries. Numerous equipment, machinery, devices, and gadgets are powered by batteries. Batteries enable you to monitor your temperature, start your laptop, keep track of the time, or power a drill that you use to construct a patio deck. The characteristics and features of numerous types of batteries are explained in this handbook.


Well, in this article, the following question about batteries will be discussed:

  • What is a battery?
  • How do batteries work?
  • What is the difference between cell and battery?
  • What are the types of batteries?
  • What are the types of battery sizes?
  • How can I dispose a battery?

Now let’s dive in!

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What is a battery?

A battery is a device that uses an electrochemical oxidation-reduction (redox) cycle to turn the chemical energy included in its active components directly into electric energy. An electric circuit is used in this kind of reaction to transmit electrons from one material to another.

The actual electrochemical unit used to produce or store electric energy is called a cell, despite the fact that the term “battery” is frequently employed. Consider a battery as one or more of these cells connected in series, parallel, or both, depending on the desired output voltage and capacity, to better comprehend the differences between a cell and a battery.

How do batteries work?

Through its electrodes or terminals, a battery can generate electrical energy when needed. Most batteries used in consumer goods like torches and gadgets have a positive terminal at the top. Its negative connection is located at the bottom of the battery and on its outside casing. On all different battery sizes, the positive and negative terminals are clearly marked. The power cell is made up of the terminals and the chemicals that make up the battery.

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What is the difference between cell and battery?

A single unit of a device that transforms chemical energy into electrical energy is called a cell. The cells in a battery work together to transform chemical energy into electrical energy. The major distinction between a cell and a battery is that a battery normally stores energy whereas a cell produces energy by utilizing available resources. Below, you’ll learn about a few more distinctions between the two.

Cell Battery
A cell is a single-unit component that converts chemical energy into electric energy. Typically, a battery is made up of a collection of cells.
Based on the types of electrolytes used, a cell is either reserved, wet or dry types. The cell may also include a molten salt type. A battery is either a primary battery or a secondary battery. That’s, it is rechargeable or non-chargeable.
A cell is usually light and compact due to it being a single unit. The battery normally consists of several cells thus making it bigger in size and weight.
A cell is designed to supply power for a shorter period of time. A battery can supply power for long period.
A cell is usually used for lighter tasks that require less energy such as clocks, lamps, etc. A battery is mostly used for heavy-duty tasks. It is used in automobiles, inverters, etc.
Cells are usually less expensive. Batteries are costly.


What are the types of batteries?

There are many factors to take into account while buying batteries. Depending on where the battery is being utilized, various chemical architectures offer distinct advantages. The most typical battery types and their advantages and disadvantages are listed below.

  • Alkaline battery
  • Lithium battery
  • Zinc-carbon battery
  • Silver oxide battery
  • Zinc-air battery
  • Lithium-Ion
  • Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery
  • Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery


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Alkaline battery

Most household and workplace gadgets, including clocks, calculators, games, toys, and smoke detectors, require alkaline batteries. These batteries have a shelf life of at least five years. Alkaline batteries can be used for both high- and low-draw devices, however high-drain devices like digital cameras can cause them to empty quickly.

After frequent use, rechargeable alkaline batteries are made to be fully charged. These work best when connected with low-drain or infrequently used devices. Pay strict attention to the label as it may be dangerous to recharge throwaway alkaline batteries.

Alkaline batteries are inexpensive, simple to dispose of, and very common. They typically have a capacity rating of above 2,500 mAh, making them ideal for devices with moderate to heavy usage. In contrast to lithium batteries, practically all standard-size batteries have an alkaline design, which makes them ideal for the majority of gadgets.

Lithium battery

Thermometers, remote car keys, and life-saving medical devices like pacemakers are just a few examples of consumer electronics that frequently employ lithium batteries. Although more expensive, these batteries are made to fulfill demand.

One of the most widely used battery types is lithium. They have the highest energy density of any battery cell, which translates to more energy storage capacity than other batteries like alkaline. Despite only being offered in AA, AAA, and 9V capacities, lithium batteries have higher mAh ratings than any other non-rechargeable battery. One AA lithium battery has a capacity of 2,700–3,400 mAh and may operate for a very long time, even when used frequently.

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Zinc-carbon battery

The thermostat remote control is one example of a device that uses zinc-carbon batteries, which are everywhere around your home. Zinc-carbon batteries are best suited for low-drain applications because they often have a short shelf life. Super-heavy-duty zinc-carbon batteries have a lifespan of up to five years, but after they’ve lost their charge, these batteries are vulnerable to corrosion. Batteries made of zinc-carbon cannot be recycled.

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Despite being quite cheap, carbon-zinc batteries have a very poor energy density. Frequently, these batteries won’t be able to give a high-drain device enough power to turn it on.

Silver oxide battery

Watches and other tiny devices frequently employ silver oxide batteries. Since the battery is made of genuine silver, it is frequently only offered in button cells, where the silver content has no impact on the final product’s price.

Zinc-air battery

The construction of zinc-air batteries is distinctive because they generate power by being exposed to oxygen. These button cell batteries with high capacities are mostly used in hearing aids. They are air-activated, so when a factory-sealed tape is removed and oxygen reacts with the zinc in the battery, they are prepared for use.

These batteries continue to function until the power is exhausted, which typically takes three years. They are therefore inappropriate for wrist timepieces but ideal for hearing aids. A user must remove a sealing tab from the battery in order to activate it and allow ventilation.


The most well-known and often used batteries in the modern world are lithium-ion batteries, sometimes known as Li-ion batteries. Your laptop or smartphone probably uses a Li-ion battery, despite the fact that you may not be aware of it.

These batteries are under the category of rechargeable batteries and can be recharged repeatedly. They have a very high energy density and don’t need routine maintenance. Li-ion batteries are not offered in consumer sizes because they can catch fire if put in a typical battery charger. Rather, they need a particular charger with a particular lithium-ion charging algorithm.

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Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) battery

Rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries are commonly used in remote control hobby cars, power tools, portable electronics, and photography equipment. NiCd batteries perform best when totally discharged before recharging; they can endure for an estimated 1,000 cycles (the number of times they are fully recharged and put to use). Recyclable NiCd batteries are required.

Standard NiCd battery sizes include AA, AAA, C, and 9V. Unlike other batteries, such as alkaline batteries, NiCd batteries have the distinct advantage of maintaining a constant voltage all the way until battery exhaustion. It has a low voltage per cell of 1.2V, however, the power supply makes up for this. For instance, you can spot a dying flashlight by the progressive fading of the lightbulb. Until the battery’s juice runs out, NiCd batteries will maintain a steady brightness.

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Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery

Like NiCd batteries, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries can be recharged. They are utilized in well-known electronic gadgets like laptops, smartphones, and portable power tools. NiMH batteries are well-liked by consumers due to their effectiveness with high-drain gadgets. They can also function in equipment made to accept batteries that are disposable and have the same voltage. Three to five years are the shelf life of NiMH batteries.

Although NiMH batteries are marketed as having a greater density, this can result in shorter cycle life. They can only be recharged roughly 500 times despite having a high energy density. Although they will certainly pay for themselves in due course, they might not be the greatest option for applications like clocks, TV remotes, or smoke alarms. All of these gadgets require incredibly little energy, and a NiMH battery works best when used within 30 days.

NiMH batteries operate at full capacity until practically all of the energy has been depleted, similar to NiCd batteries.

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What are the types of battery sizes?

The longevity and overall performance of your piece of equipment are greatly affected by the battery you use. In order to help you get the most out of your smartphone, this guide will break down the many sorts of typical battery sizes.

It is crucial to comprehend why different battery sizes affect how effective your equipment is overall. In general, a battery’s capacity to store energy increases with its size. Therefore, despite the fact that both big and small batteries are rated at 1.5V, the big battery has a larger energy reserve and a longer battery life.

Because they transform chemical energy that has been stored into electrical energy, batteries are very helpful to us as consumers because they do away with the requirement for a direct power source. a commonality worldwide IEC has mandated a standard size, however, Anglo-Saxon nations have adopted letter references (AA, C, D, etc.), while other nations have adopted letter and digit references (AA, Lr20, 6Lr61). The world’s most popular batteries, listed in actual size, are as follows:

  • AA batteries
  • AAA batteries
  • AAAA batteries
  • C batteries
  • D batteries
  • 9V batteries
  • CR123A batteries
  • 23A batteries
  • CR2032 batteries
  • 12V batteries
  • 22V batteries
  • 44V batteries


AA batteries

AA batteries also referred to as “double-A,” are by far the most widely used battery size. These batteries may be bought practically anywhere and are used in a wide range of applications. Typically, when people think of typical replaceable batteries, they imagine double-A batteries. These batteries are widely used in a variety of devices, including cordless phones, staffed pagers, and thermometers.

AA batteries, which have a 1.5V voltage, are suitable for applications that need a somewhat high current flow but are not used constantly. They can also be applied to constantly-on yet energy-efficient devices like clocks.

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AAA batteries

AAA batteries also referred to as “triple-A,” are the second most common type of battery. Small toys, thermometers, and calculators are all utilized with them. Small electrical devices like a TV remote controls, kitchen timers, graphing calculators, and bathroom scales frequently require triple-A batteries. AAA batteries, like AA batteries, also measure at 1.5V but generate less energy due to their smaller size. Small, low-power gadgets like kitchen timers are the main applications for these batteries. The batteries will function well and last for a very long period. Additionally, thermometers and portion control scales are powered by these little batteries.

AAAA batteries

Although “quadruple A,” or AAAA, batteries are less popular than their AA and AAA counterparts, they nevertheless have a significant amount of power. These compact but potent batteries are frequently seen in laser pointers and LED penlights. Additionally, they are typically found in tiny gadgets like powered computer styluses, hearing aid remote controls, and diabetes meters.

C batteries

Toys, spotlights, and portable radios are the principal uses for very powerful batteries. These 1.5V batteries are necessary for the use of many automatic hand sanitizer dispensers. You can be guaranteed that your gadget is running on safe, dependable power, making them ideal for demanding applications where batteries must be often used. Additionally, battery-operated flush sensors in restrooms are typically powered by these batteries.

D batteries

These batteries operate well in big flashlights, stereos, and hands-free soap or paper towel dispensers and are used for gadgets that need a long power time. D batteries are required to power the majority of automatic paper towel dispensers. These enormous, hefty batteries can run a number of commercial, high-usage gadgets, like hands-free sensor faucets, air freshener systems, and soap dispensers, for hours at a time.

9V batteries

The 9-Volt battery, which is most frequently recognized for its rectangular shape, is employed in gadgets that need a lot of power and high voltage. Devices like infrared thermometers, battery-operated temperature alarms, and electronic portion scales perform incredibly well with 9V batteries. Extreme temperatures from food, walk-in coolers, or other kitchen appliances may all be encountered by these products. 9V batteries are incredibly strong and function brilliantly in temperatures ranging from 0 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

CR123A batteries

This battery is widely used for tactical equipment, wireless security, and home automation because it is so powerful. The CR123A battery is substantially shorter than an AA battery but produces 3 volts, which is twice as much voltage as an AA battery. These batteries are quite powerful while still being rather compact. They guarantee peak performance and are perfect for high-power applications like LED torches. The high power-to-size ratio of this battery will let it live longer than others.

23A batteries

This tiny battery is frequently found in tiny gadgets like watches, remote controls, specialist medical devices, and garage door openers. It provides 12 volts of electricity and is utilized in applications that call for brief but intense energy bursts. These batteries were formerly employed in photoflash film cameras, but they are now mostly utilized in keyless entry systems, wireless doorbells, and garage door openers.

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CR2032 batteries

Unlike most other batteries, this little round cell provides a lot of power in a small package. The CR2032 battery, which operates at 3 volts, is frequently used in watches, calculators, toys, and many medical devices. These batteries offer a very high weight-to-power ratio and deliver consistent, long-lasting power. This battery, which may be used in wrist watches and thin, portable thermometers, is essentially weightless and has a long lifespan.


12V batteries

This battery is large, heavy, block-shaped, and frequently used in automobiles and other industrial machinery. It offers hundreds of amps of electrical current. It may not make sense that a car can run on only 12 volts when other heavy machinery needs considerably more than simply 12 volts when compared to some of the bigger voltage batteries.

This is due to the fact that both heavy machinery and cordless power tools need to be recharged after using up all of their energy. There is no need for an external charger because cars have alternators that function as generators to maintain their battery power.

22V batteries

This battery, which has a voltage of 22, is used to power electric saws and drills that have great power. 22V batteries are ideal for the job because cordless power tools are small but need a lot of energy. They provide strong power for a long time, making them ideal for installing electrical equipment.

44V batteries

This battery powers power-hungry devices like cordless power washers, leaf blowers, and self-propelled lawn mowers with a massive voltage rating of 44 volts. All of these consume a significant amount of energy due to the fact that they are both powerful and always in use.

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In summary

Some of the common types of batteries globally use include Alkaline batteries, Lithium batteries, Zinc-carbon batteries, and silver oxide batteries among others. These batteries are suitable for special applications and they vary in power output.

That is all for this article, where the following questions are being answered:

  • What is a battery?
  • How do batteries work?
  • What is the difference between cell and battery?
  • What are the types of batteries?
  • What are the types of battery sizes?

I hope you get a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!