Battery types

This is a list of popular commercially available battery types. For a full list of battery types that have ever existed and ones that are still on the drawing board see this Wikipedia page.

Primary Cells (disposable) Secondary Cells (rechargeable)
  • Zinc Carbon (aka Zinc Chloride)
  • Zinc Air
  • Alkaline
  • Lithium Metal
    • Lithium iron disulfide
    • Lithium-thionyl chloride (LTC)
    • Lithium manganese dioxide (Li-M)
    • Lithium sulfur dioxide
  • Lead Acid
    • Flooded
    • Gell
    • Absorbent Glass Mat
  • Nickel
    • Cadmium
    • Metal Hydride
    • Iron
    • Zinc
    • Hydrogen
  • Lithium-Ion
    • Cobalt Oxide
    • Titanate
    • Iron Phosphate
    • Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide
    • Manganese Oxide
  • Lithium-Polymer
  • Lithium Sulphur
  • Lithium Air
  • Lithium Silicone

Comparison of Primary (disposable) batteries

Zinc Carbon

  • 1.5 volts per cell
  • Cheapest per unit to produce (often sold with appliances and devices)

Alkaline (aka Alkaline-manganese)

  • 1.5 volts per cell
  • more energy at higher loads than zinc carbon
  • can leak and corrode
  • 40% more energy than Li-Ion (rechargeable lithium) but not as strong on loading
  • voltage decreases during discharge

Lithium iron disulfide

  • can deliver 3 volts+ but 1.5 volt versions exist as replacements for AA and AAA sizes
  • higher capacity and lower resistance compared to Alkaline
  • up to 15 years shelf life at room temperature
  • air transport shipping restrictions
  • air travel hand luggage restrictions
  • consistent voltage during discharge

Lithium-thionyl chloride (LTC)

  • Not available to consumers due to power
  • 3.6 volts3.3
  • Temperature range – 0°C to 200°C (32°F to 392°F)
  • Specific Energy – 500Wh/kg (twice Lithium Ion)
  • Only safe for moderate discharge

Lithium manganese dioxide (Li-M)

  • 3.3 volts
  • Specific energy – 280Wh/kg
  • good at moderate loads and high pulse currents (e.g. flash photography)
  • Temperature range – 30°C to 60°C (-22°F to 140°F)
  • often used in meter sensing, medical devices, road toll sensors and cameras

Lithium sulfur dioxide

  • 2.8 volts
  • Specific energy – 330Wh/kg
  • -54°C to 71°C (-65°F to 160°F)
  • Cheap to manufacture
  • Shelf life (room temperature) – 5 to 10 years
  • Popular with the military

Comparison of Secondary (rechargeable) batteries

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