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Alkaline vs. Lithium Batteries – A battery Comparison

Updated on May 1, 2015
Batteries
Batteries | Source
alkaline batteries and rechargeable batteries
alkaline batteries and rechargeable batteries | Source

A comparison between Alkaline and Lithium Batteries


We live today in a world where batteries are ever so important in our lives. We are dependent on portable power. From Cellular phones to Laptops, we need batteries every time. Alkaline batteries are the most primitive of all batteries. Lithium Batteries are the newer. However, alkaline batteries are still in the market. Have you ever wondered why? That’s because they still have some advantages over Lithium Batteries. Before you continue, do not confuse lithium batteries with lithium-ion batteries. They are entirely different. Read on to find out the comparisons:

Operating Voltage


Both battery types operate at the same 1.5 volts. They are at par with this one.

Rechargeability


Both are non rechargeable. Although we hear some people can recharge alkaline batteries. Read this article to learn how.

Charge Density


Lithium wins over Alkaline. Lithium batteries hold 6 times the charge of alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries can have more shots in cameras, it can play music longer, it can record videos longer – it can do all of the things the alkaline can do but longer. Charge density is the amount of charges (or electrons at higher potential) the battery contains. Alkaline batteries are around 1500mAh. That means alkaline batteries can give 1500 milliamperes in an hour. Lithium Batteries are around 9000mAh. It is even higher than the highest NimH batteries which are 4800mAh.

Operating Temperature


Lithium wins over alkaline. Lithium batteries can operate at extreme low temperatures and extreme high temperatures. It can work between -55 degrees Celsius and 125 degrees Celsius. Alkaline batteries work only between -18 degrees Celsius and 55 degrees Celsius. Hence, Lithium batteries are a choice for arctic explorers because their equipment will still function even with the freezing temperature of the environment.

Price


Alkaline wins over lithium batteries with this one. Lithium batteries are more expensive than alkaline batteries. A pair of Energizer Lithium Batteries cost at $4-$5 while a pair of Energizer Max only costs around $2. Hence, for very simple purposes like clocks, smoke detectors and other low-current applications, alkaline batteries are used. Lithium batteries are used in High current applications like cameras, recorders, GPS and others.

Safety


Alkaline wins over Lithium batteries. Both are safe if they are used properly. They’ll never hit the market if they’re not safe. But assuming all is done to make the batteries exceed what they are designed for, if they are intentionally attempted to be blown up, then alkaline makes a weaker boom which is more like a pop. Lithium is an element and is very active because it is in its pure state which is not stable. This makes it energetic enough to hold six times the charge that alkaline batteries can hold.

Conclusion


Even if the alkaline battery is an age-old technology, it still has advantages. If you need power for a clock, watch, smoke detector, or any electronic device that has only a light load, use alkaline batteries. If you need the reliability of batteries at extreme temperature or just want more power in a cell, use lithium batteries.

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    • profile image

      Syam 3 years ago

      Not much to say about this battery yet, epxect that it restored my ADT Security key fobs to life. If your device uses any of the following batteries, this is what you are looking for; Duracell: MN21 VARTA: V23GA EVEREADY: A23 NEDA: 1811A IEC: 3LR50 Panasonic: LR-V08 ELPA: SES-23A MS21 VR22 EL12 GP 23AE GP-23A 8LR23 ANSI-1181A 8F10R 8LR23 8LR932 23A 23GA 1181A A23BP CA20 E23A GP12A GP23A GP23AE GP-23A K23A L1028 LR23 LR23A LRV08 LRV08PA LRVO8 MN21 MN21/23 MN23 MS21 RVO8 V23 V23GA VA32GA VR22 I can't comment on the battery life yet, but will when my ADT Security key fobs die again. The Duracells lasted 6 months before having limited range, and then another 2 months before croaking altogether. The thing that surprised me was that they both died at the same time, in spite of one getting used much more than the other. Wish there was a longer life equivalent, such as a lithium, but I have been unable to find one. Edit; Just hit 10 months and the key fobs are still going strong. Looks like battery life is much better than the Duracell! For those who have thanked me in comments, You're very welcome!!!

    • leakeem profile image
      Author

      leakeem 5 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for the visit Keith! are you talking about Lithium batteries or Lithium-ions?

      What you said is true for lithium-ions. And I too believe it is a marketing scheme. they make expensive batteries specifically for a gadget. I bet they earn millions out of it and probably will lose millions if Li-ion sizes gets standardized.

    • Keith Ham profile image

      Keith Ham 5 years ago from Niagara Falls, Ontario

      Though Lithium is pretty spiffy for a while, I've found that the charges dissipate when it comes to rechargeable use. Too much expansion and de-expansion occurs so it becomes brittle to the point of uselessness within months. I often think of this as a marketing scheme.