Alkaline Battery vs Lithium Battery-Which is Better?

The two most prominent types of batteries in the market are alkaline and lithium batteries. Generally, lithium batteries are considered way better than alkaline batteries.

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JAN 23 What is Activated Shelf Life?

The world is progressing at a rapid speed and with the technological boom, the number of battery-driven products is increasing in the market. The two most prominent types of batteries in the market are alkaline and lithium batteries. These two batteries often confused people, many don’t know how to tell if a battery is lithium or alkaline and many are curious about alkaline battery vs lithium battery-which is better? In this blog, we’ll find answers to both of these queries. It will solve your questions about alkaline vs lithium rechargeable batteries, alkaline vs lithium aa batteries, etc.

What are Lithium Batteries? What are Alkaline Batteries?

Lithium batteries are famous for their ability to store energy for longer durations using lithium cells. They are available as both primary as well as secondary cells. These batteries have a higher energy density than other kinds of batteries.

On the other hand, alkaline batteries are the standard kinds of batteries. They are available easily and are very compatible with any low-energy consumer electronic device like wall clocks, cordless phones, smaller flashlights, toys, non-main accent lighting, and many other portable household devices. This type of battery is based on the reaction of zinc metal and manganese oxide. After this let’s see alkaline battery vs lithium battery.

Alkaline Battery vs Lithium Battery

JAN23alkaline battery vs lithium battery

Lithium batteries are quite different from alkaline batteries. Generally, lithium batteries are considered way better than alkaline batteries because the former has a longer lifespan, is cost-efficient, and is lightweight. However, it doesn’t mean you should always choose a lithium battery over an alkaline battery. There are different features of both batteries, these make one battery better than the other in different scenarios. Let’s learn about those features in detail.

These are the features that make a lithium battery a better choice over an alkaline battery-

1. Price

Lithium batteries are costlier than alkaline batteries. This is because lithium batteries are made up of organic molecules. Moreover, these batteries are more compatible with recent technologies of digital devices; thus, they are more in demand and have a higher price.

The lithium batteries perform quite efficiently in less energy-consuming settings. For example, they perform better in toys than in alkaline batteries. Thus, their replacement costs are lower than that of alkaline batteries. Compared to alkaline batteries, lithium batteries are way more economical.

2. Lifespan

JAN23alkaline battery vs lithium battery

The lifespan of a lithium battery is 4 times more than the alkaline battery counterparts. Typically, a lithium battery has 4000 cycles whereas an alkaline battery has 300 cycles. The alkaline battery has a shorter lifespan because it loses about 5% of its capacity daily. This battery deteriorates even while not in use.

3. Voltage

Typically, lithium battery operates at a voltage that ranges between 1.5 and 3.0 volts. On the other hand, an alkaline battery has about 1.5 volts of nominal voltage per cell.

Lithium batteries roughly have a voltage of 3.0 volts per cell and thus they are perfect for higher-functioning electronics. Additionally, they also perform better than alkaline batteries because their cells can be combined to create 72-volt lithium battery packs and even higher-voltage battery packs.

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4. Weight

Often, alkaline batteries are bulky and thus aren’t appropriate for all types of equipment. On the other hand, lithium batteries weigh less than alkaline batteries and are way better for portable devices. The weight of a AAA Lithium battery is about 33.3% lower than that of an AAA Alkaline battery counterpart.

Lithium batteries win over alkaline batteries in scenarios where lightweight is crucial. Medical devices like pacemakers also use lithium batteries because of their lightweight.

5. Energy Holding Capacity

A battery’s capacity refers to the quantity of energy it can hold. It’s not quite possible for alkaline batteries to match lithium batteries’ capacity. Lithium batteries are capable of maintaining high energy levels for a lot an extended period whereas alkaline batteries lose their power while in operation.

6. Operating Temperature

JAN23alkaline battery vs lithium battery
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In comparison to lithium batteries, alkaline batteries have a lower operating temperature. They perform very poorly in cold climates. Low temperatures slow downs the internal chemical reaction of the battery.

Contrastingly, lithium batteries work best in chilly temperatures and thus they are pretty ideal for outdoor use. However, keep in mind a lithium battery’s operating temperature ranges from -20 to 60 degrees; going below or above this temperature will impact their temperature.

7. Recharge

Primary alkaline, as well as lithium batteries, are non-rechargeable. If you attempt to recharge these primary batteries, they’ll explode. Alkaline and lithium batteries are also available as rechargeable secondary cells. Lithium batteries have a longer lifespan in comparison to the alkaline battery. Alkaline batteries have leakages and short circuits, they are more prone to the risk of overheating and explosions while recharging.

8. Internal Resistance

A high internal resistance decreases a battery power output. This resistance causes a low voltage. Compared to lithium batteries, alkaline batteries have a higher internal resistance and this impact their voltage output. This is why lithium batteries are more frequently used in applications where there is a need for constant energy levels for longer durations.

9. Method of Disposal

JAN23alkaline battery vs lithium battery

Non-rechargeable alkaline batteries don’t have mercury in their makeup and they aren’t harmful to the environment. Therefore, when these batteries are no longer functional, you can easily dispose of them like regular trash. However, you should cautiously dispose of alkaline batteries as they have potassium hydroxide and this can irritate some people.

On the other hand, lithium batteries degrade when they are exposed to high temperatures; they emit toxins into the environment. Different states have different laws regarding the disposal of lithium batteries. It is advisable to dispose of such batteries in authorized places. With this, you have learned about alkaline battery vs lithium battery. Now, its time to learn how to tell if a battery is lithium or alkaline.

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How to Tell if a Battery is Lithium or Alkaline?

After learning about alkaline battery vs lithium battery, let’s learn how to tell if a battery is lithium or alkaline. Mostly, primary lithium batteries are marked as Lithium. The button or coin lithium cells may also begin with (CR###). The lithium primary batteries can also be found as C, D, AA/AAA, Coin/Button cell, etc.

On the other hand, any typical alkaline battery consists of a steel can packed with manganese dioxide in its outermost internal cathode region. Within the center most internal anode regions, its also filled with zinc and the electrolyte. After this, let’s see which battery among alkaline vs lithium batteries environmentally friendly.

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Which Battery Among Alkaline vs Lithium Batteries Environment Friendly?

Lithium and alkaline batteries both have some advantages and disadvantages. Since both batteries aren’t exactly sustainable, it’s hard to choose the environment-friendly one. So, a lithium battery will store more energy than one alkaline battery, they last longer and thus reduce the demand for new batteries. However, they have an extremely low recycling rate of only 1%. It is also believed to have low toxicity and thus can’t be disposed of in a general bin.

Lithium batteries must be sent to the hazardous waste facility or recycling facilities. Moreover, lithium is sourced via mining, so it’s indirectly responsible for pollution as well as deforestation. After this, let’s see lithium vs alkaline batteries lifespan.

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What is Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries Lifespan?

There is a significant difference between lithium vs alkaline batteries life. Lithium batteries have many pros over alkaline batteries and their lifespan is one of the major advantages they have. The lithium batteries are designed to last longer. Moreover, they are very suitable for smart and high-tech devices. Typically, alkaline batteries can last for about 10 years whereas lithium batteries can last for about 15 years.

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Alkaline vs Lithium Rechargeable Batteries or Alkaline vs Lithium AA Batteries: What’s the Difference?

Lithium batteries have an anode, cathode, electrolyte, and separator (to keep the two electrodes apart). Charged lithium ion moves from anode to cathode when the battery starts operating. All lithium batteries have a consistent output and are customizable. They are used in radio and communication devices, cameras as well as photography, and medical equipment.

On the other hand, Alkaline batteries work just like lithium models but they only transfer ions in only one direction. The battery will lose its voltage and drain as the ions move from the anode to the cathode. Their rechargeable variants are made from nickel and cadmium but they aren’t as reliable as lithium ones. These batteries are recyclable and cost-effective. They are mostly used in smoke alarms, wireless microphones, etc.

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Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet's long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.

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