Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries: Comparison Analysis

Lithium ion batteries and Alkaline Batteries are the two best choices in today’s market. Both types of batteries provide reliable power output. To select the most suitable battery for your device, it is best to have a basic understanding of these two types of batteries. This article will discuss the differences, Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries.

Lithium vs Alkaline batteries: What are the differences?

Material

The different materials determine the performance differences between lithium-ion batteries and alkaline batteries. There are various types of lithium-ion batteries, including lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide (Li(NiCoMn)O2), lithium titanate (Li2TiO3), lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2), lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4), lithium nickel oxide (LiNiO), etc.

Among them, Ternary Lithium-ion Battery and lithium iron phosphate Battery are commonly used in electric vehicles. There are also non-rechargeable lithium batteries with metallic lithium as the material, while lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable.

Alkaline batteries are successful high-capacity batteries known for their cost-effectiveness. Alkaline batteries use manganese dioxide (MnO2) as the cathode material, zinc (Zn) as the anode material, and potassium hydroxide (KOH) as the electrolyte. In a typical alkaline battery with an alkaline electrolyte, the chemical reaction between Zn and MnO2 generates energy.

Battery type

Alkaline batteries come in various sizes including 9V, AAA, AA, C, D, and coin cell batteries. Among them, AA alkaline batteries have the same size as 14500 lithium-ion batteries.

Cylindrical-shaped lithium-ion batteries include 18650 batteries, 14500 batteries, 26650 batteries, 21700 batteries, 32650 batteries, etc. Tesla is also set to release a new battery called the 4680 Battery.

Price

Alkaline batteries have lower material costs, resulting in lower purchase costs compared to lithium-ion batteries. However, alkaline batteries can only be replaced once their power is depleted, making the overall cost higher.

In contrast, lithium-ion batteries have a longer lifespan. While the upfront purchase cost of lithium-ion batteries may be approximately three times that of alkaline batteries, their overall cost of use is lower, as they can be recharged and used multiple times.

Voltage

Alkaline batteries have a voltage of 1.5V, non-rechargeable lithium batteries have a voltage range of 1.5V to 3.0V, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries typically have a voltage range of 3.2V to 3.7V. Lithium batteries can be combined to form more powerful battery packs such as 12V, 48V, and even high-voltage battery packs.

During usage, lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries can maintain their voltage to a large extent, while alkaline batteries gradually decrease in voltage over time.

Capacity

The capacity of alkaline batteries is typically around 1800-2800mAh. Alkaline batteries have a lower capacity compared to low-drain, high-frequency devices. As the current increases, the capacity of alkaline batteries drops significantly. In contrast, lithium batteries only experience a slight decrease in capacity.

Different types of lithium batteries have varying capacity ranges such as 1200mAh, 2200mAh, 3500mAh, 5500mAh, etc. Lithium batteries have a lower self-discharge rate and higher capacity. They also have a higher energy density, meaning that they can have many times the capacity of alkaline batteries of the same size.

Life

Alkaline batteries can be stored for up to 10 years in suitable temperature conditions, while lithium batteries can be stored for up to 20 years. However, both alkaline and lithium batteries will experience self-discharge over time. It is important to store batteries with some remaining charge, as a completely discharged battery is considered non-functional.

Among them, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have the advantage of a longer lifespan. They can be cycled fully for more than 3000 times at 80% Depth of Discharge (DoD) or higher.

Work temperature

The operating temperature range for alkaline batteries is typically -20°C to +60°C. However, the performance of alkaline batteries is significantly reduced when operating below freezing temperatures, as the electrolyte is a water-based solution.

The operating temperature range for lithium batteries is wider, ranging from -40°C to +60°C. Lithium batteries have a stronger ability to withstand low temperatures.

Weight

Lithium batteries are approximately 30% lighter than alkaline batteries. This characteristic makes lithium batteries advantageous in portable devices such as cordless power tools, wearable devices, and more.

Performance

Alkaline batteries carry the risk of leakage, short-circuiting, and overheating. They are suitable for devices like remote controllers, toys, flashlights, and low-power-consuming devices due to their lower output voltage.

Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, have high energy density, and long lifespan. They are suitable for medical devices, cameras, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and high-end devices that require long-term use after a single charge.

Can you choose lithium batteries instead of alkaline batteries?

Advantages of Lithium Battery:

  • Longer duration: suitable for high-tech products, and smart devices, not easy to change battery products
  • Wide range of temperature: extremely hot and cold weather can be used, suitable for outdoor equipment
  • Lighter weight: suitable for portable products

From a performance perspective, lithium batteries have great advantages and are a good substitute for alkaline batteries. however, in terms of cost, disposable alkaline batteries have the advantage in the short term. some small toy devices may have been discarded before lithium batteries fail, resulting in cost waste.

In the long run, it is not practical to replace batteries every time with disposable ones. lithium batteries have a longer lifespan and lower cost. they can maintain voltage and performance over a long period of use. alkaline batteries, on the other hand, are discarded once they are used up. additionally, lithium batteries are environmentally friendly and recyclable.

Transportation regulations also need to be considered. some airlines prohibit carrying lithium batteries on planes.

Therefore, there is no best battery, only the most suitable battery for different scenarios. Lithium batteries are the best choice for long-term use in high power consumption devices. Alkaline batteries are a better choice for low and medium power consumption devices.

Read More:

Alkaline vs Lithium batteries: Applications

Lithium battery Applications

Small and medium-size devices are suitable for lithium batteries: Headphones, wireless video game controllers, tracking cameras, connected programmable thermostats, keyless door locks, home security systems, digital cameras, GPS devices, activity/fitness trackers, and other wearable technologies, cordless power tools, etc.

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can be formed into more powerful battery modules. Due to their high safety, lithium iron phosphate batteries, in addition to being used in electric vehicles, also shine in the fields of energy storage systems and small appliances.

Alkaline battery Applications

Devices that are more suitable for alkaline batteries: small electronics like remote controls, gaming controller, flashlights, cordless phones, wall clocks, computer mouse, small kitchen appliances, small toys, calculators, small cameras, etc.

How to properly store batteries?

Avoid contact with different metals to prevent short-circuit risks. it is recommended to store them in a dedicated battery box, which not only protects the batteries but also prevents short circuits.

It is advisable to store them in a dry, normal room temperature environment, as sheds and garages that are too cold or too hot are not suitable. Additionally, it is recommended to cover the terminals of large batteries with caps to increase safety.

How to dispose of used batteries?

You can inquire with local organizations if they provide services for disposing of old batteries. please do not dispose of old batteries indiscriminately, as this can pose risks of short circuit fires and environmental pollution. please maintain environmental awareness and handle old batteries properly.

Conclusion

Understanding the difference between alkaline batteries and lithium batteries, it is undeniable that lithium-ion batteries have an absolute advantage in some large-scale energy storage products. if you are interested in lithium-ion batteries, please feel free to contact us. NPP is a specialized manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries.

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