Lithium vs. Alkaline Batteries: What Are the Differences?

Lithium vs. Alkaline Batteries

People credit electricity for revolutionizing our society for a good reason. However, it would never have been able to do so in the same way if it weren’t for batteries.

Batteries allow electrical power to be portable and separate from the power grid. There is a reason the industry for manufacturing batteries in the United States alone is worth more than $10 billion each year!

Of course, an industry that large tends to have a lot of variety in it. There are big differences between lithium vs. alkaline batteries. Understanding those differences will allow you to make better use of both kinds of batteries in the future.

So what exactly are the most important things to understand about how these two types of batteries differ from each other? Read on to learn all about the differences you should keep in mind when you’re choosing between lithium and alkaline battery options!

What Are Lithium Batteries?

All batteries work in essentially the same way. They have a cathode and anode. In between them, there is some kind of material that allows a flow of electrons from one side of the battery to the other.

This flow of electricity can then be directed into devices to provide them with electrical power. In the case of lithium batteries, the material between the cathode and the anode is made of lithium.

What Are Alkaline Batteries?

Alkaline batteries work in much the same way, but they use different materials. In particular, alkaline batteries have cathodes that are made out of manganese dioxide. Their anodes are made out of zinc.

You might wonder what difference it makes to use these different materials for anodes, cathodes, and the other parts of the battery. These differences translate into important differences in function.

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Advantages of Lithium Batteries

One of the main things to understand about lithium batteries is they allow ions to flow in both directions. The practical result of this is that lithium batteries are able to provide a constant voltage.

In other words, other batteries provide different voltages when they’re fully charged versus when they’re half charged.

That variance in voltages is often not a big deal. However, there are certain cases in which it’s essential you maintain a consistent voltage throughout the duration of the charge of a battery. That is why many people use lithium batteries for the devices they do use them for.

For example, lithium batteries are the go-to choice for laptop manufacturers. Laptops are potentially susceptible to changes in voltage. If we used other kinds of batteries in laptops, then they might suffer from regular dysfunction.

Lithium batteries are often used for sensitive medical devices. People also use them for cameras and radios.

Another reason that people use lithium batteries for laptops is they’re extremely reusable. When they have dissipated their charge, the ions move back where they started. This allows them to be charged up again so you can use the battery again.

This process is so efficient that you can reuse lithium batteries hundreds of times before they lose their ability to maintain a charge.

Advantages of Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries can only transfer their ions in a single direction. As we have discussed, that leads to them providing a variable voltage. It also means that they’re much harder to recharge.

However, there is a reason that we haven’t simply replaced all of our alkaline batteries with lithium alternatives. Lithium batteries aren’t superior in every way.

First alkaline batteries are a lot easier to recycle. Lithium batteries have their advantages, but they use sensitive and potentially dangerous materials that have to be very carefully recycled

Plus, alkaline batteries are significantly more cost-effective. People use lithium batteries for things like laptops because they have to. If both lithium and alkaline batteries were available options, people might often choose alkaline batteries because of their lower cost.

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Lithium batteries are also somewhat more sensitive. Obviously, they don’t generally explode. However, they do actually contain the chemical and energy potential to explode if they’re treated incorrectly.

Among other things, that means that alkaline batteries are safer in case they’re exposed to fire in any way.

Uses for Alkaline Batteries

That makes alkaline batteries the go-to choice for products like smoke detectors. If you don’t need a constant voltage, then many people choose alkaline batteries because of their lower cost.

Plenty of important pieces of technology like microphones, flashlights, and more, don’t require a consistent voltage.

Plus, many devices need such a trivial amount of electricity that it would be a waste of money to buy sophisticated lithium batteries for them. For devices that use tiny amounts of electricity, like electronic key fobs or watches, alkaline batteries are often the better choice.

The more that you look through an alkaline and lithium batteries guide, the more you might be interested in finding a source of quality transmitter batteries. Understanding how different batteries work can be your path to making better use of them. That can lead to savings improvements as well as performance improvements for your devices that use batteries.

Understand the Differences Between Lithium vs. Alkaline Batteries

We hope that some of the ideas in this brief article about the most important differences to understand between lithium vs. alkaline batteries have been helpful for you. Batteries are such an important part of the normal functioning of our society that it’s worth understanding a little bit about them. That way, you will know how best to use each kind of battery for different kinds of situations.

To keep up-to-date on the latest developments in business, technology, and more, take a look through our other articles!

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