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Battery characteristics and applications

Non-rechargeable, disposable, primary batteries


Zinc-carbon battery

The zinc-carbon battery has been in use for a long time. It is good for devices that can operate on low electric power. It is suitable for use in bracket clocks, wall clocks, and remote controllers, and other devices that require a small electrical charge over a long period of time, as well as for automatic ignition systems for gas and oil heaters that require high electric power over a short period of time.

Alkaline manganese battery

Most dry-batteries are alkaline manganese batteries. They are suitable for devices that require a large amount of electric power. They last twice as long as zinc-carbon batteries. Alkaline manganese batteries are suitable for applications that demand relatively longer use, such as digital cameras, CD radio cassette players, headphone stereos, toys with electric motors

Nickel-based primary battery

Nickel-based primary batteries are new dry-batteries that were introduced in the 21st century. They last about 1.2 to 1.5 times longer than alkaline manganese batteries, and can supply power to a digital camera for about twice as long. These are recommended for use with LCD displays and similar devices that require a large amount of electric power.

Button-type silver-oxide battery

The voltage of silver-oxide batteries is extremely stable. It maintains just about the same voltage to the end of its useful life, and is suited to supply power to quarts watches, exposure meters and other precision devices.

Button-type zinc-air battery

A lot of zinc, which forms the battery's negative electrode, can be packed into this battery because it uses oxygen from the air as the positive electrode. This produces a larger amount of electric power than silver-oxide batteries and other button-type batteries. It has a longer life than other batteries of the same size and is suitable for use in hearing aids, pagers, and other devices that are used continuously.

Alkaline manganese button battery

The silver-oxide battery has a silver-oxide positive electrode, which is a very expensive material. The alkaline manganese button battery is the cheaper version of the silver-oxide battery and provides the same voltage but at a lower price because it uses relatively cheap manganese dioxide. This makes it more economical, but the voltage drops while using. It is used widely for portable game machines and pedometers.

Cylindrical lithium battery

Cylinder-type lithium batteries provide 3 volts, which is relatively high. They are light in weight, and have a low self-discharge rate (the rate of natural discharge that occurs when the battery is not in use). They are used in cameras because they can provide a large amount of electric power. They are also used in gas meters and water meters.
There are 1.5V types that use a different positive electrode material, and they have a larger power capacity than an alkaline manganese battery, and are used in cameras.

Coin-type lithium battery

These 3V batteries have the same advantages as cylinder-type batteries and are used for memory (memory storage) and clock function backup power on devices like personal computers, VTRs, and rice cookers. They are also widely used in keyless entry systems for automobiles, PDAs and pocket lights.

Rechargeable, reusable, small secondary batteries

Nickel-cadmium battery

With 1.2 volts of power, these batteries, like nickel-metal hydride batteries, are compatible with alkaline manganese batteries (they have the same shape) and they are suitable for devices that require frequent battery changes, which makes them economical. However, they require a specific battery charger.
These batteries are used in cordless telephones, electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, electric power tools and other devices that require a large amount of electric power, as well as emergency lights.

Nickel-metal hydride battery

Nickel-metal hydride batteries have the same advantages as nickel-cadmium batteries, and they also deliver 1.2V power. They are also compatible with alkaline manganese batteries. They have about twice the power of nickel-cadmium batteries of the same size. Small-size batteries are used in headphone stereos, electric shavers, notebook computers, and similar devices, while medium-size models are used in hybrid vehicles, power assisted bicycles, etc.

Lithium-ion battery

Lithium-ion batteries deliver 3.7V power, about three times the power of nickel-metal hydride batteries, yet they are light and deliver a lot of power. They are used in mobile phones, notebook computers, video cameras, digital cameras, and similar devices. They are the most advanced batteries and are the lifeblood of mobile devices.

Rechargeable, reusable, secondary batteries

Lead-acid battery

Lead-acid batteries have 2V of power per battery, and multiple batteries are connected in a series to deliver 12V of power to automobiles. These batteries are used in automobiles, motorcycles, electric vehicles and motor-driven forklifts. Industrial applications include uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), emergency power for hospitals and public facilities, and they are widely used for many applications as storage batteries.

Alkaline storage battery

These are large-scale nickel-cadmium batteries and are used as emergency power sources for hospitals and similar facilities. They have a relatively longer life when compared to lead-acid batteries.

Other batteries

Solar battery

Solar Battery are devices that convert solar energy into electric energy. They are often used in electric calculators and wristwatches. They are also used for unmanned lighthouses, radio relay stations, and road signs.


Fuel-batteries are electric power generation devices that use the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to produce electric power directly. They are still at the experimental stage; however, they are used for automobile and home-use power generation, and smaller models are used for computers and similar devices.