When it comes to batteries, you have a lot of options to choose from. From button batteries to automotive batteries, variety is not something this industry lacks. Many different terms exist as well, which can cause confusion. Today, we’re going to look at lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries.

How Lithium and Lithium-Ion Batteries Are the Same

Before we get into the differences between these two types of batteries, let’s look at their similarities. In both cases, they provide portable electricity. They function by storing electric charges within their chemical makeup. And when you connect their electrodes, creating a circuit, the charges will flow between the cathode and anode, generating the electrical current that provides power to whatever device is using the battery.

How Lithium and Lithium-Ion Batteries Are Different

While there is a lengthy explanation of how the two types of batteries differ, it mostly comes down to the fact that lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable while lithium batteries are single-use.

If that explanation is sufficient for you, then you’re good to go. If you are still curious about the specific variations between lithium and lithium-ion batteries, we are more than happy to explain.

The most significant variation between lithium and lithium-ion batteries is in the cell type they use. Lithium batteries feature primary cell construction. This means that they are single-use—or non-rechargeable. Ion batteries, on the other hand, feature secondary cell construction. This means that they can be recharged and used over and over again.

Why We Have Both Lithium and Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium batteries were invented before lithium-ion batteries. However, because they could not be safely or easily recharged, companies were motivated to come up with a rechargeable alternative. Enter lithium-ion batteries. These batteries can be recharged many times before they suffer degrading.

So, if lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, why do lithium batteries still exist? Despite not being rechargeable, lithium batteries have a greater capacity than their lithium-ion counterparts. Their higher energy density means they are able to go for longer on a single charge—even if they only ever have one charge in the lifetime. They are also easier to manufacture, and therefore cheaper to purchase; this is because they use lithium metal in their anode, while lithium-ion batteries use many materials to compose their anode. Finally, lithium batteries can sit on the shelf for many years without degrading while lithium-ion batteries are worthless after just three years.

The History of Lithium and Lithium-Ion Batteries

The lithium battery has only been on the market for about four decades, but it’s been in the works since the early 1900s. Chemists first began working on creating the lithium battery back in 1912. However, they struggled to make it stable for consumer use. In the 1970s, they were finally a viable option for the consumer market. From there, it took about two decades for chemists to develop a rechargeable option, the lithium-ion battery, which debuted in 1991. This replaced older types of rechargeable batteries which were heavier and not as efficient.

The Uses for Lithium and Lithium-Ion Batteries

Because both options pack a lot of power relative to their size, many items contain them, including flashlights, toys, laptops, and cell phones. Lithium batteries are favored for items where extended battery life is vital, such as pacemakers, watches, hearing aids, remote control toys, remotes in general, digital cameras, calculators, and smoke detectors. Items that require frequent recharging use lithium-ion batteries, such as smart devices, emergency power backups, recreational vehicles, boats, solar power storage, alarm systems, portable power packs, and wireless medical technology.

Turn to Powertron for All Your Battery Needs

If you are in Southern California, there is only one place to shop for your battery needs: Powertron. Both a retailer and a manufacturer, we have a selection that no other store in the area can beat, as well as prices that work for any budget. We keep numerous types of lithium and lithium-ion batteries in stock, and we can help you determine which one suits your needs.

To learn more about our battery selection and services, including our buy-back program for old batteries, stop in at our store or give us a call at 800-400-4858. With nearly six decades in business, we are confident that we can provide you with the best products and services.