AA battery

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AA cells AA matchstick-1.jpg
AA cells

The AA battery, also called a double A, penlite or Mignon (French for "cute" or "adorable") battery, is a standard size single cell cylindrical dry battery. The IEC 60086 system calls it size R6, and ANSIC18 calls it size 15. [1] It is named UM-3 by JIS of Japan. [2] Historically, it is known as D14 (standard cell) or HP7 (for zinc chloride 'high power' version) in official documentation in the United Kingdom.


AA batteries are common in portable electronic devices. An AA battery is composed of a single electrochemical cell that may be either a primary battery (disposable) or a rechargeable battery. Several different chemistries are used for their construction. The exact terminal voltage, capacity and practical discharge rates depend on cell chemistry; however, devices designed for AA cells will usually only take 1.2-1.5 V unless specified by the manufacturer.

Introduced in 1907 by The American Ever Ready Company, [3] the AA battery size was standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1947, but it had been in use in flashlights and electrical novelties before formal standardization. ANSI and IEC Battery nomenclature gives several designations for cells in this size, depending on cell features and chemistry. Due to their popularity in small flashlights, they are often called "penlight batteries".


D, C, AA, AAA, AAAA cells, and a 9-volt battery 6 most common battery types-1.jpg
D, C, AA, AAA, AAAA cells, and a 9-volt battery

An AA cell measures 49.2–50.5 mm (1.94–1.99 in) in length, including the button terminal—and 13.5–14.5 mm (0.53–0.57 in) in diameter. The positive terminal button should be a minimum 1 mm high and a maximum 5.5 mm in diameter, the flat negative terminal should be a minimum diameter of 7 mm. [1] 14500 Lithium Batteries are longer if they feature a protection circuit up to 53 mm.

Alkaline AA cells have a weight of roughly 23 g (0.81 oz), [4] lithium AA cells around 15 g (0.53 oz), [5] and rechargeable Ni-MH cells around 31 g (1.1 oz). [6]

Chemistry and capacity

Primary cells

Primary (non-rechargeable) zinc–carbon (dry cell) AA batteries have around 400–900 milliampere hours capacity, with measured capacity highly dependent on test conditions, duty cycle, and cut-off voltage. Zinc–carbon batteries are usually marketed as "general purpose" batteries. Zinc-chloride batteries store around 1000 to 1500 mAh are often sold as "heavy duty" or "super heavy duty". Alkaline batteries from 1700 mAh to 2850 mAh cost more than zinc-chloride batteries, but hold additional charge.

Non-rechargeable lithium iron disulfide batteries are manufactured for devices that draw more current, such as digital cameras, where their high cost is offset by longer running time between battery changes and more constant voltage during discharge. The capacity of alkaline batteries is greatly reduced as the discharge current increases, however the capacity of a Li-FeS2 battery is not affected by high discharge currents nearly as much as alkaline batteries. Another advantage of lithium disulfide batteries compared to alkaline batteries is that they are less prone to leak. This is particularly important in expensive equipment, where a leaking alkaline battery can damage the equipment due to the corrosive electrolyte coming into contact with sensitive electronics. Lithium iron disulfide batteries are intended for use in equipment compatible with alkaline zinc batteries. Lithium-iron disulfide batteries can have an open-circuit voltage as high as 1.8 volts but the closed-circuit voltage decreases, making this chemistry compatible with equipment intended for zinc-based batteries. A fresh alkaline zinc battery can have an open-circuit voltage of 1.6 volts, but an Lithium iron-disulfide battery with an open-circuit voltage below 1.7 volts is entirely discharged. [7]

Rechargeable cells

A solar-powered charger for rechargeable AA batteries Solar AA charger 01 Pengo.jpg
A solar-powered charger for rechargeable AA batteries
Panasonic Eneloop 1.2 volt NiMH rechargeable batteries in AA and AAA Eneloop 6420.jpg
Panasonic Eneloop 1.2 volt NiMH rechargeable batteries in AA and AAA

Rechargeable batteries in the AA size are available in multiple chemistries: nickel–cadmium (NiCd) with a capacity of roughly 600–1000 mAh, [8] nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) in various capacities of 600–2750 mAh [9] [10] and lithium-ion. Lithium ion chemistry has a nominal voltage of 3.6–3.7 volts, and are referred to as 14500 Li-ion batteries rather than AA.

NiMH and Lithium Ion AA/14500 cells can supply most of their capacity even when under a high current drain (0.5A and higher), unlike Alkaline and Zinc-chloride("Heavy Duty"/"Super Heavy Duty") cells which drop to a small fraction of their low current capacity before even reaching 1 C. [11] [12] [13] [14]

A variant of the 14500 Li-ion batteries, sold by the Chinese company Kentli as "Kentli PH5" since 2014, comes with an internal buck converter at the positive electrode to downstep the output voltage from the normal 3.7 V to a very consistent (compared to alkaline, NiCd, or even NiMH cells) 1.5 V AA standard voltage. [15] It exposes the normal 3.7 V Li-ion electrode in a ring around the AA electrode for charging. Its more regular voltage provides better drop-in compatibility for alkaline AA devices, and its lithium-ion chemistry provides a lower self-discharge at 3% per month. [16] It holds a mediocre capacity of 1600 mAh (1.5 V) at 50 mA drain, limited by the low efficiency of the step-down converter. [17]

Nickel-zinc cell (NiZn) AAs are also available, but not widely used.


Chemistry IEC nameANSI/NEDA nameNominal voltage (V)Capacity under 50 mA constant drain (mAh)Max. energy at nominal voltage and 50 mA drain (Wh)Rechargeable
Zinc–carbon R615D1.50400–17002.55No
Alkaline LR615A1.501800–2850 [18] 3.90 Some
Li-FeS2 FR615LF1.502700-34005.10No
Li-ion ??R15/50 145003.60–3.70600-840 (1600 mAh at 1.5V)2.88-2.96Yes
NiCd KR615K1.20600-1,0001.20Yes
NiMH HR615H1.20600–2,7503.42Yes
NiZn ZR6?1.60-1.651500-18002.97Yes


In 2011, AA cells accounted for approximately 60% of alkaline battery sales in the United States. In Japan, 58% of alkaline batteries sold were AA, known in that country as tansan (単三). In Switzerland, AA batteries totaled 55% in both primary and secondary (rechargeable) battery sales. [19] [20] [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

Nickel–metal hydride battery type of rechargeable battery

A nickel metal hydride battery, abbreviated NiMH or Ni–MH, is a type of rechargeable battery. The chemical reaction at the positive electrode is similar to that of the nickel–cadmium cell (NiCd), with both using nickel oxide hydroxide (NiOOH). However, the negative electrodes use a hydrogen-absorbing alloy instead of cadmium. A NiMH battery can have two to three times the capacity of an equivalent size NiCd, and its energy density can approach that of a lithium-ion battery.

Nickel–cadmium battery type of rechargeable battery

The nickel–cadmium battery is a type of rechargeable battery using nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. The abbreviation Ni-Cd is derived from the chemical symbols of nickel (Ni) and cadmium (Cd): the abbreviation NiCad is a registered trademark of SAFT Corporation, although this brand name is commonly used to describe all Ni–Cd batteries.

Lithium-ion battery Rechargeable battery type

A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used for portable electronics and electric vehicles and are growing in popularity for military and aerospace applications. A prototype Li-ion battery was developed by Akira Yoshino in 1985, based on earlier research by John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham, Rachid Yazami and Koichi Mizushima during the 1970s–1980s, and then a commercial Li-ion battery was developed by a Sony and Asahi Kasei team led by Yoshio Nishi in 1991.

Rechargeable battery type of electrical battery which can be charged, discharged into a load, and recharged many times; device that stores energy

A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, is a type of electrical battery which can be charged, discharged into a load, and recharged many times, as opposed to a disposable or primary battery, which is supplied fully charged and discarded after use. It is composed of one or more electrochemical cells. The term "accumulator" is used as it accumulates and stores energy through a reversible electrochemical reaction. Rechargeable batteries are produced in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from button cells to megawatt systems connected to stabilize an electrical distribution network. Several different combinations of electrode materials and electrolytes are used, including lead–acid, zinc-air, nickel–cadmium (NiCd), nickel–metal hydride (NiMH), lithium-ion (Li-ion), and lithium-ion polymer.

Alkaline battery Type of battery

An alkaline battery is a type of primary battery which derives its energy from the reaction between zinc metal and manganese dioxide.

AAA battery standard size of dry cell battery

An AAA or triple-A battery is a standard size of dry cell battery commonly used in low-drain portable electronic devices. A zinc–carbon battery in this size is designated by IEC as R03, by ANSI C18.1 as 24, by old JIS standard as UM-4, and by other manufacturer and national standard designations that vary depending on the cell chemistry. The size was first introduced by The American Ever Ready Company in 1911.

A primary cell is a battery that is designed to be used once and discarded, and not recharged with electricity and reused like a secondary cell. In general, the electrochemical reaction occurring in the cell is not reversible, rendering the cell unrechargeable. As a primary cell is used, chemical reactions in the battery use up the chemicals that generate the power; when they are gone, the battery stops producing electricity. In contrast, in a secondary cell, the reaction can be reversed by running a current into the cell with a battery charger to recharge it, regenerating the chemical reactants. Primary cells are made in a range of standard sizes to power small household appliances such as flashlights and portable radios.

D battery size of dry cell

A D battery is a size of dry cell. A D cell is cylindrical with an electrical contact at each end; the positive end has a nub or bump. D cells are typically used in high current drain applications, such as in large flashlights, radio receivers and transmitters and other devices that require an extended running time. A D cell may be either rechargeable or non-rechargeable. Its terminal voltage and capacity depend upon its cell chemistry.

C battery battery format

The C battery is a standard size of dry cell battery typically used in medium-drain applications such as toys, flashlights, and musical instruments.

Lithium battery non-rechargeable battery using lithium metal as anode

Lithium batteries are primary batteries that have metallic lithium as an anode. These types of batteries are also referred to as lithium-metal batteries.

Nine-volt battery form of small battery

The nine-volt battery, or 9-volt battery, is a common size of battery that was introduced for the early transistor radios. It has a rectangular prism shape with rounded edges and a polarized snap connector at the top. This type is commonly used in walkie-talkies, clocks and smoke detectors.

Nickel–zinc battery

A nickel–zinc battery, abbreviated NiZn, is a type of rechargeable battery similar to NiMH batteries, but with a higher voltage of 1.6 V.

Rechargeable alkaline battery variant of the alkaline battery which is designed to be rechargeable

A rechargeable alkaline battery, also known as alkaline rechargeable or rechargeable alkaline manganese (RAM), is a type of alkaline battery that is capable of recharging for repeated use. The first generation rechargeable alkaline batteries were introduced by Union Carbide and Mallory in the early 1970s. Several patents were introduced after Union Carbide's product discontinuation and eventually, in 1986, Battery Technologies Inc of Canada was founded to commercially develop a 2nd generation product based on those patents. Their first product to be licensed out and sold commercially was to Rayovac under the trademark "Renewal". The next year, "Pure Energy" batteries were released by Pure Energy. After reformulating the Renewals to be mercury free in 1995, subsequent licensed RAM alkalines were mercury free and included ALCAVA, AccuCell, Grandcell and EnviroCell. Subsequent patent and advancements in technology have been introduced. The formats include AAA, AA, C, D, and snap-on 9-volt batteries. Rechargeable alkaline batteries are manufactured fully charged and have the ability to hold their charge for years, longer than NiCd and NiMH batteries, which self-discharge. Rechargeable alkaline batteries can have a high recharging efficiency and have less environmental impact than disposable cells.

Button cell small, flat, cylindrical, single-cell battery

A watch battery or button cell is a small single cell battery shaped as a squat cylinder typically 5 to 25 mm in diameter and 1 to 6 mm high — resembling a button. A metal can forms the bottom body and positive terminal of the cell. An insulated top cap is the negative terminal.

CR-V3 battery battery format

A CR-V3 battery is a type of disposable high-capacity 3-Volt battery used in various electronic appliances, including some digital cameras. It has the shape and size of two side-by-side AA batteries. This allows CR-V3 batteries to function in many devices originally designed for only AA batteries. An RCR-V3 battery is a rechargeable 3.7 V lithium-ion battery.

The lithium iron phosphate battery or LFP battery, is a type of lithium-ion battery using LiFePO
as the cathode material, and a graphitic carbon electrode with a metallic backing as the anode. The energy density of LiFePO
is lower than that of lithium cobalt oxide chemistry, and also has a lower operating voltage. The main drawback of LiFePO
is its low electrical conductivity. Therefore, all the LiFePO
cathodes under consideration are actually LiFePO
/C. Because of low cost, low toxicity, well-defined performance, long-term stability, etc. LiFePO
is finding a number of roles in vehicle use, utility scale stationary applications, and backup power.

Eneloop rechargeable battery product line

Eneloop is a brand of 1.2-volt low self-discharge nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries and accessories developed by Sanyo, introduced in 2005.

Electric battery Source of stored electrical energy consisting of one or more chemical cells

A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections for powering electrical devices such as flashlights, mobile phones, and electric cars. When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode. The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that will flow through an external electric circuit to the positive terminal. When a battery is connected to an external electric load, a redox reaction converts high-energy reactants to lower-energy products, and the free-energy difference is delivered to the external circuit as electrical energy. Historically the term "battery" specifically referred to a device composed of multiple cells, however the usage has evolved to include devices composed of a single cell.


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