Rechargeable vs Non-Rechargeable AA Lithium Batteries

Published on: June 8, 2022
Written by Liam Jaxon / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Do you swing to opt-in the rechargeable or non-rechargeable AA lithium batteries? 

It is not easy to select between these two types of batteries. Sometimes it can be frustrating due to their same functions and properties. Without knowing details, you don’t understand which works better or which does not. 

rechargeable vs non-rechargeable aa lithium batteries

However, the main difference between rechargeable and non-rechargeable AA lithium batteries are their charging system, shelf life, cost, and chemistry.  Most rechargeable batteries are costly but reliable for long time uses. On the other hand, non-rechargeable batteries come with a short life but are cheaper & simple to use in the devices. 

To learn depth knowledge of this matter, you would like to see my overall pick in this tutorial. 

Rechargeable AA Lithium Battery

A Rechargeable AA lithium battery is a lightweight and ideal choice for your high-drain gadgets. That means the electronics which ooze lots of energy fast. Keep in mind that on your portable device and cell phone, you can try lithium polymer batteries

The most important thing is that you can easily recharge these kinds of batteries without any hassle. 

Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are a rather reactive metal and a better option to power portable consumer electronics. 

The voltage, capacity, shelf-life, and other features are dependent on the batteries’ chemistry. 

By the way, the basic feature, physical dimensions of the most common lithium rechargeable AA batteries are diameter 14.5 mm or 0.57 inch and length 50.5 mm or 1.99 inches. It is similar to other non-rechargeable batteries. On average, the voltage can be 1.5 volts to  3.0+ volts depending on the chemistry. 

LiMnO2 non-rechargeable 1/2 AA and 14250 batteries come with some outstanding features and advantages. The most common features are nominal capacity between 900 mAh and 1000 mAh, the nominal voltage of 3.0 volts. It is

Here is a chart of the most famous rechargeable AA battery important features, chemistries, and specifications. 

Chemistry General Name Typical Voltage Nominal Capacity 
LiFePO4IFR145003.2 Volts500-750 mAh
Li-ion145003.6 – 3.7 Volts600 – 2000+ mAh
Lithium1.5 Volts 1000-2000+ mAh
NiCdKR6, 1.2K21.2 Volts 600-1000 mAh
NiMHHR6, 1.2H21.2 Volts700 – 2800 mAh
NiZnZR61.6 – 1.65 Volts 1500 – 1800 mAh

Non-Rechargeable AA Lithium Batteries

Non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries are commonly used in low-drain gadgets. These gadgets can be very low power or occasional power for a long time. You can apply these for your remote controls, smoke detectors, or wall clocks. 

The physical dimensions of the non-rechargeable batteries are (14.5 mm ×50.5 mm) or 0.57 inches × 1.99 inches. Depending on the chemistry, their shelf life, nominal voltage, and capacity can be changed.

Chemistry General NameVoltage Nominal Capacity 
AlkalineLR6, 15A1.5 Volts 1800 – 2700 mAh
Zinc CarbonR6, 15D1.5 Volts 600 – 1600 mAh
Li-FeS2FR6, 15LF1.5 Volts or 1.8 Volts 2700 – 3300 mAh
Li-SOCI2145053.5 to 3.6 Volts 2400- 2700 mAh
Li-MnO2CR AA3.0 Volts~2000 mAh
NiMH—-1.5 or 1.7 Volts 2200 – 2700 mAh
Lithium —–1.5 V Volts 1000 – 2000 mAh

Difference Between Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Lithium AA Batteries

The following chart helps you to understand the specific difference between rechargeable vs non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries. 

Definition Rechargeable Lithium AA Batteries Non-rechargeable 
Types of Battery Rechargeable Lithium AA batteries can be nickel-cadmium, lead-acid, and lithium-ion batteries. Non-rechargeable Lithium AA batteries can be Leclanché, zinc-carbon, and alkaline batteries. 
Usage after Completing DischargeThese types of batteries might be reused after completing the charge, once they have been discharged.These batteries might only be completely released or discharged once. The battery is not charged after that and you can not use this again to generate the electric current.
Average CostThe average price of any rechargeable lithium AA battery is higher than the non-rechargeable one. If you can use it long-term, this high rate doesn’t matter.The price of the non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries is cheaper than any rechargeable AA ones. 

Some Lithium AA Batteries 

Depending on the several different chemistries, lithium AA batteries can have different features. At this point, I focus on the most popular chemistries of some lithium batteries. They are Lithium Iron Disulfide (Li-FeS2), Lithium-Ion, Lithium Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2), and Lithium Manganese Dioxide (Li-MnO2) batteries. 

1. Lithium Iron Disulfide (Li-FeS2) AA Non-Rechargeable Batteries 

These non-rechargeable batteries come with a great deal of capacity like 2700 to 3300 mAh, often 3500 to 3600 mAh according to the models. Plus, nominal voltage is 1.5 volts and Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) stands 1.8 volts. 

Li-FeS2 AA chemistry features up to 20 years of shelf life and more than 600 to 800 mA discharge current. This is because you can use the Li-FeS2 AA batteries for high drain devices including flashlights, medical devices, security systems, or others. But LiMnO2 non-rechargeable 14250 batteries have a capacity of 900 to 1000 mAh more than Li-FeS2 AA batteries. 

2. Lithium-Ion AA Rechargeable Batteries 

Lithium-Ion AA Rechargeable batteries feature several chemistries. Where 

Lithium Manganese Oxide batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.6 to 3.7 per cell.  On the other hand, Lithium Manganese Nickel AA batteries offer a strong current but lower capacity. From 3.2 to 3.3 voltage per cell of the chemistry of Lithium Iron Phosphate (IFR, LiFePO4) AA battery. It can increase 3.6 volts. When you observe the Lithium Cobalt Oxide AA battery chemistry, you get higher capacities and higher charging voltage between 3.6 and 4.2 volts. 

3. Lithium Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) AA Non-rechargeable Batteries

These chemistry batteries have an excellent energy density and up to 10 years of shelf life. The nominal voltage is ~3.6 volts as well as the typical capacity of 2400-2700 mAh. Li-SOCl2 AA batteries perform best for various backup and standby applications. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Are the Advantages of Rechargeable AA Lithium Batteries Over Non-Rechargeable Ones?

Rechargeable AA lithium batteries offer significant advantages over non-rechargeable ones. Firstly, the ability of charging lithium batteries multiple times makes them more cost-effective and eco-friendly. They tend to have longer lifespans and can hold their charge for extended periods, making them convenient for various electronic devices.

1. Are Rechargeable Lithium Batteries Better? 

Not only rechargeable, but most of the lithium AA batteries are also of outstanding quality due to their lithium-ion counterparts. Their higher energy & power density helps them stay longer. With a single charge, some rechargeable batteries can work in their lifetime. 

2. How Long Do Rechargeable AA Lithium Batteries Last?

Rechargeable AA lithium batteries typically last between 500-1000 charge cycles, depending on usage and brand. However, their shelf life can also be affected by storage conditions and can last up to 10 years if stored properly.

3. Are All AA Lithium Batteries Rechargeable?

All AA lithium batteries are not rechargeable but the most common lithium batteries, lithium-ion, and 18650 are rechargeable. Some non-rechargeable lithium batteries are also great for use in devices. For example, Lithium Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) AA non-rechargeable batteries have a nominal capacity of 2400-2700 mAh and a nominal voltage of ~3.6 volts. 

4. What Happens if You Charge Non-Rechargeable Lithium Batteries? 

You know, all of the lithium batteries are not rechargeable. Some are non-rechargeable, also called primary cell batteries. Don’t try to charge or recharge these kinds of batteries. If you charge your non-rechargeable battery, it can be damaged or drain the cells. Even their primary cell will heat up when you place a charger on the battery. 

5. Do Rechargeable Batteries Last as Long as Lithium? 

Lithium batteries are high charge density batteries so they don’t need to be recharged once empty. These primary cell batteries are capable of holding more power than the other rechargeable batteries. Some rechargeable batteries last as long as lithium batteries. 

What Are the Benefits of Using Rechargeable Aa Lithium Batteries Over Non-rechargeable Ones?

  1. Cost-effective in the long run
  2. Higher capacity and longer lifespan
  3. Consistent performance
  4. Lighter weight and smaller size
  5. Wide temperature range and low self-discharge rate
  6. Eco-friendly alternative to disposable batteries.

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, rechargeable and non-rechargeable lithium AA batteries are good for use in multiple devices though they are not the same. According to your device recommendation, you can apply to anyone. Remember, rechargeable lithium AA batteries are relatively better than non-rechargeable. 

Several chemistries provide you with many different volts. If your requirement is a rechargeable battery, you will go through the 1.5V lithium battery. Alternatively, a 1.5V lithium AA battery is the best non-rechargeable AA battery although there are available rechargeable and non-rechargeable AA battery chemistries.

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About This Writer

liam jaxon author pic

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

Hi, I am responsible for the 'Homeowners Power Solutions' category. My name is Liam Jaxon and a licensed technician with 7 years of experience in vehicle batteries, electrical gadgets, and home appliances. My working experience in different residential & light commercial electrical sectors and the automobile industry helped to acquire vast knowledge in this industry.

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