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Can I Use AA Lithium Batteries Instead of Alkaline-Differences and Replacement?

Can I Use AA Lithium Batteries Instead of Alkaline-Differences and Replacement?

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AA lithium and alkaline batteries are among the leading battery technologies used in devices that use non rechargeable batteries. These two battery technologies have some differences in their design and the materials used to manufacture them. The differences in manufacturing and design are what make these two batteries to differ in efficiency, durability and pricing. 

Choosing any of the two will depend on the type of device you intend to power up using these batteries. For someone who values durability, lithium batteries will be your ideal choice however you may have to pay more. If your budget for the batteries is small, Alkaline batteries are a good alternative to get the job done especially for indoor devices like remotes, wall clocks etc. 

In this article we are going to look at how these two battery technologies differ and whether it is possible to interchange these two batteries without affecting the safety and performance of your device. 

What is the difference between AA lithium batteries and alkaline?

Their chemistry 

Alkaline batteries use Zinc and manganese dioxide to produce electricity. The anode or negative electrode of these batteries is made up of Zinc powder (Zn) and the cathode or positive electrode is made of Manganese dioxide (MnO2). The electrolyte used in these batteries is Potassium hydroxide (KOH). On the other hand, lithium batteries use Lithium or lithium compounds as their anode and lithium metal as the electrolyte. 

The difference in chemistry is what mainly leads to the rest of the differences that include the following; 

"      Lithium batteries are lighter than alkaline batteries which is why there are normally preferred in portable devices like watches. Lithium batteries are light because lithium the main material used is the lightest metal on earth.

"      Lithium batteries are more expensive than Alkaline batteries. The price difference is also attributed to the cost of Lithium which is way more expensive than the Zinc and manganese that are used in alkaline batteries. 

"      Depending on the design, lithium batteries can produce 1.5V or more where as a single cell of AA alkaline batteries produces 1.5V maximum. This means a single Lithium battery cell produces more power than a single alkaline battery cell

"      Lithium batteries also have a longer shelf life than alkaline batteries. This is mainly because lithium batteries have a low self-discharge rate compared to alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries can last 10 to 12 years if kept in cool and dry place. On the other hand, alkaline batteries can last only 5 to 7 years under the same conditions. This may not be a big concern if you intend to use the batteries immediately. 

"      Lithium batteries give better performance in extreme temperature conditions more than alkaline batteries. That is why they are more suitable for outdoor devices like watches and digital cameras. Alkaline batteries tend to degrade faster when used in extreme temperature conditions

"      Alkaline batteries are less toxic than lithium batteries. This makes alkaline batteries safer to the environment than lithium batteries. 

Lithium batteries are clearly a better alternative for many use cases. However alkaline batteries are a cheaper option and also less toxic to the environment. So, if you can afford, lithium batteries are a better option all round. 

Are lithium AA batteries worth it?

Based on the many advantages that lithium batteries have over alkaline batteries. The price difference between the two batteries is justifiable 

First and fore most Lithium batteries are extremely light and will make your life much easier if used in a portable device like a watch. No one would want their watch to feel so heavy on the hand just because of the batteries

The fact that Lithium batteries can work well even in extreme temperature conditions makes them ideal for outdoor usage. For instance, if a photographer is going out in the field to take photos when the sun is hot, they will most likely get more battery life while using lithium batteries than they would with the alkaline batteries. The same is applicable for several other portable devices that are used outside in outdoor conditions. 

Lithium batteries also produce more energy or power than alkaline batteries. If you have a device that needs a lot more energy to function well, your ideal choice should surely be lithium. This is because they are cable of producing way more voltage than alkaline batteries that in the end leads to more energy that you need to power up your device. 

Can you mix AA lithium batteries and alkaline?

Mixing alkaline and lithium batteries will not only reduce performance but is also not safe for the device and the user.

Alkaline and lithium batteries have different designs as far as their internal chemistry is concerned. This leads to a significant variation in the voltage they produce. The difference in voltage is what cause all the issues like overheating of both or one of the batteries when they are used together. Another danger is the higher temperature may also cause the batteries to explode and start leaking. This could permanently damage your device if not handled in time

Mixing up these batteries also increases the rate at which they get used up. This is also related to the temperature increase when two batteries of different chemical design are used together. When the batteries get hot, their overall capacity to produce more energy also reduces. In the end, batteries that are supposed to work for a month or two will work for a couple of weeks and will need replacement. This in the long run increases the cost you incur on batteries which wouldn't be the case if you used one battery technology at a time 

So, it is always best you use one type of battery at a time to avoid facing all the mess associated with mixing up batteries. It is also not a good idea to mix up batteries from different brands or new batteries and old batteries. This is all associated with the differences in the voltage that could bring about high temperatures that has negative effects on the battery. If you want to get the best out of your batteries, ensure they are all new and of the same brand and type. 

 

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