What is a 1.5-Volt Battery? (Chemistry & Types)

You’ve undoubtedly come across 1.5-volt batteries, but do you know about the different forms and types available and their benefits and drawbacks?

1.5-volt batteries are a very common type of easily-available batteries used in various devices and come in two forms: button cells and cylindrical batteries. They can be further divided by dimensions, types, chemistry, whether they are rechargeable or non-rechargeable, and their nominal voltage.

I’ve listed several types for each dimension in which they are available and given details about different types by chemistry as well, in terms of advantages and disadvantages.

Button (or Coin) Cells

alkaline battery
Alkaline button cells

1.5-volt button cells normally come in one of five different dimensions.

I’ve listed them in the table below, along with examples, mentioning the codes used to identify them, from the smallest to the largest.

AlkalineSilver OxideZinc Air
6.8 x 2.1LR621, LR60, AG1SR621, SR621SW, SR60, 164, 364, SG1
6.8 x 2.6LR626, LR66, AG4SR626, SR626SW, SR66, 177, 376, 377, SG4
7.9 x 3.6LR41, LR736, AG3SR41, SR736, SR736PW, SR736SW, SG3, AG3, 192, 384, 392312, ZA312, Brown Tab, PR41, 7002ZD
11.6 x 3.1LR1130, LR1131, LR54, V10GA, AG10SR1130W, SR1130SW, SR1130PW, SR1131, SR54, 189, 387, 389, 390
11.6 x 5.4LR44, 76A, AG13, LR1154, A76SR44W, SR44, SR44SW, 157, 357, 303, SG13, AG13, S76, A76, SR1154675, Blue Tab, ZA675, PR44, 7003ZD

Cylindrical Batteries

different sizes of 1.5v batteries
Video | RODALCO2007

Cylindrical 1.5-volt batteries also come in various dimensions and types.

I’ve listed popular ones in the table below, and examples of types, but the list is not exhaustive.

Dimensions (mm)Types
8.3 x 42.5AAAA, MX2500, Mini, LR8D425, 25A, LR61
10.5 x 44.5AAA, MN2400, MX2400, Micro, LR03, R03
14.5 x 50.5AA, MN1500, MX1500, LR6, R6, 15A, 15D
26.2 x 50C, MN1400, MX1400, 343, U11, LR14, R14, 14A, 14D, E93
34.2 x 61.5D, MN1300, MX1300, LR20, R20, 13A, 13D, Type 373, BA-30

1.5-Volt Batteries

The various types of 1.5-volt batteries available can be distinguished into a few categories by the chemistry used to make them.

Roughly in order of oldest to newest, they are as follows:

  • Zinc Carbon
  • Alkaline
  • Silver Oxide
  • Zinc Air
  • Lithium Ion

Zinc Carbon Batteries

Zinc carbon batteries are old type and non-rechargeable.

Their nominal voltage is 1.5 volts. Although they are cheap and reliable, they are prone to leak, even if not being used. Compared to alkaline batteries, their voltage drops quicker, and they have lower capacity and shorter life.

Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are generally non-rechargeable.

They have a nominal voltage of 1.5 volts. Compared with zinc-carbon batteries, they have higher capacity and energy density, don’t leak as easily, and have a longer shelf life. However, their voltage drops quickly while discharging.

The chemistry of alkaline batteries is found in both button cell and cylindrical forms.

Silver Oxide Batteries

Silver oxide batteries are non-rechargeable.

They have a nominal voltage of 1.55 volts. They are suitable for sensitive instruments because they provide stable voltage, even while discharging. Compared to alkaline batteries, they have a larger capacity, a longer shelf life, and are more leak-proof.

However, they are more expensive than alkaline batteries, so you will normally only see them as button cells.

Zinc Air Batteries

Zinc Air batteries are non-rechargeable.

They have a nominal voltage of 1.4 to 1.45 volts. Compared with alkaline and silver-oxide batteries, they have higher capacities. A disadvantage, however, is that the electrolytes in them dry up too easily, making the batteries dead, whether they are charged or discharged.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable.

However, this chemistry is not normally used for making 1.5-volt batteries, so it should not be included in this list. I only mentioned this type to show that another type of battery is available in the market today.

That said, some 1.5-volt lithium-ion batteries have been manufactured, but they are not used widely because they require 1.5V DC-to-DC converters, which is an additional component and expense. Using one without this extra kit can potentially damage the device. If used, though, lithium-ion batteries provide very stable output.

Battery TypeNominal VoltageChemistryAdvantagesDisadvantages
Zinc Carbon1.5VZinc-CarbonCheap and reliableProne to leakage, voltage drops quickly, lower capacity and shorter life compared to alkaline batteries
Alkaline1.5VAlkaline-Manganese DioxideHigher capacity and energy density, longer shelf life, less prone to leakageVoltage drops quickly while discharging
Silver Oxide1.55VSilver OxideLarger capacity, longer shelf life, more leak-proof, provide stable voltage even while dischargingMore expensive than alkaline batteries, typically only available in button cell form
Zinc Air1.4-1.45VZinc-AirHigher capacity than alkaline and silver oxide batteriesElectrolytes dry up easily, making the battery dead whether charged or discharged
Lithium Ion3.6V (requires DC-to-DC converter for 1.5V)Lithium-IonRechargeable, stable outputExpensive, not widely available in 1.5V form, requires additional DC-to-DC converter which is an added expense

Image and Video References

Varta 1.5 battery: https://www.screwfix.com/

Alkaline Batteries: https://www.pkcell.net/

Lithium (Energizer) Battery: https://www.carrefour.pk/


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About Alex Robertson

c3c9d43f1f0d14c4b73cb686f2c81c4e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.M.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Mechanical Engineering
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Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a co-founder, content strategist, and writer and a close friend of our co-owner, Sam Orlovsky. I received my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (B.M.E.) degree from Denver, where we studied together. My passion for technical and creative writing has led me to help Sam with this project.

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