D Cell Battery - Replacements and Equivalents

D cell battery is cylindrical battery introduced in 1898 and used in variety of high-drain applications including flashlights, toys, radio receivers and transmitters, medical devices, security systems etc.

Most common label for this battery is 'D-cell', but others labels are used as well, like 'flashlight battery', MN1300, MX1300, LR20, R20, 13A, 13D, Type 373, BA-30 etc.

d cell ebl

D-cell battery dimensions are 34.2 × 61.5 mm (1.35 × 2.42 inches) and are one of the largest cylindrical batteries in common use - F-cells are larger that D-cells, but they are not as common as D-cells.

Capacity, voltage, output current, and other features greatly depend on the battery chemistry. The list of most common chemistries are given in the following chart:

Chemistry Zinc-Carbon Alkaline NiCd NiMH
Typical Label R20, 13D LR20, 13A KR20 HR20, B006
Rechargeable No No (Mostly No) Yes Yes
Typical Capacity 8 Ah 12-18 Ah 2-6 Ah 8-12 Ah
Nominal Voltage 1.5 V 1.5 V 1.2 V 1.2 V

Non-rechargeable D-cells based on the iron disulfide (Li-FeS2) chemistry are not yet widely in use, at least not as D-cells, although they offer nominal voltage of 1.5 volts (up to 1.8 open circuit voltage), ultra long storage time (10-20 years), and higher capacity, especially in high-drain applications.

Other non-rechargeable D-cell chemistries include zinc-carbon and alkaline batteries, while NiOOH and NiZn are far from being seen in this battery size.

d cell duracellZinc-Carbon D-cells feature typical capacity of around 8 Ah (8000 mAh) with the nominal voltage of 1.5 volts.

Zinc-carbon D-cells feature shelf life of 3-5 years, and they are fairly cheap and reliable. However, alkaline cells come with much improved features than zinc-carbon cells.

Alkaline D-cells cost slightly more than zinc-carbon batteries but have much larger capacity (12-18 Ah, vs 8 Ah), have similar nominal voltage of 1.5 volts and have shelf life of 5-10+ years.

Note that actual capacity of these batteries greatly depends on the discharge current - some battery brands claim 20+ Ah capacity for their D-cells, however, such capacities are achieved while the batteries are being drained with very low currents (15-30 mAh).

Rechargeable D-cells are mostly NiCd and NiMH batteries.

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) D-cell batteries are rarely used due to the presence of cadmium, heavy metal that is strong pollutant.

NiCd batteries suffer from memory effect, relatively high self-discharge rate, have nominal voltage of 1.2 volts and typical capacity of 2-6 Ah. NiCd batteries can withstand several hundreds charging-discharging cycles, when being maintained properly and charged with intelligent chargers that monitor the condition of the batteries.

But, NiCd batteries are known as batteries that are able to provide high currents, with some NiCd D-cell batteries being able to easily provide 50+ Amps.

d cell ebl ni mhNickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) D-cell batteries feature similar output voltage like NiCd batteries of 1.2 volts, but they have larger capacity (8-12 Ah), they don't contain heavy metals like cadmium or mercury, their self-discharge rate is much lower and are able to withstand up to 1000-1200 charge/discharge cycles.

Some of the NiMH batteries are optimized for high-drain applications and feature lower capacity, while low-drain batteries feature higher capacity.

On average, NiMH D-cell capacity is around 10 Ah.

Modern NiMH batteries come with features that outperform NiCd batteries in almost every way and are preferred battery chemistry for rechargeable D-cells - and not only D-cells.


Long Story Short: If you are looking for non-rechargeable D-cell batteries, go for alkaline D-cells from reputable brands - they provide best balance between capacity, output current, voltage stability and of course, the price.

If you are looking for rechargeable D-cells, go for NiMH D-cells just be sure for what kind of applications they are going to be used. Balanced NiMH D-cells feature 1.2 volts nominal voltage and 10Ah capacity, but they should be charged with battery chargers intended for such batteries.