Lithium 14500 Battery - Equivalents and Replacements
Lithium 14500 battery is a rechargeable lithium battery being able to withstand a large number of charging/discharging cycles and to provide relatively strong currents.
Lithium 14500 batteries are commonly used in high-drain devices like flashlights, photo equipment, medical and security devices, and similar.
14500 Battery Features and Specifications
14500 battery features physical dimensions of (D x H) 14 x 53 mm (~0.551 x 2.087 inches), while nominal voltage, nominal capacity, charging/discharging currents depend on the exact battery chemistry:
- Lithium Manganese Oxide (IMR, LiMn204) 14500 battery chemistry feature a nominal voltage of 3.6 - 3.7 V per cell, with a maximum, recommended charging voltage of 4.2 V. IMR 14500 batteries commonly have a smaller capacity but are capable of delivering stronger currents.
- Lithium Manganese Nickel (INR, LiNiMnCoO2) 14500 battery chemistry is very similar to IMR 14500 battery chemistry and they both can provide strong currents, with slightly lower capacity.
- Lithium Iron Phosphate (IFR, LiFePO4) 14500 battery chemistry feature a nominal voltage of 3.2 - 3.3 V per cell, with the maximum, recommended charging voltage of 3.5 - 3.6 V.
Although IFR 14500 batteries feature somewhat smaller voltage and even capacity, they are the safest lithium battery chemistry and are often used in applications where batteries must operate properly in adverse conditions, like rechargeable solar batteries and similar.
- Lithium Cobalt Oxide (ICR, LiCoO2) 14500 battery chemistry feature a nominal voltage of 3.6 - 3.7 V per cell, with the maximum, recommended charging voltage of 4.2 V. They commonly have higher capacities, but maximum allowed currents are often limited to just a few C.
On average, 14500 batteries feature a capacity of 600-2000+ mAh and a nominal voltage of 3.2 - 3.7 volts.
Also, they support a large number of charging/discharging cycles, especially when the battery comes with an internal Battery Management System (BMS) that protects ("protected" 14500 batteries) the battery from unwanted situations like high/low temperature, high/low voltage, short circuit, and similar.
However, protected or not, 14500 batteries should be recharged using dedicated lithium battery chargers intended for 14500 batteries.
Some 14500 batteries are intended for high-drain applications and generally feature smaller capacity, but are able to provide 10-20+ Amps, at least for short periods of time, while low-drain 14500 batteries feature higher capacity, but are able to provide 2-5 Amps max. currents.
Note: some 14500 batteries feature built-in BMS with a charging system via USB cables.
Such batteries may be recharged using any available USB charging port (wall charger with USB ports, USB port from laptops, and similar).
Another interesting option is the 14500 battery with the built-in USB plug, allowing the users to directly charge the battery from any available USB charging port.
Built-in BMS, micro-USB charging port, or even USB plug require some volume, decreasing the capacity of the 14500 battery that comes with such features.
Personally, every lithium rechargeable battery should have BMS ("protected battery"), while other features are welcome only if explicitly required by the users. IMHO, of course.
Lithium 14500 Battery vs AA Battery
Both 14500 battery and AA battery feature very similar dimensions:
- 14500 battery (D x H): 14 x 53 mm,
- AA battery (D x H): 14.5 x 50.5 mm.
In many situations, the 14500 battery is labeled as a rechargeable lithium AA battery. However, both 14500 and AA batteries come in several chemistries:
|Chemistry||Common Name||Rechargeable||Typical Capacity (mAh)||Voltage (V)
|Zinc Carbon||R6, 15D||No||600 - 1600||1.5|
|Alkaline||LR6, 15A||No (Mostly No)||1800 - 2700||1.5|
|Li-FeS2||FR6, 15LF||No||2700 - 3300||1.5 (1.8 max)|
|Li-ion||14500||Yes||600 - 2000+||3.6 - 3.7|
|NiCd||KR6, 1.2K2||Yes||600 - 1000||1.2|
|NiMH||HR6, 1.2H2||Yes||700 - 2800||1.2|
|NiOOH||-||No||2200 - 2700||1.5 (1.7 max)|
|NiZn||ZR6||Yes||1500 - 1800||1.6 - 1.65|
As one can see, AA batteries feature a nominal voltage of ~1.5V, rechargeable AA batteries (NiMH or NiCd) of 1.2V, while 14500 batteries feature a nominal capacity of 3.2-3.7 volts.
Also, the capacity of these batteries greatly depends on the battery chemistry, battery age, storage/usage temperature, drain currents, etc.
Note: some brands offer lithium rechargeable AA batteries that feature a nominal voltage of 1.5V and nominal capacity of up to or even more than 3000 mAh - these batteries are based on one of the lithium-ion chemistries, but they feature DC-DC converters and provide very stable 1.5V output voltage. Such 1.5V rechargeable AA batteries are directly compatible with non-rechargeable 1.5V AA batteries.
Obviously, due to the voltage difference between AA and 14500 batteries, these batteries are not directly compatible.
But, some devices, mostly AA flashlights support the use of both AA and 14500 batteries - non-rechargeable AA batteries are recommended for flashlights that are used only occasionally (go for high-quality, low self-discharge AA batteries), while 14500 batteries are recommended for flashlights that are used often.
14500 Battery vs 14250 Battery
14500 and 14250 batteries feature the same diameter (14 mm), but the 14250 battery is practically half the length of the 14500 battery (25 vs 53 mm). Because of its dimensions, the 14250 battery is also labeled as a rechargeable lithium 1/2AA battery.
Both 14500 and 14250 batteries may feature the same chemistry - IMR, INR, IFR, ICR, or some other lithium rechargeable battery chemistry.
Hence, they may have the same voltage, but the 14250 battery on average has half the capacity of the 14500 battery.
In some applications/devices, a single 14500 battery may be replaced with 2 (two) 14250 batteries, despite the new battery pack having twice the voltage.
Of course, this may be done ONLY if explicitly allowed by the device's manufacturer. Otherwise, the voltage difference may damage or even destroy the used device.
Long Story Short: Lithium 3.2-3.7V rechargeable 14500 batteries are able to withstand a large number of charging/discharging cycles, they are relatively lightweight batteries, can provide relatively strong currents, offer good capacity, etc.
If You are looking for 14500 batteries, go for the batteries from reputable brands that have been already tried and tested by countless users in many real-life situations.