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Thursday, December 1st, 2022

What Are CR123A Batteries? | Things You Should Know

What Are CR123A Batteries

The CR123A is a lithium-based battery with a nominal voltage of three volts and a high capacity. Used in a variety of military, industrial, medical, and consumer applications, it has ample power and life span to satisfy the power requirements of your device. 

Batteries have revolutionized the way electrically-operated appliances work, enabling us to carry our small devices everywhere. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to batteries. For instance, the CR123A batteries fit the niche of providing power to small devices with high output, such as high tech LED torches. 

They can provide impressive power output for their size and thus, they have made a significant impact in the segment. Let’s take a deep dive and explore how the CR123A batteries found their place in every household in the world! 

All About The CR123A Batteries

All About The CR123A Batteries

The CR123A is a cylindrical lithium battery designed for devices like digital cameras, smart home devices, medical and tactical equipment, to name a few. Its range of applications is broad enough for it to find a place in many aspects of our lives, making it quite popular. 

Think of the CR123A as the C-cell battery, but smaller in size. At 33.4 mm long and with a 17 mm diameter, the CR123A is just small enough to be easily portable. But that’s not to say that it lacks in power! The battery packs a punch and is used in high-tech devices as a result. 

1. Longevity

It’s not out of the ordinary for a battery type to have a wide range of life spans. The longevity of a CR123A 3v lithium battery depends on the device it’s used in and the battery’s manufacturer. An unused, newly-purchased CR123A battery has a shelf-life of 10 years when stored at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When used in low-powered devices like security alarm systems, it can last upwards of a year, while a high-powered torch can drain it within a month.

2. Rechargeability

Being lithium-based, CR123A batteries are not rechargeable, and they must be disposed of once they run dry. The lithium chemistry involved in the creation of these batteries is different from rechargeable ones and thus, you must never attempt to recharge them. If you try to recharge a CR123A battery, it can catch fire and potentially cause serious damage to its surroundings. 

However, you can find rechargeable variants of CR123A batteries on the market like the RCR123A battery. Or opt for batteries that are of the same dimensions such as a 16340-sized battery.

3. Technical Specs

Now, let’s discuss the technical aspects of the CR123A battery. These are 3-volt lithium batteries with a discharge rate of 1.5 to 3 Amperes. Depending on the manufacturer, its nominal capacity can range from 700mAh to 1700mAh, meaning that these batteries can power a 100mAh device for 17 hours or more.

The CR123A batteries can operate in a wide range of temperatures, from -40 degrees F to a smoldering 158 degrees F. Their capability to discharge a high electric current pulse, maintain a high voltage level, high energy density, and safety features are why they’re popular.

4. Variants Of The CR123A

There are several variants of CR123A batteries that have prefixes designating the battery’s make and brand, such as the DL123A from Duracell. Some variations have a different chemical system altogether, making their applications somewhat different from a regular CR123A battery.

A notable variation of the CR123A battery is the CR123, a slightly longer and thinner version of the former that has the same basic capabilities. The difference between CR123 and CR123A batteries comes in the manufacturer’s designation of the product and nothing more.

5. Availability

The CR123A battery is one of the most common lithium battery types available on the market, with a vast number of manufacturers and distributors selling it. Though the battery type is the same across all manufacturers, the reliable performance is not. Depending on its maker, you’ll encounter several CR123A batteries that perform well or poorly, so pick your battery brand carefully.

Comparing CR123A Battery With A CR2 Battery

The CR2 is a more compact battery when compared next to a CR123A battery, being about half as large as an AA battery. Similar to the CR123A, it was first used in digital cameras and photographic equipment while being more portable.

There are a few key similarities between CR123A and CR2 batteries, namely their nominal voltage, lithium chemistry, and non-rechargeable nature. They are both 3-volt lithium batteries that have a shelf-life of 10 years and are used widely.

But the similarities end there, and despite appearing similar at first glance, the differences between the two are quite stark. Let’s examine all the differences between these batteries and find out which one is the better option.

1. Comparing Their Sizes

At 26.7mm long and with a diameter of 15.1mm, the CR2 is smaller than the CR123A battery, which is slightly thicker and longer. Its compact nature makes the CR2 slightly more portable, saving battery space for camera manufacturers. The varied battery length makes it so one cannot replace the other.

2. Measuring Their Capacities

A typical CR2 battery has a capacity ranging from 600 to 900mAh, which is significantly lower than that of a CR123A battery. Contrast with the latter’s 700 to 1,700mAh capacity, which makes it the better option to power a high-output device for longer than the former in most cases.

That said, each battery type is equally as effective as the last, with the differences being limited to their life span.

3. Difference In Applications

Since they are of different sizes, the CR2 and CR123A fulfill different use cases and cannot be used interchangeably. The CR2 is used in military, medical, consumer, and industrial fields, with high performance LED torches and optics being its most prominent military equipment uses. In other fields, it’s used in lamps, cameras, alarms, and other security-related devices.

In similar fields of applications, people often use the CR123A battery for smoke detectors, high-output LED lights, flashlights, weapon lights and portable lighting systems. Being better than the CR2 batteries in most areas, CR123A batteries are used more widely in the same fields. 

So, devices in the fields mentioned above have battery compartments dedicated to CR123A batteries more often.

CR123A Vs CR2 Batteries: The Winner

There are a number of reasons why you would pick the CR123A battery over CR2, being among the larger and more powerful batteries. For starters, the CR123 has a leg up on the CR2 in sheer performance alone, being 60% more powerful than the latter. 

It also draws more current and gives a greater degree of oomph to your device in comparison to the CR2. Because of this, a flashlight powered by CR123A batteries will be brighter than the ones powered by CR2 batteries.

The only reason you would ever want to use CR2 over CR123A is if the device requires smaller batteries.

Can Rechargeable And Non-Rechargeable CR123A Batteries Be Used Interchangeably

Technically, you can use rechargeable CR123A batteries in place of their non-rechargeable counterparts without damaging your device. That said, there is a chance that each type of battery performs at different voltages and capacities, which can harm your device.

If you must use a rechargeable battery in place of a non-rechargeable one, do so only in case of emergencies. Check your device specifications to know more about their compatibility with either battery type.

Closeup of battery. CR123A Batteries Conclusion.

CR123A Batteries Conclusion

Batteries are a single-use resource and one that can run out very quickly, depending on your device. It’s only natural that you’d want them to last as long as possible, eliminating the need to change them out frequently. The CR123A batteries serve as a solution to this concern, as they last longer, are quite powerful and can be used in many appliances. 

You won’t have to look up where to buy CR123A batteries when scouring the market for them. Nearly every battery manufacturer makes these, and most retailers sell them as well, making them a convenient purchase if needed urgently. 

It’s important to note that gadget specs play a large part in what battery type you use. The CR123A can be too powerful for your device even if it fits the dedicated battery slot, so check what kinds of batteries the tool is compatible with. 

For content related to power tools, check out our article titled Can I Use Angle Grinder To Buff Car’ on our website. 

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson is the heart of the team, senior editor and our Head of Product Reviews which means she sets the testing parameters of each group review ensuring that tests resemble everyday use.

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