Standard battery nomenclature describes portable dry cell batteries that have physical dimensions and electrical characteristics interchangeable between manufacturers. The long history of disposable dry cells means that many different manufacturer-specific and national standards were used to designate sizes, long before international standards were reached. Technical standards for battery sizes and types are set by standards organizations such as International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Popular sizes are still referred to by old standard or manufacturer designations, and some non-systematic designations have been included in current international standards due to wide use.
The complete nomenclature for the battery will fully specify the size, chemistry, terminal arrangements and special characteristics of a battery. The same physically interchangeable cell size may have widely different characteristics; physical interchangeability is not the sole factor in substitution of batteries.
National standards for dry cell batteries have been developed by ANSI, JIS, British national standards, and others. Civilian, commercial, government and military standards all exist. Two of the most prevalent standards currently in use are the IEC 60086 series and the ANSI C18.1 series. Both standards give dimensions, standard performance characteristics, and safety information.
Modern standards contain both systematic names for cell types that give information on the composition and approximate size of the cells, as well as arbitrary numeric codes for cell size.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was established in France in 1906 and co-ordinates development of standards for a wide range of electrical products. The IEC maintains two committees, TC21 established in 1933 for rechargeable batteries, and TC35 established in 1948 for primary batteries, to develop standards. The current designation system was adopted in 1992. Battery types are designated with a letter/number sequence indicating number of cells, cell chemistry, cell shape, dimensions, and special characteristics. Certain cell designations from earlier revisions of the standard have been retained.
The first IEC standards for battery sizes were issued in 1957. Since 1992, International standard IEC 60086 defines an alphanumeric coding system for batteries. British standard 397 for primary batteries was withdrawn and replaced by the IEC standard in 1996.
Standardization of batteries in the United States started in 1919, when the US National Bureau of Standards published recommended test procedures and standard dimensions of cells. American standards were revised several times during the following decades, as new sizes of cells were introduced and new chemistry developed, including chloride, alkaline, mercury and rechargeable types.
The first American Standards Association (predecessor to ANSI) standard C18 appeared in 1928. It listed cell sizes using a letter code, roughly in order of size from smallest (A) to larger types. The only numerical designation was the 6-inch tall "No. 6" cell. The 1934 edition of the C18 standard expanded the nomenclature system to include series and parallel arrays of cells. In 1954, mercury batteries were included in the standard. The 1959 edition identified types suitable for use with transistor radios. In 1967, NEMA took over responsibility for development from the National Bureau of Standards. The 12th edition of C18 began to be harmonized with the IEC standard. Rechargeable batteries were introduced in the C18 standard in 1984, and lithium types were standardized in 1991.
In 1999 the ANSI standards were extensively revised and separate safety standards provided. The current edition of the ANSI standards designates sizes with an arbitrary number, with a prefix letter to designate shape, and with a suffix letter or letters to identify different chemistry, terminals, or other features.
Three different technical committees of IEC make standards on batteries: TC21(lead-acid), SC21(other secondary) and TC35(primary). Each group has published standards relating to the nomenclature of batteries - IEC 60095 for lead-acid starter batteries, IEC 61951-1 and 61951-2 for Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries, IEC 61960 for Li-ion, and IEC 60086-1 for primary batteries.
Examples of the IEC nomenclature are batteries coded R20, 4R25X, 4LR25-2, 6F22, 6P222/162, CR17345 and LR2616J. The letters and numbers in the code indicate the number of cells, cell chemistry, shape, dimensions, the number of parallel paths in the assembled battery and any modifying letters deemed necessary. A multi-section battery (two or more voltages from the same package) will have a multi-section designation.
Prior to October 1990, round cells were designated with a sequential numeric size code ranging from R06 through to R70, for example R20 is the size of a "D" cell or ANSI"13" size. After October 1990, round cells are systematically identified with a number derived from their diameter and height. Primary cells larger than 100 mm in diameter or height are designated with an oblique "/" between diameter and height.
|Designation||Series Cells||System||Shape||Standardized code or diameter code||Diameter modifier||Height code||Height adjustment modifier||Modifier(s)||Parallel strings||Remarks|
|R20||R||20||A single zinc-carbon torch cell. Size 20 which is equivalent to D, or ANSI "13" size|
|4R25X||4||R||25||X||A zinc-carbon lantern battery. Consisting of 4 round size 25 cells in series. Terminated with spring terminals.|
|4LR25-2||4||L||R||25||2||An alkaline lantern battery. Consisting of 2 parallel strings of 4 round size 25 cells in series.|
|6F22||6||F||22||A zinc-carbon rectangular battery. Consisting of 6 flat size 22 cells. Equivalent to a PP3 or transistor battery.|
|6P222/162||6||P||222||162||A zinc-carbon battery. Maximum dimensions: length 192 mm, width 113 mm, and height 162 mm. Consisting of 6 cells in series.|
|CR17345||C||R||17||345||A single-cell round lithium cell. 17 mm diameter, 34.5 mm height.|
|LR2616J||L||R||26||16||J||A single-cell round alkaline battery, 26.2 mm diameter, 1.67 mm height.|
|LR8D425||L||R||8.5||D||42.5||A single-cell round alkaline battery, 8.8 mm diameter (8.5 +0.3 for modifier) and 42.5 mm long, AAAA or ANSI "25" size.|
The first letter identifies the chemical composition of the battery, which also implies a nominal voltage.
It is common to refer to the negative electrode first in IEC battery definitions.
|Negative electrode||Electrolyte||Positive electrode||Nominal
circuit voltage (V)
|(none)||Zinc||Ammonium chloride, Zinc chloride||Manganese dioxide||1.5||1.725||Zinc-carbon battery|
|A||Zinc||Ammonium chloride, Zinc chloride||Oxygen||1.4||1.55||Zinc-air battery|
|B||Lithium||Organic electrolyte||Carbon monofluoride||3.0||3.7||Lithium battery|
|C||Lithium||Organic electrolyte||Manganese dioxide||3.0||3.7|
|E||Lithium||Non-aqueous inorganic electrolyte||Thionyl chloride||3.6||3.9|
|F||Lithium||Organic electrolyte||Iron disulfide||1.5||1.83|
|G||Lithium||Organic electrolyte||Copper(II) oxide||1.5||2.3|
|L||Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Manganese dioxide||1.5||1.65||Alkaline battery|
|Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Mercuric oxide||1.35||Mercury battery|
|Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Mercuric oxide, manganese dioxide||1.4|
|P||Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Oxygen||1.4||1.68||Zinc-air battery|
|S||Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Silver oxide||1.55||1.63||Silver-oxide battery|
|Z||Zinc||Alkali metal hydroxide||Manganese dioxide, nickel oxyhydroxide||1.5||1.78||Nickel oxyhydroxide battery|
Italics indicate a chemical system unlikely to be found in consumer or general-purpose batteries, or withdrawn from the current standard.
Shape codes are:
The F and S shape codes are still in use but are not to be used for new battery definitions.
Certain sizes, given by one or two digit numbers, represent standard size codes from previous editions of the standard. Sizes given as 4 or more digits indicate the diameter of the battery and the overall height.
The numbers in the code correlate with the battery dimensions. For batteries with dimensions of < 100 mm the (truncated) diameter in millimetres, followed by the height in tenths of a millimetre; for batteries with a single dimension ≥ 100 mm the diameter in millimetres, then a slash (/) followed by the height in millimetres.
As well as the recommended size code definitions there are also ten modifying suffix letters that can be added to the end of the specific size code. These run from A to L (omitting F and I) and depending on the largest dimension of the battery can either signify 0.0 – 0.9 mm maximum dimensions or 0.00 – 0.09 mm maximum dimensions with A being 0.0 or 0.00 and L being 0.9 or 0.09.
For flat cells the diameter code is given as the diameter of a circle circumscribed around the whole cell's area.
Standardized size codes for round batteries which do not follow the current nomenclature but have been retained for ease of use are given by a one or two digit number following the R. These include but are not limited to: 
Round button batteries also carry two-digit size codes such as R44, see the button battery table for typical dimensions. Other round, flat, and square sizes have been standardized but are used mostly for components of multi-cell batteries.
The following is a partial list of IEC standard recommended diameter and height codes for round cells:
After the package size code(s), additional letters may optionally appear. Terminal styles and variants of the same battery can be designated with the letters X or Y. Performance levels may also be designated with a C, P, S, CF, HH, or HB or other letter suffixes. An appended letter "W" states that this battery complies with all the requirements of the IEC 60086-3 standard for watch batteries, such as dimensional tolerance, chemical leakage, and test methods.
Nickel-cadmium and Nickel-metal hydride batteries follow a similar rule as the system above; especially cylindrical cells designed to be dimensionally interchangeable with primary batteries use the same designation as the primary batteries, the codes for electrochemical systems as below.
|Negative electrode||Positive electrode||Nominal
|H||Hydrogen absorbing alloy||Nickel oxide||1.2||Nickel-metal hydride battery|
|K||Cadmium||Nickel oxide||1.2||Nickel-cadmium battery|
All other cells use the following system.
Lithium-ion batteries have a different rule for naming, which applies both to batteries of multiple cells and single cell. They will be designated as:
where N1 denotes number of series connected cells and N5 denotes number of parallel connected cells (only when the number is greater than 1); these numbers only apply to batteries.
A1 indicates the basis of negative electrode phase, where I is for lithium ion and L is for lithium metal or alloy.
A2 indicates the basis of positive electrode phase, and could be C, N, M, V or T for cobalt, nickel, manganese, vanadium and titanium respectively.
A3 is for the shape of the cell; either R for cylinder and P for prism.
N2 is the maximum diameter (in case of cylindrical cells) or thickness (prismatic cells) in mm.
N3 is only used for prismatic cells to denote the maximum width in mm.
N4 is the maximum overall height in mm.
(For any of the lengths above, if the dimension is smaller than 1 mm it can be written as tN, where N is tenths of mm)
E.g. ICR19/66, ICPt9/35/48, 2ICP20/34/70, 1ICP20/68/70-2
Early editions of the ANSI standard used a letter code to identify the dimensions of the cell. Since at the time there were only carbon-zinc cells, no suffix letters or other notation were required. The letter system was introduced in the 1924 edition of the standard, with letters A through J assigned approximately in order of increasing cell volume, for cells typically manufactured at that time. By 1934, the system had been revised and extended to 17 sizes ranging from NS at 7⁄16 inch diameter by 3⁄4 inch height, through size J at 1 3⁄4 inches diameter by 5 7⁄8 inches high, to the largest standard cell which retained its old designation of No. 6 and which was 2 1⁄2 inches in diameter and 6 inches high.
The current edition of the standard uses a numerical code to show the cell size. Common round cell sizes are:
Since these IEC and ANSI battery standards have been harmonized, for example, an R20 cell will have the same dimensions as an ANSI 13 cell.
Flat cells, used as components of multi-cell batteries, have an F prefix and a series of numbers to identify sizes. Coin cells were assigned size codes in the 5000 range.
Secondary cells using systems H and K (nickel-metal hydride and nickel-iron sulfide) have a separate series of size codes, but the cells are dimensionally interchangeable with primary cells.
The electrochemical system and performance information is given in suffix letters.
|Letter||Significance||IEC system letter|
|CD||carbon zinc industrial, heavy duty|
|D||carbon zinc, heavy duty|
||carbon zinc, general purpose|
|H||nickel metal hydride
|mercuric oxide||M |
|SOP||silver oxide photographic|
|ZD||zinc-air, heavy duty|
The AAAA battery (usually read as quadruple-A) is 42.5 mm long and 8.3 mm in diameter. The alkaline cell weighs around 6.5 g and produces 1.5 V. This size battery is also classified as R8D425 (IEC) and 25 (ANSI/NEDA). The alkaline battery in this size is also known by Duracell type number MN2500 or MX2500 and Energizer type number E96.
Historically its consumer electronics use was very limited, and only since the 2010s has it made its appearance in the stores where one would buy its more common AAA relative.AAA battery
An AAA or triple-A battery is a standard size of dry cell battery commonly used in low-drain portable electronic devices. A zinc–carbon battery in this size is designated by IEC as "R03", by ANSI C18.1 as "24", by old JIS standard as "UM 4", and by other manufacturer and national standard designations that vary depending on the cell chemistry.
A triple-A battery is a single cell and measures 10.5 mm (0.41 in) in diameter and 44.5 mm (1.75 in) in length, including the positive terminal button, which is a minimum 0.8 mm (0.031 in). The positive terminal has a maximum diameter of 3.8 mm (0.15 in); the flat negative terminal has a minimum diameter of 4.3 mm (0.17 in). Alkaline AAA batteries weigh around 11.5 grams (0.41 oz), while primary lithium AAA batteries weigh about 7.6 g (0.27 oz). Rechargeable nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) AAA batteries typically weigh 14–15 g (0.49–0.53 oz).AA battery
The AA battery also called a double A or Mignon (French for "cute" or "adorable") battery is a standard size single cell cylindrical dry battery. The IEC 60086 system calls it size R6, and ANSIC18 calls it size 15. Historically, it is known as SP7 (Standard Power 7) or HP7 (High Power 7) in official documentation in the United Kingdom.
AA batteries are common in portable electronic devices. An AA battery is composed of a single electrochemical cell that may be either a primary battery (disposable) or a rechargeable battery. The exact terminal voltage and capacity of an AA size battery depend on cell chemistry; however, devices designed for AA will usually only take 1.5 V unless specified by the manufacturer.
Introduced in 1907, the AA battery size was standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1947, but it had been in use in flashlights and electrical novelties before formal standardization. ANSI and IEC Battery nomenclature gives several designations for cells in this size, depending on cell features and chemistry.Alkaline battery
An alkaline battery (IEC code: L) is a type of primary battery which derives its energy from the reaction between zinc metal and manganese dioxide.
Compared with zinc-carbon batteries of the Leclanché cell or zinc chloride types, alkaline batteries have a higher energy density and longer shelf-life, with the same voltage.
The alkaline battery gets its name because it has an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide, instead of the acidic ammonium chloride or zinc chloride electrolyte of the zinc-carbon batteries. Other battery systems also use alkaline electrolytes, but they use different active materials for the electrodes.
Alkaline batteries account for 80% of manufactured batteries in the US and over 10 billion individual units produced worldwide. In Japan alkaline batteries account for 46% of all primary battery sales. In Switzerland alkaline batteries account for 68%, in the UK 60% and in the EU 47% of all battery sales including secondary types. Alkaline batteries contain Zinc and Manganese dioxide (Health codes 1), which can be toxic in higher concentrations. However, compared to other battery types, the toxicity of alkaline batteries is moderate. Alkaline batteries are used in many household items such as MP3 players, CD players, digital cameras, pagers, toys, lights, and radios.Battery (vacuum tube)
In the early days of electronics, vacuum tube (called valves in British contexts) devices (such as radios) were powered by batteries. Each battery had a different designation depending on which vacuum tube element it was associated with.
Initially, the only such device was a diode with only a filament (cathode) and a plate (anode). Following the direction of electron flow, these electrodes were identified as "A" and "B", respectively and thus the associated batteries were referred to as the "A" battery and "B" battery, respectively. Later, when the control grid element was added to create the triode tube, it was logically assigned the letter "C" and supplied from a "C" battery. Subsequent addition of further internal elements to improve the performance of the triode did not require an extension to this series of batteries – these elements were either resistively-biased from the existing batteries, connected to ground or to the cathode.
This nomenclature was used primarily within North America. Different battery names were used elsewhere in the English speaking world.Battery holder
A battery holder is one or more compartments or chambers for holding a battery. For dry cells, the holder must also make electrical contact with the battery terminals. For wet cells, cables are often connected to the battery terminals, as is found in automobiles or emergency lighting equipment.
A battery holder is either a plastic case with the shape of the housing moulded as a compartment or compartments that accepts a battery or batteries, or a separate plastic holder that is mounted with screws, eyelets, glue, double-sided tape, or other means. Battery holders may have a lid to retain and protect the batteries or may be sealed to prevent damage to circuitry and components from battery leakage. Coiled spring wire or flat tabs that press against the battery terminals are the two most common methods of making the electrical connection inside a holder. External connections on battery holders are usually made by contacts with pins, surface mount feet, solder lugs, or wire leads.
Where the battery is expected to last over the life of the product, no holder is necessary, and a tab welded to the battery terminals can be directly soldered to a printed circuit board.Bunsen cell
The Bunsen cell is a zinc-carbon primary cell (colloquially called a "battery") composed of a zinc anode in dilute sulfuric acid separated by a porous pot from a carbon cathode in nitric or chromic acid.C battery
The 'C' battery (or R14 battery) is a standard size of dry cell battery typically used in medium-drain applications such as toys, flashlights, and musical instruments.
As of 2007, C batteries accounted for 4% of alkaline primary battery sales in the United States. In Switzerland as of 2008, C batteries totalled 5.4% of primary battery sales and 3.4% of secondary battery sales.D battery
A D battery (D cell or IEC R20) is a size of dry cell. A D cell is cylindrical with an electrical contact at each end; the positive end has a nub or bump. D cells are typically used in high current drain applications, such as in large flashlights, radio receivers and transmitters, boomboxes, products with electric motors, safety systems, Geiger counters, megaphones, or other applications that require an extended running time. A D cell may be either rechargeable or non-rechargeable. Its terminal voltage and capacity depend upon its cell chemistry.
The National Carbon Company introduced the first D cell in 1898. Before smaller cells became more common, D cells were widely known as flashlight batteries. The U.S. military designation for this battery has been BA-30 since sometime before World War II. During World War II it was designated the Type C battery by the Navy leading to confusion with the smaller C cell battery (BA-42).
In 2007, D batteries accounted for 8% of alkaline primary battery sales (numerically) in the US. In 2008, Swiss purchases of D batteries amounted to 3.4% of primary and 1.4% of secondary sales.Electric battery
A battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, smartphones, and electric cars. When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode. The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that will flow through an external electric circuit to the positive terminal. When a battery is connected to an external electric load, a redox reaction converts high-energy reactants to lower-energy products, and the free-energy difference is delivered to the external circuit as electrical energy. Historically the term "battery" specifically referred to a device composed of multiple cells, however the usage has evolved to include devices composed of a single cell.Primary (single-use or "disposable") batteries are used once and discarded; the electrode materials are irreversibly changed during discharge. Common examples are the alkaline battery used for flashlights and a multitude of portable electronic devices. Secondary (rechargeable) batteries can be discharged and recharged multiple times using an applied electric current; the original composition of the electrodes can be restored by reverse current. Examples include the lead-acid batteries used in vehicles and lithium-ion batteries used for portable electronics such as laptops and smartphones.
Batteries come in many shapes and sizes, from miniature cells used to power hearing aids and wristwatches to small, thin cells used in smartphones, to large lead acid batteries or lithium-ion batteries in vehicles, and at the largest extreme, huge battery banks the size of rooms that provide standby or emergency power for telephone exchanges and computer data centers.
According to a 2005 estimate, the worldwide battery industry generates US$48 billion in sales each year, with 6% annual growth.
Batteries have much lower specific energy (energy per unit mass) than common fuels such as gasoline. In automobiles, this is somewhat offset by the higher efficiency of electric motors in converting chemical energy to mechanical work, compared to combustion engines.List of battery types
This page is a list of notable battery types grouped by types of battery.Mercury battery
A mercury battery (also called mercuric oxide battery, or mercury cell) is a non-rechargeable electrochemical battery, a primary cell. Mercury batteries use a reaction between mercuric oxide and zinc electrodes in an alkaline electrolyte. The voltage during discharge remains practically constant at 1.35 volts, and the capacity is much greater than that of a similarly sized zinc carbon battery. Mercury batteries were used in the shape of button cells for watches, hearing aids, cameras and calculators, and in larger forms for other applications.
For a time during and after World War II, batteries made with mercury became a popular power source for portable electronic devices. Due to the content of toxic mercury and environmental concerns about its disposal, the sale of mercury batteries is now banned in many countries. Both ANSI and IEC have withdrawn their standards for mercury batteries.Nine-volt battery
The nine-volt battery, or 9-volt battery, is a common size of battery that was introduced for the early transistor radios. It has a rectangular prism shape with rounded edges and a polarized snap connector at the top. This type is commonly used in walkie-talkies, clocks and smoke detectors.
The nine-volt battery format is commonly available in primary carbon-zinc and alkaline chemistry, in primary lithium iron disulfide, and in rechargeable form in nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion. Mercury-oxide batteries of this format, once common, have not been manufactured in many years due to their mercury content. Designations for this format include NEDA 1604 and IEC 6F22 (for zinc-carbon) or MN1604 6LR61 (for alkaline). The size, regardless of chemistry, is commonly designated PP3—a designation originally reserved solely for carbon-zinc, or in some countries, E or E-block.Most nine-volt alkaline batteries are constructed of six individual 1.5 V LR61 cells enclosed in a wrapper. These cells are slightly smaller than LR8D425 AAAA cells and can be used in their place for some devices, even though they are 3.5 mm shorter. Carbon-zinc types are made with six flat cells in a stack, enclosed in a moisture-resistant wrapper to prevent drying. Primary lithium types are made with three cells in series.In 2007, 9-volt batteries accounted for 4% of alkaline primary battery sales in the United States. In Switzerland in 2008, 9-volt batteries totalled 2% of primary battery sales and 2% of secondary battery sales.Primary cell
A primary cell is a battery (a galvanic cell) that is designed to be used once and discarded, and not recharged with electricity and reused like a secondary cell (rechargeable battery). In general, the electrochemical reaction occurring in the cell is not reversible, rendering the cell unrechargeable. As a primary cell is used, chemical reactions in the battery use up the chemicals that generate the power; when they are gone, the battery stops producing electricity and is useless. In contrast, in a secondary cell, the reaction can be reversed by running a current into the cell with a battery charger to recharge it, regenerating the chemical reactants. Primary cells are made in a range of standard sizes to power small household appliances such as flashlights and portable radios.
Primary batteries make up about 90% of the $50 billion battery market, but secondary batteries have been gaining market share. About 15 billion primary batteries are thrown away worldwide every year, virtually all ending up in landfills. Due to the toxic heavy metals and strong acids they contain, batteries are hazardous waste. Most municipalities classify them as such and require separate disposal. The energy needed to manufacture a battery is about 50 times greater than the energy it contains. Due to their high pollutant content compared to their small energy content, the primary battery is considered a wasteful, environmentally unfriendly technology. Due mainly to increasing sales of wireless devices and cordless tools which cannot be economically powered by primary batteries and come with integral rechargeable batteries, the secondary battery industry has high growth and has slowly been replacing the primary battery in high end products.Search for the Super Battery
Search for the Super Battery: Discover the Powerful World of Batteries is a 2017 American documentary film about energy storage and how it may help provide an environmentally friendly, or green, future. The basic mechanism of batteries, including lithium-ion types, is described. The benefits and limitations of various batteries are also presented. Details of seeking a much safer, more powerful, longer-lasting and less expensive battery, a so-called "super battery", is discussed. The broad importance of energy storage devices, in mobile phones and automobiles, and in the overall electric grid system of the United States, is examined in detail.Silver-oxide battery
A silver-oxide battery (IEC code: S) is a primary cell with a very high energy-to-weight ratio. Available either in small sizes as button cells, where the amount of silver used is minimal and not a significant contributor to the product cost, or in large custom-designed batteries, where the superior performance of the silver-oxide chemistry outweighs cost considerations. These larger cells are mostly found in applications for the military, for example in Mark 37 torpedoes or on Alfa-class submarines. In recent years they have become important as reserve batteries for manned and unmanned spacecraft. Spent batteries can be processed to recover their silver content.
Silver-oxide primary batteries account for over 20% of all primary battery sales in Japan (67,000 out of 232,000 in September 2012).A related rechargeable secondary battery usually called a silver–zinc battery uses a variation of silver-oxide chemistry. It shares most of the characteristics of the silver-oxide battery, and in addition, is able to deliver one of the highest specific energies of all presently known electrochemical power sources. Long used in specialized applications, it is now being developed for more mainstream markets, for example, batteries in laptops and hearing aids.Silver–zinc batteries, in particular, are being developed to power flexible electronic applications, where the reactants are integrated directly into flexible substrates, such as polymers or paper, using printing or chemical deposition methods.