In recent years the 14500 Lithium-ion battery has proudly found its place among its lithium cousins. As pictured here, (for comparison) a 14500 lithium cell is identical in shape and size to a standard AA battery. But that is where the similarities end.
Similar, Yet Different
- All standard alkaline batteries are 1.5 volts. Most lithium batteries (incl. the 14500 lithium battery) are 3.7 volts. That’s a major difference!
- Standard 1.5 volt batteries are disposable. The 3.7 volt 14500 lithium cell is rechargeable.
- For most devices, a 14500 battery provides at least double the sustainable power as an alkaline cell, and being rechargeable, they’re just better all around.
Check Your Voltage!!
What is absolutely essential, is that the device that is intended to be powered by a 14500 cell, be able to accept a 3.7 volt battery!! Again, the list of devices that are made for 1.5 volt batteries, but are also able to utilize a battery of this voltage are VERY limited.
Many, if not most flashlights that run on ONE AA cell, can also accept a 14500 lithium battery. MOST flashlights that use TWO AA cells, CANNOT accept 14500 batteries. This is because the voltage of the light will typically not go above 4 volts. Ergo, ONE 3.7 volt battery is okay, but TWO of them, is TOO MUCH voltage! It would physically kill your flashlight to feed it that much power!
For a 2xAA flashlight to be able to run on two 14500’s, the light would need to be able to accept up to 8 volts. I don’t know of any that do. The only reason for using a 14500 in a flashlight is to get a boost of lumens. Most should be brighter, but it depends on the light. It’s also a good idea to read the manufacturers specifications carefully, which should indicate the working voltage range. Sometimes even though the light might accept the cell, the manufacturer might void the warranty if the cell causes the unit to fail. This is dependent upon whether the manufacturer stands behind the use of lithium cells. If they advise against it, it’s their right to void the warranty.
Sometimes, using a 14500 battery in a flashlight can cause it to become unusually hot. Caution is advised in that case, even though many flashlights have protective measures at dealing with LED generated heat. Try to make sure the device you’re powering can handle voltages over 1.5, or the extra power could cause irreversible damage. When using Lithium-ion batteries it’s very important to know how to handle them, and to be aware of the possible dangers… such as added heat. This post talks about handling lithium cells safely.
14500 lithium batteries can do great things… just make sure your device can handle the extra boost of power!
For purchasing options of 14500 batteries on Amazon; click here!