With the battery technologies upgrading continuously, it is desirable to know what type of battery is the best choice for your devices/products.

Alkaline battery

There are many different types of batteries for various applications. From lead-acid batteries to lithium-ion polymer batteries, different types of batteries have different properties depending on differemt chemical composition. But how can you to choose the battery for your appliances/products? To better understand the batteries, let us look at three types of batteries: alkaline, Ni-MH, and lithium-ion batteries respectively.

Alkaline battery: Alkaline batteries use potassium or sodium hydroxide as the standard electrolyte solution. And the anode is made from zinc powder; the cathode is comprised of manganese dioxide. Alkaline batteries are disposable primary batteries.

NiMH (nickel metal hydride) battery: Ni-MH batteries are a type of rechargeable batteries and an evolved version of nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery with potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte. The positive electrode is made of nickel oxide hydroxide. The negative electrode is hydrogen storage alloys/ metal hydride.

Ni-MH (nickel metal hydride) battery

Lithium-ion battery: It is an advanced battery technology with years of research and development.  Lithium-metal oxides are used in its cathode and lithium-carbon compounds are used in its anode, and Li-ion batteries usually use ether as the electrolyte.

After the introduction of the three types of batteries, we can look at their prominent characteristics and their differences from each other. Let us compare the three batteries as shown in the chart below:

Characteristics Alkaline (reusable) Ni-MH Lithium-ion
Energy density (Wh/kg) 80 60-120 110-160
Self-discharge/month 0.3% 30% 10%
Cycle life 50 300-500 500-1000
Maintenance Not required 60-90 days Not required
Cost Low Moderate High

Energy density: Measured in Watt-hour per kg (Wh/kg), the amount of energy in the battery per kilogram. Lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density ranging from110 to160 Wh/kg, compared to alkaline and lithium ion batteries. The energy density of Ni-MH batteries is within the range of 60-120 Wh/kg and the energy density alkaline batteries is 80 Wh/kg.

Self-discharge per month: All batteries are affecte dby self-discharge. Among these three types of batteries, the Li-ion battery has the lowest self-discharge rate, about 10% for a month.

Cycle life: The cycle life is the number of complete charge/discharge cycles that the battery is able to support. The Li-ion battery has a cycle life of 500-1000 times, whereas a reusable alkaline battery merely has a cycle life of 50 times. Similarly, the cycle life of Ni-MH batteries vary from 300-500 cycles, which is about half of the Li-ion batteries.


Maintenance: Reusable alkaline and Li-ion batteries do not require maintenance for their lifespan. The Ni-MH requires maintenance every 60-90 days.


Cost: Among all three batteries, reusable alkaline is the cheapest, and the lithium-ion battery is the costliest. The cost depends on the chemical material used in the battery, where the Li-ion battery has components with much higher prices.


BPI is the world-known reliable supplier of Li-ion, Ni-MH, and Li-polymer batteries for various manufacturers of wireless headsets, electronic cigarettes, smart wearable devices, robots, portable power stations, etc. With BPI’s world-class infrastructure and expertise in lithium battery, nickel metal hydride battery, and nickel zinc battery technologies, BPI can offer you the most superior and affordable products and services.