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AA vs. AAA Batteries: 7 Ways They Are Different

AA vs. AAA Batteries: 7 Ways They Are Different

There are many types of alkaline batteries, but the most popular ones are AA and AAA. The two types of batteries provide a wide range of uses in our daily devices, like toys, TV remotes, wall clocks, and digital cameras. However, the two batteries differ in various aspects, such as size, use cases, and price. The amount of electrochemical materials in both batteries also varies, meaning they also deliver different power capacities. In this article, we will compare the two batteries side by side, examine their key differences and discover how they are used in different devices.

AA vs. AAA Batteries: Side-By-Side Comparison

AA BatteryAAA Battery
Year of Release19071911
Dimension50.5 mm (height) x 14.5 mm (diameter)44.5 mm (height) x 10.5 mm (diameter)
Capacity (mAh)2000-3000350-1200
Voltage1.5V1.5V
Common UsesRemote controls, digital cameras, flashlights, toys, portable speakersTV remote controls, wireless computer mice, small toys, handheld games, portable radios
Price (approx.)$0.25-$1.00 per battery         $0.20-$0.60 per battery
Shelf life5-10 years      5-10 years
Best Value
Amazon Basics 48 Pack AA Alkaline Batteries
$15.99
  • Ten-year shelf life
  • 48-count value pack of 1.5-volt AA alkaline batteries
  • Single-use alkaline batteries
  • Good for devices like clocks, toys, and flashlights
  • Easy-open packaging
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 09:36 pm GMT

AA vs. AAA Batteries: Overview

AA batteries use dry cell technology to power small electronic devices that do not require a lot of power. They contain a moist medium or paste charged with electrolytes, allowing electric current to pass through. AA batteries have existed for over 100 years and have continued to be effective in modern-day devices. Although technology has significantly evolved and many devices use rechargeable batteries, dry cell batteries remain significant in powering most handheld devices.

It is important to note that the name AA does not have a particular meaning. Instead, it’s a name for a standard battery size with nominal voltage. These batteries are bigger than AAA and are mainly used for devices such as TV remotes, wall clocks, handheld kitchen gadgets, and flashlights.

On the other hand, AAA batteries, also known as Triple A, are smaller than AA, and the name doesn’t represent anything besides the type of battery sizes they are. They rank second in the popularity of dry cells after AA. They have also existed for over 100 years but came in four years after AA.

Unlike AA batteries, they have a lower power capacity and are more effective for devices like remote controllers, smaller toys, and kitchen timers.

Infographic: AA Batteries vs AAA Batteries

AA vs. AAA Batteries: What’s the Difference?

If you are looking for alkaline batteries, it’s easy to confuse AA with AAA batteries. Although both batteries perform similar functions, certain things set them apart. Here are the key differences between AA and AAA.

Size

Size is the most noticeable difference between the two batteries. They both have the same cylindrical shape but different dimensions. The AA is taller, wider, and generally larger than their AAA counterparts. Their standard size is 50.5 mm (height) x 14.5 mm (diameter). AAA has a smaller diameter and length to fit in the smallest toys. They measure 44.5 mm (height) x 10.5 mm (diameter).

AA vs. AAA batteries
AA batteries are 14.5 mm in diameter while AAA are 10.5 mm in diameter.

Capacity

The capacity of a battery refers to the amount of charge generated by the electrochemical reactions in the battery. It is measured in ampere-hours or Milliamps per hour (mAh). The two batteries have different capacities mainly because of their size difference.

The AAA packs smaller electrochemical material, and therefore the capacity is limited. It delivers a capacity of 350-1200 Milliamps per hour. The AA battery, being larger, packs more electrochemical material, delivering up to 2000 – 3000 mAh, which is three times more than the capacity of AAA.

Runtime

Just as their sizes and capacities are different, the batteries have different function durations. AA batteries run longer than AAA because they contain more energy. You cannot compare 3000 mAh with 13000 mAh; the difference is clear. AA batteries will run more than two times the duration of AAA.

Usage

Many individuals possess a basic understanding of how batteries operate. They recognize that AA and AAA batteries are commonly used and can power various devices, ranging from remote controls to smoke detectors. Nonetheless, confusion can arise regarding the appropriate battery size for each device.

In general, high-drain devices, such as digital cameras, require AA batteries, while low-drain devices, such as TV remote controls, are better suited for AAA batteries. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to refer to your device’s owner’s manual to ensure you use the correct battery size. Additionally, it is prudent to keep various battery sizes available to avoid running out of power unexpectedly.

Shelf Life

The duration for how long a battery can be stored before being used is referred to as its shelf life. Typically, AA and AAA batteries have a relatively long shelf life of approximately ten years. However, different battery types may have different shelf lives. Alkaline batteries, for instance, tend to be more durable than lithium-ion batteries. This is because they have higher internal resistance than lithium batteries, impacting their voltage output. The manufacturing date will also determine their shelf life.

Older batteries will not have the same shelf life as newer batteries. Nonetheless, it is important to store both batteries properly to preserve their functionality. Store them away from sunlight, moisture, and high temperatures, which may affect their internal composition and battery life. Extremely cold temperatures may reduce the chemical reactions of alkaline batteries. This explains why some batteries burst or leak in cold weather.

It is always advisable to store the batteries in their packages or protective casing to avoid short-circuiting that could result from contact with metallic objects.

Output Voltage

AA and AAA batteries have a similar voltage that ranges between 1.2V and 1.5V. Both batteries lose a certain amount of their voltage when stored for a long time. The big D-type battery also has a voltage similar to these batteries as they are single cells. If you need more voltage output, a series connection of the batteries will do. For instance, to achieve 9-volt output, you will need to connect six cells all at once.

Cost

The price of AA and AAA batteries varies based on brand, type, and purchase location. A four-pack of AA or AAA batteries costs around $5. However, this cost can be lower for generic or higher for branded batteries.

Generally, standard generic batteries are considerably cheaper than their branded counterparts. The battery type also influences the price, with lithium batteries typically being more expensive than alkaline ones. Moreover, rechargeable batteries are pricier than disposable batteries.

Lastly, purchasing location may also impact battery costs, with online retailers usually having lower prices. However, they may charge for shipping. Overall, AA and AAA batteries are reasonably priced and can be found at a fair price with some comparison shopping.

Great Deal
Amazon Basics 36 Pack AAA High-Performance Alkaline Batteries, 10-Year Shelf Life, Easy to Open Value Pack
$15.51
  • Great for game controllers, toys, clocks, and more
  • 36-count value pack
  • 10-year shelf life
  • Single-use alkaline batteries
  • Easy-to-open packaging
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 09:06 pm GMT

AA vs. AAA Batteries: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The AA battery, being larger, packs more electrochemical material, delivering up to 2000-3000 mAh, which is three times more than the capacity of AAA.
  • Both batteries have existed for over 100 years and have continued to be effective in modern-day devices.
  • The AA is taller, wider, and generally larger than their AAA counterparts.
  • AAA batteries have a lower power capacity and are more effective for devices like remote controllers, smaller toys, and kitchen timers.
  • Both batteries have a voltage output of 1.5 volts.

AA vs. AAA Batteries: Which One is Better?

Batteries play a significant role in our daily lives. Despite the increase of modern lithium-ion batteries with better capabilities, alkaline batteries still power smoke sensors, wireless mice, clocks, toys, remotes, and many more portable devices. Although the AA and AAA differ in size, capacity, and application, they have similar shelf life and voltage output. Ultimately, choosing one over the other will depend on the type of devices you want to power.

  1. Amazon Basics 48 Pack AA Alkaline Batteries
    $15.99
    • Ten-year shelf life
    • 48-count value pack of 1.5-volt AA alkaline batteries
    • Single-use alkaline batteries
    • Good for devices like clocks, toys, and flashlights
    • Easy-open packaging
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 09:36 pm GMT
  2. Amazon Basics 36 Pack AAA High-Performance Alkaline Batteries, 10-Year Shelf Life, Easy to Open Value Pack
    $15.51
    • Great for game controllers, toys, clocks, and more
    • 36-count value pack
    • 10-year shelf life
    • Single-use alkaline batteries
    • Easy-to-open packaging
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 09:06 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between AA and AAA batteries?

The AA is taller, wider, and generally larger than their AAA counterparts. Their standard size is 50.5 mm (height) x 14.5 mm (diameter). AAA has a smaller diameter and length to fit in the smallest toys. They measure 44.5 mm (height) x 10.5 mm (diameter).

What lasts longer, AA or AAA batteries?

AA batteries run longer than AAA because they contain more energy.

Which battery is used in wall clock, AA or AAA?

Most wall clocks use AA.

What happens if you use AAA batteries instead of AA?

Both batteries have the same voltage. Therefore, no significant difference will be experienced. If the battery slot can accommodate either, you can use them interchangeably.

What is the voltage of AA and AAA batteries?

The AA and AAA have about 1.5V.

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