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C vs. D Batteries: 5 Differences

duracell battery

C vs. D Batteries: 5 Differences

Sometimes it is taxing to find the right batteries for your equipment, but doing so is crucial. C and D batteries are the most common rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries found in most homes and offices. It can be challenging to distinguish between the two at first, but once you understand what each does and what your device requires, you’ll be good to go.

C and D batteries are dry cells often produced for medium-high drain applications, including toys, remote controls, and flashlights. Although C and D batteries may look quite similar, in reality, they differ in capacity, size, and other properties, raising the question of whether or not they may be used interchangeably and what the actual differences are.

It is crucial that you understand the various sorts, sizes, and chemistries of the batteries and how they will function on your device before you start browsing the end cap of the store where you buy your batteries and become overwhelmed by the wide variety of options available.

This article highlights the differences between the C and D batteries in terms of sizes, properties, and other features. Read on to find out how the two compare with each other.

C vs. D Batteries: Side-by-Side Comparison

C BatteriesD Batteries
Standard Voltage1.5v1.5v
Capacity 8000mAhUp to 20000mAh
IEC NameR14R20
Type NiMH, NiCd, Li-ion, AlkalineNiMH, NiCd
Supported DevicesLow and medium-high drain applicationsHigh drain applications
Height49.5 ± 0.5 mm59.0 ± 0.5 mm
Diameter25.3 ± 0.2 mm32.3 ± 0.2 mm
Size50mm x 26.2mm61.5mm x 33.2mm
WeightLighterHeavier
PowerLowerStronger
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Amazon Basics 12 Pack C Cell Batteries
$15.08
  • 12 pack
  • All purpose
  • Alkaline batteries
  • 5-year shelf life
  • Easy to open value pack
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 09:30 pm GMT
Highly Rated
Amazon Basics 4 Pack D Cell Batteries
  • 4 pack
  • All purpose batteries
  • Alkaline
  • Easy to open value pack
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

C vs. D Batteries: What’s the Difference?

Sizes

If you take a close look at the batteries, you will notice that the alphabets represent their sizes. The further away from the alphabet the battery name is, the larger it is. For instance, AAA is smaller than C batteries. In this case, D batteries are larger than C batteries. The standard size for C batteries is 50mm x 26.2mm, D batteries measure 61.5mm x 33.2mm.

Similarly, C and D batteries differ in diameter and height, with C batteries measuring less. The standard height and diameter for C batteries are 49.5 ± 0.5 mm and 25.3 ± 0.2 mm, respectively, while D batteries measure 59.0 ± 0.5 mm and 61.5mm x 33.2mm, respectively. It is important to note that these are only standard measurements; the sizes can differ slightly across different brands.

Infographic C Batteries vs D Batteries

Voltage

Basically, C and D batteries are 1.5 volts. This makes you wonder what the difference is. For this same reason, people think the two types of batteries can be used interchangeably.

Considering that D batteries are larger than C batteries, it goes without saying that it is impractical to use them interchangeably. D batteries cannot fit in the battery compartments intended for C batteries, and C batteries cannot fit in compartments meant for D batteries. 

Supported Device

C batteries are manufactured to provide a voltage of 1.5 and less overload capacity, making them ideal for small and medium drain applications, typically smaller devices. Such devices include small flashlights, toys, and other portable devices. 

On the other hand, while D batteries provide the same amount of voltage, they have higher overload capacity and are intended for high-drain applications like large flashlights, radio receivers, and alarm systems.

Weight

Since D batteries are larger than C batteries, it goes without saying that they have more weight. D batteries have an average weight of 160-180 grams, while C batteries have an average weight of 65 grams.

batteries D battery
D batteries are larger than C batteries, so they will weigh more, be generally larger in size, and store more energy.

Capacity

While the two battery types provide the same amount of voltage, they differ significantly in capacity. D batteries are larger than C batteries, storing more charge and lasting longer. This makes D batteries undoubtedly more powerful and ideal for devices that require high amounts of current.

C batteries have a capacity of up to 8,000 mAh, while D batteries have a capacity of up to 20,000 mAh. Next time you think of buying batteries, remember a battery’s capacity to store energy increases with its size. So, despite both big and small batteries being rated at 1.5V, the big battery has a larger energy reserve and a longer battery life.

Runtime 

How long both batteries will last depends on a number of factors, such as current draw, application, and how long you use them. Generally, though, D batteries tend to last longer as they have more energy storage than C batteries.

Note that C and D batteries made of lithium chemistry will last longer and perform better than typical batteries. D batteries will also outlast C batteries even when made of the same chemistry.

C vs. D Batteries: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • C batteries have a standard 1.5 voltage and 8,000 mAh capacity.
  • C and D batteries provide the same amount of voltage but differ in the capacity to store charge.
  • D batteries are larger than C batteries so they have more space to store charge.
  • C batteries are ideal for small and medium high-drain applications like small flashlights and toys. In contrast, D batteries are suitable for high-drain applications like radio receivers and larger flashlights.
  • D batteries carry a voltage of 1.5v and have a standard capacity of up to 20,000 mAh.
  • Because of their size, D batteries tend to be more durable than C batteries. They are, however, bulkier and more expensive.
  • Both C and D batteries can be connected in series or parallel to increase capacity or voltage.
  • The battery chemistry of both C and D batteries affects their quality and durability. C batteries are available in NiMH, NiCd, Li-ion, and Alkaline, while D batteries are available in NiMH and NiCd.
Great Deal
Amazon Basics 12 Pack C Cell Batteries
$15.08
  • 12 pack
  • All purpose
  • Alkaline batteries
  • 5-year shelf life
  • Easy to open value pack
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 09:30 pm GMT
Highly Rated
Amazon Basics 4 Pack D Cell Batteries
  • 4 pack
  • All purpose batteries
  • Alkaline
  • Easy to open value pack
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

C vs. D Batteries: Which One is Better?

It all trickles down to one answer: it depends on its use. The best battery depends on the device you need batteries for and the battery compartment size. It is impractical to purchase larger batteries for a small-compartment device or purchase small batteries for a large-compartment device. 

C and D batteries typically differ in capacity, size, consumption rate, and other factors. However, each is built for a suitable application scenario, preventing them from totally replacing one another.

To get the best out of your investment, go for rechargeable batteries when and where possible. This will help minimize the stress of regularly purchasing a pack that will need to be exhausted after a few months. Remember to check your device’s current and voltage requirements before purchasing batteries. It also helps to buy batteries with higher mAh ratings as they have longer run times. We recommend buying batteries from recognizable brands and avoiding generic and cheap batteries with diminished capacity. Such batteries will likely spend more time charging than in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can D batteries replace C batteries?

C and D batteries are made for different suitable applications. So, D batteries cannot replace D batteries. It is also not possible for D batteries to fit in battery compartments intended for C batteries.

Can C batteries be recharged?

Yes, you can recharge rechargeable C batteries. There are also non-rechargeable, disposable, single-use C battery variants known as primary batteries. Rechargeable batteries are recommended as they are a great sustainable choice.

What is the advantage of D batteries?

D batteries are generally larger than C batteries. They are used in high-drains power devices because they store more energy. They are likely to last longer and power devices with higher drains than C batteries. Rechargeable D batteries can last even longer.

Can D batteries explode?

It is common for batteries to explode as every battery has explosive tendencies. You should take good care of your batteries to avoid such issues by properly handling them, storing, disposing, and following the proper recycling measures.

How can I use a C battery in a D battery compartment?

While we recommend buying the correct battery for your device, there are ways you can use a C battery in a D space. Since C batteries are typically shorter and smaller than D batteries, you need to make an adapter to ensure they sit in place. You can do this by placing two quarters each on one end of the battery. However, this solution is not reliable and long-lasting and may be unsafe for you and your device.

What is battery capacity?

Battery capacity is the total amount of charge stored in a battery. It is measured in milliamp-hours. A battery with a higher capacity will have a longer running time than one with less capacity.

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