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Startseite > power-new-energy > CR123 vs. CR123A Batteries: How to Choose the Better One?

CR123 vs. CR123A Batteries: How to Choose the Better One?

Updatezeit: 2024-06-11 10:38:38


Batteries play a pivotal role in supplying power to various electronic devices. Among the numerous types available, CR123 and CR123A stand out as commonly used in many devices. These lithium-based batteries are particularly effective for small, high-output devices such as cameras, light meters, smart home devices, advanced flashlights, tactical equipment, and other battery-powered devices.

This article delves into the difference between CR123 and CR123A batteries. Read on to choose the better one that is fit for your needs.

What are CR123 Batteries?

CR123 batteries are compact, high-powered 3V lithium batteries for small devices such as alarms, flashlights, cameras, and household electronics.

Their power capacity typically falls from 1,500 mAh (milliampere-hour) to 2,500 mAh.

Most CR123 brands can handle continuous current within the range of 1,000 mA to 2,000 mA and pulse current up to 3,000 mA.

The mAh rating indicates the energy capacity of these batteries, signifying that most of them can power a device drawing 100 mA (milliamperes) for up to 30 hours.


Note: Milliampere hours (mAh) quantify the battery's energy capacity, indicating how much power can be drawn from the battery and for how long.


Photography Equipment

CR123 batteries find application in photographic equipment such as cameras and flashes. They deliver a consistent voltage crucial for the reliable operation of digital cameras and flashes. These batteries are particularly adept at supporting high frame rate shots, making them suitable for professional use.

What are CR123A Batteries?

The CR123A Battery is a cylindrical lithium cell battery with a shape resembling a smaller version of a C Cell Battery or, more simply, a can. This battery has extensive applications, ranging from medical devices to military-grade technology. Its widespread usage contributes to its popularity, occasionally leading to challenges in finding it in stock. Manufactured by various large and small companies, including Panasonic, Duracell, Energizer, Tenergy, and numerous smaller brands, this article aims to provide comprehensive information about the CR123A battery.



Battery Nominal Voltage3.2-3.3 Volts
Capacity (Lithium)≈  1550 mAh
Operating Temperature-20°C – 75°C 
Height34.2 mm
Width (Diameter)17.0  mm
ChemistryLithium Manganese Dioxide

Features and Benefits

  • Operational temperature ranges from -40°C to +70°C

  • Capable of high current pulse discharge

  • Maintains a stable voltage level during discharge

  • High Energy Density: The notable energy density of these batteries guarantees a potent power supply within compact structures, making them ideal for use in cameras and flashlights.

  • Long Lifespan: These batteries exhibit a lifespan ranging from 2 to 5 years.

  • Versatile Applications: Suitable for various devices, including flashlights, medical equipment, cameras, and more.

  • Optimal Performance: Capable of operation in diverse conditions, including extreme temperatures and high-drain applications, making them indispensable for demanding projects.

  • Safety and Stability: These batteries are safe and reliable, rendering them well-suited for devices deployed in sensitive conditions.


The CR123A is frequently employed in high-performance LED flashlights and digital cameras, along with other compact devices that demand substantial power, including:

Flashlights and Tactical Gear

Tactical flashlights, commonly utilized in law enforcement and military applications, often rely on CR123A batteries for their reliable performance in high-intensity situations.

Security Systems

CR123A batteries are predominantly employed in home security systems and outdoor surveillance cameras, offering extended operational duration and uninterrupted functionality.

What's the Difference Between CR123 and CR123A Batteries?

The CR123 battery is identical to the CR123A battery, operating based on the Duracell lithium battery mechanism. The difference in designations arises from various manufacturers labeling their products differently. However, two different product samples will inevitably exhibit specific differences, and CR123 and CR123A are no different. Let's delve into a few metrics for comparison, offering you a comprehensive review.


Both CR123 and CR123A batteries boast a compact design to deliver substantial power. Their small form factor, relative to the power they provide, makes them excellent choices for energy-demanding small devices, such as high-output LED lights.

Regarding physical dimensions, 123s are generally longer and thinner than 123As, albeit the difference is no more than 0.55 mm in either direction. The dimensions may vary slightly among manufacturers, adding to the challenge of distinguishing the two.

Compared to alkaline AA batteries (with an average length of 44 mm), both CR123 and CR123A batteries are considerably shorter while delivering twice the voltage. Two CR123s can yield 6V in a much more compact configuration than the 3V output from two AAs.

CR123A Dimensions.jpg

CR123A Dimensions

Life Span 

Both batteries share a comparable shelf life, extending to 10 years when stored below 60°C.

When incorporated into your devices, both exhibit prolonged durability. The specific lifespan varies based on the gadget and the manufacturer. For instance, they may endure for up to five years in an alarm system.


Both regular 123s and 123As possess a nominal voltage of 3 volts. Their standard loaded voltage usually falls within the 2 to 2.5 volts range.

In essence, both cells have substantial potential to drive electric current through the device, particularly considering their compact size.

Generally, there is no notable distinction in voltage between the two battery types.


Both battery types employ a lithium-based salt as an electrolyte with a chemical system of Lithium and Manganese dioxide (LiMnO2). The cathode (positive terminal) consists of heat-treated manganese dioxide in both cell types.

The chemical system operates identically, providing a high energy density per mass (280 Wh/kg) and per volume (580 Wh/liter).

Note: Wh (watt-hour) is a unit measuring the battery's energy density. Wh per kg or liter gauges the battery energy per unit of mass or volume, respectively.


Lithium poses potential hazards, particularly on skin contact, and its high voltage can harm devices.

123s and 123As are equipped with PTC (Pressure, Temperature, Current) protection, interrupting the circuit if the current exceeds safe levels.

Operating Temperature

The primary difference between CR123 and CR123A lies in their respective operational temperature ranges. CR123 functions within the temperature span of -20 °C to 70°C, whereas its counterpart boasts significantly broader operating temperatures, extending from -40 °C to 70°C.

Performance Comparison

Energy Density

CR123A batteries exhibit a notable energy density, signifying their capacity to store substantial energy within compact packaging, resulting in prolonged power output.

Temperature Extremes

Both batteries are suitable for high-temperature environments, with the added advantage that CR123A excels in low-temperature operations.


Initial Investment

CR123A batteries come with a higher price tag compared to CR123 batteries. Nevertheless, their extended operational lifespan and greater capacity can offset this initial cost over an extended period.

Longevity and Replacement Frequency

CR123A batteries are designed for prolonged use in high-drain devices, reducing the need for frequent replacements compared to CR123 batteries.

Environmental Impact

Disposable vs. Rechargeable Options

Both options are not designed for recharging and have a significant impact when disposing of used batteries.

Recycling and Disposal

Engaging in battery recycling practices is advisable to mitigate their environmental impact. Various standards provide a battery recycling process, facilitating their proper disposal.

CR123 vs. CR123A Batteries: Comparison Table

Dimensions17 x 34.5 millimeters17 x 34 millimeters
Voltage3 Volts3 Volts
Charging voltage1.2 Volts1.5 Volts
Peak output3.6 A4.2 A
Weight17 g17 g
Capacity2,000-2,500 mAh2,000-2,500 mAh
Pulse current3,000 mA3,000 mA
Working life2 to5 years3- to6 years
Compatibilitymany devices like toys etcdifferent devices
Cost5 to10 dollars5 to10 dollars

CR123 and CR123A Name Meaning

Observing these two batteries, they appear similar. The primary distinction lies in the nomenclature, reflecting manufacturer preference. Some are labeled CR123, while others are designated CR123A. Including the letter A in CR123A signifies that the battery is two-thirds the size of a standard A-sized battery.

The initial two letters in CR denote lithium, and R indicates a cylindrical structure. The number 123 denotes the battery size, indicating it is two-thirds the standard length of a battery.

Hence, whether using a CR123 or CR123A battery, it can be considered a comparable type of battery.

Are CR123 and CR123A batteries the Same?

It's reasonable to assert that the primary distinction between the two lies solely in the presence of the letter A. When examining their functionality, performance, lifespan, and chemistry, they equate to the same thing.

Both batteries can support high-performance devices, including those with intermittent demands for substantial power output, such as digital cameras with flashes and advanced LED torches.

Each manufacturer assigns a distinct label to essentially the same type of battery. For instance:

  • Energizer –123

  • Rayovac — 123A

  • Duracell — CR123

  • Panasonic — CR123A

The dimension difference is so negligible that both batteries can be used interchangeably in all devices.

Are CR123 and CR123A Interchangeable?

While the specifications and dimensions may seem inconsequential, avoiding interchangeability between these two products is advisable. Why make such a recommendation?

Despite the slight length disparity between CR123 and its counterpart, inserting batteries into delicate devices can sometimes pose challenges. Additionally, CR123a is crafted explicitly for high-tech LED torches and digital cameras, a capability not shared by CR123.

In terms of voltage, the CR123 battery yields a higher voltage than its counterpart but falls short compared to the CR123A model. Consequently, intentional substitution can occasionally lead to performance issues in the equipment it serves.

CR123A Equivalent

EL123A, DL123A, 16340, CR17335 and RL123A can equivalent to CR123A.

  • 16340: The 16340 battery, a lithium-ion variant, matches the size and voltage of the CR123A. It serves as a substitute for CR123A batteries in specific devices. It's crucial to acknowledge that 16340 batteries are rechargeable, unlike the non-rechargeable CR123A batteries.

  • DL123: This lithium manganese dioxide battery mirrors the size and voltage of the CR123A. It can be freely interchanged with CR123A batteries in most devices.

  • EL123A: Another lithium manganese dioxide battery sharing a comparable size and voltage with the CR123A. It is a viable replacement for CR123A batteries.

  • CR17335: The CR17335, a lithium thionyl chloride battery, aligns in size and voltage with the CR123A. While interchangeable with CR123A batteries, it's noteworthy that CR17335 batteries are less common, making them challenging to procure.

How do you Know Whether the Batteries Need to be Replaced?

The diverse impact and maintenance approaches complicate pinpointing an exact timeframe for the longevity of the mentioned products. However, experts suggest that these battery variants typically endure for an average of three years before manifesting signs of wear and becoming non-rechargeable.

CR123 vs. CR123A Conclusion: Which One Should You Buy?

This article aims to provide a comprehensive and detailed comparison of the CR123 versus CR123A brands. While the disparity between these two products might not be substantial, its impact will undoubtedly manifest in the performance quality of electronic devices. Assessing and selecting the appropriate products rather than utilizing them interchangeably is advisable.

When evaluating CR123 and CR123A batteries, three key factors warrant consideration:

  • Examine the mAh, as a higher mAh tends to extend the battery's lifespan.

  • Assess the shelf life, mainly if some batteries remain unused for an extended period.

  • Factor in the price.

Now, ascertain the power requirements of your electronic equipment and decide on the most suitable option! Jotrin provides high-quality batteries at competitive prices for you.

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  • Can I replace a CR123A battery with a 123 battery?
  • A 123 battery can be used as a replacement for a CR123A battery; there are no differences between CR123 and CR123A batteries.

  • What does CR stand for in battery?
  • The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) employs the prefix CR to indicate the utilization of lithium chemistry, precisely LiMnO2 (Lithium-Ion Manganese Oxide).

    The letter C signifies Lithium, and R denotes the cylindrical structure of the batteries. The subsequent numbers detail the battery size. In the case of 123A, it represents a single battery that is two-thirds the size of a standard A battery. Some manufacturers may opt to exclude the A at the end.

  • Are CR123A batteries rechargeable?
  • CR123A batteries are not rechargeable.

  • Can I use rechargeable and non-rechargeable CR123A batteries interchangeably?
  • It won't harm your device, but it's important to note that rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries may vary in terms of voltage, capacity, and dimensions. Some devices may operate optimally with one type over the other, so reviewing your device specifications before substituting is advisable.

  • How long does a CR123A battery last?
  • A CR123A battery's lifespan is heavily influenced by factors such as manufacturing quality and its specific application. Assuming the battery is new and sourced from a reputable supplier, its service life can vary significantly based on usage. In high-energy-demand scenarios, like powering a soldier's weapon light, the CR123A battery may last less than a month. Conversely, under optimal conditions, the service life could extend beyond a year in more passive applications, such as a home security alarm panel. The longevity of your CR123A battery hinges on the intended usage.

  • Are all CR 123A batteries the same?
  • In terms of specifications, all 123As share the same fundamental capabilities. However, manufacturers may incorporate distinct features and aesthetics to distinguish their products.

    Reputable brands such as Panasonic, Energizer, Duracell, or equivalents like Duracell CR123A Equivalents typically exhibit little discernible difference. Nonetheless, if the battery is not manufactured in the USA, it may deviate from the standard 123, so it's advisable to check the manufacturer's information.

    Opt for the Best Battery for Your High-Output Device

    A high-quality lithium battery is your optimal choice for enduring power in a compact form. Explore the Battery Specialists for a diverse selection of lithium CR123A batteries at competitive prices.

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