A cell and a battery have many similarities. For example, both store chemical energy which is then transformed into electrical energy. However, there are many differences between them, such as their types, uses, cost and much more. Understanding them can prove to be useful in educational aspects as well as in day-to-day life.
- A cell is a single electrochemical unit that generates electricity, while a battery consists of multiple cells connected in series or parallel.
- Cells have a lower energy output and capacity compared to batteries.
- Batteries can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable, whereas cells are non-rechargeable.
Cell vs Battery
A cell is a single-unit device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, and it is the basic power unit in an electrical device. A battery consists of one or more cells connected together, designed to provide a greater level of electrical energy for devices.
A cell is a single unit that stores and generates power. It consists of two different electrodes, namely the cathode and anode. A chemical substance called electrolyte causes a reaction with these electrodes. This results in the production of electric current. The current then starts moving through the external circuit.
Meanwhile, a battery is a device that carries two or more cells. Like a cell, it consists of electrodes on each end. The positive end is termed a cathode, whereas the negative end is termed an anode. A battery stores more energy than a single cell and can thus supply power for long periods.
|Parameters of Comparison
|A cell is a single unit that stores chemical energy and thereupon converts it into electrical energy.
|A battery is a group of cells that are either connected in a series or are parallelly placed.
|It has four types – Wet Cell, Dry Cell, Fuel Cell and Reserve Cell.
|It has two types – Primary and Secondary battery.
|It is lightweight and close-packed.
|It is relatively heavier.
|It has the capacity to supply power only for short durations.
|It has the capacity to supply power for long durations.
|It can be used to power radios, clocks, remotes, lamps, etc.
|It can be used to power inverters, large lights, vehicles, etc.
|It is on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
|It is relatively expensive.
What is a Cell?
A cell is a single unit that stores chemical energy and converts it into electrical energy. The reaction that is caused by the change also leads to a positively charged flow of electricity through a circuit. It is a lightweight and compact device that has the capacity to supply power for short durations. It can be used in radios, clocks, remotes, lamps, etc.
There are four types of cells – Wet Cell, Dry Cell, Fuel Cell and Reserve Cell. A wet cell is one that uses liquid electrolytes to cause a reaction with cathodes and anodes. This type of cell cannot be easily recharged after it is used once.
On the contrary, a dry cell has dry electrolytes in the form of a powder. They perform the same function and reaction as the former and result in the production of electricity. This kind of cell can be recharged easily after they are used once.
Meanwhile, a fuel cell is one in which active materials are inserted from an exterior source into a cell. Electrical energy is produced as long as there is a consistent inflow of this material. Such cells are most commonly used in space vehicles. Reserve cells are most commonly found in thermal batteries which are used in missiles, weapon systems and torpedoes.
What is Battery?
A battery is a group of cells that are placed together in the form of a series or simply in parallel formation. These act as power sources for various devices. Some common examples include electric cars, mobile phones and even flashlights. It has two terminals, the positive one being a cathode and the negative one being an anode.
Batteries are available in various shapes and sizes. They can be miniatures that power up hearing aids or even huge ones that power data centres. A great amount of energy is stored in them, allowing them to power devices for longer durations. Due to this, they have a more expensive cost as compared to cells.
There are two types of batteries, namely – Primary batteries and Secondary batteries. A primary battery is essentially made for single use. This means that they need to be discarded after they have exhausted their energy. The chemical reactions that take place inside them cannot be reversed. Due to this, these batteries are non-rechargeable.
On the other hand, secondary batteries are those which can be used multiple times. The chemical reaction inside the batteries can be reversed easily, which makes them rechargeable. This is done by passing an electric current through it. In doing so, the original chemical reactants are regenerated, resulting in more power.
Main Differences Between Cell and Battery
- A cell is a single unit that stores chemical energy and thereupon converts it into electrical energy, whereas a battery is a group of cells that are either connected in a series or are parallelly placed.
- Cells have four types – Wet Cell, Dry Cell, Fuel Cell and Reserve Cell, whereas batteries have two types – Primary and Secondary battery.
- A cell is lightweight and close-packed, whereas a battery is relatively heavier.
- Cells have the capacity to supply power only for short durations, whereas batteries have the capacity to supply power for long durations.
- Cells can power radios, clocks, remotes, lamps, etc., whereas batteries can power inverters, large lights, vehicles, etc.
- Cells are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, whereas batteries are relatively expensive.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.