Difference Between Cell and Battery (With Table)

A cell and 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.

Cell vs Battery

The difference between cell and battery is that a cell is a single unit that stores chemical energy and then converts it to electrical energy whereas a battery is a group of cells that are connected to each other in the form of a series or are simple parallel to each other.

A cell is a single unit that stores and generates power. It consists of two different electrodes, namely 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 simply a device that carries two or more cells within it. Like a cell, it consists of electrodes on each end. The positive end is termed as cathode whereas the negative end is termed as an anode. A battery stores more energy than a single cell and can thus supply power for long periods.

Comparison Table Between Cell and Battery

Parameters of ComparisonCellBattery
MeaningA 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.
TypesIt has four types – Wet Cell, Dry Cell, Fuel Cell and Reserve Cell.It has two types – Primary and Secondary battery.
CharacteristicsIt is lightweight and close-packed.It is relatively heavier.
PowerIt has the capacity to supply power only for short durations.It has the capacity to supply power for long durations.
UsesIt can be used to power radios, clocks, remotes, lamps, etc.It can be used to power inverters, large lights, vehicles, etc.
PriceIt is on the cheaper end of the spectrum.It is relatively expensive.

What is 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 that which 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 which are 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 that in which active materials are inserted into a cell from an exterior source. 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 a power source for various devices. Some common examples include electric cars, mobile phones and even flashlights. It has two terminals, the positive one being cathode and the negative one being an anode.

Batteries are available in various shapes and sizes. They can be miniatures that are power up hearing aids, or even huge ones that power data centres. A great amount of energy is stored in them which allows 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 been exhausted of 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

  1. 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.
  2. Cells have four types – Wet Cell, Dry Cell, Fuel Cell and Reserve Cell, whereas batteries have two types – Primary and Secondary battery.
  3. A cell is lightweight and close-packed whereas a battery is relatively heavier.
  4. Cells have the capacity to supply power only for short durations whereas batteries have the capacity to supply power for long durations.
  5. Cells can be used to power radios, clocks, remotes, lamps, etc. whereas batteries can be used to power inverters, large lights, vehicles, etc.
  6. Cells are on the cheaper end of the spectrum whereas batteries are relatively expensive.

Conclusion

Cells and batteries have various differences between them. One of the most notable differences is that a cell is a single unit whereas a battery is a group of cells. However, their functions stand to be the same despite this. Both store chemical energy and convert it into electrical energy.

Another major difference is that cells can only store enough energy to power devices for short durations. This is why they are generally used in small gadgets such as radios, remotes, clocks and lamps. Meanwhile, batteries can store enough energy to supply power for long durations. This is why they are used in cars and large lights.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196890411000082
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5625923/
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