Best Non-Rechargeable and Rechargeable CR123A Batteries
Lithium 3.0 volts non-rechargeable CR123A batteries are one of the most popular cylindrical battery sizes in the world, used for powering all sorts of devices including LED flashlights, cameras, medical and security devices, toys, remote controllers, etc.
CR123A batteries feature long shelf-life, can provide strong drain currents, have stable output voltage, etc., but they are non-rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable CR123A batteries, often labeled as RCR123A, can be recharged several hundred times, but have somewhat larger voltage and smaller capacity and can't replace CR123A batteries in all devices.
Published: March 11, 2023.
CR123A Battery Features and Specifications
CR123A battery is a non-rechargeable battery based on the Lithium Manganese Dioxide chemistry, featuring a nominal voltage of 3.0 volts, a cutoff voltage of 2.0 volts, nominal capacity of 1300-1500 mAh, and shelf-life of up to and sometimes even more than 10 years.
Physical dimensions are (D x H) 17.0 x 34.5 mm (~0.6693 x 1.3583 inches), with the battery terminals on the opposite sides of the battery.
CR123A battery is a very popular battery and can be easily found in most hardware, camera, and even office stores and at online shops.
Due to its popularity, the CR123A battery has many additional labels, including CR123, CR17345, 2/3A, 123, 17340, 17345, 16340, CR17345, 5018LC, etc.
CR123A vs RCR123A Batteries
Rechargeable CR123A batteries are usually labeled as RCR123A batteries and they feature a nominal capacity of 700-800 mAh and a nominal voltage of 3.6-3.7 volts.
While lower capacity (when compared with CR123A battery) is not a bigger issue due to the fact that such batteries can be recharged hundreds of times, larger voltage is an issue.
Although 0.6-0.7 volts doesn't sound much, it is enough to damage or destroy sensitive electronic equipment - never operate device powered by CR123A battery with RCR123A battery unless explicitly allowed by the manufacturer of that device.
Since lithium-ion batteries are rather sensitive units, some RCR123A batteries come with a small built-in Battery Management System (BMS) that protects the RCR123A battery from unwanted events like over-discharge, overcharge, short-circuit, and similar - such RCR123A batteries are known as "protected RCR123A" batteries.
CR123A vs 18650 Batteries
18650 are rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that feature physical dimensions of (D x H) 18.6 x 65.2 mm, a nominal voltage of 3.6-3.7 volts, and capacity from 2.0 to 7.0 Ah.
Note: Some 18650 batteries are designed as high-drain batteries featuring lower capacity and some are designed as low-drain batteries featuring higher capacity. Also, note that "low-drain" usually means 5-15 Amps easily @3.6-3.7 volts!
Due to the CR123A and 18650 battery dimensions, certain devices, mostly flashlights, accept two CR123A batteries instead of one 18650 battery.
Generally, for devices that are used often, 18650 or RCR123A batteries are recommended, while for Every Day Carry (EDC) and similar devices that are used rarely, CR123A batteries are recommended.
CR123A vs CR-P2 vs 2CR5 Batteries
CR123A, CR-P2, and 2CR5 batteries are all (mostly) non-rechargeable lithium batteries, having very long-shelf life, and being able to provide strong drain currents.
Their physical dimensions are:
- 3V CR123A battery (D x H): 17 x 34.5 mm,
- 6V CR-P2 battery (H x L x W): 36 x 35 x 19.5 mm,
- 6V 2CR5 battery (H x L x W): 45 x 34 x 17 mm.
Both CR-P2 and 2CR5 batteries contain 2 (two) CR123A batteries internally, with CR-P2 being very similar in size to 2 (two) CR123A batteries being placed side by side - some devices using single CR-P2 battery feature battery compartments being able to accept both one CR-P2 battery or two CR123 batteries.
CR123A vs 2/3 A vs 2/3 17500 Batteries
CR123A battery is sometimes labeled as "2/3 A battery" and "2/3 17500 battery" due to the similarities with the A-size batteries:
- CR123A: 17 x 34.5 mm,
- A-size: 17 x 50 mm,
- 17500: 17.3 x 50 mm.
In theory, two A-size or two 17500 batteries may be replaced with three CR123A batteries.
However, due to the different voltages of such battery packs, it should be done only if allowed by the device manufacturer!
Long Story Short: If You are looking for a CR123A battery, You are looking for a non-rechargeable 3.0V lithium 17.0 x 34.5 mm cylindrical battery.
CR123A batteries are very popular batteries and can be easily purchased locally or can be ordered from online shops.
RCR123A batteries can be used instead of CR123A batteries only if explicitly allowed by the device manufacturer, or the device can be damaged or even destroyed.