Confused by conflicting opinions about 123 battery vs. 123A? Well, if you need an in-depth explanation about the batteries, you come to the right place

As the batteries of your flashlight seem to be depleted, you drop by a convenience store in order to pick up a couple of replacements. To keep things simple, you want to buy the batteries that you have been using: 123. Unfortunately, after looking all over the shelves, you still fail to find batteries you need. So you decide to ask around and the clerk offers you batteries that have a slightly different name compared to the ones you seek: 123A. 123 battery vs. 123A, which one works best in your  flashlight

Have a lot of questions in mind about 123 battery vs. 123A but don’t know how to get informed answers? If that is the case, this article is for you. Down below, you would be introduced to pretty much everything you must remember about the batteries from capabilities to usages. 

In Layman’s Terms: 123 Is 123A And 123A Is 123

Yup, you heard it right. Designations like 123, 123A, CR123A, DL123A, ELD123A and so on all talk about the same thing: a high performance 3V cylindrical lithium battery. “Then why it’s called by so many names on the market?” you ask yourself. Well, the reason is straightforward: different manufacturers often use different names for batteries to make them recognizable to the customers. Examples includes 123 (Energizer), 123A (Rayovac), CR123 (Duracell), CR123A (Panasonic), …       

All in all, if you have been using 123 batteries to good effects in your flashlight then feel free to use 123A batteries as alternative options. Generally, once it comes to 123 battery vs. 123A, it’s safe to say that that only major distinction between the two is the letter “A”.   

Comprehensive Breakdowns Of The Battery

For ease of convenience, the information down below would use the most common name of the battery nowadays:

CR123A review


  • Length: 34.5 Millimeters 
  • Diameter: 17 Millimeters
  • Voltage: 3V
  • Capacity: 1,500 (non-rechargeable) and 700 (rechargeable) mAh
  • Terminal: Nub end (positive) and flat end (negative) 

Types Of CR123A Batteries

While modern CR123A batteries indeed have a lot of names, people categorize them into two major types: non-rechargeable (lithium) and rechargeable (lithium-ion).

  • Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Packing a long shelf life, non-rechargeable CR123A batteries tend to see worldwide use in a variety of devices. moreover, batteries of the type handle high drain currents well which make them ideal for applications that need significant power in short periods of time. Being offered at full charge, these batteries could be used at a moment’s notice. As non-rechargeable batteries usually have top-notch voltage in addition to sublime capacity, they last fairly long in use. You must properly dispose of the batteries upon depletion though. 

  • Rechargeable Batteries:

The nominal voltage of rechargeable CR123A batteries varies from brand to brand so it’s essential to take a close look at the label. As for capacity, batteries of the type fall behind non-rechargeable ones but they let you recharge them upon depletion. These batteries often arrive half-charged which means before you use them, it’s necessary to fully charge them first. In storage, rechargeable CR123A batteries available for purchase would lose between 10% and 30% of the initial charge after one year. 

  • Usage Of CR123A Batteries

As mentioned above, due to the top-notch performance of CR123A batteries in use, people use them extensively in flashlights, cameras and so on. In some cases, a few CR123A could be used as backup power sources for devices that originally employ much more powerful batteries such as 18650. Regarding shortcomings, the retail price of CR123A is a bit high compared to other batteries these kinds of days. In addition to that, the availability of  CR123A is less than ideal which is why it’s a good idea to stock up periodically. 

Frequently Asked Questions About CR123A Batteries And Associated Issues

  • What is the meaning behind the name “CR123A”? 

Similar to other batteries on the market, the name “CR123A” carries essential information regarding various aspects of the design. ‘CR” is a prefix used by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to denote lithium chemistry, specifically LiMnO2 (Lithium-Ion Manganese Oxide). As for “123A”, it actually stands for “one battery that is around two-thirds of a standard A-sized battery”. All things considered, “CR123A” means “a lithium battery that is around two-thirds of a standard A-sized battery”. 

  • Is it a good idea to use rechargeable and non-rechargeable CR123A batteries interchangeably? 

It’s acceptable but always keep in mind that rechargeable CR123A batteries have slightly different voltages, capacities and dimensions compared to non-rechargeable ones. Therefore, certain devices designed for non-rechargeable batteries fail to operate smoothly if loaded with rechargeable ones and vice versa. To avoid wasting money, it’s necessary that you conduct thorough researches before heading out.  

  • Could I use two CR123A batteries in place of a single 18650 battery for power? 

Since a couple of devices nowadays feature long, spring-loaded internals to accept batteries of varying lengths, it’s fine for you to use two CR123A batteries instead of one 18650 battery in some cases. Due to the difference in thickness between the batteries, you likely need to add a battery sleeve for secured connections. That being said, you should use the right batteries for the right devices if possible. 

  • How to get some CR123A batteries at reasonable prices? 

As the retail prices of CR123A tend to be high, many people look for other means to acquire batteries. If you wish to purchase CR123A in bulks without burning through your wallet in the process then you shall visit websites of major distributors. They usually offer a wide range of batteries at bulk prices which would help you save a couple of bucks. Obviously, you must wait for some time for the order to be processed and stock released but it’s economical. 

  • What about the safety features of modern CR123A batteries?  

Non- rechargeable CR123A batteries these kinds of days don’t contain safety features so it’s essential that you avoid pushing them too hard. On the other hand, high-quality rechargeable CR123A batteries often pack integrated systems that address issues such as short-circuits, surges, overheats and others.

Thanks Aclockworkorangeplay for this post.