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Types of Primary Batteries

Making the right choice in batteries requires expertise. After all, the power source must match power use, usage situation and budget exactly. Elfa has the experience and expertise that we gladly share with our clients.



Perfect match

Elfa is originally a battery manufacturer and today, an importer of an extremely wide range of primary (non-rechargeable) batteries. This means we not only have high expertise but also an answer to any question effectively or the option to develop one. For example, a battery that can be used at -20°C, a battery that can handle a high peak in the demand or a simple AA battery at the lowest possible price? Elfa gives advice.


Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries are the most used types of batteries. An alkaline battery supplies a lot of energy, even at lower temperatures. These batteries are suited for one-off use, have the lowest purchase price and low self-discharge. They are highly suited for devices that use little current for long periods of time.


The Duracell company is the best known producer of batteries here. But today, many more manufacturers, like Panasonic and Energizer, produce good alkaline batteries besides Duracell. Elfa can also supply Procell batteries, well performing, simply packaged alkaline for professional bulk consumption, replacing Duracell Industrial batteries.


In brief:

  • Suited for devices that normally require low current such as remote controls or radios.


Upsides in brief:

  • Good shelf life
  • Work well at low temperatures
  • Considerably cheaper than lithium batteries


Downsides in brief:

  • Do not last long in applications with high constant current during use


Lithium metal batteries

Lithium metal batteries are primary batteries that last up to 7 times longer than alkaline. Also when a much higher peak capacity is needed, lithium is the solution. Think of digital cameras. Elfa supplies lithium batteries from Tadiran, among others; by far the best quality lithium batteries in the world. Thanks to the very high quality standard, Tadiran supplies its lithium batteries to the aviation and aerospace industries, among others.


But Elfa also sees that today, lithium is also used to an increasing extent in consumer equipment, including wireless alarm systems and in places where temperature is an issue. After all, lithium works from -20 to +40 degrees Celsius. Elfa can also supply Energizer lithium batteries and offers a choice from various chemistries such as Lithium Maganese Dioxide (Li-MnO2) and Lithium Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2).


In brief:

  • Used in: water, gas and electricity meters, alarm sensors, track&trace gps modules, among others
  • Predominantly industrial use


Upsides in brief:

  • Last up to 7 times longer than alkaline batteries
  • Very low self-discharge (<1% per year @ 20°C)
  • Excellent temperature tolerance (-60 +150°C)
  • Retains capacity at temperatures below zero


Downsides in brief:

  • Dangerous in case of misuse, abusive charging, complete discharge
  • Considerably more expensive than alkaline batteries


Specialist batteries: Air alkaline and ZincAir batteries

And it doesn’t stop at lithium. Far from that. The world demands more and more battery solutions and manufacturers produce ever new chemical compositions. Elfa follows these innovations. For instance, Elfa supplies batteries from the high-tech battery factory Saft, which produces specialist batteries for aviation, rail, aerospace, Defence and emergency power systems. These are often Lithium-ion batteries, but here, too, Elfa sees new technologies in development such as Sodium-ion, Lithium-Sulfur and Solid-State batteries. These are interesting developments. Just like the innovative Air-alkaline batteries developed by Cegasa. They offer extremely high energy density, high output voltage and stability during the complete discharge. Maybe even more interesting: the Cegasa Zinc Air product is a very small, light and compact battery that lasts.


In primary batteries, Elfa supplies the following types of chemistry:

  • Alkaline
  • Lithium
  • Lithium/Iron Disulfide
  • Lithium Manganese Dioxide
  • Lithium Poly-Carbon Monofluoride
  • Lithium Thionylchloride
  • SilverOxide
  • ZincAir


In primary batteries, Elfa supplies the following formats:

  • A
  • AA
  • AAA
  • AAAA
  • C
  • Coin
  • D
  • E
  • N


Besides the standard sizes of primary batteries, Elfa also supplies several other formats of batteries with their own IEC codes or ANSI codes. Sometimes standard formats do not offer the right solution; in that case, Elfa can make custom battery packs in its own assembly departments.



Exhausted batteries are best taken back. The Stibat (Battery Foundation) coordinates the collection of spent batteries in the Netherlands. Handing in finished batteries is good for the environment. It is the first step in the recycling of spent batteries. Full collection drums or containers are collected by Stibat. The batteries are then sorted and offered to selected recyclers in Europe for recycling.


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