What Is a C Size Battery: A Guide

  • Written by Eva Braughly

C batteries are a type of dry cell battery. They're created to function with minimal moisture, which makes them ideal for portable devices.

But what is a C size battery, and what makes it different? Perhaps, you're more familiar with AA and AAA dry cell batteries. However, these are much smaller in size, which means they have a limited lifespan. On the other hand, C batteries are reliable and long-lasting, making them good for medium and high-power consumption needs.

C-cell batteries can have different capacities and voltages, but their physical size remains the same. They have a standard size to ensure maximum compatibility with both devices and accessories, such as:
1.97 inches in length
1.03 inches in diameter

By Chemical
C-cell batteries are distinguished not only by their capacity and voltage but also by the materials used in their construction.
Alkaline - An alkaline C-cell battery is based on an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. Due to their density and long shelf life, alkaline batteries are the most widely used.
Lithium - These batteries use the metallic element lithium as the central conductor. They're preferred for their long lifespan but are different from the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which derives its charge from lithium ions’ movement.

All batteries are distinguished by their voltage which is the strength of their electrical charge. Every battery has a label indicating its nominal voltage, which defines the battery's capacity in ideal conditions. However, in practice, the voltage discharge rate still varies on the conditions in which it's operating, such as:

1.5 Volt C Battery
These are standard, non-rechargeable C batteries used in everyday household items. Its typical applications include clocks, radios, remote controls, torches, and toys.

3V C Batteries
These C batteries are used for professional, moderate drain applications and not for the usual household purposes. Its typical applications include gas and leak detectors, mining applications, and smart gas meters.

3.6V C batteries
These batteries are mainly used for professional and industrial applications. Its typical applications include buoys, measuring equipment, professional electronics, and utility meters.

Rechargeable C Batteries
The main types of C batteries are rechargeable and non-rechargeable. From the name itself, rechargeable C batteries allow you to recharge them hundreds of times, making them a sustainable choice. There are some rechargeable batteries built into a device that they power, while removable types need a separate adapter or size C battery charger.
On the contrary, non-rechargeable batteries are good for one-time use only. They're much cheaper compared to rechargeable batteries, but they don't last very long.


What's the best C battery?
The best C battery will depend on your needs. So base it on where you plan to use it for. Also, make sure to always choose high-quality batteries for long-lasting power.

Is it okay to recycle C batteries?
You can recycle C batteries together with other standard battery sizes. You can take your used batteries to recycling centers to ensure proper disposal. In these facilities, old batteries are broken down into constituent components for safe reuse.

How long is the lifespan of C batteries?
This depends on the specific model, size, as well as power consumption of the device. On average, a standard 1.5V LR14 battery can last more than 18 hours when discharged at 200mA. Rechargeable C batteries have a capacity of between 2200 and 4500 mAh, which is enough to power a strong torch for more than 6 hours.

C Batteries vs. D Batteries: Which Is Better?
Both batteries are listed as having 1.5 volts. Actually, both AA and AAA batteries are also 1.5 volts. But just because they have the same voltage doesn't mean you can use them interchangeably. There is a big difference between them that you must be aware of.
In an electrical device, there are two important thongs: voltage and current. Voltage is like a water pressure that pushes things down the pipe, while current is the amount of water flowing down the pipe. So when it comes to electronics, there are some that need more current but don't need more voltage, and this is where batteries come in.
D cell batteries give more current than C batteries. So if you need lots of currents and get it from a tiny battery, it won't work well. As for adding both types of batteries together, you'll notice that in most electronics, you place them so that the positive end of one touched the negative of the other. Doing so adds the voltages of the batteries, which is called adding "in series.” So for instance, if you have 2 D batteries in series, you'll have 3 volts.

Choose What's Best for Your Energy Consumption
If you're not so sure if C batteries are the right one for you, take a look at your consumption. The ideal battery gives you a balance of long duration, high performance, reasonable cost, and low environmental impact.
But to get that, you need to know what you're looking for. We hope this guide has given great insights.

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