Li Ion vs Li Po: Which One is Better?

Nowadays, laptops and smart phones are very important for our lives. We use them everyday for our works and entertainment. One of the most concerned things when we are going to buy a new device is its battery. How long does it last while not charging and when do we need to replace a new battery are the most popular questions for the sellers. There are 2 different types of battery which are currently using. They are Li-ion and Li-po. So what are the differences between them and which one should we choose? Let’s find out.

Li Ion vs Li Po – The History

First, we need to understand each type of battery.

Li-ion Battery

Li-ion (Lithium-ion) batteries are the most popular choices for our modern smartphones. They first appeared in 1912 but actually became popular since 1991. They include three different parts, an anode (a negative terminal) made of lithium metal, a cathode (positive terminal) made from graphite and a separating electrolyte layer between them to avoid short-circuiting. When we charge our batteries, ions from the anode goes towards the cathode where energy is stored. As the battery discharges, ions go back again to the anode. This is the basic chemistry knowledge that we’ve learned in school.

lithium ion battery

So what will happen if we forget to unplug the charger and let our phones overcharging? Well, these batteries have a small electronic controller to avoid that problem. Some manufacturers have developed in reshaping these batteries into layers to gain even more capacity.

Li-po Battery

Li-Po (Lithium-polymer) battery is quite an old technology that you can find in your old devices. This type of battery was invented in 1907s. Their first design included a dry solid polymer electrolyte similar to a plastic film. These batteries have a similar structure with Li-ion batteries, but are made of Silicon-Graphene material. It makes them lighter. Because of that point, people use these batteries in laptops and most of the high-capacity powerbanks.

Lithium polymer battery

The Battle

Li Ion vs Li Po – The Comparision

Although Li-Po batteries are old style but they still have some advantages. Let’s see how are they compared to Li-Ion batteries.

Li-ion BatteryLi-po Battery
Raw MaterialElectrolyte (liquid or colloid)Electrolyte having a polymer electrolyte (solid or colloidal) and an organic electrolyte.
ShapeMore rigid in shapes and stylesMoulderble, and flatter shapes
Manufacturing ProcessThe thicker the betterthe thinner the better
Power DensityHigherLower
SafetyMore explosive, requires an IC circuitLess explosive, no IC circuit required
Charging Life100 – 300 cycles300 – 400 cycles
WeightHeavierLighter
PriceCheapExpensive

The Winner

Li Ion vs Li Po which is better

Each type of battery above has its own advantages and disadvantages. Based on that, we should choose the right one for our needs.

Li-ion batteries have a very high-power density, that means we can simply pack more power cells than lithium-polymer batteries. Smartphone manufactures use this attribute to pack more power still keeping a sleek design.

These batteries also lack a memory effect. Memory effect is a phenomenon where batteries lose their optimum recharging ability. As lithium-ion batteries are free from the memory effect, we are able to recharge our batteries even after partial discharges.

However, there are some disadvantages to lithium-ion type. One of the biggest challenge is its aging effect. After a certain period of time, ions present in batteries lose their ability to generate maximum energy. So if you see your phone discharging quickly, you now know what is the reason behind it.

Li-polymer batteries are more rigid in shapes and lightweight. These batteries are also difficult to leak energy due to their gel-like characteristic. However, these batteries cannot evade the memory effect issue. The gel-like material gets harder over time causing shorter life span. These batteries are also not be able to pack high-power density in compact sizes, thus they are normally large. Therefore, you should replace your traditional laptop batteries after a certain period of time.

Conclusion

Li-Po is for radio controlled cars because of their lighter weight, faster discharge rates, massive amperages and higher power. Li-Po is also for mobile phones especially because of their flatter shape, and their lighter weight. While Li-ion is used in flashlights for their greater energy density for longer run times. Li Ion vs Li Po is not a big deal if you truly know what you really want.

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