I know I know. You got a new flashlight or maybe another electronic device like digital cameras or a portable vacuum or a bunch of other things. And now you’re looking for batteries and it says it needs CR123 batteries.
Then you go to the store and at the store, you see CR123, CR123A, RCR123A, and then a bunch that looks to be the same size, and they are called 16340, 17340, or 2/3A. What is the difference Between CR123 and CR123A?
The worst-case scenario is if you don’t see CR123 at all but only the other ones.
What do you pick?
Obviously, you go for the one that’s closest which would be CR123A and that’s why we have this article you’re wondering if they’re the same.
Just get the answer out of the way…
What is the difference between CR123 and CR123A batteries?
There is no difference they are exactly the same battery. They are lithium primary batteries and they are not rechargeable.
So why do all these numbers and letters mean?
You probably haven’t read our other battery articles on this site so we’ll cover it again.
The proper name is CR123A, for some reason, some companies decide to drop the A.
And, these letters and numbers mean something.
The C in CR123A means that there is a negative electrode that is lithium and a positive electrode of Manganese dioxide. This is not a lithium-ion battery but just a lithium battery. Again these are not rechargeable.
The R is in reference to the shape of the battery and it’s saying that the battery is round. Or that they are cylindrical lithium batteries. Again this is not saying the battery is rechargeable these are not rechargeable batteries.
The 123A is in reference to the size of the battery. It means the battery is 2/3 of an A battery in height.
We don’t use A batteries anymore but their size would be 50 mm in height and 17 mm at the diameter.
So it makes sense that a CR123A is between 33 and 34.5 mm in height and it is 17 mm at the diameter.
The CR123 and CR123A batteries are the exact same battery, some manufacturers choose to drop the A probably because we don’t use the A size battery anymore.
Sometimes you’ll find electronics that will allow you to use RCR123A batteries.
These are rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries (a completely different type of battery) that are using a similar naming convention to primary lithium batteries.
RCR123A batteries are the same as 16340 batteries and are really similar to 17340 batteries.
All of these lithium-ion rechargeable batteries run at 3.7 volts so if your electronic can fit the battery it should work. In the two batteries referenced above the 16 and 17 represent the diameter in millimeters and the next two numbers represent the height in millimeters.
You can see how they’re almost the same size.
You got to be a little careful on whether or not you can use a lithium-ion battery in an electronic designed for a lithium battery. Lithium batteries only have a nominal voltage of 3 volts so unless your electronic is designed for 3 volt or 3.7 volts you might have a problem.
In the case of a flashlight if you can fit either and the manufacturer says that both the lithium or lithium-ion batteries will work here are the things to consider:
Battery capacity of the CR123A battery is much higher, probably double of the rechargeable lithium-ion.
Voltage and drain are much higher in the lithium-ion battery.
So you can have flashlights that run really bright or you can have flashlights that last longer.
For us, we really prefer to take the green and earth-friendly route of rechargeable batteries it’s also way cheaper. In this case, we regulate our capacity by just not using the brightest setting on our flashlights.
Then we can just plug it in and get it ready to go again instead of spending a couple bucks on non-rechargeable CR123A Batteries all of the time.
The best use case for CR123A batteries is utilizing their shelf life.
Most rechargeable batteries self-discharge. So after a year they’ve lost somewhere between 10% and 30% of their power and this continues every year.
A lithium primary battery will have a shelf life of over 10 years while keeping a very high percentage of its power. These are the batteries you want to have in a survival or prepper situation or any kind of bug out bag or place you want to be able to go and hide away.
Conclustion to CR123 vs CR123A
These are the exact same battery. There is no difference in these batteries.
Thanks for visiting our site we hope you found what you were looking for if you’re looking for something having to do with flashlights or more on batteries we go over a lot of that here so click through some of our menus to find what you’re looking for.
We do think that this is a great size battery for flashlights since they have much more power than AA batteries with higher voltage and are smaller. They fit in the pocket nicely. If you are looking for a new flashlight or dont really know much about the world of high-end flashlights check our hub of flashlight buyers guides to find what you are looking for.