CR123 vs CR123a Batteries: Difference Explained

Are you finding it difficult to choose between CR123 and CR123a batteries? In this article, we will talk about the differences between both and help you decide which type you need.

Difference Between CR123 and CR123a Batteries

Overview and Introduction

Also called 123,123a or SF123, DL123, and DL123a, the CR123 and CR123a batteries are high-quality batteries that can be used on a variety of appliances. While we are looking at the differences between the two cells, it’s worth noting that they both measure 16.5 mm in diameter as well as 34 mm in length.

The CR123 and the CR123a can also be called 123, 123a, SF123 DL123, and DL123a. They are all 16.5mm in diameter and 34mm in length. They are lithium batteries and have 3 volts.

The two batteries can discharge 3 volts, and you can easily find 123 rechargeable batteries as well as 123a rechargeable batteries in the market today.

So, what’s the difference between the two? Let’s find out.

Ideally, there is no difference between the two batteries. If you search the internet for a 123 lithium battery rechargeable, you probably find an array of CR 123 batteries or CR 123a’s.

Since both batteries have the same specifications when it comes to size, it’s worth mentioning that the ‘a’ in CR123a makes no particular difference. Therefore, you won’t be making a mistake by picking a 123 if you were looking for a 123a.


The first thing to look at when choosing a battery is how available they are.

AA batteries have reigned supreme in the battery market due to their availability. You can pick one of them from any store near you.

On the other hand, CR 123 and CR123a rechargeable batteries are quite challenging to find.

You’ll be lucky to find them off the shelf of your local store. Why is that so?

These batteries are often considered to be specialty batteries.  This is because they are only used on specific applications and gadgets, such as cameras.

Perhaps, another thing that has made the CR 123 and CR 123a batteries less available is the prices. An equivalent CR123a battery will cost half the amount due to its capacity and the materials used to make it.


One of the most significant differences between CR123 batteries and other batteries in the market today is the size. While a vast majority of the cells are long and narrow, CR123 batteries are much shorter and stout.

Although this might seem small, the slight difference will make a difference when trying to determine the type of gadget to use.

Runtime and Output

Another feature that sets the CR 123 and CR 123a rechargeable batteries apart from the rest is the runtime, as well as the output.

Generally, most batteries deliver an estimated 1.5 volts. While this is enough to light a LED for some time, they cannot be compared to CR 123 batteries.

All CR 123a, as well as CR 123 rechargeable batteries, deliver 3 volts of energy. This is enough to power an LED light in Turbo mode, which isn’t possible with other regular cells.

Benefits Compared to the Others

If you’ve used a CR 123 battery in your spotlight, the chances are that you’ve noticed a considerable difference in the light intensity when compared with other cells. The difference is irrefutable.

To be more specific, you can see the difference between the two batteries when using two different spotlights as well as brand-new batteries in both of them.

So, what makes the CR 123 batteries superior, and what are the benefits?

  • Efficiency: When using a CR 123 or CR 123a battery, it’s easy to keep your device alive. This is mainly due to its ability to deliver 3 volts.
  • Longer Life: Contrary to common belief, a battery producing a higher volt tends to last longer. This is the case with CR 123 and CR 123a batteries. With these batteries, you can rest assured that your lights will last longer.
  • Rechargeability: Some may argue that other batteries are cheaper compared to CR123 cells. However, CR 123 rechargeable batteries have an overall lower cost since they can be used over and over again.

Reservations Compared to the Others

Just like any other product, the CR123 and CR 123a batteries have benefits and reservations. Unlike other regular cells, the CR 123 batteries require a lot of caution while using them. Here are the reasons why:

  • Health Hazards: While 123 lithium battery rechargeables are quite useful, they are also hazardous to your health. Lithium used to make these batteries is a chemical agent that is quite explosive. Due to this, it can easily cause burns if it’s handled carelessly and explodes.
  • Environmental Hazard: Apart from causing health hazards, the CR 123 battery can also cause damage to the environment if it’s not correctly disposed of. The battery contains toxic substances that can be hazardous, especially when exposed to soil or water.

Insights and Takeaways

Due to the high performance and efficiency of CR 123 and CR 123a batteries, it’s no surprise that people use them extensively.

These batteries can either be used in cameras, flashlights, and many other devices. In some instances, the batteries can be used as backup power sources for many powerful devices.

Even so, these batteries come with a few reservations. These reservations can easily be leveled up by the many benefits that these batteries offer compared to other regular batteries.

For example, you can quickly level up the shortage of CR 123 batteries by sticking them up more often. This way, you will have ample time to hunt for another set while using the last set of batteries.

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