Difference between Cell and Battery

Cell and battery both are electrical devices that are used to store chemical energy and then that stored chemical energy is transformed into electrical energy. Cell and battery are direct voltage sources that produce a continuous direct output voltage. Cells and batteries are electrochemical devices that use a chemical reaction to generate electricity.

The major difference between cell and battery is that a cell consists of a single unit, whereas a battery is a group of cells which implies it consists of multiple units. Here we discussed the principle of batteries and cells.

Difference between Cell and Battery in tabular form

Cell Battery
It is a single power generating unit that stores the chemical energy and then converts it into electrical energy. It is the collection of electrochemical cells which are either connected in series or parallel.
A cell can be classified into a reserve, dry or wet depending on the type of electrolyte used. Cell also includes a molten salt type. Batteries can also be classified into primary or secondary depending on the basis of the reusability of the batteries meaning it is rechargeable or non-rechargeable.
A cell is usually light in weight and compact in size as it has a single unit. Batteries are bulky and bigger in size because they consist of several cells.
A cell supplies power for a shorter duration of time. A battery can supply power for a longer duration.
Cells are usually cheap. Batteries are more expensive than cells.
Cells are usually used in clocks, lamps, radios, remote control devices, etc. Batteries are used in automobiles, inverters, emergency lights, etc.

What is a cell?

The cell is a single power generating unit that stores the chemical energy and then it converts it into electrical energy. A cell is an electrochemical device that uses chemical reactions to generate electricity. The best part about the cells is that they are a portable source of electrical energy.

The cell has an electrolyte (a chemical substance) that reacts with the electrodes and produces an electric current. A cell has two electrodes namely cathode and anode. Redox reaction takes place between the electrolytes and the electrodes and due to this redox reaction electric current starts flowing through an external circuit. Oxidation reaction takes place at the anode while at the cathode reduction reaction takes place.

A cell does not lose its energy if it is not being used. It is a practical way of storing electrical energy since it doesn’t lose its energy over time if it is not being used, therefore cells are widely used in household appliances.

A cell is usually light in weight and compact in size as it has a single unit. It is available at a cheaper price but it supplies energy or power only for a shorter duration of time. A cell receives the electrons from an external generator and stores them for later use.

A cell is used in devices that require a lesser amount of energy like clocks, radios, lamps, remote control devices, etc.

What is a Battery?

A battery is a collection of one or more cells that are either connected in series or parallel. A battery is an electrochemical device that utilizes the stored chemical energy and converts it into electrical energy in order to provide power to electrical appliances or devices such as flashlights, mobile phones, and electrical cars. The battery is a constant source of power and it supplies electricity in the form of direct current (DC).

Every battery or cell contains two electrodes i.e., cathode and anode, and the electrolyte. The electrodes must be separated so they are immersed in an electrolyte that permits the passage of ions between the electrodes. The material for the electrodes and electrolytes are chosen and arranged such that sufficient electromotive force and current can be developed between the terminals of a battery to operate machines, lights and other devices.

The batteries can be classified into two types primary and secondary:

Primary batteries: These are the batteries which once used cannot be used again therefore they are also known as single-use batteries or disposable batteries. The reason that they can be only used once is that the materials present inside the battery change in an irreversible way during their discharge.

Secondary batteries: These batteries are also known as rechargeable batteries, they can be recharged again and again once discharged. The process of discharging and recharging takes place with the help of an electric current, where reverse current helps to restore the electrons to their original position.


From the above discussion, we have concluded that both cells and batteries are used to store the chemical energy and then transform the stored chemical energy into electrical energy. A cell is a single unit device whereas a battery is a group of cells. A cell supplies energy for a shorter duration of time. On the other hand, a battery can supply energy for a longer duration of time.

In this article, the differences between a cell and a battery are explained in a lucid way, we have also discussed the cells and batteries in great detail.

Deepak Yadav
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh


1. https://www.linquip.com/blog/difference-between-cell-and-battery
2. https://circuitglobe.com/difference-between-cell-and-battery.html
3. https://coolgyan.org/chemistry/difference-between-cell-and-battery

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