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Cylindrical Cells VS Prismatic Cells: What Is The Right One for Your Device?


In our previous article, we had an overview of four common types of battery cells-- button or coin, prismatic, pouch or polymer, and cylindrical. By now, you've probably realized that different battery-powered devices may require different kinds of battery cells. But how to know which kind of battery cells is better to meet the requirement of devices?

This time, we will explore two popular options of lithium cells on the market -- Cylindrical and prismatic cells and elaborate the advantages and weaknesses of them to help you pick up the right battery.

Cylindrical Cells

Cylindrical cells are the most widely used cells in batteries, the unique design of cylindrical cell helps to minimize the chances that the electrode material inside will break up, even under the heaviest of use conditions. Besides, the cylindrical cells could provide a better temperature control when compared to prismatic cells. Cylindrical cells can support the automation techniques during manufacturing, therefore, it could be produced much faster keeping a lower ultimate cost and help increase the consistency of battery. Due to the benefit from a much faster production rate, a cheaper price, and longevity, cylindrical cells are an economical choice for various applications.

Cylindrical Cells

However, the cylindrical design makes space saving more challenging than prismatic cells because they use up more space in battery-powered devices.

Inside a cylindrical battery, a series of cells are combined and operate in parallel to one another to help increase both the voltage and capacity of the battery pack. Small cylindrical cells are usually found in portable electronics such as medical devices or laptops. Notably, large cylindrical cells are also chosen to power some electric vehicles like Tesla.

Prismatic Cells

A prismatic lithium battery can be encased in either steel or aluminum, which mainly increases the stability of battery cells. In turn, this unique design tends to make prismatic cells thin and light, and also with the feature of space saving. The rectangular shape of thin prismatic cells offer better layering than cylindrical cells, giving more flexibility for battery design engineers. For some consumer electronics like smartphones and tablets where mobility is of great importance, the key features of prismatic cells make them typically a popular choice. The popularity of prismatic cells is also related to their large capacity. For example, a compact 12V battery pack could be easily created by connecting four prismatic cells together. Therefore, prismatic cells are commonly used in large power applications such as energy storage systems.

Prismatic Cells

The effective use of space makes prismatic cells attractive, however, prismatic cells have their own drawbacks. The poor performance of one prismatic cell will affect the performance of the entire battery pack. The increase of capacity also leads to the probability of battery inconsistency and short circuit, which eventually makes prismatic cells expensive to get a proper design and manufacture. Additionally, they are less effective in thermal management and relatively sensitive to deformation in high-pressure situations. A limited number of standardized cell sizes and a higher average KWh price contribute to the increasing cost of prismatic cells.

How to select your battery cell?

Battery, as the power source for electric devices, plays a vital role in ensuring the performance of devices. As the battery cells are a part of the battery pack, which is a part of the device, it means that all these parts must work in harmony. Therefore, when choosing a battery cell, understanding the needs of device, the operating environment, the chargers and other accessories are required so as to choose the right cells. Besides, before a battery cell is selected, space, cost and safety are also needed to take into consideration.

If your lithium application requires high power, long service life and good performance, thinking less about the effective use of space, a cylindrical cell could be your selection. Otherwise, if your application needs to be suitable for a limited space and a higher price is acceptable, a prismatic cell could be better.

When you are not sure what type of lithium cell you should use, try to consider an experienced partner, such as UFO POWER, that is able to provide a power supply solution matching your specific requirement and helps you make a reasonable buying decision.

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