Lithium Ion vs. Lithium Polymer Batteries – Which Is Better?

Lithium-ion lithium-polymer superhero battery blog cover image


Lithium-ion or lithium-polymer?
The (what seems like) endless debate on batteries in modern consumer electronics. Today, we’re going to talk about the differences between these battery types. While we may not be able to settle the score once and for all on which is better. we hope to give you the information you need to make the best possible choice!

 

What’s the Difference?

A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable battery format that first grew in popularity thanks to their adoption by major electronics companies in the early 1990s. They are essentially a group of very rigid electricity generating compartments, which consists of three pieces: a positive electrode; a negative electrode; and an electrolyte, or liquid chemical compound between them. Most lithium-ion batteries, unlike more traditional ones, also include an electronic controller, which regulates power and discharge flows so your battery doesn’t overheat or explode.

The most significant difference between lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries is the chemical electrolyte between their positive and negative electrodes. In Li-Po batteries it isn’t a liquid. Instead, Li-Po technology uses one of three forms: a dry solid, which was largely phased out during the prototype years of lithium polymer batteries; a porous chemical compound; or, a gel-like electrolyte. The most popular among these is the last one, which is the type of battery you’ll find in newer laptop computers and electric cars. The catch is that plenty of companies are not actually selling you a true Li-Po battery, instead it’s a lithium-ion polymer battery, or a Li-ion in a more flexible casing.

battery pros and cons lithium-polymer

Is One Better than the Other?

Both lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries have their pros and cons. Typically, the advantages of a lithium-ion is their high power density, lack of what’s called the memory effect (when batteries become harder to charge over time), and their significantly lower cost than lithium-polymer. In the words of Wired, “Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly efficient. They stuff freakish amounts of energy in a tiny package.” But, as anyone might have seen with the recent saga of a certain cellphone brand being banned from flights, lithium-ion batteries are inherently unstable, suffer from aging, and are potentially dangerous. If the barrier that separates the positive and negative electrode is ever breached, the chemical reaction can cause combustion (fire). As Li-ion batteries have become more popular in consumer electronics, businesses have tried to lower costs by cutting corners. While quality batteries are perfectly safe, you should always be careful when buying no-name brands.

Lithium-polymer batteries, on the other hand, are generally robust and flexible, especially when it comes to the size and shape of their build. They are also lightweight, have an extremely low profile, and have a lower chance of suffering from leaking electrolyte. But lithium-polymer batteries aren’t perfect either: they are significantly more costly to manufacture, and they do not they have the same energy density (amount of power that can be stored) nor lifespan as a lithium-ion.

 ravpower battery lithium comparison 12000mAh lithium-polymer

We’ve got a Foot in Both Worlds!

True to form, we’ve gone ahead and future-proofed your external battery needs by offering both lithium-ion and lithium-polymer. Our Li-Po batteries, the 22000mAh Power Bank and the 12000mah Power Bank, maintain the same quality you know and love from RAVPower. Despite their thinner profiles, they boast a huge range of internal features. These include short circuit and overcharge/discharge protection, fire retardant shell, and electronic iSmart charging module. You’ll also find Li-Po batteries in our 18000mAh Car Jump Starter. One the other hand, most our other power banks house lithium-ion interiors. And as with our lithium-polymer lineup, your Li-ion external battery contains extra features to keep you safe.

 

For RAVPower’s selection of Li-Ion and LiPo power banks, please click here
To connect with us on social media, follow our FacebookTwitter, & Instagram pages

Get RAVPower’s 16750mAh Li-Ion Power Bank for 10% off until August 3 with code STABZIGR. Find it here.

If you prefer a lithium-polymer battery, RAVPower’s 12000mAh Li-Po Power Bank is 10% off until August 3 with code TZCKKCQT. Find it here.

We can’t wait to help you pick out your next external battery. Tell us in the comments below why you prefer lithium-ion or lithium-polymer!

 

54 Replies to “Lithium Ion vs. Lithium Polymer Batteries – Which Is Better?

    1. Not until it combusts or catches fire because of the sheer nature of it.
      You are talking about hauling gas vs hauling water (LiPolymer)

  1. Thx for the info.. But as what I’ve experienced… The lithium ion batteries are more efficient and less power consumption than the lithium polymer batteries. The ion can last longer than the polymer..

  2. I have a question li-ion 4100 mah and li-polymer 3080 mah which is better for good battery backup.
    plz suggest me I am about to buy phone.

  3. I have bought syska 200pro of 20000mah polymer powerbank today. I am in confusion wheteher it is smelling its new manufacturing or is damaged. Is polymer powerbank good in contrast to ion

  4. Given the large power capacity of Li-ion, you do not loose much if you can control the charge to 85 percent (3.8 Volts) instead of going for 100% charge (4.0 Volts). This extends the battery life significantly.

  5. I fly LiPo every day no one I know fly’s Li Ion. Metal cans around a round battery in RC heli do not exist. Even in the cheapest drone they are using LiPo. But this story states Li Ion can fly better than LiPo??? Never I have seen one guy stuff Li Ion on the outside of a drone Paper thin LiPo with foil like case so thin that it is almost see thru. Metal drums will never lift off on any of my birds. Now safety Li Ion is bullet proof compared to LiPo but Li Ion are heavy like a rock.

  6. My usage are 1 day battery backup,great performance and good camera.So,Which one would be better..?
    Li-ion 3300mah OR Li-poly 4000mah ?

  7. I want to buy a battery to power a dashcam whilst in parking mode (instead of hardwiring it). Which would be suitable? I live in a country with temperatures (40degrees) in the summer months.

    1. Can the dash cam be powered with a standard USB input or does it need USB-C? Just to be safe, this is your best bet in terms of a reliable power bank. LINK.
      Just note, its best to keep a power bank in a cool place so hopefully you don’t run into any issues using it in a hot car.

      1. Am I missing something? That link doesn’t even say if it is li-po or li-on and this is what the whole article has been about. Wouldn’t li-po be safer in a hot car? We don’t know because you haven’t said.

        How can we make a decision when so few details are given, just vague hints that li-on are possibly more dangerous but hold more power and suffer less memory effect? How much more in each case?

        For example, if you have two 20,000mah batteries, one of each type, how many charges will each take take? What is the weight and dimension of each? What is the danger of each in a normal environment and a hot environment please?

        1. Hi Paul,
          Your questions are really good, certainly far beyond the scope of our article which we’re stoked blew up in popularity. We’re actually in the process of writing a follow up with more information for those after a more nuanced perspective. We will definitely cover this sort of information. As for an immediate response to your questions, we are not able to answer them all right now so we’ll need to check with our engineering team.

          1. Two 20,000mah batteries, one of each type, how many charges will each take take? Depends on the phone you want to charge. Different phones have different sized batteries. We actually wrote a guide on “How Many Times A Power Bank Can Recharge a Phone?” which you can take a look at. While it specifically addresses li-ion power banks (which comprise the bulk of power banks we sell), the information is the same as the nominal voltage of a power bank is 3.7v regardless of whether its a li-ion or li-poly power bank.

          2. What is the weight and dimension of each? That is something we need to confirm with our engineers. Could you tell us if you mean weight or if you want to know the energy density? I did a quick search on google and found that a li-ion has an energy density of about 130 Wh/kg, whereas the li-poly has an energy density of 170 wh/kg. Of course it was a quick search so that info needs to be confirmed.

          3. What is the danger of each in a normal environment and a hot environment please? We cannot provide specifics right now but we did cover similar information in our latest blog post on Keeping Your Devices Safe for Summer. Take a read and let us know if it provides the info you need. If not, we’ll do our best to provide a more comprehensive answer.

          4. Regarding the link, it was posted in March. Our sales team constantly update the Amazon product page to get a better performance. Sadly it seems they deleted the info regarding the battery 🙁

          Please message us if you have more questions or contact support@ravpower.com to speak to our product support team.

          All the best.

  8. Hi, when you say “It depends on what you want from your device” can you give examples?

    In may case i want my cell phone to charge quickly using the turbo charge technology and I wouldn’t want the battery to lose capacity in a short space of time(memory effect) and for the device to stay on longer between charges.

    If the li-ion has higher power density then i assume this would be more suitable?

    thanks

  9. Is it ok to use Li-ion power bank to charge Li-pol battery?? or
    Li-Pol power bank to charge Li-ion battery ??
    Can there be any adverse effect..?

  10. When my phone needs charge, RAVPower is with me! IDC about the battery lifespan but can you please mention me this, “when should I replace the battery?” Thanks!

  11. Hey, am just trying to replace my phone battery with 4000mAh ended up having 2 choices(Li-ion,Li-Pol) , i can’t decide whether to buy which one, am a heavy user, living up in high temperature country 35c on avg, my battery used to get heated alot up with li-pol before(Company’s battery) what do you this is best for me? should i go for Li-ion for this time. i would like to avoid high temperatures and explosions!
    Thanks~

    1. Since you’ve had experience with the li-po, we suggest trying out a li-ion. There are actually more li-ion options out there for you. Regardless of which battery you use, don’t live it in a hot place (like a car). At the same time, by a battery from a reputable brand that’s purchased at a reputable store. This article provides a very succinct but needed summary of why and how to purchase a safe battery. Good luck. Ask us if you need anymore help.

  12. Which is better the 3340mah li-on battery
    Or the 3000mah li-po, when it come to bat life span?(for cellphone).ty

  13. I’m not sure which battery would be better. I play games on my phone alot. A 5000 mAh Li-Ion battery or a 5000 mAh Li-Ion polymer. I’m looking to see which is better and probably more safe. Currently I have a 3000 mAh Lithium Ion and my phone gets pretty not whike playing and even when it’s charging and I’m not feeling safe with it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Try our 10,000mAh Li-Ion Power Bank. It’s got more than 3 times the power as your current power bank, it’s thin for portability, and it has protective safeguards (as do all RAVPower products). Please note, that phones will heat up when charging. especially if doing CPU intense activities like games. This is normal. We are going to publish an article about using power banks during summer. Perhaps it will help.

  14. Hi, please could you help me to understand… If you have two 20,000mah batteries, one of each type mentioned in the article, how many charges will each take take before needing replacement?

    How much bigger would the polymer be, please?

    Which is heavier?

    What is the danger of each in a normal environment and a hot environment, please?
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Paul,

      We’ve done our best to answer as best as we can without further research. We do plan on writing a follow up post to address some of these points.

      If you have two 20,000mah batteries, one of each type mentioned in the article, how many charges will each take take before needing replacement? Li-Ion batteries get about 500 charge/discharge cycles before efficiency decreases whereas li-poly have about 250-300.

      How much bigger would the polymer be? Could you tell us if you mean weight or if you want to know the energy density? I did a quick search on google and found that a li-ion has an energy density of about 130 Wh/kg, whereas the li-poly has an energy density of 170 wh/kg. Of course it was a quick search so that info needs to be confirmed.

      Which is heavier? Depends on the battery size. To compare batteries, the standard appears to be Wh/kg.

      What is the danger of each in a normal environment and a hot environment, please? We cannot provide specifics right now but we did cover similar information in our latest blog post on Keeping Your Devices Safe for Summer. Take a read and let us know if it provides the info you need. If not, we’ll do our best to provide a more comprehensive answer.

      Please message us if you have more questions or contact support@ravpower.com to speak to our product support team.

      Best wishes.

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