What Batteries are Best in a Digital Camera?

A question I get asked is what type of batteries are best to use in a digital camera. The main options are Lithium ion batteries or AA batteries.

The Advantages of Lithium Ion Batteries

1. If you buy a digital camera that runs only on lithium ion batteries then the battery and a method of charging the batteries will be supplied with the camera. Although this means an element of the price covers the cost of the battery and charger the main advantage is you do not need to spend out to buy replacement batteries. Obviously you will need to pay for the electricity used every time you recharge the battery.

2. Lithium Ion batteries tend to be smaller. Therefore the cameras they fit into tend to be smaller too. This does not mean that every camera that uses lithium ion batteries is small enough to fit into a pocket, but small pocket cameras always use this type of battery.

3. Lithium ion batteries usually last longer before running down. This is not always the case, but with the majority of digital cameras I test those that run on a supplied lithium ion battery tend to run for longer before the battery is exhausted.

4. AA batteries are difficult to dispose of. By buying a camera with a rechargeable lithium ion battery the problem of battery disposal is much reduced.

The Disadvantages of Lithium Ion Batteries

1. Spare batteries are fairly expensive. Therefore if you would like to have a spare battery ready in case of an emergency it can add a significant percentage to the cost of your camera.

2. Spare batteries are not always easy to find.

3. If you take your camera to a different country you may need an adapter for plugging into the wall socket. If you are heading somewhere more exotic it is possible it will be difficult to find a power source.

Charging a Lithium Ion Battery

There are three standard methods of charging a lithium ion battery.

1. The majority of digital cameras come with a charger. The battery is taken out of the camera, slotted into the charger and can then be plugged into a wall socket. The downside of this method is that if you are going away you need to take the charger with you. It is also easy for the charger to go missing.

2. Some cameras allow the battery be charged in camera. For this method you receive a cable that attaches a camera to a wall socket.

3. A small number of cameras have a battery that can be charged via the USB port on a computer. This is similar to method two, but the cable attaches your digital camera to a USB computer socket.

Advantages of AA Batteries

1. A set of AA batteries is relative cheap and they are available in most places throughout the world.

2. As these batteries are relatively cheap it means carrying a spare set is inexpensive.

3. You can buy rechargeable AA batteries to give you the best of both worlds. If you do decide to take this route make sure your rechargeable battery has the highest possible mAh rating. This helps to ensure the battery lasts a lot longer in between recharges.

Disadvantages of AA batteries

1. The larger size means they do not fit into pocket cameras.

2. They are difficult to dispose of.

3. Unless you use rechargeable batteries replacement batteries add to running costs.


The type of battery you use is more likely to be dictated by the camera you buy. There is no difference in how a camera operates owing to the type of battery it uses. Digital Camera Batteries

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