What is the Difference Between Cell and Battery

Cells and batteries are devices that store and release energy. They convert chemical energy into electrical energy. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between cell and battery.

What is the difference between cell and battery? A cell is a single unit that generates electricity by a chemical reaction, whereas a battery is composed of multiple cells.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Cell  
      – Definition, Features 
2. What is a Battery
      – Definition, Features 
3. Similarities Between Cell and Battery
      – Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Cell and Battery
      – Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Cell and Battery
      – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Key Terms

Cell, Battery, Galvanic Cell, Voltaic Cell

Difference Between Cell and Battery - Comparison Summary

What is a Cell

A cell is a single unit that generates electric energy through a chemical reaction. In cells, the conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy happens through spontaneous redox reactions. These are often referred to as galvanic cells or voltaic cells. One cell consists of two half-cells in which an electrode is immersed in an electrolyte. At one electrode, the release of electrons happens, indicating that it is an oxidation half-reaction. This electrode is the anode. At the other electrode, a reduction half-reaction happens, gaining electrons. This electrode is the cathode. This cell is capable of powering devices as the electricity is generated (because of the generated potential difference) due to the flow of electrons through the external circuit.

Galvanic Cell

Electrolytic cells, on the other hand, are powered by an external electric source, and non-spontaneous reactions can be observed here. One common application of these cells is electroplating, where a metal iron in the solution is reduced to form a thick metallic coating. Furthermore, cells are useful in various fields, such as medicine, pharmacology, biochemistry, and chemistry.

What is a Battery

A battery is a collection of cells. They convert chemical energy into electrical energy. They come in different forms and types and are tailored for different applications such as lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are portable, meaning they can be moved and carried from place to place.

Electrochemical reactions take place inside a battery. Moreover, the main components of cells in batteries are the two electrodes and the electrolyte. An electrolyte separates the two electrodes. When a battery is connected to a circuit, these reactions generate a flow of electrons, creating an electric current. In fact, these different types of batteries can power up TV remote controllers, cars, mobile phones, and various other electronic devices.


Though they are useful in various applications, they also have limitations, such as the chemicals not being environmentally friendly and the unavailability of raw materials in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, researchers are continuously conducting research on how to overcome these challenges by finding, testing, and developing new alternatives for these usable power resources.

Similarities Between Cell and Battery

  • They both generate electrical energy through chemical reactions.
  • Both store and release energy.

Difference Between Cell and Battery


  • Cells are typically single units containing one or more electrodes, electrolytes, and separators, whereas batteries consist of multiple cells connected in series or parallel.

Voltage Output

  • Cells have a low voltage output, while batteries provide a high voltage output.


  • Moreover, cells are smaller and have lower capacity compared to batteries.

Power Supply

  • Cells supply power for shorter periods of time, whereas batteries supply power for long periods of time.


  • Cells are generally used for simpler tasks that require low energy, while batteries are used for heavier-loaded tasks.


Cells and batteries both provide electrical energy via chemical reactions. Cells are single units generating electricity, whereas a battery is a collection of cells connected together. This is the main difference between cell and battery. Both provide power for a variety of devices ranging from TV remote controllers to automobiles.

FAQ: Cell and Battery

1. What is an electric cell?

An electrical cell is an “electrical power supply.” It converts stored chemical energy into electrical potential energy, allowing positive charges to flow from the positive terminal to the negative one through an external circuit.

2. Is the battery a cell?

No, a battery is a group of cells connected together. Most often, these cells are connected in series arrangement or in parallel arrangement.

3. Is a AAA battery a cell?

Yes, an AAA battery is a single cell. It is 10.5 mm in diameter and 44.5 mm in length. Despite its compact size, an AAA battery functions as a standalone unit, containing all the necessary components within its casing.

4. How many cells are in 12v?

There are six cells in a 12-volt lead acid battery. Each cell contains a lead dioxide positive plate, a lead negative plate, and a sulfuric acid electrolyte and contributes approximately 2 volts to the overall voltage of the battery.

5. Why are batteries called AA?

AA doesn’t stand for anything.  It is simply an identifier for a battery of given dimensions and nominal voltage. AAA batteries are smaller in size as compared to AA.


1. “Electrochemical Cell.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.
2. “Electric Battery.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Galvanic cell with no cation flow” By Original: Ohiostandard Vector: AntiCompositeNumber – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Batteries” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.

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