Chapter in this post:
The batteries of the CR series come under the name of "button cells" because they are round and flat like a button. Since the button cells from the CR series with the model names CR 2032, CR 2023 and CR 2016 are relatively similar, one might get the idea that they can be used equally in devices. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as there are some technical differences in the design.
The first difference between the three button cells is the size. While all three models have the same 20mm diameter, there are differences in the thickness of the CR batteries:
You can tell from the name how it is composed:
There are also differences between the three models of CR button cells in terms of electrical values. While all three have the same voltage of 3,0 volts, they have different capacities due to their different volume:
A higher capacity (larger number when specifying the mAh) means in practice that the button cells can deliver more electrical power. If you were to operate a pocket calculator with a CR2032 instead of a CR2016 button cell, it would last more than twice as long. However, due to the different heights of the design, this will usually not be possible.
Since I was asked whether the CR2032 or CR2025 / 2016 are rechargeable, I did some research in this direction. The result: The variant with "CR" on the front is always a disposable battery. Only the models with "ML" and "LIR" on the front (ie ML2032 or LIR2032) are rechargeable batteries. If you try to charge the CR button cells, they can explode in the worst case. Due to the built-in lithium, this is usually associated with flames, which can lead to a fire on inflammable surfaces. So please check the name of the button cell before charging!
A question that a reader asked me should still be answered: What is the difference between ML2032 and LIR2032 and what do these abbreviations stand for.
The difference between these two types of button cell is not only in the chemical composition, but also in the nominal voltage and the charge:
Now which is the better choice? ML or LIR? In most cases, this is the ML button cell, as it has a higher energy density than the LIR variant and therefore "lasts" longer. However, both types cannot keep up with the runtime of a single-use CR button cell, which can deliver almost three times as much energy as an ML button cell.
I was recently asked whether you could use 2032x a CR2 button cell instead of a CR2016. The dimensions are then identical and it would fit into the corresponding device, but you would have connected two 3,0 volt batteries in series, resulting in a total voltage of 6,0 volts. This is twice as high as the voltage that the device actually expects and one can assume that the calculator or the remote control - or whatever device it is - will be permanently damaged. In short: the probability is very high that you will break the device with it. So: 2x CR2016 ≠ CR2032 !!!
Today I got a trick from my reader Helmut on how you can help yourself when a CR2032 is necessary, but you only have a CR2016 or a CR2025 available. It's the same if you need a CR2025 but only have a CR2016 on hand.
The only problem here is the lack of height, which prevents the flatter model from being used. In terms of tension, there would be no problem.
To compensate for the missing height, you can make a small ball out of aluminum foil and insert this into the device with the flatter button cell. It is important, however, that the ball does not slip towards the edge, otherwise there is a risk of a short circuit. And you should always only press the aluminum ball on the top of the button cell, since no contact with the other pole is possible on the top.
The trick is ok when you know what you are doing. I would say "Use at your own risk!". A short circuit in a button cell can quickly lead to an explosion of the battery, which should be avoided at all costs. But maybe the trick will help one or the other reader out of an emergency. Thanks for the addition, Helmut!
While button cells of the same type all look the same at first glance, there are different offers in terms of quality. In practice, you quickly find that non-name offers often look like new batteries, but have usually been stored for too long and are therefore no longer completely full. Within a short time the devices are empty again and you have to buy appropriate button cells again.
If you prefer to focus on quality here, you should choose brands such as Duracell or Varta. These usually have a shelf life of up to 10 years and are not empty again shortly after the battery has been changed. I have listed the corresponding offers here:
Another recommendation is a so-called button cell set, which contains many different types of button cells. Such a set has the great advantage that you don't have to buy each battery individually and that you have the right model in stock for a wide variety of household appliances such as remote controls, car keys, flashlights or mini flashlights. A good set that I also use is this one from HyCell. It also includes the three coin cell models mentioned above:
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Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
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