Types of Batteries

CWNC Battery Division in Greensboro, N.C. carries over 16,000 types of batteries representing over 50 manufacturers.

Batteries are divided into two basic types; primary and secondary. Primary batteries are disposable while secondary batteries are rechargeable.

Batteries vary by chemistry, size, voltage, and capacity. Their uses range from miniatures cells powering hearing aids to banks of batteries providing backup power for data centers and telephone exchanges.


SLI stands for starting, lighting, ignition. SLI batteries are generally rechargeable automotive batteries. SLI batteries are used to provide the initial power to the starter motor or ignition system; or to provide power for lights. This type of battery is a lead-acid battery and is recyclable for the value of the lead.

Lead-acid batteries are composed of plates of lead with separate plates of lead dioxide. These plates are submerged in an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water. In an automotive SLI battery there are six galvanic cells each providing 2.1 volts. The cells are connected in series resulting in a total of 12.6 volts. Heavier vehicles will often have two SLI batteries connected in series creating 24 volt systems.

The most common type of SLI battery is the flooded cell type where the electrolyte is liquid. The flooded cell battery is distinguished by removable caps that allow the liquid electrolyte to be maintained.

When purchasing an SLI battery you should consider the amount of cold cranking amperes or CCA. This is the amount of current a battery produces for 30 seconds at zero degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the CCA rating, the higher the cost of the battery.

CWNC Battery Division in Greensboro, NC, carries a full line of SLI batteries.

SLA stands for sealed lead acid. SLA batteries are most commonly found in emergency exit signs, fire panels, medical devices, and mobility products. This type of lead-acid battery has a thick electrolyte to eliminate or reduce spilling or leaking of the acid; also referred to as VRLA batteries (valve-regulated lead-acid battery). SLA batteries are considered maintenance free and can be used in large and small applications. They are further classified as; AGM batteries (absorbed glass mat) and gel batteries (immobilized gel cells).

SLA Batteries are not completely sealed because venting is required to allow gas to be released in the event of overcharging or malfunction.

CWNC Battery Division in Greensboro, NC, carries a full line of SLA batteries.

Alkaline batteries get their name because they use an alkaline electrolyte instead of an acidic electrolyte. They are the most common type of battery in use representing 80% of the manufactured batteries in U.S. Over 10 billion individual alkaline batteries are produced each year.

The positive terminal (cathode) of the battery is composed of manganese dioxide and the negative terminal (anode) is made up of a zinc powder. The electrolyte of the alkaline battery is potassium hydroxide.

Load strongly affects the capacity of an alkaline battery. With a very low load, a AA size alkaline battery may have a capacity of 3000 mAh. The capacity drops as the load increases down to as little as 700 mAh. During use, the voltage of the battery will steadily declines.

CWNC Battery Division in Greensboro, NC, carries a full line of alkaline batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are a family of rechargeable batteries commonly found in consumer electronics. For portable devices, they are the most popular type of rechargeable battery. They get their name from the chemistry of the battery where lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during use. When being recharged, the lithium ions move in reverse from the positive electrode to the negative electrode.

The components of the lithium-ion battery are the negative and positive electrodes and an electrolyte. The negative electrode is typically made from a carbon, the positive electrode is a metal oxide, and the electrolyte is a lithium salt.

The specific chemistry and materials used determine the safety, life, voltage and capacity of the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than both alkaline and NiCd batteries but hold more promise for future improvement because of the higher energy densities.

CWNC Battery Division in Greensboro, NC, carries a full line of litium-ion batteries.

Battery packs refer to a series of identical types of individual battery types designed to deliver higher voltages and capacity to an electronic device. They are most commonly found in hand held power tools. Battery packs are usually built suing NiCd, NiMH, alkaline, or lithium-ion individual cells connected by poor conducting nickel tabs welded to the positive and negative terminals of the battery.