Oh, no! It’s just so not your day.
Your watch just became a useless blank screen on your wrist.
And your car’s keyfob has stopped working.
And Little Jenny’s retro handheld game console just went dark.
And your granddad’s been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re wondering about the maintenance and care of an at-home glucose monitor, so the hospital emergency room stays out of the family’s future.
So now you’re delving into the wonderful world of the coin cell battery.
Today, we’re going to do a somewhat deep dive into that world, examining the three most commonly used batteries for small devices such as watches, keyfobs, games, and medical equipment.
We’ll begin with a brief overview of coin cell batteries in general, and then go into each type of 2032 battery in some detail. By the time we’re finished, we’ll have made your day easier, I promise.
And you’ll know a whole lot more about those tiny batteries that can cause such huge grief.
Some General Info on Coin Cell Batteries
Coin cell batteries are the “larger” varieties of the button cell batteries. They are still small, usually no bigger than 25mm in diameter. Compared to their smallest button cell battery cousins, at 5mm, they are quite larger.
As you can see in the photo above, the size, voltage and country of its manufacturer are stamped right on the coin cell battery itself.
Coin cell batteries are single cell, typically disposable (but not always, as we’ll see), and measured in millimeters due to their small size. Their charge capacity is given in milliampere hours (mAh).
Coin cells have a long service life, from one to 10 years, depending on the type. They have a low self-discharge rate, and hold charge for long periods of time when not in use.
2032 Coin Cell Batteries
Since we’re talking about three types of 2032 batteries today, let’s look at them specifically for a moment.
Each coin cell battery is labeled first by its diameter. Therefore, 2032 batteries are 20mm in diameter. The 32 comes from their thickness, which is 3.2mm.
No other coin cell battery has these dimensions. When you see 2032 on the label, you know it is this size.
2032 batteries all carry at least a 3V charge. They have a shelf life of at least 10 years. And at least some 2032s are rechargeable, depending on the chemical materials used to create their cathode cell.
Here’s a photo of our Duracell Procell CR2032, with the designation and voltage clearly visible on the product packaging.
Coin Cell Battery Chemistry
A battery’s chemistry can have great effects on its performance. Here are other things that can be affected by what a battery is made of:
- Performance at various temperatures
- Rechargeability vs. disposable
- Gravimetric energy density -- how much energy a battery holds vs. its weight
- Service life - while in use
- Shelf life - when not in use
The three coin cell batteries we’ll be examining each have their own chemical make-ups for their positive cathodes. Let’s look at them now.
CR2032 Battery Chemistry
The “CR” in a CR2032 battery, or any CR designated battery designates that its positive cathode is made of Lithium manganese dioxide. This gives it a high energy density while also allowing it to function in low-temperature environments.
LiR2032 Battery Chemistry
The LiR2032 is a rechargeable lithium battery whose performance greatly depends on the type of lithium used by the manufacturer. They also carry a higher voltage charge, from 3.2 to 3.9V. Common types of lithium used in LiR coin cell batteries include:
- Lithium manganese oxide
- Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide
- Lithium cobalt oxide
- Lithium iron phosphate
BR2032 Battery Chemistry
A battery with a BR denotation is made from Lithium carbon monofluoride. This gives them an incredible shelf life, up to 7 years. Like the CR batteries, they carry a 3V charge.
Note that all three types of 2032 batteries are some form of lithium battery, as lithium is combined with other chemicals in their makeup. This does mean that every lithium battery is created equal.
For example, you can safely replace most CR2032 coin cell batteries with a BR2032 type lithium battery. You can not, however, always substitute an LiR2032 rechargeable battery for either a CR2032 or BR2032 type, without running safety risks, including overheating and fire.
Now that we have the science out of the way, let’s look at each type of 2032 battery in some detail.
2032 Battery Characteristics
We’ll be comparing CR2032 batteries with BR2032 and LiR 2032 batteries across 6 main categories today. They are:
- Typical capacity
- Nominal voltage
- Cutoff voltage
- Operating temperature
- Common uses
Let’s get dug in.
Typical capacity: approximately 225 mAh
Nominal voltage: 3V
Cutoff voltage: 2V
Operating temperature: between -20°C (-4°F) and 70°C (158°F)
Shelf life: 10 years
Common uses: computer memory back up, games, toys, watches, and other small devices
The CR2032’s usage life of about 1 year makes it ideal for operating small electronics. It is easily replaced in most instances, although some watches require a special “key” to open them for battery replacement.
Typical capacity: 190mAh
Nominal voltage: 2.8V
Cutoff voltage: 2.25V
Operating temperature: between -30°C (-22°F) and 85°C (185°F)
Shelf life: more than 10 years
Common uses: computer memory backup, games, toys, small medical equipment such as home and portable blood pressure monitors, and wearable medical monitors such as the Dexcom system for monitoring glucose levels .
Typical capacity: 40mAh
Nominal voltage: 3.6V
Cutoff voltage: 3V
Charging temperature: between 0°C (32°C) and 45°C (113°F)
Operating temperature: between -20°C (-4°F) and 60°C (140°F)
Minimum number of charging/usage cycles: 300 to 500
Common uses: Bluetooth headsets, wearable fitness devices like FitBits and smart watches, and remote control car keyfobs, especially for the BMW line of automobiles.
And now, a handy table to sum it all up and let you see the three types of 2032 batteries side by side.
|Operating temps||-20°C (-4°F) to 70°C (158°F)||-30°C (-22°F) to 85°C (185°F)||-20°C (-4°F) to 60°C (140°F)|
|Shelf life||10 years||> 10 years||80% after 500 charges|
|Positive cathode||Lithium manganese dioxide||Lithium carbon monofluoride||Various lithium and other chemical compounds|
Frequently Asked Questions
You may still have a few questions concerning 2032 coin cell batteries. Here’s a few that we can answer for you:
Is it safe to buy 2032 batteries online?
Absolutely! It’s what we’re here for. Don’t just take our word for it, though. We’ve got an entire article on buying all types of batteries online for you.
What is the longest lasting CR2032 battery?
The longest lasting CR2032 battery that we sell is the Duracell Procell CR2032. Review after review, comparison after comparison, the Duracell Procell CR2032 comes out on top.
Where can I buy all the 2032 type batteries I need?
These batteries are usually used for calculators, glucose monitors, and fitness devices. Lithium batteries are the most common battery chemistry for CR2032.