When buying batteries, there are two types commonly available: 6 volts and 12 volts. But what exactly is the difference between them? And which one is right for you?
Well, it really depends on a lot of factors, such as what you intend to use the battery for. If you’re not sure what these batteries have to offer, this guide explains the key differences between a 6-volt battery and a 12-volt battery.
What Is A 6 Volt Battery
A 6-volt battery is a battery that provides 6 volts of electrical power. These batteries are commonly used in various applications, including powering small electronic devices like hair dryers, providing backup power, and more.
These batteries come with six cells in series, meaning they provide 6 volts at their maximum output. The voltage drops slightly over time, but it’s still enough to run most electronics.
There are two types of batteries commonly referred to as “6 volts”: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, making them ideal for different purposes.
Lead-acid 6v batteries are the older technology of the two, but they can last much longer than lithium-ion batteries. They also tend to be less expensive than lithium-ion batteries, so if you need a reliable battery that will last for years, then a lead-acid battery might be your best bet.
On the other hand, 6v lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter, making them easier to carry around and store. They also charge faster than lead-acid batteries, so they’re great for devices or gadgets requiring quick energy bursts.
What is a 12V Battery
12-volt batteries usually consist of three cells connected in parallel. Each cell can produce around 4 volts of power, making up a total of 12 volts of electrical power – which is enough to power vehicles, RVs, home energy storage systems, and most household appliances.
The main benefit of using a 12-volt battery is that it allows you to connect multiple devices together, rather than having each device powered by its own individual battery.
For example, if you want to power a vacuum cleaner, an electric drill, and a blender all from the same power source, then you’ll need a 12-volt battery. This way, you don’t have to worry about running out of power.
How are 12-volt Batteries Different From 6-volt Batteries? (Compared)
Capacity refers to the amount of power a battery can store. The larger the battery’s total capacity, the longer it will last. A 12V battery typically offers a larger capacity than a 6V battery because it can hold more energy per unit volume.
The duration of a battery is the amount of time that it can store energy. A 12V battery can hold its charge for 50% longer than a 6V battery. A battery with a longer duration is recommended to power an appliance that requires a long amount of time between charges, such as a power pump.
3. Discharge Rate
A discharge rate is how quickly a battery discharges its stored energy. If you need a battery that can supply a lot of power quickly, then a 12v battery with high amp hours is important. For example, a car engine uses a large amount of power, and it needs to be able to deliver this power quickly.
On the other hand, a 6v battery has a lower discharge rate, and it’s suitable for devices that use very little power and don’t need a quick influx of power at once.
While 12V batteries can be slightly more expensive than 6V batteries, they are both worth the investment. The price also depends on your performance expectations, estimated battery life, and manufacturer. Ideally, you should get both batteries between $50 and $200
With regular maintenance, the average lifespan of a 6 Volt battery is about seven(10) years when used in deep cycles. This is because 6v batteries tend to have heavier plates, while a 12-volt battery is estimated to have a lifespan of about seven to ten(7) years, after which the battery will begin to lose its ability to hold a charge for long
This estimate is also based on the number of cycles your battery is rated for and your usage and proper maintenance plan
if you are an RV camper looking to save weight, consider using a 6-volt battery instead of a 12-volt one. 6-volt batteries are lighter and will help you save space and weight on your travels. Plus, connecting two 6v RV batteries is just as effective as 12-volt batteries, so you won’t have to sacrifice power or performance.
Is There an Easy Way to Tell Whether You Have a 12-volt or 6-volt Battery?
Luckily, if you have a voltmeter, you can tell right away. An analog or digital multimeter can measure 6 or 12 volts of DC (direct current). This device should be readily available at most electronics stores if you don’t already have one around the house.
To use a voltmeter
- Connect the positive lead from the battery to the red (+) probe and the negative lead to the black (-) probe.
- Turn the meter on and set it to read in Volts(15-20 volts)
- Measure the voltage across each terminal of the battery. You’ll see either 6.5 or 12.6, depending on what type of battery you have.
- If you don’t have a voltage at that range, you may have a bad battery
You can also look at the battery if you don’t have a voltmeter, you can also look at the battery. 12-volt batteries are usually larger than 6-volt batteries. They also have two terminals (positive terminal and negative terminal), while 6-volt batteries usually have three or four terminals for connecting the wires.
6-volt Batteries Pros and Cons
- Because they don’t put a lot of energy into the appliance, they last a long time.
- They are often cheaper than 12-volt batteries.
- 6-volt batteries also don’t require as much maintenance because they don’t lose much energy when running.
- You’ll need to replace them sooner than 12-volt batteries. Once the voltage drops below 12 volts in a 12-volt battery, it needs to be recharged. However, Once the voltage drops below 6 volts in a 6-volt battery, it needs to be replaced.
12-volt Batteries Pros and Cons
- They can provide a lot of energy at once.
- For most applications, a 6V battery will work fine. However, if you want to run large appliances or heavy equipment, a 12V battery is recommended.
- 12-volt batteries lose energy more quickly than 6-volt batteries
Can I use a 6V battery instead of a 12v?
If your device circuit is designed to run on a 12v battery, then it will not run properly with a 6v battery. This is because the 12v battery provides a higher voltage than the 6v battery, and the device is not designed to function with a lower voltage. If you try to use a 6v battery, the device may not work at all, or it may work erratically.
How To Maintain Your 6V and 12V Batteries
Irrespective of the voltage capacity of your battery, it’s important to keep it in good working condition to enjoy its performance at a high level.
Here are some tips on how to maintain your batteries
- Keep Your Battery Clean: Over time, your battery terminals can build up with corrosion. This can cause your battery to discharge more quickly. To clean your battery terminals, you can use a solution of baking soda and water.
- Avoid Overcharging: When using battery chargers to boost your 6v and 12v batteries, avoid leaving them unattended for a long period. Overcharging could cause your battery to overheat and, In extreme cases, explode.
- Don’t Use A Wrong Charger: When you charge a battery, you’re essentially forcing electrons to flow from the negative to the positive poles. So, If the voltage of the charger is too high or too low for the battery, it can cause the electrons to flow too quickly or too slowly – which can damage the battery.
- Store Properly– Store your batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme cold. The heat generated by the sun can cause batteries to swell and deteriorate faster. Likewise, extremely cold conditions can freeze the terminals.
The best type of battery depends on what you’re using it for. It may not matter if you have a 6-volt or 12-volt battery, but it does make sense to keep some factors in mind before selecting the right battery you need
- A 12V battery will have a larger capacity than a 6V battery, but 6v batteries wired in series tend to last longer.
- The voltage of a battery will determine the amount of power it can supply, as well as the type of load it can handle.
- If you have an electrical device with a low current draw, like a flashlight, then a 6V battery will do just fine. However, if your device requires a lot of power, like a vacuum cleaner, then you’ll want to invest in a 12V battery.
If you have further questions about choosing the right battery, feel free to ask in the comment section!