What is the difference between Li-Ion and Li-Po Power Banks?

By August 5, 2016

As we all know, the performance of power bank basically depends on the quality of the batteries inside. In the current market there are 2 types of batteries commonly used to manufacture power banks: Li-Ion and Li-Po battery cells.

For the users’ concern, one of the most frequently asked question about power bank is what is the difference between Li-ion and Li-Po and which one is better. Let me explain more below.


What is Li-Ion and Li-Po exactly?

Literally Li-Ion is short for  Lithium Ion and Li-Po for Lithium Polymer, the -Po or -Ion ending refers to the cathode. A Li-Po battery has a polymer cathode and a solid electrolyte, while Li-ion has a carbon cathode and a liquid electrolyte. Both are rechargeable, and in a sense they accomplish the same thing. Generally speaking, Li-Ion battery is much older than Li-Po, nevertheless it’s still popular due to the low price and maintenance. Li-Po is regarded as a more advanced battery with higher specs and provides higher level of safety, hence commanding higher price than Li-Ion batteries.

There are different configurations of Li-Ion batteries, the most commonly applied for power banks is 18650 round cell, 18 stands for 18mm in outer diameter and 65 for 65 mm in length, 0 means the cylindrical configuration. There are over 60% of the power banks on market are made with 18650 battery cells, the size and weight makes it easily applied in many electronic accessories, the technique becomes mature as well. 


As the customers are eager to have lighter and smaller sized power banks aside, the limitation of Li-Ion batteries are becoming more apparent, manufacturers tend to use the modulable, lighter and flatter shaped Li-Po batteries for the updated versions. Besides that , Li-Po is less explosive, there’s no need to build an protective integrated circuit inside the power bank, while most Li-Ion 18650 batteries must be installed along with it.


Let’s sum up the information about difference between Li-Ion and Li-Po on the table below.


After reading all of the pro’s, con’s, and specifications of both battery types, you can see that there isn’t much of a competition here. Although the Li-Po batteries is sleeker and thinner, Li-Ion batteries have a higher energy density and cost less to manufacture. Therefore, don’t pay too much attention on this spot, just go for a branded power bank which meets your requirements. Finally, with new chemicals and such being added to these batteries often, who knows which will come out on top in the long run.



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