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Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells: Which Is Better?

Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells: Which Is Better?

Prismatic and pouch cells are popular designs of lithium-based batteries. These cells power most consumer electronics. 


These cells impact the performance, safety, design, and cost of electric devices. But what are their differences, and which is better? This article has the answers.


What Is a Prismatic Cell

Prismatic cells became popular in the early 1990s. Modern prismatic cells come in stylish packages that resemble a box. However, some designs use a flat shape for thinner battery sizes. These cells have negative and positive terminals and an electrolyte compound. 

Manufacturers weld these cells in aluminum or steel casing. They do not have a general shape; each manufacturer designs their own.

Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells: Which Is Better?

Prismatic cells power large household devices. You can find these cells inside these gadgets:


  • Electric vehicles
  • Power tools (electric drills and saws)
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphone batteries
  • Electric lawn mowers
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems

The Pros of Prismatic Cells

Strong and Lasting

Their rigid structure makes these cells durable. The outer casing protects the battery components. Prismatic cells can endure physical impact and stress. So, they are ideal for devices that must endure rough handling, everyday use, or vibration.


High Energy Density

The energy density is the amount of charge a battery can store compared to its size. Compact prismatic cells can hold a lot of power. Prismatic cell devices can run for longer periods between charges. Also, this quality allows manufacturers to produce portable devices like phones and tablets.


Longer Cycle Life

Cycle life is the number of charges and discharges a battery can endure before weakening. Prismatic cells can handle more charge and discharge before becoming less efficient. This advantage is helpful for devices we charge constantly, like mobile phones. These cells have a long lifespan and do not need frequent replacements.


Better Heat Management

Heat management is necessary to produce safe and effective batteries. Heat can leave prismatic cells through their casing. So devices with high power output can operate without damage to the battery. Also, this quality allows devices to work well in hot weather.

The Cons of Prismatic Cells

Higher Cost

Compared to pouch cells, prismatic cells cost more to manufacture. These cells need special casing and electrode materials that cost more. As a result, prismatic cell gadgets may have a higher price tag.


Weight

Prismatic cells weigh more than pouch cells due to the weight of their components. Battery load can reduce device performance and make it inconvenient to carry around. This extra weight is a concern in drones and wearable devices that must be portable.


Size and Shape Limitations

Unlike pouch cells, prismatic cells have fixed shapes and sizes. So, they may not fit into devices or designs with unusual battery shapes or sizes. This limitation can restrict design flexibility.


What Is a Pouch Cell


Pouch cells were introduced in 1995. Battery manufacturers weld foil tabs to the electrodes to make these cells. They then seal the cells' components in an aluminum film. 


This packaging style creates a simple, flexible, and lightweight battery design. There is no standard pouch cell, as each manufacturer designs its own.

Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells: Which Is Better?

You can find these cells in many consumer electronics, such as: 


  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • E-cigarettes
  • Power banks
  • Wearable devices (smartwatch and smart glasses)
  • Medical devices
  • Solar panels

The Pros of Pouch Cells

Lightweight

Pouch cells weigh less than prismatic cells. This lightweight feature helps make devices that are easy to carry around. Also, this advantage can enhance device efficiency. 


Cheaper

These cells need fewer parts and are less expensive than prismatic cells. As a result, pouch cell products are affordable and widespread. 


Effective Heat Control

The flexible casing allows heat to leave the battery's cell. This feature helps to promote good battery lifespan, performance, and safety.


Increased Versatility

Pouch cells are more flexible than other cell types. So, they are a good choice for custom-shaped devices. Manufacturers can make them in various shapes and sizes. So, pouch cell batteries can fit into tiny or custom-shaped products.


Adaptable Use

You can find pouch cells in small wearables or larger systems like electric vehicles. These cells can meet various power needs, making them adaptable.

The Cons of Pouch Cells

Fragile Against Hits

Pouch cells are more prone to physical damage from punctures and strikes. Unlike prismatic cells, they lack a solid safety casing. This weakness is a challenge when the battery must endure vibration and stress. Such conditions can damage the battery, causing it to short-circuit or leak. As a result, pouch cells are unreliable in high-impact situations.


Shorter Lifespan

These cells have a shorter cycle life and cannot handle too many charges and discharges. So they may become weak with time. As a result, they need more frequent replacements or maintenance. This is a major drawback for equipment that needs long-lasting power sources.


Safety Concerns

Pouch cells can swell under high temperatures or due to overcharging. This swelling may cause harmful chemicals to leak. Manufacturers reduce this risk by managing the cells' heat and pressure. Yet, pouch cells need careful handling.

Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells: Which Is Better?

Comparing Prismatic vs. Pouch Cells


How do prismatic vs. pouch cells compare against each other? Consider the table below:



Aspect

Prismatic Cells

Pouch Cells

Shape

Rectangular shape

Flexible shape, like a flat pouch

Advantages

Strong outer protection, lasts longer

Lighter, can fit different shapes

Disadvantages

Can be heavy and rigid

Can get damaged due to punctures or crushing forces

Best for

Devices like electric cars and laptops

Devices with unique designs, like smartwatches and earbuds

Safety

Generally safe

May need careful handling due to the potential risk of damage

Longevity

Can last a long time

May need replacement sooner

Cost

Can be more expensive

Usually less expensive than prismatic cell


Which Should You Choose: Prismatic or Pouch Cells?


The prismatic vs. pouch cells debate comes down to the use case. You're better off with prismatic cells if you demand durability and long battery life.


But pouch cells offer adaptable designs at lower costs. So you can decide based on the device's requirements and the trade-offs you can allow.


It would help if you considered these factors when choosing a cell design:


  • Shape and size
  • Weight and volume
  • Cost
  • Manufacturing flexibility
  • Durability

Conclusion

Prismatic and pouch cells power most of our electronic gadgets today. But which is better? This article compared these two popular designs of lithium-based batteries.


Ultimately, your choice of battery design will depend on the outcome you prefer. You can learn more about cells and shop for high-quality batteries from Goldenmate Energy.

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