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What Does mAh Stand For in Batteries?

Many people wonder what does mAh stand for in rechargeable batteries, which is why this article will focus on dispelling doubts surrounding this topic.

Technically, mAh stands for a milliampere-hour, which represents the 1000th of an ampere-hour (Ah), and it is the unit that measures electric power over time. It is widely used by manufacturers to express the capacity of a battery to store energy, specifically in small ones.

Understanding the meaning of what does mAh stand for in Batteries

Although mAh indicates the power storage capacity of a battery, what does this mean?

In the case of rechargeable batteries, this measure is an indicator of the energy charge that a battery can hold, as well as the time it will power a device before needing recharging. Depending on the type of smartphone, mAh consumption will be different. Still, one rule applies in most cases – the higher the mAh rating in batteries, the more electrical energy the battery can store. As a result, a rechargeable battery with a higher mAh is capable of powering a device for a longer time.

For instance, a battery whose mAh rating is of 2500 is capable of powering a smartphone drawing 100 mA for 25 hours. Thus, placing a 3000 mAh battery on the same device provides five more hours of use, totaling 30 hours.

Popular battery sizes for smartphones

Currently, the average capacity for smartphone batteries is marginally above 3,300 mAh, and the most popular sizes range from 2000 mAh to 4000 mAh.

Although these sizes might seem relatively small, manufacturers have slightly increased the capacity compared to a few years ago. For example, before the release of the iPhone 6, the previous models were equipped with a 1500 mAh lithium-ion battery.

However, 4000 mAh batteries will not necessarily be the norm in the following years, as more and better-equipped smartphones will available in the market.

For instance, the popular Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro comes with a 5000 mAh battery that can go beyond a day. In fact, some smartphones are equipped with a 6000 mAh battery, such as the Samsung Galaxy M20

How Long Does a Smartphone Battery Last According to its mAh Value?

The general public has developed a keen interest in knowing the battery capacity of their cell phones. This is done with the purpose of estimating how often the battery needs to be recharged. Travelers, in particular, are worried about how long the battery will last, especially during long flights; otherwise, they might not consider getting a portable charger or an additional battery.

Thus, buyers are more aware of the fact that a battery with higher mAh will go on longer, and is the reason why they check the capacity before purchasing a cell phone or replacing its old battery.

On the other hand, power banks are an alternative for extending battery life and cellphone use. For example, the iPhone 7 comes with a 1960 mAh battery capacity that can last up to 14 hours of talking time and needs 2.5 hours to be fully charged. However, as in any iPhone, the battery is not removable, and thus replacing it for one of bigger capacity might not be practical. The truth is that while an average power bank of 10000 mAh will not be able to charge the iPhone 7 battery 3.3 times, it can extend its life up to two times.

Nevertheless, knowing exactly how long a battery will last might be not that obvious. Technical specifications provide an estimate of battery life, but in reality, these values tend to differ as it varies according to brand and model, as well as the extent of use of the cellphone.

 Types of use

The battery life of a device will most likely be influenced by the type of usage as well. In other words, if the smartphone is used intensively, such as to stream music, play video games and watching videos for a few hours straight, the battery will likely drain faster.

On the other hand, if the cellphone is used more conservatively, – to text and make short calls –  the odds are that the phone will be adequately powered and might not need recharge so often.

Battery Lifespan

As an unwritten rule, the life expectancy of lithium-ion batteries, which are usually the norm for cell phone batteries, maybe up to three years.

Nevertheless, they have a limited number of charges before beginning to wear out, which, according to estimates, is between 300 and 800 times on average. This number of charge-discharge is also known as cycle life.

For this reason, usage habits are a factor that affects the average life of a battery.

 How to calculate battery life?

The following concepts and formulas are convenient to calculate the performance life of phone batteries and make comparisons across different types of them.

mAh to Amps

As previously described, making this conversion is quite easy, as 1 amp entails 1000 milliamps. Concurrently, 1 ampere equals 1000 milliamps or 1 amp.

 mAh to Watt-hours

The conversion of mAh to watt-hours can be done through the following formula: (mAh)*(V)/1000 = Wh.

For instance, the power of a 300mAh battery,  rated at 5V, would be 1.5 Wh, as 300mAh * 5V /1000 = 1.5 Wh

In this sense, the Wh represents the amount of power that a battery can supply before dying.

Battery life calculation

Battery life can be calculated using the current rating in mAh and the load current of the circuit (smartphone), which maintain an inversely proportional relation.

Battery life = Battery capacity in mAh/Load current in mAh

In other words, the higher the load current will make the battery life shorter, and vice versa.

For instance, 25 hours and 5 minutes will have to pass before needing to recharge a 5000 mAh battery connected to a Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro with a load current of 195mA in talking mode.

Why is it important to know the mAh and Wh of batteries?

Knowing the mAh and Wh of a battery is significant because it allows shoppers to identify how long the battery will last. As a result, they can invest in a device and a battery that will meet their needs.

For this reason, these factors should be taken into consideration whenever a high-quality battery is required.

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