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Comparing Portable Two-Way Radio Batteries

Nick Hohman May 23, 2019

Comparison of nickel cadium, nickel metal hydrid, lithium Ion and lithium polymer batteries.

The differences are apparent!

Waveband Communications designs and manufactures various chemistry batteries for all major two-way portable radios. This includes, but is not limited to Motorola, Kenwood, Harris, ICOM, and Relm. We are going to discuss the differences between each chemistry so you are able to select the right battery for your communication needs.


Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) is the best battery for performing in extreme hot and cold temperatures. It also has a great shelf life. What this means is that when you do not use the battery for a significant amount of time, it still performs at a high level. Find the advantages and disadvantages of Nickel Cadmium here:


  • Available in various sizes and performance options.
  • Very forgiving if abused.
  • The high number of charge and discharge cycles. If properly maintained, it provides over 1,000 charge and discharge cycles.


  •  Relatively low energy density compared to newer systems
  •  Environmentally unfriendly contains toxic metals. Limited in some countries.
  •  Has relatively high self-discharge meaning it needs to be recharged after stored.


A Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery is the next step up from nickel-cadmium considering it has 30% to 40% more capacity than Ni-Cd.  See the advantages and disadvantages of Nickel Metal-Hydride below for more information:


  • Simple storage and transportation
  • Environmentally friendly, only contains mild toxins (Profitable for recycling).


  • Approximately 20% more expensive than Ni-Cd because Nickel Metal-Hydride batteries are designed for high draw, which is more expensive than the regular version.
  •  Limited service life. If repeatedly deep cycled, performance deteriorates after 200-300 cycles. Shallow discharge cycles are preferred for batteries
  • High maintenance – batteries require a full discharge to prevent crystalline formation.


Now, the Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and provide higher capacity for longer run times. To learn more about this battery, please find the advantages and disadvantages below for your convenience:


  • High energy density with the potential for higher capacities
  •  Relatively low self-discharge. The self-discharge is less than half of Ni-Cd and Ni-MH.
  • Low Maintenance. There is no periodic discharge needed due to no memory effect.


  • Requires circuit protection. Circuit protection limits the voltage and current. The battery is safe if it is not irritated.
  • Subject to aging, even if not in use. It is suggested to store the Li-Ion battery in a cool place at 40% charge to reduce its aging effect.
  • Expensive to manufacture. Greater than 40% in cost to manufacture compared to Ni-Cd.

Lithium-Ion Polymer (Li-Po) batteries acquire the highest capacity, but they do not have a memory effect. For more details on this type of battery, please find the advantages and disadvantages here:


  • Flexible form factor. Manufacturers are not bound by standard cell formats. With the high volume, any reasonable size can be produced economically.
  • Light weight because it eliminates a metal shell. It is 20% lighter than the Li-Ion battery.
  • Improved safety. More resistant to over charge, less chance for electrolyte leakage.


  •  Lower energy density and decreased cycle count versus the Lithium-Ion battery.
  •  Expensive to manufacture once this battery becomes mass produced. The Li-Ion polymer battery has the potential for lower costs. It reduces control circuit offsets higher manufacturing costs.


Intrinsically safe battery packs are required for safety while using electronic or electrical equipment in the environment made by hazards from flammable gases or dust. Waveband Communications intrinsically safe battery packs for mobile communication equipment are designed to not allow the generation of heat or a spark to cause an explosion or ignite flammable atmospheres.

The use of these battery packs from Waveband Communications is crucial for fire fighters as well as those who work in mines or oil refineries. Our battery packs help minimize liability and maximize safety for the personnel working in dangerous areas that have the potential existence of explosions and fires. Choice your FM approved IS battery at  

Lithium Ion Polymer batteries are in the most use by law enforcement personnel. This is because the batteries last longer for their extensively long shifts.  Lithium-based chemistry batteries are ideal for personnel that requires extended battery life this includes, Casino Security, investigative task forces, and elite military forces.

Lithium Ion Polymer batteries have been popular for powering drones. They also power today’s cell phones. Lithium-Polymer batteries have had the ability to discharge quickly, delivering relatively high power for a short time period.  In addition to providing longer talk times Polymer batteries, have no memory effect, are lighter, and come with a 24-month warranty.

Waveband Communications has made investments to ensure the dependability and only use the best quality components for your batteries. We have the highest level of inventory to be able to deliver these products immediately to support our mission-critical clientele.

Get your Lithium Ion Polymer battery pack today! Find your Motorola XTS Portable Battery now.

Find all of our two-way radio batteries at:

Topics:  two-way radio, nickel cadium battery, lithium polymer battery, 2 way radio, nickel metal hydride battery, lithium ion battery, battery chemistry, battery chemistry types, lithium battery