CR2032 vs CR2025 vs CR2016: Are they interchangeable?

There is a vast range of coin cell batteries on the market, and many look the same or very similar. You will also hear them described as button batteries. In the case of CR2016, CR2025, and CR2032, you could easily mistake one for the other if you didn’t realize the differences.

This brief article will explain what the battery names mean and help you choose the right battery every time. We also discuss the differences and similarities between the three battery types.

CR2016 vs. CR2032 vs. CR2025: Similarities

The first similarity is in the naming scheme for the batteries, and a short explanation will show you why.

  • CR: The letter C indicates that the battery uses a chemical composition, Lithium Manganese Dioxide. The letter R indicates the battery shape, in this case, round. 
  • First two digits: The first two numbers in the battery code indicate the battery’s diameter in millimeters. All three of these batteries are 20 mm in diameter.
  • Second two digits: The second two numbers in the battery code indicate the thickness of the battery. The CR 2016 is 1.6 mm thick, while the CR 2025 and CR2032 are 2.5 and 3.2 mm thick.
How to "read" CR2032?

In what other ways are the CR2016, CR2025, and CR2032 similar?

  • Usage: All three battery types are used in a vast range of small devices, from car remote key fobs to laser pens, children’s toys, and so much more. The CR2032 is generally the battery used in personal computers to retain the CMOS memory.
  • Voltage: The voltage from all three batteries is 3 volts. In theory, they could all be interchangeable, but we will discuss that later.
  • Diameter: As indicated by the battery code, all three batteries are 20 mm in diameter.
  • Chemistry: The same Lithium Manganese chemical composition is used in all of these batteries.

CR2016 vs. CR2032 vs. CR2025: What Are The Differences?

There are two key differences between the CR2016, CR2025, and the CR2032: the battery’s thickness and battery’s capacity.

 Energizer CR2016
Energizer CR2016
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Energizer CR2025
Energizer CR2025
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Energizer CR2032
Energizer CR2032
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Customer Rating
4.7
4.8
4.8
PriceEnergizer CR2016 priceEnergizer CR2025 priceEnergizer CR2032 price
Thickness1.6 mm2.5 mm3.2 mm
Capacity90 mAh170 mAh220 mAh

Difference in thickness between the three battery types

The thickness of the battery is the most obvious difference. As we mentioned earlier, the battery code describes the thickness in tens of millimeters, so for example, the 2016 is 1.6 mm thick. Physically, the thickness of the batteries is the only difference between them.

This difference in thickness is one obstacle to using a CR2032 in place of a CR2016, but we also need to consider the battery capacity. 

Difference in battery capacity

The reason for the different thicknesses is down to the battery capacity. As the case thickness increases, so does the capacity. The capacity is important for several reasons, including:

  • Some devices will not work with a battery with a lower capacity
  • The greater the capacity, the longer the battery will last

The CR2032 has more than double the capacity of the CR2016:

What's the difference between CR2016, CR2025 and CR2032?

But what does this capacity rating really mean? Here’s a simple comparison to illustrate the difference. 

If all the batteries were powering a single 20 mAh LED lamp, the CR2016 would last for 4.5 hours, the CR2025 for 8.5 hours, and the CR2032 for 11 hours. So you can see why it might be tempting to try and fit a CR2032 in place of a CR2016, but are they interchangeable?

Are CR2032 vs. CR2025 vs. CR2016 Interchangeable?

In theory, yes, the three battery types are interchangeable. However, there are some difficulties. 

The diameter and voltage of all three batteries are identical, suggesting there is no problem using one type in place of another. The problem is the different thicknesses of the batteries. The thinner battery will be too loose in the compartment, while the thicker battery may not fit, or you may damage something trying to force it in place.

Batteries that can be interchanged: CR2032 and CR2025; CR2025 and CR2016

Since the difference in thickness between the CR2032 and the CR2025 is just 0.7 mm, it is usually possible to fit either one. The same goes for CR2025 and CR2016, where the difference in thickness is 0.9 mm. 

So long as the battery fits securely without damaging any part of the battery case, this should work without problems.

Is the CR2016 battery interchangeable with a CR2032 battery?

With identical diameters and voltages, the CR2032 can, in theory, be used to replace a CR2016 battery. 

However, the CR2032 is twice the thickness of the CR2016, which means it may be just too thick to fit the battery slot without bending or damaging something.

Can I use two CR2016 batteries in place of a CR2032?

Since the CR2032 is exactly twice the thickness of the CR2016, many people think they can simply use two CR2016’s in place of a single CR2032. While this looks right in theory, there is a flaw. By stacking two CR2016’s on top of each other, you place the batteries in series, providing a voltage output of 6 volts.

Do not try this!

While the higher voltage may not damage anything, there is a possibility it can, so don’t do it.

Solution: Using a penny to stack with CR2016

If you need to replace a CR2032 battery and all you have to hand is a CR2016, there is a way of making it work without the potential to damage anything. Instead of using two CR2016’s to make the right thickness, you could use a penny coin instead.

A penny is the right diameter, and when it’s minted, it will be 1.52 mm thick, which is almost identical to the CR2016. The metal penny also provides good conductivity and will hold the battery securely.

Which CR Battery Should I Buy: CR2016, CR2032, or CR2025?

ENERGIZER CR2016

Energizer Lithium Coin 2016
Energizer Lithium Coin 2016
4.7
Heart rate monitors, keyless access, diabetes monitoring, and toys & games all use it.

ENERGIZER CR2025

Energizer CR2025 Battery, 3V Lithium
Energizer CR2025 Battery, 3V Lithium
4.8
This battery may be stored for up to ten years, ensuring that you always have Lithium Coin Batteries on hand.

ENERGIZER CR2032

Energizer CR2032 Batteries, 3V Lithium
Energizer CR2032 Batteries, 3V Lithium
4.8
To keep kids safe from ingesting, a CR2032 3V lithium coin battery is contained in child-resistant packaging.

All of the batteries listed are very cheap to buy, so you should buy the same battery type that was originally fitted as a consumer. 

A designer or engineer needs to consider the weight, size, and power requirements of the product and choose accordingly.

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