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Video: Lithium-Ion vs Lithium-Metal

Posted on 3/19/2024 by Lion Technology Inc.

There isn’t one set of rules that apply to every lithium battery shipment. That’s why lithium battery shipping is confusing. The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “What type of lithium battery am I shipping?”

In this video, Certified Dangerous Goods Professional Joel Gregier goes over the difference between lithium-metal and lithium-ion batteries and how they affect the shipping process.

Not feeling a video right now? No problem! The main points of this video are laid out below.


It’s not terribly difficult to figure out what you’re dealing with, but it is very important to do it right. Determining which type of lithium battery you are shipping is the jumping-off point for lithium battery shipping.

Lithium-Metal Batteries

These kinds of batteries typically power many small electronics like calculators, watches, and circuit boards.

You can tell if a lithium battery is lithium-metal because lithium-metal batteries are not rechargeable. Those of you who have x-ray vision can check if the battery's anode has some actual lithium metal or lithium metal alloys inside.

Sometimes, but not so much anymore, lithium-metal batteries are referred to as “primary cells”—that term has been phased out of the lithium battery rules.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in laptops, cell phones, power tools, and even electric vehicles.

A dead giveaway for lithium-ion batteries is—you guessed it—that they are rechargeable. There is no metal or metal alloy in the anode of a lithium-ion battery. Many of them also clearly state “lithium ion” on the battery itself.

Similar to lithium-metal batteries, these are sometimes referred to as “secondary cells,” but not as much anymore.

Lithium Battery Training

Find training to ship lithium batteries safely and in full compliance with current US DOT (49 CFR) and international regulations.

Learn online at your own pace or join an expert instructor for the next live Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar, coming up soon. 

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