Removable vs. Non-Removable Battery in Phone: The Pros and Cons

When you’re in the market for a new smartphone, what features do you typically look for? Perhaps you need to know what processor is installed or the quality of its camera. The battery’s quality is another key decision-maker when picking out a new phone. This time, however, we’re not going to discuss how long a battery lasts. We’re going to discuss the removable vs. non-removable battery issue.

It’s not something you usually see advertised alongside battery life, screen size, and camera megapixels. Sometimes they’re called “non-removable,” and sometimes they’re “built-in.” However, removable and non-removable batteries have their fair share of differences (one of which you can tell from the name alone!) and can influence whether or not you purchase a specific device.

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The difference between the two is very simple. Removable batteries can be taken out of the phone, usually by opening up the back plate and taking it out. Non-removable batteries will be encased within the phone’s vital components. It’ll be hard, if not impossible, to remove the battery without first tampering with very important parts of the phone.

Despite its name, non-removable batteries are actually removable! The problem is it often requires so many special tools that it’s unfeasible to expect the average user to be able to remove one. For instance, it may involve tasks such as undoing the adhesive between the screen and the phone. In short, if you’re not an expert, it’s very hard to do.

When the battery dies in a non-replaceable unit, the main solution is to bring it to a repair store. This is a nasty surprise for people who believe they can simply remove the battery and get a new one.

So why do companies make phones with non-removable batteries? Despite its restrictive nature, there are advantages to them.

Advantages

One advantage that non-removable battery phones have is a tighter design. Because a removable battery phone needs to have a back plate, it can compromise the overall design of the phone. Non-removable phones have the battery tucked away in the electronics, which means they have little need for a back panel. This allows the manufacturers to create the phone out of high-quality materials and produce a luxury-feeling phone. It also means that non-removable battery phones are slimmer.

It also helps with recovering a stolen phone. A removable battery can be taken out by a thief to stop the phone from tracking its movement. With the battery safe inside the phone, it makes it harder for a thief to disable security or tracking features.

Disadvantages

Of course, there’s a huge problem with non-removable batteries: they’re non-removable! This by itself can be a deal-breaker for many. Once the battery begins going south (and it will, as the battery is usually the first thing to begin failing), it will also threaten to take the phone with it. This can only be solved with either a great deal of expertise in disassembling phones, or by taking it to a repair shop. As such, for the long term a non-removable battery can bite back in the future.

Advantages

Having a battery that can be removed has many benefits. The most obvious one is user replacement after the old one dies. However, should the phone become waterlogged, being able to open up the back and remove the battery can help dry off the phone before any damage can be done. If you’d like, you can even have a charged spare battery on standby which you swap out with your main one if it runs out of charge at a crucial moment.

There’s an argument claiming that removing the battery is a good way to shut off a frozen phone, but non-removable battery phones are adding ways to reboot a stuck phone without needing to touch the battery.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately, removable batteries aren’t always a guarantee with specific models of phone. A lot of the newer phones only have a non-removable battery, with no option for a removable version. For instance, let’s say you are choosing between the Motorola Moto G5, the G5 Plus, and the G5S Plus. By adding the restriction of a removable battery, all but the base G5 are immediately out of the running!

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While removable batteries are a useful feature, you may find yourself excited for the newest device to be released, only to discover it has a non-removable battery inside.

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If you find yourself debating between the two when getting a phone, there’s one thing you need to ask yourself: do you see yourself using this exact same device for the next two years?

If you want to maximise the lifespan of your phone, a non-removable battery will be a thorn in your side. Pick out a phone that has a replaceable battery and read up on how easy it is to get a spare. That way you can keep your phone going for as long as possible.

However, if you love to chase the newest and hottest phones, you may hate the restriction of only buying devices with removable batteries. You may even be replacing your phones long before their batteries begin to die. As such, a phone with a non-removable battery is much less of an issue, allowing you to shop unrestricted for the best phones without worrying about replacing the battery later on.

While a battery being removable or non-removable isn’t a widely advertised feature, it can sometimes make or break a purchase. Now you know the in-depth differences of each one, and hopefully have an idea of which one suits you best.

Does a non-removable battery bother you? Or have you happily enjoyed phones without a single battery issue? Let us know below!

31 comments

    • Hmm….. Tough choice…
      Both have their pros and cons… I’m looking for a phone like the Samsung Galaxy A6 but realized it didn’t have a removable battery. Any suggestions?

  1. I will always take a removable battery phone over a nonremovable battery phone. I am not one who wants the latest and the newest phone on the block. I want my phones to last as long as possible and then when the battery goes south, I can easily replace it. I even tend to purchase older phone models, because they are cheaper and usually have a removable battery. The last phone I bought was a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 when the brand new Note 5 came out, about 2 years ago. The Note 5 did not have a removable battery and the rest of the phone perks were just about the same. It saved me lots of money and I am still happy as a clam with my Note 4.

  2. Planned obsolescence = non-removable batteries.

    There is little to nothing Tech companies do for the benefit of the consumer. Once you get this… everything that’s happening in tech these days from hardware to software is … By Design … aimed at compromising the end-user. It’s staring everyone in the face but most are too afraid to look.

    • I agree with your words wholeheartedly. . ‘It seems like’ we are being led up a certain path …the whole human race almost….and our world governments are either too blind to see what is happening or something more sinister is heading our way further ahead in the future….and “we” are shouting out for “waterproof and good looking metal and glass….and new stuff every year….and our pockets can handle the expense…we are affluent after all….stupidly….

  3. “If you want to maximise the lifespan of your phone, a non-removable battery will be a thorn in your side”

    Nonsense. I bought my iPhone 4S in October of 2011. It has a non-removable battery and the battery hasn’t given me a bit of trouble in the 6 years that I’ve had it now (neither has the phone itself, for that matter). The 4S is my primary phone (I got rid of the land-line when I bought the 4S) and I’ve used it every single day of those 6 years.

  4. I’ve had experiences with both among three different phones. The first two had removable and the third (the one I have now) is non-removable. I’ve had better experiences with removable batteries, because they are so easy to replace. I found a replacement battery for my second phone (piece of cake on Amazon), but have had a good experience with my phone with the non-removable battery (other than it dies really quickly). Comes down to personal preference.

  5. I can never bring myself to buy a phone with a sealed up battery. I have two Note 4 phones and I am happy with them still. I look at these new devices being sold by all these manufacturers and worry for the rest of humanity that very soon we will have no phones available for sale in the whole world with instantly removable batteries and that the government agencies in all the countries will blindly allow all these manufacturers to carry on like the mafia and controlling our phone consumption and planning regulated obsolescence so that they are forever able to dictate how the phone market operates ….almost like a giant cartel….andwhat would happen if a new manufacturer tries to enter the market….they will have to abide by the phone makers’ cartel?
    ARE WE ALL CATTLE AND SHEEP ?

  6. Lithium ion batteries generally last for 500 recharge cycles (with 100% depth of discharge) before their ability to hold a charge starts to rapidly degrade. Basically, this means that a phone with a non-removable battery will become junk after roughly 2 years of daily charging.

    If I have to choose between a waterproof phone with a non-removable battery and a non-waterproof phone with a removable battery, I will choose the removable battery. There is a 10% chance that I will accidentally drop my phone in water and damage it, whereas there is a 100% probability that the battery will eventually die. I have dropped my phones in the water a couple times, but I never damaged the phones, because I quickly popped out the battery and let the electronics dry out.

    With a removable battery, it is much more likely that the phone will be reused by someone else after I get rid of it. I live in Bolivia where I see many people walking around with old cell phones with replaced batteries. With a sealed battery, it is very hard to find replacement batteries. When a phone has a removable battery, you can generally find a store which stocks the battery, but non-removable batteries seem to be only available if you order them from China, which takes weeks. The probability that a phone with a non-removable battery will be refurbished with a new battery and resold is low.

    This low probability of a second life has a dramatic impact on the environmental footprint of the phone industry. If we guesstimate that producing a smartphone emits 100 kg of CO2-e and the world produced 1.536 billion smartphones in 2017 (according to Gartner), then we are talking about 153.6 megatonnes of CO2-e emissions in phone production. If the average lifespan of a phone could be extended from 2 to 3 years, then we could reduce the emissions from smartphone production by a third.

    • I like your suggestions Mr.Amos Batto. Your kind information will be useful for any one who want to buy a phone and I myself suggest everyone who want to buy a irremovable phone read your comment.

  7. I just bought a non-replaceable battery phone and am already regretting it. If anyone knows where to sign a petition to phone makers to make replaceable batteries, please post.

    • I agree with you. I too, if there is a petition to phone makers to make replaceable batteries, I definitely will sign without doubt!

  8. I despise my LGL64VL w non-removable battery. I realize it’s a cheaper phone but its been nothing but trouble. Never have more then 2 bars no matter where I am. Constantly dropping G’s, and now problems with rapidly losing charge and percentage going down while charging. Totally untechie here so I did not know the battery was non-removable til after purchase. I also didn’t know the sim card was locked so that I couldn’t change providers. Learning..learning. If its possible my next phone will have a removable battery. This one is only 10 months old and I’ve wanted to smash it on many, many occasions. It also will not always do a soft reset. Still trying to figure-out which towers I use. Nope..hate the phone and hate non-removable battery.

  9. I have had experienced with a non- removable batteries, that has advantage of being replaced by another when the phone battery dies .But I have not used a phone with a non-removable battery, Now I am going to buy a phone with non- removable battery therefore I really need you guys to help me whether it is better and useful for me or not?? It is requested to all of you kindly guide me…

    • Go with a Removable battery.
      While they are trying to make it possible to reset non-removable battery phones with different button combinations, in my experience it rarely ever works and your options become “Wait several days for the battery to discharge naturally” or “rip it open and unplug the battery” – which will void any warranty you might have had.

      Plus, as batteries age they expand. Smushed between electrical components in your phone, this means the battery will either crack things damaging the phone permanently, or rupture.

      It’s honestly not worth the headache, they just seem built to fail.

  10. It’s simple: if you’re a sucker and have the money to buy a new cellphone every 2 years, buy a non-removable battery phone.

    The manufacturers are producing non-removable battery phones for one reason and one reason only: to rip us off.

    I just bought a Moto E4 with a removable battery. It is affordable, has a long battery life, and has a removable battery. Simples.

  11. I will like to by mobile phone with a removable battery to be able to use the phone for a long life

  12. Everyone that said it is correct about the non removable battery. It is to force us to buy a new phone every 2 years. But the poster above that cited the environmental concerns may have hit the nail on the head for how to get removable batteries back. Simply inform the local drop places set up to keep you from just throwing the phone away that from now on you will just throw this “disposable” device in the trash to go to the local landfill. Lets fill our local dumps with cell phones and make sure every environmentalist knows it is and will happen as long as we aren’t allowed to keep them running ourselves. Then watch how fast non-removable becomes illegal.

  13. Removable is a requirement for me as well, and is the only reason I haven’t switched to Google Fi despite their much better service coverage in my area :-/

  14. Of the smartphones I’ve had, two have developed broken charging ports. I always buy a spare battery and I have an external charger. I fancied a change, but everything I liked the look of had a fixed battery.

    I decided instead to treat my Cubot Max to a new socket and a makeover. I’m getting it fixed on Friday, there are quite a few unofficial rooted ROMs available for it, maybe I’ll try a different one!

  15. I strongly recommend for removable battery. There are some reason:
    1. If you get your phone hang/freeze while power/up down button (different phone have different way to reset) doesn’t work. You can easily plug out the battery. Imagine you are in very important condition urgently, then your phone get freezing? you have to wait few days till battery charge out (if button reset doesn’t work). Very annoying..
    2. non removable phone is not mean 100% water resistant. For new phone probably water resistance, but when you use it for year, and you don’t know when you accidentally bump or scratch or something that make a tiny leak on your phone case, then your phone accidentally plunge in the water, just go to buy new phone…
    with removable battery, if your phone plunge to the water, you can easily remove the battery, then safe your phone by dried up water.
    3. all battery, have a life cycle even your battery is polymer lithium that use on non removable. If your battery broken, for removable, we can easily change the battery. Non removable? just wait for few days or moreover months if in your town have no authorized service center. Moreover, if you trip on the place that no electric power, you will be suffer if you don’t have spare battery or power bank
    4. It’s look like, for me personally, phone with non removable tend to marketing gimmick than technical advance. Some salesman told me that the phone with non removable if fancier than removable. Sound like he wanna to change your perception. I don’t like it, because some feature seem like “advance technology”, but reduce our comfortable.

  16. Like most of the other comments above, I definitely vote for the removeable battery. The non-removable is a scam to get us to upgrade oftener, as the battery tends to be the first thing to go. The companies are making smaller and smaller ‘improvements’ in every much touted new model. Don’t be sucked in by the advertising. If your older phone still does all you need (and most do more than most of us need anyway) why pay a lot of money to replace it. Also with replaceable batteries the phone can eventually go on to another user, maybe in the third world, which is much better for the environment.

  17. I believe that the non-removable battery is nothing more than a marketing ploy to excessively overprice cellphones. Bad enough they are overpriced as it is.
    The one thing that i didn’t see in these comments is that Lithium Ion batteries are notorious for catching fire or exploding. This makes them as dangerous or more dangerous than magnesium. Therefore, non-removable are a safety hazard and should be banned. To replace your non-removable battery means you are out a phone. Not cool. It is also costlier. Not to mention that thinner phones heat up more readily, along with all those auto-starting apps that also jam up your RAM causing active apps to file swap in order to carry out the instructions within the app, degrades both your phone and battery.
    I want a working phone, not a beauty contestant phone.

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