Although there are more battery types on the market, LiPo and NiMH are the most popular types for airsoft. No matter the airsoft store or brand you choose, it’s either LiPo or NiMH battery that will come with the airsoft replica.
Furthermore, these are not only the most popular stock batteries but the same batteries are recommended in high-end guns and as batteries for upgrades.
So, what’s the difference between LiPo and NiMH, and which one should you choose for your airsoft gun?
LiPo batteries are more powerful (support a higher Rate of Fire) and efficient than NiMH batteries for airsoft purposes, but NimH is more beginner friendly as they are cheaper, safer, and less fragile.
Both batteries will do the work and supply the AEG with power, yet understanding how they differ is important because they both come with advantages and disadvantages.
The difference between LiPo and NiMH
The main technical differences between these two battery types are the following.
NiMH is cheaper, bigger, and can use a simple charger but offer less power. LiPo on another hand is smaller, more sophisticated, and requires a special charger, more powerful but also more fragile.
How do they work?
Batteries are formed from cells that are assembled in rows. There are two important characteristics of every battery and they are voltage and amperage.
When the battery has a higher voltage (V), it has more power to support the motor, and the faster the motor turns.
The amperage (mAh) on other hand, means how much energy is stored in the cells and thus how long it will last before you need to recharge it.
NiMH batteries are the older technology and LiPo batteries are a newer technology in the world of batteries.
NiMH batteries have 1.2 volts per cell as a standard while LiPo batteries go from 3.2 to 4.2 volts per cell.
In terms of performance, LiPo batteries are associated with the best motor support so when you switch to, for instance, 11.1 V LiPo from weaker LiPo batteries or NiMH batteries you will see a noticeable difference in the speed of the AEG motor.
Besides being more powerful, LiPo batteries are also more consistent than NiMH batteries. Yet, NimH is still used in airsoft both among beginners and experienced players as they still offer plenty of power and consistency for airsoft purposes.
LiPo batteries also work better in cold environments during winter games.
Only upgrade batteries in accordance with what the AEG can handle. Budget guns are not strong enough to handle strong batteries.
LiPo will always be more fragile than NimH because they are built differently, so if you drop it or crack it somehow it can get seriously damaged even from the impact you would not take seriously.
A damaged LiPo is dangerous and even the tiniest crack will make it completely ruined as it will not only decrease in performance but may leak acid and catch fire.
You can spot the damage on a battery because it will bloat and change color.
Therefore, be careful with the LiPo and never use a malfunctioning liPo battery even if you suspect it’s not a big deal!
Both NiMH and LiPo batteries can last for at least 2 years, but should eventually be replaced as the old battery won’t work as the new one and if they are too old the higher the odds of malfunctioning.
If you have more questions about charging, charger types, and similar questions I have mentioned all the important questions in my article about storing and charging batteries.
LiPo batteries must be charged with a smart balanced charger, so you can’t use any other charger which is not made for this type of battery. Don’t attempt to charge it with any other charger as it won’t work and it may destroy the battery by setting it on fire or cause a leak!
The balance charger will equally and simultaneously charge both cells of which LiPo is composed. Also, don’t let the LiPo go completely out as it could damage it (in other words, when you see it’s going out don’t squeeze out another 15 minutes of use).
NiMH chargers are cheaper and NimH is less sensitive when it comes to charging and malfunctioning, yet they shouldn’t be overcharged as it could damage the cells.
Ideally, NiMH should be fully charged and then discharged to at least 20% of their full capacity before they are recharged. So, once they are full use them as long as they provide power and charge them once you feel the AEG works slower and worse as this will indicate the battery is at its end.
LiPo batteries are smaller than NiMH so in some instances this could be an advantage when the gun has tight battery space. There are also different shapes, so you can find batteries in long-stick or rectangular forms of different sizes. In either case, LiPo will always be smaller and more compatible for most purposes.
What’s better for AEG?
LiPo batteries are better for AEGs than NiMH batteries as they are a newer, more powerful technology. Yet, if you want you can use NiMH batteries for pretty decent results or as a backup battery in case something goes wrong with LiPo.
In that case 8.4 V NiMH battery (Link to Amazon) will be a great choice.
I recommend using 7.4 V LiPo batteries (Link to Amazon) in any AEG unless its internals are good enough to handle the 11.1 V LiPo battery (Link to Amazon).
If the gun has quality internals then an 11.1 V LiPo is a way to go along with a MOSFET addition which will additionally protect the AEG and make it more efficient.
In the end, Let me state once again:
I’ve heard people complaining about the EBB lever breaking too soon, guess what they were rocking an 11.1 V liPo and the lever couldn’t handle it. Now, the same can be said for other parts such as pistons over time.