Understanding Your Phone: What Does mAh Mean on a Battery?

Statistics reveal that 77% of adults in America own a cell phone. However, the majority of them most likely do not completely understand all of its components.

For instance, how much do you know about your battery?

The battery gives your phone life; without it, your phone would make an expensive paperweight. Move one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of keeping this little powerhouse charged by learning the basics.

One basic term that comes up when discussing rechargeable phone batteries is mAh. But, what is mAh?

Let's bring you one step closer to understanding this electronic extension of you by answering the question, "What does mAh mean on a battery?"

What Does mAh mean on a battery?

The abbreviation mAh stands for milliampere hours or 1,000th of an ampere-hour. In layman's terms, it's the unit of measurement we use to describe the amount of electrical energy the cell phone battery holds the capacity to store at a time.

Essentially, milliamp hours measure our phone's lifespan between charges.

Is a Higher mAh Rating Better?

This depends. A higher battery mAh means that the charged battery can power your phone for longer than a phone using the same amount of energy from apps, wifi, games, and other usages, but a lower mAh capacity.

That's better when you need a battery to last. However, the higher your mAh rating, the heavier and bulkier the battery will be.

How Are Milliampere Hours Calculated?

In order to calculate battery mAh, you need to take into account both the current load in the circuit (your power usage) and the battery capacity in mAh (your battery's fuel tank capacity.) For this, you use the following formula:

Battery life = Battery capacity in mAh / Load current in mAh

So, if your phone has a capacity of 2,500 mAh and has a load of 500 mAh, then your calculation will look like this:

5 hours = 2,500/500 mAh

Meaning, if you charge your phone to full capacity, then it will die in 5 hours.

How Is This Measured?

To measure mAh, hook your phone up to a multimeter, which is a device that measures current, voltage, and resistance.

To check out your phone battery mAh

  1. Completly charge your battery.
  2. Turn on the multimeter.
  3. Locate 'A' and set the measuring dial there for the direct current (DC) setting.
  4. Write down the current reading as shown on the screen.
  5. Activate the stopwatch.
  6. When the battery drains completely, and the device is charged, turn off the stopwatch.
  7. Calculate the time in hours required to drain your battery.

Simple, just requires you to complete the process with precision.

Can I Buy a Better Battery for My phone?

You cannot if you own a newer phone. The batteries in newer phones are built for the device. However, you can buy a case that charges your battery!

Which Phones Have the Best battery mAh?

Five phones with the best mAh rating are:

  • OnePlus 6 (3,300 mAh)
  • LG V30 (3,300)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 (3,500 mAh)
  • Huawei P20 Pro (4,000 mAh)

These phones offer you around 15-17 hours of battery power!


Understanding a phone's specs can help you make an informed decision the next time you buy a new one. Your phone's battery capacity will determine how well the device serves you.

Now you can answer your friends when they ask, "What does mAh mean on a battery?" And you know that a charging case can help your battery life last when you cannot get to a charger.

To learn more cool facts, read our blog!

September 03, 2018