September 13, 2023

Bluetooth Beacons Compared, Part 1: Battery Life and Type

Reelables All-in-One Labels

Reelables Bluetooth Labels
Traditional Bluetooth Beacons

If you’re considering using Bluetooth technology for your tracking or inventory needs, you’ve made a wise decision. Bluetooth beacons offer a versatile solution with various options tailored to different requirements. In this series, we’ll delve into the key factors to consider when selecting a Bluetooth beacon for your specific use case. One of the most critical aspects to consider when choosing a Bluetooth beacon is the power source. The type of battery and its lifespan are pivotal factors that can significantly impact your choice.

Lithium Coin Cell Battery (Traditional Bluetooth Beacons)

The most common choice for Bluetooth beacons is the lithium coin cell battery. It’s favored for its combination of power, extended battery life (typically 3-5 years), ease of procurement, and affordability. With such a long operational life, these beacons can be attached to assets and virtually forgotten about for several years. This is especially beneficial for automated asset inventory systems.

However, there are some drawbacks to lithium coin cell batteries. The form factor of these batteries often necessitates a larger beacon design, typically made of plastic with some height. While this is acceptable for some products, it may not be suitable for frequently used items or product with high turnover rates.

Furthermore, lithium coin cell batteries are considered dangerous goods when it comes to shipping. They require special documentation and can only be shipped in limited quantities. If your goal is to track individual items on a pallet or multiple pallets in a single shipment, you may encounter air cargo restrictions due to these batteries. Additionally, proper disposal of the tags is crucial as they are considered electronic waste (e-waste) and should not be placed in regular recycling or waste streams.


  • Long-lasting battery ideal for automated asset inventory.
  • The high value or sensitivity of your product may warrant the higher price point.
  • Suitable for products where size or volume is not a constraint.


  • Higher price point.
  • Considered e-waste and dangerous goods, requiring additional handling.
  • May not be suitable for all form factors or shipping scenarios.

Zinc-Manganese Battery (Reelables Bluetooth Label)

Another battery option to consider is the zinc-manganese battery, as used in the Reelables Bluetooth label. This battery type offers a battery life of approximately one year after activation. What sets it apart is its thin and flexible form factor, resembling a label. Unlike lithium coin cell batteries, zinc-manganese batteries are not classified as dangerous goods, making them exempt from shipping constraints. Moreover, they can be disposed of in standard waste streams, simplifying the end-of-life process.

Reelables Bluetooth beacons are supplied in reels, and they can be easily printed with your product details from a label printer. This feature makes them an excellent choice for high-volume applications where quick turnover of inventory or assets is essential.


  • Well-suited for high-volume applications with rapid inventory turnover.
  • Not considered dangerous goods, simplifying shipping.
  • Easy disposal in standard waste streams.


  • Limited to a one-year battery life, making it less suitable for long-term asset tracking (3-5+ years).


In conclusion, selecting the right Bluetooth beacon for your use case involves considering various factors, with battery type and lifespan being of utmost importance. The choice between lithium coin cell and zinc-manganese batteries ultimately depends on the specific needs of your project.

If long-term asset tracking and automated inventory management are your priorities, the lithium coin cell battery might be your best bet, despite its e-waste and shipping constraints. On the other hand, if you require a solution for high-volume, quick turnover inventory or assets, the Reelables Bluetooth beacon with its zinc-manganese battery and label-like form factor could be the ideal choice.

By carefully evaluating these factors and weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision to ensure that your Bluetooth beacon solution aligns with your unique requirements.  In our next article, we will cover device activation and association, yet another critical factor to consider.

Contact us to learn more about why Reelables Bluetooth Labels are the best option for real-time visibility.