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The best phones with a removable battery and alternative solutions

Removable batteries are a dying breed, but there are still a few options.
By

Published onApril 27, 2024

Samsung Galaxy XCover 7
MSRP: €380.00
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Positives
More affordable
Very rugged
Removable battery
Negatives
Hard to get in the USA
Specs are modest
Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3
MSRP: $899.99
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Positives
Very rugged
Good specs for a rugged phone
Removable battery
Negatives
Expensive for the specs
Only available from Verizon
Fairphone 5
MSRP: €699.00
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Positives
Repairable
Removable battery and microSD slot
8 years of updates
Negatives
Poor battery life
Middling chipset performance
Nokia C21
MSRP: $109.99
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Positives
It has a removable battery
Very affordable
Negatives
It has a small 3,000mAh battery
Performance isn't great
Lackluster camera
Nokia C12
MSRP: $77.84
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Positives
Very affordable
Nice design
Negatives
Small 3,000mAh battery
Hard to get in the USA
Overall low-end performance
Nokia C12 Pro
MSRP: ₹6,999.00
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Positives
Very affordable
Nice design
Negatives
Not so great 4,000mAh battery
Hard to get in the USA
Overall low-end performance
TCL Ion X
MSRP: $119.99
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Positives
Very affordable
Has a removable battery!
Negatives
Low-end experience, overall
Only available for Metro by T-Mobile, in the USA

Phones with a removable battery are a dying breed these days. Manufacturers have moved to unibody, sealed designs. It’s a pity, because a removable battery allows you to swap out batteries easily — that means no time lost charging, and you can quickly ditch degraded batteries. There is a sign of good things to come for removable battery lovers, though. The European Council has ruled that all smartphones released in Europe have to have a user-replaceable battery by 2027. This list is soon to get much better! Until then, here are the best phones with a removable battery right now.

The best phones with a removable battery

Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best phones with removable batteries when new devices launch.


Samsung Galaxy XCover 7

Samsung Galaxy XCover 7

Most phones with removable batteries fall at the lower end of the specs and price spectrum, and finding good options in this category is getting harder and harder. That’s why the Samsung Galaxy XCover 7 is such a pleasant surprise.

It’s no flagship by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s pretty capable. It has a Full HD+ display, a mid-range MediaTek octa-core processor, decent cameras, and a removable 4,050mAh battery, making it a very compelling phone.

The rugged XCover 7 is also built to survive the elements. It has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and a MIL-STD 810H certification for impact resistance.

The Samsung Galaxy XCover 7 is more expensive than other similarly-built mid-rangers. This phone targets a particular segment of the market. So anyone lamenting that there aren’t many decent phones with removable batteries out there has something to look forward to with this rugged option.

Samsung Galaxy XCover 7Samsung Galaxy XCover 7
Samsung Galaxy XCover 7
MSRP: €380.00

Galaxy XCover 7 specs:

  • Display: 6.6-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: MediaTek octa-core processor
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 50MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 4,050mAh
  • Software: Android 14

Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3

Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3 official resize

This is definitely one of the best phones with a removable battery, released right in the middle of 2023. It is also pretty expensive at $900, but it could be the very best option if you want to be able to hot-swap the battery.

For starters, the Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3 is rugged, featuring an IP68 rating, as well as MIL-STD-810H certification. And the specs are pretty good, too. The phone has a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

The screen isn’t huge at 5.38 inches, but you get a Full HD resolution. The battery is nicely sized at 4,270 mAh. You get a triple-camera system, as well as an 8MP selfie shooter. The only main downside is that it is only available on Verizon.

Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3
Kyocera Duraforce Pro 3
MSRP: $899.99

Duraforce Pro 3 specs:

  • Display: 5.38-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 64, 16, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,270mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Fairphone 5

Fairphone 5 5
Damien Wilde / Android Authority

The Fairphone 5 impressed us at IFA 2023. This is not only one of the best phones with a removable battery, it is actually modular. You can replace things like the display, cameras, earpiece, speaker, USB-C port, and more.

Modularity aside, the Fairphone 5 is a pretty neat phone. You get a Qualcomm QCM6490 with 8GB of RAM. The OLED screen measures in at 6.46 inches, and it has a 90Hz refresh rate. The 4,200mAh battery isn’t massive, but it is removable, and it charges at 30W.

You even get 5G, and Fairphone has promised a mighty update promise of eight years, along with five major Android upgrades. And get this: despite the removable back and modular design, you still get an IP55 rating. All for a €700.

Fairphone 5Fairphone 5
AA Recommended
Fairphone 5
Modular • Repairable • 8 years of updates
MSRP: €699.00
You can take the Fairphone 5 apart with a screwdriver and repair it yourself
The Fairphone 5 is a phone with reparaibility in mind. Nearly every aspect of the phone can be removed and replaced (or even upgraded) with just one screwdriver. To encourage long-term use, Fairphone will offer five Android upgrades, at least eight years of updates, and possibly even extend that to ten years of updates!

Fairphone 5 specs:

  • Display: 6.46-inch, 2,700 x 1,224
  • Chipset: Qualcomm QCM6490
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Rear camera: 50 and 50MP + TOF
  • Front camera: 50MP
  • Battery: 4,200mAh
  • Software: Android 13

Nokia C21

HMD Global Nokia C21 Plus angled in hand - Phones with a removable battery
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Nokia C21 is far from the most powerful phone with a removable battery, but it’s a reasonably new budget alternative. It comes with Android 11 (Go Edition), which means it also comes with a near-stock Android experience.

HMD’s phone packs a Unisoc SC9863A chipset, which should handle messaging, browsing, and other lightweight tasks just fine. Don’t hold your breath for anything spectacular when looking at the rest of the spec sheet, either. There’s 2-4GB of RAM, 32-64GB of storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. And yes, the removable nature of the latter means you can swap batteries when your phone is low on juice.

Nokia C21Nokia C21
Nokia C21
MSRP: $109.99

Nokia C21 specs:

  • Display: 6.52-inch, HD+
  • Chipset: Unisoc SC9863A
  • RAM: 2/3GB
  • Storage: 32/64GB
  • Camera: 8MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11 (Go Edition)

Nokia C12 series

Nokia C12 Pro - Phones with a removable battery

If you’re looking for an ultra-budget device, you will want to look into the Nokia C12 series. These are super affordable and have removable batteries. The series is comprised of the Nokia C12 and Nokia C12 Pro.

Both phones come with 6.3-inch 720p screens, a Unisoc SC9863A1 processor, 2-3GB of RAM, an 8MP primary camera, a 5MP selfie camera, and an identical design. The Nokia C12 has the smallest battery at 3,000mAh, but you can upgrade to 4,000mAh if you opt for the Pro iteration.

The pricing sits comfortably low for all three, but they are a bit hard to find outside of India. You can also find them in some parts of Europe and the UK.

Nokia C12 ProNokia C12 Pro
Nokia C12 Pro
MSRP: ₹6,999.00

C12 specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, HD+
  • Chipset: Unisoc SC9863A1
  • RAM: 2/3GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 8MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12 (Go edition)

C12 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.3-inch, HD+
  • Chipset: Unisoc SC9863A1
  • RAM: 2/3GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Camera: 8MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12 (Go edition)

TCL Ion X

TCL Ion X walmart

Those looking for an ultra-affordable handset with a removable battery can consider getting a TCL Ion X. You may not have heard of it, but it costs just $120 and is available from Metro by T-Mobile. As if that wasn’t cheap enough, the carrier will often offer discounts, and you can usually get it for free if you sign up for a new line!

Of course, the 3,000mAh battery can be removed. Other specs include a MediaTek Helio G25 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The screen measures six inches, which is a good size, but it only has a 720p resolution.

TCL Ion XTCL Ion X
TCL Ion X
MSRP: $119.99

Ion X specs:

  • Display: 6-inch, HD+
  • Chipset: Helio G25
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Cameras: 13MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 12

Is it time to move on from removable batteries?

fairphone 5 removable battery sd card
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

We mentioned in the intro that there are changes coming, thanks to the European Council ruling that all phones sold in Europe should come with a user-replaceable battery by 2027. The ruling clarifies the battery should be able to be easily replaced without the need for tools. This is all done in an effort to reduce waste. And while this only applies to Europe, manufacturers are unlikely to create significantly different models for specific markets. For example, Europe forced Apple to move to USB-C, so the company just moved to USB-C altogether. Similarly, there is a high chance manufacturers will just take the punch and simply create phones with removable batteries for all markets.

Again, this is all some years away, and we are forced to live in the present. For now, you have to find temporary solutions, as you will have a hard time finding a good phone with a removable battery right now. You could just accept defeat and get a phone with a non-removable battery, and also look for other ways to keep your phone from running out of juice.

For starters, some phones have stunning battery life out of the box, so you might want to consider one of those before finding any other solutions. Here’s a list of our favorite phones with the best battery life.

Luckily, there are plenty of options to consider. The most obvious solution is to buy a portable battery pack to top off your phone’s battery. We have a whole list of terrific battery pack options here. Waiting for your device to charge won’t be as fast as swapping out the battery. However, many phones have fast charging capabilities, so charging times aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be.

Similarly, you could also get a phone with wireless charging. You can dock the phone or lay it on a mat while at your desk, and it will charge as if it were plugged in. This will give your phone little bursts of juice throughout the day and hopefully prevent you from running dry.

Finally, we have a guide on maximizing battery life, which includes a bevy of tips and tricks that should help any device last at least a full day. Many of these suggestions require making some sacrifices. Unfortunately, these are the things you’ll have to do going forward as removable batteries fade into the rear view of phone history.


FAQs

Options are very scarce, but there are still some modern smartphones that come with a removable battery. This might change soon, though, as the European Council is pushing for removable batteries, and phones sold in Europe should come with user-replaceable batteries by 2027.

As of April 2024, we would say our favorite phone with a removable battery is the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 7. It has capable specs, 5G support, and a rugged construction. If you don’t like rugged phones, the Fairphone 5 is also great, offering mid-end specs, but a modular design.

Most smartphones with a removable battery are budget devices, which means you’ll likely find a good deal. Some can get a bit pricier, though. One example is the Fairphone 5 at €700.

Removable batteries require a removable back. The mechanisms involved with this can make phones thicker and bulkier. It can also make it harder to make them water resistant. In the race to smaller, thinner devices, most manufacturers have decided to do away with removable back covers.

Do you need more help with your battery issues? You might first want to find out what’s happening with your phone if your battery is dying too soon.

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