I have a project which uses microcontrollers and a radio transmitter, both running at 5 V. The circuitry consumes less than 1 mA from the 5 V rail when idle, and 1 A when transmitting data using the radio transmitter. The transmission phases do not happen often, as the device spends most of the time in idle mode, usually transmitting only once every 24 hours for a few seconds (maximum 20 seconds).
Now I'm designing a battery input for the circuitry and I cannot decide whether to use 11 V battery packs (LiPo) with switching regulators, or LiFe batteries instead where I can get a low regulating voltage difference between input and output for the regulator (output of 6 to 7 V) and use a linear regulator with those lower voltage batteries.
Which of these setups gives more efficient results for regulation circuitry in this kind of use?
switching regulator with 11 V input, dropping the voltage down to 5 V; or
a linear regulator at (mostly) low current and maximum of 2 V voltage drop over it?
One of the main interests in addition to the battery life, is the simplicity of most linear regulators versus switching regulators, which reduces time spent on designing the product and saves space from the board. Switching regulators can also cause some radiation that might interfere with other circuitry and they are also more expensive.