AAA Battery Buying Guide

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AAA Battery Buying Guide

All electronic items have to have some form or power to operate. Just about anything portable is going to run off small, compact batteries as the source of their power. AAA batteries are among the smallest sold and are ideal for the small electronic devices such as camcorders, cameras, and torches. Because of their small size, they do not have as much power as the larger batteries do, but the devices that they are built to be used with are typically small and designed to require less power. Many people take batteries for granted because they are such a common part of everyday life. However, once they are not available, they are sorely missed. A common example of this is the brand new electronic toy received on Christmas morning, but there are no batteries in the house so the child cannot play with it. It is then that people realise how much they rely on batteries and they usually end up borrowing batteries from another device to allow the child to play with his toy until more can be bought.

Purchasing batteries is easy, it is deciding which ones to get that requires some forethought.

History of Batteries

Many different inventors have experimented with batteries and electricity since 1749. Benjamin Franklin was among the first to use capacitors for his research with electricity. The capacitors consisted of glass panels that were coated with metal. They were then charged with static and discharged by touching them to metal. In 1780, Luigi Galvani observed a frog's leg twitch when touched with a brass hook. His theory was that the electricity came from the animal. However, his friend Alessandro Volta disagreed and began experimenting until he proved that the charge is caused by two metals being joined together through a moist conductor. He went on to become the inventor of the first battery called the voltaic pile. It had copper and zinc discs that were piled on top of each other and separated by cloth or cardboard soaked in brine. The voltaic pile produced continuous electric currents but they were not strong enough to create a spark.

Many different versions of the battery were developed through the following years including the Daniel cell in 1836, the Grove cell in 1844, the gravity cell in the 1860s, and the nickel-iron cell that was used until the alkaline batteries were invented in the 1950s.

Types of Batteries

As most people know, batteries are not interchangeable. For example, a 9-volt battery is larger and rectangular shaped and therefore cannot fit into a device that was built for AAA batteries. However, there are different versions of AAA batteries to select from. There are two types of AAA batteries and various kinds of each.

Disposable Batteries

Disposable batteries have a specific lifespan that varies depending how often they are used and how fast the device drains them. Once they are drained, they can be discarded. They provide a low-cost way to power electronics but must be continually bought. Typically the shelf life of batteries is five years and they cannot be recharged. These are the three types of disposable batteries.

Type of Disposable Battery

Benefits

Best Uses

Alkaline

Suitable for low-drain and high-drain devices, and affordable

They have an average lifespan for high-drain devices

Small devices such as clocks, cameras, remote controls, games, and smoke detectors

Carbon Zinc

These are the cheapest batteries available but they also have the shortest lifespan so they are best for low-drain devices

Best for low-drain devices such as clocks, smoke detectors, and small lights

Lithium

Last the longest but are also the most expensive

Shelf life can last up to 10 years and they provide higher amounts of energy

Perform better that others in cold temperatures

Works for small and larger devices such as laptops, portable televisions, cameras, and mobile phones

Keep in mind that these batteries contain chemicals that are harmful and therefore should be recycled rather than thrown away whenever possible

Rechargeable Batteries

In the past, rechargeable batteries have gotten a bad rap because they lose their ability to charge fully over time. However, this is partly due to the fact that many people do not know how to use them properly. In addition, technology is constantly advancing and the batteries of today are better than the ones of the past. They do, unfortunately, have a very low shelf life though and must be recharged if left unused for a while. With rechargeable batteries, a charge station that is plugged into the wall must also be purchased in order to charge the batteries. When they have been fully drained of their power, they are put into the station to recharge. Their initial cost is more than disposable batteries but they can last for years and save money in the long run. The following are the three types of rechargeable batteries.

Type of Rechargeable Battery

Benefits

Best Uses

Lithium Ion

Lithium ion batteries are the most expensive but they also last the longest and deliver the highest amounts of power. Their shelf life is longer than other batteries but they are sensitive to overcharging

Works well with everything including the larger devices such as laptops, portable televisions, and power tools

NiCad

Nickel cadmium batteries are affordable, must be properly recycled due to higher chances of chemical discharge, they have a limited shelf life, work best in infrequently used items, and should be fully discharged before recharging

Works well in low-use devices such as cameras, electric razors, and walkie talkies

NiMH

Nickel metal hydride batteries are, best for frequently used items, have a limited shelf life, are higher priced, and are environmentally friendly

Works best with high-use devices such as mobile phones, laptops, motorised toys, and power tools

Both NiCad and NiMH batteries can lose their ability to charge over time if they are not handled properly. They should be fully drained before being recharged and should be removed right away when the charging is complete. Lithium batteries do not suffer memory loss but they can become damaged from overcharging them. Keep in mind that the charger is often sold separately.

The life of the rechargeable batteries vary. Look at the milliamp per hour rating on the product box. The higher the rating, the longer the batteries last. Eventually as they age they lose the ability to hold a charge anymore.

Where to Shop for AAA Batteries

Luckily, AAA batteries are a commonly used item so they are pretty easy to find. Only beware that their prices may be higher at smaller shops. The best way to save money on AAA batteries is to buy them in bulk at larger shops because the price is usually slightly discounted. The shops may not have all the types of batteries, particularly the rechargeable ones, but if shoppers look around long enough, they’ll find them. For those who don’t want to waste too much time looking for batteries, they can go online and order any kind they want from sites like eBay. Buying online gives people the opportunity to easily compare prices and figure out which ones are the best deal because there are many different brands of batteries and shops do not stock them all. If buying in bulk, be sure to check the postage costs because batteries can become heavy in large quantities.

Find AAA Batteries on eBay

eBay makes it possible for you to bargain shop without ever having to leave your home. The ability to do this actually saves any more money because you aren’t having to waste the time and the money it takes to travel around town. When shopping on eBay, you can do it in a number of ways. First, if you want to view the largest selection possible, do a general search by typing something like "AAA Batteries" into the eBay search bar. If you want to save time and cut to the chase, search specifically for what you are looking for like "Lithium AAA Batteries" or "Rechargeable AAA Batteries".

When buying batteries online, take a few precautions. Only buy brand new ones that are still sealed in their case, check the postage costs, see if the seller replaces any items that are damaged in transit, and be sure to read through the product description thoroughly to understand what you are getting. Pictures can sometimes be deceiving.

Conclusion

Batteries play a huge role in everyone’s daily life. Without them, people would not be able to get through their day without noticing a dramatic decrease in the number of conveniences that they enjoy. Mobile phones would not operate, no laptops would work, there would be no pictures taken, toys would become unusable, and people would have revert to building things the old fashioned way without their portable power tools.

Triple A batteries in particular make it possible to have more compact items that are lightweight and easier to carry around. Which batteries people should use depends on what devices they are using and what their budget is. Those who want to be more environmentally friendly and save money in the long run may prefer the rechargeable batteries, while those who do not want the hassle of charging usually stick with disposable ones.

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