Rechargeable Batteries Buying Guide

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Rechargeable Batteries Buying Guide

An increasing number of portable electronic devices, like digital cameras, DVD players, music players, electric shavers, toys, and more can be run using rechargeable batteries, and while they are a great way to save money, they also do their part in being environmentally-friendly alternatives. Rechargeable batteries come in a host of shapes and sizes, which include the commonly used AA, AAA, C, D, and standard 9-volt sizes.

While rechargeable batteries cost more than their single-use counterparts, they end up being the more economical choice in the long run, simply because they can be used over and over again. Buying rechargeable batteries is quite easy; a person can turn to local departmental stores or electronics shops, and people also have the option to turn to online shopping platforms, like eBay. When looking for rechargeable batteries, a buyer should establish just what he is looking for; learn to differentiate between the various alternatives, like alkaline,, nickel metal hydride, and lithium ion; learn about battery capacity; and know how to choose a suitable charger.

Why Rechargeable?

Rechargeable batteries offer a number of benefits in comparison to their single-use counterparts. A good rechargeable battery can last up to five times longer than a single-use battery on a single charge when it is used with typical high-drain devices, like portable DVD players.. Good rechargeable batteries can last up to three years when used in the right manner, which is much more than what a person can expect of any single-use variant. Typically, one can cover the cost of a rechargeable battery by its third of fourth charge, and after that, the remaining is all savings. Last, but not the least, using rechargeable batteries helps reduce the number of batteries ending up in landfills.

Different Types of Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are made available in different forms, which include alkaline, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, and lithium ion. These vary from each other in different parameters, such as life and application.

Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries

Typical rechargeable alkaline batteries tend to perform at lower levels in comparison to their single-use variants, although they can be used for up to 20 recharges. In case a rechargeable alkaline battery discharges completely, there is a good chance that it cannot be used again, rendering it useless. In addition, rechargeable alkaline batteries are not good alternatives when it comes to using high-drain devices. These batteries are not capable of fast charging, and can be only be recharged using chargers designed for rechargeable alkaline batteries.

Rechargeable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries

Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are those that are considered the best of the lot for various reasons. First, these batteries come with a greater capacity to store energy in comparison to alkaline, NiMH, and NiCd batteries. Second, they are capable of operating at considerably higher voltages in comparison to other batteries. Third, they do not go through what is commonly referred to as the "memory effect", a phenomenon that leads to reduced discharge capacities when NiMH and NiCd batteries are recharged again and again without reaching complete discharge points. In addition, these batteries are among the best at retaining a charge whilst not in use.

The disadvantages surrounding rechargeable lithium-ion batteries include the fact that they are quite expensive owing to their complicated manufacturing process, as well as their unavailability in standard sizes, like AA and AAA. Another downside is that most such batteries require unique chargers, wherein a person has to find a different kind of charger for a different kind of lithium-ion battery so that the batteries do not ignite.

Rechargeable Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

Cadmium is a known carcinogenic substance, and around 80 per cent of all rechargeable batteries come with some amounts of cadmium. Consequently, such batteries should not be disposed with regular household waste, but be recycled or sent back to the manufacturer. Although these batteries have been around for a while, their use was popularised during the 1960s, and their high-rate discharge capacity made way for their being used in a number of portable tools. While rechargeable NiCd batteries were favoured until not so long ago, they have now made way for lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries.

Rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries

These batteries are looked upon as less toxic in comparison to NiCd batteries, and they are known to have longer life spans. They work rather well with high-drain devices, like digital cameras, and they are also effective in providing long-term value when used with flashlights, headlamps, GPS receivers, and others. Rechargeable NiMH batteries can be recharged more than 500 times, and a single rechargeable NiMH battery can provide power that is equivalent to hundreds of single-use alkaline batteries.

The downside of using rechargeable NiMH batteries is that they need ongoing maintenance. These batteries tend to lose power when not in use, which can be more than one percent per day. This requires that rechargeable NiMH batteries be recharged at least once every couple of months even whilst not in use. These batteries tend to become less predictable as they become older, and they start holding charges for shorter durations. As a result, keeping old and new rechargeable NiMH batteries separated is always suggested.

When it comes to rechargeable NiMH batteries, buyers have a further choice of buying standard, high-capacity, and pre-charged batteries. Standard rechargeable NiMH batteries offer good value for money and are ideally used with everyday devices, like cordless phones. When it comes to looking for batteries for high-drain gadgets, like portable media players and digital cameras, high-capacity rechargeable NiMH batteries are the way to go. Pre-charged alternatives, in addition to being charged when they are purchased, offer lower discharge rates in comparison to standard and high-capacity variants. As a result, they can retain their charge for up to 12 months whilst not in use.

Battery Capacity

When looking at comparing different NiMH or NiCd batteries, a buyer should pay attention to the milliampere hour (mAH) rating. These ratings can vary significantly in both of these types of batteries, and the higher the rating, the greater the number of charge hours. NiMH batteries come with higher capacities than NiCd batteries, wherein NiCd batteries with the highest capacity hold about half of the capacity of good NiMH alternatives. The reason that buyers should pay attention to this aspect is because a number of manufacturers are known to sell batteries with different mAh ratings under the same brand name, even using exactly the same packaging.

Battery Chargers

Rechargeable batteries do not serve any purpose without their respective battery chargers, and among the most important aspect to address when buying a battery charger is compatibility. While buyers have the option to buy kits that come with batteries and accompanying chargers, this is not always the case, and even when kits come with chargers, users end up looking for additional chargers that come with special features. For instance, one can come by chargers that are capable of recharging different battery sizes, which helps to minimise the total number of chargers that a person owns.

If overcharging batteries is a concern, a buyer can look for chargers that come with automatic shut-off or trickle-charge options, or those that come with reconditioning cycles, while some require the flip of a switch to perform this function some other do so automatically. One can also look for chargers that are capable of charging batteries individually, and these are normally favoured over models that only charge in pairs.

Buying Rechargeable Batteries Through eBay

Buyers are presented with a number of options when it comes to buying rechargeable batteries through eBay.. These options include rechargeable NiMH batteries, rechargeable NiCd batteries, rechargeable Li-ion batteries, rechargeable alkaline batteries, as well as less commonly used alternatives, like Li-Po,, and lead acid. In addition, buyers are presented with different sizes in accordance with the type of battery for which they are looking. While common sizes, like AA, AAA, C, and D are available in NiMH batteries, buyers can find CR123A and 18650 variants when it comes to Li-ion batteries.

Given the number of sellers that a person can come by when shopping through eBay, going through as many options as possible is suggested because of the savings in which it can result. Looking for rechargeable batteries of any kind is simplified using eBay’s search option. Users are simply required to type in the search terms for what they want to find, and then hit enter. For example, if one is looking for AA rechargeable NiMH batteries, simply entering "AA rechargeable NiMH batteries" into the search box, and hitting enter should do the trick.

Conclusion

If budget is not a concern, and if you have the option to purchase rechargeable Li-ion batteries, they should be your first alternative. On the other hand, if you are looking for regular battery sizes, like AA,, AAA,, C, or D, looking for rechargeable NiMH batteries is your best bet. Take into account the high-drain devices, like portable media players and cameras, require batteries that come with high battery capacities, which is something that is typically found lacking in alkaline batteries. Therefore, in addition to establishing the type of battery that serves a consumer best, paying attention to the battery’s capacity is highly recommended.

In buying a charger, a consumer should pay due attention to the compatibility factor, and a person can expect to come by chargers that not only charge different battery sizes, but different kinds of rechargeable batteries as well. One should also account for the quality on offer; while cheap alternatives are not hard to come by, they can leave a person wanting when actually put to the test.

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