Rechargeable batteries, because they can be recharged multiple times at virtually no cost, provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to keep your battery-operated devices working. Successfully purchasing this type of battery requires that you understand the most popular types of battery and how to find the right battery charger.
One of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries is the lithium-ion battery. These batteries have a particularly long life between charges. They also maintain a full charge even when recharged before being fully drained, possess the ability to retain their charge for months even without regular use, and can store more charge per cell, reducing the number of batteries needed to operate devices. This type of battery is used most often in cameras, mobile phones, and camcorders, and tends to be more expensive than other types of rechargeable batteries.
Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries, or NiMHs, are widely used rechargeable batteries. This type of battery is environmentally friendly, because it can easily be recycled without introducing toxins into the environment. NiMHs also come in the most common battery sizes and therefore provide a suitable energy source for almost any battery-operated device. While less expensive than lithium-ion batteries, they also lose their charge relatively quickly even when not in use, and over time lose the ability to hold a full charge. They generally do not need to be charged for first-time use.
Sealed Lead Acid Battery
The final most common type of rechargeable battery is the sealed lead acid, or SLA, battery. This type of battery contains lead inside the battery. Its contents require caution when handling, such as always keeping them upright. These batteries tend to be inexpensive, reliable, and large, making them ideal for use in such settings as alarm systems, and any other device that requires a 6V or 12V battery.
Depletion of Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are often defined by how much drain they can withstand before becoming fully depleted. This drain is measured in mAH units, or milli-ampere hours. This measurement describes how many milli-amperes the battery can provide over the course of an hour before becoming completely drained. The higher the mAH reading, the longer the batter will last. For instance, a 2400 mAH provides a reliable battery for devices such as digital cameras that pull a great deal of energy from the battery.
Another aspect to consider when purchasing rechargeable batteries is the battery charger.
Each type of battery requires its own charger, meaning that when buying a rechargeable battery, you may need to buy the correct type of battery and charger combo, or stick with a universal charger that will charge any type of rechargeable battery. While some batteries, such as NiMH batteries, can remain in the charger even when not charged, the best way to preserve the batteries is to remove them after they complete their recharge.