Single Use Battery Buying Guide

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Single Use Battery Buying Guide

Single use batteries are available in a wide range of sizes and voltages, and have many uses throughout the home. From the remote control for the television, to the alarm clock to get you up in time for work, single use batteries are everywhere. A single use battery is essentially one that cannot be recharged when the energy source has been depleted. It works by combining two different chemical elements that react and release electrons that are converted into useable energy, which is passed into the device the battery is powering. Various chemical combinations have different properties, delivering energy at different rates, and having differing energy densities and longevity.

When purchasing single use batteries, buyers should understand the properties inherent in each chemical combination in order to choose the best type of battery for their devices. Devices require batteries of a particular size and voltage: single use batteries are available in a number of sizes, with voltages ranging between 1.2 and 9 volts. Single use batteries can be bought from many retailers, including electronics shops, department stores, and supermarkets. For the widest range of single use batteries, buyers can shop at eBay, which offers all sizes, voltages, and chemical compositions.

What is a Single Use Battery?

Single use batteries are used in a variety of commonplace devices, such as toys, cameras, clocks, and remote controls. A device that is powered by a single use battery completely depletes the energy producing substance inside the battery until it no longer generates power. The chemical reaction that occurs inside a single use battery cannot be reversed, so it cannot be recharged. Instead, single use batteries must be disposed of safely, and a new battery must be bought to replace the old one. The energy from a single use battery is discharged slowly. If stored correctly, single use batteries have a very long shelf life when not in use, with some types lasting in excess of ten years.

How Does A Single Use Battery Work?

A single use battery contains an anode and a cathode, one connected to each terminal. In between is an electrolyte that acts as a reactant and a catalyst, facilitating the flow of electrons between the nodes. The reaction of the opposing anode and cathode with the electrolyte creates an electrical charge that is channelled into the device the battery is used to power.

Single Use Battery Chemical Types

There are many different chemicals used to construct single use batteries. Each combination has certain advantages and disadvantages. The chemical combination impacts the size, voltage, and lifespan of the battery. Having a basic understanding of the most common single use battery chemical combinations enables buyers to select the most appropriate type for their device.

Zinc Carbon Single Use Batteries

Zinc carbon single use batteries use an impure form of zinc, located at the anode. The cathode terminal has a carbon rod. Zinc carbon single use batteries are considered to be general purpose batteries. They are very inexpensive, but have a comparatively short shelf life. These batteries have a low energy density, which means that they do not last for as long as some other types. They are not suited to devices that put a heavy drain on the batteries, but are suited to remote controls and other low drain devices.

Zinc Chloride Single Use Batteries

Zinc chloride single use batteries use a purer form of zinc. The purer chemical combination provides a considerably higher energy density than zinc carbon batteries, which means that they are better suited to high drain devices, as well as low drain items. Zinc chloride batteries are sold as heavy duty or zinc plus to avoid confusion.

Zinc Air Single Use Batteries

Zinc air single use batteries use oxygen as the reactant to break down the zinc and release energy. They are comparatively inexpensive and have very high energy density. This makes them very good value, as they have a long shelf life and can power high drain items. This type of single cell battery has many uses, ranging from powering hearing aids to electric vehicles.

Alkaline Manganese Dioxide Single Use Batteries

Alkaline manganese dioxide single use batteries combine manganese dioxide with zinc and an alkaline hydroxide to create an inexpensive, lightweight, long lasting single use battery. They are one of the most common types of single use battery found in the home. They have a reasonably high energy density and a long shelf life. However, alkaline batteries are slightly more likely to leak than many other single use batteries.

Silver Oxide Single Use Batteries

Silver oxide single use batteries combine silver and zinc. They are lightweight and have an extremely high energy density. They have a long shelf life as well as an incredibly long run time, even with high drain devices. However, they are more expensive than other battery types because of the high cost of silver. Therefore, they are almost exclusively restricted to small cell type batteries, such as those that power watches and hearing aids.

Lithium Thionyl Chloride Single Use Batteries

Lithium thionyl chloride single use batteries are considerably expensive compared to most other single use batteries. They have incredibly high energy density, which makes them suitable for high energy devices. They have an unrivalled shelf life and run time. Lithium thionyl chloride single use batteries are particularly favoured for use in very low temperatures as they are able to maintain their charge at -55 degrees Celsius.

Lithium Manganese Dioxide Single Use Batteries

Lithium manganese dioxide single use batteries are used commonly throughout the home. They have a high energy density and are well suited to high drain devices. They are lightweight and have a long shelf life. They are also comparatively inexpensive.

Single Use Battery Sizes

There are many types of battery on the market in a range of sizes, voltages, and prices. Many are designed for use in and around the home. Most devices that run on single use batteries clearly state the size of the battery and the voltage required.

Round Single Use Batteries

Round single use batteries are the most common battery type found in the home. They have a wide variety of applications. One of the smallest round batteries is AAA, often found in remote controls. AA batteries are slightly larger and found in clocks, gamepads, digital cameras, and an array of other household devices. C batteries are larger still and found in high drain devices. D cell batteries are found in particularly large high drain devices, including portable radios. The voltage of round single use batteries ranges between 1.2 and 3 volts.

PP3 Single Use Batteries

PP3 single use batteries are 9 volt rectangular batteries. Their interior contains six individual 1.5 volt cells. They have a long shelf life, and the individual cells allow for even, continuous energy distribution. They are found in devices such as smoke detectors and a variety of high drain devices.

Button Single Use Batteries

Button single use batteries are flat and round. They are typically found in calculators, watches, and hearing aids. They are commonly made from silver oxide, although other chemical combinations are available. Silver oxide button single use batteries can potentially run a small device for several years and have a very long shelf life when not in use.

Buying Single Use Batteries on eBay

Single use batteries can be found on eBay, which offer models in every size, voltage, and chemical combination. Performing a search for single use batteries from the eBay home page provides a large number of results. To quickly identify the batteries that they want, buyers should enter the size or voltage into their search. This reduces the number of search results to only the most relevant. Buyers can also include the chemical composition to further reduce the results.

When buying single use batteries on eBay, buyers should thoroughly read the item description to ensure that they purchase new single use batteries of the correct size, voltage, and chemical composition: used single use batteries have energy drained from them and may not provide sufficient power to a device. If any further information is required regarding the batteries, postage options, or anything else pertaining to the transaction, buyers are encouraged to contact the seller before making a purchase. Buyers should check the feedback score of a seller to ensure that they choose one with a reputation for providing good quality service and products.


Single use batteries are a staple power source in the vast majority of households, providing energy to devices from cameras to many of the kids’ favourite toys. Ranging from 1.2 to 9 volts, single use batteries cannot be recharged once their energy has been consumed. Single use batteries are available in a number of different shapes and sizes: round single cell batteries power remote controls, alarm clocks, and torches; rectangular 9 volt batteries are used for larger devices or those that require constant, long term use, such as smoke detectors; button single cell batteries power smaller devices that require continual energy from a lightweight cell, such as calculators, watches, and hearing aids.

With an understanding of the different chemical combinations, and their associated properties and uses, buyers can select the most appropriate single use battery to power their devices. Single use batteries can be found in abundance on eBay.

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