The Complete Guide to Buying Rechargeable Batteries on eBay

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The Complete Guide to Buying Rechargeable Batteries on eBay

There are many devices that are powered by batteries. This can prove to be very expensive for items such as digital cameras which will require a high level of power to operate and will, therefore, require frequent battery changes. Using rechargeable batteries can be the answer to this. Through utilising rechargeable batteries, the need to continually buy new batteries is removed almost completely, as some rechargeable batteries may be able to be charged up to 1,000 times. It is possible to find various types of rechargeable batteries listed on eBay and it is important to know the difference between the types and what features to look for in order to make an informed purchase.

Features to Consider

Before buying a rechargeable battery, it is important to make sure that it will be appropriate both for the device that it is intended to power and for the amount of usage that it will have to power. There are several points to consider. Using eBay enables the buyer to quickly contact sellers, so if anything in the item's listing is not clearly stated or which needs to be clarified,

Battery Life

The eBay listing should include the figure for the capacity of the rechargeable battery. This will normally be shown as milli-Amphere hours (mAh). This figure enables the calculation of how many hours the battery can power a device if it is also known what current is needed to power the device. The table below shows how the life of a 2700mAh rechargeable battery would be calculated.


Rated current of the device


Potential life of the battery




27 hours




10 hours




1 hour

This calculation should only be used as an estimated guide to the potential life of the battery because if it was used to power a device which requires a lot of power, such as a digital camera, then the life of the battery will be reduced. The calculation also does not take into account the self-discharge of the battery. All rechargeable batteries will discharge a little power over time and if it is not included in the listing, then it is worth asking the seller to confirm the discharge rate of the battery before deciding to buy it. There are rechargeable batteries available which guarantee to have a low discharge rate.


With the exception of lithium batteries, the voltage of rechargeable batteries is generally 1.2V compared to 1.5V for standard batteries. This lower voltage should not cause an issue with most devices, but if the batteries are intended for use with an older device, then it is worth checking that it can cope with the slightly lower voltage. Lithium batteries have a voltage of 3V and this differing voltage means that they may not be suitable for all devices as it could alter the number of batteries that are needed to power the device.


The type of rechargeable battery that is chosen will to a great extent determine the size and the style of the battery charger that has to be used to charge it. If the decision is taken to buy lithium rechargeable batteries, then a battery charger will have to be used that is specifically designed to charge only lithium batteries. This is because lithium batteries have a higher voltage than other types of rechargeable battery.

Types of Rechargeable Battery

There are three main types of rechargeable battery and each one differs slightly in its charging ability and performance.

Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

NiCd batteries were the original type of rechargeable battery and are available in the main sizes of battery. The main advantages of NiCd batteries are that they are very strong, they will maintain their level of performance in cold conditions and are resistant to being overcharged. The main disadvantage is that NiCd batteries need to be fully discharged before recharging in order for the battery to function properly. Concerns over the toxic cadmium that is used in NiCd batteries and the fact that it is viewed as being environmentally unfriendly has led to concerns over their safe disposal, and their domestic use is now limited within the European Union. It is probably best to avoid NiCd batteries if any are listed on eBay as there are better alternatives available.

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries

NiMH batteries were introduced to replace NiCd batteries because of the problem regarding discharging NiCd batteries before they can be recharged. It is possible to fully recharge a NiMH battery regardless of how much power the battery is still holding. This gives more flexibility in their use. The only disadvantage of NiMH is that their retention rate for holding a charge can be poor. It is now possible to buy NiMH rechargeable batteries which have a low self-discharge rate meaning that they will retain power for a longer period of time. It may be worth checking in the eBay listing or asking the seller if the NiMH batteries listed are low self-discharge batteries.

Lithium–ion (Li-ion) Batteries

There has been a huge growth in the popularity of Lithium batteries, which is due mainly to their high level of energy density, their charge retention and the fact that it is possible to recharge each battery more than one thousand times. The only disadvantage is that Lithium batteries can be more expensive. If the rechargeable batteries are intended for a specific device, then it is worth checking that the device can be powered by Lithium batteries before purchasing as they may not be suitable for all devices particularly older models.

To Find Rechargeable Batteries on eBay

The items that are listed on eBay are divided into different categories. Rechargeable batteries are located in the Sound & Vision.. This category can easily be found by clicking the Shop By Category link that is at the top of the eBay home page. The link See all categories should then be clicked and scrolling down the list that is displayed will reveal the Sound & Vision category. It is necessary to click on the More link underneath the category. A complete list of the sub categories will then be displayed. The next step is to click on the sub category Multipurpose Batteries & Power and this will reveal a further list of sub categories. The final step is to click on the Rechargeable Batteries link. Every type of rechargeable battery that is listed will then be displayed but it is possible to refine the search by using the sub menus to indicate what are the required brands, the chemical composition, the size and the condition of the battery. eBay can also be searched for rechargeable batteries by using the search bar. The bar is at the top of every page on eBay and simply typing in "rechargeable batteries" will fetch a list of the ones that are listed for sale.


Making the decision to invest in rechargeable batteries will prove an effective way to save money, especially if they are bought from eBay. Lithium batteries are probably the most popular type of rechargeable battery and offer strong performance over a long period of time. It is important to check that a device is compatible with Lithium batteries as their differing voltage means they are not suitable for every device. Other factors to consider before buying rechargeable batteries include the potential life of the battery when fully charged. If this information is not included in the listing on eBay then a question should be sent to the seller to find out the information before buying the rechargeable batteries.

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