Which Batteries Do I Need?

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Which Batteries Do I Need?

There are many batteries available for consumers to purchase. There are the typical household batteries, automotive batteries, marine batteries, batteries for watches, and batteries for any other type of electronic device; thus, the list is endless. All batteries are made roughly the same way, and even though they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they all perform the same job.

There are rechargeable and disposable batteries. Which one to buy comes down to preference and budget. When purchasing batteries, consumers do not a choice in what size in that the size depends on the product the batteries are going in. The choice a consumer has is whether to buy rechargeable or disposable batteries. The decision for most consumers comes down to money, with the disposable batteries being more affordable. However, a disposable battery may seem more affordable, but rechargeable batteries can work out to be cheaper in the long run. Not only can the rechargeables be better value for money, they are also a better choice for the environment. Consumers should consider the needs of their products and their own priorities in making the decision about batteries.

How Batteries Work

Batteries have a positive end and a negative end, and these are called electrodes. Every battery is made from the roughly same ingredients, which are nickel, mercury, and lead acid. In between the two electrodes is an electrical current primarily created by a voltage difference between the two. This voltage runs through a chemical "electrolyte" that is either in a solid state or liquid form.

Batteries are also made up of metallic plates, and with the help of reactive chemicals, they are separated by barriers. These barriers are polarised so that all the electrons gather on one side. The side where the electrons gather becomes the negative end and the other side is the positive end. When a device is connected to a battery, it creates a current, and the electrons then flow through the battery to the positive side.

While all this is taking place inside such a small item, an electrochemical reaction is also taking place, which replenishes the electrons. The result is a process that creates electrical energy. Batteries are full of harmful chemicals, so when it comes time to dispose of them, do not just throw them in the bin. Many electrical shops now have a battery recycling drop off. If batteries are disposed here, they are detoxified and disposed of in a safe manner for the environment.

Types of Batteries

There are two main types of batteries: rechargeable and disposable. Rechargeable batteries are better for the environment, and over time they work out to be cheaper than the disposable batteries. However, disposable batteries are cheap and come in handy for a quick fix.


Rechargeable batteries cannot last forever, but they are a better option than disposable batteries. First, they are better for our environment and the consumer’s pocket. Initially, the expense of purchasing rechargeable batteries can be high, but for most modern households, they are a cheaper option. Most households have multiple remote controls, kid’s toys, and other various electronics that require batteries, which is why rechargeables are a better choice. In the past, finding rechargeable batteries in a wide range of sizes was difficult, but that is no longer the case. Rechargeable batteries can be purchased in just about any size.

How do Rechargeable Batteries Work?

A rechargeable battery, also known as a storage battery, is a battery that can be charged and used multiple times. Basically, a rechargeable battery is capable of accumulating and storing energy. These batteries are able to reverse the chemical changes that happen as a battery discharges; hence, they have the ability to recharge and discharge multiple times. Rechargeable batteries last longer if they are kept in the fridge. This is because batteries drain much quicker when they are hot. Keeping batteries in the fridge keeps the battery temperature low and therefore extends the life of the battery.

Disposable Batteries

A disposable battery is thrown out after being used up once. Though cheaper than a rechargeable battery, it does not last as long. The quality of disposable battery comes down to its cost. The more expensive ones generally last longer than the cheaper ones.


Lithium batteries are the best batteries to use for digital cameras and other high drain devices. They outperform any other disposable battery, and this is evident in their purchase price.


Alkaline batteries are the best multipurpose disposable battery available to consumers. It provides more power than zinc carbon batteries. The cheapest alkaline battery comes close to the cost of a zinc carbon battery, but it outperforms the zinc carbon battery.

Zinc Carbon

The zinc carbon battery has been around for the longest period of time. They are the least expensive battery but are only good for low drain items like portable radios or torches. These batteries do not work well in a device that requires a lot of power quickly, such as digital cameras. They are best used in low to moderate drain items as these items allow the battery chemicals to recover, affording them a longer lifespan.

Battery Sizes

The most common battery sizes and their uses can be found in the below chart. Batteries can have many different names, so the chart below not only provides a battery’s uses but also its alternative names.


Also Known As


Shape / Diameter



R6, R06, MN1500, MX1500, PC1500, AM3, UM3, UM-3, HP7, 15AC, 15A, E91, EN91, 815, AL-AA, ALAA, 7524, HR6, HR06, LR06, LR6, X91, PC1501, Mignon, Penlight, Double A, 2AA

Remote Controls, Cameras, Clocks, Radios, Calculators


L 50 mm

D 14.2 mm



LR03, LR3, LR03X, R03, R3, MN2400, MX2400, PC2400, AM4, UM4, UM-4, HP16, 24AC, 24A, 24G, EN92, E92, 824, ALAAA, AL-AAA, 7526, 4003, K3A, Micro, Microlight, Potlood, Penlight, Triple A, 3AAA

Some CD Players, Remote Controls, Toys, Wireless Keyboards, Cordless Phones


L 44.5 mm

D 10.5 mm



LR61, 25A, MN2500, MX2500, E96, EN96, GP25A, LR8D425, 4061, K4A, Quadruple A, Quad A, 4AAAA

Laser Pointers, LED Pen Lights, Glucose Meters


L 42 mm

D 8 mm



LR14, R14, UM2, UM-2, MN1400, MX1400, PC1400, 14AC, 14A, E93, EN93, 814, ALC, AL-C, 7522, AM2, HP11, Baby, Mignon

Torches, Power Tools, Camcorders, Medical Equipment


L 46 mm

D 26 mm



LR20, R20, R20MA, R20P, MN1300, MX1300, PC1300, UM1, UM-1, SUM-1, AM1, 13AC, 13A, E95, EN95, 813, AL-D, 1250, 7520, HP2, HR20, Mono, Goliath

Toys, Battery Operated Fish Pumps, Torches


L 58 mm

D 33 mm


9 V

LR20, R20, R20MA, R20P, MN1300, MX1300, PC1300, UM1, UM-1, SUM-1, AM1, 13AC, 13A, E95, EN95, 813, AL-D, 1250, 7520, HP2, HR20, Mono, Goliath

Smoke Detectors, Transistor Radios, Toys


H 48.5 mm

L 26.5 mm

W 17.5mm



CR17354, 5018LC, Camera Battery, CR123, LR123, VL123, 123A, CR123A, EL123A, EL123AP, EL123AP-2, RL123, RL123A-1, RL123A-2, DL123A-1, DL123A-2, SF123A, SF12-BB, K123A, RCR-123A, 23-155, CR-123APA

Cameras, Lights, Battery Back Up Systems, Night Vision Items


L 34.5 mm

D 17 mm




Cameras, Toys, Torches, Portable Fans


L 27.5 mm

D 16 mm



LR1, LR01, 910A, MN9100, 4001, E90, KN, 810, 23-023, AM5, UM5, UM-5, SUM5, Lady Battery

Small Torches, Doorbells, Wireless Microphones


L 30.2 mm

D 12 mm



4LR61, 7K67, 4018, 539, KJ, 4AM6, 4UM6, 4UM-6, 1412A, 1412AP, 867

J Batteries are Commonly Used in Medical Equipment

Square with missing corner

H 48.5 mm

L 35.6 mm

W 9.18 mm


This chart is an example of the most common batteries households use. It provides all the information a consumer needs to purchase the correct battery for their items.

Other Battery Types

Besides the most common household batteries we use just about every day, there are other batteries out there many of us do not know about or use very often. Purchasing the right type of battery in these circumstances is just as important as the decision we make when we purchase the common household battery.

Button, Coin, Watch, Micro, Miniature Cells

These are the most common of the other batteries. Button batteries as they are commonly known are usually flat and round with the metal can (the underside) being the positive terminal and the cap (the top) being the negative terminal. These batteries are often used in watches, digital thermometers, electronic tea candles, and cameras. Some of these batteries have a shelf life of 10 years.

Zinc Air Cells

Miniature zinc air batteries are button cells that use the oxygen in the air as a reactant. For their size, they have a very high capacity. The downside to these batteries is that a few weeks after breaking their seal, they become unusable. Unfortunately, they can be expensive but are the most common batteries for hearing aids.

Car Batteries

A car battery, or an SLI (Starting, Lighting, Ignition), supplies electric energy to a car to power the starter motor, lights and the ignition system. An automotive battery is usually a 12 V lead acid battery. Bigger vehicles like trucks often have two 12 V batteries.

Marine Batteries

A marine battery is a lead acid deep cycle battery designed to be deeply discharged on a regular basis. These batteries are designed to discharge between 50 and 80 percent depending on the battery. For a consumer to get the most value out of a deep cycle battery, they should keep these batteries discharging at around 50 percent. If looked after correctly they will last longer therefore saving the consumer money.

Finding Batteries on eBay

Begin your search for batteries on eBay’s home page. If you know exactly what size batteries you require, simply type this into the keyword search bar, for example "AA batteries", and click search. This is where eBay does all the hard work for you as it will display all the results for AA batteries. After this point, all that is left for you to do is find the batteries you want to buy and the seller you want to buy from. The best way to find a reliable seller is to read the seller’s feedback and see what other customers have to say about their experiences with the person.

Because batteries contain a lot of harmful chemicals and metals, it might be worth it to find a seller in your local area. That way you can pick the batteries up after completing the purchase without the seller having to go through the post.


There are so many different types of batteries on the market it makes it hard for a consumer to know which the right one to buy is. For most people, the decision comes down to money. All batteries do the same thing; the only difference is how much they cost and how long they last. Cheaper batteries have a shorter lifespan, so while they may seem cheaper in the beginning, they can in fact turn out to be more expensive in the long run.

Alkaline and rechargeable batteries have an extended life if they are kept at a cooler temperature, so keeping them in the fridge is a great way for a consumer to lengthen the life of their batteries. The only major choice a consumer has is between disposable or rechargeable batteries. With this in mind, there is still a vast majority of batteries available to choose from. By knowing which batteries are used for certain items and which batteries are the best value for money, a consumer can make an informed decision before purchasing their batteries.

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