Similar to disposable batteries in appearance and functionality, the main difference being that rechargeable batteries can be reused, which make them more economical and environmentally sound. There are multiple types of rechargeable batteries and understanding the differences between them is essential when buying for particular products. Like with disposable batteries, users must know which battery is compatible with their electronic devices.
Types of Rechargeable Batteries
Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries were designed to replace standard sized batteries and maintain their strength even in cold weather. They are generally used in mobile phones and power tools.
Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries, on the other hand, produce twice the capacity of NiCd batteries and must be charged before use. These are often found in laptops and camcorders. Although limited in size, Nickel-Zinc (NiZN) has strong power retention and are used in cordless power tools, cordless phones and digital cameras.
Rechargeable Alkaline batteries have a long shelf-life but can be recharged a limited amount of time and are recommended to be used in intermittently used devices.
Although rechargeable batteries are slightly more expensive than their disposable counterparts, they have a longer lifespan and can be reused several times before eventually needing replacing. This makes them much more cost efficient in the long run and they produce less waste. They are also better for the environment, as batteries have corrosive materials inside and care should be taken when disposing of them.
Charging the batteries themselves requires a compatible charger, which should match the size of the battery. If the charger does not match the battery, it is possible that it may damage the battery through overheating or inadequate charging. Automatic charge protection senses when the battery has finished charging and will stop once the battery is full, which helps to prevent overheating. Trickle charging means that the charger will replenish any charge loss in the battery that occurs naturally over time and also serves as a place to store the battery in between uses.