Over the past fifty years, many of the products we use have increasingly become powered by rechargeable batteries—from the lead acid batteries in our cars and other motorized vehicles, to the variety of Ni-MH and lithium-ion rechargeable batteries powering our digital cameras, laptops, and other electronic devices. Choosing between rechargeable and disposable batteries can be frustrating. – Both types share many of the same properties and functions. Often the frustration stems from not knowing which will work better.
The most common debate about these two battery types surrounds alkaline AA, AAA, C, and D consumer batteries. With different kinds of more efficient batteries appearing on the scene, such as the lithium-ion rechargeable battery, choosing can be a bit of a headache.
But in reality, there are only two main factors to consider.
Rechargeable batteries are usually more expensive, at least initially.
Since rechargeable batteries can be charged many times over after the initial purchase, it is reasonable that rechargeable batteries comes with a much higher price tag than disposable non-rechargeable batteries. Having a lower initial cash outlay makes it one of the reasons that some consumers choose to purchase disposable batteries. But in the long run, the batteries that you can recharge are significantly more cost effective, often providing you with a hundreds or more hours of use than their disposable counterparts. The lithium-ion rechargeable battery for example, has proven to be efficient, especially in consumer electronics.
Disposable batteries last longer than rechargeable batteries, but only initially.
The initial charge of a disposable battery tends to make it last significantly longer than its counterpart in most applications, making it the better buy at first glance. But remember, they are called “disposable” for good reason; they simply cannot be recharged. Once they die, they’re dead and gone. When it comes to rechargeable batteries, they last much longer as you can recharge them. While it is true that rechargeable batteries lose drain more quickly over time and successive charges, there’s never a need to re-purchase batteries for quite some time as long as they satisfactorily hold the charge needed for their application.
Rechargeable Batteries Then?
Not Always. Consider the application first.
While the verdict may seem to be a no-brainer inclination in favor of the rechargeable battery, a case can be made for the usefulness of disposable batteries. It really depends on application.
For example, non-rechargeable batteries can be the perfect choice for low-drain products. Low-drain devices use only occasional power or very low power over a longer period of time. Smoke detectors, remote controls, and wall clocks are just few of devices that could benefit from disposable alkaline batteries.
Rechargeable batteries can be the ideal choice for high-drain gadgets and electronics that quickly drain a lot of energy. Since these batteries can be easily recharged, you will be ridden of the hassle of constantly purchasing new batteries. Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which are commonly used to power portable consumer electronics, are a better choice for such devices, and will give you more bang for your buck.
There are always pros and cons with the variety of batteries available. The first consideration in purchasing the most suitable battery for any device is its application.