Batteries are the powerhouse of any electrical appliance. Therefore you must choose the ones that are worth it and can deliver efficiently. Rechargeable batteries are more popular for home appliances, smartphones, UPS, etc. They last long provided it is charged and used correctly; however, is it the best choice?
What Is A Rechargeable Battery?
A rechargeable battery is a kind of electrical battery that you can charge several times after being discharged into a load, unlike disposable or primary cells. Rechargeable batteries are also known as secondary cells. They are more expensive than disposable batteries but easier to maintain and cost-effective overall.
Pros And Cons Of Rechargeable Batteries
Pros Of Using Rechargeable Batteries
Long-lasting shelf life:
Long-term rechargeable batteries are more durable than disposable batteries in terms of run time, shelf life, and charge cycle. Chemical composition is a significant factor affecting a rechargeable battery’s durability and function. Rechargeable batteries come in Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium-Ion batteries (Li-ion batteries), Nickel Cadmium (Ni/Cad, Ni/Cd), and lead-acid batteries. The shelf life for each of them slightly differs and so do their characteristics;
NiMH batteries: 3 to 5 years
Li-ion batteries: 2 to 4 years
Ni/Cd batteries: 2 to 3 years
Lead-acid batteries: 6 months to a year
The above duration is their shelf life which refers to how long they can be stored unused without deteriorating much.
Rechargeable batteries are safer on the environment and help save on natural resources and raw materials due to cyclic usage. They reportedly have 30% less impact on air pollution, 12% less impact on water pollution, and 28% less impact on global warming in general. However, Nickel Cadmium batteries are not considered the safest relative to the rest. They have become less popular because cadmium is a heavy metal and not safe for the environment; it is also more expensive.
Convenient to use
Rechargeable batteries keep you from constant trips to the battery shops for frequent battery changes. They are easy to handle and use anywhere and anytime. Also, you can conveniently charge your battery for reuse, and their durable lifespan makes them very reliable.
Most people argue that rechargeable batteries are more expensive than disposable ones, but with critical observation, the reverse is the case. Rechargeable batteries have a relatively higher initial cost, but they are very durable and can be reused, unlike disposable batteries, which are thrown away and have to be frequently replaced. Replacing batteries from time to time costs more money than reusing the same battery.
Disposable batteries’ power delivery declines over time. Still, rechargeable batteries deliver consistent energy throughout their life span- disposable batteries initially deliver 1.5 volts when brand new, which declines steadily, but rechargeable batteries constantly deliver 1.2 volts for the entire time. By this, secondary cells are a battery choice for optimal delivery.
Cons Of Using Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries are great, but they also come with a few downsides, such as;
Higher initial cost
They are more expensive than other battery types, and in addition to the battery itself, you may need to purchase a charger since it needs to be recharged from time to time. This high cost makes customers reconsider and go for cheaper battery types; however, it is worth it due to its reuse value.
Having to recharge the battery
Having to recharge batteries can be a chore, mainly because you have to wait for the battery to get fully charged before use. Moving around with a charger and looking for a spot to charge during outings is not always fun.
Having to dispose of/ recycle
Although secondary cells are environmentally friendly, they must be disposed of properly. Improper disposal of these batteries can cause harm and pollution too. Before disposing of a rechargeable battery, you should ensure that it is completely used to protect you and your surroundings from potential dangers. Call your disposal center, or look up recycling methods online to help get rid of them safely.
It cannot be used on a wide variety
Most rechargeable batteries cannot be interchanged with their counterparts due to differences in size and chemical composition. Some rechargeable batteries come with replacement, but these do not deliver as efficiently as the original version. Finding a compatible charger for the battery is also essential, as not all chargers work for any rechargeable battery. Extra care in getting the correct charger and battery for your appliance will save you time and costs.
Lower voltage rating
Rechargeable batteries have less voltage rating than disposable batteries, so it does not deliver as much power on a relative basis. However, the difference is not largely significant.
How To Maintain Rechargeable Batteries
The following tips will help you use your rechargeable batteries properly, maintain them last longer and serve you better;
Invest in a good and compatible charger
To make your rechargeable battery last longer, use a well-recommended charger that can go up to 500 to 800 charge cycles. A good charger is compatible and of good quality, saving you the cost of replacing it often.
Monitor the charging
If our battery does not automatically shut off once fully charged, monitor it while it charges and disconnects when full. Keeping an eye on the charging battery prevents any damage resulting from overcharging.
Have a backup battery
These batteries mean waiting time for them to charge fully before reuse. Hence it is recommended that you have a backup battery you can use until your other battery charges fully.
Proper disposal is important because the composition of batteries is toxic to the environment, causing land and water pollution. Dispose of them properly: when the battery expires and can no longer deliver, you must get it disposed of. You can dispose of it through recycling by submitting it to recycle centers, junk yards, or some stores, or simply contact your community disposal center for help.
Rechargeable batteries are more popular and acceptable today because of their safety and reliability. They are a good choice for devices that drain energy fast. It is also more economical to use than other battery types. The batteries and the respective chargers are also very portable, and you can charge them with USBs, wall outlets, and vehicle lighter adapters. Most chargers can charge different batteries.