Batteries play an essential role in providing energy to various electrical and digital devices. You might have already been using them for supplying power to lanterns, cameras, music players, and many other devices.
Some devices might require single-use batteries, such as remotes, while some require rechargeable batteries such as cameras.
When the battery’s shelf life gets over, you need to buy the new one, and to do so, you would require some basic knowledge about them.
In this article, we will have an overview of what things you should consider or know before you opt for any battery. If you are well-aware of such things, it will be much easier to buy the right battery for your devices.
Things to Consider when Choosing batteries:
You will come across batteries with different sizes and usability. Hence, whenever you need to choose them, look at your device’s battery needs. This is to ensure that you don’t end up with the wrong battery size and specifications.
Size of battery:
Finding the right battery size isn’t a troublesome process until you have the older batteries to compare the size. But if you have lost the older ones, then here’s a simple way to find the right size. First of all, you can check for the battery size indicator on your device or see the device manual. If you still don’t find it, then you can figure it out through some simple steps.
You might be aware of the older battery’s size, like whether it was small, medium, or big. In the market, you will come across four types of battery sizes such as AAA, AA, C, and D.
Here, the battery size increases as you move from left to right such as the battery with D size is greater than C. When you compare AAA and AA, one with more letters indicates the smaller size. This basically means that AAA is smaller than AA.
On the other side, the sizes of coin batteries work differently. These batteries are also called as button cell batteries. They include two letters followed by four digits. The first letter specifies the chemical composition, while the second one specifies the shape. The four digits specify the size of the battery, where the first two digits indicate the diameter while the next two indicate the height.
For example, if you see a CR2032 battery, the C indicates lithium, whereas R indicates that it is round. Coming to digits, 20 determines the 20mm diameter and 3.2 mm height. You will find more such variants in the button cell batteries. For that, you can have a look at the comparison of CR2032 vs BR2032 battery sizes for more information.
Usability of each battery:
There are two types of batteries, such as rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. The latter ones are also termed as single-use batteries.
If you select the cylindrical batteries among AAA, AA, C, and D size, you will have the option of selecting single-use or rechargeable. In contrast, if you want coin-cell batteries, you will only get the single-use ones.
Single-Use / Non-rechargeable batteries:
Single-Use batteries are available in two major types, namely alkaline and lithium. You need to dispose of them once they run out of juice.
The best thing about single-use batteries is they are cheaper, offer a long shelf life due to low self-discharge rate, and are widely available. The only con you can find in them is they require disposal after full-discharge.
An alkaline battery contains an alkaline electrolyte, which is usually potassium hydroxide. It is the most commonly used battery of all time. You can use it for low-drain devices such as LED flashlights, LED headlamps, remote control devices, toys, radios, clocks, etc.
Additionally, you can use it for moderate-drain devices like lights that used incandescent bulbs and high-drain devices like digital cameras.
However, while you use it for high-drain devices, you will observe that its life-expectancy gets highly reduced because these devices exert such a substantial draw that swiftly drains down the energy.
Lithium batteries have the highest energy density among any other cell. Hence, they are capable of storing more energy than alkaline or any single-use batteries
Moreover, they offer great performance even in extreme weather conditions. As the higher voltage capacity adds power to lithium batteries, there are chances of damage circuitry in some devices. Hence, you need to read the device manual for battery power recommendations to avoid any issues.
Rechargeable batteries are manufactured to be recharged multiple times as opposed to a disposable or single-use battery. They are also termed as storage batteries or secondary cells.
In some cases, they can be charged up to 500 times and above. There are mainly two types of rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride.
The best thing about rechargeable batteries is they don’t generate much waste due to prolonged use than single-use batteries. Although they are costly, they offer a long-term value, which ultimately makes them cost-effective.
The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are available in the form of a block or slabs. Their estimated shelf life is about two to three years or, in other words, 300 to 500 charge cycles.
One charge cycle can be considered a period of charged to fully discharged and then fully recharged again.
These batteries are most commonly used in digital cameras, computers, smart phones, and various other consumer electronics.
Standard Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries:
The standard nickel-metal hydride batteries and made of nickel (commonly nickel hydroxide for the cathode/positive electrode), an alloy, and potassium hydroxide (as an electrolyte).
They have replaced the nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries as they offer high energy capacity than NiCd.
Pre-charged Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries:
As the name implies, pre-charged nickel-metal hydride batteries come pre-charged in their package, and they are ready to use. They are also known as the hybrid, ready-to-use, or low self-discharge batteries.
Their discharge rate is much lower as compared to other rechargeable cylindrical batteries. Hence, many people select them instead of standard NiMH batteries.
Both the standard and pre-charged batteries are popularly used in portable power applications such as the ones that require high rate and pulse capability.
Every device has different specifications, and hence, it requires a different type of battery. So before you buy the battery for your device, make sure to understand the basic things mentioned in this article and then start looking for the right one.