Rechargeable vs. Non-Rechargeable (Disposable) Batteries
Used to be the easiest way to replace a dead battery was to pull out the dead one, bring it to the store and buy its clone, but these days, the easiest way isn't always the best. To begin, most new appliances are sold “batteries not included” and, with some exceptions, even when batteries are included, they're low-grade, non-rechargeable varieties.
Non-rechargeable batteries are called primary batteries, not because they're first in quality but because they were invented first. Rechargeable batteries, classified as secondary batteries, are a must-have for many of today's modern appliances and tools.
Recharge or re-purchase?
When comparing rechargeable batteries to non-rechargeables, the facts alone can be confusing!
Non-rechargeable batteries have a longer 'shelf life' but rechargeables last longer!
It's true. The old stand-by, non-rechargeable battery, has a longer shelf life than its rechargeable counterpart. However, when you buy a pack, keep the extras in your freezer. Keeping primary batteries cold slows down the chemical reaction that makes them go dead, and when a primary battery goes dead — it's dead and gone!
When you buy rechargeable batteries, as your batteries recharge, the chemical reaction is reversed. Keeping a set of extra batteries in your battery recharger ensures that you'll always have a fresh power supply ready when you need it.
Non-rechargeables are cheaper but rechargeable batteries are more cost efficient!
You'll pay less at checkout for most brands and sizes of non-rechargeable batteries, making non-rechargeables look like the better buy. However, rechargeable batteries generally provide you with hundreds and even thousands more hours of use and in the 'long-run' cost less than primary batteries.
So, are non-rechargeable batteries obsolete?
No. Some non-rechargeable batteries have a place in every home. For instance, because rechargeable batteries lose their charge quicker than most non-rechargeables, they are not recommended for long-term use in appliances such as smoke detectors and battery operated clocks or high-drain devices such as digital cameras.
Before buying batteries for a new appliance, it's usually best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Yet, while it's easy to figure out what size battery to buy, how do you choose the right type of battery for an old appliance?
Another fact to take note of, when replacing rechargeable batteries is that most batteries need battery chargers uniquely built for their type.
The best way is to compare battery types for either new purchase or replacement is by using a handy chart like our Battery Comparison Chart.