Types Of Rechargeable Batteries
Most people don’t really pay attention to the chemistry of the batteries they use. The good news is that you don’t really have to very often. Batteries come in two types: primary and rechargeable. Primary batteries are only designed to be used once and then disposed of. Alkaline batteries are considered primary and come in standard sizes like AA, C and D cells. Rechargeable batteries may be used and then recharged for repeated use. Rechargeable batteries are commonly used in the majority of laptops and camcorders these days and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Currently there are four major chemistries of rechargeable batteries in use with most consumer electronics: Sealed Lead Acid, Nickel-Cadmium, Nickel Metal-Hydride and Lithium Ion.
Sealed Lead Acid: Sealed Lead Acid (or SLA) is the granddaddy of rechargeable batteries. They offer strong performance and reliability. However they are often heavy and bulky. They must also be recharged on a regular basis or else they will go dead. SLA batteries are not used very much any more.
Nickel Cadmium: Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) is a strong but old rechargeable chemistry. It performs well and charges very quickly. But it suffers from what is known as “memory effect” which reduces it effective lifespan. Nickel Cadmium batteries are still commonly used in cordless phones and power tools
Nickel Metal-Hydride: Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) is an improved version of Nickel-based batteries. It is lighter in weight and holds 30% more energy than NiCd batteries. It also does not suffer from memory effect as easily but does take longer to charge. NiMH batteries are commonly used in cordless phone and camcorders, but are slowly being phased out.
Lithium Ion: Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries are the best rechargeable batteries currently available. They are lightweight, hold their charge well and do not suffer from memory effect at all. Li-Ion batteries are pretty much the standard in all consumer electronics from cell phones to digital cameras to laptop computers.
Whether you’re buying a battery for your phone, camera, or laptop, the chemistry will likely be pre-determined for your device.