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Rechargeable Batteries Vs Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable Batteries Vs Non-Rechargeable Batteries />

09/07/2020

Batteries are compared across different parameters. The comparison can be carried out based on the construction of the batteries, their specifications, and properties.

One popular area of comparison is rechargeable batteries against non-rechargeable batteries.  In theory, all batteries can be recharged.

However, only those batteries that are categorized as rechargeable can be recharged in an economically viable manner. This leads to a common question amongst consumers, are rechargeable batteries better than their non-rechargeable counterparts? To resolve this query, BPZ would like to compare these 2 groups of batteries and provide clarity on the matter.

The most important consideration for most consumers is the price of the item itself.  If we look at rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries from the price dimension, we get two different perspectives. The initial investment to buy a non-rechargeable battery is lower.  This is because the added functionality of rechargeable batteries increases their cost of construction.  However, in the long run, a rechargeable battery can be viewed as a more prudent investment.  A rechargeable battery can provide a longer lifespan of service while a non-rechargeable battery may need to be disposed of and purchased again. In other words, a non-rechargeable battery provides better returns in the short run while the rechargeable battery is a better proposition for long term use.

Similar to the price comparison, rechargeable batteries are compared with non-rechargeable ones on the basis of their lifespan. On paper, it looks like a straightforward outcome. The rechargeable batteries, with their ability to recharge, are highly likely to outlast the non-rechargeable batteries. However, things become interesting if we look at their output with their initial charge. A non-rechargeable battery generally lasts longer when compared to the rechargeable battery's single charge cycle. Again, we draw a similar conclusion that a non-rechargeable battery brings short term gains while a rechargeable battery brings long term gains.

Another consideration for non-rechargeable and rechargeable batteries is their environmental impact.  With non-rechargeable batteries being disposed of regularly after the completion of their useful life, it does contribute to the creation of large piles of electrical waste.  On the other hand, rechargeable batteries remain in service for much longer and, as a result, their contribution to electrical waste for a particular time-period is much lower.  One way to look at it is that by paying the higher amount for rechargeable batteries, you are contributing to the welfare of the environment as well.

Considering the above discussion, rechargeable batteries would be the logical choice in all scenarios.  However, if we consider the usage of the battery, we can see why non-rechargeable batteries are still common today. For electrical devices like wall clocks, smoke alarms, TV remotes, and other electronics that drain the battery slowly, the non-rechargeable battery is still the better choice. On the other hand, for devices like smartphones and laptops, a rechargeable battery is more viable given that they consume energy quickly. Using the points highlighted in the discussion, you can make an informed decision when comparing rechargeable batteries with non-rechargeable ones.

A very important consideration is the appliance being powered by batteries.

Non-rechargeable batteries generally have a voltage of 1.5 volts. Rechargeable batteries on the other hand are generally 1.2 volts.  This is not very important when multiple batteries are being used in an appliance. However, in the case of one battery – 1.5 volts versus 1.2 volts or two batteries – 3 volts vs 2.4 volts then the low voltage on the rechargeable options may not power the equipment. This is not common but is more applicable in highly sensitive equipment.

The use of rechargeable batteries in the long run is by the far the best choice resulting in a far lower total cost of ownership.