Why Use Rechargeable Batteries
When we talk about rechargeable batteries, we are talking about rechargeable batteries of sizes AA, AAA, C, D and 9V. These rechargeable batteries can deliver many benefits and are intended for everyday use just like the throwaway or primary alkaline batteries used everywhere. One advantage of rechargeable batteries is that they can be recharged and reused hundreds of times and the really goodones greatly outperform the everyday leading brand disposable alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries can be used over and over again which generates an incredible cost saving over their useful life. As an example, you can easily find 4 good AA rechargeable batteries that come with a smart charger for $30 to $40 US.
For such a package deal, each AA rechargeable battery costs $10 US (if you include the initial charger cost ). If you recharge these rechargeable batteries a minimum of 100 times, that means that these rechargeable batteries cost less than 10 cents per use. Yes, there are many factors not accounted for in our cost analysis, but if all these other factors were included, they would only further reduce the total per use cost well below 10 cents per use. Firstly, newer rechargeable batteries can easily provide 30% to 50% more energy than regular alkaline disposable batteries. Secondly, if you buy 4 more rechargeable batteries at $16 US or less, your per recharge cycle cost for these additional rechargeable batteries falls to less than 4 cents per use ( you already have the charger ! ).
Thirdly, electricity costs are very small considering top AA rechargeable batteries will deliver 3 Watt hours or more and electricity from the grid will cost you 6 to 10 cents per 1000 Watts per hour. Fourthly, a high grade rechargeable battery may not last 1000 uses but will certainly last a lot more than 100 uses. Another often mentioned positive reason for using rechargeable batteries is that they are considered to be more environmentally friendly than the disposable primary batteries. There are pros and cons to this argument and the general practices of society and private enterprise are not really based on helping the environment. So far, helping the environment is all marketing hype and studies show that recycling is only an economic initiative.
Over 90% of lead acid batteries are recycled (the rechargeable car battery for example) because of the economic costs of lead. This is far from the case for other rechargeable battery technology. Throwing rechargeable batteries into a landfill is no better than dumping disposable alkaline batteries or any battery for that matter. Environmental friendliness has to account for the entire product life from mining to manufacturing, shipping, use and disposal. One thing is for sure, for every rechargeable battery you use, 100 or more disposable alkaline batteries are not going to the landfill.
If a quality rechargeable battery lasts 200, 300, 400 or 500 cycles, you can further divide the cost examples we just talked about by 2, 3, 4 or 5. This also applies to the number of disposable batteries that can be eliminated from the pollution factor. Rechargeable batteries like NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries have proven that they can deliver greater performance in our ever demanding digital devices. Combined with the fact that they cost much less on a per use basis than disposable alkaline primary batteries and that less mass ends up in the landfill, leaves only one question. Why are you not using rechargeable batteries instead of alkaline one time use batteries? Do you question the performance or value of rechargeable battery technology? Have you been disappointed in the past when using rechargeable battery technology? Is convenience more important than saving money or helping the environment? Whatever the reason is, we would like to know.
If you are thinking about using rechargeable batteries, there are resources that can help you.
G. Bonneau is the owner of Rechargeable Battery Review, your only source of independent tests and reviews of rechargeable battery products. AA NiMH Rechargeable Battery Performance Comparisons
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