Rechargeable batteries are replacing regular batteries in many electronic items, gadgets, appliances, and even vehicles. While standard or regular batteries are user-friendly and easily accessible, rechargeable batteries are eco-friendly as you do not have to discard them often.
But what are these batteries? Simply put, these batteries can be charged and reused after the battery power drains, unlike regular batteries. This is why these batteries are also referred to as storage batteries, as they still have power stored in them for reuse.
However, there are always questions regarding this battery’s reliability as it can go out of power or energy without you knowing it. And it is also essential to know how long such batteries will back you up. So how long do rechargeable batteries last?
Since you get to recharge these batteries even if they run out of power, they end up lasting longer than any standard battery. Though there are several factors involved, such batteries can last one to several years if used and maintained properly.
I have written down everything you need to know about rechargeable batteries and their longevity in this article. So feel free to dive in and power up your brain with all the information.
How Long Do Rechargeable Batteries Last?
Those who are not very familiar with rechargeable batteries and their work can get confused between the longevity of standard and rechargeable batteries. If you are one of them, you should know that rechargeable batteries last longer.
But how long do rechargeable batteries last? That depends on various factors, you have to charge and recharge them and use them until they discharge all the power.
And a rechargeable battery’s lifespan depends on all those factors. You need to consider the run time, cycle life, shelf life, environment they are exposed to, and how you maintain them. Nevertheless, rechargeable batteries can last 2 to 5 years.
Here is more on the factors that affect the longevity of a rechargeable battery.
Do not confuse it with the battery’s cycle time because that’s what most people do. It refers to how long the battery is running or active. If you are using a rechargeable battery for 3-4 hours every day, it will have a longer lifespan than the one that runs for 8-10 hours a day.
It is because the more frequently a battery is used and recharged, the more it loses power gradually, and eventually, it comes to an end. So the run time of these batteries plays a vital role in their durability.
Every battery comes with a fixed cycle lifespan, even the rechargeable ones. And cycle life means how many times the battery can go through full discharge and recharge before it dies completely.
Let’s say the rechargeable battery you use had lost 50% of its charge before you recharged it. That was just half of one cycle. A battery like this can go through hundreds of such cycles before it can no longer be charged.
A non-rechargeable battery does not have many cycles but one. However, most rechargeable batteries come with details where you can see how many times you can charge and recharge them.
The battery might not always be in use, right? So an unused battery has one place to be, and that is the storage. And that is what we refer to as the battery’s shelf life.
If stored correctly, a rechargeable battery will last considerably longer than the one that wasn’t. However, it is not unusual for the batteries to go bad while stored away.
What do you power with the rechargeable battery? This is an important question if you are curious to know about the battery’s durability.
Rechargeable batteries are used in many things, such as mobiles, laptops, fans, lights, music boxes, hearing aids, digital cameras, blenders, juicers, cars, e-readers, etc. The list will go on since you these batteries are now widely used.
The lifespan of the battery depends on which device you use. For example, if you are using your e-reader less than your cellphone, the cellphone will discharge battery power more and will require recharging more. So naturally, the phone’s battery is likely to last less long than the e-reader.
The rechargeable battery’s lifespan also depends on the environment it is exposed to. If you are keeping the battery in a moist area most of the time, it can get damaged and have power issues. That is why the battery instructions come with information on how you need to take care of it from exposure.
The battery’s longevity largely depends on how you maintain it. If you are not recharging it in time or leaving it in a damp place, it will die pretty quickly. A poorly maintained rechargeable battery could drain completely in 6 months to a year, even if it were meant to last longer.
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Types Of Rechargeable Batteries
I know you only had one question in mind: how long does a rechargeable battery last? But as with many other facts, the type of the battery plays a vital role.
If you know what type of rechargeable battery you use or want to use, you can have an idea about its average lifespan. Besides, it helps you understand which battery you need to choose for your use.
Though there are several types of rechargeable batteries available, you will find three main types of rechargeable batteries:
- Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
- NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)
- NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium)
- Lead-Acid Batteries
1. Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
Before you confuse it with non-rechargeable Lithium batteries, let me make it clear that they are not the same. And these batteries are the most commonly found rechargeable batteries on the market.
Lithium-ion or Li-ion batteries are widely used in small devices that are household stuff or anything portable. The batteries are light, have a high voltage tolerance, and can last 3 to 5 years. That means they have around 500 life cycles.
The best part of the Li-ion battery is that it can hold the charge more than most other batteries, even if not in use. On the other hand, the battery is flammable and expensive.
2. NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)
NiMH batteries are widely used in camcorders, laptops, computers, and many other electronic devices. These rechargeable batteries are amazingly high-performing and can be charged and discharged up to 1000 times.
On top of that, you do not need to charge this battery frequently. However, this battery has a higher discharging rate, which makes it lose charge faster than most other batteries. Besides, they are more expensive than NiCd batteries.
3. NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium)
Nickel-Cadium, often known as NiCd or NiCad, is one of the oldest technology-based rechargeable batteries. So you hardly get to see this type of battery in use these days. One of the best parts of this battery is its temperature tolerance.
The battery performs exceptionally well even at extremely high and low temperatures. On top of that, the battery discharges and charges with an immense cycle life of more than 1000. However, this battery has a lower energy density and is not that great for the environment.
4. Lead-Acid Batteries
This is the oldest rechargeable battery type and has been used since around the 1850s. And despite that, lead-acid batteries are still in use in many areas and are still popular, mainly because they are affordable yet powerful.
The downside of this battery is that it has shorter durability and the cycle life also varies based on the device it is installed in. And the reason many people avoid using these batteries is that they contain toxic acid, and leaving them exposed to the environment is not safe.
How To Pick The Right Rechargeable Battery
Knowing about different rechargeable batteries makes it easier to know which battery you need. But what about its essential features that fulfill your requirements for the battery you need? In that case, you need to check out this buying guide to help you know what to consider and look for when purchasing rechargeable batteries.
You have learned of the four different types of rechargeable batteries. Each of them has different chemistry. Learning these can help you understand if the chemistry is suitable for your use.
The battery’s power, energy level, and voltage will tell you about its performance. While high-power batteries seem top-notch, they can discharge and drain power faster than low-powered ones.
If you plan to use the battery in a high or low-temperature environment, you need to consider its temperature tolerance and resistance. Otherwise, it will affect the battery’s overall performance.
Shelf Life And Cycle Life
The battery should come with at least 300-700 cycle life, which will ensure minimum durability. Moreover, you need to consider the battery’s shelf life, ensuring an extended service life.
The battery must be compatible with the device or appliance you want to install it in. Without the right battery, you will get a poor performance or no performance at all. Besides, the battery should have the right size and shape that the device requires.
The battery you purchase should have transportable permission. For an instant, Li-ion batteries are not transportable by road or air if there is no legal permit. So, talk with the dealer or seller to know if the battery has permission.
And, of course, the price is always the crucial factor for rechargeable batteries. Generally, all rechargeable batteries are more expensive than non-rechargeable ones. Still, it would help if you considered a budget-friendly option, but not something too cheap as they might not last long.
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What Are The Advantages Of Rechargeable Batteries?
There are many reasons behind the rechargeable battery’s immense popularity. Despite their high price, people go after them more because they are eco-friendly and a cost-saving option. Rechargeable batteries offer many such advantages, and here are some of them.
Longer Shelf Life
Rechargeable batteries got more popular when people realized they offer a better shelf life than non-rechargeable ones. Even if you keep the battery idle for longer than usual, you are likely to get the same performance it would have offered if it was active. So if you plan to get a long-term battery service, there is no better option than rechargeable ones.
Yes, you can use the rechargeable batteries by charging them again. But that does not make them durable enough. The question is, how many cycle life do they offer, and how long do rechargeable batteries last?
You saw four types of rechargeable batteries above and learned about their average lifespan. But here, I also added a brief chart so that you can compare the batteries and their significant features and qualities in a quick glance.
|Battery Type||Recharge Time||Cycle Life||Shelf Life|
|Lithium-ion (Li-ion)||Slow – Varies
Fast – 1 Hour
|NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)||Slow – 12-36 Hours
Fast – 1 Hour
|NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium)||Slow – 4-10 Hours
Fast – 30Min – 1 Hour
|Lead Acid||Slow – 24 Hours
Fast – 3-4 Hours
|Varies||½ – 1 Year|
Rechargeable batteries are better for our environment than regular batteries. Once no longer in use, we discard the typical batteries, most of which go to the landfills, polluting our environment even more. Even the rechargeable ones are not that non-toxic, but using them for a long time gathers less toxic batteries over time.
And here is more on how using rechargeable batteries is better for our environment.
- Reduces impact on air pollution by 30%
- Reduces impact on global warming by 28%
- Reduces impact on water pollution by 12%
- Reduces air acidification by 9%
You cannot recharge and reuse non-rechargeable batteries once the battery runs out of power entirely. That means you need to buy new batteries every time it happens, making you spend a lot of money just on batteries.
But that does not happen with rechargeable batteries. People usually refuse to buy rechargeable ones because they are expensive. But think of the amount of time they last and the number of times you can use them after recharging. In the end, rechargeable batteries end up being more cost-effective than non-rechargeable batteries.
Rechargeable batteries make everything a lot easier. You do not need to run to the store frequently to get new batteries every time they run out of storage power. Besides, you do not need to constantly check on the battery when charging. Some of these batteries even have a USB charging system, making the process more efficient.
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What Are The Disadvantages Of Rechargeable Batteries?
Rechargeable batteries are not always full of advantages. Despite all the good sides, this battery has a few drawbacks, and here they are.
One of the major reasons customers turn away from rechargeable batteries is their higher price. The price becomes even more if renowned or top-selling brands make the battery.
That is why rechargeable batteries become less accessible to many users with a tight budget. But if you think about how you have to pay over the months and years for replacing non-rechargeable batteries, the rechargeable ones seem pretty cost-effective.
Since you purchased this battery at a high price, you would not want it to go out of service any time soon. As a result, it becomes essential to maintain the battery well and follow the essential rules regarding charging and storage so that the battery will not get damaged or expire. So maintaining the battery and its accessories become a hassle.
The problem with rechargeable batteries is that it is not always to find an immediate replacement. There are several types of rechargeable batteries available, and it is not uncommon to find replacements for rare ones everywhere. Moreover, you need to find the exact compatible charger for the battery so it can be recharged.
The last thing you need is for your rechargeable battery to die entirely without warning. Though it is uncommon, it is not rare if you fail to see the signs. That is why I mentioned how you could know the battery is running out of power before it does.
How To Know When The Battery Needs Replacement?
Now that you know almost all about rechargeable batteries, it will be easy for you to handle them. I will discuss more about maintaining these batteries later, but you need to know another vital part before that. How do you know when you need to replace the rechargeable battery or that it will be dead soon?
The best way to know that is to look for a few obvious signs. They will tell you something is wrong, and the battery needs replacement.
Battery Discharging Faster
One of the easiest ways to know if the battery will be out of power entirely is by seeing this sign. Rechargeable batteries discharge power too fast even if you charge them to their full capacity.
If your device used to run 6-7 hours with a fully charged battery, it would begin to go out of battery power in 2-3 hours. If you see this happening, you need to be prepared to replace the battery soon.
Takes Too Long To Recharge
Another sign of a weak battery is that it will take way too long to recharge to 100% capacity. A new rechargeable battery does not take that long.
In fact, a new battery will recharge faster than you expect. But gradually, with many uses and recharging, it loses its storage capacity. And after it gets closer to its maximum cycle life, it takes longer to recharge.
The device you are using with the rechargeable battery will tell you something is wrong. It can start with the device’s poor performance, stalling, or dying out of the blue.
Another sign to know this issue is when the device gets hot when in use or charging. Besides, if we are talking about car batteries or batteries on appliances, you will notice that they stall when running or when you try to start them.
Not Offering Enough Power Like Before
Of course, your device or appliance will not offer the same power as before when the battery life is coming to an end. It will die quickly as the battery power will discharge faster.
It will also affect the device or vehicle’s overall performance. That is how you know that the battery needs replacement.
FAQs About Rechargeable Battery
How can make the rechargeable battery last longer?
You can increase the battery’s durability by using and maintaining it correctly. You should not keep the battery in charge if you notice overheating, and you should always use the new battery after charging it to its full capacity. Moreover, do not leave the battery in moisture-prone areas, and you should always use a charger suitable for the battery’s capacity.
Can I use the rechargeable battery right after unpacking it?
Not all rechargeable batteries are suitable to use right after unpacking. You can use it instantly if the battery package says it is “Ready To Use” or “Pre-Charged”. If not, the battery will require charging to its full capacity before you use it.
Can I replace my regular or alkaline battery with a rechargeable one?
Depending on your regular battery, you can replace it with a rechargeable battery, especially with the Nickel Metal Hybride or NiMH battery. This battery looks similar to standard non-rechargeable batteries. So if the battery sizes fit well, you can replace them for regular use.
How long does a rechargeable battery stay charged?
It depends entirely on the type of battery, how long you use them and in which device. In most cases, good-quality batteries run 35-50 days after a single charge. On the other hand, devices like mobiles and laptops require charging one to several times a day.
How to use Rechargeable Batteries: What you Need to Know
So, how long do rechargeable batteries last? Depending on various factors, these batteries last between 3 to 5 years. However, you can extend this durability if you get a good quality battery and maintain it as needed. And once the battery is no longer providing service, make sure to leave it in a recycling center than out in the environment.