Rechargeable VS. Disposable Batteries

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In the past decade, consumer technology has gotten a lot cooler. Our phones are smarter, our laptops are powerful and portable, and we can even check our messages from our watches! But despite the leaps and bounds of consumer technology, there’s still one hassle we have to deal with: batteries. Whether it’s your TV remote or your alarm clock, we still rely on these little guys to power some of the most important technology in our home. If you want to be an informed buyer, it’s good to know which batteries get you the most bang for your buck. So, which are better – rechargeable or disposable batteries?

Upfront Cost

Simply, rechargeable batteries have a higher upfront cost than disposable batteries. While the prices of rechargeable batteries have indeed come down in price over the years, they still don’t beat the bargain prices of a pack of regular, throwaway batteries. Keep in mind, however, that the prices aren’t the same for every single battery; prices per battery will depend on the battery type and the amount that you buy them in.

Long-term Cost

Rechargeable-BatteriesThis is where rechargeable batteries have the upper hand. If you need a quick battery fix and you don’t anticipate having to replace them anytime soon, a pack of disposable batteries will do you just fine. But if you’re looking at using many batteries and replacing them each year, you should start thinking about getting some ones you can recharge. It really becomes a numbers game, so it might be time to pull out that calculator.

Battery Life

You might not realize, but rechargeable batteries usually discharge at a quicker rate than disposable batteries. And while getting up to change the batteries in your remote isn’t a monumental task, it can get annoying if it’s a common occurrence. How long the batteries last depends on how much energy is drawn from the battery, so if you’re powering high-energy products, expect to be changing out rechargeable batteries often.

Environmental Friendliness

One other factor to consider when choosing a battery is how environmentally friendly the product is. While throwing out a pair of used batteries might not single handedly push the world’s climate temperatures up a few degrees, every little part you can do to be more sustainable helps the planet. Obviously, rechargeable batteries take the lead here. They’re simply less wasteful, and that’s not including the plastic and cardboard packing they come packed in.

It seems like rechargeable batteries take the win here, and while in most cases they do take the lead against disposables, you don’t have to plant your feet solidly in the rechargeable camp. In fact, as this Lifehacker article points out, disposable batteries are finely suited for low-power appliances such as your smoke detector, while things like your controllers are better handled with rechargeables. While doing a battery analysis on your home doesn’t sound like the best way of spending an afternoon, it could add up to a nice bit of pocket change. Someday, we’ll hopefully never have to never deal with batteries again, but for now, you might as well save some money!

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