A Comprehensive Guide to Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries

A Comprehensive Guide to Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Auth Anushka Agarwal | Dec 02,2020

When it comes to buying batteries, you can buy any type; the best AA non-rechargeable batteries or their counterparts. 

But, do you know which ones you need and which ones you do not?

Also, if rechargeable batteries are so good and environment-friendly, why all batteries available are rechargeable?

Since these batteries do not fall from the sky fully charged, right! 

Have you ever wondered what really the difference is? 

It is true, all batteries are designed to work on the charge, but not all of them can be charged. 

Moreover, some devices need rechargeable AAA batteries with charger, and others can work well with the disposable ones. While people are accustomed and familiar with regular and rechargeable batteries, but there is still a prevalent confusion when it comes to the appropriate application of one over the other option. To help make the decision easier, the following details the difference between the two. 

Similarities between Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries 

Both the batteries produce energy through an electrochemical reaction and consist of elements of anode, cathode, and electrolyte. So, a battery that works on the charge, consists of a negative terminal called an anode, and a positive terminal called a cathode. These two components, called electrodes, occupy the most space in a battery and are also the action sites for the chemical reaction. When they are connected to an electrical conductor, a charge flows between them, from anode to cathode. The medium that supports the flow of electrons is called the electrolyte. 

That said, the basis of the chemical reaction that takes place between an anode and cathode is the same in both rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. However, the only difference is that in a rechargeable battery, a reverse reaction also takes place from the cathode and anode, wherein the flow of electrons happens through the electrolyte. 

Wondering how that happens?

Since you know that all rechargeable AAA batteries come with a charger, this external source reverses the reaction within it. It restores the charge in it. 

Well, precisely, rechargeable batteries cannot last forever, and they do eventually die. However, it takes a longer duration of time for them than the disposable ones. However, if you use the wrong charger or one that doesn’t belong to the brand, use the battery in a non-certified application, and store them improperly then you can lose rechargeable batteries to landfills earlier. 

Dissimilarities between Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries 

Their chemical reaction is the only aspect that is the same between both the batteries. Other than that, the two types are different from each other. These include:

  • Various voltages:

While both the batteries produce energy the same way, their chemical compositions are different. It directly affects the amount of voltage generated. Most modern-devices can compensate for minor voltage changes and fluctuations. But, since there are so many types of batteries available in the market and they are all so chemically different, there is no way you can find out the specifics of what combination produce what voltage. The simplest way is to know the voltage your device needs and pick out an appropriate set of batteries. 

  • Different Capacities:

A battery’s capacity is measured in ampere-hours (Ah). It details the period of time that a battery will be able to provide current. The greater the capacity of a battery, the longer it will last. 

However, battery capacity is affected by three things: 

  1. the type of battery
  2. number of components within a battery
  3. its construction

Every manufacturer checks the capacity of a battery before it is released in the market. Moreover, different batteries come in varied capacities and can be anywhere between 700 and 3000 mAh. The battery capacity you pick depends on the device that will use it. For example, if you are looking for rechargeable AAA batteries with a charger for your digital camera, you might need a higher capacity than for your remote. 

When it comes to rechargeable batteries, you need to keep a few things in mind. These include the manufacturer’s guide to using the battery in optimal conditions. Such batteries also depend on the actual conditions of use like temperature, moisture, and current-usage. 

  • The Surrounding Environment:

The benefit of using rechargeable batteries is that it cuts down on the number of AA non-rechargeable batteries you use. In the long run, it reduces the harm such batteries do to the environment once they are thrown away as domestic waste. What people do not consider when buying such batteries is that it contains toxic elements that need to be recycled properly. Such components can then be used for the construction of other batteries or as a base material for any other product. 

For Rechargeable and Non-Rechargeable Batteries Comprehensive Overview, Refer Table Below.

Characteristics Rechargeable Batteries Non Rechargeable Batteries
Usage after Complete Discharge Can be reused Cannot be reused
Cost High Cost-effective
Types of Batteryzinc-carbon, and alkaline batteries lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and lithium-ion batteries
Output Voltage 3.0 Volt 1.5 Volt
Useful for Digital camera, Clock, Remote Control, Toy, GPS,Torch, Radio, Audio Players. Clock, Remote Control, Torch, Wall clock.  
Recharge Cycle Rechargeable up to 1200 times Cannot be recharged
Estimated Shelf Life 10 to 15 Years from the Manufacturing date 5 to 10 Years from the Manufacturing date
Leakage No Leakage No Leakage
Power-density High Low
Battery Size AAA, AA, C or D AAA, AA, C or D


Finding the best AA non rechargeable batteries or their counterparts depend on the end-user. While non-rechargeable batteries might same money, in the long run, it is the rechargeable AAA batteries with a charger that pay off. 

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