You can find them in your cell phone, your flashlights, some radios and even your laptop. What are they? Household batteries, that’s what! Most households have a wide range of batteries on hand, or in use. The most common types of batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D and 9V. These batteries can be made of different materials and have different lifespan;
Alkaline: These are the most common type of household batteries. They are cheap to buy, but most cannot be recharged. They do not work well in things like digital cameras because they can provide power quickly enough. There are special alkaline batteries which do work in high-drain devices. Because most alkaline batteries are not rechargeable, once their power has diminished, you just throw them away. The power of an alkaline battery fades over time. Alkaline batteries that are rechargeable cannot be charged as many times as other types of batteries.
NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride: These are the rechargeable battery of choice. They have a higher capacity than other nickel based batteries and there are no special disposal requirements with these. You can, however, recycle them if you choose. They do put out less voltage than alkaline, which put out 1.5 V. NiMH batteries hold their power over the whole charge then lose power very quickly.
NiCad (Nickel-Cadmium) these household batteries are not highly recommended for several reasons. NiCad’s need recharging very quickly as opposed to the NiMH batteries. In fact, they normally have only about 35% of the capacity of alkaline batteries and NiMH batteries.
Lithium: These are expensive when compared to other types of batteries. They also cannot be recharged, which makes them less than perfect. However, lithium batteries are often used for digital cameras, smoke detectors and CD players. There is a difference between lithium batteries and lithium ion battery packs.
Although any of these types of batteries can be used in devices, you should never mix the types of household batteries together in the same device. For instance, don’t mix alkaline batteries with NiMH batteries in any device. Always use the same type of battery in each device. If batteries are not marked with the materials used in them, such as NiCad or NiMH, then they are usually called Heavy Duty or General Purpose batteries and are zinc based. These really have very little power and do not last long. With the development of the newer types of batteries, you don’t see many of the old Heavy Duty and All purpose, but they are still around. They are a throw back from the 70’s.
You may want to try to switch to one type of battery if possible. That is why most people now use NiMH. They are basically consumer’s choice because they hold a decent amount of power and they are rechargeable. Any of these household batteries work, they just work for different amounts of time and some are rechargeable and some are not.