Rechargeable batteries are very common in our lives, and you may be using one right now. But do you know how many types there are? Today, let’s have a brief discussion about the topic of rechargeable batteries.

Types of Rechargeable Battery

Types of Rechargeable Battery

What Is A Rechargeable Battery?

Firstly, we need to explain what rechargeable batteries are. The answer can be derived literally from the term itself: batteries that can be repeatedly charged and discharged are known as rechargeable batteries, also called secondary batteries. In contrast are disposable batteries, which are sold fully charged, but must be discarded after use and have no residual value.

How Many Types Of Rechargeable Battery?

Rechargeable batteries are a broad concept, encompassing many different sizes. Moreover, based on the variety of materials used, they can be categorized into multiple types. So, how many kinds of rechargeable batteries are present in your everyday lives?

Nickel-Cadmium Battery (NiCd)

Definition

Nickel-cadmium batteries are rechargeable batteries that use nickel hydroxide as the positive electrode material and cadmium metal as the negative electrode material. They are also known as alkaline batteries. These batteries complete their charging and discharging cycles through chemical reactions between the positive and negative electrode materials, with a nominal voltage of 1.2V.

Nickel-Cadmium Battery (NiCd)

Nickel-Cadmium Battery (NiCd)

Advantage

Nickel-cadmium batteries can deliver high power, meeting the needs of devices that require a high starting current, and are able to maintain a stable voltage during discharge. Additionally, they perform well at low temperatures and can charge and discharge normally even in cold regions. Importantly, their charging time and lifespan are at a commendable level compared to similar types of batteries.

Disadvantage

Nickel-cadmium batteries have a memory effect, which means they must be fully discharged before recharging to fully utilize their capacity. However, they have a self-discharge rate of 15-30%, meaning they can lose a significant amount of energy even when not in use. Therefore, you may need to recharge them frequently. Additionally, nickel-cadmium batteries contain cadmium, a heavy metal that is harmful to human health and the environment, which has led to various restrictions on their use.

Application

Nickel-cadmium batteries are widely used in fields such as starter power sources, emergency power supplies, portable electronic devices, and electric toys, because they can provide high current and stable output voltage.

Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH)

Definition

Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are an improvement upon nickel-cadmium batteries, with very similar construction. The positive electrode material of a NiMH battery is nickel oxyhydroxide, and the negative electrode material is a metal hydride. It also generates electricity through chemical reactions, with a nominal voltage of 1.2V as well.

Nickel Metal Hydride Battery(NiMH)

Nickel Metal Hydride Battery(NiMH)

Advantage

After improvements, nickel-metal hydride batteries retain good low-temperature performance and have achieved higher energy density. Additionally, memory effect issues have been significantly reduced, although careful maintenance is still necessary. Most importantly, nickel-metal hydride batteries are more environmentally friendly.

Disadvantage

Although improved, nickel-metal hydride batteries have enhanced certain aspects of their performance. However, their self-discharge rate is between 25-35%, which is higher than that of nickel-cadmium batteries. The number of charge cycles and charging times are also still at a relatively lower level.

Application

The applications of nickel-metal hydride batteries include consumer electronics, remote-controlled toys, hybrid vehicles, all-electric vehicles, and emergency lighting, among others.

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-ion)

Definition

Lithium-ion batteries do not require a chemical reaction; they charge and discharge through the movement of ions between the positive and negative electrodes. Depending on the type of material used for the positive electrode, lithium-ion batteries can be divided into several types.

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-ion)

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-ion)

Advantage

• High energy density, capable of storing more energy.

• Low self-discharge rate, below 2%.

• No memory effect, eliminating the need for regular deep discharges.

• Long service life, with the number of cycles reaching up to 6000, or even 8000.

• Eco-friendly battery, very kind to the environment.

Disadvantage

Compared to nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium-ion batteries have a higher cost.

They must be equipped with a Battery Management System (BMS) to prevent overcharging, over-discharging, overheating, and other issues.

Application

Lithium-ion batteries have a very solid market position and are widely used in mobile devices, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, portable electronics, and the aerospace industry.

If you want to learn more about what a lithium-ion battery is, I recommend reading the article: ‘Ultimate Guide of Lithium Battery‘.

For information on the classification of lithium-ion batteries, I recommend reading the article: ‘16 Types of Lithium Batteries‘.

Lithium Polymer Battery (LiPo)

Definition

Lithium polymer batteries have evolved from lithium-ion batteries and are also known as polymer lithium-ion batteries. Their working principle is similar to that of lithium-ion batteries, with energy produced through the movement of ions.

Lithium Polymer Battery

Lithium Polymer Battery

Advantage

LiPo batteries do not have a memory effect, eliminating the need for regular deep discharges. Additionally, they can be designed in any shape and size according to the space requirements of the product, offering extreme flexibility. Furthermore, they boast high energy density, are lighter and thinner, and have a lower self-discharge rate as advantages.

Disadvantage

Lithium polymer batteries, if mishandled, can lead to swelling, fire, or even explosion. Therefore, LiPo batteries also require a Battery Management System (BMS) to protect the battery and prevent issues such as overcharging, over-discharging, and overheating. Compared to some lithium-ion batteries, LiPo batteries have a shorter lifespan. Currently, their cost is still relatively high.

Application

The flexibility of LiPo batteries is an irreplaceable advantage, which has led to their widespread use in a variety of devices. For example, they are found in portable electronic devices, wearable gadgets, drones, electric vehicles, and electric remote-controlled toys, among others.

Lead Acid Battery

Definition

Lead-acid batteries are the earliest type of rechargeable battery and also store and release energy through chemical reactions between the positive and negative electrodes. Their nominal voltage is 2.0V.

Lead Acid Battery

Lead Acid Battery

Advantage

Lead-acid batteries are capable of delivering large currents instantaneously, meeting the starting requirements of vehicles. Additionally, they have very low production costs, making them very competitively priced. Up to this point, the technology has not only become very mature, but the recycling systems are also well-established.

Disadvantage

It is well-known that lead-acid batteries have a relatively low energy density, large volume, and are quite heavy. Their lifespan is generally short, with cycle counts around 300-500. Additionally, they have a high self-discharge rate, which means they require more frequent replacement.

Moreover, maintenance of lead-acid batteries can be quite cumbersome, and they are not very environmentally friendly.

Application

Lead-acid batteries have a low cost and are characterized by their ability to deliver large currents instantaneously. Therefore, they are commonly used as a starting power source, in UPS systems, standby power supplies, and more.

NaS Battery

Definition

Sodium-sulfur batteries are a type of new chemical power source. Unlike other rechargeable batteries, they can operate at high temperatures.

NaS Battery

NaS Battery

Advantage

One of the characteristics of sodium-sulfur batteries is their high specific energy. The theoretical specific energy is 760 Wh/kg, while the practical specific energy is 150 Wh/kg.

A second feature is the ability to charge and discharge at large currents and high efficiency, with a general discharge current density of 200-300 mA/cm².

Disadvantage

Sodium-sulfur batteries require heating and insulation to ensure they reach a working temperature of 300-350°C. At such high operating temperatures, extra attention must be paid to safety issues. Additionally, sodium is a highly reactive and dangerous element that must be kept away from oxygen and water to prevent fires caused by leaks.

Application

Sodium-sulfur batteries, due to their large capacity, long life, and high efficiency, can be applied in areas such as grid energy storage, peak shaving and load leveling, emergency power supply, and wind power generation.

FAQ

Which Is Better Lithium or NiMH Rechargeable Batteries?

To determine which battery is better, an analysis based on your needs is necessary.

In simple terms, if you are looking for a power source that is lower in cost, more environmentally friendly, and easier to recycle, you might consider nickel-metal hydride batteries. However, if you need a battery with a higher energy density, longer lifespan, and no memory effect, lithium batteries would be the recommended choice.

Furthermore, in terms of application areas, lithium-ion batteries are more suitable for portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops, as well as electric vehicles. On the other hand, nickel-metal hydride batteries are suitable for products that do not have high energy density requirements, such as power tools and electric toys.

If you need to choose one for your device, it is advisable to consider a variety of factors including cost, capacity, weight, size, safety, and environmental impact.

What Is The Best Type Of Rechargeable Battery?

This issue is actually similar to the aforementioned content, as it requires starting from the perspective of practical application. The choice of a more appropriate power source should be based on the characteristics and tone of the product. To put it simply, there is no best rechargeable battery, but it is possible to select the most suitable power source.

How Do I Know What Kind Of Rechargeable Battery I Have?

You can identify the type of rechargeable battery from the following aspects:

Battery Label: The label usually indicates the type of battery, voltage, or capacity, among other details.

Battery Voltage: You can make a simple distinction based on the nominal voltage indicated: lithium-ion batteries are typically 3.6V or 3.7V, while nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries are generally 1.2V.

Battery Shape and Size: Nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries are usually standard sizes (AA / AAA), whereas lithium-ion batteries may come in custom shapes or standard cylindrical forms.

Manufacturer and Model Information: Detailed battery specifications can be found online based on the battery’s model number or the manufacturer’s brand.

User Manual or Device Specifications: The user manual of electronic devices or the product specifications on the manufacturer’s website often provide information on the type of battery used.

NiCd Battery Label

NiCd Battery Label

Conclusion

The above is a brief introduction to five types of rechargeable batteries, including their definitions, advantages, disadvantages, and application fields. Of course, we will continue to update this information later. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave us a message.

If you have any requirements for rechargeable batteries, please feel free to contact us. We would be delighted to assist you.