Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable Batteries

Consumers have become accustomed to rechargeable batteries in cell phones, laptops, and a variety of other electronics we use every day, but rechargeable batteries on their own have not yet taken over the battery market. Is this because there is a lack of awareness, or that the product itself is lacking? Do rechargeable batteries really make an environmental difference? In the coming weeks the highest number of batteries of the year will be sold worldwide, and consumers will be choosing between traditional and rechargeable batteries.

“According to Duracell, the weeks of Black Friday, before Christmas and after Christmas are the three weeks when the most batteries are sold. In fact, one-third of all battery purchases in the U.S. are made in October, November and December, each year.”


Batteries being an afterthought may be one thing that hinders consumers from buying rechargeable batteries. Often when buying batteries consumers have an immediate need to get another product working, so they are not taking the time to ponder what kind of batteries to buy. If they were to look deeper at their options, they can see the pros and cons to rechargeable batteries.

What are rechargeable batteries?

There are many different types of rechargeable batteries made of different materials that depend on their purpose. Cell phone, electric razor, and rechargeable tool batteries are often made with Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium. The most common type of rechargeable battery that would be purchased to put in toys, remotes, and other household items are Lithium-Ion.

“A lithium-ion battery, often known as a Li-ion battery, is a rechargeable battery in which lithium ions travel from the negative electrode to the positive electrode via an electrolyte during discharge and then back again during charging. The positive electrode of a lithium-ion battery is made of an intercalated lithium compound, whereas the negative electrode is usually made of graphite.”



  • Battery Life: Rechargeable batteries can sometimes be used for more than 2000 cycles! While the life before charge may be shorter than the life of single use batteries, the life of a rechargeable battery, with proper care, is exponentially longer than a single use battery. In this time, each cycle that the rechargeable battery is reused, it reduces the waste that would be produced when using single use batteries.
  • Price: While the price to purchase rechargeable batteries may be higher initially, they only require replacement every 2-5 years, far less often than single use batteries.
  • Accessibility: Rechargeable batteries are readily available in stores and come in all the sizes required in typical toys and home electronics.


  • Start Up Costs: When purchasing rechargeable batteries, a charger is also required. Unfortunately, most chargers only support one size of battery each.
  • Limited Uses: Rechargeable batteries require regular use and recharging cycles to maintain them, making them unideal for low drain items like smoke detectors or wall clocks.
  • Power Required for Continued Use: If power is lost in a home, rechargeable batteries cannot be recharged, and if they are left on a shelf for too long without use/recharge cycles, they will lose their charge. For emergency radios and flashlights, it is best to store standard batteries.

Rechargeable batteries have many positive outcomes for the consumer and the environment, but some of the convenience of single use batteries is lost. Despite this, the global demand for rechargeable batteries is expected to grow thirteen percent by 2026, with the highest rates of growth being in Europe and Asia. Lithium-Ion batteries are projected to be the quickest growing type of rechargeable battery in the coming years. While rechargeable batteries have not yet become the standard in households around the world, as technology develops and the concern for environmental health increases, the demand for rechargeable batteries will continue to grow. To read more about the battery market, check out Freedonia Group’s new study, “Global Batteries”!

About the Author: Bethan Davis is with, where she writes, edits, and provides production assistance for The Freedonia Group and other brands.

  Consumer Goods      Energy & Petroleum