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Are Rechargeable Batteries Worth It?

A white-outlined battery symbol shows a positive and negative charge, overlaying a blue and grey image of battery ends.

Are rechargeable batteries worth it? Many people are so used to buying disposable batteries that recharging batteries seems like it might be a bit of a hassle. But before disregarding the option, it's essential to consider a few things about those seemingly convenient batteries.

A picture of a full landfill with a blue-grey sky in the background. The landfill shows many pieces of brown, grey, and green debris piled up.

Each year, people in the US throw out about 3 billion batteries or 180,000 tons! If all these batteries were placed end-to-end, they would go around the globe a shocking six times! That means landfills are full of batteries, which contain hazardous chemicals and can't be composted.

If you’re considering taking a greener approach to battery use, here’s how to know when it’s worth it to opt for the rechargeable battery route.

What Are Standard or Alkaline Batteries?

The materials inside an alkaline battery are charged during manufacturing but aren't designed to hold a charge again. Putting a non-rechargeable battery on a charging station could even result in a dangerous thermal reaction or explosion. Chemicals could leak out of the batteries as well.

So, because these standard batteries can’t be recharged, they’re considered disposable. Once their life is up, they typically get tossed in the trash, where they add to all those batteries in the landfill.

Standard Batteries:

  • They are initially less expensive but costly to replace in the long run.
  • Have a relatively short lifespan.
  • Often create more packaging and waste.
  • Offer subpar performance compared to rechargeable options.

What Are Rechargeable Batteries?

Most rechargeable batteries:

  • Last up to 5 years.
  • Require less packaging and generate less waste.
  • Offer excellent performance that gets better over time.
  • They are easy and safe to store.
  • It can be used in the same applications as most alkaline batteries.

How to Pick the Right Battery

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So if there are so many benefits to using rechargeable batteries, why would anyone ever use standard batteries? First, it's important to note that, initially, standard batteries might be a little less expensive than the investment in rechargeable batteries (although considering the longer-term benefits, rechargeable batteries may save you money in almost all cases in the long run).

When can you use a standard or alkaline battery? If you prefer non-rechargeable or standard batteries, or you’re trying to use up some you have on hand, they are ideal for certain situations. Alkaline batteries are a good choice for low-drain products that use power only occasionally or for products that use very low power over a long period of time.

Examples of household uses for alkaline batteries include smoke detectorsremote controls, and wall clocks. Try to use your alkaline batteries for these types of low-power applications.

When Should I Use Rechargeable Batteries?

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Rechargeable batteries have less of an environmental impact when compared to standard batteries. They also save you money because they are reusable, paying for themselves over time. In addition, many rechargeable batteries on the market today actually last longer on a single charge than most disposable batteries do in their lifetime. With that kind of performance, money-saving aspects, and environmentally friendly benefits, rechargeable batteries are a powerful idea!

So are rechargeable batteries worth it? Absolutely! You can find all standard sizes, like rechargeable AA batteries for your remote, AAAs for your camera, and sizes specially made for certain electronics. Lithium rechargeable batteries work like Alkaline batteries because they both produce energy in the same way, but rechargeable batteries can also complete the action in reverse. They can start with full power and give off energy, or they can start without power and take in energy to restore their charge.

When should you use rechargeable batteries? Rechargeable batteries are ideal for high-drain electronics (those that quickly use a lot of power and energy). These electronics include:

Tips for Using Rechargeable Batteries

The good news is that rechargeables can last even longer per charge than disposable batteries. When you’re ready to start making the switch to rechargeable batteries, you’ll find everything you need at your local Do it Best store or on


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