In most cases, buying reusable items is a smart financial choice. Everything from your car to your toothbrush is meant to be used more than once! Some items are one and done一once you use ‘em up, you have to buy a new one. For example, you should throw away safety razors, spray paint cans, and batteries once they’re beyond their intended lifespan.

Except… let’s take a look at that last one. Batteries. You can buy rechargeable batteries. Use all their power in a device, put them into a wall charger, and use them again. The real question we have to investigate is whether they’re cost-effective. Is it ultimately cheaper to buy single-use batteries than spend the extra money on rechargeables? Are there other factors that might sway you one way or the other?

Investing in Rechargeables

mz_electric_blog_are_rechargable_batteries_worth_itLet’s start with cost. Rechargeable batteries cost twice as much (or more) than regular batteries, and you have to factor in the price of a charger, too. That means moving to rechargeables can be quite an investment depending on how many devices you own. 

You can get rechargeable batteries in just about any size you need, from AAA to D. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need separate chargers for each size or one giant, more expensive universal charger to cover all of them.

Take Care of Your Rechargeables

Keep in mind that rechargeables do have a finite lifespan. Even if you put your batteries in optimal storage conditions (more on that below), they may only last a few years. And even if you never use them! 

Don’t Overcharge

Also, it’s possible to overcharge your batteries. They will probably recharge in a few hours, so if you leave them in the charger overnight or while you’re at work, the excess current will diminish their lifespan. To prevent that, monitor your charging and remove your batteries as soon as they’re finished.

Keep Organized

Don’t mix depleted batteries with fresh ones. If you have a device that uses four AA batteries, don’t put two freshly charged ones in with two that have no power left. You’ll simply draw more power from the fresh batteries, and they’ll die that much faster. Instead, keep some single-use batteries on hand to swap in while you charge the two depleted ones.

Which Devices Deserve Rechargeables

There are several key metrics to keep in mind to determine which of your appliances and electronics get rechargeable batteries and which get regular single-use batteries. First, here in Colorado, things can get cold. As in, the record low in Littleton was -34. 

Batteries do not like cold, and it will shorten their lifespan. But, with rechargeables, you get a second chance. If you have something battery operated that has to live outside for some reason (we don’t recommend this since batteries should remain in temps between 32 and 80), at least with rechargeables, you can keep them going for longer.

Second, it’s a good idea to stick with single-use batteries for devices that don’t draw much power, such as flashlights and smoke detectors. Unless your flashlight needs to be on for hours and hours a day, the batteries will probably go bad from old age before they run out of power. Rechargeables only make sense for devices that use lots of energy and get constant use, such as: 

  • Handheld game consoles
  • Cameras
  • Tools
  • Power supplies

Depending on usage, these devices will need new batteries (or a recharge) between 30 and 60 days. 

Once Your Rechargeables Are Done for Good

Once your rechargeables no longer hold a charge, that’s it. They’re done! Investing in a good charger will help them live longer, and you may get up to 800 recharges out of them. 

But eventually, their time will come to an end. When your devices have reached the end of their useful lives, recycle them. That will keep them from contaminating soil or water. Also, if they’re recycled, their raw materials can go toward manufacturing new batteries! 

Whatever you do, don’t throw away your rechargeables! There are toxic elements that are dangerous for the environment. 

By the way, everything we’ve been discussing today also applies to batteries that you might not otherwise think of as batteries. The battery in your laptop, tablet, or phone obeys the same rules as the ones you buy in a supermarket. Finite lifespan, susceptible to temperature extremes, and doesn’t like being overcharged. 

Most devices like these are smart about cutting off power to the battery once charging has reached 100%, but if you’re charging their batteries on an external dock, you may need to monitor them a little closer.

MZ Electric-Your Denver Electrician

In Denver, you have a couple of options when Googling, “electrician near me.” You can dig through the results looking for someone trustworthy, or you can just call MZ Electric! 

We know electricity and are qualified to handle any projects or problems you have with your power, and we can perform inspections, repair, installations, maintenance, indoor and outdoor. MZ Electric also offers financing options to make sure we stick within your budget. You need power, and we have the power to provide it. Call MZ Electric today!