You have become the owner of a wireless device that runs on AA batteries. What is the best choice for your device, rechargeable or disposable batteries? Here are some facts you may want to consider when making your decision.

Rechargeable AA NiMH batteries are commonly used in “high drain” devices such as wireless microphones, cordless telephones, golf/terrain GPS devices and digital cameras. The initial cost of an AA NiMH rechargeable battery is usually higher than a one-time use (disposable) AA battery. However, if you factor in the cost of the charger PLUS the hundreds of times rechargeable batteries can be used, it is far more cost effective than purchasing the disposable kind. Using rechargeable batteries can also reduce the amount of waste generated into our environment.

Rechargeable AA NiMH batteries come in different capacities measured in “milli Amperes hour” (mAh). The higher the mAh rating number, the more electrical energy the battery can store and therefore the longer it should last. Before you purchase, refer to the device’s user manual for a minimum mAh capacity rating requirement. The “sweetspot” for AA rechargeable batteries is 2000 to 2700 mAh. Most “professional use” AA rechargeable batteries are rated no more than 2000 mAh. AA rechargeable batteries rated above 2500 mAh can be considered dubious at best.

When purchasing rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, the package (and/or the battery itself) should indicate the mAh capacity rating. Be aware that although some manufacturers claim their batteries are rated at a particularly high mAh number, the fine print may indicate the batteries also have a MINIMUM mAh capacity rating. Real world usage tends to indicate the battery stays more true to the minimum capacity rating rather than the higher capacity rating.

One last thing to be aware of is the nominal voltages of AA disposable versus AA rechargeable batteries. Disposable AA alkaline batteries are rated at a nominal 1.5 volts. That is the actual voltage when first purchased/fully charged. As alkaline batteries begin to discharge, the voltage continually drops resulting in an average of 1.2 volts. Eventually, the AA alkaline batteries will drop below 1.0 volts. Rechargeable AA NiMH batteries however, have a nominal 1.2 volts at full charge and can maintain that 1.2 volts until almost fully discharged.

Understanding the differences between rechargeable AA NiMH batteries and standard disposable AA batteries helps you make a better, more informed decision on which type of battery would best suit your own situation and the needs of your particular device.

About The Author

(c) Copyright – Vincent Raymond. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. V. Raymond is co-owner of Pathfinder Portable GPS, an online retail store that sells small portable GPS navigation systems for a variety of outdoor land and marine activities.

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