If you’re like most people living in today’s modern world, you take batteries for granted. But without batteries, you couldn’t talk on your cell phone, work on your laptop, drive your car, use a flashlight or take pictures with your camera. Modern medical devices, earring aids, smoke alarms, wireless electronics and dozens of other devices wouldn’t work without the humble battery.
Mr. Electric® would like to take a look at rechargeable batteries and help you decide if they’re a good investment. For this to be the case, purchasing rechargeable batteries and a charger needs to save you money compared to going through regular batteries. Here are a few factors to consider as you decide which devices you should switch to rechargeable batteries.
When Rechargeable Batteries Waste Money
There’s no doubt about it: using rechargeable batteries reduces waste and is good for the environment. However, if saving money is your primary reason to make the switch, don’t run out and replace every single AA, AAA, C and D battery in your home with rechargeable versions. Here’s why.
Batteries power many low current-draw devices, including wall clocks, smoke detectors, radios, thermostats, emergency flashlights, and even your oft-used wireless keyboard and mouse. These devices consume electricity at such a low rate that it would take years to reach the payback period if you used rechargeable batteries.
Consider your wireless keyboard and mouse. It might cost $8 for a set of eight standard AA batteries, which should be enough to power these two devices for 18 months. Comparatively, five good rechargeable AA batteries – one for the mouse, two for the keyboard and two spares – might cost $15. Plus, a good charger will set you back another $40.
This means it would take nearly seven 18-month periods – or more than 10 years – to get your money’s worth from using rechargeable batteries in your keyboard and mouse. This doesn’t even take into account the money you spend on electricity to recharge the batteries, which sets back the payback period even further. Plus, after 10 years, the rechargeable batteries might not be able to hold a charge very effectively anymore.
When Rechargeable Batteries Make Sense
Don’t fret! There are certainly some instances when rechargeable batteries are the more cost effective choice. If you use any moderate to high current-draw devices often enough to change the batteries out every 30 to 60 days, these are good candidates for rechargeable batteries. When you change the batteries this often, the ability to recharge the same AAs saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Examples of cost-effective devices to power with rechargeable batteries include wireless gaming controllers, point-and-shoot cameras and kids’ electronic toys.
Tips for Using Rechargeable Batteries
If you decide to switch any of your devices over to rechargeable batteries, follow these tips to get the most out of them:
- Invest in a good charger to prolong the life of your rechargeable batteries. They should continue to hold a charge up to between 500 and 800 charge cycles.
- Promptly remove batteries from the charger once they’re finished recharging. (This isn’t a concern if the charger automatically shuts off once charging is complete.)
- Keep a few regular batteries on hand as spares you can swap out if your rechargeable batteries run out of juice and need time to recharge.
- Recycle your rechargeable batteries – as opposed to throwing them in the trash – once they lose their ability to hold a charge.
For more tips to conserve energy and save money, contact Mr. Electric®.