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From remote controls and flashlights to alarm clocks and watches, many of the devices you use on a regular basis are powered by batteries. Ace Hardware carries a large variety of disposable and rechargeable batteries from top brands like Energizer, Duracell and Eveready.

Learn about the differences between disposable and rechargeable batteries to find the right batteries for all your devices with the following guide.

How Do Batteries Work?

Batteries have positive and negative terminals on each end. They contain collections of one or more cells that undergo chemical reactions to establish a flow of electrons within a circuit. Batteries are comprised of three main components:

  • Anodes (negative electrodes)
  • Cathodes (positive electrodes)
  • Electrolytes

Disposable vs. Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries can be classified into different categories and types which vary based on their chemical composition, size and other factors. The two main battery classification types are disposable and rechargeable batteries. Here's a basic breakdown of the differences between disposable and rechargeable batteries:

Disposable Batteries

Also called primary batteries, these batteries can't be recharged once depleted. Disposable batteries range in size and form, and some of the most common types include:

  • AA batteries
  • AAA batteries
  • C batteries
  • D batteries
  • 3 volt batteries 

Disposable batteries are typically used in standalone devices where the use of a rechargeable battery charger might be impractical or impossible. Devices that use disposable batteries are usually designed to consume low amounts of power to enable long-lasting battery life. Common examples include wall clocks, pacemakers, children's toys and remote controls.

Most disposable batteries are alkaline-based. Alkaline batteries are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. These batteries can be stored for many years, and they aren't prone to leaking even when fully discharged.

A potential downside of alkaline batteries is their low load currents which may limit their ability to be useful on devices with high current requirements like flashlights, portable and entertainment devices.

Rechargeable Batteries

Also referred to as secondary batteries, rechargeable batteries are lead-based. They're comprised of lead anodes, lead dioxide cathodes and sulfuric acid electrolytes. The need for rechargeable batteries has significantly increased in recent years due to the rise in portable devices like cell phones, MP3 players and microphones. If you have a device that frequently burns through batteries it could benefit you to invest in a rechargeable battery and charging dock.  

Some of the most common types of rechargeable batteries include:

  • Lithium batteries (LiOn)
  • Nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH)
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries (NiCd)

Typically, Ni-Cad and NiHM batteries are used in cordless phones and have a cord that plugs directly into the device. 

With NiCd and NiMH batteries, recharging the batteries can be somewhat tricky. Overcharging the batteries could lead to decreased capacity. For this reason, many rechargeable battery chargers are equipped with a trickle charge system that automatically shuts off once charging is complete. 

Even rechargeable batteries will eventually die, although they may last for hundreds of charges before that occurs. If they do reach the end of their use, it's important to recycle them at a designated recycling facility.

Shop for Disposable and Rechargeable Batteries Now

Keep all your favorite devices powered on by shopping the collection of disposable and rechargeable batteries at Ace Hardware online now. Need help finding the right household batteries, household battery chargers or specialty batteries for your devices? Head to your neighborhood Ace, and one of our friendly store associates will be happy to assist.