With the Christmas season rapidly approaching once more and the nation’s television screens filled with advertisements for the latest must-have gifts, sales of the humble battery will soon go through the roof. Although a number of today’s toys and electronic gifts come packed with batteries, many still carry the familiar ‘batteries not included’ notice, ensuring that manufacturers of these handy little power supplies always enjoy a profitable festive season.

Battle of the Batteries

As reported in The Guardian, the top Christmas toys for 2013, as chosen by a panel made up of the nation’s favourite toy sellers, have now been revealed and many of these picks require the use of batteries. Whereas in days gone by the choice of which battery to buy was a straightforward one — usually AA or AAA depending on the device — today there is another option available, namely the rechargeable battery.

Although the rechargeable battery, or secondary battery as it is also known, has been in existence since the mid-19th century, it is only in recent years that demand for this type of charger has increased. The widespread availability of devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets has certainly been a contributing factor to the popularity of rechargeable batteries. However, when it comes to products such as digital cameras or toys which can operate via either standard alkaline batteries or rechargeable ones, which type is actually the best?

The Advantages of Rechargeable Batteries

Unlike standard batteries which cannot be reused after their charge has completely dissipated, rechargeable batteries can be pumped full of power again. This is achieved by the chemical reaction inside the battery, which normally occurs during discharge, actually being reversed when attached to a charger, thereby topping up the power. Many electronic products which use rechargeable batteries come supplied with USB chargers in order to top up the battery life. However, there are also a number of battery chargers available from reputable online sellers which will do the same job.

Although initially more expensive to purchase, rechargeable batteries are more economically sound over time and more environmentally friendly. It is also a lot easier just to pop these batteries on charge than to make the trip to the shops to buy completely new ones.

The Advantages of Standard Batteries

Also known as primary batteries, the non-rechargeable version still holds its own against its rechargeable cousin in terms of retail sales. The obvious advantage of buying a standard battery is the much cheaper initial price point, making it a more friendly impulse purchase. Although rechargeable batteries work out cheaper in the long run, if the purchaser only needs batteries for a one-off use this fact does not come into the equation. Amazingly, standard batteries also take longer to completely discharge than the rechargeable variety.

There is no denying that rechargeable batteries are becoming more commonplace in today’s marketplace and are of a higher quality but the humble standard battery has plenty of charge left in it yet.