If you’re like most people, you probably use a battery-powered device of some kind daily. From watches and torches to toothbrushes, batteries are essential for modern life. And when it comes time to buy new ones, there’s a lot to consider. So before hitting the store or online checkout, read on for everything you need to know about batteries. We’ll cover everything from types and sizes to lifespan and care instructions. By the end of this post, you’ll be a battery-buying pro!
1. Types of batteries and what they’re used for
AAA, AA, C, and D cell alkaline (single use) or rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), or lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries.
- Coin cell: Also known as a button cell, this is a small battery in a compact package. They’re often used to power little devices such as calculators and watches because they don’t have a lot of energy storage capacity or run time. But are perfect for small objects that have space restrictions. You may want to check out the LR1130 battery that is compact and has a longer life.
- Battery pack: This is made up of one or more cells that have been wired together inside a plastic case. Battery packs are used in portable electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops, and digital cameras.
- Alkaline battery: These batteries are one of the most common types around. They don’t have any fancy chemical reactions going on inside. Instead, they use zinc powder mixed with manganese dioxide to provide power. Alkaline batteries produce 1.5 volts of electricity and are suitable for moderate power drain.
2. How to store batteries
To avoid corrosion, overheating, and leaking of battery fluids, you need to keep new batteries at room temperature. If your new batteries have been exposed to extreme temperatures during transport, allow them to warm up at room temperature before using them. Don’t let a battery freeze or become too hot – if the battery is taken from a cold environment and put in a hot climate (or vice versa) or exposed to direct sunlight, the battery’s chemicals can cause it to overheat and leak. It is recommended that you store batteries in a clean, dry area. If they get wet or dirty, it’s best to clean them with an eraser before using them again. If you want to know how long your batteries will last, check the label on the back of the storm. It tells you what amps (power)–the more power.
3. How to read a label on the back of a battery
The first line tells you if it’s an alkaline, lithium, or rechargeable battery. Alkaline batteries have numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the label, while lithium batteries are often labeled with a 5. Rechargeable batteries are either labeled 6 or 7. The second line tells you the voltage of the storm. Batteries that begin with 1 have a 1.5-volt charge, while 2 means they have 1.25 volts, and 3 starts at 1.5 volts—the higher the voltage, the more influential the energy.
The third line has a dash followed by a letter (“m” for milliampere-hour) and a number. It is the battery’s capacity rating. In this example, it’s 3-mAH, which means that with a discharge rate of .3 amps (milliamperes), the battery could power a device that draws 30 milliamps (thousandths of an amp) for one hour. It’s better to get coin batteries for most things, but some devices require cheaper cylindrical batteries. These come in either AA or AAA sizes and can usually be found in your local supermarket’s battery aisle. Coin size cells are found in small torches (torches), remote controls, smoke detectors, and other everyday household items.
4. How to recycle your batteries
Recycling batteries is a lengthy process that includes removing the cell from the storm, removing the cover from a zinc-carbon or alkaline battery, and then crushing it. These batteries are then transported to a recycling plant and melted to extract the metals inside. Lithium batteries must be recycled separately from alkaline batteries due to the chemicals’ toxicity. Different batteries are recycled differently, but the first step is to remove them from all electronics.
You can also recycl e batteries through many local retailers like Staples and Best Buy. In some countries, you can drop your batteries off at your local recycling center, but if not, look online for a battery recycling company near you. If you use batteries that contain mercury (these are often known as button batteries), never put them in the trash—they’ll need to be recycled with special safety protection. Some manufacturers recycle their batteries, but the best way to dispose of storms is to take them to your local recycling center. Check out Earth 911’s recycling locator to find a place near you.
5. The lifespan of different types of batteries:
- Alkaline: Standard household alkaline batteries are generally rated for roughly 700 milliamp-hours (mAh), which equates to around seven hours of use for a standard television remote.
- Lithium or rechargeable: If you want to use something like a torch or camera, it’s best to go for lithium batteries if you can afford them. They’re more expensive than alkanes but also last much longer.
- Button cell or silver oxide – these batteries are often used in watches and hearing aids and have a minimum shelf life.
6. How to make the most of your batteries:
There are a few things you can do to make sure that your batteries last as long as possible, like storing them in the fridge—especially alkalines. Many people swear this helps them stay on for longer, but some think it has the opposite effect. If you want to try it, store your batteries on the top shelf of the fridge. You can also prevent a battery from dying quickly by keeping them at room temperature when you’re not using them.
7. What you need to know before buying batteries:
Watch batteries last 1-3 years. They’re primarily found in quartz watches and have a shelf life of around 10 years. Car batteries can last 5 to 7 years, but a deep cycle battery might only last 2 or 3. Laptop batteries usually don’t last as long as the device itself, so consider replacing the battery every 2-3 years if you use your laptop often.
Batteries are an essential part of modern life, so it’s necessary to know everything you need before buying them. But don’t worry–if you’ve got this post, then you’re well equipped to go battery shopping!
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