What Are the Different Types of Rechargeable Batteries?

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What Are the Different Types of Rechargeable Batteries?

In our modern world, electronic devices are a fully integrated part of human society. However, they require power to work. The invention of the battery revolutionised the world of electronics, allowing electric appliances to become portable, and thus infinitely more applicable to our lives. However, nothing is permanent, and batteries inevitably run out, sometimes leading to very high, long-term costs. The rechargeable battery is a truly elegant solution to this problem.

It is the intention of this guide to provide the reader or prospective buyer with detailed information about the different kinds of rechargeable battery, so that they can make the right choice. Further, it will cover, in depth, the process of buying rechargeable batteries on eBay, the online auctioning platform.

Rechargeable Batteries: The Basics

A rechargeable battery is, as the name suggests, a battery that can be used over and over. When it dies, it is simply ‘re-charged’, allowing it to be used again. This guide will provide some fundamental information about rechargeable batteries, including their properties, requirements and available sizes.

How It Works

Batteries connect to the device in which they are used by metal nodes. The battery contains within it an electrical charge. This electrical charge is transmitted through the conductive metal nodes; when connected, a battery completes a circuit, which is a loop of continuously flowing charge, passed through a conductive material.

When the battery is removed, no power will be transmitted to the device. Similarly, the battery carries a finite amount of power. Originally, once a battery was depleted, it was disposed of. Rechargeable batteries can, however, take another charge from a power source, and can thus be used again and again.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are various factors to take into consideration when deciding whether to use rechargeable batteries. These are detailed below:

  • The initial cost of rechargeable batteries is higher than that of disposable batteries.
  • However, the long-term cost of using rechargeable batteries is drastically reduced, as the batteries only have to be bought once.
  • It is much more environmentally friendly to use rechargeable batteries; manufacturing new batteries uses many more resources.
  • Rechargeable batteries are useless without both a charger and a mains connection (or other substantial power source).

Buying a Charger

Before buying rechargeable batteries, it is important to remember that they provide no advantages unless a compatible charger is available. Chargers generally fit only one size of battery. If you already own an appropriate charger, ensure the batteries being bought are the correct size relative to it. Conversely, when buying a charger, ensure it charges the kind of battery being bought.


Below is a table of the different sizes of rechargeable battery available, and their general applications. Look closely at the device in question; it should have markings to indicate which size batteries it takes. Use this information to decide which size to buy.



Common Uses


Powerful, commonly used in mid-sized electronics. Rectangular in shape.

Toys, smoke detectors, guitar effects, remote controls.


The most common battery for portable electrical equipment.

Cameras, games machines, GPS devices.


Similar to AA, but smaller.

Scaled down portable electrical equipment.


Similar to AA, but larger.

Larger equipment, such as electronic games and toys, and musical devices.


Larger again, most powerful and heaviest.

Flashlights, boomboxes and megaphones.

CR1616, CR2025, CR 2032, CR1220, CR123A

Tiny, circular batteries for small devices.

Watches, LED lights.

Potential Damage

Rechargeable batteries can be damaged if used incorrectly. For instance, putting them in the charger upside down or the wrong way around will result in the current flowing the wrong way through the battery, potentially causing permanent damage. Read the instructions carefully, and make sure not to misuse the battery in a way that could adversely affect its longevity.

The Types

This section of the guide will provide details of the four main kinds of rechargeable batteries, along with their qualities, properties and uses. They are as follows:

  • Nickel-cadmium battery
  • Nickel-metal hydride battery
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Lithium-ion polymer battery

Nickel-Cadmium Battery

The first kind of rechargeable battery ever invented was the nickel-cadmium variety. They offer good longevity, high capacity, and the ability to handle large discharges, which makes them a solid choice. They are, however, comparatively expensive. Further, they used electrodes made from cadmium, which is toxic to the environment. Nowadays, as a result of these factors, they are not used in many countries.

Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery

Nickel-metal hydride batteries are the successor to nickel-cadmium batteries. They are in widespread use today, owing to three main advantages they have over the predecessors: they are cheaper to produce and buy, they can hold triple the electrical charge, and they do not damage the environment nearly as significantly.

Lithium-Ion Battery

Today, the most common kind of rechargeable battery is the lithium-ion battery. Whilst the technology is not yet developed to its full potential, it already possesses several sizeable advantages over its nickel based rivals, namely a superior energy density (allowing more charge to be carried) and less loss of power when not in use. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly included in modern electrical equipment, and as such do not normally need to be bought separately unless replacing an older battery.

Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery

Smaller and lighter versions of the lithium-ion battery, the lithium-ion polymer battery can be shaped in many ways, allowing use in all kinds of devices.

Less Common Types

Other, less frequently used types include:

  • Lithium-Sulphur:  Not yet available on the mass market, but potentially more powerful and cheaper than lithium-ion.
  • Thin Film: A type still in development, and have a huge life cycle and power discharge capabilities.
  • Potassium-Ion: Designed for extremely long life.
  • Sodium-ion: Extremely cost effective.

How to Buy Rechargeable Batteries on eBay

There is a tremendous selection of rechargeable batteries available at the global online bidding destination, eBay. The site is designed to be as easy to use as possible. The following section will cover how to implement the various helpful features effectively.

The section featuring rechargeable batteries is simple to find. Begin from the eBay homepage and simply the category links, found in this page’s left margin. First, choose Electronics. Next, choose the Batteries, Chargers category. Finally, select the Rechargeable Batteries sub-category. In addition, an easy alternative is to use the search bar.

The item listings will now display only items that fit the description, ‘rechargeable batteries’.  The search can be refined to meet the user’s requirements, using various refinement options. These allow the items to be categorised by brand, size, price, condition and seller’s location (amongst others). The user can also choose between bidding on the products and buying them on the spot (by selecting either ‘Auction’ or ‘Buy It Now’).

An item’s individual page can be reached by clicking on that item’s entry in the listings. These pages contain feedback and ratings pertaining to the seller, as well as detailed product descriptions, allowing the user to make a safe and well thought-out choice of product.

Don’t forget to check for the many amazing special offers that can be found on all kinds of products in the Deals section of the website.

This excellent combination of huge choice and intuitive, user-friendly design interface works to make eBay the truly exceptional online bidding platform it is today, and also make it the perfect choice for anyone seeking to buy rechargeable batteries.


Rechargeable batteries are a terrific and practical solution to a very modern problem, allowing us to cheaply and efficiently use our portable electronics. This guide set out with the intention of providing information about the different types of rechargeable batteries. The main kinds are:

  • Nickel-cadmium battery
  • Nickel-metal hydride battery
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Lithium-ion polymer battery

This guide concludes that eBay, thanks to its wide array of items and its elegantly designed user interface, is the perfect place to shop for rechargeable batteries online.

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