Practical Home Energy Saving
Updated: 23-Sep-2013
NiMH Rechargeable Battery

Battery Comparison

Rechargeable Battery Type Comparison

For a range of common types (non rechargeable cells are shown for comparison purposes):

Battery Type
Nominal
Cell Voltage
Relative
Capacity
Use In High Current
Devices
Recharge
Number
Recharge
Cycles
Self
Discharge
Rate
Notes
Alkaline - Standard
1.5V
Medium
Poor
No
n-a
Slow (>5yrs)
 
Alkaline - High Power
1.5V
High
Good
No
n-a
Slow (>5yrs)
 
Alkaline - Rechargeable
1.5V
High*
Poor
Yes
50-100
Slow (>5yrs)
Not recommended. Capacity reduces with use.
Carbon Zinc
1.5V
Low
Poor
No
n-a
Slow (>5yrs)
Very old
Sealed Lead Acid
2.1V
High
Good
Yes
500-800
Med (3%/m)
Most commonly associated with car batteries but also available in sealed variants and smaller sizes. Not available in AA, AAA, C, D, PP3 sizes
Lithium
3.6V
High
Good
No
n-a
Slow (>10yrs)
Do not confuse with Lithium Ion batteries which are rechargeable. Not available in AA, AAA, C, D, PP3 sizes
Lithium Ion
3.7V
High
Good
Yes
400-1200
Fast (8%/m)
Not available in AA, AAA, C, D, PP3 sizes
Nickel Cadmium (NiCad)
1.2V
Medium
Good
Yes
Up to 800
Fast (10%/m)
Almost replaced by NiMH
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
1.2V
High
Good
Yes
Up to 1000
Fast (25%/m)
Now the most common type of rechargeable battery
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) - Low Self Discharge
1.2V
High
Good
Yes
Up to 1000
Medium (2%/m)
 
Nickel Zinc
1.65
High
Good
Yes
Up to 1000
???
CUrrently AA & AAA only, relatively high voltage not suitable for all devices
Zinc Chloride
1.5V
Low
Poor
No
n-a
Slow (>5yrs)
Not available in AA, AAA, C, D, PP3 sizes

Notes:
1. Number of Recharge cycles: How many times the battery can be recharged.
2. Achieving the number of cycles with NiCads requires draining the battery occasionally.
3. Achieving the number of cycles with NiMH requires shallow discharging (charging before the battery loses too much power).
4. Self Discharge Rate: How quickly the batteries lose their charge when left unused. Discharge is faster at higher temperatures.
5. Self discharge rates are quoted at 20 degrees centigrade and increase significantly as the temperature increases.
6. Rechargeable batteries must be recharged using the correct type of charger.

Battery Capacity Comparison

For a range of common types and sizes.

Battery Type
AAA
AA
C
D
PP3
Alkaline - Standard
960mAh
2375mAh
6500mAh
12500mAh
480mAh
Alkaline - High Power
1150mAh
2850mAh
7800mAh
15000mAh
580mAh
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
1100mAh
2900mAh
5000mAh
10000mAh
300mAh
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) - Low Self Discharge
800mAh
2000mAh
3000mAh
6000mAh
155mAh

Notes:
1. Capacity is rated in either milli Amp hours (mAH) or Amp hours(AH).
2. All capacities quoted are the highest capacity, cheaper batteries will have lower capacities.
3. The capacity of alkaline batteries can be higher than the equivalent NiMH but the capacity drops under high load.
4. The capacity of NiMH batteries does not reduce significantly under high load.

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