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Rechargeable or disposable batteries?

When out shopping, you have probably noticed that in addition to the classic disposable kind, the selection of rechargeable batteries is getting bigger and bigger. VARTA is also further developing its range of rechargeable batteries and chargers, relying on state-of-the-art technology. It can be hard to tell the differences at first sight, and you end up asking yourself, “What should I buy?” We asked our VARTA experts to finally shed some light on this matter.
The fundamental difference:
A disposable battery, also called a primary cell, is a non-rechargeable energy storage device. The process of converting energy is based on an electrochemical reaction inside the cell. Rechargeable batteries are secondary cells that can be recharged again and again using an external power source. The main difference in this initial comparison is the fact that one group of products can be reused. But it’s worth taking a closer look at performance as well.
When are disposable batteries a good choice?
  • When you only need a little power over a long period of time or if you do not use a device very often (e.g. wall clock or remote control).
  • When you are out and about or traveling and don’t want to bring a charger along or when you need battery power only for a short time.
  • In extreme temperatures. While being stored disposable batteries can withstand heat and cold better than rechargeables.
  • For older devices (analog cameras, blood pressure gauges). Many of them need at least 1.5 volts to function properly. Rechargeable batteries deliver only around 1.2 volts.


When are rechargeable batteries the better choice?
  • Rechargeables really shine in devices that are used frequently and which use up a lot of power (e.g. cameras, game controllers, children’s toys) or when you need a high supply of constant power.
  • A rule-of-thumb is this: If you are replacing disposable batteries in devices at least once a month, it’s worth switching to rechargeables. Over its service life, a single rechargeable battery can replace up to 300 alkaline batteries.
It pays to give it some thought!
Optimum use of disposables and rechargeables will save you some serious money. While it’s true that rechargeables are somewhat more expensive and that you will also need a charger, you will ultimately recoup the initial investment costs in the long term and save the multiple amount. We recommend that you always take a look at each battery-powered device to determine which power source − disposables or rechargeables − is the best fit.