Recharging alkaline batteries was first introduced in the early 1990’s. It was introduced as an alternative to the Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) rechargeables. The advantages then were higher voltage (a full 1.5 volts), slow self-discharge, and no “memory effect”. When Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries became available in the early 2000’s, the advantages of recharging alkaline batteries diminished. Nimh batteries had a higher capacity, more recharge cycles, and little or no memory effect compared to the NiCad batteries.
However, RAM and alkaline batteries are still available and are considered to be the most environmentally friendly. The most common manufacturers that offer RAM batteries and chargers are IGo, AccuCell and Pure Energy. Here are the main pros and cons of alkaline and RAM batteries.
While an alkaline battery can last for as long as 7 years, zinc batteries can only last anywhere between 1 to 3 years before becoming unusable.
1. A zinc battery uses an acidic electrolyte while an alkaline battery uses a basic electrolyte
2. Alkaline batteries have much higher capacities compared to zinc batteries
3. The can is the anode of the zinc battery while alkaline batteries uses a zinc powder within the can
4. Alkaline batteries have a longer shelf life compared to zinc batteries
5. Zinc batteries are prone to leaks while alkaline batteries are not
- Slow self-discharge
- More environmentally friendly (fewer toxic metals)
- Full 1.5 volts when new
- Long recharge time (10-16 hours)
- Higher risk of leakage when charging and while in use
- Must be recharged after only partial usage (the less usage before recharging the better)
- Noticeable decrease in run time after each charge cycle
- Requires a charger specifically designed for alkaline batteries
- Fewer charge cycles (based on a discharge to < 50% of its usable capacity)
- Poor performance in high drain devices