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Rechargeable batteries versus alkaline batteries

40 billion alkaline batteries were discarded worldwide last year. There is a solution to this problem - rechargeable batteries. The eneloop batteries combine the best of 2 worlds: rechargeable and ready for use immediately. Read on to learn what the key differences are between rechargeable batteries and alkaline batteries.

The batteries in your computer mouse, remote control or games console are dead. Nine times out of ten we head to the nearest store and buy alkaline or disposable batteries without giving it a second thought - why? Because these batteries are cheaper and ready charged. Are alkaline batteries still seen as the best out there, or are they losing some ground to rechargeable batteries? The differences between the two are obvious, perhaps we just need a reminder. Rechargeable versus alkaline batteries: read on for an overview of the key differences.

Environmentally friendly

In the first instance, opting for rechargeable batteries is a far more environmentally conscious choice than opting for the alkaline alternative. Every family gets through around 70 alkaline batteries every year. Make a one-off investment in a reliable pair of rechargeable batteries, and you can use them as many as one thousand times. The number of times you can recharge them depends on the brand of battery, but more importantly, on what they are used for. Devices that consume high levels of energy will require greater capacity, which goes hand in hand with a lower recharging cycle, but it’s not hard to imagine how the additional cost of these batteries can be recouped quickly after just a couple of cycles. Above all else, these batteries are much less harmful to the environment than their disposable counterparts. In addition, eneloop rechargeable batteries (see below) are pre-charged using solar energy, making our batteries the most sustainable you can find anywhere on the planet.


The average family uses countless batteries at any one time, so it’s only natural that they opt for the cheapest they can find. Rechargeable batteries have the advantage of holding energy for longer when used in appliances that consume a lot of energy. Reusable batteries start with a lower voltage of 1.2 V, while alkaline batteries have a much more powerful starting voltage of 1.5 V. However, rechargeable batteries maintain their voltage for a longer time, whereas the non rechargeable variantssteadily lose their voltage. We also tend to rely on alkaline batteries when we are on the move as it’s much harder to recharge batteries when we are away from home. These types of battery are ready to be used straight away, while many rechargeable batteries still need to be charged before they can be used. But there are exceptions - our eneloop rechargeable batteries are pre-charged and ready for use. Choosing alkaline batteries that require a reduced current is not a bad idea - remote controls, clocks, calculators and smoke alarms can work well for a while with just one alkaline battery. But these products can also be well served by eneloop lite rechargeable batteries*.

rechargeable batteries versus alkaline batteries

Service life

There is a significant difference between rechargeable batteries and alkaline batteries when it comes to service life. The advantage of alkaline batteries is that they are far less likely to suffer from self-discharge in comparison to rechargeable batteries. The eneloop batteries are specially designed to take over that caracteristic of the alkaline batteries. In addition, the eneloop batteries can be recharged as many as 2100 recharge cycles.* This helps to ensure a longer service life, so rechargeable eneloop batteries are certainly a better choice. Self-discharge of rechargeable batteries is dependent on a number of actors.

Energy consumption

Recharging batteries uses very little energy at all, approximately 6 Watts per hour. Over eight hours, which is the maximum average for a charger, that is 42 Watts per charge. The Smart & Quick charger from eneloop does even better and can charge batteries fully in just 1.5 hours in some cases. The additional energy costs for recharging rechargeable batteries far outweigh the annual costs of alkaline batteries.


In addition, the cost of eneloop rechargeable batteries far outweighs the cost of alkaline batteries. You should budget around 4 Euros for an eneloop battery and a further 12.99 Euros for a charger. A single charge costs around 0.35 Euros, so after 2100 charges that would make a total of 735 Euros. By contrast, if you buy 2100 individual alkaline batteries at 1.25 Euros each, you’re looking at a bill of some 2625 Euros.

eneloop batteries combine the best of two worlds - reusability and durability along with being ready for use, pre-charged by solar energy. What’s more, the rechargeable eneloop battery is a high-performance model. In contrast to alkaline models, its power level drops below the critical 1.1 V level only shortly before it is depleted. eneloop rechargeable batteries can even be used in cold temperatures to -20°C. eneloop batteries are low self discharge batteries, which means that they preserve their energy in storage for much longer than conventional rechargeable batteries.

Discover our rechargeable eneloop batteries here.

With this overview of rechargeable versus alkaline batteries in mind, you can now purchase batteries more cost effectively.